Legion baseball wraps up with setbacks

ADDISON COUNTY FIRST baseman Tucker Stearns snags a pickoff throw as an OEC runner scampers back to the bag in Sunday’s final American Legion game of the season in Middlebury. OEC cruised, 7-1. Independent photo/Steve James

AC PITCHER WYATT Cameron unleashes an offering to an OEC batter during the American Legion baseball team’s season finale in Middlebury on Sunday. Cameron struck out six in 3.2 innings of relief in AC’s setback. Independent photo/Steve James

CATCHER JEFFREY STEARNS tries unsuccessfully to avoid being hit by a pitch during the Addison County Legion baseball team’s home loss to OEC on Sunday in AC’s final game of the season. Independent photo/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County American Legion baseball team’s season ended this past weekend with three one-sided losses, two on the road on Saturday to Montpelier and one at home on Sunday to Orleans-Essex-Caledonia.

AC had been playing well, with three wins in the five games leading up to the three setbacks, and their eight wins (AC finished 8-16) eclipsed the program’s six wins in each of the past two summers.

Coach Cam Curler had been hoping for a strong finish, but instead host Montpelier (9-14) on Saturday swept a doubleheader, 8-2 and 10-0, as AC had only nine of its 13 players make the trip, and on Sunday OEC pulled away to win, 7-1.

In Sunday’s game both teams scored in the first inning. AC knotted the score at 1-1 after Tucker Stearns led off with a walk and was forced at second by Wyatt Cameron, who reached on the play. Cameron came around to score on singles by Jeff Stearns and Dustin Whitcomb. Casey Kimball also walked, but OEC worked out of trouble by throwing out a runner at third base and striking out the final batter.

AC didn’t mount a serious threat the rest of the way, adding only singles by Cameron, Jeff Stearns and Ryan Whitcomb. Pitcher Nolan Whitcomb took the loss, allowing an earned run in each of the first three innings. He tossed 3.1 innings in all, surrendering eight hits.

Cameron finished up on the mound, allowing four runs, three earned, all in the sixth inning, in 3.2 innings on three hits and one walk. Cameron struck out six, including the final five batters he faced.

In Saturday’s opener host Montpelier touched up AC hurler Jarret Muzzy for eight runs, five earned, on six hits and four walks. Muzzy fanned two. Montpelier scored four in the first, two earned, and made it 6-0 in the second with two more earned runs.

AC picked up two runs in the top of the fifth on singles by Adam Mansfield and Muzzy, a Robbie Bicknell fielder’s choice that erased Muzzy, a Dustin Whitcomb RBI single — his second hit — and an error. But Montpelier pulled away with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth, and Muzzy surrendered a walk and an RBI double in the sixth.

Montpelier cruised in the nightcap as AC managed only singles by Mansfield, Dustin Whitcomb and Cooper O’Brien. Montpelier roughed up Dustin Whitcomb on the mound for AC.

Going into the final week of play in the Northern Division, Colchester (22-2) had clinched first place and the top seed, while Essex and S.D. Ireland (both 14-8) were tied for second. South Burlington and Franklin were tied for the fourth and final playoff berth at 12-10.

In the Southern Division, Lakes Region (19-5), featuring Orwell’s Aubrey Ramey, and Rutland (17-6), with Otter Valley Union High School’s Josh Beayon, Nate Hudson and Patrick McKeighan, were dueling for the top spot, with Brattleboro (16-6) right behind. Bennington (10-11) and White River Junction (10-12) were seeking the final playoff spot.

The state tournament will be played in Colchester and Essex on July 27 to 31.

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