Brattleboro left fielder Teddy McKay stretches out to catch a fly ball hit by Rutland’s Lane Lubaszewski in the fifth inning of the first game of their Little League 10-U District 2 championship series on July 15 at South Main Street Field.
Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Brattleboro left fielder Teddy McKay stretches out to catch a fly ball hit by Rutland’s Lane Lubaszewski in the fifth inning of the first game of their Little League 10-U District 2 championship series on July 15 at South Main Street Field.

Brattleboro Little Leaguers advance to state finals

The steady parade of showers and thunderstorms that have marched across Vermont has made the summer baseball season a challenge. But it delivered one unexpected bonus - it allowed the Brattleboro 12-U and 10-U Little League All-Stars to clinch their respective District 2 titles on July 15 at South Main Street Field.

On a rare rain-free day, Brattleboro fans were treated to a tripleheader with six hours of playoff baseball that saw the 10-U team take two games from Rutland County to win their best-of-three series, while the 12-U team closed out the day with a 7-1 win over Bennington to win their best-of-three series.

With the 11-U team getting an automatic berth into the state tournament, this means all three Brattleboro Little League All-Star teams will be playing in state tournaments this weekend.

The July 15 tripleheader marked the first time that anyone can remember having two district championship banners handed out on the same field in the same afternoon.

• For the 10-U team, that scheduling fluke started on July 14, when the first game of the series in Brattleboro was postponed, despite it being a rainless afternoon. Fears of a second round of flash flooding, coming on the heels of the horrendous deluge of July 9-10 that caused so much damage around the state, prompted Rutland to choose to stay put rather than be caught out during a bad storm.

That decision came at high price for Rutland, for they would forfeit their home game and instead play a doubleheader in Brattleboro. Rutland would need to win one of the two games to get a deciding game in Rutland, and Brattleboro made sure that did not happen.

In game 1, Brattleboro pitcher Simon Potter and Rutland pitcher Lane Lubaszewski faced off in a game that started as a pitching duel and turned into a Brattleboro rout starting in the third inning. Brattleboro broke a scoreless tie with six runs in that inning, Gavin Carpenter hit a two-run double and Cole Systo followed with a three-run triple as Brattleboro sent 10 batters to the plate, with five batters reaching base on walks.

While Rutland broke up the shutout when Eli Masse scored thanks to a pair of errors in the fourth inning, Brattleboro kept piling up the runs.

In the fourth, Cooper Deyo walked and scored on a base hit by Owen Malouin. In the fifth, walks by Jack Bennett and Zealand Wentworth and a bloop single by Louie Renault loaded the bases for Systo, who drove in one run, and Dawson Newton, whose misplayed groundball got two more runs in. Brayson George followed with a RBI single for the 11th Brattlboro run that ended the game via the mercy rule, 11-1.

• Tempers heated up as the thermometer rose in the second game as the teams traded runs in the first two innings. George got the start on the mound for Brattleboro and got immediately got into trouble in the top of the first inning as Rutand's Brayden Sabotka and Owen Brady both walked and ultimately scored on passed balls for a 2-0 lead.

Brattleboro responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Wentworth led off with a single and scored on an RBI double by Renault. Newton drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Systo walked and scored on a passed ball.

The second inning saw the Rutland side getting a little too wound up in trying to rattle George. Warnings were issued, but not before Cruz Boudreau tied the game with a bases-loaded walk.

Then it all came tumbling down for Rutland as Brattleboro responded by scoring 15 runs in the bottom half of the inning. Brattleboro sent 20 batters to the plate, with nine hits, five walks, and one hit batter. Potter, George, and Renault had RBI singles, Wentworth hit a two-run double, and Systo drew a bases-loaded walk to chase Rutland starting pitcher Asher Galusha.

Sabotka took over, but the runs kept coming. Newton greeted Sabotka with a two-run double and later scored on a passed ball. Deyo drove in another run with a ground out, Potter hit another RBI single, Malouin was hit by a pitch and scored on a passed ball, and Niko Papadimitriou and Wentworth added RBI singles to make it 18-3 after two innings.

Sabotka walked and scored on an error in the Rutland third, but Brattleboro ended the game via the mercy rule in the bottom half of the inning with Systo doubled and scored on a base hit by Newton to complete a 19-4 victory and win the District 2 title.

"We got 12 guys who are starters who can all hit the ball really well," said Brattleboro manager Seth Deyo. "After playing with each other for three weeks, you'd think it's been three years. They cheer each other on. If one kid is down, they pick him up and encourage him. It's really kind of impressive as a coach and as a parent to see young guys do that."

• For the Brattleboro 12-U team, there was little drama in their best-of-three series with Bennington, just steady play with plenty of pitching, defense, and timely hitting in sweeping their Route 9 rivals.

Game 1 at Hogan Field in Bennington on July 14 saw Brattleboro's Axton Crowley throw five shutout innings in a 5-0 win. He allowed just two hits, with three strikeouts and two walks. Nolan Domanski pitched in the sixth in a non-save situation.

