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The Brattleboro 11-12 All-Stars hold up their state championship banner after they defeated Colchester, 13-4, on July 30.

Sports

Little League, Legion teams win state titles

A notice has been served to the rest of Baseball Vermont -- Brattleboro is back on top, and plans on staying there for a long time.

There is so much talent at every level of youth baseball in this town that there will likely be more state championship banners in the coming years.

Last week, Brattleboro Post 5 and the Brattleboro 11-12 Little League All-Stars joined the Brattleboro 13-15 Babe Ruth All-Stars as Vermont champions. That’s an impressive trifecta for a town of 12,000 people.

And it could have four state titles, as the Brattleboro 11-year-old Little League All-Stars also made it to the championship game of their state tournament, but fell short.

Post 5 wins a wild one

• Brattleboro Post 5 won the state Legion title on July 27 at Castleton University in dramatic fashion as they defeated Rutland Post 31, 7-6, in 11 innings.

Winning pitcher and tournament Most Valuable Player Leif Bigelow got the game-winning hit when he laced a bases-loaded single into right field to give Brattleboro its first state Legion title since 1999.

That capped off a wild game where Post 5 took an early 3-0 lead, lost that lead, and then rallied back from a 5-3 deficit in the ninth and a 6-5 deficit in the 11th.

The comeback in the ninth was started by Chayse Cuniff, who led off with a single. Matt Boggio later singled and Kam Pelkey pinch-ran for him. With one out, Chris Lasch appeared to have grounded out into a force play at second, but Pelkey was safe and the inning continued.

Rutland looked like they would escape when pitcher Andy Kenosh got the second out on a fly ball. But Kassidi Ramirez then hit a ground ball between the legs of the Rutland third baseman to score Pelkey on an extremely close play at the plate that tied the game and sent it into extra innings.

Post 31 took back the lead in the top of the 11th when it scratched out a run with on an error, a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk, and a balk.

With the game again in the balance, Post 5 didn’t falter. Tommy Carroll began the bottom of the 11th with a single. Lasch beat out a bunt for an infield single, as Carroll took third. Tanner Bell then tied the game with another single.

Lasch stole third, and Ramirez drew an intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. Against a drawn-in Rutland infield, Bigelow got the hit that gave Post 5 its first state title in 17 years.

On the mound, Bigelow pitched a total of nine innings. He scattered 13 hits, but struck out eight. He threw the first 8 1/3 innings, and was relieved by Ramirez before returning to the mound in the 11th to get the final two outs.

First-year Post 5 coach Alex Libardoni was a shortstop on the 1999 team, and he and most of his teammates on that Post 5 team also played on the Brattleboro Colonels squad that also won the state Division I high school championship that year.

Brattleboro won its first three games in the double-elimination tournament, but lost in extra innings to White River Junction on July 26. Rutland then knocked out White River Junction, 5-4, in extra innings in an early afternoon game on July 27 to earn their date with Post 5 for all the marbles.

Post 5 will now play in the Northeast Regional Tournament, which starts Aug. 3 at Muzzy Field in Bristol, Conn. Brattleboro will face Shrewsbury, Mass., at 9:30 a.m. Bigelow will be the starting pitcher.

Both Post 5 and Bellows Falls Post 37 put several players onto the all-tournament team. Post 37 catcher Ethan Illingworth made the team along Post 5’s Bell at first base, Lasch at second base, Ramirez in the outfield, and Dan Petrie and Matt Dulmaine as utility players.

LL 12s slug Colchester

• Brattleboro made the most of being the host team for the Little League 11-12 state tournament, winning all three of their games at South Main Street Field, including last Saturday’s 13-4 victory in the championship game against Colchester.

“It’s awesome to win it in front of our fans. Playing at home is a real morale booster,” said Brattleboro manager Mike Bingham.

It was even more awesome to watch the display of power by Brattleboro, who made sure there was no doubt about the outcome by hitting six home runs against Colchester.

