Whitchester Stifles 8-1 West Rutland, Takes 4-3 Victory

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Sports / May. 18, 2017 9:23am EDT

By Brianna Hillier


Eighth-grader Chelsie Trask slides into home plate Saturday afternoon, to score the winning run of the game in Whitchester’s walk-off victory against the West Rutland Golden Horde. Hit in by fellow eighth-grader Fiona Vaillancourt, the Lady Mountaineers snatched the 4-3 win. (Provided / Steve Hillier) Eighth-grader Chelsie Trask slides into home plate Saturday afternoon, to score the winning run of the game in Whitchester’s walk-off victory against the West Rutland Golden Horde. Hit in by fellow eighth-grader Fiona Vaillancourt, the Lady Mountaineers snatched the 4-3 win. (Provided / Steve Hillier) The Whitchester Lady Mountaineers celebrated their biggest win of the season thus far when they succeeded in defeating the 8-1 West Rutland Golden Horde in a walkoff victory on their home turf in Bethel, Saturday afternoon. The 4-3 win rounded off a three-win week and pushed Whitchester to the second-ranked position in Division- IV, while sending the West Rutland girls packing for a somber bus ride home.

The West Rutland girls arrived in Bethel ready to give the Whitchester girls a game, as always. Early momentum for the Golden Horde earned them a quick two runs in the first inning. After Whitchester pitcher Laura Vaillancourt struck out West Rutland’s lead-off hitter, Deanna Keyon and Abby KaKene both crossed home plate before Vaillancourt managed a second and third strikeout to end the inning.

The Lady Mountaineers stepped up to the plate hungry for a hit off West Rutland’s pitcher Lauren Harvey, and although the first three batters all connected with the ball, the Golden Horde’s defense stayed strong enough to earn an out at first each time.

West Rutland found little luck while batting against Vaillancourt in the second inning, and Vaillancourt neatly cleaned up the end of the batting order with three consecutive strikeouts, giving her six K’s in the scorebook. Unfortunately for the Whitchester girls, their luck with hitting continued to wane. A line drive to the Golden Horde’s third baseman was heroically caught for the first out, followed shortly after by two hits fielded by the second baseman and shortstop respectively, ending the second inning 2-0 in favor of West Rutland.

The third inning brought more action to the diamond, but not the kind of action Whitchester was looking to see. Another six-batter inning gave West Rutland’s Shelby Grabowski enough time to make it home. Vaillancourt responded swiftly to each hit with an immediate strikeout, and third baseman Sammy Barcomb wrapped up Whitchester’s defense with a throw to first for the third out.

Four batters in, the Whitchester girls again struggled to find their bats and left a runner stranded on second for the conclusion of the third inning. With the score now 3-0 West Rutland, it was no time for the Whitchester girls to be hanging their heads.

By the fifth inning, the game began to take on a new form. Vaillancourt produced her usual magic, striking out her first two batters, before a lucky out for the Mountaineers ended the inning when a West Rutland runner left her base early for the steal, halting the Golden Horde’s scoring and giving Whitchester a chance to strike.

Finally, the Whitchester girls found their stride during their fifth at bat, and eight hitters had their chance to see action. Starting off the hitting was Brianna Hillier, who took the job literally by taking a pitch to the helmet, earning her a spot on first base. Vaillancourt was next to step up to the plate, and after allowing Hillier a chance to steal second, she produced a big hit into right field which sent Hillier scrambling for home to score Whitchester’s first run of the evening. Vaillancourt’s hit was followed by two strikeouts, giving all the Lady Mountaineers a bit of a scare. However, the second strike out placed the drop third strike rule into effect, and Whitchester’s Jordan Galluzzo found herself safe on first base. Eventually, through a series of outs and walked batters, it was Galluzzo who found herself scoring Whitchester’s second run of the night off a walk. By the eighth batter, the Golden Horde was able to pull together three outs, but the damage was done and Whitchester was back in the game, 3-2.

The sixth inning was a stalemate for both teams, with excellent defense by both parties ending the at-bats at the fourth batter with no runs scored. It came down to the seventh inning and a make or break hit.

The Whitchester girls started the seventh inning with strong defense. Barcomb on third made the first out with a clean throw to first, and Vaillancourt earned the second out with her final strikeout, her 14th of the night. A scorching hit between center and right field earned West Rutland’s Grabowski a place on third and primed to score on the next play. Fortunately, that next play involved a hit to Avery Palmer on second and an out at first, resulting in Whitchester’s fourth consecutive inning holding the Golden Horde from scoring, giving the Lady Mountaineers one final opportunity to take the lead.

Galluzzo was the first to bat for Whitchester and another error from West Rutland on first base gave Galluzzo a place on base. After Galluzzo stole second, Chelsie Trask took to the plate to bat a simple base run to first, advancing Galluzzo to third. With a runner on first and third, Palmer was up again and a hit towards the West Rutland pitcher was disorienting enough that Palmer was able to safely make it on base, and Trask advanced to second without the Golden Horde ever making a throw. With the bases loaded thanks to West Rutland errors, eighth grader Fiona Vaillancourt was last to hit and the pressure was on.

However, it appeared nothing could fluster the young player who came up to bat and on the second pitch, sent the ball soaring into a hole in West Rutland’s outfield. All eyes were on home plate, as first Galluzzo and then Trask rounded third base with the Whitchester head coach spinning his arm madly. A long throw from the outfield bounced into the West Rutland’s catcher’s mitt as Trask slid into home. As the safe call was made by the umpire, the Lady Mountaineers erupted into cheers and Whitchester stormed the field and F. Vaillancourt to celebrate their 4-3 victory over the West Rutland Golden Horde. L. Vaillancourt ended the game with a season high of 14 strikeouts, no walks, and only three hits in seven innings.

Vs. Williamstown

On Friday, May 12, the Whitchester girls welcomed the Williamstown Blue Devils to their home field in Whitcomb. The game ended after the fifth inning largely in favor of the Lady Mountaineers, 20-1, thanks to incomparable pitching and excellent offensive plays for Whitchester. It was already the second win for the Lady Mountaineers, who had beat Rivendell earlier in the week, 11-2.

L. Vaillancourt earned six strikeouts in the first three innings while helping to hold the Blue Devils to zero runs. Meanwhile, the Lady Mountaineers found much success on offense, scoring 20 runs in those three innings.

Notable plays included a home run hit into right field from L. Vaillancourt with two runners on base, making for a three-run hit, in the first inning. L. Vaillancourt’s second home run of the season was followed by a grand slam from Jordan Galluzzo, also her second home run of the season, after she slammed the ball deep into left-centerfield, which brought home four more runs in the third inning.

Williamtown’s sole run came in the fourth inning when Liz Laughlin made a base hit, stole second, and stole third before an RBI hit brought her home. L. Vaillancourt ended her pitching with eight strikeouts in four innings before younger sister Fiona Vaillancourt came on to end the game. F. Vaillancourt did just that in three batters, including two strikeouts and a ball fielded by F. Vaillancourt herself for the out at first. The game ended promptly, with an overwhelming win for Whitchester, 20-1.

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