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The Mad River (MR) 11-12 Little League All Star team earned the right to compete in the district tournament starting this weekend in Lyndonville by defeating the Waterbury/Montpelier (W/M) 4-3 on Friday, July 5, and besting Barre 8-1 on Monday night, July 8, at Couples Field.
Aiden Melville had a rough start on the hill against W/M with the second and third hitters stroking singles followed by the cleanup's double scoring the two. W/M jumped up 2-0.
Melville walked two in the second inning when the second batter drove in one with his second single of the game. In the bottom frame, Melville took one back on his own, reaching on a pass, stealing second and then taking third and home on passed balls. W/M 3-1.
In the third, Melville settled in setting down the W/M side in order. In the bottom, MR's Ethan Howes was hit by a pitch. Charlie Zschau reached on an error. Bobby Kelly reached on a fielder's choice with W/M retiring Nate Pierce (pinch-running for Howes) trying to score. MR's cleanup hitter, Chase Reagan, drove in Zschau and Kelly knotting the game 3-3.
In the fourth, Melville again set down the side with two Ks and some help from Kelly with a nice catch in center.
In the fifth, Melville allowed the third single from the hot hitting W/M second batsman but set down the side striking out the last batter just before reaching the Little League game pitch-count limit. In the bottom of the fifth, Kelly reached on an error and stole second. Kelly went to third when Reagan reached on an error, bringing Melville to the plate. Melville delivered a single scoring Kelly. Kelly came in to pitch in the sixth and retired the side in order with assistance from Brendan McGill in right with two nice catches. Final, MR 4, W/M 3.
On Monday, Barre, fresh off a win over Central Valley, squared off against MR. The winner would earn the right to move on to the district tourney. MR lead-off hitter Zschau got it started with a single and stole second, setting him up to score when Kelly ripped a liner to left for a single. Starting MR pitcher, Zschau, allowed a single in the bottom of the first but nothing more.
Bats on both sides were quiet in the second. In the third, MR's Nate Honeywell reached on a pass and Kelly stroked his second single, but both were marooned. In the bottom half, the eighth Barre batter reached on a walk, took second on a passed ball and scored on a single by the number three batter. Southpaw Zschau gave up another base on balls (BB) and single but got the number five batter to pop to first baseman Cameron Joslin for the final out. At the end of three it was knotted at 1-1.
Shortstop Melville led off the fourth for MR with a walk, quickly stole second and took third on a passed ball. He scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Honeywell. Zschau allowed a single and BB in the bottom but kept his composure and again pitched out of trouble.
The wheels came off in the fifth for Barre. Zschau led off the inning with his second single and pilfered second on the first pitch. Kelly took a fast ball thigh-high down the middle of the plate for a strike and then tomahawked an eye-high second pitch over the center field fence for a two-run dinger. Reagan followed with a sharp line shot down the left field line that was very nicely played to hold him to a single. Melville reached on a walk and Reagan scored when Honeywell beat out an infield hit. Zschau gave up a double in the bottom frame, but the runner was left stranded on base.
In the sixth, MR scored three. Kelly singled for his fourth hit of the game and scored from first when Reagan grounded to third and the throw went over the first baseman's head. Melville singled and stole second. Honeywell walked to load the bases. Joslin smacked a sharp single driving in Reagan and Melville. In the bottom of the sixth, Kelly took the hill and set Barre down with two Ks and a foul pop-up. Final score, MR 8, Barre 1.
MR will play Central Valley Wednesday night, July 10 (after press time), but will move on to district competition in Lyndonville this weekend.
The MR 11-12 All Stars are Charlie Zschau, Chase Reagan, Nate Pierce, Aiden Melville, Brendan McGill, Asher Martley, Hazel Macmillan, Bobby Kelly, Cam Joslin, Ethan Howes and Nate Honeywell.