BENNINGTON -- Brattleboro Post 5 coach Wayne Wright made a decision that wasn’t a popular one before his team’s Legion baseball game against Bennington Post 13 on Tuesday.
Wright went with Danny Richardson as his starter, and that decision paid off, as he induced three double plays and held Post 13 to three hits in a 1-0 shutout.
"We have five guys that can pitch, so (the coaches) had a discussion on who could start. I’m glad I won," Wright said.
Richardson only had to throw 80 pitches in his complete-game effort, striking out four and walking one.
"He did a good job with a lot of close pitches, but he didn’t let that eat away at him," Wright said. "I told him to loosen up and throw hard and just keep pounding the strike zone."
The turning point in the game came in the top of the fifth of a scoreless contest. Post 13’s Brady Sausville entered for starter Devin Babson and allowed a pair of singles to Cam Wright and Kassidi Ramirez. Kevin Tao, the cleanup hitter, was hit on the arm, loading the bases with no one out. Ryan McAuliffe then hit an 0-1 pitch deep to left center that Matt Upright caught, but more than deep enough to score Wright from third.
Sausville got out of the inning with only one run scoring after picking off Ramirez trying to steal third base. There was confusion on the play, with some feeling that Sausville balked, but the home plate umpire changed the call.
"I didnt think one would win it," said Post 13 coach Jamie Carey. "When they had bases loaded and no outs, I was worried about it being a big inning, but I had faith in my team and defense."
On the other side, Babson and Sausville kept Post 5 at bay, pitching out of jams in the second, fourth and fifth and only allowing the one run combined.
"You’re always dealing with pitching issues too. Devin had tweaked his shoulder," Carey said. "He wanted to go longer, but I didnt want to take that chance. He has improved his throwing, even from the high school season."
Post 13 had chances to tie the game in the sixth and seventh. In the sixth, Evan Crumb walked to start the frame and advanced to third on two groundouts. With Crumb on third, Ellis Baker rocketed a liner back up the middle, but Cam Wright was set up perfectly on defense to grab the third out.
"Five feet to the left or right and the game’s tied," Carey said. "The guys didn’t do anything wrong, that’s the game of baseball. It could have gone either way."
In the seventh, Upright led off the inning with a single to left, but Bahan was caught off-balance in the next at-bat and rolled into a 5-4-3 double play. In fact, two of the three double plays Post 5 turned were around the horn.
"It was pretty big, especially when they had a chance to come back and tie," Richardson said. "It was a big boost to the momentum, it got us pumped up again."
"Our infield is really solid," Wright said. "Turning the double plays: it’s execution but it’s also a little luck to get a guy to hit it to the right spot."
Richardson fanned four, walked just one and threw a three-hitter. He faced just 23 batters.
Ramirez had a couple of hits to lead the winners. Chris Lasch, Rob Heileman, Jeff Kerylow, Hunter Smith and Wright all hit safely.
Post 5 (3-1) will host Hartford today at 5:30 p.m.