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Brown’s Bullets Capture Fifth State Title

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BURLINGTON – The big stage of Centennial Field can bring out the jitters in every team, but it was BFA-Fairfax who showed poise on the big stage over the weekend as head coach and Hazen alum Mike Brown and his varsity program played near flawless baseball to capture their fifth state championship.

Ryan Sheehan continued his dominance on the mound throughout the postseason with a one hit shutout to lead BFA-Fairfax to a 7-0 win over White River Valley in the Division III state title game on Saturday. In an era where velocity rules at all levels, Sheehan proved that the art of pitching is still alive and well, mixing speeds to allow just a pair of hits in his last 11 innings of postseason work. The Wildcats were coming into the title game on a five-game win streak that included taking down a top-seeded Thetford Academy team in the semifinal round earlier in the week. White River looked rattled in the top of the first at Centennial against the Bullets. Walks, errors, a balk, and a seeing-eye single by Kayden Lovejoy gave BFA-Fairfax a 3-0 advantage in the opening frame. The lead grew to five runs with more walks and miscues from the White River defense and a pair of fifth-inning doubles from Lovejoy and Max Clark put the final nails in the coffin at 7-0. Sheehan fanned 11 Wildcats in a complete game masterpiece, allowing only an infield single in the bottom of the fourth. The Bullet defense supported their ace by dominating the error battle 0-5 and crushing the Wildcats in hits 10-1. White River’s season came to an end 13-6, while Brown’s sixth seeded squad outscored three of the top five seeds in the tournament 19-5 to finish at 11-7.

“Ryan has really grown into our emotional leader and the team has tremendous confidence in his ability to play his best in big moments. He makes his teammates better, but he’ll be the first to tell you, they make him better. The energy, positivity, and love that flowed throughout this team all postseason was phenomenal. We made some changes after a tough loss to Peoples Academy to end the regular season that every player on this team was on board with. They went out and dominated the playoffs by beating teams that were seeded higher and super talented like Woodstock, Bellows Falls, and finished it off with a Dominate the Day mentality against White River Valley. Words can’t begin to express the feelings of gratitude and accomplishment that we share as a championship baseball team and our senior third baseman Chase Murray said it best while raising the trophy…’Look at us! How did this crew win a championship?”

Brown has now brought five titles back to the town of Fairfax in his 28 years at the helm, with this being his first in almost a decade. The program was on life support in 2021 as participation numbers continued to drop, forcing Brown to play a junior varsity schedule as a club team. The program fundraised the last 12 plus months to bring back a spring training trip to Florida this season, a staple for Brown’s past championship teams. Most of those eighth graders in 2021 secured the program’s first winning season and playoff win since 2017 this past spring as seniors and will now be remembered as State Champions.

“Being in Florida with this crew is a highlight of my coaching career. I love these boys, they are goofy, fun, dedicated, and competitive. They listen to Taylor Swift playlists on the bus! This roster is made up of truly good people that appreciated the opportunity being provided to them and when they got back from Florida their main goal was how to get better as a team during the regular season to win four games in the tournament. We are proof that a trusted process + talent + coachable players + team chemistry = championship results. This 2024 team did it as good as it can be done. They join the wall of champions knowing they belong,” said Brown.

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