Arms race: CVU pitching staff set for D-I playoffs

Photo by Al Frey
CVU’s Kyle Rivers pitched a shutout 10-0 Tuesday in the first game of the spring playoffs. More coverage of the Redhawks’ postseason on pages 7-9.

No matter what, during the high school baseball playoffs, someone runs into a pitching problem.

Maybe it’s the weather wreaking havoc on the schedule, or a tough opponent pushing a pitcher past his pitch limit, a team will have to juggle to get its best throwers on the mound.

Champlain Valley Union probably won’t have to worry about that this season.

“I have four or five guys that I can go to on any given day,” CVU coach Tim Albertson said. “We’ve got three seniors who have done a great job all year.”

The top-seeded Redhawks have one of the deepest staffs in Division I this season and have needed every bit of it to get to a 15-1 record.

And on Tuesday senior Kyle Rivers ran the game pitching a 10-0 shutout against Mount Anthony. The Redhawks next take on No. 8 St. Johnsbury at home on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

“We’ve had 16 games to prepare,” said senior Hank Caswell. “We know what we do wrong and we know what we do well, if we just capitalize on the things we do well and attack our opponents’ weaknesses, we should do well.”

Seniors Liam Reiner, Kyle Rivers and Caswell have taken the bulk of the pitches for CVU this season so far, all three providing a ton of experience on the mound.

“They have worked hard for that,” Albertson said of his seniors’ performances. “They have dedicated themselves to it.”

The three starters have handed the ball off to relief pitchers Ian Parent and Cale Bombardier, who both shut the door in the later innings. After that, with five other players with some pitching experience this season, the Redhawks have plenty of options.

“We have some power arms, then we have guys who can be crafty to get guys out,” Reiner said. “It’s just fantastic to see the depth of pitching that we have. Most teams have one ace, we have three aces.”

On top of the team’s strong pitching, the group has played solid defense all season and has gotten the bats going as the season has progressed, resulting in a very well-rounded group.

“As the temperature has gotten warmer, the bats have gotten warmer,” Albertson said. “It’s just been nice to see these guys come out and perform. I am really excited to see what these guys can do.”

With such depth and experience on the squad this year, the Redhawks have their sights set squarely on finishing the season at Centennial Field and fighting for the program’s first Division I title since 2013.

“I am looking forward to dog-piling on the mound and hoisting that trophy up for the fans,” Reiner said. “I wouldn’t say its ‘championship-or-bust’ but it’s certainly our top goal and it is certainly achievable for us.”

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