BENNINGTON -- First-year Mount Anthony Union High School baseball coach Walt Parmenter had many firsts during the Patriots' opener against Mill River on Monday, including one he didn't want.
Ryan Darling's seventh-inning go-ahead single was the difference as the Minutemen topped Mount Anthony, 4-3, their first win over the Patriots in several years.
"It stings a little, you want to win the first one, but I'm happy with our performance," Parmenter said. "We just need to iron some things out."
Tied at 3-3 heading into the top of the seventh, MAU reliever Bailey O'Neill walked Connor Eaton, who was pinch-run for by Quin Kimball.
Pat Fiske advanced Kimball to second with a sacrifice, but O'Neill came back with a strikeout of leadoff hitter Pat Mumford for the second out of the inning.
Darling then came to the plate after striking out in his first three at-bats and on a 1-2 pitch slapped the ball to right, scoring Kimball when the throw was offline and giving the Minutemen a 4-3 lead.
"The walk to [the] leadoff [hitter], you can't afford to have walks in the late innings because a walk's a run, it kills you every time," Parmenter said. "If the throw's up the line, there's a play at the plate, it would have been a close play."
In the bottom half of the inning, Mill River pitcher Jonas Hamilton shut down the Patriots in order, capped off by a nice play by Darling at shortshop ranging to his left to throw out a base-runner.
"We scratched out the last run, I'm real proud of that," said Mill River coach Gary MacDonald. "And Jonas, his pitch count was only in the 80s, he was very efficient. He had rough luck in the first, they got some hits off him but we got out of it and the rest of way he did very well."
The Patriots' put a pair of runs on the board in the first as they had four straight hits. Zach Bahan (2-for-3) singled, advanced to third on Cameron Bow's double, then scored on a wild pitch. The next hitter, Matt Upright, then singled home Bow.
"Zach and Cameron are going to be our hitters," Parmenter said. Matt had a couple good at bats, Weston [Lozier] too but right at fielders."
The starter Upright made the fast start stand up, striking out seven of the first nine hitters. But he struggled in the fourth, allowing three runs.
"Matt threw 29 pitches in the first three innings but he got in trouble in the fourth, lost some confidence, starting missing the spots," Parmenter said. "But he did a good job, only [giving up] one hit in his first varsity start."
So while the first game ended up as a loss, there's still 15 games left.
"We're young, but it'll come. I have a lot of confidence in these kids," Parmenter said.