BRISTOL, CONN. >> Brattleboro manager Michael Bingham could not have been more proud of the team that he brought to the Regionals in Bristol, Conn.
"We had the experience of a lifetime and I couldn't be more thankful for this group of kids," Bingham said after his Little League All-Star team's 14-4 loss to Bedford, N.H. in the elimination round of the New England Regional Little League tournament on Tuesday at Breen Field.
Bedford's TJ O'Connell hit a home run and a double out of the leadoff spot to kickstart the offense. Pitcher Evan Kaplo threw four innings while allowing three runs and striking out six to earn the victory. Bedford claimed its second victory in the tournament and had played in its third straight contest. They advance to play the winner of a contest between Maine and Rhode Island.
Brattleboro's offense would not go quietly against this Bedford team. Center fielder Zinabu McNeice blasted a long two-run home run into the trees in deep left-center field. Right fielder Caden Wood and second baseman Jack Pattison each hit solo home runs to account for the other two runs in this game. Huxley Holcombe started the game for Brattleboro and threw three innings. Wood and Alex Bingham finished the final three innings.
This was the final game for this extremely talented team. They defeated division rival Bennington to get to the State Championship and then stormed through that tournament in Brattleboro. However, it was a different story in Bristol as each New England state sent its best. Brattleboro lost to Maine on Sunday 8-4 and against New Hampshire on Tuesday to be eliminated from the tournament.
While it was the final game this team will play together, the whole team will be staying in Bristol through the end of the tournament on Saturday, when a champion will be crowned. The New England champion will advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
Nine of the 12 Brattleboro players are 12-years-old and will be moving on to middle school baseball and Babe Ruth baseball next year. The three 11-year-old players, Turner Clews, Tristan Evans and Sam Henry, all gained tremendous experience that will prepare them to make another run at this tournament next year.
Brattleboro roster: Coaches — Mike Bingham, Rob Pattison, Jeff Henry. Players — Jack Pattison, Alex Bingham, Caden Wood, Zinabu McNeice, Huxley Holcombe, Aaron Petrie, Elias Gradinger, Tristan Evans, Magnus Von Krusenstiern, Alex Carpenter, Turner Clews, Sam Henry.