Montpelier, Vt. - The Mountaineers put together a furios ninth inning rally, bringing the tying run to the plate, but couldn't muster a comeback falling 8-6 to the Keene Swamp Bats in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) playoff action. The loss ended Vermont's season as they were swept by Keene, marking the second straight year they had a first round exit.
Vermont did the scoring started in the bottom of the first as Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anselm) hit a solo homer to lead off the frame taking a 1-0 advantage. That lead would hold through the first three frames as starting pitcher Casey Delgado set down eight in a row at one point.
In the top of the fourth, Delgado (Miami, Fla./Austin Peay) struck out Grant Kay to begin the inning but then issued a walk to JP Sportman and RBI double to Frankie Schwindel tying the game. After striking out Jarred Walsh to put one on and two outs, Keene struck for four straight RBI hits off Delgado, taking a 5-1 lead, and ending the starter's night. Matt McAllister would come on in relief giving up a single to Dylan DelaCruz before finishing the frame.
The Mountaineers did get one run back in the bottom of the fourth as Brett Johnson (Little Elm, Texas/TCU) tripled to start before scoring on a Cole Peragine (Belle Ewert, Ontario/Stony Brook) cutting the deficit to three. That would be the last run they scored until the ninth as Keene starter Scott Simon set down the final nine batters he faced in order.
McAllister (Warminster, Pa./West Chester) tossed a scoreless fifth and sixth before running into trouble in the seventh. Grant Kay was hit by a pitch before scoring on a Schwindel double to make it 6-2 Swamp Bats. They would add on another two runs in the eighth off Kyle Grana (St. Louis, Mo./Bellarmine) before Tyler Rogers (Littleton, Colo./Austin Peay) worked out of the inning and pitched a perfect ninth.
Trailing by six, Vermont began a comeback as Kelly singled to begin the inning. Logan Pierce (Troy, Ala./Troy) then launched a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-4 before Johnson flew out to center for the first out of the inning. Austin Green (San Diego, Calif./San Diego) singled to keep the rally alive before being pinc run for by Aaron Barbosa. Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern) stole second and scored on a two out single from Michael White off Rob Rogers to cut the deficit to three once again.
Ryan Karl (Towaco, N.J./Louisville) then reached on an error from Walsh to bring the tying run to the plate. PJ Jones would pinch run for Karl as Greg Partyka (Bartlett, Ill./Bradley) pinch-hit representing the tying run. Jones made a break for second with two outs after consecutive uncontested steals, but Cammeron O'Brien decided to throw down to second this time narrowly catching Jones (Vancouver, Wash./Washington State) ending the game.
Delgado (0-1) took the loss giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits through three and two-thirds while striking out seven. Simon (0-1) got the win going seven strong innings giving up two runs on three hits while striking out five.
Vermont finished the year getting swept in the first round for the second straight year after making the playoffs with an 18-23 record, in fourth place. Keene will advance to take on the winner of the Danbury-North Adams series.