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The Commons
Photo 1

Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Leland & Gray first baseman Walker Hamer reaches up to pull down a high throw and put out Twin Valley baserunner Troy Felisko (7) during their May 10 game in Wilmington.

Sports

Colonels try to keep focused as softball season hits climax

Originally published in The Commons issue #409 (Wednesday, May 24, 2017).



This is the last week of the season for high school baseball and softball in Vermont, and all the rainouts and postponements from a wild spring of weather extremes has meant teams have had to play a lot of games in a short time window.

It has tested the mettle of our local teams, but even with the pressure of a compressed schedule, some remarkable performances can be achieved. Brattleboro softball pitcher Jocelyn Aither had one of them when she threw a no-hitter against Drury in a 11-0 win for the Colonels on May 15.

She struck out five, walked no one, and came within one errant throw of having a perfect game. The Colonels’ defense was solid behind Aither, and the offense gave her plenty of support. Lauren McKinney hit a pair of home runs and drove in 5 runs. Hailey Derosia went 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, and 3 RBIs. Devin Millerick and Emmalee Waite each had a pair of hits.

The next day, the Colonels faced Springfield to finish off a game that was stopped by rain on April 25. Brattleboro had a 4-2 lead in the bottom of third inning when the game was postponed. After the intensity of a no-hitter the day before, one might expect a letdown. To the Colonels’ credit, they didn’t slump and finished off the Cosmos, 13-5.

Brattleboro got right to work with a pair of runs in the third with Waite scoring on a double steal and Aither hitting an RBI single. They added another run with a hit in the fourth when Millerick walked, stole second, took third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch.

The Colonels blew the game open in the sixth by scoring 5 runs. Jaime Mahoney hit an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch, McKinney drove in 2 runs with a double, and an infield error on a grounder hit by Aither got another run in.

Aither, the winning pitcher, held the Cosmos without a hit for three innings. She started to tire in the seventh, and walked two of the three batters she faced. Derosia came on to get the final two outs, but the Cosmos would score three runs before she got the final out.

Aither finished with 7 walks and 7 strikeouts and allowed just 1 hit.

“My best lineup is having Jocelyn pitch and Hailey play shortstop, but we need to give Jocie a break and give Hailey a chance to get some innings,” said Colonels coach Kelly Markol. “I’m just happy that we didn’t let up after yesterday’s game and we got the win. We need every win we can get if we want a home game for the playoffs.”

The Colonels didn’t fare as well on May 20 against Wahconah at Sawyer Field, losing 15-3. Neither Aither nor Derosia could shut down the Wahconah offense as they got 15 hits off the two pitchers. Millerick and Mahoney both went 2-for-4 for the 7-4 Colonels.

Baseball

• Keene, N.H., rallied to beat Brattleboro, 12-9, on May 17 at Tenney Field, but the real winner of the game was 7-year-old Liam Sweeney of Keene and other area children stricken with cystic fibrosis.

The game was a fundraiser for efforts to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, as BUHS Athletic Leadership Team leader Meg Pacheco, BUHS Athletic Director Chris Sawyer, and the family and friends of Liam that call themselves “Team Sweeney” organized the special night.

In a twist on the “chuck-a-duck” contests that were used as fundraisers in local gyms during basketball season, this game was paused in the fifth inning so fans who bought numbered tennis balls could attempt to throw them through the open windows of a car slowly driving down the first base line. Nobody got one in.

As for the game itself, Dan Petrie went 5-for-5 for Brattleboro, which took a 4-0 lead before the Blackbirds rallied to win.

On May 19, the Colonels needed extra innings to beat Windsor, 4-1, at Tenney Field. Conor Hiner’s one-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning completed a come-from-behind victory.

Windsor broke a scoreless tie in the seventh, but Brattleboro got the run back in the bottom half of the inning, paving the way for Hiner’s heroics.

The game was a great pitchers duel between Windsor’s Rob Slocum and Brattleboro’s ace Leif Bigelow. But after throwing 5 2/3 scoreless innings, Bigelow got tossed from the game for arguing balls and strikes with the umpires. Bigelow ended up with a no-decision, and Ben Betz pitched in the relief the rest of the way to get the win.

• Clayton Groenwold drove in a pair of runs with a single, and his teammates made it stand up with great pitching and defense in Bellows Falls’ 2-1 win over Burr & Burton on May 16.

It was the only hit of the game given up by losing pitcher Sam Cottrell.

Burr & Burton scored its only run on a bases-loaded walk from winning pitcher Spencer Clark in the sixth inning, but Brady Illingworth pitched a scoreless seventh to get the save.

• Twin Valley crushed Poultney, 26-0, in a five-inning road game on May 16. Poultney’s pitchers issued 18 walks, and the defense made 9 errors. The worst of it came in the second inning, when Twin Valley scored 17 runs.

