ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County teams have won eight of the past 12 Vermont Division II high school baseball championships. Of course six of those titles belong to Mount Abraham, but in June Vergennes — the 2008 winner — joined the multiple-crown club by defeating Missisquoi in the final, 4-3.
The winning pitcher in that game also scored the winning run — Commodore junior Devin Hayes, the 2012 Addison Independent Baseball Player of the Year and the top pick for the 2012 Addison Independent Baseball All-Star Team.
Vergennes coach George Ringer’s Commodores finished 15-5 and also staked a clear claim to the local championship, sweeping Middlebury and Mount Abe in the regular season, winning a second nail-biter vs. the Eagles in a D-II quarterfinal, and then prevailing vs. Otter Valley in a tense semifinal. Two more Commodores join Hayes on the Independent team.
Coach Tim Mitchell’s young OV squad had the next best record, starting strong and winning two playoff games to finish at 13-6. Like VUHS, the Otters will return many key players next spring — including two junior 2012 Independent all-stars.
Coach Jeff Stetson’s Eagles finished at a misleading 8-10 against tough Metro Conference competition. At their best, they could play with anyone — ask the Commodores, who defeated them in extra innings in the regular season and by 3-2 in the postseason. Three Eagle seniors are honored here.
Coach Doc Seubert’s Tigers won six times, again in Vermont’s toughest league, and their victims included D-II finalist Missisquoi and D-I semifinalist Colchester.
Selections were made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following:
DEVIN HAYES, VUHS JUNIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Excelled on the mound, at bat and in the field this spring ... On the mound, won a local high of seven games ... His 7-2 record included two playoff wins in which he pitched 14 innings with two earned runs ... Compiled an earned-run average of 1.46 in 67 innings, allowing 44 hits and just 18 walks while striking out 66 ... Batted a local high of .429 with six doubles and a local best of 18 RBIs ... Scored 10 runs and stole nine bases ... Earned high marks from Ringer for leadership.
Ringer’s Quotes: “Devin really improved his skills this year ... He emerged as a team leader, actually. There were times he rallied everybody ... To top it off he had all the great numbers ... He flat out had a great season in every dimension ... He was hugely important for us.”
TOMMY NELSON, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Had another excellent all-around season ... Batted .422 with 16 runs, 14 RBIs, eight stolen bases, five doubles and a homer ... Typically facing the best teams on the Eagles’ schedule, compiled a 3-3 pitching record, including a playoff two-hitter, with a 3.29 earned-run average in 44.2 innings, striking out 54, tossing four complete games, and allowing 44 hits and 23 walks ... Fine fielding third baseman.
Stetson’s Quotes: “In my opinion, he was the best third baseman not only in Addison County, but in all the Metro ... Pitching-wise, he got all the tough assignments ... He had a will to win and really was the guy everybody else looked to ... He was a real leader for us, a super competitor ... He’s going to do everything he can in practice and games to make sure we win.”
MARSHALL HASTINGS, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Four-year varsity second baseman for the Tigers who capped his career with another strong season ... Batted .367 while reaching base at a .490 clip and led local players by scoring 17 runs ... Stole an area-best 12 bases without being caught ... Knocked out three doubles and knocked in 10 runs ... Showed great range in the field.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He made some pretty spectacular plays ... He was really solid ... He has a super passion for the game. He was a super intense player ... He was really instrumental in the success we had this season ... In the success that isn’t measured by statistics, he was a factor ... Marshall was a mainstay.”
JIMMY WINSLOW, OV JUNIOR. Notes: Strong-armed shortstop who triggered the Otters offensively ... Batted .404 with three doubles ... Led OV with 13 RBIs, many in key situations, and scored 10 runs ... Provided a young team with key leadership.
Mitchell’s Quotes: “He was just head and shoulders above everybody else when it came to motivating the guys. He was the team leader for sure ... He was going to drive the ball somewhere when he was up ... He had more clutch hits than anybody on the team.”
CHARLIE STAPLEFORD, VUHS JUNIOR. Notes: In the playoffs allowed one earned run in 13 innings, winning twice ... Overall on the mound finished strong to go 4-1 with a 1.11 ERA while striking out 59 in 44 innings and allowing only 24 hits and walking 24 ... Batted .354 with 10 RBIs and six doubles, stole 11 bases and scored nine runs ... His hustle single plated the tying run in the D-II final.
Ringer’s Quotes: “He has wicked good skills ... The strikeout numbers surprised me, but there they are in black and white, 50-plus ... He learned what pitches he needed to throw. He became more of a pitcher than a thrower ... He got some key hits all year.”
COLLIN CURLER, VUHS SENIOR. Notes: Surehanded shortstop who followed up an errorless 2011 by making only two errors in 2012 ... Missed a half-dozen games while on a school trip, but still stole a local-best 12 bases and scored 14 runs ... Batted .409 and drove in three runs, including the winning run vs. Mount Abe in the quarterfinal ... Also compiled a 2-1 pitching record with a 1.95 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched, striking out 13.
Ringer’s Quotes: “He had a good season offensively, but Collin really anchors our infield ... When a ball goes toward shortstop, you start thinking about the next batter ... He was pretty much the leader out there ... He leads by example and work ethic ... He practices the way he plays.”
THOMAS ROBERTS, OV JUNIOR. Notes: Fine, hard-working defensive catcher who batted .382 overall and got off to a hot start offensively to help give the young OV team confidence this season ... Scored just once, but got on often enough so that his regular courtesy runner reached home nine times ... Drove in seven runs and poked two doubles.
Mitchell’s Quotes: “He’s past the point where you have to tell him what to do ... His strongest thing on defense is his ability to block the ball ... He started the year out on fire ... We always expect him to get on ... It’s dark out, and he’s still out there practicing.”
TYLER PROVENCHER, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Reliable defender and poised player who split time evenly at shortstop, in the outfield and on the mound ... Compiled a 3-2 pitching record, earning half the Tigers’ wins this spring ... Batted .354 with an on-base percentage of .426, doubled three times, drove in nine runs and scored eight times.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He was Mr. Versatility for us ... He was our mainstay on the mound ... Really, every time he went out on the mound he was very effective ... He was flawless in the outfield ... Tyler is unaffected by the greater baseball environment ... He has a way about him of moving beyond the moment.”
IAN SHAW, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Batted .339 with an excellent .449 on-base percentage out of the leadoff spot, scoring 12 runs and stealing seven bases ... Showed pop with two doubles and a triple, and picked up eight RBIs ... Started at second base in 2011 and early this season, but made a smooth transition to center field.
Stetson’s Quotes: “He turned into a real good center fielder ... As a guy who was a real good second baseman, not only could he go get it, he immediately understood where he needed to be ... He’s the leadoff hitter for two years now, and he’s done a good job putting it in play, moving guys along, and doing the little things ... He puts pressure on the defense.”
NICK OUELLETTE, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Strong defensive catcher who also enjoyed a good season at the plate ... Batted .327 with an on-base percentage of .426, drove in 12 runs and hit three doubles ... Either he or his courtesy runners scored eight runs ... Three-year varsity player who threw out about 30 percent of opposing base-stealers.
Stetson’s Quotes: “He was very solid behind the plate, very good at blocking balls, with a strong throwing arm ... He has a really great demeanor about him, a real great work ethic ... Nick was one of those guys always telling everybody we had to work hard and stay positive ... He was a very positive influence on all of us.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.