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Leland & Gray forward Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom (16), seen here against Black River last month, has been the Rebels’ leading scorer this season.


Ernie Johnson named to Vermont Sports Hall of Fame

Commons golf correspondent Tom Bedell contributed to this report.

Ernie Johnson, Brattleboro’s representative in Major League Baseball, was recently inducted into the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame.

Johnson, who died in 2011 at 87, was an excellent pitcher at Brattleboro High School in the late 1930s and early 1940s and went on to have a solid nine-year career in the major leagues. He also was a broadcaster and executive for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves for nearly four decades.

He graduated from BHS in 1942 after going 6-3 on the mound as a senior, including three straight one-hit shutouts. He once struck out 20 batters in one game against Deerfield (Mass.).

Johnson signed with the Boston Braves in June 1942 and pitched for Hartford in the Eastern League before going on to serve with the Marine Corps in World War II. After the war, he pitched in the Braves’ minor league system and made his big-league debut in 1950 for Boston.

Starting in 1952, Johnson anchored the Braves bullpen for the next six seasons. His best season was in 1957, when he went 7-3 in 30 appearances, including three more with a 1.29 ERA in Milwaukee’s seven-game World Series victory over the New York Yankees.

He wrapped up his playing career with Baltimore in 1959. Johnson posted a 40-23 record in the majors with a 3.77 ERA, pitching in 273 career games.

After his playing days ended, Johnson became a Braves broadcaster in 1962, calling their games until 2000.

Johnson is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, the Braves Hall of Fame, and the Georgia Radio and Television Hall of Fame.

This VSHOF third induction class (for the full list see vermontsportshall.com/2014class.html) joins 25 other members from the Hall’s first two years at its annual induction dinner and celebration Saturday, Nov. 15, at Burlington’s DoubleTree by Hilton.


• Brattleboro suffered its most lopsided loss of the season with a 40-0 defeat at the hands of the Rutland Raiders at Alumni Field last Friday night.

Rutland quarterback Dylan Hotchkiss threw scoring strikes of 41, 5, 9, and 11 yards, two of them to Jordan Godfrey. Austin O’Gorman recovered a fumble in the end zone for another touchdown; Sam Billings scored on an 8-yard run.

The game quickly got out of hand as Rutland took leads of 19-0 after the first quarter and 26-0 at the half. The mercy rule was invoked, with the game going to running time.

At 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the division, the Colonels are officially out of Division I playoff contention. They play what will likely be the final home game of the year this Friday night at 7 when the Colonels host Colchester.

• Bellows Falls entered last Saturday’s game against Spaulding at Hadley Field ranked No. 4 in Division II with a 2-2 record in divisional play.

The Terriers needed a victory to stay in playoff contention — and they did so in convincing fashion with a 74-27 pummeling of the Crimson Tide.

BF running back Carson Fullam ran for 211 yards and five touchdowns on 10 carries. Quarterback Ethan Illingworth accounted for another four touchdowns.

Spaulding’s Nick Jones had three touchdown runs. Quarterback Dylan Wilkin ran 75 yards for another score.

The Terriers travel to Fair Haven this Friday for a 7 p.m. game against the Slaters.

Girls’ soccer

• Bellows Falls has developed a good soccer rivalry with Leland & Gray, so even though the Terriers entered their Sept. 29 game against the Rebels without a win, BF was determined to fight.

BF’s Chelsea Wilder scored the game’s first two goals. Teammate Stephanie Parsons also scored as the Terriers led 3-1 at the half. Jesse Stockwell scored the Rebels’ lone goal.

The Rebels seized control of the match in the second half. Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom scored three goals, with Skyler Nupp adding another for Leland & Gray. Ashley Bates assisted on two goals.

• Leland & Gray also played Brattleboro this week, and the Colonels came away with a 2-1 overtime win on Oct. 1 in Townshend. Charly Sperling scored in the 12th minute for the Rebels off a pass from Gaspero-Beckstrom.

Morgan Derosia then stepped up for the Colonels and became the heroine by tying the game in the 16th minute. She scored the game-winner on a breakaway seven minutes into OT. The Rebels finished the week at 8-2.

• Black River scored three unanswered goals to beat Twin Valley, 3-1, on Sept. 29 in Ludlow. Kaylkea Niles scored the Wildcats’ only goal on a Kirra Courchesne crossing pass.

• Bellows Falls came close to beating Arlington last Friday but fell short, 3-2. Hannah Harlow and Keri Ticino each scored for the 0-8-1 Terriers, who had a last-second scoring chance glance off the post as time expired.

Boys’ soccer

• Rain couldn’t slow the Twin Valley juggernaut as the undefeated Wildcats rolled over Green Mountain, 4-1, on Oct. 1 at Baker Field.

Justin Hicks scored three goals for the 9-0 Wildcats. Javier Mateos also scored, while Skyler Boyd and Hank Sweeney were each credited with an assist. Mack Walton scored GM’s lone goal.

