LYNDON CENTER >> Strong pitching led by Eamonn McCabe (St. Johnsbury) and Andrew Bortnick (Champlain Valley), and an excellent two-way effort by Codi Smith (Hartford) gave Vermont a 3-2 win over New Hampshire in the second game of the 2016 Twin State Baseball Classic Saturday afternoon at Lyndon State College's Skip Pound Field.
New Hampshire scored twice in its last at bat to come from behind to take the opener, 6-5. It is the second straight year the two states split the twinbill, all one-run contests, in the series that resumed after an absence of more than a decade.
In the twinbill, Smith, named the Vermont MVP in the classic, went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. He opened the scoring in the nightcap and then closed out the one-run game on the mound with the save.
In Game 2, Smith singled and came around on an infield out to give Vermont an early 1-0 lead. The Green Mountain State went up 3-0 with two more in the fourth. With two down, Eli Baez (Essex) and Bortnick singled with Baez scoring on a third straight single by Sam Mikell (Champlain Valley). Smith's infield grounder went for an error to allow the third run to come home.
New Hampshire made it 3-1 in the fourth with an unearned run off Bortnick, driven in on an infield ground out by Caleb Drouin (Belmont). Cole Cruz (Sunapee), who went 2-for-3 in Game 2, singled home Kyle Shaw (Campbell) to bring the Granite State within one, 3-2, in the top of the sixth. With one out in the seventh, New Hampshire's Tyler Brown (Littleton) walked and one out later went to second on a hard single to center by James Salta (Laconia). Smith came in with the go-ahead runs on base to retire Kyle Shaw (Campbell) on a grounder to first for the save.
McCabe, who hurled three scoreless innings, allowed one hit and a walk while strking out three to earn the victory. Bortnick followed him for the next two frames and struck out four, allowing just the unearned run in the fourth.
In the opener, New Hampshire had a 2-1 lead through three on RBIs by Drouin and Cruz before Vermont scored three times in the top of the fourth. Jason Chrisman doubled with one out and was followed by three straight run-scoring singles by Henry Cunningham (South Burlington), Baez and Smith to go up 4-2.
New Hampshire tied it in its half of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Drouin and a two-out RBI single by James Salta.
In the sixth, Smith walked with one out, stole second and came in on a two-out RBI single by Matt Page (Blue Mountain) to put Vermont on top 5-4. Hew Hampshire rallied again to take the lead on a two-run double by Cruz with two outs in its half of the sixth. Vermont had its first two hitters reach in the seventh, but Brown put away the next three to seal the 6-5 win.
Brown picked up the win for New Hampshire and Ben Sykes (North Country) took the loss. Cruz, named the Granite State MVP, went 2-for-2 in Game 1 with a walk and the two runs driven in and wrapped up the twinbill 4-for-5 with three of New Hampshire's nine stolen bases
Mark Connor (BFA St. Albans) went 2-for-2 at the plate while Smith and Chrisman each singled and doubled in three trips as Vermont had 10 hits in the opener.
Sam Ognenoff (Brattleboro) and Zach Streeter (Bellows Falls) represented this area on the Vermont team. Bob Lockerby (Bellows Falls) was an assistant coach for the Green Mountain Boys.