by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union baseball team navigated through the bottom half of the Capital League successfully last week with wins over Lake Region and Lamoille, improving to 6-0 on the season.
Tyler Rivard had a pair of hits, including a home run and freshman Owen Skorstad was a perfect 4-4 to power the Wildcat offense in a 13-6 home win over Lake Region last Thursday.
Skorstad also belted a double and scored a pair of runs on the day as Hazen jumped out to an early 11-1 lead. Andrew Menard added a pair of hits and drove in two runs for Hazen and James Montgomery had a hit and two RBIs to lead a balanced attack up and down the lineup.
Wildcat ace Lyle Rooney earned the win despite not having his best stuff, allowing six hits and six runs, while striking out seven over four and two-thirds innings. Sophomore Brendan Moodie closed out the game for head coach Spencer Howard, striking out three, walking three, and allowing just one hit.
Jonathan Gilcris and Gabe Gardner led the Rangers with a double apiece and a pair of RBIs. Johnny Piers also drove in a pair of runs and Shane Stevens struck out four over two plus innings in the loss. Lake Region fell to 0-6 as they continue to navigate a schedule that has included the top contenders in Divisions II and III to start their season.
“First of all, hats off to Lake Region for battling every single at bat until the end. That team can flat out hit and it doesn’t matter record or score, they are going to keep coming at you. We’ve had it pretty easy as a team this year with Lyle on the mound, so it was good to see us have to battle through some adversity and make some really nice plays behind him. He hadn’t pitched in over a week and was just a little off on his spots and Lake Region hit those mistakes hard. I look forward to seeing how he bounces back this week. I like the way we are hitting the ball up and down the lineup, we’re just not stringing enough hits together yet to create those big innings, but if we keep putting the work in it’ll come,” said Howard.
Senior centerfielder Jadon Baker went 2-4, scored two runs, and belted a solo home run to lead Hazen Union to an 8-0 road win over Lamoille on Saturday. Jake Davison added a pair of hits and drove in two runs, Tyler Rivard kept a hot bat with three more hits, and Lyle Rooney had a double. Rivard also made good on his first start of the season, striking out nine and allowing just two hits through four innings to earn the win.
Jadon Baker struck out four through two innings of relief and Andrew Menard has yet to allow a hit this season, pitching a perfect seventh to close it out. Zach Schriber belted a double for the Lancers and Stokely Puleio struck out five, while going the distance in the loss.
“Lamoille is well coached and a tough team and it was good to get the win on the road. We are again, really close to stringing together some hits to get some big innings, the guys are hitting the ball hard, and that home run by Jadon was the hardest ball I’ve seen him hit in four years here. Tyler was a little rusty early on in his first start, but settled down and really got into a groove. He located and mixed it up well and when he missed, it wasn’t by much. Our pitching depth will be put to the test this week and it will be all hands on deck. We’ll be going up against some of the best teams in division I and II in the Capital this week and we are excited as a team for that kind of competition. Our only focus right now is the next game in front of us and that’s Danville to start the week. One at bat at a time, one game at a time, and keep working and building off of each game and each week,” said Howard.
Hazen Union hosted Danville on Monday and North Country on Tuesday. They will hit the road to take on the defending Division II state champion Crimson Tide on Thursday. Spaulding has since moved up to Division I and is 5-1 this season. The Wildcats wrap up their busy week with a trip to Division II powerhouse U-32 on Saturday afternoon.