The Essex Junction 9 and 10-year-old little league baseball team opened up the Vermont State Championship Tournament with a bang over the weekend.
The District III Champions started the tournament with a strong win over Shelburne before narrowly taking down Bennington to punch their ticket to the championship round, which started Tuesday evening.
In the opening game, Essex Junction blew through Shelburne by a score of 9-1. Coach David Bostwick used a barrage of pitchers in the game to keep their pitch count down, so they would be available throughout the rest of the tournament.
Nick Taylor, Patrick Herrin, Ben Deibler, Matthew Cincotta and Andrew Goodrich all itched in the opening game for Essex Junction.
Herrin, Jackson Moore and Eli Bostwick led the charge offensively with extra base hits.
The team’s second game was a tougher challenge against Bennington. Taylor pitched 5 and 2-3 innings in the game to keep Essex Junction within reach.
The defense was also spot on. With the game tied 5-5 in the fifth inning, Bostwick made a diving catch with two Bennington runners on to end the inning and the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with the game still tied, Matt Correria hit a walk off double to lead the team to victory.
Cincotta had two singles in the game that knocked in four RBIs.
“It was a very close game that was well played by both teams,” said Bostwick. “It was wicked exciting to say the least.
“I am really proud of our guys and what they did this weekend,” he added. “They were composed on the mound, had a lot of heads up play in the field and had a lot of quality at bats.”
Essex Junction will play Bennington/Shelburne in the championship round. They need only one win to claim the state championship with Bennington/Shelburne needing two wins to take it away. The winner will move on to the Little League World Series regional tournament held in Cranston, R.I. starting on August 1.
Essex Town 11/12 baseball
It was a heartbreaking end to the season for the Essex Town 11 and 12-year-old baseball team. Entering last week’s championship round undefeated, Essex Town only needed one win against St. Albans to take the District III Tournament crown.
However, after a tough 17-1 defeat in the first game, Essex Town lost a tough 8-7 game on Wednesday.
“After a big loss like we had in our first game, a lot of teams would have been toast,” said Essex Town coach Will Brooks. “The kids showed a lot of heart and tenacity to battle the next day.”
Brendan Brooks and Cory Giannelli each tallied two runs in the game and each added a home run.
Sam Gibbs, Oliver Austin and David Roberts each scored for Essex.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to coach such a great group of boys,” said Brooks. “It’s been a great year to coach some elite players in their last year of little league.”
Essex Junction 10/11 Baseball
Essex Junction had a tough first two games during the state tournament in Waitsfield over the weekend.
They lost to Mad River and Brattleboro in their first two games and were eliminated.
Jerry Manrique and Patrick Morgan pitched well during a 5-0 loss to Brattleboro, but the bats couldn’t come alive for support, as Essex Junction’s year came to a close.
“Defensively, we were virtually error free during the Brattleboro game,” said Essex Junction coach Tom Heins. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the bats going.”
Essex Junction had a strong run this season, as they won the District III championship.
“This was a great group of kids that dedicated themselves to baseball for more than a month,” said Heins. “It was a great run winning the District III tournament and making the states. I also have to give a lot of thanks to my coaches Ron Payson and Wendy Peyrat. They were instrumental to our success.”— Anthony Labor