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The Commons
Photo 1

Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Rutland infielder Luc Vitagilano collapses at home plate after colliding with Brattleboro baserunner Tanner Bell (2) as Rutland infielder Bailey Peters (10) reacts to the collision.

Sports

Colonels, Raiders brawl after 5-4 loss

Rebels clinch No. 2 seed in softball; long playoff road trips for other local teams

Originally published in The Commons issue #410 (Wednesday, May 31, 2017).



In nearly three decades of covering high school sports, I never saw an ending to a baseball game quite like this.

In the final regular season game on May 27 between Brattleboro and Rutland at Tenney Field, Brattleboro entered the bottom of the seventh, trailing 5-4.

With two outs, and Tanner Bell on first base, Matt Dulmaine hit the ball to the deepest part of Tenney Field. Bell tried to score but two great relay throws got the ball from the outfield into the hands of Rutland catcher Jaxon Smith.

Bell was halfway down the third base line when the ball arrived at the plate, and was caught in a rundown. He was left with one option, try to knock the ball out of the hands of the last Rutland player to catch the ball, infielder Luc Vitagliano.

They collided at the plate, and Bell was tagged out as Vitagliano held on to the ball as he crumpled to the ground.

The Rutland players immediately converged on Bell, claiming he tried to hurt Vitagliano. Bell tried to make the case that he didn’t. In a matter of seconds, players from both teams swarmed around the plate, shoving and punching each other as Vitagliano lay unconscious on the ground.

The melee lasted about 10 minutes, with Brattleboro first baseman Conor Hiner getting punched in the head, Brattleboro coach Chris Groeger getting bit on the finger, and Brattleboro third baseman Chris Hall being ejected by home plate umpire Jason Klump for leaving the bench and throwing a punch at a Rutland player. He faces a two-game suspension.

Bell was also ejected for running into Vitagliano, but he will not face a suspension because it was ruled that there was no malicious intent on Bell’s part.

No Rutland players were disciplined. Vitagliano reportedly had a concussion and some dental damage.

When all the dust settled, Brattleboro finished with a 10-6 record and the No. 12 seed in the Division I playoffs. At press time, they were scheduled to travel to fifth-seeded Mount Mansfield (11-4) to play a first-round game on May 30.

The crazy ending to the Rutland game overshadowed some pretty good baseball before the melee.

Brattleboro starter Leif Bigelow, making his first start after serving a two-game suspension for arguing with an umpire, gave up a run in the first inning. He held the Raiders scoreless after that until the fifth inning, when Rutland got two more runs, and was lifted in favor of reliever Adam Newton.

The Colonels got two runs back in their half of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Martinez and an RBI double by Hall. They then took the lead in the sixth with RBI singles by Hiner and Kam Pelkey.

Rutland then tied the game with an RBI triple by Jacob Godfrey and scored what turned out to be the winning run on an RBI single by Reece de Castro.

Softball

• Brattleboro finished the regular season with a 15-4 win over Rutland on May 27 at Sawyer Field.

The game was decided in the third inning as the Colonels took advantage of four Rutland errors and pounded out nine hits to score 12 runs. Devin Millerick and Emmalee Waite both hit home runs in that inning.

Jamie Mahoney and Hailey Derosia each had 4 hits; Derosia also homered as she, Millerick, and Lauren McKenney each had 3 RBIs. Rachael Rooney and Mahoney had 2 RBIs apiece.

Jocelyn Aither got the complete-game victory, giving up 7 walks and 3 hits. She, Waite, Millerick, and Olivia Weeks were honored before the game during Senior Day.

The Colonels finished the regular season at 11-4, but with so many good teams in northern Vermont, that record gave them the No. 8 in Division I. They will host No. 9 BFA-St. Albans (10-6) in a first-round game on May 30. The winner plays No. 1 Missiquoi (15-1) in the quarterfinals.

• Leland & Gray locked up the No. 2 seed in Division III on May 27 with a 15-8 win over Green Mountain.

Jessie Stockwell doubled, tripled and hit a grand slam to lead the Rebels. Mariah Hazard homered and drove in 4 runs, while Erica Cutts added 3 hits.

Winning pitcher Olivia Brown threw a six-hitter. Losing pitcher Erica Knockenhauer allowed 17 hits in what was her second start of the day. She got the win against Springfield, 6-2, in the morning before the afternoon game in Townshend.

The 13-3 Rebels will host the winner of the May 30 first-round game between No. 7 Thetford and No. 10 Windsor in the quarterfinals on Friday, June 2, at 4:30 p.m.

