BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro 15-year-old Babe Ruth All-Star baseball team went 3-0 in the state tournament at Tenney Field to win the championship.
The hosts opened up with a 13-7 victory over Saint Albans on Friday afternoon. Jack Price, Jeremy Rounds and Tyler Millerick all had a couple of hits to lead Brattleboro offensively, while Rounds and reliever Joey Rafus combined for a six-hitter.
Adam Newton would then fire a three-hit shutout on Saturday as Brattleboro beat Lyndon, 3-0. He fanned six on the day.
"Adam pitched a great game. He kept his cool when they got a couple of runners on in the first and third innings. I went out to talk to him once to tell him he didn't have to do it all himself. He could just trust his defense to make plays, and they did," said Brattleboro manager Patrick Keppel.
Hunter Beebe hit an RBI triple to right-center and later scored on a balk to give the home team a 2-0 lead in the first frame. Beebe also started the fourth with a single, and pinch runner Evan Finnell stole second, moved to third on a grounder by Rafus, and scored on a squeeze bunt by Kris Carroll.
"The Lyndon pitcher (Evan Bollman) threw the ball very well. I think we only had four hits and had a hard time squaring him up. But when we did get on, we did the little things to move runners and cashed in on every opportunity. Hunter was clutch with the bat," added Keppel.
Rounds went 3 for 3 with three runs batted in and also pitched a complete game as Brattleboro outscored Saint Albans 5-2 in Sunday's championship game.
Price, Rounds and Beebe all had one hit when the hosts stole a 2-0 lead in the first. But Saint Albans put up single runs in the second and fourth frames to pull even.
Bret Worden reached on a bunt single in the bottom of the fifth and went home on a double by Nate Lewis to give Brattleboro the lead for good.
"To tell the truth, we were a little down in the fifth inning. The score was tied, but it just seemed like all their hits were falling. They had rallies every inning, while we were hitting line drives right at people and going quietly. Bret's bunt really gave us a huge lift — to me, it was the key to the game. Everyone was suddenly up and cheering, and we all knew we were going to break through and win this thing," stated the Brattleboro manager.
The hosts added two more insurance runs in the sixth. Millerick singled and Price reached on an error. Both scored on a single by Rounds, who then finished off Saint Albans in the seventh to bring the championship to Brattleboro.
"Jeremy had an incredible overall game. He'd pitched two days before and didn't have his greatest stuff, but he battled and just wouldn't give in," noted Keppel.
At the end of the game, Brattleboro received green, state champion hats with a "V" on the front of them for Vermont. The champs now move on to the Babe Ruth Regional Tournament in Lynn, Mass. and will face Connecticut on July 22.
"We're all really proud of this team. This is a resilient bunch that has a great bond. When one player makes a mistake, another teammate is right there to pick him up," the Brattleboro manager said. "I know we'll see a lot of strong teams in the Regionals, but I wouldn't want to play us. We won't give up."