The Vermont Lake Monsters won 7 of their first 10 games and as of Monday morning stood at 7-3 with a two game lead over the second place Connecticut Tigers in the New York - Penn League's Stedlar Division.
The effort has been pretty much a team effort, which bodes well for Vermont if they lose some key players due to promotion.
Hurler Bobby Hansen is the only individual to lead the league in a major category. His 17 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings of work was tops in the league as of Monday morning. The last two of the first ten games was a two game split in Connecticut last weekend.
Below is a wrap up of the short series:
In the opener last Saturday Tiger's pitching held Vermont to just 4 hits, while their offense banged out a dozen hits to score 7 runs and cruised to a 7-1 win. Catcher Julio Rodriguez led the Tiger's offense going 3-for-3 with a double and he drove in a run. Shortstop Brett Anderson drove in a pair of runs with his solo hit in 4 trips to the plate. Centerfielder Jeff Rowland, third baseman Josh Ashenbrenner, first baseman James Robbins and designated hitter Matt Perry all drove in single runs for the victorious Tigers.
Starter Josue Carreno picked up the win to go to 1-1 on the year. Carreno pitched five innings of shutout baseball, allowing just two hits while striking out 7 and walking just two. He was relieved by Drew Gagnier, who threw two innings of hitless baseball, allowing one unearned run with two strikeouts and two walks. Kevan Hess then finished the game strong for Connecticut. Hess pitched the final two innings, striking out four of the final six outs, with two hits allowed but he issued no free passes.
Offensively there wasn't much good news for Vermont. Shortstop Jason Martinson
Was the most productive at the plate going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks, and he scored the Lake Monsters only run. Third baseman Stephen King, catcher Cole Leonida and designated hitter Hendry Jiminez all had singles for Vermont to complete their offensive output in this one.
Starter Bobby Hansen suffered the loss for Vermont allowing 6 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits in just four innings of work. Hansen, who leads the NY-Penn League in strikeouts did register 7 more as he fell to 1-1 on the year. He was relieved by Mark Herrera who went 3 innings, allowing just 2 hits and 1 unearned run with 2 strikeouts. Neil Holland finished up for the Lake Monsters with one inning hitless baseball that included a strikeout.
On Sunday the Lake Monsters scored three times in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 6-0 lead, and from their cruised to a 7-3 win to earn a split in the two game series. Second baseman Jimenez led Vermont's offense by going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Catcher David Freitas and center fielder Connor Rowe added a pair of hits each in four trips to the plate, and matched Jiminez by driving in a run and scoring once apiece. Fist baseman Ronnie Labrie chipped in with two hits in his five plate appearances with a double and an RBI.
Starter Shane McCatty turned in a strong performance for Vermont, but didn't get the decision because he only worked four innings. In those four innings he only allowed two hits and no runs while striking out two. Ironically he was relieved by Christopher McKenzie, who despite being the least effective pitcher for the Lake Monster, picked up the win to become 1-0 on the young season. McKenzie worked three innings and gave up three runs on four hits. Cameron Selik finished up for Vermont by pitching two hitless innings with four strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Anderson blasted a three run homerun for the Tigers, thus accounting for all their runs in this one. Right fielder Ryan Enos added two hits in four trips to the plate and scored a run. Starter Lance Baxter suffered the loss and dropped to 0-2 on the year. Baxter pitched the first three innings and allowed three runs on five hits and three walks. His ERA rose to 10.50 after this outing.
Vermont hosted the TriCity Valley Cats for three games this past Monday through Wednesday. They then hit the road Thursday for three games in Lowell before returning home on July 4 for a holiday clash against the Williamsport Crosscutters.