Colonels crush Hartford on diamond

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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Union High School varsity baseball team and Kentucky Derby winner Justify have a few things in common.

Speed, power, and a perfect record.

The Colonels stole three bases, belted six extra-base hits, and ran their record to 11-0 with an easy 16-1 victory over Hartford in five innings at Tenney Field — just nine days after trainer Bob Baffert's 3-year-old colt won the first jewel of horse racing's Triple Crown.

"This is a much better hitting team than we've had in the last few years. This is one of the better offensive teams I've had," said 19-year BUHS coach Chris Groeger.

The purple and white are averaging just over 11 runs per game, with Rutland and Otter Valley being the only teams able to hold them to single digits this season.

"We're doing things pretty well for the most part. Our pitching and defense have been good, and certainly we can score some runs," noted Groeger. "I didn't expect us to be scoring like we have been."

Brattleboro sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning versus Hartford on Monday and took a quick 7-0 lead. Dan Petrie's two-run double was the highlight during the rally, while UConn commit Leif Bigelow, Kam Pelkey, Ben Betz, and Chris Frost all batted in one run.

"We got off to a really good start offensively, but I thought their pitcher (Curtis Barry) threw really well for a freshman," Groeger stated.

With members of the packed student section looking on, the hosts tacked on five more runs in the third frame to make it 12-0. Jeremy Rounds had a pair of singles in that inning, while Hunter Beebe and Bigelow each delivered a two-run single. Tyler Millerick, Pelkey, and Frost all had one hit during the surge.

BUHS starter Adam Newton, who had faced just 10 batters over the first three innings, gave up an unearned run in the top of the fourth. Hartford's Kyle Hamilton reached on a fielder's choice, moved to second on a throwing error, and eventually went home on a second miscue.

"Adam was able to get people out when he needed to," remarked the Brattleboro skipper. "He fell behind in the count to way too many hitters. We want our pitchers to get ahead in the count."

Petrie made two standout defensive plays from behind the plate — throwing out Alex Bushway on an attempted steal in the first frame and chasing down a foul ball off of Jacob Dwinell's bat in the fifth. In the top of the third, Betz charged a roller at the hot corner and fired across the diamond to first baseman Kris Carroll, who made a gold glove scoop to get the out.

Bigelow started Brattleboro's four-run fourth inning with a line-drive triple to the right field corner. After Petrie and Evan Finnell drew walks to load the bases, Betz smoked a two-run double to right and Brett Worden batted in another run with a two-bagger of his own.

Rounds and Bigelow each finished with three hits to lead the winners, while Millerick, Pelkey, and Frost added two apiece. Bigelow and Beebe both ended up with a team-best three RBI.

Newton picked up the win after fanning four, walking one, and allowing five hits.

Bigelow will take the hill when the Colonels (11-0) play at Keene on Wednesday.

"They are always a pretty good team. This is going to be a challenge. They play in a very small park, so balls that would be pop flies here could end up in the parking lot over there," Groeger said. "I always feel pretty good when we have Leif pitching for us. He's been our guy for the last four years. I expect him to throw strikes and pitch well for us."

Hartford lineup: Tyler Hamilton C, Alex Bushway 2B, Hunter Perkins LF, Kyle Hamilton 3B, Riley Packard SS, Nick Cameron 1B, Cody Chapman DH, Cody Thayer CF, Jacob Dwinell RF.

Brattleboro lineup: Jeremy Rounds CF, Tyler Millerick 2B, Leif Bigelow SS, Dan Petrie C, Kam Pelkey RF, Kris Carroll 1B, Ben Betz 3B, Hunter Beebe DH, Chris Frost LF.


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