The late Earl Weaver, the longtime manager of the Baltimore Orioles, liked to say that “the key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three-run homers.”
The Brattleboro Little League 12-year-old All-Stars are following that prescription to the letter. They have plenty of pitching, they play sound defense and keep the mistakes to minimum, and they have guys that can crush the ball for three-run homers.
Brattleboro swept through the first four games of the round robin stage of the District 2 tournament and clinched the top seed heading into the elimination round.
In their opening game against Rutland on July 7 at South Main Street Field, Kason Gundry and Ryan Peloso each hit a three-run homer and Senji Kimura, Briar Cutting, and Peloso combined on a two-hitter as Brattleboro rolled to a 9-2 win.
Kimura, the winning pitcher, went 3-for-4 at the plate and struck out seven batters in his three innings of work. He got plenty of run support right from the start. Cutting led off the first inning with a walk, Kimura followed with a single and Peloso got Cutting home after his hit to right field was misplayed. Gundry's three-run homer to left gave Brattleboro a 4-0 lead.
Rutland's Colin Bridge broke up the shutout when he singled and scored on an error. But that was about it for the visitors. Peloso followed Kimura and, after he breezed though the fourth inning, ensured his teammate would get the win. After Cooper Leary walked and Kimura hit another single, Peloso drove a three-run homer high over the center field fence to make it 7-1.
Peloso walked four batters in the Rutland fifth, cutting the lead to 7-2, but Brattleboro scored twice in the bottom half of the inning as Logan Casey singled and Logan Waite walked. Both came home on passed balls.
Brattleboro didn't have long to savor the win, for they faced back-to-back games against Bennington.
On July 8, Brattleboro won an 8-4 decision in Bennington. There weren't any home runs, but Kimura had two singles, a double, and triple to lead the Brattleboro offense. Kimura, Cutting, and Sebastian Garro all had multiple hits for Brattleboro, and Kaden Cole hit a two-run double. Gundry struck out 10 batters over five innings to get the win. Landon Zinn and Waite finished up in relief.
The next afternoon at South Main Street Field, Brattleboro rolled to a 12-1 win that was stopped after four innings due to the 10-run rule.
After Bennington scored a run in the first inning, it was all Brattleboro after that. Yingnyen Wangchuk led off the second with a double and Casey then tied the game with an RBI double down the right field line. In the third, Kimura doubled off the center field wall, and Peloso followed with a two-run homer to right field. Wylie Nelson doubled and scored on a Zinn RBI single. Zinn then scored off a successful double steal attempt with Waite to make it 5-1.
Brattleboro then sent everyone home early with s seven-run fourth inning. Peloso got his second home run of the day, a three-run shot over the left field fence. Gundry and Garro hit back-to-back doubles and Cole was hit by a pitch. All three scored. Waite hit an RBI single and Colby Robinson ended the game with a bloop single that scored Garro and Cole.
Cutting gave up three hits over four innings to get the win, with five strikeouts and one walk.
Kimura got the ball for the July 10 game in Rutland, and threw a complete game shutout in 7-0 win. He struck out 14 batters, and gave up two hits with no walks. Gundry went 3-for-3 at the plate, and hit a home run.
“We can definitely hit the ball,” said Brattleboro coach Chad Gundry after the Rutland game. “We got five or six guys who can put it out. And we're pretty deep with our pitching staff. I hope we'll be playing for a long time this summer.”
At the rate they're going, this team can start dreaming big.
• As for Brattleboro's two other Little League teams, the 11-year-old All Stars ended up winning the District 2 title after Rutland decided to withdraw from that tournament. Thus, Brattleboro earned an automatic berth into the state tournament.
• The 10-year-old All-Stars scrapped their way to a 16-15 home win on July 9 over Rutland. The game took more than three hours to play and wasn't decided until the bottom of the sixth, when Brattleboro rallied from a 15-13 deficit. Vinny Doelle started the inning when he was hit by a pitch. Gavin Carpenter then drew a walk, and both scored on a double by Bentley Sparks. He would score the winning run as he came around on an Eldie Coplan groundout.
Both Brattleboro and Rutland were short on pitching, having played the night before, and the game was tough to watch at times as both teams were unable to hold a lead for long. But Brattleboro's Bryson George, pitching in relief of Sparks and Carpenter, got the final two outs in the Rutland sixth and ended up with the win.
• The only thing worse than playing in a game where both teams combined for 31 runs, 22 hits, 13 errors, five hit batsmen, and more than a few passed balls and wild pitches is being on the losing end of a such a slopfest.
Manchester Union Underground outlasted visiting Brattleboro Post 5 for a 16-15 win on July 3 in an American Legion Baseball game that had a lot of action crammed into two hours and 29 minutes.
Post 5, which swept a doubleheader from Bellows Falls the day before, and Manchester were not at their sharpest, but somehow, Manchester had a 7-6 lead after three innings. Then Bratlteboro seemingly put Manchester away by scoring nine runs in the fourth inning to chase their starting pitcher Griff Briggs.
