Locals Lead Solons and Vikings into Postseason

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MONTPELIER – With local star athletes on their roster, both the Montpelier and Lyndon Institute baseball teams wrapped up their regular seasons last week and will enter the Division II playoffs as title contenders.

Montpelier rode the right arm of Keegan Smith on Tuesday, downing Lyndon 7-1 at home in a divisional heavyweight matchup. Smith fanned 15 Vikings on the afternoon, limiting them to a single hit in the top of the sixth inning. Twinfield-Cabot’s Meles Gouge powered the Solon offense with a pair of hits, an RBI, and three stolen bases. Becket Buckley was three-for-four and drove in a run, Nate Groff smashed a two-run triple, and Gouge’s fellow Trojan senior teammate Sam Russell scored a run and stole a base in the win. Wyatt Mason took the loss for Lyndon and Parker Thomson had their only hit as their three-game winning streak came to an end. Gouge and Solons lost the opportunity to lock up the top seed in the upcoming playoffs on Thursday, losing a slugfest at U-32 16-10. Russell went one-for-three with a pair of RBI and Gouge belted an RBI double in the loss. Nate Groff continued to anchor the cleanup spot with a grand slam to keep the Solons within striking distance. The two teams combined for 21 hits and 7 pitchers used in the game. The Raiders improved to 10-6 and secured the fifth seed in the upcoming playoffs. Gouge and Russell are joined on the Solon roster by Twinfield-Cabot teammates Eli Russell, Thomas Gouge, and Isidore Hochschild. Meles Gouge’s brilliant high school career is coming to an end and will graduate with multiple league honors in baseball for both Danville and Montpelier. He finished up on the pitch this past fall for the Trojans as one of the all-time greats in the boys’ soccer program, earning his third consecutive VT All-State selection with over 60 career goals.

The Vikings bounced back with a decisive 15-5 home win over Spaulding over the weekend to wrap up their regular season with an 11-4 record. Ethan Lussier earned the win, fanning four in four innings of work, while smashing a two-run homer to help his own cause. Logan Wheeler was three-for-four with a pair of triples and Cannon Fillion and Karter Morey combined for four more hits in the win. Danville’s Cooper Calkins, Sebastian Eldred, and Matthew Young are on the Vikings roster, helping the program secure their fifth straight season with double digit wins.

The Vikings hosted Division II defending champion Peoples Academy on Tuesday and if they advance, will square off against the winner of the Hartford/Enosburg matchup on Friday. Montpelier hosted Milton on Tuesday and will likely host the winner of the Harwood/Lake Region matchup on Friday.

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