MIDDLEBURY — Saturday’s home game offered highlights for the Middlebury Union High School baseball team, but two bad innings for the Tigers allowed Champlain Valley to break open a 1-0 game in the fifth and win, 13-4.
The Redhawks moved over .500 at 6-5, while the inexperienced Tigers dropped to 1-10.
Starting MUHS pitcher Jimmy Danyow probably deserved a better fate. Through four, he allowed only a first-inning run on a two-out double by Andrew Nick and a single by Collin Teator.
CVU starter Andrew Leckerling (five innings, four hits, one walk, seven strikeouts) kept the Tigers at bay through four innings, mixing in a high fastball with a low curve. Patrick Foley’s third-inning single was the only MUHS hit before the fifth.
Danyow used his breaking pitch to keep the Redhawks off balance, and also got defensive help. Third baseman Tyler Malloy, second baseman Marshall Hastings and shortstop Ryan Foley all made plays, with the best being Foley’s strong throw from the hole to nip Curt Echo in the third. In that inning, Foley also snared a line drive to double a runner off second. First baseman Craig Burt also doubled a runner off base in the fourth.
In the fifth, Danyow fanned the first hitter and Hastings ranged to his left to retire the next batter. After an Ian Solomon single, catcher David Burt couldn’t hang onto a tough catch on a foul pop, and the batter, Timothy Jones, then laid down a bunt single.
Tucker Kohlasch then drew Danyow’s only walk to load the bases. Alex Zullo then grounded to Malloy, who instead of taking a few steps to third for to force a runner, threw low and wide to first, and two runs scored. Nick followed with a two-run double, and Teator and Lawrence Halvorson added RBI singles before Malloy threw out Echo to end the inning with CVU on top, 7-0.
MUHS coach Doc Seubert lamented the miscues, which followed so much crisp defense.
“I thought we played a great game. All we had to do is touch third base, and it was still 1-0, and it was the bottom of the fifth,” he said.
The Tigers fought back in the bottom of the inning. David Burt led off with a walk, and with two out Patrick Foley singled, and Ryan Foley tripled both runners home. Malloy singled to make it 3-7, but the rally died when Jones, the CVU second baseman, made a nice play on a ground ball that Craig Burt drilled to his right.
CVU added two runs in the sixth off Danyow on a Solomon single, a Kohlasch triple and a Zullo single. After Nick singled, Seubert called for Emerson Conlon to relieve Danyow, and he induced a fly ball to end the inning. Danyow finished by allowing nine runs, three earned in 5.2 innings on 12 hits, four of which came after the fifth inning should have ended.
Zullo came on to throw a scoreless sixth. Conlon struggled with his control in the seventh — something Seubert said is not at all typical — and the Redhawks tacked on four more runs. Justin Buzzell relieved and ended the rally with help from a well-turned 6-4-3 double play.
The Tigers added a run in the ninth off Zullo when Ryan Foley singled, stole second and scored on Malloy’s second RBI hit of the day.
Overall, Seubert praised his team’s defense, which he said has been steady; positive attitude; and willingness to battle.
“They’re a great bunch of kids. They work hard in practice. There’s no bad chemistry or anything like that,” he said. “There’s frustration, because everyone wants to win, but they just keep playing.”