Trevor Greene took over on the mound with one out and Post 5 baserunners at second and third, and pitched out of that jam. Greene would end up finishing the game as the winning pitcher. He limited Post 5 to just one hit over 3 2/3 shutout innings, with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Post 5 could not hold onto the big lead they had built up, as Manchester rallied for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, which turned out to be just enough to get the win.
Brattleboro bounced back with a 10-2 win over Rutland Post 31 on July 7 at Tenney Field. The combined effort of starter Jolie Glidden and relievers Aidan Davis and Caden Wood shut down Rutland's offense, while the Post 5 bats stayed hot.
Alex Bingham had a two-run triple in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. Brattleboro added six more runs in third as Wood had a two-run double and Rutland committed two errors. Parker Richardson executed a squeeze bunt to drive in a run and Turner Clews added an RBI double. In the fifth, Willem Thurber hit a two-run double to put the game away,
Brattleboro finished the week with a sweep of a doubleheader at Bennington Post 13 on July 9. Neither game was close as Post 5 rolled to a 22-5 win in the first game, and a 21-3 win in the nightcap. Brattleboro ended the week with an 8-3 record and are in a three-way tie with Manchester and White River Junction for first place in the Southern Division.
• Bellows Falls Post 37 pitcher Cam Boardman threw a complete-game one-hit shutout in an 8-0 victory over Lakes Region on July 6 at Castleton University.
The only hit of the game for Lakes Region was a single in the first inning by Ryan Alt. It was the first starting assignment of the Legion season for Boardman, who had been a standout pitcher with Vermont Academy for the past two seasons.
Post 37 got a run in the first inning when Jamison Nystrom doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Grady Lockerby.
They got two more runs in the second thanks to back-to-back base hits by Ty Merrill and Cam Harriman. The 8-9 hitters in the Post 37 batting order duplicated the feat in the fourth inning as they scored another two runs. Bellows Falls finished with two additional runs in the sixth and another in the seventh.
Merrill went 3-for-4 with a double, while Nystrom had two hits and drove in two runs as the leadoff hitter. Carson Babbie was the losing pitcher, giving up four runs on six hits over the first four innings of the game.
On July 9, Post 37 traveled to Rutland and split a doubleheader with Post 31. Rutland rolled over Post 37, 14-4, in five innings in the first game. Bellows Falls returned the favor in the second game, and crushed Post 31, 20-6, in five innings.
In game one, Tyler Weatherhogg led Post 31, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Winning pitcher Anders Lowkes held Post 37 to just four hits, while losing pitcher Elliott Graham didn't make it out of the first inning. Rutland scored six runs in the first, four in the fourth, and two in the fifth to end the game.
It was all Bellows Falls in the second as Sam Presch was the winning pitcher and helped his cause by going 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Lockerby, hitting behind Presch, had a triple, two singles, and four RBIs. Graham shook off his rough outing in the first game by hitting a double and driving in three runs.
Post 37 ended the week at 6-4. They hold the fourth and final playoff spot in the Southern Division.
Ellis, Martino win Firecracker 4-Miler
• The 43rd Bill Powers Memorial Firecracker 4-Miler returned on July 4 in Brattleboro after a two-year pandemic-imposed hiatus.
Jacob Ellis, 28, of Pittsfield, Mass., and Marina Martino, 31, of Dallas, Pa., were the overall winners. Ellis, a BUHS alumnus, finished in 22 minutes, 42 seconds to win the men's division, and Martino was the women's winner, finishing second overall in 24:28.
There were 90 people who entered and completed the race, which is organized by the Red Clover Rovers running club and winds its way around Brattleboro from Living Memorial Park to the Common.
For complete race results, and information about the Red Clover Rover fun runs that take place every other Wednesday (July 13, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 24, and Sept. 7) on Upper Dummerston Road, visit www.redcloverrovers.com.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 6 of the Brattleboro Senior Summer Bowling League on July 7 at Brattleboro Bowl saw Good Times have a 5-0 week to pull into a tie with Angus & Company (both 24-6) for first place, followed by The Keglers (16-14), the Number 1's (14-16), The Anythings and The Strikers (both 13-17), Trash-O-Matic (8-21), and Stayin' Alive (7-23).
Pamela Greenblott had the women's high handicap game (241) and series (677). Jerry Dunham had the men's high handicap game (255), while Fred Bump had the high handicap series (662). Trash-O-Matic had the high team handicap game (851) and Good Times had the high team handicap series (2,541).
In scratch scoring, Chuck Adams led the men with a 621 series with games of 223, 205, and 193, while Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 591 series with games of 200, 199, and 192. Dunham had a 553 series with a high game of 223, while Marty Adams had a 532 series with high games of 192 and 182, and Bob Uccello rolled a 185.
Nancy Dalzell had the women's high scratch series (506) with games of 187 and 175. Carol Gloski had the high scratch game (192). Greenblott had games of 179 and 166, and Sally Perry rolled a 167.