Rutland was trailing White River Post 84 by a score of 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning when the game changed. Post 31 erupted for 10 runs on 10 hits in that frame, using it as a springboard to an 11-6 victory on Wednesday.
It might be a cliche that hitting is contagious, but Rutland shortstop Reece de Castro said there is a lot of truth in it.
“We are a close-knit group and when we see the others doing well, we want to do the same thing,” de Castro said.
That was the case as the Post 31 batters banged out one hit after another including eight straight in that inning.
Marcus McCullough and de Castro each had two hits in that one inning and when it was over, a 3-1 deficit had been turned into an 11-3 lead.
There were 25 hits sprayed around St. Peter’s Field and Rutland had 14 of them.
But the pitching of Griffin Briggs was not lost on Rutland Post 31 coach Rick Battles, even in that big splash of offense.
Briggs came on in relief of starter Pat McGeighan, who left complaining of a sore arm after two innings. Briggs earned the victory with 4.2 innings of solid work in which he gave up only one earned run.
“He showed me something and I think he’s only a sophomore (at Burr and Burton Academy),” Battles said.
There was a parade of pitchers to the mound for White River after starter Rob Slocum left with Grayson Frazer absorbing the loss.
White River coach John O’Hara saw his team’s record dip to 0-6 and 0-2 in the league but it is a young club learning on the fly.
The White River team that fashioned a 3-1 lead through the first three innings is hopefully a glimpse of what O’Hara hopes to see once the club matures.
de Castro led Post 31 by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Reilly Shannon, Ethan Senecal and McCullough added two hits apiece.
Senecal had an impressive all-round game, starring defensively and at the plate. He not only had the two hits, but when the game was still in question, he got down a bunt to move runners to second and third, helping to ignite the big fourth inning.
Senecal made two spectacular diving catches in left field.
Shannon had an opposite-field single that scored McCullough, finally giving Rutland the lead at 4-3.
Leading White River was Brady Clark. He showed the power that was so evident in the middle of the Springfield High School lineup this spring by going 3-for-4 with three doubles. Kyle Hamilton had two hits for Post 84 including an RBI double.
The victory brings Rutland’s league record to 3-1 as it heads to the Lighthouse Classic in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Post 31’s first game there will be against a Connecticut team on Friday at 3:45 p.m.
“We will see a lot of good competition up there. There will be a lot of good teams from around New England,” de Castro said.
“We want to show them that Vermont has some good baseball. We will put our best nine out there and go from there,” Battles said.
Battles has been impressed by his catcher, Luc Vitagliano, as he shakes off the rust from having a year away from the game.
The glue in the infield, he said, is de Castro at shortstop.
“Reece is Reece. He is just a great ballplayer and he has been a great leader,” Battles said.
There were a lot of good things done by Post 31 in the game but there were also three errors that Battles addressed in the dugout after the game.
“There were some good things but it was also kind of sloppy,” Battles said to the team.
It’s all about getting better and the event in Maine is another chance to do that.
“We aren’t there yet, but we will be,” Battles said.