BENNINGTON — Facing rival Brattleboro for the second straight day thanks to early-season postponements, it was deja vu for the Mount Anthony baseball team on Tuesday.
After Monday's 10-1 defeat, the Patriots struggled on defense right away and dropped a 5-2 decision to the Colonels.
Two errors in the first inning led to four Colonel runs — enough to keep Mount Anthony at bay throughout.
"The same thing happened yesterday, we had some miscues on defense and that's been the calling card for the last few games," said MAU coach Walt Parmenter. "Once we got behind, it was tough."
MAU starter Ryan O'Neill walked the leadoff man and induced a grounder for a possible double play but the throw to second was off-line and both runners were safe. The next two batters, Leif Bigelow and Dan Petrie, each had base hits, Petrie's an RBI hit to give Brattleboro the 1-0 lead.
The Patriots ended up getting an out two batters later, when Pat Powers got an outfield assist throwing out Bigelow from shallow centerfield. But Chris Hall added a base hit from the seventh spot in the order and when the dust settled, Mount Anthony was down 4-0 before they had a chance to bat.
"We wanted to get out to a quick start and get some runs on the board," said Brattleboro coach Chris Groeger. "They mishandled some balls and mixed with a hit here or there, we took advantage."
O'Neill settled in afterward, striking out the side in the second, pitching around two walks in the third and retiring the Colonels in order in the fourth.
The junior pitched all seven innings, allowing two earned runs (five overall) and seven hits. He struck out seven and walked three.
"Ryan pitched well today but we couldn't back him up," Parmenter said.
MAU nearly got the board in the third, loading the bases with one out, but Colonel starter Sam Ognenoff got an Austin Condo popup and a Pat Powers grounder to end the inning.
The Patriots finally cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Noah Normyle walked to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball before scoring on an RBI hit to center from Brody Farnum.
Brattleboro had a golden opportunity to extend the lead in the top of the fifth as the first three hitters reached to load the bases with no one out, but O'Neill bore down for a pair of strikeouts and a pop up to short.
"I only used two pitches today, the slider wasn't really working," O'Neill said. "The adrenaline came in later and it started to go better, but we didn't start well as a team."
Down 5-1 in the seventh, MAU got the tying run to the plate. Liam Center walked with one out and Brian Grace singled to get two on. Carter Bentley reached on an infield hit to load the bases for Condo, who crushed a ball to deep center that was knocked down by the wind for a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.
But now with two outs, MAU couldn't find any more magic.
"I knew we would hit at some point but it wasn't enough [today]," O'Neill said. "[On Condo's shot], I'm thinking on a sunny day in July, it's gone. We wanted to get it to Noah for a chance but it didn't happen."
MAU drops to 7-5 with three games left in the regular season.
"We have to put the last two days behind us, we can't come out to practice and worry about what happened. We need to be more fundamentally sound," Parmenter said.