Given a bit of cooperation with the weather, three of the four high school softball seasons will conclude with state championships in Poultney this weekend.
Due to the oft-postponed Missisquoi-Mount Anthony quarterfinal now scheduled for Saturday, the Division I championship won’t be resolved until Tuesday. Friday, Division II is on tap; Division III is Saturday; followed by the D-III game Sunday afternoon.
No. 1 BFA-Fairfax (18-0) vs. No. 3 Vergennes (15-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday — The Bullets are seeking the perfect end to a perfect season as well as a successful defense of their 2012 championship. The Commodores captured their only title in 1976.
“As we look back on last year’s state title, that was a pleasant surprise,” said Fairfax coach Geri Witelac. “Everyone knew that through a combination of senior leadership and new talent, in the future a couple of state championships could be in the making. Winning last year in our first year in Division 2 was a surprise.”
This season, Witelac said, the Bullets have played with the intent of showing the 2012 title wasn’t a fluke. Through combination of depth and versatility, Fairfax has surged through an unblemished season. A large part of that success has been due to Mathieu, who struck out 14 as a freshman in last year’s championship win.
Of Vergennes, Witelac said, “Mike Sullivan is a fantastic coach and he’s really turned that program around. I coached against him for years during my Colchester days. He’s got them on the brink of becoming a Division II contender every year.
“Their kids know the game, they have a great pitcher in Emilee Trudo and they hit the ball well,” said Witelac.
If the semifinals were indicators, this championship should be a tight pitchers’ duel.
Fairfax eliminated No. 4 Harwood, 8-0, in the semifinals behind the eight-strikeout pitching of Mathieu, who also tripled in a run. Kayla Nester swatted a two-run homer for the Bullets.
Trudo pitched Vergennes into the final with a two-hit, eight-strikeout performance against second-seeded Lyndon, beating the Vikings 4-0. Trudo also singled two runs in.
No. 1 Leland & Gray (15-3) vs. No. 6 Oxbow (13-5) 4:30 p.m. Sunday — Leland & Gray has the opportunity to do something no Rebels’ softball team has accomplished: win a state championship.
L&G has appeared in only one state championship, losing the D-3 in 1991. This year, the Rebels ousted Randolph 3-1 in the semifinals as Elizabeth Symanski struck out eight and yielded six hits. Kelsey Bruder delivered a decisive two-run double.
The Olympians advanced to the final after outlasting Enosburg in eight innings Thursday. Kasie Craig provided the winning hit in the ninth inning in Oxbow’s rally.
Oxbow has plenty of championship trophies with five in six title game appearances, including a 1-1 record in Division III finales. The Olympians earned their last title in 1996.
No. 4 West Rutland (14-4) vs. No. 7 Danville (12-7), 1 p.m. Saturday — It has been 30 years since West Rutland has celebrated a softball state championship and the Golden Horde earned the shot at this year’s title with a stunning rally against No. 8 Twinfield, which had upset No. 1 Whitcomb in the quarters.
Trailing 8-3 going to the bottom of the seventh of its semifinal against the Trojans, West Rutland scored six times with Taylor Raiche driving in the winning run.
Danville will be going for its first championship since 2001. Kaylin Zangla struck out a dozen in the 4-3 semifinal win over No. 3 Black River.