In boys baseball: Burlington’s late-inning surge downs Falcons

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North Country Falcon Chase LaCourse (foreground) beats out the play at the plate against fellow catcher, Burlington High’s Hunter Knight during Saturday’s varsity high school baseball action. Photos by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 4-24-2013

NEWPORT — Saturday’s varsity baseball game between the visiting Burlington High Sea Horses and the host North Country falcons was  game of late-inning heroics.  The two teams appeared evenly matched throughout until a six-run seventh propelled the Sea Horses into an 11-9 victory on Saturday afternoon.

“We made a lot of mental mistakes that cost us runs,” infielder Bryce Carter acknowledged after the game.  “We’re pretty solid for the most part, but things got away from us at the end.”

The 2013 Falcons are a very young team with only two seniors, Joel Lamarche and David Murray on the roster.  That said, there was a remarkable chemistry for a team that has had only three outdoor practices while already three games into the season.

“I think we’re at the point where we should be heading into the season,” Assistant Coach Mike LaCourse said.  “Instead we’re three games in and just finding our footing.”

Though the Falcons have an 0-3 record on the young season, Head Coach Brian Bonvecchio has noticed his team making positive strides.  Earlier in the season the team’s defense was shaky and its hitting sorely lacking.  Neither was particularly the case in Saturday’s contest.

“Our defense was very good,” Coach Bonvecchio said after the game.  “We hit the ball hard.  Unfortunately, it was usually to someone standing right there.  Five feet to either side and it would have been a great hit.”

Falcon Joel Lamarche took the mound for the Falcons and endured a rough first inning as the Sea Horses plated three runs in the first.  The runs came courtesy of two walks, a hit batsman and a single.  Lamarche also recorded all three outs in the inning with strikeouts.  The Falcons responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first.  Chase LaCourse beat out a play at the plate as he advanced on a pass ball while Lamarche came around to score on Ryan O’Donnell’s RBI triple.

The Falcons would tie up the contest in the home half of the second after an error allowed Ian Major to reach base, Carter walked and the pair executed a double steal when a pass ball allowed Major to score.  The Sea Horses would regain the lead after Lamarche surrendered the fourth run of the game in the top of the third.

The Falcons’ replacement pitcher, Shane Goodell, kept Burlington off the board until the top of the fifth when an error allowed Hunter Knight to reach, Knight stole a pass and a sacrifice bunt enabled him to score on Malcolm Huesman’s suicide squeeze.  The Falcons’ bats came alive in what would turn out to be BHS starter Austin Pine’s final inning.

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Burlington Sea Horse Jacob Parent (number 3) breaks up the play at second as North Country’s Tyler Sanville (center) reaches for the ball. Fellow Falcon Ryan O’Donnell backs up Sanville on the play.

Tyler Sanville led off the home half of the fifth with a towering triple to the right field wall.  He would then score on a pass ball during LaCourse’s at bat.  Lamarche would reach on a walk and steal before being knocked in by O’Donnell’s sacrifice fly to tie up the game at five all.

Things fell apart for the Falcons in the top of the seventh.  Goodell’s arm was clearly tired as the Sea Horses took advantage of poor control and diminished velocity.  They would go on to record six runs in the inning on three hits, five walks and two pass balls.

“Our defense was solid but a solid defense can’t help with walks,” Coach Bonvecchio said.  “You can’t defend against walks, period.  We don’t have strikeout pitchers so we rely on our defense to keep us in the game.”

The Falcons, down by six with only three outs remaining, were not deterred.  LaCourse led off the inning with a single to right.  Wyatt Prue would reach on a fielding error with one out followed by O’Donnell’s bloop single to shallow right field that allowed LaCourse to score.  Nick Sicard would follow up with a sacrifice fly that brought in Prue leaving the Falcons four runs down with only a single out remaining.  Major would reach on a walk before Carter launched a double to deep right center scoring both O’Donnell and Major to cut Burlington’s lead to two runs.  Carter would steal his second base of the day following Jared Hussey’s two out single putting men on the corners with two down.  The game would end on a routine groundout to third.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Carter said after the game.  “We’re a young team but we work hard and do what the coaches tell us to do.  We learn from our mistakes and I think we’re just going to get better.”

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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