Little League: Avard fans 14, Claussen scores winning run

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BRATTLEBORO — Hayden Avard didn't allow a hit across five innings as the Giants cruised to a 10-0 Little League baseball victory over the Pirates on Wednesday at the South Main Street field. In the Giants' eighth win of the season, Avard struck out 14 batters. At the plate, he had four hits and plated six runners. Giants' first baseman Cooper LaFlam added a first-inning RBI double. Kymarion Hall had a base hit and scored two runs. Rookie Azyi Crews scored twice. Starting pitcher Lucas Speno struck out five batters for the Pirates. Catcher Brady Sparks was on base via a walk in the first inning and played very well behind the plate, making several acrobatic stops and strong throws. Eason DeMarsico showed off a strong arm from shortstop and continued to play strong defense in 2020.

On Tuesday, the Reds nipped the Royals 11-10 in the first game of the season to go into extra innings. Shortstop Spencer Claussen scored the winning run after walking to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Claussen also doubled in the game and scored three runs. Sean Cozza added two hits and an RBI. Connor Griffus was on base twice and hit a two-run single. Ryan Peloso added a run-scoring single in the third. Cozza and Carlos Torres handled the pitching for the Reds, combining for 13 punch-outs. Senji Kimura had three hits and three runs scored out of the leadoff spot to lead the Royals. Ryder Leary continued his strong season with two more knocks, including a two-run triple in the fifth and an RBI single in the sixth. Kaleb Betit and Owen Carrasquillo each hit doubles and scored. Betit had two hits including a two-out single in the seventh inning that kept the Royals alive.

On Sunday and Monday, the short-handed Giants and Mets each forfeited, however they both borrowed enough players for exhibition games. Donnevhan Hall belted two homers and Kason Gundry added three hits to propel the Giants to an 11-9 win over the Royals on Sunday. Charlie O'Connell went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in and Lucas Lamorder scored three runs as the Athletics topped the Mets 14-4 on Monday.

Last weekend, Reds' pitchers Carlos Torres and Sean Cozza combined to strike out nine batters and shut out the Red Sox by a score of 12-0. Connor Griffus led the Reds' offense with three hits including RBI base hits in the first and fifth innings. Spencer Claussen also had a multi-hit game with two hits and two runs scored. Cozza hit an RBI double in the first inning and scored two runs. Torres and Alex Crawford each hit RBI singles. AJ Blaise (2B) and Ryder Butynski (3B) had strong games on defense. Butynski's third-inning diving catch of a scorching line drive was one of the best plays of the game. The Red Sox got strong pitching from veterans Henry Schwartz and Varek Tuma, combining for eight strikeouts. Schwartz also lined a base hit in the fourth inning. Red Sox first-year players August Davis (C), Spencer Jones (2B), and Colby Robinson (SS) all made great plays on defense.

In a game called due to darkness after five innings, the Athletics and Pirates ended up in a 9-9 tie on Aug. 7. Grady Jutras had three hits for the A's and three runs scored. Trace Tetreault had a base hit and three runs scored in the game. Brady Sparks got the Pirates started with an RBI single and would also collect a base hit in the fourth. Lucas Speno smoked a two-run double down the third base line and later scored in the fourth inning. Eason DeMarsico had a strong day with the bat as he added two hits, two RBI, and was on base three times. Sebastian Garro of the Athletics scored two runs and showed great range in the field. Pirates rookie Mackson Hiner notched his first Little League hit, which was a fourth-inning single.

Brattleboro Little League canceled games scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All practices were also canceled.

"Please reach out to your team manager for more information," was posted on the league's Facebook page on Thursday. "This is being done out of an abundance of caution due to Covid-19."

Kristopher Radder's photo gallery: https://mng-nenivt.smugmug.com/Giants-takes-on-the-Pirates-081320/

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