It was a wild roller coaster ride for the Brattleboro 11-12 Little League All Stars in their best-of-seven District 2 tournament against Bennington.
Trailing 2-0 in the series, Brattleboro rallied for two wins to tie it up, only to have Bennington win the next two games to advance to the state tournament, which begins July 20 in Essex Town.
Things looked bleak going into Game 3 on July 9. Bennington was primed to continue their winning ways at home. But Brattleboro's Jeremy Rounds foiled those plans when he went three for three with three home runs and seven RBIs in a 15-12 victory.
The series shifted back to South Main Street Field on July 11, which Brattleboro won in a dramatic fashion, 5-4.
Game 1 starters Will Shea (Bennington) and Adam Newton (Brattleboro) took the mound. In their first meeting, Shea had 13 strikeouts as Bennington won, 5-2. In Game 4, Brattleboro tried to be more patient at the plate and make Shea throw more pitches.
Kyle Derosia and Rounds both hit solo homers in the second and fourth innings, respectively, and Newton and the Brattleboro defense kept things close until Bennington's Jackson Free broke the game open with a two-run single in the fifth inning for a 4-2 lead.
After Cyr Solari pitched a scoreless sixth in relief of Newton, it all came down to Brattleboro's final at-bats. Rounds drew a one-out walk as the final batter Shea faced before leaving the game as he'd reached his pitch limit. Shea finished with 12 strikeouts.
Noah Loomis took over for Shea and gave up a single to Hunter Beebe and a walk to Derosia to load the bases with one out. Jack Price followed with a fielder's choice to score Rounds and put Scott Perlberg (pinch running for Beebe) and Derosia in scoring position.
Pinch hitter Logan Morton then strode to the plate with the chance to be the hero, and he came through, smashing a double to left center to score Perlberg and Derosia and win the game.
A scheduling quirk brought Game 5 back to Brattleboro last Saturday afternoon, but Brattleboro couldn't take advantage of the extra home game and fell 13-2 in a five inning game cut short by the 10-run mercy rule.
Rounds was the starting pitcher and held the powerful Bennington lineup in check until the third inning. He would have been happy to have gotten out of the inning trailing only 2-0.
Unfortunately, Bennington would tack on eight more runs, all scored with two outs, and took a 10-0 lead on four walks, one error, a wild pitch, a solo homer by Will Buck, a three-run triple by Thomas Pietrak, an RBI double by Nate Coyne, and a RBI single by Owen Wilcox.
Coyne, Bennington's starting pitcher, held Brattleboro scoreless until Rounds doubled in the fourth and scored on a single by Morton. Newton hit a solo homer in the fifth for Brattleboro's only other run.
Game 6 was played in Bennington on Sunday, and Brattleboro trailed early once again. But a three-run double and a solo homer by Price and a two-run homer by Newton cut the Bennington lead to 8-7.
Buck put the game away in the fifth with a three-run double as Bennington went on to win, 12-8. Wilcox was the winning pitcher, while Derosia and Kyle Murray pitched for Brattleboro.
All in all, it was an exciting series that provided many great memories for all involved.
The Brattleboro team was coached by Chris Millerick, Jim Derosia, and Aaron Gilbeau. Other members of the team were Caleb Martin, Emmanuel Keppel, and Brandon Gilbeau.
• The Brattleboro 9-10 year-old All Stars were eliminated three games to zero after a 15-11 loss to Bennington on July 8. Bennington won the District 2 championship and advances to the 9-10 State Championship series in North Burlington starting Saturday, July 20.
Members of the 9-10 team were Sam Fontaine, Nick Bingham, Trinley Warren, Rachael Rooney, Jake Gilbeau, Gregory Fitzgerald, Alex Kendall, Alex Lier, Justin Aither, Quinn Grover, and Henry Thurber. Coaches were Mike Bingham, Jim Waters, and Sam Fontaine.
BCC tourney results
• The Brattleboro Country Club Presidents Cup tournament took place over the July 4 holiday weekend with Saturday's nine-hole matches determining Sunday's championship rounds, all-net match play. Greg Montgomery made it to the final with a 2 & 1 victory over Jeff Houle, and one up over Jason Kelley. In the other bracket, Dick Noel defeated Doug Fiske two up, and Keith Strand 3 & 2.
With a two-up victory over Kirk Nims, Houle made it into the consolation match against Fiske, who had advanced with a 2 & 1 victory over George Roberge. Fiske prevailed on Sunday, with a 5 & 4 win.
The championship match was a roller coaster. Noel surged to an early five-up lead on the front nine, only to see Montgomery come back and tie the match on 14. But Noel hung on and took a 2 & 1 victory.
In the ladies' division, Alicia Field advanced to the final with a two-up victory over Sheryl Libardoni and a 3 & 2 victory over Judy Manley. Kate Clark advanced to the final with a 2 & 1 victory over Sujin Dakin, and a 4-2 win over Marilyn Cassidy. Libardoni advanced to the consolation match by default, and Dakin by a 5 & 3 decision over Cyd Strand.
Both finals were nail-biters. Clark and Field were all even to the last hole, where Clark secured the one-up victory. Dakin needed an extra hole to defeat Libardoni in the consolation match.
• The July 4 Member/Member Red, White, and Blue tournament presented its four-person teams with a strategic choice of which holes to play from a certain set of tees (red, white, or blue).
Women and senior men had the choice to play nine holes from the red and nine from the blue. From there, it was a two-best-ball event. Two teams tied with 144, but with lower back nine scores, the team of Chris Worden, Brian Baker, Doug Wisse, and Dwight Decker prevailed over Bob Kessen, Keith Strand, Dan Zumbruski, and Eric Slade.
With 116, Larry Cassidy, Pierre Landry, Eileen Ranslow, and Wally Musgrove took the Net honors by a stroke over Greg Montgomery, Anthony Zumbruski, Jim Coulombe, and Wendy Scott. Closest-to-the-pin honors went to Jason Kelley (fourth hole, 1 foot, 4 inches), Bob Kessen (eighth, 4 feet 2 inches), Doug Kroc (13th, 14 feet, 11 inches) and John Murphy (16th, 8 feet, 3 inches).
• Twelve teams competed in an alternate shot format at the Husband-Wife Tournament on June 22. Pete and Jill Zachary took the Gross honors with a 73; Larry and Marilyn Cassidy were runners-up with 85. Low Net honors went to Bob Kessen and Pamela Roberts with a 67; Keith and Cyd Strand were second with 70.
• Plimpton's is in first place with an 8-2 record in the A Division of the Brattleboro Area Women's Softball League, with Whetstone Station (5-2) and Zooters (5-3) close behind. Mojos (8-1) and Gateway Vet (8-2) are battling it out for first in the B Division, while Just Jacks is 8-0-1 to lead the C Division.
In the Men's League, the Brattleboro Elks are still undefeated at 12-0 to lead Division 1. Zooters/Whetstone/Green Mountain Creamery is still in first at 6-3 in Division 2; Aerodyne (9-1) remains in first in Division 3. It's a four-team race for first in Division 4 as Falvey Pools (11-4), Seth Powers (10-4), Chelsea Royal (9-4), and Mocha Joe's (10-6) are bunched up at the top.