The Vermont American Legion Baseball tournament began on July 22 after a hectic week of make-up games for many teams.
Persistently rainy weather this summer jumbled the regular season schedule. Brattleboro Post 5 was fortunate to be able to get their games played without resorting to multiple doubleheaders, while Bellows Falls Post 37 saw too many postponements in the first half of the season.
For Post 37, this meant having to scramble in between storms to make up games, and it took a toll on Bellows Falls.
While Post 5 wrapped up its regular league schedule on July 16, and just had one non-league tune-up game - a 4-1 loss to Concord, New Hampshire on July 19 - heading into the tournament, Bellows Falls had a whole bunch of games to make up in less than one week with just a very slim chance of being one of the four teams from the Southern Division to advance.
Post 37 had to start the week with forfeits to Rutland Post 31 and Manchester Union Underground. Combined with getting swept by Bennington Post 13 in a July 15 doubleheader at Spinelli Field, it finished Post 37's chance of getting into the tournament.
Post 37's season ended on July 20 at Hadley Field as Lakes Region, White River Junction Post 84, and Bellows Falls played in a three-team doubleheader, where each team played each other once, along with the conclusion of a suspended game between Lakes Region and Post 84.
All these games had playoff implications for Rutland, Lakes Region, and White River Junction, since only one of the three would claim the fourth and final playoff spot in the Southern Division.
Bellows Falls won the opening game, 6-5, against Post 84, before Lakes Region defeated Bellows Falls, 9-2. The Lakers went on to win the completion of their suspended game with White River Junction 2-1, with Post 84 winning the full game 15-1 in five innings to wrap up a busy day and night at Hadley.
It left Bellows Falls with a 4-11 record and last place in the Southern Division, while Lakes Region got the No. 3 seed in the Southern Division, just barely ahead of fourth-seeded Bennington. Manchester got the second seed.
• Brattleboro entered the double-elimination tournament as the South's top seed with a 16-2 league record. They faced Addison County, the Northern Division No. 4 seed, in their opening game on July 22 and cruised to a 16-6 win in six innings.
The game was tied 6-6 in the fourth inning when Brattleboro snuffed out an Addison rally thanks to a spectacular running catch by center fielder Zinabu McNeice. Energized by that big play, Post 5 then scored 10 unanswered runs to win the game.
Post 5 started out with a 6-1 lead thanks to a two-run double by Turner Clews in the first inning. They added four more runs in the second thanks to hits by Aiden Davis, Evan Wright, Sam Bogart and Harper Cutler. In all, Post 5 batters had 16 hits of Addison County's pitchers.
Davis was the starting pitcher for Brattleboro and gave way to Jayke Glidden in the fourth inning. Alex Bingham finished up in the sixth to accomplish coach Eric Libardoni's goal of conserving his pitching staff for the rest of the tournament.
That win set up a game on July 23 against Lakes Region, which shut out South Burlington, 3-0, in their opening game on July 22. Brattleboro won that game, 12-8.
Brattleboro took control early by scoring six runs in the first two innings. Clews had a couple of stolen bases, Davis hit a two-run double, and Wright hit an RBI single. Clews stayed busy in the fifth inning, hitting a home run to key a five-run outburst. He finished a double away from hitting for the cycle.
Post 5 starting pitcher Jolie Glidden went 3 1/3 innings to earn the win, with Bingham and Eric Kurucz finishing up in relief.
That victory set up a rematch against last year's state champion, Essex Post 91, on July 24. Essex, which entered the tournament with a 18-0 league record to claim the top seed in the Northern Division, clobbered Post 5, 16-0, in five innings. We'll have more about that game and the conclusion of the tournament in next week's roundup.
• The Southern Division All-Star team was announced during the tournament and Brattleboro had five selections - Turner Clews at catcher, Jackson Emery at first base, Alex Bingham at utility fielder, and Jayke and Jolie Glidden as pitchers. Aidan Davis was named the Southern Division's Player of the Year.
Little League roundup
• The Brattleboro 12-U All-Stars got off to a rough start in the state tournament in North Burlington.
