Wildcats Limp into Playoffs

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ORLEANS – The Hazen Union baseball team’s offensive struggles continued last week as they wrapped up the regular season at 4-12 with losses to Lake Region and Harwood.

Jonathan Piers struck out 11 Wildcats in a complete game effort to power Lake Region to a 7-3 home win last Thursday. Senior Andrew Menard helped Hazen jump out to an early 2-0 lead after the first with a two-for-four effort on the day, but the Wildcats left the bases loaded to end the inning.

Up 3-2 in the second, the visitors were knocking on the door again with runners on second and third with one out but couldn’t get the timely hit to break the game open.

Craftsbury Academy sophomore Grayson McNaughten took the loss on the mound, striking out eight and walking six.

Senior Jake Davison had a hit and an RBI for Hazen, and McNaughten, Jake Hayden, and Landon Miller added a hit apiece in the loss.

Cam Griffin led the Ranger offense with three hits and Gabe Gardner and Carlos Martinez combined to drive in six runs. Piers helped his own cause with a pair of hits and two stolen bases.

Lake Region finished up the regular season at 6-9 and traveled to Harwood on Tuesday to open the first round of the Division II playoffs.

“We had a chance to secure that game, but not capitalizing on our scoring chances early, defensive errors, and base running mistakes didn’t help the cause. I see improvements every game and we are getting better as a team, but we just need to clear some hurdles and sure up some positions to get dialed in for the playoffs,” said head coach Shaun Allen.

Matt Fiaschetti kept the Wildcat offense silent on Friday, scattering three hits and striking out eight to lead Harwood to a 6-0 road win on Senior Night.

Menard took the loss for Hazen, striking out six and walking a pair. Menard, Davison, Dan des Groseilliers, Fenton Meyer and Eliot Rosendahl were all honored before the game for their outstanding high school careers.

Hazen alum and longtime coach Joey Rivard was also honored, as this will be his last season with the Wildcat program.

Logan Hoffman and Jackson Palermo powered the Harwood offense, wrapping up their regular season at 9-7 and five straight wins.

“Harwood is a good team, but we still can beat a team like that when we put it all together, and I really wanted the win for these guys on Senior Night. Their pitcher did a good job mixing speeds and kept us guessing. We need to approach the playoffs one out at a time and then on to the next one. I’m sure Richford is going to come out swinging the bats, so we have to go up there and match them,” said Allen.

The Wildcats travel to seventh-seeded Richford on Wednesday to open the Division III playoffs. If they pull off the upset, they will likely be traveling to third-seeded Woodstock on Friday.

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