State tournament at home a big advantage for Bennington 10U

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BENNINGTON — It's been eight days since the Bennington 10U all-stars swept their district series against Brattleboro.

It's a long time to be off between games, but Bennington will have a major advantage as they host the state tournament for the first time since 2015.

The tournament begins Saturday when they face District 4 champion Connecticut Valley North, while District 1 champs Addison County and District 3's Essex Town battle in the second game on Saturday.

"The biggest thing is being at home, having home-field is huge," said all-stars coach Ryan Greenslet. "It's not make or break, but the kids can sleep in their own beds, have a normal routine and come out and play baseball. They won't have the stress and excitement and the distraction of being somewhere else."

Greenslet said he enjoys having the tournament in Bennington to show the rest of the state the quality of the Bennington Baseball Park.

"It's awesome to have this facility, I think it's one of the nicest in the state and we're proud to show it off," Greenslet said. "Once we get to this stage, I get messages from people that want to come watch to see the kids that are going to be coming up in a few years."

Pitcher and infielder Seth Greenslet said having home-field advantage is good because they are used to Hogan Field.

"We know how the field plays and we're used to the mound," Seth Greenslet said.

"It's a comfort thing, they know the field, they know the quirks and how to play it," Ryan Greenslet said. "Other teams don't know how the field reacts."

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Information is scarce on some of the other teams in the tournament, but Ryan Greenslet said he thinks that will actually help his team.

"These kids all play travel ball together, they are used to not knowing what to expect," Ryan Greenslet said. "It's all a mental game. If they don't think about it, they can all hit anyone they see."

Another variable on Saturday will be the heat. The National Weather Service is expecting highs in the 90s and high humidity, so the games will start a little earlier than originally scheduled to try and beat the heat.

"We're used to playing in the heat," Ryan Greenslet said. "These kids are fighters, they push through it. They want to play ball."

There should be a big crowd on Saturday, something that will boost the kids.

"We'll have a good crowd, they really pump us up and try to support us when we get down," Seth Greenslet said. "They back us up."

And after a 10-day layoff, the most important thing is to hear two words — play ball.

"They're ready to go. Now it's just a matter of playing it out. They're ready to get going," Ryan Greenslet said.

The first game between Bennington and Connecticut Valley North is scheduled for 10 a.m. with the second game between Addison County and Essex Town to start about 20 minutes after the end of the first game. For any updates, go to the Bennington Little League Facebook page.

Roster: Seth Greenslet, Brody Smith, Carson Andrick, Blake Tienken, Talin Bartholdi, Aiden Santarcangelo, Rowan Behan, Jonathan Crossman, Aidan Lacasse, Hudson Burnell, Noah Wood, Kaleb Ordway, Hunter Mattison. Coaches: Ryan Greenslet, Rick Bartholdi, Jerad Smith.


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