BENNINGTON — Mount Anthony baseball battled its way to a 13-9 win over Rutland on Friday.
It didn’t seem to be MAU’s day from the beginning, as Rutland jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first as MAU struggled to find the strike zone early.
Jake Tibbetts was handed the ball in relief with two outs in the first, as MAU coach Trevor Coyne entrusted the righty to get them out of the inning. He threw a wild pitch to the first batter he saw which allowed the third Rutland runner to cross the plate. Tibbetts settled in after that, though, and got the Patriots out of the inning.
Tibbetts only walked one batter through his four and two thirds inning of work.
“He pounds the strike zone, that’s what he does; comes in and throws strikes,” Coyne said.
MAU’s bats woke up in the third. The middle of the order did the damage for the Patriots
Batting cleanup, Charlie Gratton missed a home run by a few inches, pounding the ball to right center for a long single which drove in a run.
Caleb Hay, in the three-hole, also drove one in on a single up the middle in the third.
Number five hitter Ethan Paligo drove in the third and final MAU run in the inning with his single down the line in left. Paligo’s hit gave MAU its first lead of the game, 4-3. The Patriots scored one run in the second, also off the bat of Paligo on a groundout to Rutland’s shortstop.
It was a back-and-forth battle all afternoon, though and the MAU lead wouldn’t last long.
Tibbetts was steady in his first two and one third innings. In fact, he retired the first seven batters he faced. Rutland’s offense finally got to him in the top of the fourth.
A leadoff double followed by a stolen base gave Rutland a runner on third with no outs. Tibbetts lost command of a pitch to the following batter and plunked him. Rutland then manufactured a run on the basepaths by executing a double steal. The Patriots tried to catch the runner going for second, but the throw was not in time and allowed the runner on third to steal home.
The heads up baserunning tied the game at 4-4, but Rutland wasn’t done. The visitors tacked on another three runs before the inning was over, reclaiming the lead 7-4.
MAU’s Brody Krawczyk hustled down the line at first and beat out a two-out infield single that plated Tibbetts in the bottom half of the inning, as the Patriots began once again to chip away at the deficit.
Tibbetts silenced the Rutland bats in the top of the fifth.
MAU responded with a four-run bottom of the fifth, giving them a 9-7 lead after five. The inning was highlighted by strong base-running from pinch runner Josh Worthington.
Worthington replaced Gratton after a leadoff walk. Worthington wasted little time, stealing second immediately after entering the contest.
Nat Greenslet singled to left field a couple batters later, and after a slight bobble, Worthington was sent home by his third base coach.
Rutland’s left fielder collected the ball, and fired a dart to his catcher, beating Worthington by a full step. Rutland had Worthington right where they wanted him, that was until the MAU speedster dove under the catcher’s tag attempt and somehow made it home safely.
Tibbetts took the mound to begin the sixth. After a leadoff single, Coyne pulled him for lefty Ethan LaBatt.
LaBatt retired the first two batters he faced, but gave up a two-run home run on a blast to left field. Rutland once again tied the game.
LaBatt didn’t let the home run phase him, striking out the next batter to get out of the inning.
MAU responded with another four run inning, taking a 13-9 lead into the top of the seventh.
LaBatt closed the door for MAU, and the Patriots improved to 5-0 on the season.
Krawczyk, Paligo, Greenslet and Austin Grogan each drove in two runs for MAU in a balanced offensive attack.
Coyne was happy to see his team show some resiliency by battling back from multiple deficits.
“Down the line, it shows the guys they can be down 7-0 and we’re not out of it,” he said.
MAU followed Friday’s battle with a 14-4 loss in Manchester to Burr and Burton (4-3). It was the first blemish on the season for MAU, who are now 5-1 and will play on the road at Otter Valley Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.