Danville Baseball Flips Script on South Royalton in Vt. Finals

  • South Royalton Head Coach Devin Cilley and Logan Martin walk off the field after the final out in their Division IV state championship game with Danville in Burlington, Vt., on June 8, 2018. Danville won, 10-0. (Ben DeFlorio photograph)

  • South Royalton School students Maddie McShinsky and Sophie Howe hold a "One Last Time" sign while cheering for the Royals in their Division IV championship game against Danville in Burlington, Vt., on June 8, 2018. Danville won, 10-0, in the final game for South Royalton, who will be merging with Whitcomb and Rochester schools next school year. (Ben DeFlorio photograph)

  • South Royalton's Carder Stratton stretches to get Danville's Kenneth Young out at first base early in the Division IV championship game in Burlington, Vt., on June 8, 2018. Danville won, 10-0. (Ben DeFlorio photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, June 09, 2018

Burlington — It took until South Royalton’s final game, but the Danville High baseball team finally kept the Royals from spoiling its state championship dreams.

Indians pitcher Matt Hauserman twirled a four-hitter with one walk, Tito Chamul and Matt Colburn had three-run doubles and Danville beat South Royalton, 10-0, in the VPA Division IV final at Centennial Field on Friday night. It was the final contest before Royalton and Bethel merge to form White River Valley Union next school year.

No. 2 Danville (12-5) finally beat the Royals after losses to South Royalton in 2013, ’16 and ’17.

It was just the fifth loss in the final three seasons for the Royals (No. 1; 15-3), who returned to the final despite losing eight regulars to graduation from last year’s unbeaten champs. Two eighth-graders and a pair of freshmen were in the starting lineup under first-year coach Devin Cilley, a 2010 SoRo grad who took over for Mike Ballou.

“It’s kind of sad, but just to get here with this group was pretty remarkable,” said Cilley, who also played for Norwich University. “A lot of things went our way to get here, but a lot of things didn’t go our way tonight. And that’s just baseball.”

Danville coach Nick DeCaro recognized the significance of the game for South Royalton, which has won nine state championships since 1980, but beginning next season with will have a new school name, team colors and mascot.

“To win against these guys means a lot, because they’re the class of our division,” DeCaro said. “They’re always well-coached and fundamentally strong. We lost to them on this stage the last two years and worked really hard to fix the things we didn’t do well against them.”

The Indians were remarkably crisp defensively, with no errors and a handful of impressive plays. The first came on a tone-setter in the bottom of the second inning, when Danville caught South Royalton pinch runner Ryan Smith in a rundown off third base while he attempted to execute a double steal with Jacob Barry going from first to second.

“Two years ago they did that same thing early in the game, and everybody was safe,” said DeCaro, in his fourth year with the Indians. “We never forgot that and spent a lot of time this week preparing for it. I was proud to see that the guys remembered what we practiced and (executed).”

Hauserman (three strikeouts) allowed only a pair of infield hits after that, retiring the side in order twice and finishing the complete game in just 79 pitches.

His defense was spot-on behind him in the ninth, doubling off South Royalton’s Zeb Perreault after a liner to shortstop Travis Grosse, who delivered four zinging putouts on the night.

Hauserman struck out Logan Martin to end it.

“It was great to see Matt have such a great game, because he’s really worked his way up since freshman year to be our No. 1 starter,” DeCaro said. “It was a fitting way for him to end (his high school career).”

South Royalton ace Dominick Small (3⅔ innings, three hits, five earned runs, five strikeouts, two walks, three hit batsmen) first ran into trouble in the third, hitting a batter and walking another before a bunt moved both runners up. Nicco Richardson and Steele LaHaye had back-to-back RBI singles with two outs to make it 2-0.

In the fourth, Small walked the lead off man and hitting another two batters before a three-run double by Chamul, a former Concord (Vt.) High student who transferred to Danville after the former’s closure. Chamul is clearly a fan favorite, eliciting chants of his name after the double and “we want Tito” when he was due up at bat.

“He’s just a guy who really lifts our spirits and can crush the ball,” said Grosse. “That’s why everyone loves him.”

While South Royalton’s bats remained quiet, Danville doubled its lead in the fifth inning off freshman reliever Carder Stratton.

After a sacrifice fly by Grosse, Stratton walked three straight with two outs — the last forcing in a run — before pinch hitter Matt Colburn, a senior, delivered the Indians’ second three-run double of the night to make it 10-0.

“My seniors really stepped up tonight,” DeCaro said. “They wanted it and they deserved it.”

Extra Bases: The Royals escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning when Small struck out the side around two fielding errors and an intentional walk to Chamul. … Cilley said he fully intends to apply for the White River Valley Union job next spring. … Danville and South Royalton are both 9-5 in finals. … South Royalton graduates Small and Christopher McCullough.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.