By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier
The Minutemen found hits hard to come by on Wednesday as Brayden Howrigan and Nik Sabrowski combined to allow only one run on the evening against visiting Mill River.
Sabrowski started the game for the hometown Hornets going four innings, striking out six, allowing four hits, and walking one.
Howrigan took the mound in the fifth, getting six of his nine outs on strikeouts and walking two.
“My pitch count was higher than I’d like to see but other than that it was a good game. We came out and battled and kept competing,” said Sabrowski.
Defensively, the Hornets played a flawless game, which was excellent for Sabrowski and Howrigan.
“Defense is key to a pitcher. If you don’t have that, you have the feeling that you have to go after guys and take them yourself. If something happens, it just drains your confidence. Defense is essential to a pitcher. It allows you to go out and find your groove. You can pitch to contact, and when you pitch to contact, you end up striking out more people because you have more confidence and throw more strikes,” said Sabrowski
The Enosburg offense combined to score eight runs over seven innings, thanks to numerous hits from various Hornet batters.
Parker Snow, Sabrowski, Johnathan Paquette, David Antillon, Howrigan, Karson Fortin, and Colby Geddes all had hits on the evening.
“They came out and played like they have all season long. Defensively, we played a great game. We didn’t have any errors, and we had a couple of balls that we probably shouldn’t have gotten to, but we got to them,” said Enosburg head coach Rodney Burns, “Offensively we didn’t hit as well as we have all season, but we didn’t strike out any more than three times. We were putting the ball in play and trying to make things happen.”
Second baseman, Karson Fortin, who is playing his first full year on varsity, shared his thoughts on the upcoming game with fifth seed Northhaven.
“It was a good team win for us; we really needed that. We need to go out swinging more in our next game–be more aggressive at the plate,” said Karson Fortin.
Burns and the team had the pleasure of welcoming back Alec Burns, Rodney’s son, who recently completed his freshman year of college. Alec attended Colby Sawyer College and played on the college baseball team.
“After coming back from a college season, I’ve come back with a lot of tips about hitting and fielding mechanics, and base running,” said Alec.
Alec coached first base for the playdown game on Wednesday afternoon, and his former teammates were glad to have him back.
“I like Alec as my base coach; he’s doing really well with us,” said Fortin.
Alec rejoined his father as an assistant coach, a new chapter in their ongoing baseball relationship.
“I love coming back and coaching with my Dad. I’ve been playing for him all the way up through, so this is a different experience. It’s cool getting to play with him and getting to watch these guys. We won the championship together last year, and it’s great to see how they have stepped up. It’s going to be fun watching them all the way through,” said Alec.
Last year’s Enosburg baseball team won the Division III State Tournament at Centennial Field, and Alec is glad to see this year’s team doing so well.
“This team is very solid defensively, they hit the ball one through nine, and the pitching has been fantastic for us so far,” said Alec.
Burns appreciates the opportunity to have his son on the field.
“It’s great to have Alec back! He’s doing a great job for us at first base. He’s smart and reads the pitchers well. It’s great having him around, and he’s an asset to the team,” said Burns.
Having coached in Enosburg for years, Coach Burns has had the opportunity to see many players graduate from his program.
“I love having my players come back. They’re always willing to help out in any way they can. To see them as often as I do, on the field in a practice or a game, is a great feeling,” said Burns, “There’s nothing I want more than to have my players come back, to be around, and to visit and be part of the group. I love that.”