BY GENE DELORENZO
BRANDON — The Otter Valley Otters baseball team came up short versus a strong Brattleboro squad 11-3 on Saturday morning at the Otters diamond. Brattleboro received a strong pitching performance from senior Alex “Moose” Bingham and combined timely hitting, good defense and Bingham’s pitching to secure the win.
Brattleboro jumped out to a 3-0 lead before OV launched a three-run rally to tie the game after the third. Jordan Beayon led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch on an 0-2 count. It was one of the few mistakes the Fitchburg State (MA) college-bound senior would make. Ben Adams would work a walk to put runners on first and second and then Fraser Pierpoint would line a run-scoring single off the shortstop’s glove into left field to plate the first run for the Otters.
It was a terrific at bat for Pierpoint as he did his best “Bernie Carbo in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series” imitation as he fouled off pitch after pitch with several highly defensive, but effective, swings. The swings kept his at bat alive until he could find a pitch low and away that he could drive to the opposite field — and that he did. It was a rocket that truly rewarded his ability to protect with two strikes and finally find a good pitch to hit. It was a real highlight of the day for the Otters.
Andy McEnerny, Otter Valley’s starting pitcher on this day, followed with a flare into right center field for a run-scoring base hit and the Otters trailed 3-2. Coach Howe then put on a delayed steal that worked to perfection with McEnerny getting caught between first and second on the steal attempt as Pierpoint scampered home with the game-tying run.
It was a beautifully executed play.
The terrific inning gave the home team a lot of life, but the Colonels were not to be denied on this day as they quickly recovered to add eight more runs in the next three frames to end up with an 11-3 victory. Bingham was really solid on the mound with outstanding control and the Colonels’ bats took over the game in the final few innings.
It turned out to be a game of missed defensive opportunities for the Otters, as several catchable balls hit into the outfield by Brattleboro led to runners on base and resultant runs. Coach Howe’s teams are extremely well-coached, but on this day a few balls hit to the outfield led to one-handed attempts at catches that just did not work out for the home team.
Caleb Whitney, OV’s outstanding shortstop, did make a leaping catch on a line drive in the top of the fifth that was a great play to see. He has done that several times this year. All in all, it was a tough morning game for the Otters, but they continue to be in every ballgame and are very close to a breakthrough game where everything will fall into place. They show a lot of savvy and are just a few plays away from being right there with some of the bigger names on the schedule.
OV dropped to 5-9 on the season and will next play against Hartford on Thursday, May 26.