After nearly three years of delays, design problems, and permitting issues, the Bellows Falls Terriers finally got to play baseball under the lights at Hadley Field last Thursday.
Longtime Westminster resident Alvin Southwick, who died in 2011, had donated money to the school to put up a lighting system for Hadley Field’s baseball diamond and football field, as well as new scoreboards at all the BFUHS fields.
The lights were installed in 2012. Soon after they were turned on, Ruth Gale, whose home is about 50 yards away from the baseball field, objected to the lights on the grounds that they were too bright and shone inside her home.
Her complaint set in motion a comedy of errors for the school and the town. It turned out the project had never received a required Act 250 permit. The initial zoning permit from the town was revoked.
The contractor, who apparently never secured all the needed permits to install the lights, admitted it never fully tested the lights for glare, nor did it test the soil that the light poles were built on. The field was closed briefly before the start of the 2013 football season before the structural integrity of the light poles was tested and found safe.
Last summer, the Westminster Development Review Board issued BFUHS the last zoning permit it needed for the lights, ending the long-running saga that had kept the lights off. Under the final Act 250 permit, the Hadley Field lights cannot be used more than 46 nights a year; they must turned off by 11 p.m.; they cannot be mounted more than 70 feet from the ground; and they must have visors to deflect the light and reduce glare.
The Post 37 team had a chance to to play under the lights when they first were installed, but the legal and bureaucratic red tape prevented the Terriers from playing a night baseball game until last week.
It was well worth the wait. Taking on their traditional rivals, the Springfield Cosmos, BF cruised to a 12-2 win. Pitcher Chris Armstrong held the Cosmos to just five hits and one run over six innings. Austin Stack pitched the final inning, giving up the other run.
Stack drove in three runs with three hits, and was a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Ethan Illingworth drove in three runs on two hits, and Zack Streeter had two hits and an RBI as BF improved to 8-3.
The win was especially sweet for the Terriers, since they beat up Springfield’s best pitcher, Ed Shambo. But the big story was the lights. The game drew one of the biggest crowds for a non-playoff game in years, and BF coach Bob Lockerby was happy that his seniors — Illingworth, Stack, Armstrong, Carson Fullam, Colby Howe, and Brendan Kelly — got a chance to play a game under the lights at home.
“The seniors have seen those lights standing here for three years, and we couldn’t use them,” said Lockerby. “I’m so happy for the seniors that they finally had that experience. We were practicing the day before to get used to the lights, and I think they would have stayed out there until midnight if we let them.”
Some of the BF senior sextet have played in night games in the past for other teams, but to a man, they were excited about this game.
“It was a special experience,” said Illingworth.
•Bellows Falls is on a roll. They improved to 9-2 with a 23-6 rout of Black River last Thursday. The game was tied 5-5 going into the bottom of the third inning when BF blew the game open with 15 runs. By the game was halted in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule, BF had 20 hits and Black River had committed 11 errors.
Chelsea Wilder went 5-for-5 and drove in six runs to lead the Terriers. Emily Stoddard went 4-for-5 and scored four runs. Aly Bashaw went 3-for-5, and McKenzie Crawford and Brook James each had two hits. Murphy Hicks was the winning pitcher.
On May 9, Alanna Shaw had three hits and scored twice as Bellows Falls defeated Hartford, 9-2. Stoddard, Bashaw, and Paxton Santorelli also had base hits for the Terriers as Stoddard doubled and Bashaw scored two runs. Hicks was the winning pitcher, with five strikeouts and one walk in a complete-game three-hitter.
On May 12, Crawford, James and Santorelli all had three hits as the Terriers beat Green Mountain, 12-6, despite committing six errors in the field. Wilder had two hits, including a three-run homer, and drove in four runs. James finished with three RBIs. Hicks scattered six hits to get the win.
• Jessica Fox and Karlee Walkowiak each had three hits and Natalie Herrick, Brianna Rafus, and Colton Butler all drove in two runs as Twin Valley beat Arlington, 16-7 on May 12.
Starting pitcher Colton Butler struck out nine and walked three over six innings to get the win.
• Leland & Gray had another frustrating game on May 12. They outhit Hartford, 11-4, but were sloppy on defense and the result was a 8-7 loss to the Hurricanes.
The game started out promising as MacKenzie Boyle hit a pair of RBI doubles and Rachel Borgesen doubled in another run as the Rebels took a 5-0 lead. Hartford then rallied for six runs in the fourth and took the lead to stay.
Borgesen later belted a two-run triple in the sixth, as she and Jordan Gouger each went 3-for-4. Jessie Stockwell and Boyle finished with two hits each. Rebels pitcher Keltsey Rushton struck out 10 batters, but walked seven and gave up four hits in the loss.
The Rebels got that game out of their system the following day with a 17-4 thrashing of Green Mountain. Boyle went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run, while Gouger had three hits and scored three times. Both drove in three runs. Emily Thibault added an RBI triple, Skyler Nupp had three hits and drove in two runs, and Rushton threw a three-hitter with six walks and four strikeouts to get the win.
With a 11-7 win over Windsor on May 14, the Rebels improved their record to 5-6.
• It took a two-out RBI triple by Wahconah’s Brook Lussier in the top of the 10th inning to beat Brattleboro in a taut 3-2 victory at Sawyer Field on May 11.
