ST. AMOUR BRINGS MORE THAN LUCK TO THE IRISH

By: Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

Matt St. Amour wowed many crowds in his hometown of Swanton during his high school years. He broke MVU school basketball records, and he even became a member of the elite 2,000 point shooters during his senior year.

After high school, he then went on to Middlebury College and enjoyed another stretch of record-breaking years. Now he’s on the other side of the ocean bringing his excellent skill set to the Irish people.

St. Amour made his way to Ireland at the end of August thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication. After completing his degree at Middlebury, St. Amour received the honor of being chosen as a Victory Scholar through the Sport Changes Life Program.

The program which is called ‘Sport Changes Life’ is sponsored by the Rory Foundation. The Rory Foundation is dedicated to helping elementary and high school-aged kids live better lives through the release of funds that seek to advance opportunity and change for children in a variety of difficult circumstances.

The program looks for skilled athletes who have succeeded both on and off the court to come and give their time to communities in Ireland.

Academics play a major part in the process, but the Victory Scholars’ involvement in the community is a major piece as well.

While they are in Ireland, the Victory Scholars take part in blog and video posts for the Sport Changes Life to keep folks in the know about the positive work that’s being done in the communities.

“It’s been amazing to see the reactions of people back at home and to be able to keep in touch with everyone,” said St. Amour.

Only 24 college graduates enjoyed the privilege of being Victory Scholars after graduation this year, and in the eyes of those who know him, it was the perfect way for St. Amour to close out his college career.

Pick up a copy of this week’s County Courier, available on newsstands now to read the remainder of this article.

FRANKLIN COUNTY LEGION BASEBALL SECURES STATE TITLE, FIRST IN 83 YEARS

Article and photos by Ruthie Laroche

Franklin County Legion Post 01 brought an American Legion Baseball State Tournament trophy back to the county for the first time in 83 years, thanks to an incredible team effort.

Brady Green pitched nine and one-third innings in the final game of the tournament. Richard Walker closed out the game, getting the final two outs.

The first game of the afternoon ended in a 12-2 loss for Post 01, but the boys didn’t hang their heads, and after a brief break for dinner, the Post 01 squad took the field for the second time.

Brady Green took the mound in the bottom of the first, handling the top of the White River lineup with ease and dexterity. Green struck out his first batter, induced a pop out to Boucher in left for the second out, and a ground out to third baseman Jake Hakey, which brought the inning to an end.

Center fielder, Bennett Coseo, singled in the second, and Tucker Gaudette who hit a home run on Wednesday night, came to the plate. Gaudette sent the ball sailing over the right field fence for a two run home run.

White River answered swiftly in the bottom of the second, with a two run home run of their own.

Going into the top of the third tied one to one, Post 01 batter, Ryan Boucher, singled to center and stole second. Dylan Beyor singled, scoring Boucher and putting Post 01 ahead by one run.

White River would score one run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game once again, but Franklin County bats came to life in the top of the seventh.

Boucher hit himself on base once again and would score the fourth run for Post 01 when he was driven in by Colby Brouillette’s line drive double to center field.

Laroche hit a sacrifice fly to center allowing Brouillette to score. Franklin County was up 5-4 in the top of the sixth.

Once again, White River answered with a tying run in the bottom of the sixth.

Franklin County’s Kristian Viljanon makes a catch on a pop up for an out.

The bottom of the eighth saw White River threaten, but thanks to solid defense on Post 01’s part, Brady Green and the Franklin County boys kept their opponents at bay.

Coseo tracked a deeply hit fly ball to center for an out. Short stop, Laroche fielded a ground ball, took it to second on his own for the out. He was slid into, resulting in an interference call and a double play which ended the inning.

The game reached the ninth inning with both teams tied at five apiece. Post1 batter Kristian Viljanon was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground out. Gaudette walked, and Hakey doubled on a line drive. Viljanon scored and Gaudette advanced to third.

Hakey’s double scored the go ahead run for Post 01, and brought the offense to life.

“I just wanted to take the ball to the opposite field. I had fouled the pitch off before, just foul of the right field line. I knew I had to put something in play being down by one ball and two strikes. I knew that going the other way was the easiest way to move the runners as well as give myself a chance for an extra base hit,” said Hakey of his go ahead line drive.

Tucker Judkins worked a walk and Boucher singled, scoring pinch runner, Ryan Austin. Brouillette singled, driving in Hakey and advancing Judkins to third. Laroche hit his second sacrifice fly of the night, scoring Judkins.

Beyor singled on a line drive, scoring Boucher and advancing Brouillette to third, easily placing him in scoring position. Brouillette scored on a wild pitch, and the inning ended shortly after.

Green took the mound for the last time, striking out one and reaching his pitch count. Richard Walker came in for the final two outs, but White River did manage to score, bringing the final tally to 11-7.

Boucher made the final out of the game for FC Post 01, running down a ball that was hit down the left field line. The crowd erupted with applause and the Franklin County dugout emptied, players and coaches rushing the field to greet the returning fielders.

