By Tris Wykes
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – There was some thought Thursday that the always-active rivalry between Hartford High and neighboring Windsor might keep the schools’ first baseball battle of the season close. The Hurricanes, however, had different plans.
The hosts used a seven-run second inning to surge to a 16-3 defeat of the Yellowjackets and improve to 10-0 this spring. Hartford junior Colin Vielleux pitched all five innings, allowing four hits and three runs, two of them earned. The righthander struck out 10 Yellowjackets while walking only one and hitting two at the Maxfield Sports Complex.
“We knew they were a good-hitting ball club and we tried to pitch to contact,” said Windsor coach Jamie Richardson, whose 3-7 team gets a rematch with Hartford on Wednesday. “But when you can’t get ahead, they’re going to pound the ball on those 1-0 and 2-0 counts. When you walk a few guys and mix in some hits and errors, that’s a problem.”
Hartford’s 14 hits included four by Vielleux and two each by Danny Bushway, Cam Tucker, Drew Martin and Zach Johnson. The latter, a freshman shortstop batting in the No. 9 slot, had a single and a double.
“That’s the best we’ve swung the bat all season,” said Hartford interim coach Kris Keelty. “We’ve been having games where we have more runs that hits, but tonight we just pounded the ball.”
Senior Alex Bushway, who played third base Thursday, is another pitching ace and he and Vielleux make for a potent duo.
“He and Alex and 1A and 1B in my mind,” Keelty said. “I’ll be perfectly confident throwing either when we get to the playoffs in a couple of weeks.
“Colin gave up a few hits tonight but he settled down and kept the ball low and away, which is a hard place for high school hitters, ours included.”
Hartford last won a state title in 2009 but this year’s Hurricanes might snap that drought.
“We have as good a shot as anyone in DII,” Keelty said. “We were one of the few teams to bring back our top two pitchers (from 2019) and they’ve bailed us out.
“In the tournament, we can go pitcher for pitcher with anyone. It’s the offense that’s the question.”
Windsor’s Adam Dufour had two of his team’s hits. Starting pitcher Cooper Bemis, a senior, allowed four hits and six runs, five of them earned, during a 1 1/3 inning outing. He struck out no Hurricanes and walked two before giving way to Dufour, who allowed seven hits and five runs, only one of them earned, in 1 2/3 innings of work.
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