Bennington 10U all-stars win district title

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BENNINGTON — It started with a dance-off and ended with a district championship for the Bennington Little League 10U all-star team.

Bennington and Bratteboro took part in an impromptu dance battle before introductions, setting the tone for the elimination game.

It took Bennington's bats a few innings to get going like its dance moves, but once they did, they cruised to a 16-6 win against Brattleboro to lock up the District 2 crown.

After struggling mightily at the plate in the first two games of the series, Brattleboro finally seemed to break out of its slump Wednesday.

Bennington's Jacoby Dicranian, who threw a no-hitter in game one, allowed a walk and two hits to give Brattleboro a quick lead in the first.

Brattleboro righty Hayden Avard got the start on the bump for his team and fared much better than he did this past Saturday. He gave up first inning hits to Dicranian and Asa Reis, but kept the damage at just that.

Brattleboro grabbed a one-run lead in the second, getting to Dicranian for a pair of walks and singles.

It wasn't until the third inning, where Bennington really found its groove at the plate. Nine players came to the plate in the frame, as they notched three hits and three walks. Jeffery Dunn got the scoring going with a single and Bennington piled on from there.

"We were a little under pressure there with the big crowd and under the lights and a big game on the line. The kids' nerves were there," said Bennington coach Jason Dicranian. "Once we settled in, they believed in themselves and they started playing. The bats came alive and we started playing our game and we go through the game."

Bennington added two more insurance runs in the fourth, while Brattleboro added one of its own.

Jacoby Dicranian had a big day at the plate for Bennington, notching hits in his first three at-bats. He doubled to lead off the game and laid down a pair of beautiful bunts to grab two more hits in his next two at-bats. Reis also had a multi-hit game in the No. 2 spot in the Bennington order.

The top four of the Bennington order has been a catalyst so far in the tournament. With Jacoby Dicranian at No. 1, Reis at No. 2. Dunn at No. 3 and Colby Hill at No. 4 in the order, the Bennington bunch figures to be as good as any come the state tournament in St. Albans.

"Those four batters are a huge spark in our lineup," Jason Dicranian said. "The kids in the bottom of the order get on base somehow to get to the top of the order and they do the job. Last night, Jacoby, Asa, Jeffrey and Colby all came up big for us. They've been a big asset in this series."

Bennington put the game away in the fifth.

With the win, Bennington moves on to the state tournament, where a winner from each of the four districts will take part.

Bennington is taking a game-by-game approach to compete with some of the state's best in the age group.

"We just need to make sure we're on and everything is clicking and not look too far ahead," Jason Dicranian said. "These guys aren't perfect, they're going to make the errors. We just have to play a clean game and pitching has to be good and we have to keep hitting. If we hit, I don't think anyone's beating us."

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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