In girls softball: Rangers run wild in win over Winooski

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Michelle Thibeault pitched a complete game gem as the host Lake Region Rangers downed the Winooski Spartans 13-3 on Tuesday afternoon.  Thibeault didn't allow a single base runner through the first three innings while notching seven strikeouts in the game.  Kalah Poginy mans centerfield in the background. Photo by Richard Creaser

Michelle Thibeault pitched a complete game gem as the host Lake Region Rangers downed the Winooski Spartans 13-3 on Tuesday afternoon. Thibeault didn’t allow a single base runner through the first three innings while notching seven strikeouts in the game. Kalah Poginy mans centerfield in the background.
Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle May 7, 2014

by Richard Creaser

ORLEANS — An aggressive running game, a sterling effort by pitcher Michelle Thibeault, and big innings with two-out rallies helped the Lake Region Rangers defeat the visiting Winooski Spartans on Tuesday afternoon. With the win the Rangers improved to 2-3 in Division II play after opening the season on a three-game losing skid.

The Rangers would strike first in the home-half of the first inning. Megan Menard started off the scoring with a single and stolen base before Alyssa Royer plated her. A pair of steals and a passed ball later, Royer would also come around to score giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead.

“The running game is a big part of our game,” Royer said after the game. “When we can move up the bases like that it puts us in a position to score when we get hits.” Continue reading

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In boys basketball playoffs: Ghosts fend off Ranger comeback bid

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Clint Provoncha (left) had an MVP-type performance in a losing cause as the Lake Region Rangers fell 70-59 to Dylan Jacobs (right) and the Randolph Galloping Ghosts on Thursday night.  A Lake Region senior, Provoncha's 24-point night would lead all scorers in what would be his final trip to the Barre Auditorium. Photo by Richard Creaser

Clint Provoncha (left) had an MVP-type performance in a losing cause as the Lake Region Rangers fell 70-59 to Dylan Jacobs (right) and the Randolph Galloping Ghosts on Thursday night. A Lake Region senior, Provoncha’s 24-point night would lead all scorers in what would be his final trip to the Barre Auditorium.
Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle March 7, 2014

by Richard Creaser

BARRE — The Lake Region Rangers (18-4) battled through 20 regular season and two playoff games to earn a berth in Thursday night’s semifinal at the Barre Auditorium.  Squaring off against the second-seeded Randolph Galloping Ghosts (20-2), there were no illusions about how tough a game this would be.  The DIII semifinal marked the first sell-out crowd of the Barre tournament, tournament officials told the Chronicle.

Both teams had fought hard to make it to Barre but only one would emerge to compete for the DIII crown.  On this night, with a 70-59 win, it would be the Ghosts.

“They play good ball pressure,” Ranger Clint Provoncha said of the Ghosts.  “They were really aggressive on defense and they never give up.”

Tenacity was the name of the game for both of these squads.  Though falling behind by a basket in the early goings, Lake Region managed a 7-2 lead until foul troubles upended the Ranger attack.  Halfway through the opening quarter, the Rangers had accrued five fouls.

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In baseball playoffs: Hot-hitting Rangers double up Highlanders

Lake Region's Josh Locke laid down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw to set the stage for the Rangers' four-run first inning on Tuesday.  Lake Region took on visiting Harwood Highlanders in boys Division II playdowns and advanced to Friday's quarterfinals with an 8-4 win over Harwood.  Photos by Richard Creaser

Lake Region’s Josh Locke laid down a perfect bunt and beat out the throw to set the stage for the Rangers’ four-run first inning on Tuesday. Lake Region took on visiting Harwood Highlanders in boys Division II playdowns and advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals with an 8-4 win over Harwood. Photos by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle June 5, 2013

ORLEANS — The Lake Region Rangers (11-5) hot-hitting ways continued Tuesday as they faced the visiting Harwood Highlanders (8-7) in the first round of Division II baseball playdowns.  The Rangers rapped out ten hits against three Highlander pitchers en route to a convincing 8-4 win.

“I feel like that was our best hitting game this year,” Rangers freshman second baseman Kolby George said after the game.  “I really liked batting today — lots of nice, straight pitches.”

