It’s been a trying season for Colonels softball coach Kelly Markol, but her team is starting to come together at just the right time.
Maddy Derosia and Hannah Wilson each hit two-run home runs as Brattleboro cruised past Mill River, 11-1, at Sawyer Field last Friday. The win evened the Colonels’ record at 7-7 heading into the final week of the regular season.
“These kids work hard,” said Markol. “We have a completely different team out there than we did in our opener. We’re more of a team now.”
Given Mill River’s 2-11 record, this game was supposed to be easy for the Colonels. But Markol rejected that thought.
“Every team we face, we have to play them like they are the toughest team we’ll ever face. We’ve lost four games by a single run, and we have to play better in every game from here on out.”
It would be hard to improve on the Colonels’ effort in this game. Wilson, the winning pitcher, threw a complete game four-hitter. Aside from giving up a run in the fourth inning, she was focused and in control. She also got lots of help from her fielders.
Wilson hadn’t been batting much all season, as Markol used a designated hitter in Wilson’s spot in the batting order in most games. Against Mill River, Wilson got a chance to hit, and made the most of it by getting two hits, including her fourth-inning homer.
Derosia, who was 2-for-4 with five RBIs, keyed a four-run first inning with a line drive that cleared the fence in left. It was the seventh homer of the year for the senior shortstop.
Emily Whitworth had three hits, including a double. Sam Harrison and Emmalee Waite each had a pair of hits.
Previously, the Colonels eked out an 8-7 win in eight innings over Otter Valley on May 15. Waite drew a bases-loaded walk to win the game. Wilson had a rough start early, but settled down in the late innings to get the victory. She gave up 10 hits, but struck out four and walked no one. Casey Manning drove in three runs with a fourth-inning base hit, while Jamie Mahoney drove in two runs with two hits. Devin Millerick also had two hits.
That effort was followed by a 4-3 loss to Springfield at Sawyer Field on May 18. Brattleboro left eight baserunners in scoring position and couldn’t put together a big inning. Springfield took a 4-1 lead after five innings, and withstood a late rally from the Colonels. Derosia went 3-for-3, including a triple, and drove in two runs. Mahoney went 2-for-4 and Millerick tripled. Wilson scattered eight hits to take the loss.
If the Colonels can beat Drury on May 27 and Mount Anthony on May 29, they might be able to get a home game in the first round of the Division I playoffs. But Markol said the Colonels “are only going to go as far as Hannah takes us in the circle.”
Judging by the game Wilson had against Mill River, the Colonels might have a chance to go deep into the postseason.
• Leland & Gray’s up-and-down season had one big up on May 20 when it shut out Windsor, 15-0, in a six-inning game cut short by the mercy rule.
The Rebels pounded out 16 hits, as Emily Stockwell went 4-for-5 at the plate and Jordan Gouger added three hits. Skyler Nupp, Gabby Donna, and Emily Thibault all finished with two hits and Mackenzie Boyle added an inside-the-park homer. Winning pitcher Keltsey Rushton struck out four and walked three in a two-hit shutout.
• Bellows Falls needed a heroine against Woodstock on May 19 after BF’s starting pitcher, Murphy Hicks, left the game with a knee injury in the third inning. Freshman Paxton Santorelli answered the call and got three strikeouts for her first varsity win in a wild 17-16 victory.
The Terriers needed every run they could get in this game. Emily Stoddard led the way with three hits, four runs, and three RBIs. Brook James (three RBIs) and Ally Bashaw (three runs scored) had three hits each, while Alanna Shaw score three runs and drove in three more.
• Twin Valley beat Black River, 5-1, on May 18. Colton Butler struck out four and walked three in throwing a one-hitter. Cassidy Walkowiak hit the ball hard and Brianna Rafus drove in two runs.
• There haven’t been many bright spots for Brattleboro this season, except when Leif Bigelow pitches. The 6-foot-2 freshman has a fastball that approaches 80 mph, a sweeping curveball, and the ability to consistently throw both those pitches for strikes.
Against Windsor on May 19, Bigelow threw a three-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory over Windsor at Tenney Field. Bigelow walked two, struck out five, and got plenty of help from his defense when the Windsor batters managed to put the ball in play.
A Conor Hiner sacrifice fly made it 1-0 after one inning. An RBI single from Chayse Cunniff made it 2-0 in the second inning. A Windsor error led to another run in the fifth, and Brattleboro closed out the scoring in the sixth with RBI singles from Troy Wood and Cunniff.
