BENNINGTON -- Coming into the seventh inning in a 2-2 tie, Hartford needed a timely hit -- and they got it, a two-run single from Brandon Gaudet to give them a three-run advantage.
They'd need every run, as Bennington Post 13 rallied within 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but that was as far as it would get.
"One thing we've struggled with is coming up with that hit, it's been the difference in our season," said Hartford coach Jarrod Grassi. "We had to find a way to get a hit."
Tied in the seventh, Devin Babson walked the first hitter he faced, Jacob Perkins, in the inning on four straight balls. Tiring after five innings of work, Post 13 manager Jamie Carey replaced Babson with Adam Maitland.
Tyler Hamilton greeted Maitland with a bunt single and Hunter Perkins was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with nobody out.
The next hitter, Codi Smith, drove a fly to center to score Jacob Perkins -- but not without controversy. Center fielder Brady Sausville caught the fly and fired a rocket to catcher Cameron Bow. Bow made the tag on a close play and the umpire called Perkins safe.
A quick argument ensued, but Hartford led 3-2.
"You just see the ball and hit the ball. It's one of the things [we have] to adjust," Grassi said. "We stranded too many guys all year long. We had some opportunities to hit the ball to the right side and move guys, we need to manufacture runs."
Then Gaudet came up, and blasted a two-run double to right over the fielder's head for some insurance.
The next hitter, Jordy Allard, fouled to right, and Wyatt Whitman doubled off Gaudet to keep the deficit at three.
"Tyler, he's been great," Grassi said. "He's an incoming freshman, and he's contributed all year. We've played him all over the place and he's doing a great job, I've been more than pleased."
Post 13 had one more rally with the middle of the lineup hitting in the bottom of the seventh.
Ellis Baker led off with a flyout, but then three straight batters reached -- Bow and Zach Bahan with solid singles and Kaz Kusumi with a four-pitch walk -- to bring the winning run to the plate. Whitman struck out on a close pitch for the second out to bring up Maitland for his first at-bat of the day. The BBA product ran the count full, then singled up the middle for two runs and to pull Post 13 to 5-4.
"I really got my hopes up, I believe we could come back, we have the ability to do it," said Bow, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. "We strung some hits together, but we had no luck."
With the tying run at third and the winning run at first, Ezra Caron grounded to the shortshop. Running hard, Caron slid into first and was initially called safe by the umpire, tying the game. But after a conference, the umpires reversed the call and the game was over.
"I didn't see it but [the shortshop] made a nice throw," Bow said. "Ezra put a nice effort to get to first base. It was disappointing [the umpire] changed it but it was the right call."
Maitland took the loss in relief for Post 13, while Allard was the winner. Post 13 drops to 3-8 on the year.
"We just need to focus more in practice, need to work hard and get that mentality right," Bow said. "This is my last year, I want to get to the tournament."