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The Commons
Photo 1

Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Leland & Gray softball coach Tammy Claussen, left, hugs Olivia Brown after she hit a three-run home run that tied their Division III softball semifinal game against Green Mountain in Townshend on June 7. The Rebels went on to win, 8-7.


Rebels fall to Oxbow in Division III final

Originally published in The Commons issue #412 (Wednesday, June 14, 2017).

While Leland & Gray lost to Oxbow, 11-2, in the Division III softball championship game in Poultney on June 10, the Rebels and their fans should not forget the memories of the game that put them into the finals.

For me, the Rebels’ come-from-behind 8-7 win in the semifinals over Green Mountain in Townshend on June 7 spoke volumes about the character of the girls on this team.

When GM’s Kassidy Cummings hit a grand slam to put the Chieftains up 7-3 in the fourth inning, many teams would have folded. Instead, the Rebels didn’t panic and didn’t turn on each other. Instead, they followed the advice of their coach, Tammy Claussen.

“I just told them that there was plenty of game left and that we knew we could hit their pitcher,” Claussen said. “They believe in each other, and I knew we were capable of hitting.”

The Rebels’ comeback started with a solo home run in the fifth by Erin Cutts, and they tied the game in the sixth by countering Cummings’ blast with some fireworks of their own.

Emma Densmore drew a walk and Jessica Madore singled to left. With two outs, starting pitcher and clean-up hitter Olivia Brown stepped to the plate. The junior crushed a three-run homer over the center field fence to make it a 7-7 game heading into the seventh.

Brown, who recovered from Cummings grand slam by pitching three shutout innings, walked Kim Shultz to start the seventh before the Rebels got the next three batters out.

The momentum was clearly in the Rebels’ favor heading into the bottom of the seventh, and a win was theirs for the taking.

GM’s sophomore pitcher Erika Knockenhauer had held the Rebels in check before the sixth inning. By the seventh, she started to tire and the Rebels pounced. Singles by Emma Lane and Sarah Andersen and a walk to Densmore loaded the bases with one out.

With GM’s fielders drawn in to try to either turn a double play or cut down a runner at the plate, all that senior catcher Jesselyn Stockwell — who hit a solo home run in the first inning — needed to do was to plunk a base-hit into the outfield.

And that’s exactly what she did. Lane scored and the Rebels were the victors.

Brown was the winning pitcher. She struck out 3, walked 3, and gave up 10 hits. She also led the Rebels’ offense, going 3-for-4. Andersen, Lane, and Stockwell all finished with two hits, while Rachel Borgesen, Cutts, and Madore all had one hit each.

The Oxbow Olympians, the undefeated top seed in the Division III tournament, was a tougher nut to crack for the Rebels. Their longtime coach, Robyn Wozny, who was coaching her last game for Oxbow after 28 years, said it was the best team she’d ever had when it came to hitting and pitching.

That was evident in the first inning as leadoff hitter Mary Bourgeois homered and then, three batters later, Madison Fornwalt hit another homer. The Olympians got 11 hits off Brown, the losing pitcher.

Bourgeois and Fornwalt also happen to be the Olympians’ pitching staff. Bourgeois started and she struck out 4 and held the Rebels to 5 hits. Fornwalt, who also hit a two-run homer in the third inning, pitched the seventh inning and retired all three batters she faced.

Leland & Gray scored one of its runs when Mariah Hazard singled home Cutts in the fifth. Brown then hit an RBI double in the sixth.

It was the seventh state softball title for 18-0 Oxbow. Leland & Gray, which finished the season at 15-4, is still looking for its first softball title. They previously reached the state finals in 2013 and 2015.

Claussen will lose some key performers to graduation: captains Borgesen, Stockwell, and MacKenzie Boyle (who had to sit out the playoffs with an ankle injury), plus Densmore and Madore. But she has a strong core of players, led by Brown, expected to return.

Track & field

• Local athletes held their own in the 72nd New England Interscholastic Track & Field Championships on June 10 in Norwell, Mass.

The Brattleboro girls were led by state Division I javelin champion Kai Boyd, who finished eighth with a throw of 118 feet, 4 inches.

