BENNINGTON -- On this day, Bennington Post 13 pitcher Tyler Kunzmann was flat-out dominant.
The recently-graduated Mount Anthony Union High School ace was a strikeout machine, tossing his fastball with velocity and then dropping the curve to buckle Brattleboro Post 5 hitters.
It was a near-perfect day.
A controversial catcher’s interference in the top of the fourth inning prevented a date with perfection, but Kunzmann still finished with a 15-strikeout no-hitter in a 2-0 win Tuesday afternoon. It’s the first no-hitter for Post 13 (2-0) in at least two seasons, coach Walt Parmenter said.
"He had location everywhere; everywhere I put my mitt [it was] right there," said Post 13 catcher Cody LaFlamme. "He was throwing the curve for strikes, never shook me off once."
With two outs in the fourth, it appeared that Post 5’s (0-2) Jamie Martell had foul-tipped third strike into LaFlamme’s mitt. As the teams went to change sides, the umpire called interference, sending Martell to first base.
"I didn’t see it hit Cody’s mitt, I heard the bang-bang of a foul tip," said Parmenter. "It didn’t hurt us at all, but it takes a little away from the pitcher."
Kunzmann and LaFlamme had never heard of a perfect game ruined by a catcher interference.
"I thought he foul-tipped it but the ump made a call, he’s not going to take it back," Kunzmann said.
But the incident
"He was unbelievable," Parmenter said. "He was in the zone, hitting his spots and mixing it up well.
"He said he felt good before the game, you could tell."
It was Kunzmann’s first appearance on the mound since MAU’s loss to Colchester in the Division I quarterfinal.
"I haven’t pitched in a while, and it’s good to get a win after that loss," Kunzmann said.
In the sixth, Kunzmann got a great defensive play to preserve his no-hitter. Brandon Reilly grounded a ball toward third base that Zach Bahan stopped on a dive to his left, then threw Reilly out by a step.
The Post 13 hitters were stifled for the most part by Brattleboro starter Drew Barnum, who allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. But with Kunzmann twirling a gem, Post 13 didn’t need a ton of offense.
"My pitcher had a good day too," said Post 5 coach Claude Gouin. "A couple of mistakes on fly balls were the difference and that’s baseball."
Post 13 opened the scoring in the second inning. Wade Green led off the frame with a double, advanced to third and then scored on a groundout by Nick Solari.
Post 13 doubled their total in the third on a delayed double-steal. Tanner Williams reached second base after a bunt and an error, then Russell Krebs reached via another error. Krebs attempted to steal second and, on the throw, Williams came home and slid head-first ahead of the tag.
"We had some clutch hits and got the runs when we needed it," Parmenter said. "I told the guys that if we get going, we’ll do the (double steal). (Tanner) got a good jump and that gave us an advantage."