Brattleboro outlasts Bennington, sets up winner-take-all game

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BENNINGTON — The Bennington U10 all-stars were down six runs after one-half inning, but they never gave up.

In the bottom of the fifth, Bennington took a 1-run lead but Brattleboro came back to score a 12-9 win on Thursday, tying the District series at 2-2 and sending it to a deciding fifth game on Saturday morning.

"They did it to us [on Tuesday, holding on to win 12-10], we did it to them tonight," said Brattleboro coach Lance Cutler. "They've got one on our field and we've got one on theirs. It's as even as it gets."

Trailing 6-0, Bennington came back with 1 in the bottom of the first, two in the third and then four in the fourth to cut the deficit to 8-7.

"It was the first thing I told them down six runs," said Bennington coach Matt Maroney. "We play six innings for a reason. I'm awful proud of this group, they kept fighting the whole way.

All four of their runs came with two outs. The first two hitters struck out, but Sean Moriarty hit a triple to deep right. Hunter Sherwin drove him home with an RBI single and Cash Campolongo reached on a catcher's interference to keep the inning alive. Vance Kobelia walked and then the big blow — a two-run double from Ryan Maroney to make it a whole new ballgame. Maroney had three runs driven in.

After Riley Britch came in and set down Brattleboro in order in the top of the fifth, Bennington came back with two runs to take a 9-8 lead. Steven Collette blooped a hit to left with one out before Moriarty (who went 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot) reached. Sherwin had a 2-RBI single to drive home the tying and go-ahead runs.

Sherwin, who came in to relieve Campolongo in the first inning on the mound, went 3-for-4 with three singles and two runs scored. In relief, Sherwin pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed two runs to keep Bennington in it.

"Hunter's performance was huge," Maroney said. "Not everyone is going to have it every day they go out there, but it could have spiraled out of control and he kept us in it. We have a lot of good bats on this team."

In the top of the sixth, Brattleboro immediately came back to tie it. Evan Wright hit a single and then a pair of bunts helped bring in the tying and go-ahead runs. Two runs scored when John Satterfield hit a ball to the shortshop and the throw was high to first base to give Brattleboro a 12-9 lead.

"They were able to execute a couple of things and we didn't and that was the difference," Maroney said.

But Bennington didn't quit. Maroney reached on a hit-by-pitch and then Britch added a single. But Brattleboro reliever Keegan Systo got a pop-up to end it.

"These kids just keep grinding, I think both teams are as even as it gets, that makes it fun," Cutler said.

The fifth game of the series will be played in Bennington after a coin flip went their way.


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