With all the weather postponements this spring, the Brattleboro Colonels baseball team is scrambling to make up games and build some momentum heading into the second half of the season.
But as the late, great Orioles manager Earl Weaver used to say, momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher. In other words, string some good pitching performances together, and you’ll have a winning streak.
For the Colonels, momentum is named Leif Bigelow and Sam Ognenoff. They are the Colonels’ top two pitchers and the key to Brattleboro being in contention in Division I.
Bigelow struck out 13 and walked only one batter in throwing a three-hit shutout in a 12-0 rout of Springfield on May 9 at Tenney Field. After taking a 1-0 lead after one inning, the Colonels added three runs in the second and five more in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Bigelow and Stephen Kerylow each finished with two hits and three runs batted in to lead the Colonels. Chayse Cunniff, Dan Petrie, Chris Hall and Matt Dulmain all had one hit, and Tanner Bell drew three walks.
That was one of the rare games for the Colonels where they scored a lot of runs. “We’re not an offensive juggernaut,” said coach Chris Groeger. “If we can score a few runs and play some solid defense, we can beat anybody. If we don’t give teams extra outs, we have a chance.”
Ognenoff made sure of that in his start against Otter Valley on May 12 at Tenney Field. He struck out 12 and walked no one in a quick and tidy 6-0 win for the Colonels.
It was the Otters inability to play defense in the first inning that killed their chances. Two errors, plus a wild pitch and a hit batsman by losing pitcher Derek Aines gave the Colonels a 4-0 lead. Brattleboro got two more runs in the fourth on a two-run double to right by Dan Petrie.
Otter Valley got five hits off Ognenoff, but their batters spent most of the game flailing away at his unhittable curve ball. “It definitely was working today,” said Ognenoff.
The Colonels improved to 6-2 on the season with the victory.
The other area teams had a lot of games to cram into last week’s small window of good weather.
• A late grand slam gave Proctor a 9-8 win over Twin Valley on May 9 at Baker Field. It was a sloppy game as Proctor walked 11 batters, while the Wildcats committed eight errors. Twin Valley still had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh, but fell a run short.
The Wildcats rallied for a couple of runs in the bottom of the seventh. A Chris Robinson ground out brought in Kyle Murdock, before an RBI walk by Justin Hicks scored Travis Betit. James McGovern was the starting pitcher for Twin Valley and Ethan Fox took the loss.
On May 11, the Wildcats traveled to Woodstock and won, 11-4, to even their season record at 5-5. Joey Rafus was the winning pitcher, holding the Wasps to four hits over five innings.
• Freshman Casper Rowe struck out four, walked two, and scattered four hits in a complete game victory as Leland & Gray upset previously unbeaten Poultney, 4-1, on May 9. The Rebels scored twice in the first and got two more runs in the sixth. Nick Morrow went 2 for 3 and drove in two runs, while Jeremy Bovat, Owen Beattie and Rowe all had base hits.
The Rebels then crushed Green Mountain, 16-1, in Chester on May 11.
Leland & Gray had a home game with Twin Valley on May 13, but it was stopped by rain in the bottom of the second inning with the score knotted at 1-1. The Rebels are 6-2 and near the top of the Division III standings.
• A bases-loaded suicide-squeeze bunt by Jacob Lober with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning scored the winning run as Bellows Falls edged Otter Valley, 3-2, at Hadley Field on May 11.
After an Alex Groenewold double led off in the eighth, and two errors by Otter Valley, Lober dropped down a perfect bunt to execute the suicide squeeze, scoring Zac Streeter from third to give BF the win and improve their record to 5-5.
The Terriers were held to just two hits, but used great pitching and defense to keep the game close and force extra innings. Brady Illingworth struck out seven and walked one over the first four innings. Streeter struck out six in four innings of relief to pick up the victory.
• Jamie Mahoney, Devin Millerick, Hannah Wilson, Emmalee Waite, and Lauren McKenney all had two hits each as Brattleboro beat Drury, 9-1, in a May 9 road game.
Bridget Duff, Jocelyn Aither, Mariah Powers, and Nicolette Rivas each had one hit. Powers tripled, while Waite, Wilson and McKenney all had a double. Wilson was the winning pitcher, throwing a four-hitter with four strikeouts and three walks.
On May 11 in Keene, N.H., the Colonels came up short, 5-4. Millerick had three hits to lead Brattleboro, which ended the week at 8-3.
• West Rutland’s Lauren Harvey struck out nine and gave up only one hit as the Golden Horde trampled Twin Valley, 18-3, on May 11.
The Horde got 14 hits off losing pitcher Jarrett Niles, including a pair of triples and a home run from Kelsey Wedin. Brooke Raiche and Abby Kukene also had three hits apiece, while Katie Callahan had two.
• Leland & Gray played three games in three days that were a roller-coaster of an experience. The Rebels racked up 10 hits, including a home run from Jessie Stockwell, but still fell short in an 8-6 loss to Poultney on May 9.
Stockwell and Jordan Gouger had two hits each, Rachel Borgesen added with a two-run triple, and Mackenzie Boyle, Gabby Donna, and Jessica Madore all doubled. Rebels pitcher Keltsey Rushton struck out seven and walked only one batter, but Leland & Gray gave up four unearned runs in the sixth to give Poultney the lead for good.
Leland & Gray got its groove back the following day with a 19-4 win over Arlington. The Rebels had 21 hits, with every player in the starting lineup getting at least one. Boyle, Donna, Olivia Brown, and Sarah Anderson each had three hits, while Borgensen, Gouger, and Caroline Tietz each had two hits.
