CASTLETON — As the final eight teams competed for a shot at a state title in Castleton over the weekend, the Addison County Legion baseball team found itself travelling deep into the five-day tournament. As the tournament reached its conclusion, however, AC was unable to muster the one big play to put it over the top.
The Addison County Legion team fell in the semi-finals for the second consecutive season, placing third overall and completing the 2013 campaign with an 18-7 overall record.
Addison opened the tournament with a dominant win over Brattleboro on July 25, using their potent offense and solid pitching to claim a 12-7 victory. On Friday, July 26, AC was undone by errors and fell to Northern Division rival Colchester, 8-1. Addison avoided elimination on Saturday with a resounding 9-0 thrashing of Rutland, the No. 2 seed in the South. Then on Sunday, just one day away from the finals, AC was unable to capitalize on their opportunities and fell to Bennington, 4-3, in 10 innings.
Colchester beat Bennington in 11 innings on Monday to claim the state title.
Shaw and Hastings were named to the American Legion All-Tournament Team.
Addison will return many of this year’s players for the 2014 season, but will suffer major losses at the top of their lineup. Marshall Hastings, Ian Shaw and Charlie Stapleford, the 1-2-3 hitters, all will be departing. Addison will also lose Casey Covey and Colton Aines, two players who played huge roles for AC off the bench, providing major innings behind the plate and on the infield, including timely hits to help propel Addison to the Northern Division title this season.
Stapleford is the lone pitching ace not returning for Addison next year; the local Legion will see Devin Hayes, Sawyer Kamman, Aaron Smith and Josiah Benoit return in the rotation.
Although AC only loses a handful of players, all of them played pivotal roles this season and will be tough to replace, especially in a competitive North Division, which saw three or its four representatives for the post season reach the semi-finals.
The losses will be tough to handle, but as Addison has proven in years past, they will be back for another run at a title, poised and ready for the tough task of knocking off the state’s best.
AC 12, BRATTLEBORO 7
Addison kicked off the tournament with a dominating performance against fourth-seeded Brattleboro, claiming the 12-7 victory.
After falling behind by two after the opening frame, AC went on a 12-1 run to blow the game open. AC started their rally in the third when Josh Stearns led off with a walk. After a bunt moved Stearns into scoring position, Hastings laced a single down the right field line, cutting the lead to one. After advancing to second on the throw home, Hastings came around to score on a single by Shaw.
With two outs and Shaw on second, Devin Hayes smacked a 2-0 fastball into the outfield, giving Addison the one-run advantage.
AC added to their lead in the fifth when Shaw clubbed a one-out double. Charlie Stapleford followed with a double of his own before coming around to score when Wade Steele crushed a two-out double to right field.
AC added two more runs in the sixth by inducing a pair of early walks and reaching on a sacrifice bunt attempt, using three walks and a sacrifice fly to plate a pair of runs.
As Addison continued to pour on the runs, Stapleford continued to shut down the Brattleboro bats, throwing seven innings of four hit balls, striking out eight and walking two while surrendering only three runs.
COLCHESTER 8, AC 1
Addison fell in the second game of the postseason to Colchester, 8-1, committing eight errors behind starting pitcher Hayes, giving the Cannons ample opportunities to score.
Colchester got on the board with a pair of runs in the third, scoring both runs following AC errors.
The Cannons plated two more runs in the fourth while grabbing a pair of two-out runs, using just two hits and a walk to plate their third and fourth runs in the game.
While Colchester capitalized on the AC miscues, Addison was unable to muster up any offense, as they were held to just three hits over the first six frames.
Addison plated their lone run of the game in the top of ninth when Shaw led off with a single. Stapleford followed with a single of his own before Shaw came around to score a sacrifice fly from Steele.
Hayes took the loss for Addison, throwing six innings, striking out three while giving up six runs.
AC 9, RUTLAND 0
Facing elimination, Addison got their bats going early and often while rolling through Rutland, 9-0, scoring seven runs in the first two innings behind an overpowering pitching performance from Kamman.
AC raced out of the gate in the first, scoring four quick runs. Hastings led off for Addison with a walk before Shaw clubbed a double to right center field. With runners on second and third, Stapleford picked up a double of his own, scoring Hastings and Shaw. Hayes followed by lacing a single, scoring Stapleford before coming around to score on a single by Colton Aines.
With an early four-run cushion, Kamman put away Rutland in order, bringing the hot Addison bats to the plate.
Hastings once again started things for AC, lacing a single to left center. Shaw followed by launching a triple to right center, scoring Hastings. After Stapleford walked, Hayes brought Shaw in from third with a double to left.
With a large advantage, Kamman continued to work through the Rutland lineup with little trouble, throwing eight shutout innings, relinquishing three hits, striking out six and walking just two batters.
Shaw was one of many bright spots in the AC order; he went four-for-five clubbing a pair of triples and a double while scoring four runs.
BENNINGTON 4, AC 3
Addison’s run for a state title ended on Sunday with a heartbreaking loss to Bennington. The locals lost, 4-3, in 10 innings.
AC jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage when Hastings led off the game with a single. After stealing second, Hastings came around to score when a ground ball from Hayes sneaked through the legs of the Bennington shortstop.
Bennington jumped on top in the third using a lead-off single. With a runner on second, Bennington used a double to tie the game and a single to take the lead.
Addison got back on top in the fifth when Hayes doubled off the wall in deep left field, scoring Stapleford from first. Hayes would come around to score on a single by Timmy Shea.
Bennington tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, using a leadoff homerun to left to knot the score at three.
In the 10th Bennington completed the comeback by taking advantage of a one-out walk. With a runner on first, a single moved the runner to second before a single up the middle plated the winning run.
Aaron Smith took the loss while pitching two innings in relief. Stapleford pitched eight innings for AC, striking out five and giving up six hits.
Shaw paced the AC offense with three hits while Hayes and Shea each added a pair of hits.