Cunniff and Hiner finished with two hits each, part of a seven-hit attack for the Colonels against losing pitcher Nick Kapuscinksi.
That left the Colonels’ record at 3-10 heading into the final three games of the season. They needed at least four wins to qualify for the Division I playoffs, per the school’s 25 percent rule, and they accomplished that with a 15-7 win over Otter Valley last Friday.
Hiner and Stephen Kerylow each drove in three runs to lead the Colonels. Bigelow, Kerylow, and Tyler McKinney all had two hits. Sam Ogenenoff scattered eight hits over six innings to get the win. He walked one and struck out nine.
• Bad weather at the start of the season has forced some teams to play doubleheaders. The Bellows Falls girls wrapped up the regular season with a doubleheader sweep of Springfield, 4-3, 5-2, on May 19.
In the first match, BF got win singles wins from Reaghan Lapinski and Sarah Scarlett, and doubles victories from the tandems of Keisha Wilcox-Tessa Bynorth and Ellie Guyon-Sophie Guerrina.
In the second match, BF got singles wins from McKenzie Brandon, Guyon and Lapinski at singles and another doubles sweep by Wilcox and Bynorth and Guerrina and Hannah Harlow. The Terriers (4-9) are now awaiting their seeding in the Division 2 playoffs.
• The Brattleboro girls handed Mount Anthony their first loss of the season with a 4-3 win at the BUHS courts on May 15. The doubles duos of Jazmin Smith-Jaida Henry and Grace Willingham-Danielle Looman each won their matches on third-set tiebreakers, while Alicia Loyola and Greta Larson were singles winners for the Colonels.
The Colonel girls then finished the regular season with a 6-1 win over Mount St. Joseph on May 20. They head into the Division I playoffs with a 9-4 record.
• The Brattleboro boys wrapped up the regular season with a 5-2 win over Hartford on May 20 at the BUHS courts. Martin Sipowicz, Carter Falk and Tom Szpila all won a singles match for the Colonels. In doubles play, the No. 1 team of Nick Ahlgren and Spencer Butter won, while Hartford forfeited the second match.
At 4-10, they are ineligible for the playoffs under the BUHS 25 percent rule.
• The Brattleboro boys hit a rough patch, with losses to Marble Valley League rival Mount Anthony (12-9) and Woodsstock (9-8). But the Colonels got it back together with a 5-4 overtime win over Burr & Burton on May 20, and a 15-10 win against Rutland last Friday night at Natowich Field.
Jack Gagnon was the hero in the Burr & Burton game, scoring the tying goal in the last two minutes and burying the game-winner in OT. Gagnon scored three goals in all, Tanner Freeman and Brennen Zolnoski added a goal each.
In the Rutland game, Gagnon scored two goals in the first 90 seconds, and added two more in the second half. Zolnoski also scored four goals in the game, while Freeman had three goals. The Colonel boys ended the week at 10-4.
Track and field
• The Bellows Falls boys and girls teams placed eighth and ninth respectively at the recent Connecticut Valley Conference meet at Fall Mountain in Langdon, N.H. Willie Moore broke the school and Division III records by winning the 800 meter run in 1 minute, 57.17 seconds.
Brian McAnuff was second in the 110 hurdles for the BF boys, and the 4 X 100 relay team of Jake Mead, DJ Snide, Chris McKeen, and McAnuff were also runners-up. Anna Clark was third in the 800 in 2:26 to lead the BF girls.
• The Brattleboro girls and boys swept last Friday’s eight-team meet at Springfield High School, while the BF girls and boys placed third and second, respectively.
The Colonels swept the 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relay races. In the winners circle for the Colonels were Tyler Clement (100), Dani Wood (100), Josh Meachen (1,600), Catey Yost (800), Becca Freeman (3,200), Jacob Canizzaro (pole vault), Asha DiMatteo-LePage (shot put), and John Lonardo (discus).
McAnuff led the BF boys with victories in the 110 and 300 hurdles, and the triple jump, while Cassidy Santorelli led the BF girls with wins in the 300 hurdles and pole vault. Other winners for the Terriers included Anna Clark (1,600), Sarah Wells (200), Cody Tallent (3200) and Chris McKeen (pole vault).