James McGovern led the Wildcats with 4 hits, 5 RBIs, and 3 runs scored. Tyson Longe went 2-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs.

Arlington then shut out Twin Valley, 9-0, on May 18. Joey Rafus went 2-for-2, while Eric Bolognani chipped in with a hit for the Wildcats. Allen Cole and Tyson Longe shared pitching duties.

• Leland & Gray dropped a doubleheader to Mount St. Joseph in Rutland on May 20, losing 19-4 in a six-inning game and 24-10 in the second game.

Grayson VanHendrick took the loss in the first game, while Bryce Karg was the losing pitcher in the nightcap for the 6-7 Rebels.

Softball

• Bellows Falls started the week with a 4-3 loss on May 15 to cross-river rivals Fall Mountain in the annual Lacroix Cup game. BF rallied to tie the game in the fifth, but Fall Mountain took back the lead in the sixth. BF again threatened in the seventh, but the Wildcats and winning pitcher Erin Devanney held on for the win.

Both teams finished with 6 hits. Devanney struck out 7 batters while losing pitcher Murphy Hicks had 5 strikeouts.

The next day, the Terriers went to Bennington and had the misfortune of facing Mount Anthony the day after they lost its first game of the season. The Patriots took out their frustrations on BF, and throttled the Terriers, 21-0, in 5 innings.

The Patriots pounded out 18 hits as they scored 8 runs in the first inning, 4 in the third, and 9 in the fourth inning. BF was held to just 3 hits.

BF finally got some satisfaction, and their second win of the season, with a 15-0 win over Twin Valley on May 18 in Whitingham. Hicks struck out 11 batters in a five-inning no-hitter.

Aly Bashaw (3 hits, 3 runs, 2 RBI) and Emily Bazin (2 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBI) were the hot hitters for BF, while Hicks had two hits and Paxton Santorelli scored 3 runs.

The Terriers ended a busy week with an 11-2 loss to Rutland on May 20.

• Leland & Gray is looking good heading into the stretch run of the regular season. On May 16 in Townshend, they defeated Burr & Burton, 8-2. With the game tied 2-2, the Rebels took control with 2 runs in the fourth inning and 4 more in the sixth.

The Rebels scored those runs with only four hits — a single by Rachel Borgesen, doubles by Sarah Andersen and Jesse Stockwell, and a triple by Maria Hazard. Winning pitcher Olivia Brown struck out 10 and walked just 1 batter.

While the Rebels were held to just 3 hits and lost to Black River on May 19, they finished the week with a 10-3 record and will definitely have a home game in the first round of the Division III playoffs.

Track & Field

• The state track meets are next Saturday, June 3, and Brattleboro seems to be hitting its stride. Both Brattleboro teams swept a seven-team meet in Bennington on May 16.

The Colonel girls had a particularly good day. The relay team of Dory Abdallah, Maggie Lonardo, Kharisma Boyd, and Danielle Wood teamed up to set a new school record in the 4x100 relay in 51.95 seconds.

Wood and Boyd each won a couple of individual events. Wood took the 200 (27.2 seconds) and the 100 hurdles (17.18), while Boyd won the long jump (15 feet-1.5 inches) and the triple jump (31 feet-11.5 inches).

Other Colonel winners included Athenais Ly in the pole vault (6-6), Olivia Ortleib in the high jump (4-10), Kai Boyd in the javelin (117-9), Gabrielle Carpenter in the discus (85-11.5), Asia Desmaris in the shot put (28-8.5), Abdallah in the 300 hurdles (50.33), and Lonardo in the 100 (12.65).

• Delaney Bullock of the Putney School won three distance events — the 800 (2:29.66), 1,500 (5:03.57) and 3,000 (11:20.22).

• The Brattleboro boys were led by Jasper Reed, with wins in the 200 (23.66), long jump (20-6), and triple jump (39-2). Evan Koch was first in the 110 hurdles (16.36) and the 300 hurdles (44.01).

Other Colonel winners included Ben Brady in the 400 (54.53), Isaac Freitas-Eagan in the 3,000 (9:59.84), the 4x400 relay team (3:47.18), the 4x800 relay team (11:03), Isiah Gilbeau in the discus (111-0.5), and Orion Stone in the pole vault (10-0).

• The Twin Valley boys placed fifth with 25 points, whike the TV girls took seventh with 6 points. Logan Park finished fourth in the 100, high jump, and triple jump to lead the Wildcat boys. Caitlin Hunt wound up fourth in the girls’ triple jump.

• DJ Snide led Bellows Falls to a big day at the Connecticut Valley Conference Championships on May 13 in Langdon, N.H.

