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Strong pitching leads to fourth state championship

MIDDLEBURY It is an age old formula for success in baseball: develop superb pitching and then ride your arms all the way to the title. Thats exactly what the Mount Abraham Eagles did in the Division II baseball tournament. The Eagles received back-to-back shutouts in the semifinals and finals to win their forth state championship in the past seven years. In order to advance to Fridays state championship game, the Eagles had to get past the Milton Yellow Jackets last Wednesday. They did just that behind the arm of Craig Lutton. Lutton threw a complete game, four-hit shutout as the Eagles eliminated Milton 2-0. Lutton recorded seven strikeouts in his impressive big-game outing. Offensively, Kyle Kayhart set the pace for Mount Abe with a solo homerun and a single. Dean Butler drove in the Eagles second run with a base hit, and Lutton bagged a double to add to his mound performance. Corey Hurley had two hits for Milton while Matt Goulet took the loss on the mound. Milton ended their season one game above five hundred at 10-9. That put the Eagles in the state championship game last Friday against the Lyndon Vikings. For the first six innings, Eagle starter Ben Orvis and Viking starter Buddy Lamothe were hooked up in a scoreless pitching duel. Then, the Eagles took advantage of some Viking errors in the top of the seventh to bring home the title. Orvis walked and stole to lead off the inning. Andrew Jesdale then tried to sacrifice him to third with a bunt. Instead of going to first for the sure out on the play, Lyndon tried to cut Orvis down as he headed to third. But the throw was off and got past Viking third baseman Patrick Hilton, and Orvis raced home, making it 1-0 Eagles. They added an insurance run when Kevin Labas reached first on a fielders choice, stole second and scored on yet another Viking throwing error. Will Manley then came on in the seventh to relieve Orvis and retired the Vikings without allowing a run, and just like that Mount Abraham had another 2-0 win, and were the 2008 division II state champions. Lyndon closed out their season at 16-3. Redhawks eliminate Tigers The Champlain Valley Union High School boys lacrosse team earned their third straight trip to the Division I state championship game, and their fourth appearance in the past five years by eliminating the Middlebury Tigers 9-7 in the semifinals last Wednesday in Hinesburg. Junior attacker Sam Spencer scored three times to earn a hat trick and lead the Redhawks. Junior Tim Reichert and sophomore Nick Hart scored added a pair of goals each with Owen Smith contributing a single goal to the win. Jared Boudreau supported the Redhawks offense with two assists, while their freshman goalie preserved the huge win with a dozen saves. The third seeded Tigers, who finished their season at 12-6, were led by Asa Sargent with three goals. Ben Almquist, Bill Audet, Lance Robinson and Nate Lawson all added single goals to complete Middleburys scoring. Jody Conant and Ross Lengyel shared net duty and yielded six saves for the Tigers who ended their 2008 season at 12-6. Tigers are state champions again For the eighth time in eleven years, the Middlebury Tigers are the Division I state champions of girls lacrosse, defeating the top seeded Mount Mansfield Cougars 10-5 in the finals last Friday at Burlingtons Buck Hard Field. The road to Fridays division I state championship game was an exciting one for the Tigers. With just a minute left in the semifinals in Rutland, the third seeded Tigers were up by a single goal, when the Raiders launched three shots on goal. Tiger goalie Laura Barber (seven saves) was up to the challenge and stopped all three, preserving the 9-8 win for the Tigers and securing their spot in the state championship game. Joey Kelly led Middleburys offense with four goals and freshman Katie Ritter added two more, including the game winner with 1:57 remaining. Ashley Boucher had five goals and two assists to pace Rutland. In Fridays finals, the Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead and behind a solid defense cruised to a 10-5 win and their newest state title. Ritter scored the hat trick to lead Midlleburys offense, with fellow freshman Liz Kelley contributing two more. Kelley Johanna added a goal and an assist while Lauren Higgins, Liza Perrin and Abby Scholten all scored once to complete the Tiger scoring. Barber was again magnificent in the net, making fourteen saves in the championship game. The Tigers ended their championship season with fifteen wins and just four losses. The Cougars ended at 17-2, with both losses being delivered by the Tigers. Lake Monsters 2008 season begins As the Vermont Lake Monsters opened three days of workouts at historic Centennial Field last Saturday, the team released the names of the first 29 players on the 2008 roster. Of the 29 players on the roster, 24 were acquired by the Washington Nationals through the Draft including 13 picks from the 2008 Draft earlier this month. Eight other Lake Monsters were 2007 Draft picks, while the team also includes two 2006 draft picks and one 2005 pick. The 2008 Lake Monsters will begin the season with seven players with previous experience in Vermont. Returning from last season are outfielders Garrett Bass, Stephen Englund and Jake Dugger (who was on the Lake Monsters roster at the start of 2007 season but never played due to injury), along with pitcher Randy Matias. Infielder Robby Jacobsen was a member of the Lake Monsters near the end of the 2006 season, while two other players return to Vermont as pitchers after previous playing for the Lake Monsters as a position player. Ryan DeLaughter was an outfielder for the Lake Monsters during the 2006 season and the beginning of the 2007 season before heading to the Gulf Coast League to convert to a pitcher. Johan Figuereo spent time with Vermont at the end of the 2006 season as an infielder, then missed the entire 2007 season before returning in 2008 as a pitcher. Among the 2008 Draft picks with the Lake Monsters to begin the season are pitcher Ricardo Pecina (8th round out of the University of San Diego), pitcher Will Atwood (12th round out of the University of San Diego), infielder Tyler Moore (16th round out of Mississippi State), infielder Jose Lozada (17th round out of Bethune-Cookman) and Michael Guerrero (21st round out of the University of Mississippi). This year's squad also includes three top 10 draft picks from 2007 in infielder Steven Souza, catcher Derek Norris and pitcher P.J. Dean. The Lake Monsters practiced last from Sunday 12-4 and then again on Monday beginning at 7 p.m. They then opened the 2008 season at historic Centennial Field on Tuesday night against the Oneonta Tigers at 7:05 p.m.

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