Rooney Dazzles in Wild Debut

by Ken Brown

LYNDONVILLE – It’s been a long road to getting back on the mound for Hazen Union ace Lyle Rooney this summer, but he shook off the rust and a recent bout with illness last week to help lead the Green Mountain Wild Babe Ruth team to a pair of victories last week.

Rooney pitched six innings of no-hit ball to earn the win for the Wild as they blanked Lyndonville on the road last Thursday 10-0. It was the first start of the season for the Wildcat ace who is joined on the team by Hazen Union teammate Andrew Menard who pitched his own gem for the Wild last week. The duo helped the Wildcats to a school-record 15 wins and No. 1 seed this past spring in a Division III playoff run that ended in the title game against back-to-back champion Peoples Academy.

“We had a couple games in a row canceled due to the weather, so we were excited to get Lyle that extra time to recover and finally get him on the bump for us this summer,” said head coach Jared Cushing. “The initial plan was to get him a couple of innings of work to get his feel back, but his pop and command were so impressive for not touching a baseball for a couple of weeks, so we just let him keep cruising. My guess is that he may have snuck in some training and throws at home to be able to be that dominant after the long layoff. Overall we hit the ball and ran the bases well and I think the guys took the field with some added confidence having their ace back on the mound,” added Cushing.

The Wild continued their offensive surge over the weekend, dominating the Suburban team out of Winooski on the road 19-2. Ricky Fennimore, Andrew Menard, Cam Roy, and Keegan Frigon combined to shut down the home team on the hill and also provided the offense at the plate to help secure their third straight win, improving to 5-2 on the season. Joining Rooney and Menard on the Wild roster are Joe Schlesinger of Danville and a talented core of Blue Mountain players that went 16-1 on their way to the Division IV state title game last month. Cushing is a former Blue Mountain and Husson University baseball standout and was recently hired as the new athletic director at Hazen Union.

“This was an all around team effort with good pitching, defense, base-running, and hitting. These guys were having fun and you couldn’t pay them to stop hitting the baseball. It was a great way to end the week,” said Cushing.

The Wild are scheduled to travel to Lyndonville on Thursday before hosting Franklin County on Saturday.