George’s early at bats may have contributed to the early departure of Highlander starter Ty Delphia.  George battled his way through 11 pitches in the first at bat for the home team before launching a double deep against the centerfield wall.

“I knew our guys were going to hit it,” Coach Eric Degre said after the game.  “We’ve been really dialed in at the plate.  Today we worked the pitch count and took advantage of our opportunities.”

Coach Degre took a chance using his number two starter, Dustin Bathalon, opting to save flame throwing starter Matt Messier’s arm for later in the playoffs.  It was a good call, as Bathalon pitched six innings surrendering four runs, only three of them earned.

“Dustin was pretty awesome,” Coach Degre said.  “He’s been pitching pretty well all year.”

Though Lake Region has played a primarily Division III schedule and Harwood a Division II schedule, Coach Degre was confident that his team was up to the challenge.  Tuesday’s game was the first match-up between Harwood and Lake Region this year.

“I don’t care who you play,” Coach Degre said.  “You still have to catch, pitch, throw and hit to win the game.  We knew what we needed to do to win, and we did it.”

Solid defense and hot hitting have been key elements in Lake Region's late season surge.  Here Ranger Sam Barbeau snags the throw as Harwood Highlander Matthew Fischer charges down the first base path.

Solid defense and hot hitting have been key elements in Lake Region’s late season surge. Here Ranger Sam Barbeau snags the throw as Harwood Highlander Matthew Fischer charges down the first base path.

Despite never having faced Harwood before and fielding a relatively young team, the Rangers were not in the least intimidated by their opponents, George said.

“I knew they would be a similar sort of team,” George said.  “They would play a lot like us.  We knew this was a playoff game and I figured we’d step it up.”

The Highlanders got on the board early as Lucas Russell came around to score on Dylan MacIsaac’s RBI single in the top of the first.  The Rangers would respond by bringing around four batters to jump out to an early 4-1 lead.

The Rangers endured some costly defensive lapses that allowed Harwood to tie the game at four apiece in the second inning.  Despite those costly errors, the Rangers rallied back.

“I always talk to the guys about dealing with adversity,” Coach Degre said.  “They know how to handle it.  They’re very supportive of each other.”

Lake Region reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third after Logan Harper reached on a single and advanced to third on a pair of brilliantly executed stolen bases.  With the bases loaded and one out, Highlander Coach Mitch Casey made a pitching change and brought in Dominic Moreno to relieve Dephia.  Though Moreno retired the first batter he faced, he plunked Alex Beauregard to bring in the go-ahead run before inducing a groundball out to end the inning.

Lake Region plated two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to cement their lead, and add their eighth and final run in the bottom of the sixth.  Bathalon continued to pitch into the top of the seventh before a single and an error put men on the corners.  Coach Degre let Messier take the mound.

Messier struck out all three batters he faced to secure the win and help the Rangers advance to the quarter-final round.  With the win the Rangers will face either number two seed Otter Valley or number 15 Montpelier High on Friday, June 7.

“To advance to the quarter finals with such a young team really feels wonderful,” Coach Degre said.  “They’re young but their learning.”

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

 For more free articles from the Chronicle like this one, see our Sports pages. For all the Chronicle’s stories, pick up a print copy or subscribe, either for print or digital editions.

 

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Rangers take two from visiting Richford

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Lake Region's Isaac Miller received his first start of the season as he pitched five solid inning of one run ball against the visiting Richford Falcons on Monday afternoon.  Normally used in relief, Miller was pleased with the chance to start for the Rangers and threw five innings of one run ball while recording six strikeouts for the win. Photo by Richard Creaser

Lake Region’s Isaac Miller received his first start of the season as he pitched five solid inning of one run ball against the visiting Richford Falcons on Monday afternoon. Normally used in relief, Miller was pleased with the chance to start for the Rangers and threw five innings of one run ball while recording six strikeouts for the win.
Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

ORLEANS — The Lake Region Rangers hosted the visiting Richford Falcons for an impromptu doubleheader Monday afternoon.  Saturday’s regularly scheduled match between the two teams was rained and snowed out and, due to poor field conditions back in Richford, the two teams opted to reschedule their May 30 game to take advantage of good weather and a dry field.  The two wins boosted Lake Region’s season record to 8-5, while Richford fell to 4-8.

