BRATTLEBORO >> On Saturday afternoon, Brattleboro won the third leg of baseball's triple crown.
After this town's Babe Ruth and American Legion teams had already captured a state championship, Brattleboro's 12-year-old Little League All Stars overpowered Colchester 13-4 at the South Main Street field for the Vermont title.
"It's awesome to win it in front of our fans. Playing at home is a real morale booster," said Brattleboro manager Mike Bingham after watching his players run the banner around the field and then pose for pictures by parents.
The state champions hit six home runs versus Colchester, including two by clean-up hitter Zinabu McNeice. Alex Carpenter, Alex Bingham, Caden Wood and Jack Pattison also went deep.
"There are a lot of good hitters on this team," stated McNeice. "We were all just keeping our eyes on the ball."
Wood smoked an RBI single up the middle to give Brattleboro a 1-0 lead in the first. And Wood's two-run homer — his sixth during All Star play — highlighted a three-run second.
And that was just the beginning of Brattleboro's power display.
"Carpy" drove a 220-foot bomb over the Eagles sign in center in the third. McNeice, who had a league-best 10 homers during the regular season, lined one over the Marina sign in left in the fourth. Pattison belted the ball over the Lawton sign in center to begin the fifth. And in the sixth, Bingham blasted one off the scoreboard and McNeice hit a deep fly over the DMI sign in left-center.
"The kids came to play," said Bingham, whose team opened up a 6-0 lead and was never threatened. "I knew that we had a lot of kids that can hit really well."
McNeice (9 K's, 2 BB, 3 hits) threw 3.2 innings of shutout ball before reaching the 85-pitch limit and then hearing cheers from the sell-out crowd. Wood fanned three, walked two and gave up two hits in relief.
"We got very solid pitching. It's really nice when we receive strong performances like that," noted Bingham. "The kids were hungry."
Carpenter made the defensive play of the game for the winners in the fifth. The third baseman caught a line drive off the bat of Leon Roberts and then fired over to second baseman Jack Pattison to complete a double play.
Pattison, Bingham, Wood and McNeice all finished with three hits for Brattleboro, which will face Scarborough, Maine in Game 1 of the Regional Tournament on Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. in Bristol, Conn. That game will be shown live on ESPN3.
Scarborough romped Biddeford 14-0 to capture the Maine crown on Friday. Sam Clark fired a one-hitter to get the win and improved to 6-1 in postseason play. T.J. Liponis, Jack Simonton, Nic Frink and Clark all homered in the championship game for Scarborough, which is on a 12-game winning streak.
Brattleboro Little League roster: Coaches — Mike Bingham, Rob Pattison, Jeff Henry. Players — Jack Pattison, Alex Bingham, Caden Wood, Zinabu McNeice, Huxley Holcombe, Aaron Petrie, Tristan Evans, Elias Gradinger, Magnus Von Krusenstiern, Alex Carpenter, Sam Henry, Turner Clews.
NOTES >> The first leg of baseball's triple crown was achieved when the Brattleboro Babe Ruth team went 3-0 in the state tournament that it hosted, highlighted by a 3 for 3 day from winning pitcher Jeremy Rounds in the finale. And then Leif Bigelow's game-winning hit in the 11th inning versus Rutland gave Post 5 its first Vermont championship since 1999.