Local Commentary: Fall Season Coming Quickly - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : sports : regional November 24, 2015

Local Commentary: Fall Season Coming Quickly
Sports Writer

Seen at last Thursday's Vermont Mountaineers-Mystic Schooners baseball game in Montpelier was St. Johnsbury Academy trainer Chris Despins. Chris was on the Mountaineers' bench as trainer, and at one point tended to a nasty looking HBP in which a Mystic player was hit on the leg. It sounded as bad as it looked, but the kid hung in there and after a few minutes in considerable discomfort, limped down to first base.

What a terrific way to spend a summer evening -- taking in a ballgame. David Baker of St. Johnsbury and Gary Santaw of Waterford were there also, and it's always great seeing those guys, true sports fans through and through. It was at the Montpelier Rec Field and, being the last home game of the season, it was a near-capacity crowd cheering hard for the home team. One of 13 teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Mountaineers have culled a solid fan base, if last Thursday's game was any indication. Vermont took a 1-0 playoff series lead into last night's second game of their two-of-three playoff series with North Adams (Mass.).


Closer to home, last weekend's full slate of doings is followed up by Saturday's Melissa Jenkins Memorial 5K road race in Danville. This is more of a fun run-oriented event, unlike the more serious events we saw last Saturday in Franconia's Top Notch triathlon, and in Derby with the Kingdom Triathlon races.

Runners and walkers alike can participate in Saturday's 3.1-mile race, whose proceeds go to the Melissa Jenkins Memorial Scholarship at Danville High School. Registration (7:30 a.m.) and the start of the race (8:30) are both held at Sugar Ridge Campground (24 Old Stagecoach Rd.). In conjunction with the race is another first-time event, the day-long FAIR-well Pike Celebration (10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.), named after the road construction company that's been rebuilding Rt. 2 through the center of town over the past three years. Events include a parade, music, fireworks, food, games, and the friendly folks in Danville as they celebrate their gussied-up downtown area.


It all brings to mind school -- and how some things remain unchanged, i.e. how fast summer goes. Seems like the Danville Indians just a few weeks ago were winning the softball championship down in Proctor, but the fact is, it's only another few weeks before the fall schedules begin. SJA has football scrimmages coming up Aug. 17 at Woodstock and Aug. 24 at Colchester before opening the regular season Aug. 30 in Rutland. The Hilltoppers under first-year coach Rich Alercio play their home opener Sept. 7 with BFA St. Albans.

Look out for the Lyndon Vikings this fall on the gridiron too. They return to D-II play with most of last year's squad intact. It could be an exciting season indeed at Robert K. Lewis Field.


Finally, is anyone else as burned out on the steroids/drug scandals and investigations in big league baseball as I am? This stuff seems to have been going on continuously for the past 5-6 years now. Rightly or wrongly, it's overtaken hits, runs and errors as the focal point of baseball coverage and conversation.

Not in this corner though. There are a lot of great things going on in the game right now. Teams like Cleveland and Kansas City are coming out of the woodwork with their best seasons in years. The Atlanta Braves look positively scary, more so now than Pittsburgh or St. Louis in the National League.

What about the Dodgers, who at last glance had won something like 20 of 25 games? That's similar to the pace Tampa Bay has been playing at too.

Look at the Sox -- after a rare off year in 2012, they're back better than ever. For David Ortiz to be having one of the best years oh his career, at 36, and after the Achilles' heel problems he had -- stuff like that is worth talking about. I know the doping and drugs etc takes up most of the headlines, but it shouldn't have to be that way. Not trying to brush it under the rug, but it's more of a distraction than anything else to people who want to follow THE GAME of baseball.

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