Baseball teams ready for the playoffs | Sports

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Earning a state title takes hard work. Grabbing two in a row is even more difficult. A third in a row? You enter the conversation about the dynasty.

Two Vermont high school baseball teams are looking to do just that this playoff season.

Division I CVU and Division IV White River Valley are both trying to end their spring by lifting the championship trophy for the third year in a row.

The Redhawks, who are the No. 1 seed in DI for the fourth straight year, are no strangers to high expectations. No matter the sport, championship success is expected at the Hinesburg School.

This isn’t the first time CVU has been able to win three consecutive DI titles. The Redhawks won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, but lost in the 2014 state semifinals to third-seeded Rice.

Surely CVU wants to get the job done this time around.

The past two seasons, White River Valley has been the definition of dominance.

In their freshman year as a school in 2019, the Wildcats went a perfect 18-0 record en route to a Division III title. Last year in Division IV, White River Valley was perfect again, going 17-0 and dominating the state tournament.

This year has clearly been one of adversity for the Wildcats. They have suffered several losses and will not be the top seeds of the D-IV tournament. How do they work when all eyes aren’t on them? It must be very interesting to see.

Surely both clubs want to be back at Centennial Field, celebrating another title. Defending Division II champion U-32 and Division III champion Peoples feel the same way.

Premier League

Favorites: No. 1 CVU and No. 2 Colchester. The Redhawks have a dominant throw that plays this time of year. They allowed more than five runs only once. The Lakers have won nine of their last 10 and one of those wins was against CVU.

Dark Horse: Rice No. 6. The Green Knights picked up a win over Burr and Burton Academy and played the top seeds competitively on multiple occasions.

Best first-round game: No. 10 Rutland vs. No. 7 Burlington. The Raiders come to play some of their best baseball of the season, winning three in a row. The Seahorses have proven themselves, but certainly not an unbeatable team.

Longest route: n°9 MAU to n°8 So. Burlington (2 hours 36 minutes).

Fun fact: Burlington has the most Division I titles (12), but haven’t won since 1984. Seven of their titles were won before 1960.

Section II

Favorites: No. 1 Spaulding and No. 2 Lyndon. The Crimson Tide’s only loss was over a month ago. They’ve been dominant ever since with an offense that has scored in double figures 11 times. The Vikings have stumbled lately, but have been as dominant as they come for most of the regular season.

Dark Horse: No. 5 U-32. The Raiders lost by just two to Spaulding last week and clawed back much of last year’s championship squad. Experience is a big thing this time of year and U-32 has it.

Best first-round game: No. 11 Otter Valley vs. No. 6 Hartford. These teams know each other well as southern Vermont rivals. The Hurricanes beat OV twice, but both games were very competitive.

Longest route: No. 15 Middlebury to No. 2 Lyndon Institute (2 hours, 18 minutes).

Fun fact: Springfield’s No. 7 seed is the highest seed for the Cosmos since they were seeded No. 5 in the 1994 Division I tournament.

Section III

Favorites: No. 1 Hazen, No. 2 Bellows Falls and No. 3 Peoples Academy. The Wildcats’ only losses are against Spaulding and Thetford. The Terriers are amazing in close games and executed the fundamentals so well. Wolves are the defending champions with a billing season adjustment.

Dark Horse: No. 5 Green Mountain. Three of the Chieftains’ four losses have been by two runs or less. If these go a different way, we may be talking about a Green Mountain club at the top of the list.

Best first-round game: No.10 Vergennes vs. No.7 Windsor. Both teams played tough schedules that will only help them at this time of year. Their records don’t tell how good they are.

Longest route: No. 10 Vergennes to No. 7 Windsor (1 hour 54 minutes).

Fun fact: This is the first time Hazen has been seeded #1 in the state tournament. The Wildcats’ previous top seed was when they were seeded No. 3 in the 1982 Division III tournament, where they won their only state title.

Section IV

Favorites: No. 1 Blue Mountain and No. 2 White River Valley. The Bucks are the only baseball team in the state that has yet to lose. Don’t be surprised if they stay that way. The Wildcats are more battle tested than they have ever been during their period of dominance.

Dark Horse: No. 5 Mont Saint-Joseph. Constable sticks are difficult to manage for opposing throws. They’ve scored 12 or more points in three of their last five games.

Best first-round game: No. 10 West Rutland vs. No. 7 Poultney. There are only two matchups in the first round and this one pits two teams that have faced each other twice. Both matchups were hotly contested contests during the regular season.

Longest route: No. 9 Richford to No. 8 Proctor (2 hours, 36 minutes).

Fun fact: No. 5 Mount St. Joseph made five of his seven state finals in the 1940s, where they won all three of their state championships, the most recent being an 11-9 victory over Cathedral in the 1949 DI final.

adam.aucoin @rutlandherald.com

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