Local Roundup: South Royalton Reaches D-III Baseball Semifinals
South Royalton's Leif Johnson.
Valley News - Tris Wykes
Windsor's Matt Thayer.
Valley News - Tris Wykes
Oxbow's Mikayla Hodge.
Valley News - Tris Wykes
South Royalton — Advancing deeper and deeper into the playoffs, it takes a total team effort to win the close games. The South Royalton School baseball team had contributions up and down the roster in defeating visiting Windsor 6-3 on Friday afternoon in the Vermont Division III tourney.
SoRo coach Mike Ballou praised the Royals’ strong defense and Leif Johnson’s 4 1⁄ 3 innings of three-hit relief. “They all produced and we had total focus defensively, making great plays in a close game,” Ballou said. “We all played well, it was hard fought for both teams and we just happened to come out ahead.”
The Royals broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the fifth inning as junior Keanan Thompson lined a two-run double to put SoRo in front, 5-3. Thompson then stole third and scored the sixth run on a throwing error.
Nathan Moore pitched the first 2 2⁄ 3 innings for the Royals. Johnson came on and allowed three hits and struck out three in pitching the duration to earn the win.
Windsor scored two runs in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead and could have had more if not for a diving grab by South Royalton second baseman Darrin Kennedy. Shortstop David Ballou also had a run-saving play in the inning, knocking down a hard shot up the middle and tossing to Kennedy for a force out.
Coach Ballou also praised a pair of running grabs by freshman center fielder Nick Howe.
Catcher Matt Thayer led the Windsor attack with a walk, two hits and an RBI. Ethan Hill and Nick LeBeau each had RBI singles. Tyson Boudro pitched the first six innings for the Yellowjackets, followed by an inning of relief from Nick Kapuscinski.
Ballou was on base three times for the Royals, once with a single and twice after being hit by a pitch. Ballou drove in one and scored twice. Hunter Brock and Alex Berk each added RBI singles. Nathan Moore chipped in with a double.
Windsor was threatening in the top of the seventh inning with a runner on and one out. South Royalton right fielder Sam Berk then ran a long way to snag a deep drive down the line to rob a double and prevent, at best, a second-and-third situation with one out while the Royals nursed a three-run lead.
“You’ve got to make the routine plays and come up with the plays that are over and above when the games are close like this,” coach Ballou said.
The 2013 D-IV state champion Royals (16-2) face the winner of today’s quarterfinal game between Leland & Gray and Poultney. The semifinal game is Tuesday afternoon.
Woodstock 6, Lamoille 5
Orleans, Vt. — The Wasps stung for six runs in the first three innings and then held on to beat the host Lancers in the Vermont D-II playoffs.
Starting pitcher Zach Cole went the distance for Woodstock (14-4) against a strong Lamoille offensive attack. The senior hurler struck out 12, allowed eight hits and walked three.
The Lancers had the tying run on second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Cole rallied to strike out two straight to close out the Woodstock victory.
“He controlled the strike zone pretty well, got ahead of hitters and just did everything he could,” Woodstock coach Jason Tarleton said.
Doug Avellino was 2-for-2 with two walks for the Wasps. Matt Poljacik added two hits and drove in one. Bradley Lewis had an RBI double and Dylan Kuhn tripled and scored a run.
“They’ve got a potent lineup, we didn’t want their key hitters to beat us. They made it interesting, but it felt good to get out to a lead and try to control the game from there,” Tarleton said.
The win is the 100th in Tarleton’s 15 seasons as Woodstock head coach. The Wasps had lost to Lamoille in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Up next is a visit to top-seeded Harwood on Monday afternoon for the semifinals.
Oxbow 10, St. Johnsbury 7
St. Johnsbury, Vt. — Six players scored to help the Olympians to a road playoff win and set up a date in the Vermont D-II semifinals.
Coach Donna Hatch praised the play of the Oxbow defense, along with goalie Savannah Fay (13 saves). The O’s built a 4-3 lead at the break.
Mikayla Hodge led Oxbow with three goals and two assists. Lauren Tomlinson added a pair of goals and Jasmin Clark had a goal and two helpers. Madi Smith and Amber Strock also scored. Meghan Boardman added a pair of assists and Drew Pierson had one helper.
The fifth-seeded Olympians visit top-seeded U-32 on Tuesday with the winner advancing to play for the state championship.
Chelsea 12, Woodstock 10
Chelsea, Vt. — The Wasps saw their season come to a close as the Red Devils earned a narrow victory in the Vermont D-II playoffs.
Blue Mountain 14 Whitcomb 1
Wells River, Vt. — The Hornets (8-7) lost in the quarterfinals in the Vermont D-IV playoffs. The Bucks had edged Whitcomb 6-5 at home in the teams’ regular season game on May 20.