Brattleboro’s Danielle Wood was 31st in the 200 in 27.25 seconds. The 4x100 relay team of Dory Abdallah, Maggie Lonardo, Kharisma Boyd, and Wood came in 20th in 51.80.

In the 4x800, the Brattleboro relay team of Liz Morse, Emila Dick-Fioria Del Fabio, Ellery Loggia, and Sarah Gallagher was 27th in 10:24.75

Delany Bullock of The Putney School was 18th in the 1,600 in 5:13.04 and 13th in the 3,200 in 11:25.24.

For Bellows Falls, Emma Lawrence was 27th in the discus with a throw of 69 feet, 9 inches, while Keri Ticino was 30th in the javelin with a toss of 88 feet, 1 inch. Ticino and Jaden Luebbert both competed in the pole vault, but did not place.

Jasper Reed led the Brattleboro boys, finishing eighth in the triple jump (44-03), 16th in the 200 in 22.90, and 19th in the long jump (20-0.25 feet). Isaac Freitas-Eagan was 29th in the 3,200 in 10:13.07. Evan Koch was 30th in 300 hurdles in 56.08.

Division III hurdles champ DJ Snide of Bellows Falls was seventh in the 110 hurdles in 15.05 and 24th in the 300 hurdles in 42.37. BF’s Reno Tuttle was 17th in the discus (140-11) and 25th in the shot put (44-05),

BF’s 4x100 relay team of Sawyer Reis, Gabe Hakimoglu, Connor Smith. and Cameron Joy was 26th in 45.81.

Boys’ tennis

• After several postponements, Brattleboro finally got a chance to play its Division I quarterfinal match against Champlain Valley on June 5. Unfortunately, the result was a 7-0 loss.

In singles play, No. 1 Martin Sipowitz and No. 2 Josh Nordheim both lost 6-0, 6-0 to CVU’s George Lunas and Ivan Llona, respectively.

No. 3 Alex Shuey and No. 4 Tom Szpila both lost 6-0, 6-1 to CVU’s Ethan Leonard and Josh Ashooh, respectively.

The closest and longest match of the day was at No. 5 singles as CVU’s David Huber defeated Brattleboro’s Jonah Petrie 6-4, 7-5.

The doubles matches were a bit more competitive than the first four singles matches as CVU’s top tandem of Ben Hyams and Richard Hall beat Mason Powers and Ari Essunfeld 6-4, 6-2, and Justin Hameline and Joe Warren defeated Brattleboro’s No. 2 duo of Forest Zabriskie and Captain Jack Spanierman 6-2, 6-1.

“The short story is that the CVU guys were simply stronger players and more experienced than we were,” said Brattleboro coach Charlie LaRosa in an email to The Commons. “The closest we come to playing teams of that caliber is Rutland and we are very close to them. It was a great experience for our guys as they got to see and play tennis at a higher level. They know what the expectations are if they want to be able to take on the likes of South Burlington, CVU, and Essex next season.”

Rec. Dept. offers swimming lessons

• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will hold swim lessons registration sessions at Living Memorial Park Swimming Pool.

Brattleboro residents may register on Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to noon, or on Thursday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to noon. Non-residents may register on Friday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to noon. Swim lessons are primarily for Brattleboro residents and non-residents will be accepted if space is available.

Fees are $35 for Brattleboro residents and $50 for non-residents. The Red Cross has developed a system for lessons, which is considerably different than lesson criteria in past years. Therefore, each child must be tested before being placed in a class and should be prepared to go in the pool at registration.

If your child has a Red Cross Card from last summer, bring it to registration, which takes place rain or shine. To be eligible for swim lessons, children must be 3 by June 17. There will be three sessions offered: June 26 to July 7 (no class on July 4), July 10 to 21, and July 24 to Aug. 4. For more information, call the Recreation & Parks Department at 802-254-5808.

Softball benefit for Women’s Freedom Center accepting team registrations

• The Women’s Freedom Center announces open registration for the 23rd Annual “Glove, Sweat, and Cheers” Slow Pitch Women’s Softball Tournament, which will be held on Saturday, July 8, at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro.

