It was a cold, damp, and raw late afternoon for softball at Sawyer Field on May 4, more like March than May. It was the type of afternoon where you would have understood if the Brattleboro Colonels had postponed their game with the Mount Anthony Patriots.
But in a spring that has seen too many rainouts, this was a game that was going to get played, unless there was a downpour that flooded the field just before the scheduled first pitch.
In the end, maybe the Colonels should have taken the afternoon off. MAU snapped Brattleboro’s four-game winning streak with a 9-3 victory and handed the 6-2 Colonels their first loss against Vermont competition.
After three straight games against in-state Division II opponents where the Colonels won by scores of 14-1 (Springfield), 13-4 (Fair Haven), and 14-0 (Otter Valley), Brattleboro had a tougher time of it against their Division I rival.
Sophomore pitcher Taylor DiCranian held the Colonels to five hits and struck out five in the complete game victory. All of the Brattleboro runs came in the seventh inning.
She also helped her cause with three hits, including a no-doubt-about-it, fence clearing, three-run home run she crushed in the top of the seventh. That was part of a five-run outburst that ended any hope of a Colonel comeback.
Catherine Worthington went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Kaiden Gauthier had two hits as well as the Patriots improved to 5-1.
Brattleboro’s Hannah Wilson didn’t pitch badly in the loss. She walked one, and hit one batter, but did give up nine hits.
“[MAU] outplayed us in every aspect of the game. They were 100 percent better than we were,” said Colonels coach Kelly Markol. “They hit the ball hard and our defense put them into a position to score a lot of runs.”
Markol believes that all the recent big wins masked the biggest shortcoming of this year’s team. “We’re a young team and we’re wicked inexperienced on defense. But if we can learn from the mental and physical mistakes we made today, and be better going forward, I’ll take a loss like this one."
Jamie Mahoney doubled for Brattleboro, while Hailey Derosia, Devin Millerick, Sylvia Patenaude, and Bridget Duff all singled.
• Green Mountain crushed Twin Valley, 22-1, in a five-inning game on May 5 cut short by the mercy rule. GM’s Kassidy Cummings went 3-for-5 with a home run, triple and double, Noelle Gignoux was 3-for-3 with a triple, Annie Lamson went 3-for-4 with a double, and Maddie Wilson added a homer.
Pitchers Rylee Ewald and Erica Knockenhauer shut down the Wildcat bats. Ewald scattered three hits over four innings and Knockenhauer struck out the side in the fifth. Twin Valley fell to 0-6.
• Springfield’s Jade Twombly came within four outs of a no-hitter, but BF’s Murphy Hicks broke it up with a double to left-center field in the sixth. Twombly finished with a two-hitter, striking out 13 Bellows Falls batters in a 12-0 victory on May 5.
At the plate, Twombly went 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs. Brooke Willey was a big contributor also going 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple and a walk with four runs. She also made three big defensive plays at shortstop. Cassidy Otis and Hannah Crosby added two hits apiece to the 14-hit attack.
Hicks, the losing pitcher, kept the Terriers in the game. BF trailed 3-0 heading into the fifth inning, when the Cosmos broke open the game with six runs on seven hits.
• With no dominant team this year in Division II, Bellows Falls is still in the mix for a home playoff game with a 4-4 record. They beat Mill River in a 15-12 slugfest in North Clarendon on April 30, then shut out Springfield, 4-0, on May 3 at Hadley Field.
• Burr & Burton stayed undefeated in Division I with a 12-0 win over Brattleboro last Friday.
• Leland & Gray improved to 3-2 on the season with a 6-2 road win over Woodstock on May 3.
• Twin Valley has gotten hot with three straight wins. The Wildcats beat Woodstock at home, 15-5, on April 30, then picked up road wins at Black River (8-1 on May 3) and Green Mountain (16-1 on May 5) to improve to 4-3 on the season.
• Mount Anthony completed a season sweep of Brattleboro with a 7-0 win at the BUHS courts on May 3.
The closest match of the day was at No. 5 singles, where MAU’s Phebe Hall defeated Brattleboro’s Annie Takacs, 6-4, 6-4, in a match that lasted about 90 minutes.
