ADDISON COUNTY — A Mount Abraham Union High School junior who had a strong all-around season on the mound, at the plate and in the field is the Addison Independent Player of the Year and leads the Independent’s 2011 Baseball All-Star Team — one that for the first time ever does not include a senior.
Player of the Year Tommy Nelson had an excellent season for Coach Jeff Stetson’s Eagles to earn top honors, including notching four pitching wins for a team that won five games. The Eagles failed to make the program’s sixth straight appearance in a D-II final, but their victories included one at Vergennes and another on the road in the D-II postseason. Two of Nelson’s classmates join him on the Independent team.
Coach George Ringer’s 8-11 youthful Commodores ended up with the strongest finish. VUHS, with probably the most balanced of the local lineups, won three of its final five Metro games to earn a Division II home game, and then won two more to make it to the semifinal round before falling. Two Commodore underclassmen earned spots on the Independent squad.
First-year mentor Tim Mitchell’s Otter Valley nine — also a young group — won seven times, including a first-round D-II playoff victory on the road. Two sophomores who comprised a fine battery made the Independent team.
Coach Doc Seubert’s Tigers — yes, they were young, too — won just four times, but picked up a rare win at Mount Abe late in the spring and then knocked off D-II’s No. 2 seed in the first round of the playoffs. Two Tiger juniors and a sophomore round out the Independent stars.
Selections for Independent all-star teams are made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following:
TOMMY NELSON, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Compiled a 4-4 pitching record for a 5-12 team in the Metro Conference with a 3.72 earned-run average, striking out 32 in 37.2 innings ... Tossed a complete-game one-hitter in the Eagles’ playoff win at Mill River, allowing only an infield single ... At the plate batted .372 with an on-base percentage of .491, scoring 12 runs and driving in seven ... Excelled at third base and at shortstop, ended up spending most of his time at third.
Stetson’s Quotes: “He has a very hard fastball that has real good movement on it ... By the end of the season he really started to throw his curveball for strikes ... In my lineup my No. 3 hitter is my best hitter, and he hit third for me all year ... He was our best infielder anywhere I put him. He’s got a strong arm, good hands, decent range ... He was probably the most intense and competitive guy that we had on the team ... He really wanted to do well and wanted us to do well.”
MARSHALL HASTINGS, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Three-year starter at second base for MUHS who enjoyed another fine season ... Hit .388 and created 25 runs, scoring 13 and driving in 12 ... Drilled four doubles, reached base at a .444 clip, and stole 10 bases in 10 attempts ... Showed great range and soft hands in the field ... Became a strong team leader.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He is very committed to performance. He’s a real student of the game ... He turned several nice double plays this year, and he’s great on fly balls over his head ... He’s the animator of the team and had several motivational moments throughout the year when we were down ... Marshall was one of our captains and really took on that responsibility. He owned it.”
COLLIN CURLER, VUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Played errorless ball at shortstop while handling 66 chances, recording 29 putouts and 37 assists ... Showed plenty of range and an accurate arm ... Tied for the team lead by scoring 15 runs and drove in five while batting .316 after a slow start ... Threw seven innings in relief and earned two saves with an ERA of 2.57, striking out seven while allowing six hits and three walks.
Ringer’s Quotes: “Collin started slowly this year from an offensive standpoint, but really picked it up in the second half ... Once on base, Collin is a very smart baserunner ... Defensively, I would rate Collin with anyone that I saw this season ... He has remarkable range ... Collin loves the game as much as anyone I've coached, never gives up, and is a very positive teammate.”
THOMAS ROBERTS, OVUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: 15-year-old catcher who keyed the OV offense and led all local players with a .429 batting average, 15 RBIs and 19 runs ... Worked hard on his defense and became adept at blocking balls in the dirt ... Decent thrower who came up big in an extra-inning win vs. Springfield by catching one runner stealing and picking another off first.
Mitchell’s Quotes: “Thomas is a catcher that any coach would love to have on his team ... You could probably count his passed balls on one hand ... He takes a lot of pride and he works extra hard in stopping passed balls ... He finds a way to put the bat on the ball ... He led the team at the plate, not so much with power, but his ability to put the ball in play and advance baserunners.”
