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Vermont Little League State Tournament Down To The Final Three

Vermont Little Leaguers are vying for state champion this week, and it's down to the final three.

Last weekend the top four teams from around the state began rallying for the championship title: Williston, Northwest, Bennington and Connecticut Valley North. The 11- and 12-year-old boys played hard on the hottest day of the summer, but in the end, only three teams could advance.

It was 93 degrees at Bond Field in Barre where the four All Star teams met in double-elimination rounds. Game one was a matchup between Northwest and Williston. The Williston boys were optimistic.

And with a one-to-nothing lead in the second inning, Williston was off to a good start.

But the tide changed in the fourth inning when Northwest player AJ Dennett stepped up to the plate and knocked out a single. After that, Northwest kept hitting.

It was a proud moment for AJ's mom, Melissa Davis, who said, "I'm super proud of him for coming off the bench, stepping up to the plate and doing what he needed to do to get it started for his team, and they rallied back."

The Williston fans remained optimistic and continued to cheer the team on.

Marv Trombley was an umpire at the tournament. He's been calling balls and strikes for the last decade.

"The attitude of the kids is great," Trombley said.  "It's great to see good baseball in Vermont, and I just enjoy doing it."

Keeping the kids attitudes positive is a primary goal of coach Tim Rickert, manager of the Williston All Stars. 

"We really try to encourage the kids to keep their head in the game, to stay focused, and we don't think it's helpful to get down on them and to be correcting them during a game," Rickert said. "The game time is the time to play."

The coaches worked hard to keep the boys spirits up as they faced a tough loss to Northwest, with a final score of 7-1.   

It was a big win for Northwest manager Travis Myers. 

"This is a great feeling after a big win," he said. "Our boys have worked hard all year long, and to come out and play what we call 'Northwest baseball,' which is good defense, timely hitting, and just good baseball, it feels good as a coach to see that."

Despite Northwest's win, Williston mom Lyndsey O'Brien cheered the team on, knowing they could come back for another win.

"I think we just have to come out hard and finish strong," said 11-year-old Williston team member Mason Barron.

And that's just what the Williston team did.  They fought hard and came back in the fourth game with a 5-0 shutout against Bennington. 

Now the competition is down to the final three: Williston, Northwest and Connecticut Valley North.  The teams compete this weekend to see who goes on to regionals in Bristol, Connecticut.

Karen is Vermont Public's Director of Radio Programming, serving Vermonters by overseeing the sound of Vermont Public's radio broadcast service. Karen has a long history with public radio, beginning in the early 2000's with the launch of the weekly classical music program, Sunday Bach. Karen's undergraduate degree is in Broadcast Journalism, and she has worked for public radio in Vermont and St. Louis, MO, in areas of production, programming, traffic, operations and news. She has produced many projects for broadcast over the years, including the Vermont Public Choral Hour, with host Linda Radtke, and interviews with local newsmakers with Morning Edition host Mitch Wertlieb. In 2021 Karen worked with co-producer Betty Smith on a national collaboration with StoryCorps One Small Step, connecting Vermonters one conversation at a time.
A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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