by Ken Brown
SOUTH BURLINGTON – Moving up a division didn’t matter to super senior Ben Alekson and the Peoples Academy (PA) baseball team last week, as they edged Milton 7-6 in the Division II state title game for the program’s third straight championship.
Milton clawed back from a 6-2 deficit to tie the game in the sixth inning, but a triple by Harrison Frazee and a sacrifice fly by Gavin Lund in the bottom half of the sixth was the difference for the Wolves to secure the title over the weekend at Centennial Field. PA was without the services of Alekson after needing all of the senior ace’s talents to get by top seeded Missisquoi Valley Union in the semifinal round. Alekson had led PA to consecutive Division III state titles with complete game masterpieces. This was the first Division II championship in program history. Alekson struck out over 100 batters in just 50 innings of work this season and was named the Vermont Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year. He will join the Vermont Lake Monsters roster this summer and attend Fairfield University in the fall.
Blue Mountain Captures Emotional State Title
BURLINGTON – After suffering through back-to-back of losses in the state title game and the tragic passing of program stalwart and Blue Mountain alum Jared Cushing, the Bucks baseball team blanked Arlington over the weekend at Centennial Field for their first Division IV title in eight years.
Senior ace Evan Dennis struck out 18, allowing only a seventh-inning single and teammates Cam Roy and Landon Kingsbury belted home runs to power the Bucks to a dominant 9-0 win over Arlington on Saturday. Dennis, Roy, Ricky Fennimore, and Keegan Frigon led a contingent of Buck’s teammates who joined forces with Hazen Union’s Lyle Rooney and Andrew Menard last summer to capture the Vermont 18U Babe Ruth state championship for the Green Mountain Wild, coached by Cushing. Cushing also won a state title as a player in Babe Ruth, a Division IV state championship for head coach Scott Blood at Blue Mountain, and played collegiately for Husson University. He was named Hazen Union athletic director last June and tragically took his own life in October of 2022.
Hardwick Babe Ruth Reboots with Star-Studded Roster
HARDWICK – Hardwick will field an 18U Babe Ruth baseball team this summer, powered mostly by a collection of current and former Hazen Union Wildcat players.
The team will be coached by Ivan Menard and assisted by Mike Baker and Rob Montgomery. Recent Hazen Union grads Tyler Rivard, Lyle Rooney, James Montgomery, and Jadon Baker will headline a Wildcat heavy roster that won 29 games for the varsity program the last two seasons. Hazen’s Andrew Menard, Dan des Groseilliers, Jake Davison, Owen Skorstad, Gavin Stratton, Justin Montgomery, Jake Hayden, and Alex Bowley will also be on the roster and will be joined by Craftsbury Academy’s Grayson McNaughten and Stannard’s Steven Werner. Wildcat supermom and supporter Brenda Menard pulled together the logistics of insurance and charter for the team behind the scenes this past week over a frantic two-day period to just make the deadline. The decision to play one more summer of baseball together for this group of players comes on the heels of an unexpected first round loss by Hazen in the first round of the Division III playoffs last week. The core of this roster has played baseball together since Little League and the idea of making one more state title together was too good to pass up. Rooney and Menard’s reasons for playing go much deeper with the passing of Jared Cushing last fall. They won the Vermont 18U Babe Ruth state title together last summer playing for the Green Mountain Wild, with Cushing being the head coach. Defending that title in his memory would undoubtedly make the summer even more special.
The summer schedule is due to come out this week and the Hardwick Babe Ruth team will play their home games at Hudson Fields.