20190501_bta_SpauldingSoftball_001.jpg

Spaulding shortstop Marley Ostrout, left, reaches for a late tag on Milton pitcher Emma Eaton as she steals second base during a game last week in Barre.

There will be a new Division IV state champion crowned this year when Vermont’s best softball teams are showcased in the title games at Castleton University in June.

This week’s Rutland Herald / Times Argus power rankings say that the best bets are Danville and West Rutland.

Last year’s state champion is no more. Whitchester won the D-IV championship last year in the final year of the program with Whitcomb and Rochester high schools closing their doors and feeding into the new White River Valley School in South Royalton.

White River Valley has four players remaining from that state champion Whitchester team including pitchers Chelsie Trask and Fiona Vaillancourt. That double-barrel action in the circle has helped keep the Wildcats unbeaten this year.

Those players would love to sample the same euphoria at Castleton in 2019 as they did in 2018 when they played under the Whitchester banner.

It won’t be easy. The Wildcats are in D-III, which is a bear. Oxbow and BFA-Fairfax might well be as good as anyone in Division II. Some would even like their chances in Division I.

This week, Division III Oxbow climbs all the way up to the No. 3 spot in our rankings.

Here are this week’s Rutland Herald / Times Argus power rankings for softball with last week’s rankings in parentheses.

1. Brattleboro 8-1 (1). The D-I Colonels have surrendered less than one run per game over the last five contests.

2. Lyndon 7-0 (7). Sure the schedule has been lightweight but the Division I Vikings have won every game by 15 runs or more.

3. Oxbow 6-0 (6). Pitching is the name of the game and the name you need to know is Madison Fornwalt. The Olympians have registered four shutouts and have allowed just two runs.

4. Mount Anthony 3-2 (2). It’s tough to get a read on this perennial D-I power. Last loss was to out-of-state foe Taconic.

5. Essex (3). The Hornets are the No. 1 team in the Vermont Principals’ Association’s Division I standings. When we get to see a larger body of work, they might be headed there in our rankings, too.

6. Missisquoi 7-0 (4). The Division I Thunderbirds have breezed to all their victories but did not play a Division I opponent in their last four games.

7. BFA-Fairfax 6-1 (6). The Bullets’ lone loss is to D-I Missisquoi.

8. Mount Abraham 6-2 (UR). The Eagles’ only blemishes are losses to Missisquoi and a one-run setback at the hands of Fairfax. They celebrated at Castleton last year and might get to do so again after the D-II title game.

9. Springfield 5-2 (8). The Cosmos’ only losses are to Division I teams.

10. BFA-St. Albans 4-1 (10). The Comets lost to Missisquoi but have won their last three games by a combined 47-7.

Our top fives:

Division II: 1. Mount Abraham 6-2, 2. Springfield 5-2, 3. Enosburg 6-1, 4. Otter Valley 5-3, 5. Fair Haven 6-2.

Division III: 1. Oxbow 6-0, 2. BFA-Fairfax 6-1, 3. White River Valley 7-0, 4. Green Mountain 5-1, 5. Richford 2-3.

Division IV: 1. Danville 4-1, 2. West Rutland 7-0, 3. Blue Mountain 2-2, 4. Proctor 4-2, 5. Poultney 3-4.

tom.haley

@rutlandherald.com

Follow Tom on Twitter: @RHSportsGuy

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