Keene spoils Brattleboro nine's perfect season

KEENE, N.H. — The Brattleboro Union High School varsity baseball team was just five wins away from the program's first perfect regular season since 1993.

Owen Fauth crushed those dreams with one swing of the bat.

The Keene shortstop lined a two-run single to center in the fifth inning and the Blackbirds held on for a 3-1 victory over the Colonels on Wednesday evening at Alumni Field.

"They were able to get a couple more hits than we were and we made a few miscues that cost us. You can't make mistakes against a team like this and expect to win," said BUHS coach Chris Groeger.

The purple and white entered Wednesday's game with an 11-0 mark, having outscored their foes by a combined 123-19. Their only close call was a 9-8 victory over Saint Johnsbury on April 21.

Brattleboro stole a 1-0 lead versus Keene in the second inning, when Dan Petrie launched a solo shot that cleared the small park's fence in center field.

"That was a shot," noted Groeger. "It might have been a double at Tenney Field, but he hit it well."

It was the only mistake that Keene starter Zack Moores made all night. In six innings of work, he fanned seven, walked four, threw a one-hitter, and gave up just the one run.

UConn commit Leif Bigelow threw five scoreless innings for the Colonels, but it was Keene's marathon fifth frame that cost him.

Marcus Soucia and Moores drew walks, Liam Yardley reached on an error, and then Fauth gave the Blackbirds a 2-1 advantage with a single to center. A double steal would then make it 3-1.

"Leif certainly pitched well enough for us to win. Walking the lead-off hitter hurt him," Groeger stated. "We didn't help him out offensively or defensively."

Brattleboro threatened in the top of the sixth, as Bigelow reached on an error and then Petrie drew a walk. Moores retired the next three batters, however, on two strikeouts and a fly ball to left field.

"We just need to refocus and we will be fine," remarked the BUHS skipper.

Bigelow struck out seven, walked four, and hit one batter on the night. Ben Betz made a fine play at the hot corner in the third, Petrie (C) ran a foul ball down toward his own dugout to end the fifth, and Bigelow made two spectacular defensive plays — going to his right and firing a dart to second baseman Tyler Millerick for a force out in the fourth, and rising up to snag a high bouncer before throwing to Kris Carroll at first for a sixth-inning out.

Marcus Soucia pitched a one-two-three seventh to earn the save for the Blackbirds (9-7).

The Colonels (11-1) will host Windsor on Friday night at 7. After that, they will play at rival MAU on Saturday at 10 a.m. and visit Burr and Burton on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. — completing an unfinished contest with the Bulldogs and then playing a full game.

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

Keene lineup: Marcus Soucia 2B, Liam Yardley 3B, Zack Moores P, Owen Fauth SS, Noah Timmer 1B, Tucker Brown CF, Cam Chamberlain C, Taylor Letourneau RF, Zack Bartlett LF.


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