Wednesday’s Division I baseball championship game was all about finishing strong.
Fourth-seeded Rice held a four-run lead after two innings, but faded after that. Mount Anthony Union, the tournament’s seventh seed, scored the game’s final 10 runs – including eight in the last three innings – to post a an 11-5 victory.
Mount Anthony took control by scoring four runs with two outs in the fifth. Nicholas Lloyd’s three-run home run was the big blow in the inning.
Tony Baldic struck out seven in four innings to earn the win. Mount Anthony received three scoreless innings from Tyler Kinzeman.
Rice, which was trying to win its first state championship since 1964, built a 5-1 lead through two innings. Rice’s biggest hits were Nicky Elderton’s two-run home run in the first, and Joe Boardman’s two-run double in the second.
Rice committed six errors in the loss.
Upsets were the theme this season as the lower-seeded team won the three other state championship games as well:
Division II: Third-seeded Missisquoi hadn’t won four games in a row this season until it knocked off top-seeded Burr and Burton 7-1 in the Division II championship game. The loss ended Burr and Burton’s 11-game winning streak.
Division III: Robbie Rinaldo pitched a complete game to help sixth-seeded BFA-Fairfax upset top-seeded Northfield 4-1. Rinaldo held previously unbeaten Northfield to four hits.
Division IV: Third-seeded Danville scored seven runs in the third and five more in the fourth en route to a 13-1 triumph over top-seeded Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain was seeking its third consecutive state championship.
EXTRA EFFORT REQUIRED
Not much separated the top-seeded BFA-St. Albans and second-seeded Brattleboro softball teams in this year’s Division I championship game.
Brattleboro scored a run in the top of the ninth and then held on to knock off previously unbeaten BFA-St. Albans, 2-1.
Kalee Graham scored what turned out to be the game-winning run. She led off the ninth with a single, stole second, took third on a bunt and scored on Ariel Kane’s sacrifice fly.
BFA-St. Albans failed to score against Brattleboro pitcher Kayla Wood in the bottom half of the inning.
Brattleboro, which defeated Essex to win last year’s championship, completed its season with a 19-1 record. BFA-St. Albans finished 17-1.
Highlights from this year’s other championship games:
Division II: Freshman Heather Sanborn struck out nine to help top-seeded Springfield defeat Lyndon 5-3. It was Springfield’s first championship since 1986.
Division III: Peoples Academy shortstop Jamie Strek returned from an injury and hit a two-run double to highlight a 3-1 triumph over top-seeded Randolph. Peoples Academy has won four state championships in the last 12 years.
Division IV: Rochester did all of its scoring in the fifth inning and posted a 5-1 victory over Richford. The Rochester fifth featured four hits and two errors. Rochester lost in the 2008 and 2009 Division IV championship games.
ON THE FAST TRACK
Perhaps South Burlington’s victory in the girls 4x100 relay was the biggest surprise during Saturday’s 66th Annual New England Track and Field Championships at Burlington High School was.
The foursome of Mollie Gribbin, Carly Stine, Amanda Arena and Sara Garvey set a new state record by prevailing in 49.30 seconds. It was the first time a Vermont team had won a relay event at the New England Meet.
Gribbin, junior, also broke the state record when she finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 39 feet, 11.5 inches.
Springfield’s Michael Pianka provided one of Vermont’s other top highlights. Pianka won the high jump by clearing 6-7, a personal record.
GOING FOR THE GREEN
The Vermont Golf Association awarded scholarships to 10 Vermont high schools seniors earlier this month.
This year’s recipients are: Magen Bissell (Rutland), Natalie McGary (Enosburg), Christine Milne (Harwood), Joseph Meade (Harwood), Aaron Mullen (Hartford), Desmond Dana (Springfield), Matthew Bortz (BFA-St. Albans), William Start (Randolph), Carlton Kellogg (Proctor) and Andrew Bower (Mill River).
Each student will receive $1,000 per year for four years.
GOOD TO THE END
None of Vermont’s state championship lacrosse games had a more exciting ending than Champlain Valley Union’s 8-7 victory over defending champion Essex.
CVU tied the contest on Lawrence Dee’s goal with 40.5 seconds left, and then won the title when Jeff Palmer scored in sudden-death overtime.
Essex had ended CVU’s season in each of the last four years.
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.