RUTLAND -- Led by its Bennington County contingent, the South swept both games of the North-South Senior All-Star baseabll doubleheader, 12-8 and 6-3, on Saturday at St. Peter’s Field.
In Game 1, the South trailed 7-1 after four innings, but came back in a huge way with eight runs in the sixth.
"They didn’t lay down and kept swinging the bats," said South head coach Kevin Bellomo. "They’re all-stars, they want to get up there. We have a lot of good hitters."
The big hit came from Burr and Burton Academy’s Jake Oliver, who entered the game as part of a mass switch after the fifth inning, drove in the go-ahead runs on a single off Peoples Academy right-hander Ryan Davis.
"[Davis] threw me off-speed the first couple of pitches and I knew the fastball was coming," Oliver said. "I just happened to connect with it."
Down 8-4 heading into the frame, a couple of miscues in the field helped the South pull within one at 8-7. Mount Anthony Union High School’s Tyler Kunzmann drove in Brattleboro’s Sawyer Olsen for the tying run. Then Oliver blasted a 2-1 pitch back up the middle to plate Woodstock’s Joe Dedell and Kunzmann.
That gave the South its first lead, 10-8.
The shot in the arm came from players coming off the bench as part of a rotation where the starters went five innings with the reserves playing the final four.
"We started to get hot and once that happens, everyone’s in a rhythm and stays hot," Oliver said.
Green Mountain’s Jacob Walker added two insurance runs with a deep double to left to make it 12-8.
"I’m glad we got the bats going finally," Kunzmann said. "It was just having fun and winning a couple of games."
From there, the pitching did the rest as Mill River ace Josh Maniery shut down the North for the final 3 2/3 innings to earn the win. Maniery struck out four and allowed only two hits.
"I played in [the North-South games] in basketball and football, so it’s nice to beat the North," Oliver said.
The North took a 2-0 lead right away in the first off Fair Haven’s Dan Brown. Brown then gave way to Bellows Falls’ Cooper Long and Jeremy Kilburn.
With Kilburn on the hill, the North scored four times including a two-run homer from Harwood’s Dave DeFreest.
But down 7-1, the South came roaring back with three runs in the fifth. Mount Anthony’s Nick Solari singled and Kunzmann drove in two runs with an long double. Oliver, who went 2-for-3 in Game 1, cut the lead to 7-4 with a single to center.
In Game 2, the North led 2-0 after eight innings, but the South went ahead 3-2 in the top of the ninth. The North tied it at 3-3 to force extra innings but in the 11th, Kunzmann, who had three hits in the two games, cracked a go-ahead double as the South won 6-3.
Oliver started Game 2 on the mound, allowing three hits in four innings. Kunzmann pitched two innings in Game 2 as well.
BBA’s Riley Kevil also played for the South, reaching on an error and scoring a run in the second game.