Lebanon's 12U all-stars had a heckuva July, as they went undefeated in the state tournament at Barrington, defeating Plymouth (8-2), Barrington (11-0, 5 innings), Gilford (5-0) and Barrington again in the championship game 14-4 in 5 innings. Lebanon's pitching and defense were the keys to a strong state tournament run, as pitchers Sam Bates, Dawson Bates, Bennett Hewett, and Zach Thompson combined to give up only one earned run and seven walks while striking out 27 batters faced for a combined ERA of .273 and WHIP of .818. The Lebanon offense, which averaged 9.5 runs a game was keyed by disciplined at-bats, timely hits and smart, aggressive baserunning. Bodie Benoit (6), Zach Thompson (5) and Dominic Petkus (4) led the team in RBI, while Zach Aldrich (8), Benoit (8), and Dawson Bates (7) led the team in hits.
After a week of planning and practice, the 12U's headed to Waterville, Maine to Little Wrigley for the Cal Ripken 60' New England Regional Tournament, where they went 3-2 overall after earning the 2nd seed in their side of the bracket after defeating Central Vermont 6-1, beating Fall River, MA 1-0, and losing to the Maine state champions Andy Valley 2-5. They faced the host team, Waterville Valley in their first elimination game, winning a tight, well-played game 5-4. They then faced-off with the Rhode Island state champion Washington Park in their semifinal matchup, and the #1 seed after round robin play was too much for Lebanon that day. Lebanon needed to play a clean game defensively and catch a couple of breaks to win and neither happened that day, as Lebanon gave up 7 unearned runs on 6 walks and 3 defensive errors. In the tournament, the best pitchers in New England quieted Lebanon's offense, as they only hit for a .214 average, had an OBP of .328 and struck out 36 times. Offensive highlights included Dominic Petkus' 3 HR, 7 RBI, and 4 R; Bodie Benoit had 6 H, 2 RBI and scored 3 R; Zachary Aldrich had 5 H and scored 4 R in the leadoff spot; Dawson Bates had 3 H and scored 3 times; and Bennett Hewett had 3 H and 2 RBI, including the game-winning solo HR late in the game versus Waterville Valley. Lebanon pitching stayed strong during regionals, though it struggled during the semifinal game, giving up only 9 ER while striking out 35 batters in 27.1 innings.
This team made their league and their city proud every step of the way this season. Everywhere they went, these boys, their coaches, and their parents carried themselves with dignity and respect, representing themselves, their league and the city of Lebanon with pride and class. The Regional Tournament Director said it well during his departing words for the 12U's after their loss to Washington Park, "Lebanon, you had a wonderful tournament, played some great baseball and have a first-class organization that Lebanon can be very proud of...."
Lastly, thank you to all of the sponsors of the 12U all-star team who made our week-long stay in Maine so enjoyable and manageable. In particular, we'd like to thank Dorothy Byrne and the Byrne Foundation, Friends of Mascoma Bank, American Legion Post 22, Irving Oil, and Houde Orthopedics for their generosity.