BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro and Bennington split a Little League All-Star doubleheader on Saturday at the South Main Street field, with the Brattleboro 12’s winning Game 4 of the best-of-seven series 11-1 to grab a 3-1 series lead and the Bennington 10’s taking Game 3 of the best-of-five series 16-1 to go up two games to one.
"This was a big game for us," said Brattleboro 12’s coach Tom Murphy. "(Ian) Fulton-Black made it happen for us for the second time in a row. He had complete control of himself and the game. Our outfield did great, too. And we set up the order real well and had the bats today."
Fulton-Black struck out three batters in the opening frame, plus a pair in both the second and third innings, and one in the third to pitch a complete game and guide Brattleboro to a four-inning, mercy-rule victory.
The Brattleboro 12’s would end up scoring nine runs in the first inning alone and held Bennington scoreless until the third.
After going once through the order, Fulton-Black already had a double and a single. He also scored two runs before the rout.
Tony Martinez had a single, with an RBI in the first inning, and Leif Bigelow doubled soon after. Tyler Germain was walked, filling the bases for Tom Carroll, who knocked in two runs with a single. Tyler Germain brought in the next run on a passed ball.
Tanner Bell had a single at the start of his effort and had one additional hit plus
Dakota Bentley and Ty Galley each had a double in the final inning of play for Bennington. Bentley would come home for his team’s only run, but they were still just a run shy from extending the game.
In the 10’s game, the boys in bright blue hammered away, racking up three runs early on and then piling on 12 more over two innings, that helped give them a 16-1 victory, moving the team’s record to 2-1 in the best-of-five series.
Calob Hay’s RBI single sent Bennington’s Jackson Free home at the outset. Adam Newton, Brattleboro’s starter, gave up three runs in the second inning by loading the bags on walks and beaming two batters. Tanner King had the two-run shot that put Bennington up 4-0.
Brattleboro put their sole run up on the scoreboard when Anthony Palomba sent Nick Campbell across the plate in the bottom of the second. Bennington first baseman Tanner King handled a double play by lassoing a liner and tagging the runner leaving first. Brattleboro’s Jake Gilbeau then singled.
With a possible Brattleboro rally on the horizon, Bennington went all in, adding nine runs in the third. Evan Coon came home for the team’s fifth run after he singled, then teammate Phillip Burbier knocked him in. Keegan Coon helped out with an RBI, giving King the go ahead. But the biggest blast of the drive came from Damon Brown, who brought in three more runners with a triple, making it 13-1.
Newton singled down the left line in the third, giving Brattleboro a glimmer of hope, but he would have the team’s only hit that inning. Ian Benner made a quick grab from the mound when entering the game after starter Free retired with a few K’s.
"Newton was my main pitcher during the regular season," said Chris Millerick. "We only had so many strategies this time around."
King would single in the next frame, while Hay almost socked one out of the park, and Keegan Coon added an RBI double. On defense, Newton came through again, this time at shortstop with a stretching catch and toss out at first as the runner went to tag back.
"I had a lot of faith in my boys and I knew if we just went out there and played like we can, we’d do fine," said Bennington manager Jesse King. "I had a good feeling about this game. It was a team effort."
Hay and Keegan Coon would score their team’s last two runs as the knockout rule remained in effect.
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.