Brattleboro Post 5 and Bellows Falls Post 37 opened the American Legion Baseball season last week with a home-and-home series that illustrated how thin can be the margin between success and failure in baseball.
On June 17 at Vermont Academy, Post 37 got a solid pitching performance by its ace, Mike LaBeau, in a 3-2 win, but LaBeau’s effort was nearly wasted by the sloppy defensive performance backing him.
Brattleboro had 11 hits, and threatened to score in almost every inning, but stranded 13 base runners. Kevin Tao led Post 5 with three hits, while Jeff Kerylow had two hits. Dan Richardson took the loss despite giving up only five hits; he struck out four and walked no one.
The next night at Tenney Field, Post 5 again had plenty of hits, but this time, the hits came when they needed them. Post 37 did not have a pitcher that could shut down Brattleboro. Add a few more errors in the field, the result was a 14-2 win for Post 5 in a six-inning game cut short by the 10-run mercy rule.
LaBeau, a standout pitcher for the Bellows Falls Terriers and Post 37 in 2013, pitched as a reliever for Castleton State College as a freshman this spring.
The game at Tenney Field was completely different. Post 5 starter Jimmy Mills wasn’t overpowering, but he held Post 37 to just five hits. He struck out five and walked one in six innings of work.
Zach Streeter, the starter for Post 37, ran into trouble in the second inning when he walked Rob Heilman and Kerylow. A throwing error on a ball hit by Chris Lasch scored Heilman and Kerylow, and Cam Wright later hit an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
Post 37 got a run back in the third on back-to-back doubles by Ed Shambo and Austin Stack. Everything went Post 5’s way after that.
Brattleboro scored three runs in the third. They chased Streeter when he loaded up the bases on a walk to Tao, a Ryan McAuliffe double, and another walk to George Atkins. Colby Howe came in to pitch and walked Kerylow to force in a run, then hit Lasch with a pitch to force another run. Wright drove in another run with an infield hit, and the Post 5 lead swelled to 6-1.
Nick Diak relieved Howe in the fourth, but the Post 5 runs kept coming as Tao and McAuliffe scored again. Lasch scored on a McAuliffe sacrifice fly in the fifth, and the Brattleboro lead grew to 9-1.
Stack doubled and later scored on a LaBeau sacrifice fly in the sixth for the final Post 37 run.
Post 5 delivered the knockout blow in the bottom of the inning. Diak loaded up the bases on a single and two walks, Wright got his fourth hit of the night to drive in one run, and Kassidi Ramirez got another run in with a bases-loaded walk, and Diak was replaced by Stewart Shaughnessey, who gave up a three-run double to Tao to end the game.
“We played giveaway baseball from the moment we stepped on the field,” said Post 37 coach Bob Lockerby after the loss.
Post 5 coach Wayne Wright said he was pleased with the effort in the win. “We got beat by their ace last night, so it was important to win this one against their secondary pitching.”
MVL All-Stars chosen
• The Marble Valley League announced its all-league selections for baseball, lacrosse, softball, and tennis, and many of our local athletes and coaches were honored.
Brattleboro’s Chris Groeger (A Division) and Twin Valley’s Jim Burke (D Division) were each named MVL Baseball Coach of the Year. Both did major turnaround jobs with their respective teams.
Groeger guided Brattleboro to an 11-7 record, including a playdown victory in the Division I tournament, after a dismal 2013 season. Under Burke’s leadership, Twin Valley went 10-8 and advanced to the Division IV semifinals for the first time in school history.
Dave Chesley of Bellows Falls was named the Co-Coach of the Year in girls’ tennis.
Twin Valley also won the Richard Breen Sportsmanship Award.
Here’s a list of the local honorees:
Baseball A — Brattleboro: Chris McAuliffe.
Baseball B — Bellows Falls: Austin Stack, Ethan Illingworth.
Baseball C — Leland & Gray: Josh Donna. Green Mountain: Jake Cavacus, Kyle Kemp.
Baseball D — Twin Valley: Sam Molner, Colin Lozito.
Softball A — Brattleboro: Maddy Derosia, McKinlie Carpenter.
Softball B — Leland & Gray: Elizabeth Symanski, Jordan Gouger.
Softball C — Twin Valley: Savannah Nesbitt, Sammy Cunningham-Darrah. Green Mountain: Stephanie Knockenhauer, Leah Bodun, Kris Knockenhauer, Sasha Peteycki.
Boys’ Tennis — Bellows Falls: Jason Chartier.
Girls’ Tennis — Brattleboro: Taylor Bird, Katie Tsukamoto. Bellows Falls: Alexis Harris.
Girls’ Lacrosse — Brattleboro: Hannah Lynde, Katelyn Donovan, Marissa Semenovich.
Boys’ Lacrosse — Brattleboro: Sam Siegel, Brennen Zolnoski, Conner Elliott-Knaggs, Colby McGinn, Kyle Patno.
• Ryan McAuliffe, Brattleboro (baseball); Carson Fullam, Bellows Falls (baseball); Daisy Giroux, Brattleboro (softball); Siera Butler, Brattleboro (softball); Jessalyn Stockwell, Leland & Gray (softball); Chelsea Wilder, Bellows Falls (softball); Tim Guyon, Bellows Falls (tennis); Lucas Clark, Bellows Falls (tennis); Lizzie Clark, Brattleboro (lacrosse); Alex Fellows, Brattleboro (lacrosse); Abbie Lesure, Brattleboro (lacrosse), Meghan Siggins, Brattleboro (lacrosse); Tanner Freeman, Brattleboro (lacrosse); and Jack Gagnon, Brattleboro (lacrosse).
Siegel named high school All-American
• In addition to his MVL honors, Sam Siegel became just the second Brattleboro Union High School boys’ lacrosse player to be named a U.S. Lacrosse High School All-American. Travis Elliott-Knaggs had previously earned that honor.
Colby McGinn was the first BUHS boys’ lacrosse player named United States Lacrosse High School Academic All-American.
Siegel and McGinn joined Conner Elliott-Knaggs in representing the Colonels in the annual Lion’s Cup game, pitting Vermont against New Hampshire, at Hanover High School on June 21. Kyle Patno was also chosen to the team, but elected not to play due to a prior commitment. New Hampshire won the game, 10-3.