Rivalries are here, and on the horizon. One this week has Rutland High School visiting Burr and Burton and it's an important game for both. Rutland (4-5) has been swimming against the current all year and is trying to make some headway before playoffs while BBA is 8-3 and very definitely upwardly mobile. The teams meet Wednesday in Manchester with Rutland trying to even the season's series.
These are teams with not much love lost, judging by some of the exchanges during BBA's victory at Giorgetti Park earlier this year. But there's plenty to like in the competitive nature the teams bring to this D-I series.
The rivalry all Division II fans have their eyes on is Otter Valley and Fair Haven playing next Wednesday and Friday, with OV at 10-0 and Fair Haven at 8-3. They have played plenty of spirited games in recent years and both teams will roll out their best pitchers with pride and playoff positions at stake in the last week of the regular season. This definitely has the feel of a tournament matchup.
Up north, CVU and South Burlington continue to hang on to the top two spots in the Rutland Herald / Times Argus power rankings, with CVU remaining the division's only perfect team at 10-0. BBA and Otter Valley are trying to beat down that door after their tie for third place last week.
This week's top 10:
1. CVU 10-0 (1st last week). The Redhawks pitching staff held South Burlington and hard-charging Essex (a newcomer to the top 10) to two runs last week.
2. South Burlington 8-3 (2). The Wolves had a 1-1 week including a one-run win over Mount Mansfield.
3. (tie) Otter Valley 10-0 (tie 3). The Otters muscled up in a lopsided win over Mount Abraham … and Burr and Burton 8-3 (tie 3). The Bulldogs have won their last five and are now in position to be home through the D-I semifinals. That's big.
5. St. Johnsbury 6-3 (6). The Hilltoppers did what they should have done in a two-game set against North Country, winning it 29-6.
6. Rice 7-3 (8). The Green Knights jump two spots with a 3-0 week, including a 2-1 win at Colchester.
7. Fair Haven 8-3 (7). The Slaters rebounded from their loss at Rutland with a victory at improving Bellows Falls.
8. Colchester 5-4 (5). The Lakers are hanging tough against the big teams but that doesn't cut it come tournament time.
9. Essex 6-3 (out). See number 8.
10. Rutland 4-5 (9). Rutland wins at Brattleboro but loses at home against a struggling Mount Anthony team. Hard to get a read on the Raiders.
On the bubble: Brattleboro, Mount Mansfield.