The Junior Swamp Bats baseball program of Keene had itself a very good weekend, highlighted by the 12U team winning its second New England Elite League title Sunday.
The Bats defeated the NLB Shamrocks of Bedford, 11-6, in the 12U DIA championship game at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. The team — which consists of players from the Greater Keene and Swanzey Cal Ripken leagues — went 7-0 in the postseason, including three wins in the weekend’s single-elimination round.
Adding more success to the Junior Swamp Bats name, the 16U team finished as the runner-up at the Empire Cup tournament in Albany, N.Y., on Sunday; the 13U DI team reached the semifinals of the Nor’easters Invitational in Leominster, Mass.; and the 13/14U team went 3-1 to finish second in the Greater Keene Invitational in Marlborough and Swanzey.
Pitching carried the 12U team throughout the playoffs, including complete-game performances on Saturday by Ollie Frowein in an 8-6 win over the Junior Lancers and Fitch Hennessey in a 4-1 win over Mizuno Northeast. Mizuno, which swept the Junior Bats during the regular season, had scored 42 runs in its first four playoff games, but were held to three hits by Hennessey, who didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.
In Sunday’s championship game, Nolan Gillis worked the first 4.1 innings to get the win. He was backed by a big day from leadoff hitter Mauro Diaz, who was 3-for-4 with four RBI.
The 16U team rode strong pitching and clutch hitting to Sunday’s medal round. Once there, the Junior Bats beat the Capital Renegades, 4-3, in the semifinals, before falling to North Colonie 16U in the finals, 10-4.
On Saturday, Liam Conley hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning, driving in Tucker Brown to beat North Colonie 15U, 2-1. Shea Zina, Huxley Holcombe and Aaron Kent combined to strike out 14 batters in that win, while Zina and Holcombe pitched a joint three-hitter in Sunday’s semifinal win over the Renegades.
The 13U DI team beat Dr. Diamonds, 14-6, and the Seacoast United Cubs, 7-4, on Saturday to earn a spot in the medal round, before losing to Mizuno Sunday in the semifinals, 9-1. The team combined for 17 hits against Dr. Diamons, including three by Evan Gutkowski and two each by Ben Dean, Jordan Ketola, Alden Gibson, Ted McLaughlin and Charlie Clark.
Jack Cravinho paced the 13/14U team, going 5-for-6 and reaching base six times out of the leadoff spot in a pair of games Saturday. Tanner Payne went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in Sunday’s 19-3 win over Brattleboro.
Cravinho and Payne also turned in strong pitching performances, as did Owen Aivaliotis, Jarrod Rokes, Marcus Rokes, Matt Hayes and Cody Pellerin. The team allowed eight runs over four games in the tournament.