Lions win CSLL championship; complete undefeated season
ATHOL—The Lions sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs in the top of the third inning en route to their championship win over V.F.W. 17-4 Thursday. The game went four innings due to the mercy rule of one team being up 10 or more runs after four innings. The Lions completed the season undefeated.
The Lions had 11 walks in the top of the third inning. Riley Young started the inning off with a triple to right field followed by a single by Morgan Softic that scored Young, putting the Lions up 7-1 at the time. Robert LaFosse and Matthew Vitello both walked. V.F.W. pitcher Stephen Mack then forced a ground out and a strikeout for two outs in the inning.
V.F.W. then walked eight batters in a row across three different pitchers. Deavin McGivern, David Johnson, David Vitello, Young, Softic and Brayden Gates all walked and scored to put the Lions up 16-1. Colin Mundell, Jacob Knowles and Connor Mahony had walked as well to keep the bases loaded, but V.F.W. pitcher Dillon Laffond got McGivern to swing at strike three to end the top half of the inning.
V.F.W. fought back in the bottom half of the inning. Mack tripled to right field on a full count followed by a walk and stolen base by Jaxon Haggett which put runners in scoring position. Jenna Bonenfant doubled to right field to score Mack and Haggett, trimming the lead to 16-3. Aedan Erickson made first on a wild throw that scored Bonenfant to make it 16-4.
An RBI double by Young put the Lions up 17-4 in the top of the fourth.
The Lions had scored four runs in the second inning as well. Matthew Vitello reached first on an error by the first basemen and made his way to third on an errant throw by the second baseman trying to get Knowles out at first. Mahony hit a ball back to the pitcher Mack, which hit him in the leg. Mack tried making the throw to first but Mahony was safe regardless of the throw. On the play however, Vitello scored from third and Knowles was not far behind him as he scored to put the Lions up 4-1. With runners in scoring position, Johnson hit a well placed ball between the pitcher and first base, forcing Mack to go to first with the ball, scoring Mahony from third and McGivern from second for the 6-1 lead.
The Lions put up two runs in the first when a pitch hit Johnson with the bases loaded and a wild pitch scored Mahony from third.
The Lions added a run in the bottom of the first when Holden Girouard hit a ball to short left that scored Bonenfant from third.
McGivern went the distance for the Lions on the mound, allowing four runs on five hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Mack started the game for V.F.W., pitching 2.2 innings. Erickson came in and pitched to one batter and was relieved by Laffond, who got the final out of the third inning.
Haggett pitched a successful fourth inning for V.F.W. allowing only one run on one hit and one walk while striking out two. Haggett had never pitched before.
For the Lions, Mahony went 1-2 with a single, two walks and two runs. Young went 2-3 with a triple and a double along with two runs and two RBI. Gates had two walks and a run and RBI while Mundell added a walk as well.
Hunter Smith went 1-2 with a double while Bradley Warner was hit by a pitch. Cooper Smith and Trevor Bullock had strong at-bats for V.F.W. as well.