In American Legion Baseball’s compressed summer season, you can never have too much pitching.
Brattleboro Post 5 has had a successful season so far because of pitching depth. Leif Bigelow, the UConn-bound ace of the staff, is backed by a steady and reliable sextet of pitchers — Tanner Bell, Ben Betz, Adam Newton, Anthony Polumba, Dan Petrie, and Joey Rafus.
With this much good pitching available, Post 5 coach Eric Libardoni has been able to spread out the workload and keep his staff relatively fresh heading into the final days of the season and the start of the state tournament this weekend.
It is also a big reason why Post 5 has moved into first place in the Southern Division, after a week of winning baseball.
Brattleboro has been feasting on the weaker teams in the Southern Division, sweeping a doubleheader, 17-3 and 18-0, over Ludlow on July 14, and pounding Randolph, 17-2, in a five inning mercy-ruled game on July 15.
But on July 18 at Tenney Field, Post 5 found itself in an unexpectedly tight game against Lakes Region. It took a great pitching performance by Bell and the ability to manufacture a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 2-1 Brattleboro victory.
Bell won his fifth game of the season by holding Lakes Region to just one unearned run on six hits. He walked no one and struck out six. Lakes Region’s only run came courtesy of a pair of errors in the third inning.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, Post 5 was trailing, 1-0, as Lake Region pitcher Nate Bathalon kept the Brattleboro bats quiet.
That changed when Tommy Carroll led off the inning with a single to right, his second hit of the game. Adam Newton and Bell followed with bunt singles to load the bases with no outs.
Pinch hitter Hunter Beebe tried to get the tying run in with a bunt, but the ball hit him instead, forcing in the tying run. Jeremy Rounds then got the winning run home with a bases-load walk.
The win clinched a playoff spot for Brattleboro. Another win, a 7-6 decision the following night over White River Junction Post 84, gave Post 5 a firm grip on second place in the division heading into a weekend showdown with Rutland Post 31.
Tyler Millerick was the hero in this game, with a two-run triple in the eighth inning to provide the winning margin. Betz, Chris Frost, Beebe, and Rounds each had two hits apiece and Frost also stole two bases and drove in two runs.
Newton picked up with win in relief of Rafus, with Betz earning a save.
Post 5 then took control of first place from Rutland with a doubleheader sweep at St. Peter’s Field on July 22.
In the first game, Adam Newton struck out 10, walked three, and held Rutland to just three hits for a complete game victory as Brattleboro beat Post 31, 4-1. Millerick had two hits, while Carroll, Betz, Beebe, and Newton all hit safely for Post 5.
Game two took a little more effort, but Brattleboro scored four runs in the seventh inning to beat Rutland, 6-5. Carroll had three hits to lead Post 5, while Frost, Betz, and Millerick added two hits each. Betz and Petrie shared the pitching duties and combined for five strikeouts.
• Bellows Falls Post 37 ended last week’s games knowing it clinched a playoff spot, thanks to taking three games in two days from Lakes Region. But those three wins left Post 37 with a depleted pitching staff going up against Rutland Post 31.
In a five-inning mercy-ruled game at St. Peter’s Field on July 16, Rutland rolled to a 10-0 win. Rex Hill was the losing pitcher, and McGregor Vancor hit a double for Post 37.
Bellows Falls bounced back with a 12-1 road win over Bennington Post 13 on July 19. Starting pitcher Seth Balch got the win, striking out four and allowing three hits over 3 1/3 innings. Jack Brown finished up in relief.
Kendal Heath hit a three-run homer, and Vancor had a 3-for-4 night at the plate. Griff Waryas drove in two runs and Balch, Josh Woods, Darwin Holcombe, and Tucker Wright each drove in a run.
• The state tournament begins this Saturday at Castleton University and St. Peter’s Field in Rutland. At press time, Brattleboro (15-3) led the Southern Division standings, followed by Rutland (14-4), Bellows Falls (13-5) and White River Junction (11-6).
The top four teams qualify for the tournament, and the seedings may change based on the last few games on the schedule.
Little League roundup
• The Brattleboro 11-year-old All-Stars are the only one of the town’s Little League teams to make to the state tournament at Bond Field in Barre.
Brattleboro opened the tournament on July 14 with a 10-0 win over Colchester. Evan Wright struck out seven and pitched a two-hitter to earn the win. He helped his cause with a 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs.
First baseman Sam Bogart added a hit and turned a double play in the third inning. Harper Cutler drove in two runs for Brattleboro, while John Satterfield, Rowan Lonergan, and Gabe Alexander each drove in a run.
Babe Ruth roundup
• The Brattleboro 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars had a rough weekend in the New England Regional Tournament in Norwalk, Conn., losing all three of their pool play games.
On July 20, Brattleboro lost to Norwalk, 13-2. The next two games were more competitive as Brattleboro lost to Plymouth, Mass., 2-1, on July 21 and 11-9 to North Providence, R.I., on July 22.
Senior bowling roundup
• Another week, another flip of the standings. Week 12 of the summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League saw Team 2 (40-20) to move back into first place while Team 3 (36-25) had a 0-5 week to fall into second place. Team 7 (35-24) had a 4-1 week to move into third place, followed by Team 1 (33-27), Team 9 (32-28), Team 8 (31-29), Team 4 (28-32), and Team 6 and Team 5 (both 27-33).
Shirkey Aiken had the women’s high handicap game (231), while Carole Frizzell had the women’s high handicap series (663). Al Dascomb had the men’s high handicap game (247) and series (704). Team 8 had the high team handicap game (858) and series (2,493).
In scratch scoring, Doug Switzer (502), Dascomb (521), and Jerry Dunham (527) each rolled a 500-plus series. Frizzell (201) and Warren Corriveau Sr. (202) were the only bowlers with 200-plus games.
Rec. Dept. hosts youth soccer camp
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Depatment and the Vermont Voltage Soccer Academy will offer a week of Voltage Soccer Camp on Aug. 6 through 10, from 9 a.m. to noon at the West River Park Field on Route 30.
This camp is for all youth ages 5-18. Attention will be given to the instruction of good ball control habits and movement techniques in challenging drills and simulated match situations.
Conditioning methods and training ethics are also stressed to prevent injuries and improve coordination and flexibility. They will also emphasize the development of a positive self-image, mental stimulation, and a sense of respect and sportsmanship among players. Find out more at www.voltagesportsclub.com/Camps.
The cost of the week-long cam is $115 for Brattleboro residents, $105 for a second child. Non-residents add $15. For more information, or there are special needs required for this program, call the Recreation & Parks Department at 802-254-5808.