Brown was the winning pitcher. She struck out seven and walked two in holding the Eagles to just two hits before the game was stopped due to the mercy rule in the sixth inning. Arlington briefly led in this game, before a two-run homer by Donna in the fourth inning gave the Rebels the lead to stay.
On May 11, the Rebels got shut out, 6-0, by Otter Valley. Rushton struck out eight and held the Otters to eight hits, but the Rebels offense was shut down completely.
What would have been the Rebels’ fourth game in five days, against Twin Valley in Townshend, got rained out in the first inning after Leland & Gray took a 6-0 lead. The Rebels ended the week at 5-3, while Twin Valley remains winless at 0-8.
• Bellows Falls looked like they’d get back into the win column when they staged a big seventh inning rally against Hartford on May 9, but the Terriers ultimately fell short, 8-7.
Murphy Hicks was the losing pitcher, but she had a good game at the plate with three hits. Madison Streeter, Paxton Santorelli, Emily Stoddard and Abbe Cravinho all had base hits.
BF got the win they were looking for when they clobbered Windsor, 23-8, in a five-inning mercy rule-shortened game on May 11. The Terriers scored 14 runs in the fourth inning to clinch it. Stoddard, Hicks, and Brooke James all finished with three hits for the Terriers. Aly Bashaw drove in five runs and Macie Streeter crossed the plate four times.
• Claudia Craviotto Roca, Jazmin Smith, Kimberly Bau, and Kelsea McAuliffe all won a singles match to help Brattleboro to a 6-1 victory over Bellows Falls at the BUHS courts on May 9.
BF extended two of the singles matches to tiebreakers, but a sweep in the doubles by the duos of Colette Anton and Hannah Blake and Annie Takacs and Rose Dumaine gave the 4-6 Colonels the win they needed to make the Division I playoffs.
Hannah Harlow won at No. 4 singles for BF’s lone victory.
• Oliver Goodman, Martin Sipowicz, Gideon May, Alex Shuey, and Tom Szpila all delivered singles victories as Brattleboro routed Woodstock, 7-0, on May 10 at the BUHS courts.. The doubles teams of Zeb Hathaway and Jacob Bailey and Josh Nordheim and Forest Zabriskie also added wins for the 9-2 Colonels.
“Before the match, we all talked about playing point by point and maintaining focus and concentration regardless of the score. We’ve been working on that and I think it has paid off. The guys have been able to battle back from difficult situations and, more importantly, have been able to control the court and keep themselves out of trouble,” said BUHS coach Charlie La Rosa in an email to The Commons.
Unified basketball finishes first season
• The inaugural season of Unified Basketball ended on May 10 with Champlain Valley defeating Rutland, 51-35, in the state championship at UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium.
This was the first year that Vermont Special Olympics and the Vermont Principals Association teamed up to extend the opportunity to play high school basketball to youths who might never have played. Twelve schools, including Brattleboro, gave it a try this spring, and were pleased with the results.
Todd Bell, head coach of the Brattleboro team, offered these thoughts on the season just past to The Commons:
“After our 34-30 loss to Rutland in the quarterfinals, I took some time reflecting on our season together,” he wrote. “Gosh, I am so very proud of our athletes. They never missed a practice, worked hard, and were committed to each other for the entire season. The excitement on game days was palpable.
“We traveled quite a bit, with only one of our six games at home, but they really enjoyed the time spent together on the bus and out for dinner. I loved coaching this group of student athletes and I am looking forward to having them all back again next year.
“Now that we have laid the foundation and have our first year under our belts, I am very optimistic about the future of Unified Basketball at BUHS for years to come.”
BOC hosts consignment sale/swap
• The Brattleboro Outing Club’s annual Spring Consignment Sale/Swap will be held Saturday, May 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the former “Mr. G’s” store on 127 Marlboro Rd, West Brattleboro, next to Discount Beverage.
Boats may be dropped off on Friday, May 20, from noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday drop-off is between 8 and 11:30 a.m. Please bring trailered boats on Saturday.
The swap will be from 11:30 a.m. to noon, with the sale starting at noon. This consignment event is for canoes, kayaks, SUPs, rowing shells, rowboats, small sailboats and accessories. No motors or motorboats allowed.
Boat owners set their own selling price, with the BOC retaining 10 percent of the selling price. Boat swaps are encouraged (each owner donates $25 to BOC), and donations of unwanted boats and gear will be accepted. All boats are sold “as is,” except where manufacturer’s warranties are still valid.
Unsold boats must be picked up immediately after the sale/swap, until 3 p.m., or by prior arrangement. For more information, or to arrange a drop-off at a more convenient time, contact Larry at 802-254-3666 or Lmacyak@gmail.com.
Discounted pool passes now available
• It’s not too early to be thinking about summer, so mark this date on your calendar. On Saturday, June 18, the Living Memorial Park swimming pool will open for the season at 1 p.m.
Season passes are now on sale at the Gibson-Aiken Center. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Anyone purchasing a pass between now and Thursday, June 16, will receive a 10 percent discount. After June 16, passes will be available at the swimming pool.
The regular rates for Brattleboro residents are $25 students, $35 adults, $65 family, and $10 toddlers. The regular rates for non-residents are $40 students, $50 adults, $90 family, and $20 toddlers. For more information, call the Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Office at 802-254-5808.