In the rest of the singles matches, No. 1 Margaret Curtin beat Claudia Craviotto Rocca 6-4, 6-0, while No. 2 Grace Page beat Jaida Henry after Henry left the court with a shoulder injury trailing 5-1 in the first set. No,. 3 Anna Salem defeated Jazmin Smith 6-1, 6-1, and Camille Gunzburg fell to Ally White 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4.
MAU completed the sweep with a pair of wins in doubles play. MAU’s No. 1 duo of Thea Pappas-Cameryn Bentley downed Tre Harrison and Kimberly Bau 6-2, 6-2, while the No. 2 team of Caitlin Banks-Trinity Galipeau beat Hannah Blake and Colette Anton 6-4, 6-0.
• Bellows Falls beat Otter Valley, 6-1, for their first victory of the season. The Terriers swept all five singles matches. Reaghan Lapinski won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1, while No. 2 Sarah Scarlett took her match, 6-1, 6-0. Ellie Guyon won at No. 3, 6-3, 6-0, Hannah Harlow took the No. 4 match, 6-0, 6-1, and Mikahla Sudarsky won by forfeit at No. 5. Freshmen Emily Wunderle and Bradie Harris were winners at No. 2 doubles, 6-3, 6-4.
• Brattleboro beat Mount Anthony, 6-1, on May 3 at the BUHS courts, but the match was much closer than the final score. Coach Charlie LaRosa said that three of the matches were determined by 10-point tiebreakers.
Zeb Hathaway, in his first singles match of the year for the Colonels, was nipped by MAU’s Thomas Ngo after losing the first set in a six-point tiebreaker that went to 9-7. Martin Sipowicz and Alex Shuey won easily at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.
At No. 3 for the first time, Tom Szpila won his first set then dropped his second set in a tiebreaker and was forced to 10-7 by MAU’s Luke Williams in the match tiebreaker. No. 4 Jack Spanierman quickly won his first set over MAU’s Griffin Mattison, but Mattison came right back to drop Spanierman by the same 6-2 score. Spanierman pulled out the win in the tiebreaker at 10-7.
In the No. 1 doubles match, Cole Merkel and Spencer Butter, with some great execution of net play and timely lobs, defeated MAU’s Brendan Hay and Peter Drew 6-3, 6-1. It was co-captain Butter’s first match after completing a long rehabilitation from a difficult knee surgery. Forest Zabriskie and Rowan Kidder debuted at No. 2 doubles, and fought back after dropping their second set to Aaron Hulett and Jeson Li to take their match in the final tiebreaker at 10-7.
“We had a lot of guys on the court for the first time this season,” said LaRosa in an email to The Commons, “and it was rewarding to see that they were prepared mentally and physically to hold up through some very intense matches. ”
• Brattleboro showed some moxie by coming back from a four-goal deficit to defeat Keene, N.H., 9-8, in overtime, under the lights at Natowich Field on May 4.
The Colonels looked done after Keene’s Callie O’Neil scored four consecutive goals to put the Blackbirds up, 8-4, with 10:50 remaining in the game.
But Brattleboro forced overtime with four goals in the final 5:18 of regulation. Susanna Strothman and Megyn Ayotte cut Keene’s lead to 8-6. Axis Balsley-Petraska then scored off of an Olivia Stent steal, and Alexandra Livanis capped the comeback by scoring the equalizer with 1.4 seconds remaining.
With Keene on its heels, the Colonels didn’t take long to get the win. Midway through the first overtime, a steal by Brattleboro’s Breanna Sheehan started a possession that finished with Kira McCloskey scoring the game-winner with 1:21 remaining.
Mallers win fifth straight state AAU title
• The Brattleboro Mallers, an 11th-grade boys basketball team, recently won the Vermont State Zero Gravity Championship in St. Johnsbury for the fifth straight year.
Brattleboro took the first game, 62-46, over the Barre Swish. Most of the Mallers’ points came in the second half. Ian Fulton-Black led the way with 13 second-half points to finish with a game-high 19. Tucker Llewelyn and Tyler Martin chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Colchester Lakers needed two overtimes to beat the Mallers in Game 2. Fulton-Black had four three-pointers as the Mallers led 32-29 at the half. Brattleboro would extend the lead to 8 but the Lakers rallied to tie the game at 61-61 to force OT.
