The Brattleboro 12-year-old Little League All-Stars took the first step toward a second consecutive state title with a four-game sweep of Bennington in the District 2 playoffs last week.
Brattleboro will now go for a second straight state Little League 12-year-old title. The state tournament begins this weekend in Essex.
After winning Game 1 in a 13-9 slugfest in Bennington on July 8, the series tightened up in Game 2 in Brattleboro on July 9.
Forester Avard was the hero as he went 3-for-3 at the plate and delivered 4 1/3 innings of pitching. Turner Clews and Sam Hall both hit home runs, Sam Henry got two hits, and Cameron Frost, Tristan Evans, Alex Polomba, and Patrick Gagliardi each had a base hit.
Game 3 in Bennington on July 11 featured a no-hitter thrown by Evans as Brattleboro rolled to a 9-0 win. Evans needed just 70 pitches to get the complete-game win; he struck out eight and walked three.
Avard went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, while Devin Speno hit a two-run double and Clews got picked up three hits.
The series shifted back to South Main Street Field on July 13 with Brattleboro poised to wrap up the series in front of their hometown fans. They didn’t disappoint, with a crisply played 4-0 win.
Hall threw a complete-game two-hitter, with nine strikeouts and one walk, to get the victory on an unseasonably cool and overcast July night.
“We didn’t expect pitching to be the strength of this team, but Tristan and Sam stepped up and threw well,” said Brattleboro manager Jeff Henry. “They mixed their pitches and got a lot of outs with their off-speed stuff.”
Gagliardi hit a two-out RBI double in the second inning for Brattleboro’s run. The other runs came in the fourth. Pinch-hitter Tucker Sargent hit a solo home run, Frost singled and scored on a Sam Henry double. Henry later scored on a passed ball for a 4-0 lead.
“We hit just enough,” said Henry. “Give credit to Landon Davis (the losing pitcher), he made it hard for us.”
LL 10-year-olds fall just short
• It took a two-out, two-run, walk-off single by Hunter Sherwin to do it, but the Brattleboro 10-year-olds forced Bennington to the limit in their five-game District 2 playoff before Sherwin’s blow gave Bennington a 6-5 victory on July 15.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Bennington trailed Brattleboro by one run. Bryce Tienken led off and got his first hit with a single. Steven Collette walked to put two on with no one out. Colin Brady hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out. After both runners moved up on a passed ball, Sean Moriarty struck out to put Bennington to the brink.
Sherwin came up and, with his team down to its final strike, hit the ball back up the middle into center field. Collette and Brady raced home and won the game and the district title.
This series was close throughout. In Game 2 on July 9, Brattleboro’s Harper Cutler pitched into the fourth inning and went 2-for-3 and scored two runs in a 16-6 win over Bennington.
Sam Bogart also got two hits and scored three runs, while leadoff hitter John Satterfield scored three times. Keagan Systo, Gabe Alexander, Zach Corbeil, and Mason North also contributed base hits, and Hayden Avard hit an RBI single.
Game 3 saw visiting team Bennington win a 12-10 slugfest on July 11, but not before surviving a late Brattleboro rally. Trailing 9-1 in the top of the third inning, Brattleboro scored nine runs over the next three innings to make the visitors sweat a little. Bogart got two more hits, while Harper Cutler and Systo got some clutch hits. Evan Wright, Avard, and North split the pitching duties.
Game 4 in Bennington on July 13 saw Brattleboro win, 12-9.
Wright, Cutler, and Systo were the heroes. Wright had three hits and scored twice. Cutler, the starting pitcher, had two hits including an RBI double. He also pitched into the fourth inning. Systo went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and pitched the final two innings.
Bogart got a hit, walked twice, and scored a run while Satterfield, Avard, North, and Corbeil also had hits for Brattleboro. Bennington’s team was down early but did not give up. Leadoff hitter CF Sean Moriarty had two hits and three runs scored. He hit a long triple in the fourth inning that was the first of four two-out runs. Sherwin continued to star in the series, as he scored two runs and hit an RBI single.
Bennington now advances to the 10-year-old state championship, which begins this Saturday in Hartford.
• This is the last week of the American Legion baseball regular season and both Brattleboro Post 5 and Bellows Falls Post 37 will be going to the state tournament.
At 13-7, Bellows Falls clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the Southern Division with three games to play.
On July 12, Post 37’s top two pitchers, Kendal Heath and Brady Illingworth combined to shut out Brattleboro Post 5, 1-0, at Hadley Field.
