By Sheri Duff
It could be said that whenever Champlain Valley Union’s starting pitcher Curt Echo dressed in traditional uniform socks commonly known as stirrups, an old-school baseball ritual he used for every home game this season, the Redhawks won. In fact, Echo capped his senior season with a personal best 7-1 pitching record and a baseball state championship win for CVU with his 5-0 complete game shutout of BFA-St. Albans on Saturday, June 9 at Centennial Field in Burlington.
Credit Echo and his stirrups, stellar defense, and timely hitting for helping the Redhawks reach its goal – a Division I State Baseball Championship. Throughout the playoffs Echo held opponents to one earned run and the team outscored its opponents 28-3. Not to mention that CVU was named Metro League Champions for the first time ever and finished the season at 18-2.
“Winning a state championship was the team’s ultimate goal,” said CVU’s head baseball coach Tim Albertson. “Most of these guys, 11 to be exact, were freshman when I began as head coach. They helped build the program. I’m just so proud of them.”
Echo kept the Bobwhites off balance until the fifth inning when he lost his no-hit bid on Dana Duquette’s two-out single to right field. The no-hitter would have made it interesting, but compared to the win it was unimportant.
During the first inning, Echo helped his own cause with an RBI single scoring Tim Jones, who walked and stole second for the first run of the game. Jones also led off with another walk and stole second to begin CVU’s 4-run third inning. The following batter, Drew Nick, also walked and before Bobwhite pitcher Darren Callan could find the strike zone, Davis Mikell hit one to left scoring Jones again. Next, Echo reached on a bunt to drive in Lawrence Halvorson before Ryan Fleming added another run on a sacrifice fly, extending the lead to five before the first out was recorded in the inning.
Although BFA mounted a rally with two men on and two outs in the sixth, Echo ended the threat by getting Taylor Raftery to ground out to second baseman Tucker Kohlasch for his second defensive play of the game; the first was a grounder off Mike Schreiner in the second inning. Echo pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to win his fourth complete game of the season, ending the teams’ nine-year state championship drought.
The streak continues for the CVU girls tennis team. The top-seeded Redhawks completed its perfect season, a second in three years, and regained its crown, a sixth in nine years, by blanking Stowe 7-0 in the championship match last Wednesday, June 6 at Davis Park in Shelburne.
At No. 1 singles CVU senior AnnaClare Smith beat Monica Bleda 6-0, 6-1 while Emily Polhemus beat Kelly Chambers at No. 2 singles, 5-7, 6-1 (10-5) by surviving a tie-breaker. The rest of the Redhawks defeated their opponents in straight sets including Claire Stoner who beat Sarah Salvas at No. 3 6-0, 6-2, Andrea Joseph at No. 4 singles beat Hayley Armbruster 6-0, 6-0, while Evelyn Mitchell dispatched Casey O’Toole at No. 5 singles 6-2, 6-1.
CVU’s Leah Eptein and Mackenzie Buckman defeated Ali Leach and Macky Wardell 6-3, 6-3 in doubles, while Laura Andrews and Samone Schneider beat Phoebe Dandereau and Abby Nicholson 6-1, 6-4 to complete the shutout.
The girls tennis team isn’t the only team on a roll. The Champlain Valley Union High School boys golf team repeated as Division I State Champions for the second consecutive season by defeating a heavily favored Rutland team by one point at Ralph Myhre Golf Course in Middlebury last Wednesday, June 6.
CVU senior Jack Tomashot carded a team-best 79, sophomore Peter Scrimgeour shot a round of 81, and freshman Carter Knox shot an 81 and provided the momentum shift CVU needed with his opening hole eagle. The eagle proved to be the difference maker for the Redhawks.