Bulldogs reach the mountaintop; win first D-I crown

BURLINGTON — Last year, the Burr and Burton baseball team left Centennial Field with a sour taste in its mouth after losing to St. Johnsbury.

This year, there was nothing but smiles and joy on the Bulldogs' faces after defeating Essex 18-8 to win the program's first Division I state championship.

The No. 2 seeded Bulldogs took down the No. 1 seeded Hornets in dominating fashion, scoring a Division-I championship record 18 runs on 17 hits to bring home the program's second state championship and first since 2015.

"Last year we played a decent game, but just couldn't get enough runs across the plate," said BBA coach Ed Lewicki. "This year, our guys brought out the bats in a big way and we were scoring runs all over the place. Just couldn't be prouder of this team and how hard all of them have worked this season. They stuck together and now are state champions."

BBA got on to an early 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second inning, only to see Essex fight back with four runs in the frame to make it a one-run game.

The Bulldogs held a 6-5 lead heading into the fourth inning, where the bats for BBA broke out.

BBA scored seven runs in the inning, the biggest blow coming off the bat of senior Tyler Kraehling, who smashed a three-run bases-clearing triple to give the Bulldogs a 13-5 lead.

"[It] felt great to come through there in that situation for the team," Kraehling said. "Our team has just kept battling and not giving up all year long. It's so fun to be a part of this team and it feels great that we got redemption by winning it all this season."

Kraehling finished with a game-high five RBI.

The Bulldogs added a run in the sixth, before putting the exclamation point on their championship win with a four-run seventh.

Senior James Reilly reached base five times in the win for BBA with two RBI. Sophomore Daniel Hatheway had three RBI in the win for the Bulldogs.

BBA starting pitcher Griff Stalcup pitched six solid innings on the mound to pick up the win.

The Bulldogs finish the season with a 17-2 record.

More on BBA's state championship win will be in Monday's Bennington Banner.

Reach assistant sports editor Steven Bassin at 802-447-7567 ext 112 or @SBassin_Banner


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