There is nothing more exciting in the world of sport than a single elimination tournament that determines a championship. Anything can happen. No matter how good, or bad your respective team is, anyone can beat anyone else on any given day. Favorites can get knocked off early, and under dogs can advance farther than anyone thought possible, or not.
The single elimination format is what Vermont high schools use to determine their state champions in all their sports. The playoffs for the spring sports season began on Tuesday, June 2nd, and as of Monday morning (this paper's deadline) each sport had completed their quarterfinal round, reducing each divisional field to just four teams.
Our four area teams (Middlebury, MT Abe, Vergennes and CVU) had teams in action last weekend competing for a spot in the state semifinals while others were eliminated in the opening round. Some did not even make the playoff field. Of those that did compete this weekend some survived to play on, while others were eliminated. Read on to see how our local teams fared in softball and baseball as well as boys and girls lacrosse.
Tigers Alive and Kicking
In Division I softball the seventh seeded Middlebury Tigers survived the first two rounds and were headed to the semifinals when we went to press.
After squeaking past the Hartford Hurricanes 2-1 (Wednesday, June 3rd) in the opening round, the Middlebury Tigers upset the second seeded BFA-St. Albans Terriers 2-0 in the quarterfinals last Saturday, in Saint Albans. Mallory James had a single and a double, while driving in the game winning run to lead the Tigers to the quarterfinal upset. Lea Gipson tossed a five hit shutout for Middlebury, who entered the semifinals with an 11-6 record.
In Division II the thirteenth seeded Vergennes Commodores pulled off back-to- back upsets to advance to the semifinals. The Commodores began their unlikely quest by eliminating the fourth seed Mill River Minutemen 9-4 in the opening round before squeaking past the fifth seeded Mount Abraham Eagles 4-3 last Saturday in the quarterfinals. Katie Curler fave up two runs on three hits with a dozen strikeouts on her way to the complete game win. Devon Lane and Virginia Devon Joyal ripped RBI triples for the victorious Commodores, who enter the semifinals with a 4-13 record.. Courtney Jipner and Julia Wilkinson collected RBI singles for Mount Abraham Shanna Gebo was the losing pitcher Mount Abe, after defeating Bellows Falls in the opening round end their season with an 11-7 record.
Top Seeded Eagles Reach Semis
After shutting out their Addison County Rivals, the Middlebury Tigers, 7-0 in opening round action (Wednesday, June 3rd) the top seeded Mount Abraham Eagles advanced to the Division - II baseball semifinals by thumping the ninth seeded Burr and Burton Bulldogs 18-2 last Saturday in Bristol. In a game that just went five innings Shawn Marcelle went 5-for-5 with a home run and drove in four runs. Corey Barnes joined in on the fun by blasting a two-run homer and Nate McCormick registered two hits and two runs for the Eagles. Ben Orvis (three innings) and Marcelle (two innings) split pitching duties for the victorious Eagles, allowing just one run on one hit each. Mount Abe advanced to the semifinals with a 15-3 record.
Burr and Burton advanced to the quarterfinals by eliminating another Addison County team in the opening round. On Wednesday, June 3rd in Vergennes, Eddie Lewicki went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer and drove in five runs to lead the Bulldogs past the eighth seeded Vergennes Commodores 9-7. Logan Williams went 2-for-3 with a two-run double for the Commodores in their final game. Burr and Burton finish their year at 8-9, while
The Commodores wrap it up at 9-8.
Tigers Escape Upset
In Division I girls lacrosse action the second seeded Middlebury Tigers overcame a three-goal deficit with nine minutes left to eliminate the seventh seeded Woodstock, 15-14, last Saturday in the quarterfinals. Katie Ritter paced the Tiger attack with five goals while Liz Kelley contributed three more. Alex Sears recorded eight saves for the Tigers who enter the semifinals at 13-4. Carrie Weschler led the Wasps with four goals. Woodstock winds up their year at 9-6.
In the Division I boys field both the third seeded Champlain Valley Union Redhawks and the fifth seeded Middlebury Tigers are in the final four.
Nick Hart, on an assist from Sam Spencer, scored 3 minutes, 19 seconds into overtime to give third-seeded Champlain Valley Union a 4-3 victory over the sixth seeded BFA-St. Albans Terriers last Friday in Division I boys lacrosse quarterfinal action. Hart, Nate Wells and West O'Brien added single goals while Tim Reichert contributed three assists to the overtime win. Eric Palmer made eight saves for CVU who enter the semifinals at 12-5. BFA ends their season with 10 wins and seven losses.
On the same night in Barre, Cooper Quenneville scored four goals and Colin Martin added three more to lead their Middlebury Tigers past fourth seeded Spaulding 10-7 in a mild quarterfinal upset. Devlin Rutherford contributed another two goals and Colin Hoefle chipped in with one more for Middlebury. Asa Sargent didn't score but did provide four assists while goalie Ross Lengyel made 13 saves for the Tigers, who enter the semifinals with a 12-4 record. Spaulding winds up the year at an impressive 13-3.
After knocking off the tenth seeded Otter Valley Otters in the opening round the seventh seeded Vergennes Commodores didn't fare so well in the quarterfinals. Last Friday at Hyde Park Spencer Hunt scored seven goals and registered three assists to lead his second seeded Lamoille Lancers to an easy 18-3 quarterfinal win over Vergennes. Tyler Donze added six goals and four assists for the Lancers who enter the semifinals at 16-1. Morgan Stinchfield had a goal and an assist for Vergennes while Ethan Baldwin and Brian Kilbride added goals and Tim Glassberg stopped seven shots for the Commodores, who finish the year at 9-8.