MONTPELIER — A trio of one-run hits by Owen Guthrie lifted the U-32 baseball team to Friday’s 5-1 payback victory over Montpelier.
Eli Oliver led off the game with a double and scored on a base hit by Guthrie, who crossed home later in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. Ryder Hoffman earned the complete-game victory on the mound, allowing U-32’s other pitchers to rest their arms during a busy stretch. He gave up two hits and recorded eight strikeouts.
“This was Ryder’s most dominant start of the year,” U-32 coach Geoff Green said. “His fastball was working, his curveball was working and he got ahead against almost everyone. He was up 0-1, 0-2 pretty consistently. And I think that opened up some doors for us.”
MHS pitcher Nicholas Beavin took the loss after going the distance. The Solons defense prevented U-32 from putting the game out of reach, but for the seventh time this season the MHS offense produced less than four runs.
“(Beavin) pitched a heck of game,” Green said. “In the fourth inning he got out of a bases-loaded jam with two strikeouts and a popup. But our hitters were swinging with two strikes and hitting well with two strikes. And that was the difference.”
Guthrie added a pair of one-run doubles for the Raiders. Carter Pelzel and Owen Kellington contributed three hits apiece in the victory and teammate Jesse Wild had two hits. Defensively, Hoffman and Pelzel teamed up for a successful pickoff play at first base. The Raiders also relied on mistake-free play in the infield and outfield.
“Our second baseman, Connor DeRosia, made a nice diving play going to his left,” Green said. “He fielded the grounder and made the throw to first. And Carter Hoffman made a number of catches in center field.”
U-32 avenged an early-season 14-8 loss against the Solons. The Raiders have won six of their last eight games, defeating quality opponents like Peoples, Randolph, Lake Region and Oxbow.
“This had been on their minds since the last couple days,” Green said. “After Wednesday’s game against Oxbow, we’d been talking about it – and how we had to come out focused from the first pitch. Revenge was definitely on their minds and it helped. And we’re a more resilient team and a more mentally tough team than the beginning of the season. We were ready to go out there and take care of business.”
Montpelier (7-7) has dropped three straight contests and is attempting to secure the No. 8 seed for the upcoming Division II playoffs. The Solons will travel to play Harwood at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Raiders (8-4) have won three straight and are battling with Harwood (7-3) for the No. 4 seed in the D-II playoffs. U-32 will host Lamoille at 11 a.m. Saturday. It will mark the Raiders’ eighth game in 15 days.
“Hopefully by the end it will have some semblance of a regular season,” Green said “But a big part of playing in Vermont is dealing with rainouts. This week we played Monday, we had a JV game Tuesday, we played Wednesday, we played tonight and we’re playing again (Saturday). One of the hardest parts is keeping your focus during a stretch like that. You’re going to get worn down physically, but staying mentally sharp is key. We’ve done a good with that and we’ll be good heading into playoffs next week.”