Losing pitcher Addison Dwyer pitched well, but was betrayed by seven Bennington errors in the field. He finished with two hits and a walk in his five innings of work.

Azyi Crews got Brattleboro's first run in the first inning when he reached on an error, got to third on a delayed steal and scored on an errant pickoff throw by Dwyer. Crews repeated that performance in the fourth inning, again reaching base on an error and again scoring. Brattleboro picked up another run in that inning for a 3-0 lead, and scored twice more in the sixth.

• It was more of the same the next day at South Main Street field as Brattleboro benefitted from numerous Bennington errors in the 7-1 win.

Brattleboro pitcher Shaun Emery-Greene scattered five hits and walked one batter in the complete game victory. He also helped his cause with a three-run double to center field in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie. He later added an RBI double in the fifth.

Carson Depue got Brattleboro's first run in the second inning when he singled and scored on an error on a ball hit by Cooper Christensen. Dominic McKay, Spencer Jones, and Crews all drew walks in the third inning to set the table for Emery-Greene, and Jones and Crews both scored runs in the fifth inning.

Jones was outstanding at shortstop, scooping up every ball hit to him. He got the final out of the game when he fielded catcher Brody Page's throw down to second and tagged out Nolan Sherman. Jones would be honored after the game with the Jim Watters Sportsmanship Award.

Brattleboro won the 12-U state title last year with a power hitting team and a pitching staff anchored by fireballing Senji Kimura. Manager Seth Gundry said that while this year's team is different, there is a common thread.

"We are trying to build a winning culture here in Brattleboro at every age level that prides itself in playing the game the right way," Gundry said. "I think we played really solid defense this past week and had quality at bats up and down the lineup. And we put the ball in play a lot, forcing the other teams to make the play. We are excited for this opportunity to win a state title, but we know we are down to the best of the best here in the state and it won't be easy to accomplish."

Post 5 clinches top spot in state tourney

• Brattleboro Post 5 coach Eric Libardoni likes his team's chances in the upcoming American Legion Baseball state tournament. His team clinched first place in the Southern Division, thanks to plenty of quality pitching and a steady defense. Scoring runs has been a concern, however.

In a July 15 doubleheader at Rutland Post 31, Brattleboro pitcher Jayke Glidden outdueled Rutland's Cameron Rider in a 1-0 victory.

Post 5 only managed two hits in the game, and its only run came in the fourth inning, when Rider committed a balk that allowed Sam Bogart to score from third. Glidden held Rutland to just three hits over six innings, with Aidan Davis getting the save with a scoreless seventh.

The missing offense showed up in the second game, as Post 5 rolled to a 13-2 win in six innings. Brattleboro got five runs in the second inning on just one hit as Post 5 sent nine batters to the plate and took advantage of two walks, two hit batters, and an error.

Post 5 added four more runs in the third inning on more walks and errors, and cruised from there. Alex Bingham was the winning pitcher.

The sweep of Rutland, together with a 16-1 win over White River Junction Post 84 on July 17, improved Brattleboro's league record to 16-2, which locked up the top seed from the South in the state tournament which begins this weekend in Castleton.

Towle, Romo play in Twin State Soccer Cup

• Brattleboro's Willow Romo and Leland & Gray's Abby Towle played on the Vermont women's squad on July 15 in the Lions Twin State Soccer Cup at Hanover (N.H.) High School.

The all-star game pit the best seniors in the Green Mountain State against their Granite State counterparts. This year, New Hampshire swept the two games.

Towle, who holds the Leland & Gray scoring record with 73 goals and led the Rebels to a Division IV championship in 2022, scored one goal for the Vermont squad, which lost to the New Hampshire women, 5-2.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 11 of the spring/summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on July 19 saw Turkeys (39-16) move into first place, a game ahead of Slo Movers (both 38-17), No Splits (35.5-19.5) in third, followed by Five Pins (35-20), Skippers (32.5-22.5), The Bowlers (26-29), Stayin' Alive (24.5-30.5), High Rollers (21-34), and Wrecking Crew (16-36).

Vicki Butynski had the women's high handicap game (238) and series (651). Milt Sherman had the men's high handicap game (275), while John Laamen had the high handicap series (678), while Turkeys had the high team handicap game (923) and series (2,565).

Chuck Adams led the men's scratch scoring with a 607 series that featured games of 221 and 215. Milt Sherman had a 575 series with a 255 game, while while John Walker had a 543 series with games of 209 and 181. Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 540 series with games of 196 and 186, Robert Rigby had a 514 series, with a 200 game, and Gary Montgomery had a 511 series. Fred Ashworth had a 192 game and Laamen rolled a 188.

Nancy Dalzell had the women's high scratch series (442), while Shirley Aiken had the high scratch game (168). Butynski had a 164 game and Dalzell rolled a 163.

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