ADDISON COUNTY — With the exception of lacrosse, the playoffs followed form on Wednesday for area high school teams.
In softball, the Vergennes, Mount Abraham and Otter Valley squads — the Nos. 2, 4 and 5 seeds, respectively, in Division II — all won one-sided games without allowing runs, while No. 7 Fair Haven ousted No. 10 Middlebury.
In baseball, No. 7 Otter Valley, the defending D-II champion, advanced, while in D-I No. 11 MUHS lost a heartbreaker to No. 6 Rutland.
The biggest stunner came in D-I girls’ lacrosse, where No. 11 Essex knocked off No. 5 MUHS. In a milder upset, No. 9 Stratton eliminated No. 8 Mount Abraham in D-II boys’ action, where also No. 4 Rice ousted No. 13 VUHS.
In softball, the host No. 2 Commodores posted the biggest win, 18-0 over No. 15 Lamoille (2-13) in five innings. Taylor Paquette tossed a no-hitter, striking out seven and walking one, and also drilled a bases-loaded double to spark the attack. Phoebe Plank added two hits and two RBIs for VUHS, which improved to 15-2 and will host No. 7 Fair Haven (11-6) on Saturday at 4 p.m. in a quarterfinal. A win in that game would almost certainly mean the Commodores will host undefeated defending state champion BFA-Fairfax in a Tuesday semifinal. The final will be played in Poultney at a time to be determined.
The host No. 4 Eagles won almost as impressively, 15-0 over No. 14 Rice (4-13), also in five innings. Rachael McCormick and Sam Forand teamed up to toss a no-hitter and Melanie Rotax homered, tripled, singled twice, and drove in three runs. Kelsey Haskins picked up two RBIs, while Meghan Livingston and Ashley Boise drove in a run apiece as Mount Abe improved to 14-3. The Eagles will host OV on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in a rematch of a game they won this spring in Bristol, 11-10, in eight innings. The winner of Friday’s contest will almost certainly travel on Tuesday to meet top-seeded Lyndon, which compiled a 13-1 record, but against a softer schedule than either local team faced.
Meanwhile in Brandon, the OV softball team finished up a game suspended from Tuesday by topping visiting No. 12 Lake Region, 14-0. The Otters led, 4-0, when play resumed on Wednesday and pulled away from there. Taylor Aines tossed a two-hit shutout and fanned 11, and also homered, singled and drove in three runs. Brittany Bushey knocked out three hits and drove in two runs, Megan Santell doubled and singled twice, and Maia Edmunds drove in two runs. LRU fell to 6-10, while OV will carry a 12-5 record into Bristol on Friday.
Finally in softball on Wednesday, Fair Haven earned its Saturday date at VUHS by topping the Tigers, 13-5. The Slaters scored six runs in the fifth after the Tigers had rallied to tie the game at 5-5. Anna Fabian earned the pitching win, while Timi Carone (four hits) and Marissa Lamoureux (three hits) led the attack as the Slaters improved to 11-6. Justina Jackson started and took the loss, while Haley Davis pitched in relief for MUHS, 7-10. Krisandra Provencher had three hits as MUHS finished at 7-10, including many close losses.
In Brandon on Wednesday, the OV baseball team advanced by edging No. 10 Enosburg, 4-2. Winning pitcher John Winslow tripled home Will Claessens to snap a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning, and then scored an insurance run on a Mike Winslow single. Shane Quenneville added a pair of hits to boost OV. John Winslow tossed a complete game, striking out 11, as OV improved to 10-7; Enosburg dropped to 6-10. On Friday, the No. 7 Otters will travel to meet No. 2 Mill River (14-3); the Minutemen own two wins over OV this spring.
In Rutland at the same time, in D-I No. 6 Rutland edged the No. 11 Tigers, 1-0, on an unearned run in the sixth inning: Andy Cassarino tripled and scored on a throwing error. That was all the Raiders could muster off MUHS senior hurler Aaron Smith, who struck out eight while allowing three hits and two walks in six innings. The game was suspended in the second inning on Wednesday, and Rutland hurlers Cassarino and Andy Kenosh held the Tigers to one hit, a Sam Messenger single. That came in the fifth, when the Tigers put runners on second and third with none out. But a double play on a failed squeeze bunt helped Rutland work out of the jam. The Tigers finished at 7-9, while the Raiders improved to 11-5.
In D-I girls’ lacrosse on Wednesday, visiting No. 12 Essex bolted to a 5-0 lead in the first 12 minutes, and No. 5 MUHS never really recovered in a 15-11 loss. The 6-10 Hornets led by at least three goals the rest of the way, led by seven goals from Anna Olsen and four from Charlotte Stuart. Essex goalie Haley Drury stopped 10 shots. Emily Robinson led MUHS, which reached the final in each of the past three years, with five goals and an assist, and also contributing were Katie Holmes (two goals, assist), Emma Donahue and Sophia Abdul Sater (a goal and an assist each), and Emily Kiernan and Alexis Ouellette (a goal apiece). Tiger goalie Baily Ryan stopped eight shots as MUHS finished at 10-5.
In D-II boys’ lacrosse in Bristol on Wednesday, visiting No. 9 Stratton bested the No. 8 Eagles, 13-9. The game had started on Tuesday, but was suspended after eight minutes with Stratton leading, 2-1. Stratton led at the half, 6-5, and slowly pulled away after the break as Finn McNamara poured in six goals overall. Stratton goalie Sean Pomerantz stopped three shots as his team improved to 7-5. For the Eagles, who finished above .500 at 8-7, Charlie Meyer led the attack with three goals and an assist, Gus Catlin and Travis Bachand each scored twice, Tyler Willey and Lucas Richter added a goal apiece, and goalie Tucker Paradee made eight saves. Coach Paul Lowe said given that the Eagles had only 18 players, he was happy with their season and their effort on Wednesday. “Our team played hard throughout the game and left nothing on the field. It was a close game until the end and I am proud of their performance,” Lowe said. “We are a young team and relatively small, but we never give up on ourselves.”
Also, another young and inexperienced D-II lax squad, the No. 13 VUHS boys, fell at No. 4 Rice, 14-2. Erik Eisenhower scored both of his team’s goals as the Commodores wrapped up their season with a 4-12 record.
In other lacrosse news, the No. 5 MUHS boys in D-I will be steamrolling No. 12 Spaulding on Thursday afternoon. That game is the completion of a contest suspended on Tuesday late in the first half with the Tigers leading, 6-1. The date of the Tigers' next game has been changed from Friday evening at No. 4 Brattleboro to Saturday at 3 p.m.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]