Colonels come back to beat Essex
BRATTLEBORO — On Wednesday night, Brattleboro Union High School varsity baseball coach Chris Groeger made a pros and cons list to decide whether or not he would have starting pitcher Adam Newton in the batting order in the second round of the playoffs.
The results were 7-2 in favor of the hurler hitting.
Newton made his skipper look like a genius by stroking a walk-off single to right field in the bottom of the seventh to give the second-seeded Colonels a thrilling 5-4 comeback victory over No. 7 Essex in Friday's Division 1 quarterfinal on Tenney Field.
"We usually have somebody hit for him when he's pitching," said Groeger, noting that a two-hit game against Lyndon on Tuesday factored into Newton being in the lineup for the team's second postseason game. "That was obviously a huge hit for us."
Newton went the distance for the win. He struck out nine, walked just one, and gave up six hits.
"His pitching was outstanding. He kept them off balance," noted Groeger.
The Colonels committed three errors, but also got a solid defensive performance from catcher Dan Petrie — he threw out Maverick King on an attempted steal in the first frame and did the same to Brandon Charles in the third.
Brattleboro scored an unearned run in the third to go ahead 1-0. Tyler Millerick drew a one-out walk, advanced on Leif Bigelow's infield single, and went home on a wild throw to first by second baseman Ryan Young.
The Hornets took advantage of a couple of miscues in the fifth to score three runs, with the highlights being Tyler Millette's single to left and an RBI double by Young. A solo shot over the fence in left by Garrett Somerset in the sixth gave the visitors a 4-1 lead.
Chris Frost's run-scoring single in the bottom of six got the hosts to within 4-2. And then Newton pitched a scoreless seventh.
"As far as who we had coming up in the seventh, it couldn't have been scripted any better," said Groeger after the game.
Bigelow singled up the middle and Petrie followed with a knock to right, with an error on the outfielder putting both players in scoring position with no outs. Kam Pelkey hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it 4-3, Hunter Beebe drew a walk, and Ben Betz tied it with a sac-fly to left. Kris Carroll, who was running for Beebe, alertly went to second on the ball hit by Betz. He was then able to score the game-winning run when Newton singled to right.
"We had come back against Burr and Burton twice. We did it again here today," stated Groeger. "This was huge. We were in big trouble against a very good team."
Bigelow finished with two hits to lead Brattleboro's offense. Jeremy Rounds, Pelkey, Millerick, Frost, Petrie, and Newton all ended up with one hit.
The 17-1 Colonels will host third-seeded Colchester (15-3) in Tuesday's semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Bigelow will take the mound for BUHS, according to Groeger.
And Newton will likely be somewhere in the batting order.
Essex lineup: #28 Ryan Young 2B, #18 Robby Meslin RF, #15 Maverick King SS, #12 Garrett Somerset 1B, #2 Grady Cram P, #22 Gordon Schmaltz CF, #17 Michael Barnett DH, #20 Brandon Charles 3B, #4 Tyler Millette C
Brattleboro lineup: #4 Jeremy Rounds CF, #12 Tyler Millerick 2B, #10 Leif Bigelow SS, #15 Dan Petrie C, #3 Kam Pelkey RF, #7 Kris Carroll 1B, #1 Ben Betz 3B, #2 Adam Newton P, #20 Chris Frost LF
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