It was a bit of a surprise to see that the last two local teams standing in the state baseball and softball tournament were both from Twin Valley.
Over the years, the boys and girls of the Deerfield Valley have developed the reputation for being great soccer players, pretty good basketball players, and so-so baseball and softball players.
This season was different as Twin Valley’s baseball and softball teams both advanced to the Division IV semifinals for the first time in school history. Even though both teams would lose, it was a spring to remember in the Deerfield Valley.
• Second-seeded Mount St. Joseph lost its two regular-season meetings against third-seeded Twin Valley, but with a trip to the state Division IV championship game on the line, the Mounties came through with a 7-1 win over the Wildcats at St. Peters Field in Rutland in a semifinal on June 10.
MSJ pitcher Zack Lanzillo scattered six hits and issued three walks in a complete-game effort. The Wildcats had their chances, but stranded nine baserunners in scoring position.
Colin Lozito did his part as Twin Valley’s leadoff hitter. He had two of Twin Valley’s five hits, was on base three times, and had a stolen base and a sacrifice.
Twin Valley got its only run in the third inning when Cade Nesbitt singled and scored on a base hit by Brett Swanson.
MSJ’s Shane Protivansky hit a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to put the Mounties ahead to stay. They added another run in the fourth, two in the fifth, and two more in the sixth.
Sam Molner took the loss for the Wildcats, pitching four and a third innings during which he gave up three runs on seven hits.
This season marked the first time that Twin Valley reached the semifinals and was also the first time that the school won a Marble Valley League championship in baseball.
• The ride ended for ninth-seeded Twin Valley softball team on June 10, with a 6-2 loss to the No. 4 Blue Mountain Bucks in the Division IV semifinal in Wells River.
After shocking top-seeded West Rutland in the quarterfinals, Twin Valley entered uncharted territory two days later against the Bucks.
The game was tied 2-2 after five innings. Colton Butler scored on an RBI single from Jordan Niles in the fourth inning but the Bucks had answered with two of their own. Savannah Nesbitt tied the game by driving in Sammy Cunningham-Darrah at the top of the fifth.
To this point Butler, TV’s starting pitcher, had held Blue Mountain to just two hits. The Bucks broke through in the bottom of the fifth by scoring three runs with two outs, and added a run in the sixth.
Butler took the loss, striking out five and walking five. Nesbitt, Butler, Niles, Cunningham-Darrah, and Natalie Herrick had one hit apiece.
The Wildcats finished 7-11, but certainly showed their mettle in the playoffs.
Track and Field
• Keeping with the Twin Valley theme of this week’s report, the Wildcats’ track teams turned in some surprising results in the Division IV state championships in Chester on June 6.
Owing to a small roster, the girls finished seventh out of 12 teams, and the boys finished 11th out 12 teams. The individual and relay performances by Twin Valley were the surprise.
The girls 4 X 100 relay team of freshmen Karlee Walkowiak and Caitlin Hunt, and seniors Henriette Aas and Christiana Strysko, won the event at 59.17 seconds, a full 2 seconds faster than the second-place team.
Hunt, Aas and Walkowiak finished fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively in the 100 meter dash. Hunt also garnered points with a fourth-place finish in the long jump; Kirra Courchesne was sixth in the 800.
The boys 4x100 team came in fourth, while Skyler Boyd and Eli Park were tied for fifth in the high jump. Boyd also finished sixth in the long jump.
Freshmen made up half of the boys and girls teams this season, so coach Buddy Hayford has a strong foundation to build on for next season.
Legion baseball season begins
• The Vermont American Legion Baseball season begins this week. Seven teams are in the Southern Division this season: Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Bennington, Hartford, Lakes Region, Rutland, and South Royalton.
Wayne Wright is again the coach of Brattleboro Post 5, which plays an 18-game schedule over the next six weeks.
Post 5 plays home doubleheaders at Tenney Field with South Royalton on July 6, Rutland on July 12, and Bennington on July 13, starting at noon each day. If you want to see some good baseball this season, circle those dates on your calendar, along with home games with Hartford (June 26 and July 15 at 5:30 p.m.), Bellows Falls (July 20 at noon), and Lakes Region (July 19 at noon).
BCC tournament results
• The tournament season kicked off at the Brattleboro Country Clubon May 26, with 52 players taking part in a 2-best balls-of-4 member-member event, each team consisting of three men and a woman. Prizes were awarded for gross and net scores.
In the former category a margin of three strokes separated the winning team of Becky Day, Hugh Barber, Bob Houle, and Ken Kenworthy from runners-up Barb Oles, Wayne Wright, Doug Kroc, and Doug Fiske.
Net winners were Lois Forester, Doug Fitts, Frank Lopez, and Cameron Duffy by two strokes over the teams of Elizabeth Walker, Dick Noel, Henry Diemer and Gordon Evans, and Amelia Stone, Greg Montgomery, Keith Strand, and Dennis Mayotte.
Closest to the pin prizes went to Iedje Hornsby (fourth hole, 7 feet, 3 inches), Doug Fiske (eighth, 5-9), Steve Holley (13th, 19-0), Jason Kelley (16th, 7-9).
• Eight men’s and six women’s teams took part in the Zelenakas Team Stroke Play Championship, a two-player, one best-ball event, on June 1.
The team of Hugh Barber and Wayne Wright took first place gross honors with a 71, outpacing Bob Houle and Henry Diemer by 13 strokes. With a net 63, Rick Wisell and Jason Kelley edged Steve Holley and Dennis Mayotte by five.
Wendy Scott and Jill Zachary took the women’s crown with a gross 82. On the net side, Iedje Hornsby and Marilyn Cassidy’s 63 beat Alicia Field and Mary Jane Penfield by two strokes.
Runners sought for Catamount Half Marathon, 5K races
• The Catamount Half Marathon, presented by 3C Race Productions on Sunday, June 29, is Vermont’s newest half marathon and will benefit Youth Services of Windham County.
Organizers say it will run a scenic course along Route 30’s West River corridor. The accompanying 5K race will give family and friends of the half marathoners their chance to compete as well.
Runners will be treated to a first-class experience, featuring ChronoTrack B-Tag chip timing by Yankee Timing; technical shirts for all half marathoners; T-shirts for all 5K runners; finisher medals for half marathoners; pint glasses to overall and age group winners; six water stops; portable toilets on the race course; post-race refreshments including fresh fruit and pastries; a top-notch, make-your-own goodie bag, and more.
Half marathon/5K entry fees are $55/$25 before June 16, $65/$30 until June 28, and $75/$40 on race day. To register, visit www.catamounthm.com. To volunteer, write email@example.com or call 802-257-0361, ext. 142.
• In last week’s column, I misidentified the Leland & Gray shortstop making the diving catch in the lead picture on page D3.
That was Jordan Gouger making that grab, and a hat tip to Jordan’s mom for pointing out the error in such a pleasant way.