First inning fuels Bulldogs

BENNINGTON -- When students in Vermont go on spring break next week, the Burr and Burton Academy baseball team is headed to Vero Beach, Florida, the former spring training home of the Dodgers.

The Bulldogs will take a perfect 2-0 record to the Sunshine State after topping rival Mount Anthony 9-3 in a rain-shortened game at Dana Thompson Park on Wednesday.

"Those [scrimmages] are bonuses for us, as long as we continue to progress, I'm happy with how the kids are playing right now and I hope we can build on it," said BBA coach Tony Cirelli.

BBA jumped in front quickly, scoring five times in the bottom of the first after allowing a run in the top of the inning.

Robert England and Noah Rizio started the game with singles off MAU (0-2) starter Ellis Baker. Zack Stewart moved the runners over with a sacrifice and two batters later, Taylor Fuller socked a single to left to drive in two.

Weston Muench walked and then Alex Alberti snuck a grounder through the right side of the infield for another run. Dalton Blackwell capped the frame with a 2-run hit to center.

"I was real happy with the fast start, against Brattleboro we didn't do a good job with that," Cirelli said. "It was nice to respond to their first run with the five runs and I was very pleased with how we approached our at-bats."

Burr and Burton added three more runs in the fourth, as Tanner Carleton and England hit back-to-back doubles to start the inning. Rizio struck out but reached on a dropped third strike and scored on an RBI hit by Jake Stalcup.

England and Carleton each had a double and a single, while Alex Alberti added two singles.

"I adjusted the lineup a little bit, Robert's had four hits in [the first] two games, he's the offensive punch at the top," Cirelli said.

Baker struggled in his first varsity start, allowing six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings while striking out four.

On the other side, BBA starter Jake Stalcup benefited from all the offense. He pitched five innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out six.

"Jake threw only 69 pitches, he was hitting spots and mixing in his off speed stuff," Cirelli said. "He did a great job of locating his pitches."

Down 9-1, MAU started to come back in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs without the benefit of a hit. As the rain pelted the players, Cameron Bow and Shelby Coon walked.

Two hitters later, Bow (4-for-5 this season) scored on a wild pitch and Coon came home on a fielder's choice. But after the first BBA hitter in the bottom of the sixth walked, the rain won out and the game was called.

MAU is off until April 23 when the Patriots travel to Brattleboro.


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