• Owen McDonald scored in the 65th minute for the sole goal of the game as Leland & Gray beat Brattleboro, 1-0, last Thursday. The Rebels improved to 9-2 with the win. The Colonels fell to 3-8.

Field hockey

• Bellows Falls needed a last-minute goal from Sarah Wells to defeat St. Johnsbury, 3-2, in a tough road game for the Terriers on Sept. 29.

Wells had scored earlier in the game, and Leia Robinson also scored as the Terriers took a 2-0 lead. The Hilltoppers then scored twice, the first with four minutes left and the second with 1:20 remaining.

Wells, without showing a trace of panic, took a pass from Cassidy Santorelli and buried the game-winner in 1:07 left in regulation time. It was Santorelli’s second assist of the game.

After that drama, the Terriers hosted Brattleboro last Friday. The only suspense was how wide the winning margin would be. BF cruised to a 6-0 win.

Anna Clark and Wells scored in the first half for the Terriers; Wells got two more goals in the second half. Santorelli and Molly Dufault also scored.

BF goalie Quinn Lawrence faced zero shots that game. For her part, Colonels goalie Hannah Wilson played well enough to keep the final score from reaching double digits. BF is undefeated at 10-0, while the Colonels ended the week at 0-8-2.


• The Bellows Falls and Brattleboro teams went up to Thetford last Saturday for the annual Woods Trail Run, which drew nearly 1,500 runners from more than 60 schools from all over New England, and the hilly 5-kilometer course was even more of a test under a steady rain for most of the day.

BF’s Willie Moore finished 37th in 18 minutes, 1.82 seconds in the boys’ top-seed race. Brattleboro’s Ryan Gilligan wasn’t far behind in 43rd in 18:13:50.

Brattleboro’s Colin Costa-Walsh was 138th in 20:35:37 in the second-seed race; BF’s Colin Tallent was seventh in 19:06:18 in the third-seed race; BF freshman Jackson Purdy was ninth in 20:25.40 in the fourth-seed race; and BF’s Matthew Chapin came in 28th in 23:34.14 in the fifth-seed event.

BF finished 41st and Brattleboro was 42nd overall in the boys’ team results. Alex Ostberg of Darien (Conn.) High School was the fastest male runner of the 838 who competed. His time was 15:44.75.

Neither BF nor Brattleboro had runners in the girls’ top-seed race. Brattleboro’s Becca Freeman was 63rd in the second-seed race in 23:50.51, while teammate Catey Yost was 12th in the third seed race in 23:43.61. Gwen Harris was 119th in 29:26.70 in the fourth-seed race for Brattleboro.

In the fifth-seed race, Brattleboro’s Annie Takacs (28:00.38) and Katie Reynolds (28:02.01) finished 12th and 13th, respectively. Brattleboro finished 42nd overall. Emma MacMillan Of Barrington (R.I.) High School was the fastest female runner of the 628 who ran, with a top time of 18:54.83.

Brattleboro firefighters to hold fitness run

• The Brattleboro Firefighters Benefit Association will hold a “Firefighters for Fitness 5K Trail Run/Walk” fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 10 a.m. The race starts and ends at the Harris Hill Ski Jump on Cedar Street in Brattleboro.

Registration on race day is from 8 to 9:30 a.m., $20 per person. Pre-race registration is available at a discount at www.brattleborofire.org and at their Facebook event page, “Firefighters for Fitness 5K Trail Run.”

The Brattleboro Firefighters Benefit Association is a nonprofit organization of members of the Brattleboro Fire Department, both the career and volunteer staffs, as well as past employees and members. Their purpose: to support and assist members in a time of illness or other misfortune, as well as support both department and community-based activities not funded in the municipal budget.

For more information, call firefighters Michael Heiden or Andrew Blazej at 802-254-4831.

BCC news

• The Member-Member Variable Best Ball is a unique tournament played at the Brattleboro Country Club, with four-player teams using one best-ball score on the par-5s, two on the par-4s, and three on the par-3s.

Eleven foursomes had at it on Labor Day, yielding gross- and net-score winners.

The team of John Wong, Anthony Zumbruski, Alicia Field, and Lloyd Dakin took the low-gross honors with a score of 148, besting Hugh Barber, Wally Musgrove, Eileen Ranslow, and Sujin Dakin by three strokes.

On the net side, Greg Montgomery, Doug Emery, Judy Manley, and Steve Holley’s 115 was good for the win, with a six-stroke margin over Liz Walker, Doug Kroc, Stan Nowakowski, and Gordon Evans.

Closest-to-the-pin awards were given to Linda Evans (fourth hole, 5 feet), Doug Emery (eighth, 7 feet 2 inches), Jason Kelley (13th, 5 feet 1 inch) and Rick Wisell (16th, 8 inches).

• On Friday, Sept. 12, Judy Manley was playing with Barb Oles and Kate Clark when she came to the 147-yard 16th hole — and aced it. It was her fourth career hole-in-one.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #275 (Wednesday, October 8, 2014). This story appeared on page E4.

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