BRATTLEBORO >> A couple days after a serious pitchers' duel took place, the 12-year-old Little League All Stars put on a hitting display in Game 2 of the District 2 series at the South Main Street field.
The slew of fans, which included former players and future stars, were treated to 18 total hits as Bennington defeated Brattleboro 12-8 to pull even at one game apiece.
"They came out ready to hit," said Brattleboro manager Mike Bingham of his foes. "We made some mistakes, but errors happen. That's why we work so hard. We will work hard to correct those things."
The visitors, who were seeking revenge for a heartbreaking Game 1 loss, stole a 3-0 lead in the first frame. Austin Grogan reached on an error, Ben Ranzona doubled to right-center and then Kadin Davis launched a three-run homer over the wall in right field.
Each team tallied once in the second, with Bennington scoring on a miscue and Elias Gradinger getting the hosts on the board with an RBI groundout.
Proud grandmother Deb Carpenter found an open spot along the fence to get pictures of her grandson Alex. Children hurried to the snackbar to get hot dogs and drinks. Youngsters played catch in foul territority.
With Brattleboro backers cheering from the bank behind the first base line, Bingham's team would explode for five runs in the bottom of the third to take a 6-4 advantage.
Caden Wood and Aaron Petrie each singled during the rally. Huxley Holcombe belted an RBI double and Zinabu McNeice hit an absolute shot — looking like something off the bat of Derby champ Giancarlo Stanton — that zoomed past the flag pole in center for a two-run homer.
"He is a very talented player. He is athletic and able to do anything. He works hard every day," the Brattleboro manager said of McNeice. "It's been a pleasure to coach him on the A's for three years and now with this team."
But Bennington would string together four consecutive hits to begin the top of the fourth and tacked on four runs to take the lead back for good. Grogan's two-run double was the biggest blow in the frame.
And a two-run blast by Billy Rogers helped the visitors increase their lead to 12-6 in the sixth.
Announcer Scott Smyth gave the game a big league feel — letting the onlookers know which player was about to dig in, keeping everyone up to date on the pitch counts, and even throwing in a little MLB trivia.
Brattleboro capped the scoring with a pair of runs in the bottom of six. Alex Bingham started it with a two-out double, before Petrie and Holcombe drew RBI walks.
"Let's get something going with two (outs)," screamed lead-off hitter Jack Pattison while walking back to the dugout after making the second out of the inning.
Wood (4 K's, 2 BB, 9 hits) and Bingham (0 K's, 1 BB, 3 hits) did the pitching for Brattleboro, which will visit Bennington for Game 3 of the best-of-seven series tonight at 6. Holcombe had a team-best two hits, while Bingham, McNeice, Wood and Petrie all hit safely.
The hosts also made two fine defensive plays in the outfield. Sam Henry (RF) threw a runner out at home in the third and McNeice sprinted to his left to rob Landon Davis of an extra-base hit in the sixth.
Brattleboro roster: Manager - Mike Bingham. Coaches - Jeff Henry, Rob Pattison. Players - Jack Pattison, Alex Bingham, Zinabu McNeice, Caden Wood, Aaron Petrie, Huxley Holcombe, Alex Carpenter, Elias Gradinger, Magnus Von Krusenstiern, Sam Henry, Tristan Evans, Turner Clews.
Bennington roster: Players - Dylan Coyne, Austin Grogan, Brodie Krawczyk, Ben Ranzona, Kadin Davis, Billy Rogers, Jake Tibbetts, Tristen Levick, Colby Granger, Payton Lamoureaux, Landon Davis, Nick Hodgin, Hayden Rabideau.