BRATTLEBORO >> While UFC 200 fighters were weighing in on Friday afternoon, the Brattleboro Babe Ruth All-Star baseball team had to feel like it was in a choke hold and about to go to sleep.
But the hosts wouldn't tap.
Brattleboro came back from a one-run deficit in Game 1 of the Vermont State Tournament at Tenney Field and beat Saint Albans, 13-7.
"They battled hard. The story of the game was their resilience. When we were down, they picked each other up. There was no panic," said Brattleboro manager Patrick Keppel, whose team will face the Lyndon-Barre winner in today's second-round game at 10 a.m. at BUHS.
Trailing 6-0, Saint Albans erupted for seven runs in the top of the fifth frame to take the lead. Matthew Brault's two-run single was the highlight and Parker Gratton contributed with a base knock.
The momentum had swung. The visitors were suddenly imagining playing in a winner's bracket contest.
But Jeremy Rounds would change things with a two-run triple to center as Brattleboro answered with six runs in the bottom of the fifth. The hosts would add an unearned run in the sixth to cap the scoring.
"We don't have the stars to dominate games like past Babe Ruth All-Star teams did. This is a team. We need contributions from everybody," stated Keppel.
Six different players had at least one hit for the winners. Jack Price, Tyler Millerick and Rounds all finished with two hits, while Adam Newton, Nate Lewis and Emmanuel Keppel all hit safely.
Rounds had a no-hit shutout going through four frames. The defensive play of the day came in the second, when Adam Rice lined out to Brattleboro's Joe Rafus (LF), who threw to Lewis (2B) for the twin killing.
"Rafus made a huge play for us," said Keppel, who likes how his defense communicates. "Emmanuel Keppel made two nice catches in right field and Rounds made a nice play at shortstop."
Rounds fanned one, walked three and gave up five hits to pick up the win. Rafus (1 K, 3 BB) allowed just one hit in two innings of relief.
"Jeremy was mowing them down out there. He was pitching to contact," Keppel said of his starter.
After two scoreless innings, Brattleboro put up three runs in both the third and fourth frames. The biggest blows were an RBI single up the middle from Rounds and a two-run triple to deep right by Price.
Adam Newton will get the start for Brattleboro in today's contest.
Brattleboro roster: Manager — Patrick Keppel. Coaches — Chris Millerick, Paul Beebe. Players — Dillon Cudworth, Adam Newton, Nate Lewis, Grady Derosia, Emmanuel Keppel, Bret Worden, Jeremy Rounds, Hunter Beebe, Kyle Murray, Evan Finnell, Tyler Millerick, Jack Price, Kris Carroll, Logan Morton, Joe Rafus.
St. Albans roster: Manager — Jeff Poirier. Coaches — Keith Boucher, Shawn Stabell. Players — Jalen Lewis, Jackson Pierson, Ethan Robie, Gavin Willett, Dylan Estivell, Anthony Castellaneta, Seth Poirier, Camden Boucher, Zachary Stabell, Parker Spaulding, Tyler Murray, Hunter Chase, Carson Corriveau.