“It always feels good to come in and close out such an important game,” said Walker.

Franklin County Post 01, the third seed in the north, shocked the American Legion Tournament goers, upsetting both second place teams and both first place teams, and eventually securing the first Franklin County State Tournament victory since 1934.

Friday night’s games tested the strength of the Post 01 team, and head coach Josh Laroche, was quick to credit the grit and tenacity of his team for the victory that they earned in Hartford.

“Everyone, including our bench players, contributed something to this game. We’ve emphasized this all year: everyone on the team matters. Learning how to play as a team takes time and at the end of the year, we were able to play together. I believe this is why we were able to bounce back from tough situations and why we were able to create positive momentum for ourselves throughout the game and the tournament,” said Laroche.

Post 01 will travel to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, on August 2nd to face the State Champions from the state of Maine in a nine inning game at the Holy Cross baseball field. The American Legion Regional Tournament is a double elimination tournament which includes teams from all the New England states.

Franklin County Playoff Round Up

Franklin County’s high school teams took the field this last week to start their playoff seasons. A few teams went out in the first round, but there’s plenty of action left in the county today and throughout the upcoming week.

Baseball

The Division I Bellows Free Academy Bobwhites eliminated the Colchester Lakers on Thursday night, but they fell to number one seed, Essex Friday night, 5-1.

The Division II Missisquoi Valley Thunderbirds lost their playdown game to Fairhaven on Wednesday, 11-2.

The Bullets of Bellows Free Academy Fairfax competed in Division II this year. The team were successful in their playdown game on Tuesday against Springfield. In the quarterfinals, Fairfax eliminated the 7th seed Lake Region Friday evening by a score of 16-3 with pitcher Mike Roy going the distance to include eight strike outs. The number two seeded Bullets advance to the semifinals on their home turf scheduled for Tuesday, June 6th at 4:30 pm against number three seeded Otter Valley.

Two teams from Franklin County are still competing in the Division III bracket. Richford stunned the division Tuesday night when they upset the defending state champions. This game was the Falcons’ first win of the season upsetting second-seeded Windsor by 4-3. The Falcons then fell to seven seeded Montpelier by 7-6 in their division quarterfinals.

Enosburg, seeded number one in Division III this year, took out the 16 seed Poultney Devils by a score of 23-0.

Their quarter-final baseball game, at Enosburg on Saturday vs. Thetford Academy, was postponed due to field conditions and is rescheduled to Sunday, June 4th at 12:00 noon. If Enosburg wins, they will play in the D-III semifinals Wednesday, June 7th at home at 4:30 pm against number 5, Peoples.

Softball

MVU’s Lauren Perkins slides into second under a tag from a CVU player on Saturday as the Thunderbirds finished their season as the top ranked softball team in the state. Gregory J. Lamoureux photo

The number one seeded, Division I, Missisquoi Valley Lady Thunderbirds have sailed through the regular season, coming into playoffs with a 15-1 record. The Lady T-Birds will play the Bellows Free Academy Comets in Swanton on Monday, June 5th at 4:30 pm. If the Lady Thunderbirds are successful they will advance to the semi-finals at home on Tuesday, June 6th at 6 pm, against the winner of the Essex vs. Middlebury quarterfinal game.

Bellows Free Academy St. Albans seeded 9th in Division I, eliminated Brattleboro on Tuesday.

Division II Fairfax eliminated Lamoille Union on Tuesday night to earn the second game against Fairhaven Saturday,(weather permitting) at 4:30pm. If they win, the 5th seeded Bullets will play at 6pm on Tuesday, June 6th, at Mt. Abraham Union High School.

The Division III Enosburg girls will play at 4:30 pm in Enosburg on Monday, June 5th. The fourth-seeded Hornets will face fifth-seeded Peoples Academy. If the Hornets win this game, they will play on Tuesday at 4:30pm at home against Oxbow.

Boys Lacrosse

BFA’s Mac Kennedy makes a quick goal Saturday as the Bobwhites trampled Spaulding 16-4. The Bobwhites are currently ranked fourth in the field of a dozen D1 teams. Gregory J. Lamoureux photo

The Bellows Free Academy Bobwhites earned the third seed this spring. They faced the number 6 seed Woodstock Union High School on Friday, winning the game 15-5. The Bobwhites will play again on Tuesday at 4 pm.

Girls Lacrosse

The 5th seed Comets eliminated Spaulding High School on Wednesday afternoon. They were scheduled to play Saturday at Rice Memorial.

Archambault’s Home Run Propels Richford over Enosburg

Richford’s Austin Archambault makes her way to home plate after a home run in the eighth inning. Gregory J. Lamoureux photo

ENOSBURG: A two-run home run by Rebecca Russin in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game, followed up with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning by Austin Archambault propelled the Rockets over Enosburg 15 – 14 on Thursday. Continue reading “Archambault’s Home Run Propels Richford over Enosburg”