IAN SHAW, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Won the second base job in the preseason and ran with it, hitting .375 with pop — four doubles, a triple and a homer — and on-base ability, reaching at a .475 rate out of the leadoff spot ... Scored 13 runs and drove in seven ... Showed plenty of range and made a number of spectacular plays in the course of the season.
Stetson’s Quotes: “He developed himself into a very sound second baseman this year ... He made some outstanding plays ... He played every inning out there and did a nice job ... He became a nice leadoff hitter this year and developed some pop in his bat ... He was a real nice player for us this year.”
PATRICK FOLEY, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Slick-fielding first baseman who beat up Metro pitching to the tune of a .391 average and a .481 on-base percentage ... Scored 12 runs, drove in five, drilled four doubles and also laid down four sacrifice bunts ... Compiled a fielding percentage of .972 while digging a few errant throws out of the dirt.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He handled a lot of bad throws and made a lot of nice plays at first base ... He swung the bat as well as I’ve seen him swing the bat ever this year ... He really kind of emerged this year, settled us a first base and stepped into that No. 2 spot ... He’s a stabilizer out there, he really is ... Pat’s a quiet leader. Pat commands respect from his teammates.”
IAN CAMPBELL, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Another first baseman who feasted on Metro mound offerings ... Batted .378 with an on-base percentage of .440, scored 12 runs and drove in four ... Popped three doubles and a triple ... Solid first baseman fielding grounders and handling throws.
Stetson’s Quotes: He’s a very good first baseman ... He really was the vocal leader, making sure everyone knew the situation ... He was a pleasant surprise at bat this year ... In our lineup the No. 2 hitter means a guy who is going to put the ball on the bat a lot and move the runner along, and he was a good solid no. 2 hitter for us.”
TYLER PROVENCHER, MUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: Helped MUHS on the mound, at the plate and in the field ... Compiled a 4-2 pitching mark, earning all four of the Tigers’ wins, including a complete-game effort at No. 2 Fair Haven in the playoffs, striking out six and walking none ... Batted .327 with 11 RBIs, stroking six doubles and scoring five times ... Played well at shortstop when not on the mound.
Seubert’s Quotes: “Tyler went deep every time he pitched ... Nothing bothers him. That’s a great attribute for a kid ... He just keeps playing hard the whole time ... He believed in himself and he believed in his teammates ... He hit the ball. He was consistent all year in making contact ... He just swings a good bat ... He’s a mainstay, for sure ... He’s just a gamer.”
BRETT PATTERSON, OVUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: Solid pitcher with a fastball, change-up and curve who won three of his final four decisions, including OV’s road playoff game, to finish at 3-3 ... Allowed no more than three runs in any of his final four starts, including a one-hitter vs. Woodstock ... Struck out 48 batters in 40 innings, including a season-high 13 vs. Windsor ... Batted higher than .300 ... Named team MVP by Mitchell.
Mitchell’s Quotes: “Brett was my No. 1 pitcher this year and his performance was better than his 3 - 3 record indicated ... As a sophomore, he’s one of the toughest around. I’ve coached him for the last four years and watched him improve every year, physically and mentally ... He’s not at his peak point yet, but it’s going to be a pleasure to watch him when he is.”
DEVIN HAYES, VUHS SOPHOMORE. Notes: After missing the first few games to injury, came on strong on the mound, at the plate and in the outfield ... Led VUHS with a 3-2 pitching record ... Didn’t beat himself, issuing just five walks while striking out 21 in 26.2 innings ... Batted a team-best .368 with a slugging percentage of. 526 by drilling three doubles and a homer... Scored six runs, drove in eight and batted .583 with runners in scoring position.
Ringer’s Quotes: “He had an immediate impact when he joined the team ... He took a lot of strain off the pitching staff ... He came up with some big games offensively ... He played very consistently in the field ... He was very level-headed. He was bulletproof ... I was very confident having him out there.”
Andy Kirkaldy is at email@example.com.