At the end of the first overtime, with the game tied at 65 Brattleboro’s Tony Martinez’s shot from the corner at the buzzer rattled all around, half way down and then popped out. In the second overtime, with the locals down by 3 with 4 seconds left, a Martin three-pointer hit nothing but net. However, a last second foul and two free throws gave Colchester the win. Llewelyn and Jake Blaisdell each had 19.
The Mallers bounced back in Game 3 with a 71-42 win over the Enosburg Elite. Fulton-Black dropped in seven three-pointers for a season high of 27 points. Martin added 19.
This set up a rematch with the Lakers in the championship game, and the Mallers prevailed, 71-42. Calvin Lafland returned from a foot injury and scored four points in the first half to help the Mallers stretch out a 26-13 lead. The second half saw more of the same as Troy Felisko and Martinez played great defense. Blaisdell was high scorer with 14. The team is completed with Brendan Emond and Dylan Grover.
The champs have a couple more events before travelling to Montreal for a Memorial Day weekend tournament hosted by the Elite Basketball Association of Canada. Coach Dave Arakelian says if you would like to help with the costs associated with such a trip, contributions can be sent to the Brattleboro Mallers, in care of Vermont State Employees Credit Union, 499 Canal St., Suite 12, Brattleboro, VT 05301.
Raptors win Spartans Tournament
• The Green Mountain Raptors seventh-grade AAU basketball team walked away with the winning trophy at the Vermont-New York Spartan Invitational, held in Rutland and surrounding towns on April 30 and May 1.
The Raptors kicked off play with a convincing 45-40 win over the host Spartans. Gabe Packard led the Raptors with 10 rebounds and 8 points. The Raptors then defeated the Hartford Wolfpack, 42-26, as Greg Fitzgerald poured in three consecutive three-pointers.
A 43-38 win over the 802 Raptors gave the Green Mountain Raptors a trip to the championship game. Solid team defense and outstanding play by center Spencer Lawrence, who grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 10 points, was the key to the victory.
The tourney championship game pitted the Raptors against the Rutland Bandits. The Raptors had lost two games to the Bandits in tournaments earlier in the season. The first half of the game was an intense defensive battle that had Rutland clinging to a 17-16 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Raptors broke the game open at about the 10 minute mark when Fitzgerald quickly scored three three-pointers. Trinley Warren added another three to help the Raptors take a 37-35 lead with 1:17 remaining.
The Bandits tied it up 37-37 with 54 seconds to go. The Raptors took back the lead at the 33 second mark when Fitzgerald drove the lane for a quick bucket, and then. with 16 seconds remaining, Alex Lier pulled down a rebound and hit a cutting Fitzgerald with a pass for an easy layup to seal the win.
Local paddleboard racer earns fourth place at Carolina Cup
• Jonathan Bischof, a coach, athlete, and SUP (stand up paddleboard) race competitor from Jamaica, earned fourth place in the mens’ over-50 class at the prestigious Carolina Sup Cup in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. on April 23. He races in the technical class on a 12 foot, 6 inch race board and enjoys the work that is required to use this size.
For the first race of the season Bischof says he was pleased with his results and is looking forward to improving and switching to his new narrower race board.
Bischof says this is the biggest SUP race in the United States and attracted more than 1,000 competitors. He is available to answer questions or to speak to groups about stand up paddle boarding and training. Contact him at 802-258-0282 or info@VermontSkiandSport.com.
Rec. Dept. hosts Summer Registration Extravaganza
• The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department hosts its annual Summer Program Registration Extravaganza on Wednesday, May 18, and Thursday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Conference Room at the Gibson-Aiken Center, 207 Main St.
On those two days, youths can register for any of the Rec. Dept.’s summer programs: Summer Day Camp, Little Peoples Camp, “Hoop It Up” Basketball Camp, Baseball Camp, Gymnastics Camp, Track & Field, Tennis Lessons, Golf Lessons, Mountain Biking, Challenger Soccer Camp, US Sports Camp, Discounted Pool Passes, Lacrosse Camp, Mad Science Camp, and more.
Look for the 2016 Summer Brochure, which can be found at the Brattleboro elementary schools, the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Gibson-Aiken Center. Also check out the Rec. Dept. page at www.brattleboro.org and Facebook, or call 802-254-5808.