The sudden change gave Ranger Isaac Miller a chance to do something he had not yet done this season — pitch the start of a game.  Miller has been used primarily in relief through the season.  With five total games scheduled for this week alone, Coach Eric Degre had to make use of all his pitching assets, and that included giving Miller the ball for the start of game two.

“You just always have to be ready,” Miller said of his new assignment.

As a reliever, one might expect Miller to start strong and then tail off as the innings and pitch count rises.  That wasn’t the case as Miller struggled through the first inning, surrendering a single, three walks, and a run on 30 pitches.  He also struck out two batters in the inning.

“That first inning was not good,” Miller said after the game.  “When I came out in the second I just got in my mind that the guys behind me would make the plays if I just put it in play.  I think I kind of got in my own head a little in the first.”

Miller would cruise through the next four innings, throwing only 39 pitches, while adding four more strikeouts, in the winning effort.

Offense was not lacking as the Rangers teed off on Richford’s Jake Cunningham.  If game one could be characterized as a pitcher’s duel, game two was anything but, at least from the Falcons’ perspective.

The Rangers would tie up the game in the home half of the first and, while Cunningham and Miller would both run through a quick second inning, Cunningham ran into trouble in the third.  Back to back walks to Billy Cashin and Sam Barbeau set the table for an RBI single to Matt Messier.  Dustin Bathalon would then follow up with a big two RBI double that gave the home side a 4-1 lead.

The Rangers would explode for four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, courtesy of four singles, a double, a walk and an error.  The Rangers would add another run in the bottom of the fifth.  Miller would finish out the fifth with a commanding 9-1 lead.

The defense that carried the Rangers through 13 innings of baseball that day experienced a bump in the top of the seventh inning.  Two hits, a walk, and three errors later the Falcons found themselves having closed the gap to just four runs with only one out.  Coach Degre went back to Messier, who started the first game, to finish off the Richford rally.  Messier would strike out Jose Ramirez and get Deli Hue to fly out to right the ship and preserve Lake Region’s 9-5 win.

Lake Region's Matt Messier enjoyed a solid day both on the mound and at the plate as the Rangers hosted Richford for a doubleheader on Monday.  Messier struck out nine batters en route to a 2-0 win over the Falcons in game one.  As a batter he also recorded two RBIs, two runs and three stolen bases on the day. Photo by Richard Creaser

Lake Region’s Matt Messier enjoyed a solid day both on the mound and at the plate as the Rangers hosted Richford for a doubleheader on Monday. Messier struck out nine batters en route to a 2-0 win over the Falcons in game one. As a batter he also recorded two RBIs, two runs and three stolen bases on the day.
Photo by Richard Creaser

Messier’s first game shutout win was a positive step forward for both the sophomore and the Rangers as a team.  The team has struggled with defensive and offensive consistency this season, Coach Degre said.  On Monday afternoon, it appeared the pieces were finally falling together.

“We’ve been cooped up these last four days so everyone was kind of anxious to get out and play some baseball,” Coach Degre said after the first game.  “We manufactured some runs and Matt pitched an outstanding game.  We played some great baseball.”

Messier credits his strong performance with solid command of his fastball.  His ability to pound the strike zone with his fastball gave him the confidence to throw in the zone.  Messier would retire nine batters in the game.

“Defensively, we were a lot better than we have been,” Messier said.  “I’d say this was probably our best defensive game of the year.”

Messier also gives credit to his catcher, Jeremy Dean, for his part in the shutout.  In the realm of high school baseball, passed balls are almost a given as young pitchers and young catchers try to strike an often imperfect balance.

“In high school baseball passed balls are gonna happen,” Messier said.  “He didn’t allow any and that’s something pretty amazing.  That made sure that the guys who got on didn’t go anywhere.”

The Rangers defensive game was exceptional, until the last inning of the second game that is.  Routine plays remained routine and a few exceptional plays helped keep the damage to a minimum.

“We’ve had some problems with our defense this year,” Coach Degre said.  “But we’ve been working on that.  Friday we did an hour of groundball drills in the gym.”

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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