“There are a lot of good hitters on this team,” said pitcher/center fielder Zinabu McNeice, who hit two of the six homers. “We were all just keeping our eyes on the ball.”

Brattleboro loaded the bases in the first inning, but only got in one run on an RBI single by Caden Wood. The offense then kicked into high gear with a two-run homer by Wood in the second inning as Brattleboro took a 4-0 lead.

In the third, pinch-hitter Alex Carpenter hit the first pitch he saw deep and high and far for a solo home run that landed by the center field batting cage

In the fourth, leadoff hitter McNeice smacked a hard line drive that had just enough elevation to clear the left field fence.

Jack Pattison started the Brattleboro fifth with a home run to center field. In the sixth, Alex Bingham hit a drive off the top of the left field scoreboard for a solo homer, followed by a two-run homer by McNeice to left-center.

Pattison, Bingham, Wood, and McNeice all finished with three hits for Brattleboro.

“I knew that we had a lot of kids that can hit really well, and they were totally locked in today,” said Mike Bingham.

But don’t think that Brattleboro is one-dimensional team of sluggers. They’ve got some pitching too. McNeice gave up two hits, struck out nine and walked two over 3 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching. Once he used up his allotted 85 pitches, Wood came in to finish up; he walked two and gave two hits.

And Brattleboro can play some defense too. Carpenter, playing at third base, turned in the play of the day in the fifth inning when he snagged a line drive off the bat of Leon Roberts, then alertly threw to Pattison at second base to complete a double play.

Now, it’s on to the New England Regional Tournament in Bristol, Conn., where Brattleboro will face Scarborough, Maine in Game 1 on Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. in Bristol, Conn. That game will be shown live on ESPN3.

LL 11s fall to Barre

• The 11-year-old All Stars made it to the final of their state tournament, where they lost to Barre, 15-4, last Friday in Burlington.

Brattleboro took an early 1-0 lead in the game when Alex Palomba scored on an RBI single by Brock Longe.

Longe was the starting pitcher and got into trouble early against the Barre batters. They scored seven unanswered runs to take control of the game for good. Sam Hall relieved Longe and fared no better.

The rest of Brattleboro’s runs came on an RBI single by Hall and a pair of bases-loaded walks.

While the ending was a disappointment, the 11-year-olds have a lot to cheer about. After losing to Barre in the opening game of the double-elimination tournament, they came back to knock out St. Albans and Burlington to force a second and deciding game with Barre.

Many of these players will be making the move to the 12-year-old All-Stars next season. The experience of playing for a state championship will be fresh in their minds, and you can bet they will be hungry.

That is how the baton is passed in Brattleboro and the tradition of baseball excellence is maintained.

Senior bowling round up

Team 10 (45-20) remains in first place after Week 13 of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League. Team 4 (40-25) jumped up into second place, while Team 3 (38-27) took sole possession of third place. Team 6 (37.5-27.5) fell to fourth place, followed by Team 8 (37-28), Team 9 (32.5-32.5), Team 2 (31.5-33.5), Team 5 (28-37), Team 1 (25-40), and Team 11 (18.5-46.5).

Team 6 had the high handicap game (667), while Team 9 had the high handicap series (1,902). Carolle Frizzell had the women’s high handicap game (253) and Sally Perry rolled the high handicap series (624). Fred Bump had the men’s high handicap game (245) and series (656).

None of the women rolled a 200-plus game, or a 500-plus series. while Marty Adams (214) and Jerry Dunham (201) were the only men to crack 200. Five men rolled 500-series: Adams (551), Peter Cross (519), Fred Bump (509), Dunham (505), and Warren Corriveau Sr. (503).

High averages for the women last week were Sonya Shippee (155), Shirley Aiken (153), and Lorraine Taylor (146). Top men’s averages belonged to Fred Ashworth (176), Adams (173), and Dunham (172).

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Originally published in The Commons issue #368 (Wednesday, August 3, 2016). This story appeared on page D4.

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