The Essex Post 91 American Legion team will enter this weekend’s Vermont State Championship tournament at Castleton State College as the No. 1 seed in the north.
Post 91 finished its season on Monday with a loss to Franklin County Post 1. With the No. 1 seed already in hand, Post 91 shifted players to different positions to get more work in before the tournament.
It was the first league game they had lost since July 5 when they lost to OEC Newport 4-3.
They finished the season with an 18-3 record and will play Bellows Falls Post 37 to start the tournament on Thursday at 2 p.m. Bellows Falls finished the season as the No. 4 team in the south.
With a makeshift lineup and defensive alignment, Essex dropped the final game of the season by a 12-2 score to a Franklin County team that had a lot more to play for. Franklin County was playing for the No. 3 seed in the north and got it with the win.
Deagan Poland and Davis Mikell knocked in the runs for Post 91 in Monday’s game.
Post 91 6, K.O.C. South Burlington 4
Josh Baez went 4-for-4 at the plate on Sunday to lead Post 91 offensively. He scored two runs on the day, as Essex won behind a four-run first inning.
Joey Robertson, Hayden Smith, Jacob Gaboriault and Frank Puleo also scored on the day with Elijah Baez knocking in two runs.
James Gaboriault got the win on the mound with a complete game effort, as he scattered seven hits over seven innings with no walks and four strikeouts.
Post 91 13, Franklin County 3
Post 91’s offense exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning, as they took down Franklin County in five innings.
Josh Baez scored three runs in the game with Mikell, Puleo and Elijah Baez each scoring two. Joey Robertson, Elijah Baez and Mikell each knocked in a pair of runs on the day.
Noah Baez got the win on the mound, as he pitched five innings giving up only one earned run while striking out six.
Post 91 11, Addison County 1
With the five-inning victory over Addison County, Post 91 clinched the top seed of the north for the tournament.
Essex posted eight runs in the third inning to walk away with the big victory.
Robertson (two RBIs, one run), Josh Baez (one RBI, two runs), Smith (two RBIs, one run) and Puleo (three runs) all had big days at the plate.
Jacob Benson pitched a gem, as he gave up one unearned run over five innings of work with six strikeouts and no walks to lead Essex to the victory.