LUDLOW -- The Putney Fossils and Ludlow Athletics slugged it out for 10 innings under the lights at Black River High School on Saturday night. In an ironic twist, Ludlow walked off with a 10-9 win in the bottom of the 10th on a two-run single by Mark Graves, avenging the Athletics’ walk-off loss by the exact same score to Putney earlier in the season. Graves was the hero of the game going 5-for-5, smacking two doubles, scoring three runs and driving in four.
Putney led 4-3 after three, but Ludlow plated one each in the fourth and fifth innings, then two in the sixth to take a comfortable 7-4 lead. After exchanging runs in the seventh to make it 8-5, Putney erupted for three runs in the top of the ninth, sparked by Kyle Whitworth’s (2-for-4, triple, two runs) lead-off triple, to tie it up at 8-8.
The Fossils took the lead in the top of the 10th scoring a single run, but Ludlow stopped the bleeding decisively with a very close double-play. In the bottom of the frame, a sacrifice bunt by Jim O’Neil moved runners to second and third with one out and set the stage for Graves’ heroics.
The Ludlow offense pounded out 21 hits in the contest, led by Graves’ performance. Other Athletics with impressive days at the plate included Zach Smith (three hits, double, two runs), Howie Paul (three hits, run, RBI), Matt McCarthy (3-for-4, triple, three runs), David O’Neil (three hits, two RBIs), and Matt Wood
Putney’s shortstop Steve Kapral doubled and drove in two runs. Kapral also made a spectacular over-the-shoulder diving catch in shallow left field that prevented at least two runs from scoring. Fossils catcher Steve Stanley gunned down four would-be base stealers.
This week, Putney is idle while Ludlow travels to Chester Sunday for a double-header beginning at 10 a.m.
Walpole 17, Brattleboro 2
DUMMERSTON -- The Walpole Wild Blue started fast and never looked back as a five-run first inning and 20-hit attack highlighted their huge victory over the Brattleboro River Rats Sunday at Dummerston Field.
Doug Palmer’s grand slam in the opening frame set the tone for the day as the Wild Blue added three runs in the second, two in the fourth, one in the fifth and six in the seventh inning. Brian Pickering had four hits, including a triple, and six RBIs for Walpole, while Chris Ballou (4-for-5, two doubles, four RBIs), Adam Kobeski (four hits, double, three runs, RBI), Gary Dennis (three hits, double, three runs), and Mike Snide (double, single, two runs, two RBIs) led the Wild Blue blitz. Ballou picked up his sixth win of the season on the mound.
Brattleboro’s only two runs came in the fifth inning as Will Bissonette drove in Abe Klein and Mario Checchi. Ken Sloat had a pair of hits for the River Rats.
The win improves the Wild Blue’s League record to 7-5 while Brattleboro drops to 4-8. Walpole hosts a double-header against the Keene Black Dawgs this Sunday at 10 a.m., while Brattleboro travels to Newport, N.H. for two against the Polar Bears, also starting at 10 a.m.
Chester 10, Saxtons River 6
CHESTER -- The Chester CRUSH continued their winning ways with a victory over the Saxtons River Pirates. Three pitchers: Doug Roberts, Scott Renfro, and Nick Wirkkala, did mound duty during the game with Renfro taking home the win. Chester’s four-run sixth inning gave them the lead for good.
Jamie Spence had a big day at the plate for the CRUSH smacking three hits and driving in three. Renfro blasted a lead-off solo homer in the sixth and scored two runs in the game, while Scott Sargent had two hits and two RBIs.
Pirates’ starting pitcher David Lockerby went 4-for-4 at the plate with a double and two RBIs. Derrick Smidutz (two RBIs) and Asha Bupp (RBI) had two hits each.
Saxtons River travels to Claremont Sunday for an 11 a.m. game against the Cardinals at Barnes Park.
Claremont 7, Keene 6
DUMMERSTON -- The Keene Black Dawgs (6-5) hosted the Claremont Cardinals (8-4) as both teams gear up for the playoffs. Keene jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to three walks and a throwing error, but the Cards managed to escape with only one run allowed.
Claremont answered in the second inning as Mike Wells knocked in Nate Duford with an RBI single. In the third, Josh Duford’s RBI single increased the lead to 2-1. Josh would later halt a Keene rally by throwing out a runner at the plate from center field.
Cardinals starter Bob Myers found his groove after the first inning troubles, and the Claremont offense finally got to Keene’s ace, Tim Santaw, in the fourth inning when they scored four runs on four straight hits and a sacrifice fly. Chris Brawn’s RBI single in the fifth seemed to ice the game as the visitors’ lead grew to 7-1.
Andrew Sullivan relieved Myers in the seventh, but had to leave the game due to injury after recording one out. Keene then pounced on Sullivan’s reliever, Gerry Thompson, for three runs fueled by Dave Fennucio and Matt Gilbert doubles (Gilbert’s double bounced over the fence in left).
Thompson worked out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth to hold the 7-4 lead. In the ninth, the Cards got their first two runners on but Santaw stranded them with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out.
A one-out error at second base in the bottom of the ninth gave Keene yet another life. Fennucio and Gilbert both walked, then Brandon Oldham drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Santaw singled singled in another to make the score 7-6 with the tying run on second base. Thompson was then able to induce a ground out to third and preserve the victory.