Snide, a senior, swept the boys’ hurdles events. He won the 110 hurdles for the second straight year with a time of 15.83, 62-hundredths of a second ahead of the runner-up, and took the 300 hurdles, winning by 1.6 seconds. He also placed third in the triple jump, and was sixth in the 100. His efforts earned him the honor of 2017 CVC Boys’ Track Meister.

Molly Kelly and Shane Clark both surpassed their 2016 CVC performances. Kelly won the girls’ high jump with a personal best of 4-10, while Clark won the boys’ javelin with a throw of 158-1.

BF’s Reno Tuttle dueled Newport’s Peter Thibault, one of New Hampshire’s top throwers, in the boys’ discus and shot put. Tuttle ended up second in the discus and third in the shot put.

Keri Ticino took second the girls’ pole vault in a rather unorthodox manner. During one of her attempts, she landed on the crossbar, and while it bent, it didn’t fall off the standards. Ticino’s attempt was ruled good, and she hung on for silver. Ticino also finished third in the girls’ javelin, while teammate Abbe Cravinho was third in the girls’ long jump.

Girls’ lacrosse

• Brattleboro dropped a 12-10 decision to Burt & Burton in Manchester on May 15. Tobin Lonergan and Liz Day had 3 goals apiece to lead the Colonels.

Two nights later, the Colonels hosted Rutland and dropped another close one, 17-16, to the Raiders. Tobin Lonergan and Liz Day had 5 goals each for Brattleboro, now 6-5.

Girls’ tennis

• Bellows Falls took advantage of a shorthanded Mount St. Joseph squad and won their May 15 match, 4-3. MSJ had to forfeit their No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles, and BF clinched the victory with a 6-0, 6-0 win by Nora Bright at No. 4 singles, and a 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 win by the No. 1 doubles team of Emily Wunderle and Kristen Elliot.

The Terriers did not fare as well the next day, when they lost to Otter Valley, 6-1. Bright was the only singles winner for BF.

• Brattleboro had no problem with Springfield, beating them 7-0 in an away match on May 15. Singles winners for Brattleboro were No. 1 Jazmin Smith (7-5. 6-0), No. 2 Kelsea McAuliffe (6-0, 6-0), No. 3 Pilar Rivera (6-4, 6-0), No. 4 Hannah Blake (6-2, 6-3), and No. 5 Bella Takacs (6-3, 6-4).

The doubles teams of Rachel Reynolds and Colette Anton, and Paige Starkweather and Makayla Smith also won in straight sets, completing the sweep.

Boys’ tennis

• Unlike other teams, Brattleboro had 10 days between matches but showed no signs of rust in a pair of 7-0 wins over Mount Anthony in Bennington on May 18 and over Burr & Burton on May 19 at the BUHS courts.

“The guys played their best tennis of the year, technically and strategically,” said coach Charlie LaRosa.

Against MAU, Martin Sipowicz (7-5, 6-1), Josh Nordheim (6-2, 6-2), Jonah Petrie (6-2, 7-6, 7-2), Tom Szpila (6-1, 7-5) and Jacob Bailey (6-0, 6-3) swept through singles play for the Colonels, despite 90-degree temperatures. Brattleboro’s doubles teams of Mason Powers and Ari Essunfeld (6-1, 6-1), and Forest Zabriskie and Kyle Murray (6-2, 6-1) both won in straight sets.

Brattleboro’s lineup against Burr & Burton had to be jiggled a little, but the results were the same. In doubles, the No. 1 team of Powers and Essunfeld won 6-0, 6-1, while Jack Spanierman joined Forest Zabriskie at No. 2 doubles and won, 6-2, 6-4. Sipowicz (6-0, 7-5), Nordheim (6-2, 7-5), Petrie (6-3, 6-2), Szpila (6-2, 6-2), and Cole Merkle (6-1, 6-4) were the singles winners.

Rec offers senior tennis

The Brattleboro Senior Center offers a senior tennis program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Living Memorial Park courts next to Withington Rink. Ruth Lane is the contact person for this group and you may reach her at 802-254-6772.

All abilities are welcome. For other Senior Center-related activities, call 802-257-7570.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 3 of the spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League saw Team 8 (13-2) still in first place, and Team 3 (12-3) still close behind in second. Team 4 (10-5) moved into third, followed by Team 2 (7-8), Team 1 and Team 6 (both 6-9), Team 7 (5-10), and Team 5 (1-14).

Arlene Blum had the high handicap game (249) and Jennifer Anderson had the high handicap series (701) for the women, while Don Powers had the men’s high handicap game (255) and series (683). Team 8 had the high team handicap game (890) and series (2,622).

Marty Adams (222), Warren Corriveau Sr. (203), and Jerry Dunham (2o4, 210) again had the week’s only 200-plus games. The three also had the only 500-plus series for the week: Corriveau (538), Dunham (548), and Adams (572).

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