After a year off from high school baseball, Vermont teams were champing at the bit to get the 2021 season going.
There are plenty of teams across the state that have had early success, but nothing has compared to Division I, which looks as competitive as ever this year.
The usual suspects have continued their dominance, but there are other teams that have found their stride after not factoring into the conversation in years past.
Brattleboro hasn’t played many games, but it’s looked dominant when it has played. The Colonels had given up just two runs in two games, heading into Tuesday.
A senior-laden Rice club looks to be equally as strong and the 2019 D-I champions CVU had just one loss heading into Tuesday.
Mount Anthony is a team that didn’t qualify for the D-I playoffs in 2019 because of school win percentage rules, and the year before, the Patriots were first-round fodder for the Redhawks.
It’s still early on and there are tests to come for MAU, but the Patriots look to be taking a massive step forward with a veteran club this year.
One of Division I’s consistent contenders, Burr and Burton, is currently 10th in the division standings and they’re sporting a very good 3-2 record. If the Bulldogs are in that spot, you can piece together how strong D-I is.
I’m sure things will shake up over the rest of the month as we trudge toward the playoffs, but for now, D-I has been the class of baseball in the state.
Seven D-I teams make the top 10 in the first Rutland Herald/Times Argus baseball power rankings of the season.
Let’s jump into this week’s rankings with records through Monday’s games.
1. Brattleboro (2-0) – We haven’t seen a ton of the Colonels yet, but they’ve been super impressive when they’ve played. A blowout win against Burr and Burton puts Brattleboro as the team to beat in the Southern Vermont League.
2. Rice (2-0) – More than half of Rice’s team is seniors and they look like a big contender in Division I. An 11-0 win against a really good South Burlington club stands out.
3. CVU (4-1) – The defending D-I champions look every bit of the contender they were two years ago, averaging almost eight runs a game through five contests. These rankings were made before the Redhawks showdown with Rice on Tuesday.
4. Colchester (3-0) – The Lakers have proven they can win wielding potent bats, like they have against St. Johnsbury and Vergennes, or in a pitchers duel, like they did against BFA-St. Albans.
5. Burlington (3-1) – The Seahorses only loss came to a Spaulding team that looks like a top contender in D-II.
6. Spaulding (5-1) – The Tide can hit the baseball. They just came off scoring 13 runs against previously unbeaten Burlington and scored 13 or more runs four other times.
7. Hartford (4-0) – The Hurricanes have scored eight or more runs in three of their first four games. Wins against Bellows Falls, Green Mountain and Otter Valley was a nice way to start their season.
8. South Burlington (4-2) – The only team to beat CVU. They came out of the gate firing offensively, but their bats have faded in recent games.
9. Mount Anthony (3-0) – These rankings were done before MAU’s game against Brattleboro on Tuesday, but it’s hard to ignore how well they played in their first three games. A 9-3 win against a strong Fair Haven team especially catches my eye.
10. White River Valley (5-0) – Division IV getting some love here. The Wildcats won the D-III title in 2019 and look just as strong this year, now in D-IV, undefeated through five games. Games against BF and GM this week will be tests.
On the bubble: Essex, Burr and Burton, Harwood
Our top fives:
Division II: 1. Spaulding; 2. Hartford; 3. Harwood; 4. Lyndon; 5. Mount Abraham
Division III: 1. Peoples; 2. Randolph; 3. Montpelier; 4. Oxbow; 5. Green Mountain
Division IV: 1. White River Valley; 2. Blue Mountain; 3. Arlington; 4. Rivendell; 5. Proctor