The next night, Bellows Falls rolled past Bennington Post 13 in a 11-1 win in five innings. Seth Balch was the winning pitcher for Post 37. He gave up a run on three hits in the first inning, then shut out Post 13 the rest of the way. He finished with a six-hitter, striking out eight and walking one.
BF was also held to six hits, but they took advantage of 11 walks and several errors. That’s how they scored a total of 10 runs in the third and fourth innings on just three hits.
Post 37 had a chance to move up in the standings, but Rutland Post 31 swept a doubleheader from Randolph on July 15 and then swept Bennington on July 16, while BF split a doubleheader at Lakes Region on July 15. That left Rutland firmly in control of the second spot.
• Brattleboro had a chance to wrap up the top seed in the Southern Division, but a lack of offense spoiled two good pitching performances in a pair of 1-0 losses to Bellows Falls and Rutland Post 31.
Leif Bigelow faced Post 37 on July 12 and held them to just three hits. The only run he gave was unearned and came in the sixth inning. Alex Groenewold reached base on an error, moved up to second on a Zach Streeter sacrifice bunt, moved to to third on a Brady Illingworth ground out, and scored on an error on a ball that was hit by Kyle Weeks.
Post 5 twice got a baserunner to third base, but was unable to get the timely hit to score them. They were held to a total of just two hits.
The offensive woes continued on June 13 with the 1-0 loss at Tenney Field to Rutland.
Post 31 pitcher Brayden Shannon threw a one-hitter to get the win. Chayse Cunniff was the losing pitcher for Post 5.
The only run of the game was in the third inning, when Reece de Castro doubled, took third on a Payson Williams groundout, and scored on a passed ball.
White River Junction, the hosts for the state tournament later this week, clinched the No. 1 seed in the Southern Division with a doubleheader sweep of Post 5 on July 16. Brattleboro finished its week at 13-5 and controls the No. 3 spot.
Dana prepares for world championships
• Paralympian Alicia Dana of Putney was named to the U.S. women’s team that will be competing at the 2017 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Para-cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, from Aug. 31-Sept. 3.
The U.S. team is comprised of 12 males and 10 females. In addition to Dana, it includes 15 other Paralympians and three returning road world champions.
Since returning to competition six years ago, the 48-year-old Dana has been on the U.S. squads for the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games, winning a silver medal last year in Rio.
In the UCI world championships, Dana has six medals. In 2015, she won a pair of silvers in the time trial and road race events. She is currently ranked No. 3 in the world in UCI’s Women Elite H3 division.
Dana is heading into this year’s championships on a high note, winning a gold medal in a time trial event in the Netherlands on June 30, the final stop on this year’s UCI World Cup tour before the championships in South Africa.
Landmark College gets a new athletic field
• Landmark College recently completed construction of Charles Drake Field, a regulation-size soccer and lacrosse field located on Charles Drake Lane just off River Road South in Putney.
The artificial turf field is composed of a natural, environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art infill material, allowing games to be played over an extended period, from early spring through early winter.
The new field is named for Dr. Charles Drake, the founder of Landmark College and a Harvard-trained educator. Drake had severe dyslexia, and his mission was to establish a college that would meet the needs of students like him. Today, Landmark College serves students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, as well as students with ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.
More than $1.5 million was raised to support the creation of the field and, now that the field is done, the college has begun construction on a nearby field house that should be completed later this summer. It will include locker rooms, restrooms, and a concession stand. Bleachers are currently being installed.
It is the first turf field of its kind in Windham County, and the college says the field will be available for rental by area soccer and lacrosse teams, schools, and community groups. For rental information, contact Steve Stanley, Landmark College’s director of athletics, fitness, and recreation, at 802-387-6786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 11 of the spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League saw Team 4 (42-13) in first place with a seven-game lead on Team 8 (35-20) after Team 4 went 5-0 and Team 8 went 0-5 for the week. Team 5 (29-26) is in sole possession of third, followed by Team 1 (26-29), Team 3 (25-30), Team 2 and Team 7 (both 23-32), and Team 6 (17-38).
Lois Pease (250) had the women’s high handicap game and series (655), while Marty Adams had the men’s high handicap game (275) and series (721). Team 4 had the high team handicap game (944) and series (2,591).
Adams (654) rolled a 600-plus series, with a pair of 200-plus games (246, 209). Warren Corriveau Sr. (519), Duane Schillemat (551), and Jerry Dunham (542) also rolled a 500-plus series.