Bennington tops Rutland, remains unbeaten in districts
BENNINGTON — The Bennington 12U all-star team used an aggressive offensive approach and clutch pitching to remain unbeaten in the District 2 tournament with a 7-1 win against Rutland Monday night at Hogan Field.
Coming off a 9-4 tournament-opening win against Brattleboro on Sunday, Bennington wasted little time jumping on Rutland.
First baseman Hunter Sherwin led off with a single and proceeded to steal second base. Sherwin got to third and eventually scored on a passed ball. No. 2 hitter Sean Moriarty reached on an error at shortstop and then Vance Kobelia drove Moriarty in on a double to left field.
Kobelia is in the middle of the Bennington batting order for a reason and his three runs batted in on the night told that story quite clearly.
"[Vance] is a guy we rely on as that No. 3 hitter, who has a good combination of power and speed," said Bennington coach Derrick Tienken. "He's a care-free kid. No situation seems to rattle him. That's the kid you want on the mound. That's the kid you want at shortstop and the person you want batting with runners on."
Bennington took a 3-0 lead after one inning.
Bennington was aggressive at the plate all game long and put the ball in play throughout. Rutland struggled a bit with the leather, committing five errors.
With the miscues on the Rutland side, Bennington only needed seven hits to come out on the winning side.
Tienken knows the potential of his strong lineup and felt there is another gear they can hit.
"We have a good mix of power and speed, but I don't think our bats were at our best today," Tienken said. "The pitchers didn't throw as hard as they did against Brattleboro, but we need to adjust. It was enough, but we need to hit better."
Following the three-run first, added two more runs in the third inning. Colby Hill led off by reaching on an error and Jeffrey Dunn draw a walk next. Dunn was out at second on a fielder's choice two batters later, as Asa Reis reached base, before Reilly Granger drove Hill and Reis in to make the game 5-0.
Rutland struggled to do much with the bats all game long, only mustering four hits.
They drew a handful of walks throughout the contest, but couldn't make Bennington pay for those free passes.
Rutland stranded 10 runners on base Monday night.
Riley Britch was on the mound for four innings for Bennington and battled despite struggling with his command at times. Britch struck out five batters and didn't allow a run in his outing.
"Anybody who has seen Riley Britch pitch all year would have known he wasn't at his best today, but he had the guts to power through in those tight situations," Tienken said. "He sucked it up and did what he had to do to get the outs."
Sean Moriarty came on in the fifth inning and pitched the last two innings for Bennington. He allowed the lone Rutland run of the day on a David Franzoni sacrifice fly in the fifth, but quelled any further damage.
Bennington moves to 2-0 in the district tournament and plays Brattleboro at home Friday.
"We know that we have a big game Friday night. We beat them the first time and they're a heck of a program and team," Tienken said. "They're going to come back strong, so we need to do the same thing."
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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