Chieftains baseball team loses 3-2 pitching duel to White River

By Evan Chadwick
©2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

CHESTER

In this early portion of the 2022 campaign, the Green Mountain Chieftains baseball team is no stranger to close contests. A close loss to Bellows Falls, followed by three straight wins over Mill River, Proctor and Leland & Gray, the last being of the one-run variety, certainly have tested GM’s grit to date.

Hryckiewicz and Hinkley turn the double play. Photos by Evan Chadwick

On a blustery Tuesday afternoon in early May, Coach Matt McCarthy’s boys were treated to another nail-bitter against the White River Valley Wildcats in front of the Chester home crowd. Unfortunately for the Chieftains, they were on the wrong side of an epic pitching duel between their starter Kagan Hance and the Wildcats’ Dominic Craven, as they dropped the contest 3-2.

“Kagan pitched a great game,” said McCarthy. “He gave us everything he had, but our bats didn’t do their job today.”

What the bats weren’t providing for the Chieftains, their defense certainly was. Hance limited his walks in the early frames, letting his defense players do their thing. And they did, as they held the Wildcats offense scoreless for the first two innings.

Shortstop Reid Hryckiewicz had his glove all over the second inning as, after a stellar play deep in the hole between third and short, he then helped turn a double play with second baseman Jack Hinkley, to get the Chieftains out of the inning without any harm.

Hryckiewicz takes the throw at second.

“That’s the best defense we’ve played in a long time,” said McCarthy. “Our kids really worked today and it helped keep the game in reach.”

The Wildcats would get on the board in the third inning when Hance ran into some control issues that resulted in walking the bases full with only one out. After a fielder’s choice scored one run, Wildcat first baseman Weston Trombly delivered the big blow with a 2-run single up the middle to give White River a 3-run lead.

Hance bore down and got the last out on a pop-out to first base and GM remained firmly in contention.

Unfortunately for GM, Craven continued to pound the strike zone, keeping the GM batters off balance with a devastating slider. Through six innings the GM offense had yet to register a hit with only two runners reaching base courtesy of walks.

“Craven’s slider was on today,” said McCarthy. “Eight of our 10 strikeouts were looking.”

Kagan Hance delivers an RBI double to put the Chieftains on the board

Despite the offensive woes, the Green and Gold kept fighting, turning another double play in the fifth that allowed Hance to pitch six full innings, scattering three hits and walking three.

In the bottom of the sixth, Green Mountain was finally able to string some hits together. Tanner Swisher started the rally with a one-out walk. After Hryckiewicz popped out, Hance delivered a two out RBI double to right field to narrow the gap to 3-1.

Chase Swisher added to the two out rally by legging out an infield single. The late throw got by first baseman Trombly and that allowed Hance to score.

Craven got Hinkley to ground out to second base to end the inning. Hinkley pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, giving the Chieftains a last chance, but Craven struck out the side to give the Wildcats a hard earned 3-2 victory.

With the loss, the Chieftains drop to 4-2 on the season. GM will travel to Springfield next for a matchup with the Cosmos at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.

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Filed Under: BaseballEducation NewsSports News

About the Author: Originally from Rochester, Vermont, Evan Chadwick is a practicing attorney who lives in Brattleboro with his family. He is a 2007 graduate of Keene State College and currently coaches the boys' varsity basketball team at Bellows Falls Union High School.

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