In the opening game of pool play on July 22, St. Johnsbury shut out Brattleboro, 10-0. The following day, Brattleboro faced Lamoille County and was shut out again in a 3-0 loss.
Brattleboro now faces an elimination round game on July 28 against St. Johnsbury, which lost 13-0 to Champlain Valley in a four-inning game on July 23. The winner of that game then faces Champlain Valley for the championship on July 29 and July 30 (if necessary).
• The Brattleboro 10-U All Stars won the opener of their double-elimination tournament in Essex on July 22, beating the Barre Red squad, 6-2. Brattleboro then played Essex Town on July 23 and lost, 7-4.
Brattleboro will have a rematch with Barre Red in the elimination round on July 28. The winner will then face Essex Town for the state title on July 29 and July 30 (if necessary).
• It's not too soon to be thinking about fall baseball. The Brattleboro Little League will be holding Fall Ball registration for boys and girls on Aug. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 at South Main Street Field. They will be there from 4 to 6 p.m. each day. The sign-up fee is $20,
Fall Ball is the next step up from Small Fry, and this program is open to players from Brattleboro, Guilford, Vernon, Dummerston, Putney, Newfane, Townshend, Halifax, Dover, Wilmington, Wardsboro, and Marlboro; Hinsdale, Chesterfield, and Spofford, New Hampshire; and Greenfield, Bernardston, Leyden, Gill, and Colrain, Massachusetts.
Brattleboro loses in Babe Ruth 13-U championship game
• The Brattleboro Babe Ruth 13-U baseball team made it all the way to the state championship game before losing to Central Vermont, 12-7, on July 19 in Winooski.
Brattleboro advanced to the championship game with a 3-1 win in eight innings over St. Johnsbury on July 17. Brattleboro broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth by scoring a pair of runs on consecutive walks.
Central Vermont, a Washington County-based team, had beaten Brattleboro in 19-5 in pool play earlier in the tournament.
In the championship game, Brattleboro started strong by scoring runs in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead. Central Vermont then scored six runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead to stay.
Brattleboro twice tried to close the gap on Central Vermont in the late innings, but Central Vermont finished the job with four runs in the sixth inning. With the win, Central Vermont advanced to the New England Tournament in Rochester, New Hampshire.
Guild strikes gold twice at National Senior Games
• Matt Guild, a Saxtons River native who competed in cross country and track & field at Bellows Falls Union High School, brought home a pair of gold medals at the 2023 National Senior Games held earlier this month in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Guild, who will turn 60 later this year, clocked 2:20.27 in the 800-meter race and followed that up with a time of 4:49.84 in the 1,500 meters. The two wins in the men's 60-64 age division were Guild's first gold medals at the Senior Games.
He then competed in the men's 55-59 age division at the USATF National Masters Championships last week in Greensboro, North Carolina. Guild finished second in the 800 in 2:17.40 and was sixth in the 1,500 in 4:45.73.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 12 of the spring/summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on July 20 saw Five Pins (40-20) have a 5-0 week to move into first place. Turkeys (39-21) had a 0-5 week to fall into a tie for second with Slo Movers (also 39-21). No Splits (37.5-22.5) is still in third, followed by Skippers (36.5-23.5), Stayin' Alive (28.5-31.5), The Bowlers (26-34), High Rollers (26-34), and Wrecking Crew (23.5-36.5).
Nancy Dalzell had the women's high handicap game (259) and series (694). Chuck Adams had the men's high handicap game (278), while Fred Bump had the high handicap series (666). Five Pins had the high team handicap game (875) and series (2,518).
Chuck Adams led the men's scratch scoring with a 624 series that featured games of 278 and 188. Robert Rigby had a 622 series, with games of 221, 215, and 187. Milt Sherman had a 554 series with a 231 game, while Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 501 series with a 199 game. Pete Cross and Al Dascomb each had a 196 game, while Fred Bump had a 186 game and Gary Montgomery had a 182 game.
Nancy Dalzell had the women's high scratch game (203) and series (526). She also had a 181 game. Vicki Butynski had a 165 game and Shirley Aiken rolled a 164.
Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column since 2010 and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at [email protected].
This Sports column by Randolph T. Holhut was written for The Commons.