BF1 (copy)

Bellows Falls junior McGregor Vancor slides safely into third base under the tag of Springfield junior Greg Otis during a game last month.

WESTMINSTER — Divisions, divisions, divisions.

The Bellows Falls Pierce-Lawton American Legion baseball team is surrounded by teams with players from bigger schools in just about any direction they look.

Bennington, Brattleboro, White River Junction, Fair Haven and Rutland are largely manned by players from Division I and D-II high schools, while Pierce-Lawton draws much of its talent from D-II and D-III schools.

But guess what? Pierce-Lawton nevertheless battled its way into the state tournament last year as one of the Southern Division’s four entries and gave eventual state champ Essex a run for its money in the first game.

“I think we’ll be right there battling (for a tourney spot) at the end,” said coach Bill Lockerby. “I’m optimistic. I like what I’ve seen so far.”

Pierce-Lawton Post has some solid pitching, from this year’s top returner Seth Balch — “He won five or six games for us last year,” said Lockerby — of Windsor to one of BF’s youngest pitchers in 2018, Rex Hill. Hill won some Legion games last year and was a staff pillar for a very successful Green Mountain Union team this past spring.

Jack Brown is a former No. 1 pitcher for Bellows Falls Union High School and Huxley Holcomb is a Vermont Academy product.

Dylan McCarthy and Ty Merrill join Legion ranks this year after enjoying success at Green Mountain. Legion veteran McGregor Vancor and newbie Grady Lockerby will also get mound time this summer.

“We’re deep and have a variety of pitchers,” Lockerby said. “It’s a good mix.”

Darwin Huxley, a VA player who had a productive season at designated hitter last summer, will be the catcher, backed by BF’s Gunnar Sawyer.

There are solid players all around the infield, with Brown, McCarthy and Huxley Holcomb at third, Springfield’s Dylan Merrow and Hill at shortstop, Griffin Waryas of BF and Andrew Peloso at second, and BF’s Clayton Groenewold and GM’s Reid Hyekiewicz at first. Merrow and Waryas were both shortstops in high school ball.

Groenewold was one of Pierce-Lawton’s top offensive players last summer when he batted over .400.

Vancor will be the center fielder, Grady Lockerby the left fielder and Balch the right fielder, with Merrill, Lucas Saunders and McCarthy backing them up.

Pierce-Lawton starts the season with a Tuesday home opener against Bennington, one of those teams well-stocked with D-I players. But that’s typical; Pierce-Lawton’s first seven dates are with Bennington, Lakes Region, White River Junction, Bennington, Rutland, Rutland and Brattleboro.

“We always seem to be looking up at Lakes Region and Rutland,” coach Lockerby said.

And still looking forward to seeing them in the state tournament in Colchester.

THE SCHEDULE

Tuesday, June 18

Bellows Falls at Bennington, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 19

Lakes Region at Bellows Falls, 7 p.m.

Thursday, June 20

Bellows Falls at White River Junction, 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 23

Bellows Falls at Bennington, 2, noon

Tuesday, June 25

Bellows Falls at Rutland, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 26

Rutland at Bellows Falls, 7 p.m.

Thursday, June 27

Bellows Falls at Brattleboro, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 29

Randolph at Bellows Falls, 2, 4 p.m.

Monday, July 1

Bellows Falls at Randolph, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 2

Lakes Region at Bellows Falls, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 3

Bellows Falls at Brattleboro, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 6

S.D. Ireland at Bellows Falls, noon

Monday, July 8

Bellows Falls at White River Junction, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, July 9

Bellows Falls at Brattleboro, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, July 10

Bellows Falls at Randolph, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 16

Bellows Falls at Bennington, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, July 19

Bellows Falls at Rutland, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 20

Bellows Falls at Lakes Region, 2, noon

Tuesday, July 23

Rutland at Bellows Falls, 7 p.m.

bob.fredette

@rutlandherald.com

Follow Bob on Twitter: @Bob_Fredette

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