The Colonels took a 1-0 lead as Emily Whitworth singled and scored on an error in the second inning. Wahconah tied the game in the fifth and went ahead 2-1 in the top of the eighth on a based-loaded balk by Colonels pitcher Hannah Wilson.
Maddy Derosia’s solo home run in the bottom of the eighth again tied up the game. After Lussier’s big hit, the Colonels still had a chance, but went down in order in the bottom of the 10th to end the game.
Both teams were hitting the ball hard. Winning pitcher Allie Borowsky gave up 11 hits, as did Wilson, who took the loss. Good defense on both sides kept the game close, Derosia went 3-for-4, while Devin Millerick finished with two hits, including a triple.
Brattleboro bounced back with a 10-5 win over Keene, N.H., on May 13. The Colonels got 12 hits in this game, but unlike the Wahconah contest, those hits turned into lots of runs.
Casey Manning went 3-for-4, while Jocelyn Aither and Millerick added two hits apiece. Jamie Mahoney, Sam Harrison, Maddy Derosia, Bridget Duff, and Emily Whitworth all hit safely as the Colonels took a 6-0 lead after four innings, and cruised from there. Wilson gave up seven hits in picking up the win, she walked one batter and struck out five.
• Brattleboro’s losing streak reached eight games this past week. On May 11, the Colonels lost 6-3 to Bellows Falls at Hadley Field. Two losses at home, 10-0 to Keene, N.H., on May 13 and 7-4 to Hartford last Friday, dropped the Colonels record to 2-10 for the season.
• Bryce Karg hit his first varsity homer as Leland & Gray beat Otter Valley, 15-4, on May 12 in Townshend.
Karg hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, part of an eight-run uprising for the Rebels. He went 3-for-4 at the plate, while John Peloso was 4-for-4 and Corey Nystrom and Nick Morrow each drove in a pair of runs. Starting pitcher Josh Donna threw five innings to get the win and Luc DuGrenier finished up in relief.
Two days later, the Rebels beat up on Black River, 21-4, to improve to 9-2 for the season.
• Twin Valley was shut out by Mount St. Joseph, 11-0, on May 11 and by Green Mountain, 9-0, on May 14. The two road losses dropped the Wildcats to 1-7 and extended their losing streak to seven games.
• Brattleboro started the week with a 5-2 loss to Rutland on May 11 at the BUHS courts. Brattleboro’s only singles victory came at the fifth spot as Tom Szpila beat Connor Solimano 7-6 (2-10), 6-3. At No. 1 doubles, Spencer Butter and Nick Ahlgren ground out a 6-0, 6-7 (7-2), 1-0 (10-7) win.
Two days later, the Colonels were blanked by undefeated Burr & Burton, 7-0, in Manchester.
• Bellows Falls had a pair of wins. On May 13, the Terriers defeated Woodstock, 5-2. Last Friday, BF improved its season record to 5-3 with a 6-1 win over Rutland.
BF won four of the five singles matches. Gonzala Borque beat Dalton Eckhardt 6-4, 6-2; Simon Bupp-Chickering stopped Henry Prouty 6-2, 6-2; Lucas Clark defeated Connor Solimano 6-7 (5), 6-2, 10-8; and Jon Skrocki won by forfeit. The lone Rutland win came at No. 3, as Rudra Naik beat Andrew Hollar.
The Terriers swept the doubles matches as Chris Doncet and Anthony Mueller topped Jacob Bourassa and Austin Roussel 3-6, 7-5 (10-5), and Quinn Lambert and Al Ashe beat Artor Smiechowski and Noah Machin-Harris 2-6, 6-2, 10-6.
BST accepting registrations for 2015 season
• The Brattleboro Swim Team (BST) is accepting registrations for the 2015 summer swim season. The cost for each swimmer is $170 for Brattleboro families and $185.00 for non-resident families, with payment due at registration. The fee is reduced by $10 for each additional swimmer in a family and there is a $550 maximum for multi-swimmer families. A $20 late fee will be charged for registrations received after the June 7 deadline.
BST will host team sign-ups on Sunday, June 7, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Living Memorial Park Pool warming shelter. You can also register online at the BST website at www.offtheblocks.org/bst.
Team practices will begin on Monday, June 22, at the Living Memorial Park Pool, and will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. for swimmers 10 and under, and from 5 to 6 p.m. for swimmers over 10 years old, Monday through Friday.
While the summer swim team season is short, only six weeks, BST’s primary goal is to introduce area youth to the joys and benefits of swimming. BST swimmers range in age from 5 to 18 years old and have a variety of swimming abilities and experiences: from first-time competitive swimmers to returning team members with more than seven years of experience, some of whom swim competitively year round.
Ultimate frisbee program begins
• Brattleboro Ultimate has begun play at West River Park of Route 30. Through September, organizers plan pick-up games for beginners on Tuesdays and for more advanced players on Thursdays. Warm up time is 6 p.m., with games to follow at 6:30 p.m.
The cost is $50 for the summer, or $25 for a three-night pass. A women’s clinic is scheduled for May 26, while a new player clinic is set for June 2. Visit www.brattleboroultimate.org for more information.