It was April 27. That’s when Tom Perry raised the expectations for his Colchester High School baseball team.
Junior Zach Tandy tossed a complete-game two-hitter that day to help Colchester defeat a Rice Memorial team that some called the favorite in Division I this season. Tandy’s performance answered some of the questions about Colchester’s pitching.
“I think if you’re a Vermont baseball fan you probably felt we were going to be pretty good, but our preseason concern still remained at that point and that’s pitching,” said Perry, who is in his fourth season as Colchester’s head coach. “We had lots of arms, but not many were proven at the varsity level.
“Coming into the season we knew Tandy had the best stuff on the team, but we didn’t know what he could do consistently [at the varsity level]. We had seen some control problems from him in the past, but we haven’t seen any of that this year.”
Pitching hasn’t been much of a concern since the victory over Rice. Tandy has teamed with senior Matt Ravey to give the Lakers two strong starters at the front of their rotation.
Colchester stretched its winning streak to nine games and improved its Division I record to 10-1 by beating St. Johnsbury 11-6 Tuesday. Either Tandy or Ravey has been the winning pitcher in eight of the team’s 10 wins.
“I knew we would hit,” Perry said. “I didn’t expect us to pitch like this. I’m surprised with where we’re at, but not shocked.”
Catcher Ryan Crowley, one of two team captains, is batting close to .500. Perry called him one of the best players in the Metro Division.
“He’s just a phenomenal player,” Perry said. “He has a good chance to be the Player of the Year in our league.”
First baseman Andrew Cootware is the team’s other captain.
It’s not just the stars who are carrying Colchester, however. The Lakers have received significant contributions from just about everyone on their roster.
Sophomore Devin Dessormeau, whose primary role is to play shortstop when Tandy is on the mound, collected his first varsity hit during a 6-5 victory over Mount Mansfield. It was an eighth-inning single that drove in the game-winning run.
Matt Roy, Colchester’s No. 6 hitter, and Josh Place, who bats eighth in the order, collected nine RBIs in Tuesday’s victory over St. Johnsbury. Roy had a grand slam and a two-run double. Place went four-for-four with three RBIs.
“The fun part about this team is a new guy steps up every game,” Perry said. “It’s a new hero all the time.
“We have kids with a huge variety of economic backgrounds. They work for everything they get. When we need a run the team finds a way to score a run.”
Perry, who has a 40-21 record as Colchester’s head coach, said there are at least a handful of teams capable of winning this year’s Division I championship. He included Rice, Essex, Mount Mansfield, Rutland and St. Albans in that group. Colchester appears to be a title contender as well.
“We have good kids who play hard, [in recent years] we just haven’t been blessed with a lot of talent,” Perry said. “This year we have talent. We try to win each inning and if we stay focused on that I think we can compete to the end.”
LACROSSE POWERS WILL MEET
Perhaps the best high school matchup in Vermont this weekend will be the boys lacrosse game between Essex and Champlain Valley Union. The contest will be played at CVU, and is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
CVU, which beat Essex 10-8 in April, will enter the contest with a 13-0 record in Division I. Essex, which beat CVU in last year’s Division I title game, is 10-2. The Hornets have won eight in a row since their loss to the Redhawks earlier this season.
Essex also beat CVU for the Division I title in 2007 and 2008. The Hornets were the Division I runner-up in 2009.
CVU is seeking its first title since 2006.
Nathaniel Wells scored three goals and Eric Palmer made 10 saves when CVU beat Essex in April.
St. Johnsbury’s Claire Simons broke the Division I girls pole vault record Tuesday, when she cleared 10 feet, 10 inches during a meet at Essex High School.
Essex’s Mary Krug held the previous record of 10-9.
BFA-St. Albans junior Ed Simon established the Division I boys pole vault record when he cleared 14-7 during the Burlington Invitational earlier this month.
HORNETS REMAIN UNBEATEN
The Essex softball team improved its Division I record to 12-0 by beating Middlebury 12-1 on Saturday.
The Hornets have outscored their opponents 143-15 this season, and haven’t allowed more than three runs in a game.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc., and publishes the New Hampshire Football Report.