GM finished at 14-2 and is the No. 3 seed in Division III. They also got a bye into the quarterfinals, where they will await the winner of the first round game between No. 6 Richford and No. 11 Willamstown.

This means if the Rebels and Chieftains win their quarterfinal games, they will face each other in Townshend in the semifinals on June 6.

• Bellows Falls finished up the regular season with a 12-2 loss at Rutland on May 20 and a 17-2 home loss to Brattleboro on May 23. The 2-14 Terriers got the No. 15 seed in the Division II playoffs and will travel to Randolph to face the No. 2 Galloping Ghosts (12-3) on May 30.

• Twin Valley will sit out the Division III playoffs. The Wildcats were unable to field a full team and ended up forfeiting games to Green Mountain and Leland & Gray before losing to Black River and Poultney to finish their season at 0-15.

Baseball

• Bellows Falls got walloped by Fair Haven, 15-0, in the regular season finale on May 27. But coach Bob Lockerby was already thinking ahead to the playoffs, and saved his best pitchers for this week’s games.

The three JV pitchers, led by Jackson Browne, got hammered by the Slaters. But BF (8-6) had already locked up the No. 6 seed in Division II entering the game.

Lockerby’s team already was heading into the playoffs on a high note, having won their previous four games, including an 1-0 victory over Springfield in an 90-minute masterpiece at Hadley Field on May 24.

The only run of the Springfield game came in trademark BF fashion.

In the second inning, Clayton Groenewold led off with a single up the middle. Jacob Metcalfe then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him to second.

Brian Green followed with a slow-rolling ground ball to pitcher J.J. LeCouffe, who looked to third, then first, and didn’t have a play at either bag. That moved Groenewold to third.

Spencer Clark then laid down the squeeze bunt as Groenewold broke for home. LeCouffe and catcher Matt LaChapelle collided going after the ball, and Groenewold scored easily.

“I wish every game was 1-0, 2-1,” said BF coach Bob Lockerby. “That’s baseball. When you play games like this, you’ve got to execute. If you execute and you don’t panic, it becomes an easy game to play.”

Clark was the winning pitcher. He gave up just 4 hits while striking out 4, and needed just 88 pitches. LeCouffe, the hard luck loser, scattered 6 hits and struck out 7.

• Leland & Gray ended the regular season with a 13-4 loss to Green Mountain on May 27. The win gave the Chieftains the Marble Valley League championship.

The Rebels finished 6-10 and were seeded No. 11 in the Division III tournament. They are scheduled to have a first-round road game against No. Rivendell Academy (9-5) on May 31.

• Twin Valley finished the last week of the season strong with a 8-0 win over Leland & Gray on May 23 and a 17-10 win over Poultney on May 27.

Pitchers Allen Cole and Joey Rafus combined for a one-hit shutout to beat the Rebels on the road, while Skyler Boyd, Ethan Fox and Eric Bolognani all had a pair of hits to lead the Wildcats past Poultney.

Rafus, James McGovern and Fox did the pitching for the Wildcats against Poultney as 12th graders Troy Felisko, Boyd, and Fox were honored on Senior Day.

The Wildcats finished 5-7-1 and got the No. 9 seed in the Division III tourney. They will be on the road to face No. 8 Thetford (7-9) on May 31.

Lacrosse

• Tobin Lonergan had 6 goals and 2 assists and Megyn Ayotte added 5 goals and 2 assists as the Brattleboro girls ended the regular season with a 16-14 win over Woodstock at rainy Natowich Field on May 26.

Sam Cragin and Olivia Stent each added a pair of goals for the Colonels. Olivia Romo also scored.

Brattleboro (8-8) was seeded ninth in the Division I girls’ playoffs and will be on the road to face No. 8 Mount Mansfield (9-6) in a first-round game.

• Jared Miglorie had 5 goals and Dawson Cole scored 4 more as Rutland beat the Brattleboro boys in a 12-7 victory on May 23. Jack Gagnon led the Colonels with 4 goals.

Brattleboro failed to qualify for the Division I boys’ playoffs.

Track & field

• Jasper Reed and a pair of girls relay teams broke BUHS records during the Essex Invitational meet on May 27.

Reed’s long jump of 21 feet, 10.5 inches broke the previous record of 21-9.5, set in 2009.

