Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- For two and a half innings, Bennington Post 13 looked like a team that could lose a game -- on the back foot and Hartford Post 26 holding a five-run cushion for southpaw starter Parker Thurston.
Patience at the plate and some erratic pitching changed the game in a wild half-frame.
Bennington put 11 runs across in the bottom of the third on just two hits to cruise to a 14-5 victory in the first game of a steamy American Legion baseball doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.
Seven walks, two hit batters and an error rounded out the game-changing stand at the plate. For their 14 runs, Post 13 batters only had to churn out eight hits.
"We started slow but after the third inning we started to hit the heck out of the ball," Post 13 coach Walt Parmenter said.
But after forcing Bennington starter Ellis Baker from the game in the second inning, Post 26 couldn't manufacture anything in the final five off of reliever Matt Upright. Upright held the visitors scoreless while striking out four and allowing just two hits.
Parmenter said a Hartford squeeze play early in that third inning zapped some life into his club.
"I think we were sleeping, but they don't let anything get to them," he said.
The top four batters in the Post 13 lineup -- Tanner Williams, Matt Parmenter, Tyler Kunzmann and Zach Bahan -- accounted for seven runs on the day. Kunzmann also belted a two-run single off the left field fence in that fateful third inning.
It was Bennington's sixth straight victory after losing the season-opener to Brattleboro. Since then, Post 13 has looked like the sort of club that went undefeated in the regular season last summer.
"That was the first game of the year, we made a lot of mental mistakes," Parmenter said. "It took a game or two for us to get oiled up and ready to go."
BENNINGTON 13, HARTFORD 1
Wade Green went the distance with a two-hitter as Bennington beat Hartford, 13-1, in five innings in a shortened Game 2.
Zach Bahan was 3-for-4 with five RBIs, including a grand slam in the second inning, and three runs scored. Tanner Williams was 3-for-4 with three runs, a double and a triple.
Tyler Kunzmann was 2-for-3, Weston Lozier was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Green had two RBIs and Matt Parmenter one.
Improving to 7-1 with the win, Bennington stares down six games in the next six days. The stretch starts with a trip to Brattleboro on Tuesday.
"That's going to give our pitching a good test," Parmenter said of the week to come.