Brattleboro shut out in state baseball title

Brattleboro shut out in state baseball title

Essex Hornets defeat BUHS Colonels, 9-0

For the second straight year, the Brattleboro Colonels played in the Division I state baseball championship game.

Unfortunately, for the second straight year, the Colonels were shut out by their opponents.

Last year, it was Champlain Valley who beat the Colonels, 13-0. On June 13 at Centennial Field, the third-seeded Colonels lost to fourth-seeded Essex Hornets by a score of 9-0.

It was Essex's sixth state championship and their first one since 2010. The Colonels, on the other hand, are still looking for that elusive 11th title. The last time the Colonels won a Division I championship was in 2004 when they beat Essex, 11-3.

This year's title game started out as a pitcher's duel. Essex's Andrew Goodrich toyed with the Brattleboro line-up. Goodrich, who finished with nine strikeouts and only two walks in pitching a complete-game two hitter, was perfect through the first three innings.

Alex “Moose” Bingham also started off solid on the mound for the Colonels, despite Essex having runners on base in each of the first three innings. He got out of those jams with some fine defense backing him up, including Aaron Petrie's diving catch in center field in the top of the third.

The Hornets got on the board in the top of the fourth when Justin Prim hit a bunt down the third base line. Bingham fielded the ball but overthrew it to first baseman Reed Sargent, allowing baserunner Scott Gintof to cross the plate. His teammate Tobey Appenzeller scored Prim with a single to center field to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead.

Brattleboro looked like it was going to break through in the bottom of the fourth inning when Goodrich gave up singles to Zinabu McNeice and Aaron Petrie. However, the Colonels failed to get them across the plate.

As it turned out, those were Brattleboro's only two hits of the game as the Colonels failed to get another hit off Essex's best pitcher. He retired batters one-by-one and frustrated the Colonels' offense.

Goodrich was last year's pitcher in the Division I semifinal where Brattleboro beat the Hornets 5-4. Coming back to defeat the Colonels in the championship in 2022 was bittersweet.

“I definitely knew I didn't have my best stuff last year, but it definitely felt better this time around,” Goodrich said. “I was familiar with their top five hitters. I've faced them before and I had a pretty good idea of what they had and what I could handle.”

Bingham pitched into the top of the seventh until fatigue gave way. It was his third straight playoff outing that he pitched into the seventh inning, and it showed as Goodrich hit a double off Bingham, scoring Appenzeller. Goodrich crossed the plate on a double by Eli Bostwick.

With no outs, Bingham was replaced by relief pitcher Jolie Glidden and the game fell apart as the Colonels committed four fielding errors, allowing five more runs to cross the plate.

In their last at bats, Petrie walked, but Willem Thurber hit a line drive to Essex second base man Ben Diebler. Petrie was on his way to second when Diebler caught the ball and Diebler threw the ball to first for the double play. Goodrich ended the game by striking out Bingham.

Brattleboro coach Chris Groeger led his team to two straight championship games, which is no small feat in itself. But, in the end, it was costly fielding errors and a lack of hitting that doomed the Colonels.

“This game was much more competitive until we blew it in the seventh inning,” he said, “but we also didn't have a lot of hitting. We didn't get much.”

The Colonels, who finished the season with a 13-5 record, will lose Petrie, McNeice, Sargent, Bingham, Clews, Alex Carpenter, and Aaron Slade to graduation.

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