The Brattleboro All-Stars reached the finals of the Vermont 11-12 Little League Baseball Championship at Legion Field in St. Johnsbury, but fell short to South Burlington, 12-4, on Aug. 1.
On July 31, Brattleboro beat Northwest, 7-2, to win the elimination bracket and advance into the finals.
Brattleboro pulled away from Northwest in the fourth inning on a three-run homer by Tyler Millerick. Alex Lier pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts to get the win.
Waiting for Brattleboro was undefeated South Burlington. Brattleboro had already lost to South Burlington, 12-7, on July 26 so, to win this double-elimination tournament, Brattleboro had to beat South Burlington twice.
It was an uphill battle from the start, as South Burlington is loaded with power hitters to go with a deep pitching staff.
Shane Cyr gave Brattleboro the early lead with a two-run homer in the first inning, but South Burlington then took the lead to stay in the bottom half of the first inning by scoring three runs, and stretched the lead to 10-2 after three innings.
Winning pitcher Noah Antonucci held Brattleboro to just six hits and struck out eight batters. At the plate, he helped his cause with two hits and a pair of walks. Seamus McGrath drove in three runs and Mason DeKlesch had four RBIs as both players had three hits.
Henry Thurber also hit a solo home run for Brattleboro in his last Little League at-bat. Millerick was the losing pitcher.
While Brattleboro didn’t prevail, the Little Leaguers did their best in a summer full of accomplishment for youth baseball in this town. From Small Fry to Legion, there is a long tradition of baseball excellence in Brattleboro. That tradition makes this town heaven for baseball fans, as well as for the players.
Perhaps the best development this year was the creation of Brattleboro Baseball Basics, or B3 for short. B3 ran a baseball camp over the winter, and organized pickup games and clinics throughout the spring.
When I asked Hal Lier, who helped start B3, how much impact the camp and the pickup games had, he told me that it was hard to measure, but “more baseball and more skills training makes better players. The mission of B3 was to give kids the ‘time on task’ that generations before them cultivated through pickup neighborhood baseball. We’ve succeeded in this mission in our first year.”
He added that this fall “we’ll assess the program and plan the programs for this coming winter and spring.”
Vermont loses again in Shrine game
• The outcome of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has become as inevitable as death and taxes. Since 2000, the high school football all-stars from New Hampshire have beaten their Vermont counterparts every year.
This year, however, at Castleton University, Vermont fans got a glimmer of hope. After three quarters, Vermont had a slim lead. It was erased on the first play of the fourth quarter, a 40-yard hook-and-ladder play from Kyle Gaudet to Dennis Bishop, that gave the Granite Staters a 15-12 lead.
New Hampshire went on to win, 27-12. Instead of ending a long losing streak, for the 15th straight summer, Vermont was on the losing end in this game. New Hampshire has a 47-13-2 lead in the series.
The Granite Staters generally win with their running game, This year, the Vermonters shut it down. So, the Granite Staters took to the air, and gained 325 yards and three touchdowns in the process.
Gaudet was the star of the game, with five catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns, including a 90-yard reception that was the longest pass play in Shrine game history.
Vermont stayed on the ground in the first half and got a rushing touchdown from Austin Robinson. Their other score came on a 34-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Phillip.
Bellows Falls running back Carson Fullam was the lone local representative to the Vermont Shrine team. He saw limited action in the game, but for players on both sides of the river, just being selected for the team is a big honor.
While the Vermonters lost again, that the Shrine game was a lot closer than it has been in recent years offers some hope that maybe, one of these years, the Green Mountain boys might win one.
Our Place hosts 5K for Food race
• Our Place Drop-In Center is hosting a 5K race and walk to benefit its food programs Saturday, Aug. 15, at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River.
The 5K for Food will get under way at 9 a.m. over the trails at VA and will include a cool route through the woods, perfect for an August day. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Chivers Center on Shepard Lane. The registration fee is $15, with a maximum of $30 per family.
The event will raise money to help stock the shelves at Our Place, which serves approximately 175 local families a month. Donations of non-perishable food will also be accepted at the 5K. Further information is available by contacting Our Place at 802-463-2217, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
Rec. Dept. hosts Vermont Voltage soccer camp
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Dept. and Vermont Voltage Soccer Academy will be offering a week of Voltage Soccer Camp on Aug. 10-14, 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 the young athlete’s coordination and flexibility. They also stress the development of a positive self-image, mental stimulation and a sense of respect and sportsmanship among players.
The cost is $115 for Brattleboro residents, and $130 for non-residents. For more information, or if there are special needs required for this program, call the Recreation & Parks Department at 802-254-5808.
Bears on the prowl
• The black bear population is surging in Vermont. According to Vermont’s chief game warden, Jason Batchelder, there are now about 6,000 black bears in the state, or about double the number that there were in the mid-1990s.
“Vermont’s wardens are responding almost daily to events involving bears in search of easy calories,” Batchelder said in a recent news release.
The rest of New England is seeing a similar increase in bears, and in reports of bears running amok. There are now 47,000 black bears in the six states. Even tiny Rhode Island has 10 bears roaming the state.
“A healthy population of bears is proof that a state has done a pretty decent job of protecting its wilderness,’’ Forrest Hammond, lead bear biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Department, told The Boston Globe recently. “To see a bear on its natural ground is to experience the real thrill and glory of the wild.”
However, Hammond told the Globe that bear fatigue is setting in.
“For years, the public has been saying it wants more bears. But now people are saying maybe enough is enough, and the bear population needs to stabilize.”
Garbage cans, compost bins, bee hives, chicken coops, and bird feeders are among the favorite targets of bear raids. Fish & Wildlife reminds Vermonters that state law requires residents to take reasonable measures to protect their property from bears before lethal force can be taken.
Some of these measures include keeping chickens and honeybees secure within an electric fence or other bear-proof enclosure, feeding pets indoors, and storing trash in a secure place. You can find more advice on living with bears at www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
Hole-in-one for Durante
• Mick Durante of the Brattleboro Country Club scored a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at Tater Hill Golf Club in Windham on July 17. His playing partners were Bill Pelz-Walsh, Joe Pumilia and Jim Woodberry.