BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro 12-year-old Little League All-Stars rallied from a nine-run deficit to beat Bennington 15-14 in Game 6 of the District 2 series on Monday night at the South Main Street field.
"They are just incredible kids. They work so hard. They dug down really deep," said Brattleboro coach Mike Bingham, whose team won the series 4-2 and will host the state tourney over the next two weekends.
Catcher Turner Clews and center fielder Zinabu McNeice were the defensive standouts for the champs. Clews chased a foul ball to the backstop for an out and also tagged out three Bennington runners at the plate, with one of those completing a pretty double play that started with McNeice catching a line drive and firing the ball home.
"Turner is just a great kid. He did a good job calling pitches and it's always nice to have an 11-year-old who will dive for the ball like he does," stated Bingham.
Brattleboro's offensive star was reserve Alex Carpenter, who drew an RBI walk, hit a two-run single and belted a solo homer in his three plate appearances.
"The last two games, he has really been locked in. He is swinging the bat really well for us," said Bingham of his slugger.
Carpenter's homer and single both came in the third, helping the hosts trim Bennington's nine-run lead to 12-9. Caden Wood contributed with an RBI single during the six-run rally.
The visitors tallied once in both the fifth and sixth frames to go ahead 14-9, before Brattleboro stormed back with six runs in the bottom of the sixth to end it. Elias Gradinger and Aaron Petrie each singled to fuel the comeback, which ended with Petrie sprinting home on a wild pitch.
Carpenter, Wood and McNeice all had a pair of hits for the winners. Petrie and Gradinger each hit safely.
Brattleboro roster: Manager - Mike Bingham. Coaches - Jeff Henry, Rob Pattison. Players - Jack Pattison, Alex Bingham, Zinabu McNeice, Caden Wood, Aaron Petrie, Huxley Holcombe, Alex Carpenter, Elias Gradinger, Magnus Von Krusenstiern, Sam Henry, Tristan Evans, Turner Clews.
Kristopher Radder photo: Brattleboro's Alex Carpenter is mobbed by his teammates at home plate after lining a homer over the wall in right field to begin the bottom of the third inning on Monday night.