Lakes Region’s Ryan Alt isn’t one to show his emotions often, but after a clutch double in the eighth inning of the Lakers’ American Legion game against Brattleboro Post 5, he couldn’t hold them in.
Alt clapped his hands in excitement as his teammates cheered him on. The next batter up, Ryan Muratorri, made sure the game wouldn’t go to a ninth inning, hitting a booming shot to deep center that scored courtesy runner Carson Babbie and gave Lakes Region a 4-3 win in eight innings over the top-ranked Post 5 bunch.
“Myself and (Ryan) have been playing since first grade together,” Alt said. “It’s great to go back to back with him, being on the field with some of these guys I haven’t played with in a while. Just a great feeling.”
“They came up with two huge hits,” Brattleboro coach Eric Libardoni said.
The fact that Lakes Region even had the chance in that extra frame had a lot to do with Alt’s work on the mound.
The recent Poultney graduate gave up two runs in the first inning with Alex Bingham doubling to score Zinabu McNeice and Jack Pattison and he gave up one in the third on a sacrifice fly by Pattison to score McNeice.
The rest of the way, he allowed just one hit and faced only one batter over the minimum.
“It doesn’t get much better than that,” said Lakes Region coach Adam Greenlese. “You get hit around a little in that first inning, it can go one way or the other. He really bore down and showed his grit and showed his confidence.”
“I just wanted to go out there and get it done,” Alt said.
“We didn’t come up with much after the third,” Libardoni said.
His counterpart for the majority of the contest was Jackson Emery, and for the most part, he stayed in stride with Alt.
There was one inning where Emery lost the strike zone and the Lakers made him pay for it. With two outs in the bottom of the third, with a man on, Emery walked Joe Valerio and Sawyer Ramey. He followed that by hitting Alt with a pitch to score Trey Lee, then walking Muratorri to score Valerio, before Evan Reed singled to score Ramey.
“(The inning) set a new ballgame and that really boosted our momentum,” Alt said.
Lakes Region sprinkled in three other hits against Emery throughout his outing, but the right-hander kept them in check.
“He pitched fine and their guy pitched well after the third,” Libardoni said. “(Jackson) settled in and pitched well.”
McNeice came on in the sixth and pitched two hitless innings, before the two-hit Lakers attack in the eighth.
It was a clean and quick game, despite it going to eight innings. Only one error was made across the two sides. McNeice made a couple of really nice plays at shortstop, most notably a diving stop to his right that turned into a double play.
McNeice and Bingham had multi-hit games for Brattleboro, while Reed and Muratorri did the same for Lakes Region.
Brattleboro hosts White River Junction on Thursday and hosts Bennington for a doubleheader on Saturday.
Lakes Region needs to be perfect the rest of the way to keep its playoff dreams alive. Brattleboro and Manchester look like two of the three Southern teams that will join host Rutland in the Legion state tournament, but there are four other teams still hoping to clinch the coveted third spot.
Lakes Region plays Rutland at St. Peter’s Field on Thursday and White River Junction in a doubleheader on Saturday at Fair Haven Union High School.
“There’s a shot,” Greenlese said. “I’m proud of them and how they’ve handled the end of season and kept battling.”