The softball tournament is a popular family-friendly event that supports awareness of women’s sports, and raises money for the Women’s Freedom Center through team and player fees, sponsorships, concession sales, and a 50/50 raffle.

The registration fee for teams is $250, which is due by June 23. Interested teams and sponsors can ask for a registration or sponsorship packet at or call the business line at 802-257-7364. Local businesses that wish to show their support for the work of the shelter and its programs can help with a sponsorship of $500 (Grand Slam!), $250 (Home Run); and $150 (Up at Bat).

The Women’s Freedom Center (WFC) is the only domestic and sexual violence organization in Windham and southern Windsor counties providing shelter and support services to survivors.

Last year, WFC responded to over 1,650 crisis telephone calls; sheltered 108 adult survivors and 111 children; presented 154 educational workshops, and provided hundreds of hours of individual and group support, advocacy and outreach, emergency financial assistance, housing assistance, safety planning, access to legal representation, transportation, and child care.

Registration open for Going the Distance Bike Ride 2017

• Cyclists of all abilities can now register for the 8th annual Going the Distance Bike Ride fundraising event, benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro. The event is on Saturday, June 24.

This is a ride, not a race. Participants can choose from 40, 60 or 100 mile rides, fully supported with rest stops, delicious foods and support vans. At the finish line, bikers will be greeted with a full course meal and commemorative T-shirt.

Their popular century ride loops from Brattleboro to Northampton, Mass., and back. All routes begin at the Marlboro Graduate Center traveling through scenic areas of Vermont and Massachusetts along the Connecticut River.

This year, several high school teens formed the BrattleBikers team. The team is made up of Captain Joseph Meima, John Lonardo, David Pierce, Galen Flecther, Sarah Gallagher, Evan Koch, and Spencer Loggia, several of whom are club members, and understand how important the club is to the young people of the greater Brattleboro area.

The Going the Distance ride is the biggest fundraisers the club does each year. Spearheaded by Going the Distance founder and Board Member Bob Nassau and Board Member Lisa Ford, the Going the Distance ride has been gaining continuous momentum each year with all money raised supporting the summer programs provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro.

The Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro serves young people from 6 to 18 years old from all over the Brattleboro area. During the summer, club members can take part in full-day summer camp programs, as well as drop-in hours at the Flat Street Club House.

This year, the club has added an additional week of programing for a total of eight weeks of summer. Now more children from Windham County and surrounding areas can have a creative and active summer experience.

Donations to teams like BrattleBikers, as well as other riders, can be done by utilizing their FirstGiving webpages, at FirstGiving Going the Distance Bike Ride. These pages allow prospective donors to read each rider’s goals and personal messages.

Donations mailed to the club in support of a rider or team are also appreciated and can be mailed to The Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, 17 Flat St., Brattleboro VT 05301.

Volunteers are also needed to greet bikers at rest stops. For more information, contact the club at 802-254-5990, ext. 204.

Senior bowling roundup

• Team 4 (23-7) pulled ahead of Team 3 (22-8) for first place after Week 6 of the spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League. Team 8 (19-11) is now third, followed by Team 7 (14-16), Team 5 (13-17), Team 2 and Team 1 (both 11-19), and Team 6 (7-23).

Roberta Parsons had the high handicap game (241) and Jean Collins had the high handicap series (660) for the women, while Tom Johnson had the men’s high handicap game (252) and Fred Ashworth had the high handicap series (669). Team 4 had the high team handicap game (871) and series (2,599).

Marty Adams (547), Warren Corriveau Sr. (531), Johnson (530) Jerry Dunham (536), and Ashworth (549) all rolled a 500-plus series, while Ashworth (200), Dunham (202), and Tom Johnson (209) had 200-plus games.


• Due to my error, Brattleboro’s Kai Boyd’s winning performance in the javelin at the Division I state meet on June 3 was included in the boys’ results. Her proud father, John Boyd, was kind enough to call late last week and point that out. Boyd was the lone Colonel to win an event in the girls’ meet.

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