The 4x800 team of Liz Morse, Emilia Dick-Fiora Del Fabro, Ellery Loggia, and Sarah Gallagher broke the 2005 record of 10 minutes, 18.46 seconds with their time of 10:17.61.

Dory Abdallah, Maggie Lonardo, Kharisma Boyd, and Dani Wood broke their own school record in the 4x100 with a time of 51.07.

As a result, all these record-breaking athletes also qualified to move on to the New England Championships on June 10 in Norwell, Mass.

Reed also qualified for the New Englands in the triple jump and the 200, while Isiah Gilbeau in the discus, Kai Boyd in the javelin, Dory Abdallah in the 300 hurdles, Evan Koch in the 300 hurdles, Dani Wood in the 100 and 200, Maggie Lonardo in the 100, Isaac Freitas-Eagan in the 3,000, and The Putney School’s Delaney Bullock in the 1,500 and 3,000 all punched their tickets for Norwell.

Bellows Falls athletes who qualified for the New Englands include DJ Snide (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, triple jump); Reno Tuttle (shot put, discus); the boys 4x100 relay team of Sawyer Reis, Gabe Hakimoglu, Connor Smith, and Cam Joy; Keri Ticino (pole vault, javelin); Emma Lawrence (discus); and Jaden Luebbert (pole vault).

Snide broke the Division III record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 40.68, and Tuttle’s shot put toss of 47-1 was a personal best.

Boys’ tennis

• Martin Sipowicz, Alex Shuey, Mason Powers, Ari Essunfeld and Jack Spanierman all had easy singles victories as Brattleboro skunked Mount Anthony, 7-0, in the regular season finale on May 24 at the BUHS courts.

The doubles tandems of Cole Merkle and Jacob Bailey and Rowan Kidder and Logan Affinito had slightly closer matches, especially Kidder and Affinito, who gutted out a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 decision over Mount Anthony’s Will Peacock and Emmanuel Suberu.

The 9-3 Colonels got the No. 5 seed in Division I. They will be on the road to face second-seeded Montpelier (14-0) in a second-round playoff on June 2 at 3 p.m.

Girls’ tennis

• Brattleboro ended the regular season with a 5-2 road loss to Rutland on May 24.

Brattleboro’s Annie Takacs had the only singles win as she beat Shannon Watelet 2-6, 7-5, 10-5. Bella Takacs and Paige Starkweather beat Jillian Childs and Abby Hogenkamp 6- 1, 6-4, for the Colonels’ lone doubles win.

The Colonels got the No. 12 seed in Division I and they are set to travel north to face No. 5 BFA-St. Albans on May 30.

Grace Cottage golf benefit is June 9

• Support a great cause and enjoy an afternoon of golf on Friday, June 9, at the Hermitage Golf Club at Haystack Mountain in Wilmington. Now in its eighth year, Grace Cottage Hospital’s Tee It Up for Health Golf Benefit helps to support Grace Cottage Hospital’s Patient Care Fund. Last year, the tournament raised an all-time record of $31,000 after expenses.

The tournament starts with registration from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded, including longest drive, closest to pin, lowest and highest-scoring teams, and many more; there will be a hole-in-one contest for a 2017 Subaru provided by Bennington Subaru.

The player fee is $150, and this includes a box lunch, greens fees, golf cart, logo wear, contests, and an awards dinner served in the clubhouse following the tournament, plus a casual barbecue for all golfers at a hillside estate in Jamaica, the evening before the event.

Registration closes when all team slots are filled, or at 5 p.m. on June 5. For more information about playing on a team, call Andrea Seaton at 802-365-9109, e-mail info@gracecottage.org, or visit www.gracecottage.org/events to register online.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 4 of the spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League saw Team 3 (17-3) take over first place, with Team 4 and Team 8 (both 14-6) now tied for second. Team 2 (9-11) moved into third, followed by Team 7 (8-12), Team 1 (7-13), Team 6 (6-14), and Team 5 (5-15).

Shirley Aiken had the high handicap game (277) and Sonya Shippee had the high handicap series (683) for the women, while Tom Johnson had the men’s high handicap game (244) and series (656). Team 2 had the high team handicap game (908) and Team 7 had high handicap series (2,514).

Aiken (508), Shippee (509), and DeEtt Farnam (504) all rolled 500-plus series for the women, while the men in the 500-plus club were Fred Ashworth (501), Wayne Randall (504), Tom Johnson (515), and Warren Corriveau Sr. (540). Aiken (221), Farnam (217), and Corriveau Sr. (210) had the week’s only 200-plus games.

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