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Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons

Brattleboro catcher Jamie Mahoney takes the throw while Rutland baserunner (18) slides safely into home to complete a successful squeeze bunt in the third inning of their May 19 softball game at Sawyer Field. Thunderstorms stopped the game in the bottom half of the third inning with Rutland leading, 2-0.


Spring sports season heads into final days before postseason

It seems like the spring high school sports season barely started. But this week is the final week of the regular season for baseball and softball, the boys’ and girls’ tennis playoffs began this week, and the state track & field meets are next weekend.

But this has been a spring with way too many cold and rainy days and not enough sunny days. So, the last eight weeks have alternated between days of rainouts, and teams being forced to play four or five games in the span of a week to make up for all the postponements and suspensions.


• The Brattleboro Colonels epitomized what kind of spring it has been with its softball game against Rutland on May 19 at Sawyer Field. At game time, it was sunny and 70 and a perfect day for softball. An hour later, a thunderstorm swept through with sheets of heavy rain, bringing their game to a halt.

Rutland was in front, 2-0, heading into the Brattleboro half of the third inning when the first rumble of thunder prompted umpires to clear the field. The rain followed about 15 minutes later. Rutland’s Sara Clark singled and scored in the first and second innings. Carolyn Laird and Molly Pfenning each drove in a run.

Brattleboro was held hitless by Rutland pitcher Lauren Snitker, while Colonels pitcher Hannah Wilson gave up four hits to go with her four strikeouts; she walked no one.

The Colonels were coming off a 10-4 loss to Mount Anthony in Bennington on Tuesday. Once again, the Colonel bats were shut down by MAU pitcher Taylor DiCranian. She struck out two and walked no one in pitching a complete game five-hitter to give the Patriots a sweep of the season series.

On May 13, Brattleboro edged Drury, 4-3. Jocelyn Aither brought home Olivia Weeks with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning for what turned out to be the winning run. Wilson scattered six hits, walking two and striking out two, to get the win.

With the suspension of the Rutland game, the Colonels’ record stood at 9-4, which leaves them ranked the seventh in Division I. The Rutland game will be made up on May 28 at Sawyer Field, the day after the two teams clash in Rutland.

The final scheduled regular season home game — Senior Night — for the Colonels is against Bellows Falls on May 24.

• Leland & Gray came out on top in a 25-11 slugfest against Twin Valley in Whitingham on May 18.

Rebels catcher Jesse Stockwell was the star of the game, going 3-for-4 at the plate and throwing out a pair of Twin Valley baserunners. Rachel Borgesen and Caroline Tietz both also had three hits and drove in three runs. Jordan Gouger drove in four runs with two hits.

Twin Valley committed eight errors, which put them in a 15-4 hole until the sixth inning, when the Wildcats scored five runs, led by Jordyn Bolognani’s three-run double. The Rebels then responded in the seventh with a 10-run inning.

Wildcat pitcher Jarret Niles gave up a total of 19 hits and 10 walks in going the distance in the loss. Olivia Brown started for the Rebels, and struck out four, walked four and gave nine hits over six innings. Keltsey Rushton pitched the final inning in relief.

It was the third straight win for the 8-2 Rebels, who beat up on Burr & Burton (21-3 on May 14) and Windsor (18-2 on May 16) in a pair of games shortened by the 15-run mercy rule. Gabby Donna homered, Stockwell scored four runs, and Erin Cutts had three RBIs as the Rebels lit up Burt & Burton for 15 hits.

Against Windsor, Tietz scored four runs, Sarah Anderson homered and drove in three runs, and Gouger had three hits and scored three runs.

The Rebels beat Black River, 9-1, on May 19 to improve their record to 10-3, which makes them the third-ranked team in Division III.

• Twin Valley lost to Green Mountain on May 20 to fall to 1-11 on the season.

• Bellows Falls fell behind early and never recovered as Hartford went on to win, 14-8, on May 16 in Westminster.

BF came close in the third inning, scoring six runs to close the gap to 8-7, but Hartford then scored six unearned runs to finish off the Terriers. Losing pitcher Murphy Hicks led the BF offense with three hits and Lila Guerrina belted a three-run triple. BF ended the week at 3-9.


• Brattleboro took a home-and-home series with Mount Anthony, beating them, 10-1, in Brattleboro on May 16, and eking out a 5-2 win in Bennington on May 17.

At Tenney Field, the Colonels got 10 hits and scored early and often to support winning pitcher Ben Betz, who scattered six hits, walked six, and took a shutout into the seventh inning. MAU stranded 11 baserunners in all.

Stephen Kerylow opened the scoring with a two-run single in the first inning. Dan Petrie went 3-for-4 with a double, while Conor Hiner and pinch-hitter Tommy Carroll each had RBI-singles.

In the May 17 game, the Colonels jumped out to a 4-0 lead on the Patriots as Petrie, Leif Bigelow, and Chris Hall strung together some base hits in the early going.

A May 19 game against Rutland at Tenney Field was suspended due to a thunderstorm with Rutland in front, 2-0, in the third inning. That game will presumably be made up later this week.

The Colonels then closed out another busy week with a 7-5 win over Hartford last Saturday. It was the fourth straight win for the 10-3 Colonels, who got a five-hitter from Bigelow in a tight 2-1 win over Hartford on May 14. Despite that record, they are still on the bubble for hosting a home playoff game in Division I.

• Leland & Gray is rolling along, with seven straight wins. They ended the week at 9-2 and are atop the Division III standings.

After a pair of home wins against Long Trail (8-3 on May 16) and West Rutland (7-1 on May 17), the Rebels traveled to Poultney on May 19 and pulled out a 4-3 win.

• Despite a 6-7 record, Bellows Falls is ranked sixth in Division II, a reflection of the parity in that division this season. BF lost to Mill River, 3-1, at Hadley Field on May 16, and bounced back the next day with a 9-4 win at Windsor.

The difference between two games was Zac Streeter. Against Windsor, Streeter went five innings, scattering five hits and walking two batters. He had eight strikeouts, and got plenty of run support from his teammates. The Terriers had 11 hits and scored five runs in the fourth inning.

• Twin Valley has lost four of its last five games, and all four of those losses were by one run.

The Wildcats dropped a 4-3 decision to Mount Everett in Sheffield, Mass., on May 17. Chris Robinson, James McGovern, Joey Rafus, and Kyle Murdock shared the pitching chores.

Then, on May 20, Twin Valley lost another close one, this time, 3-2 to Green Mountain. The Wildcats ended the week at 5-7.

Boys’ tennis

• Brattleboro started the week with a 5-2 loss to Burr & Burton in Manchester on May 17. The only Colonels winners came at No. 5 singles, where Tom Szpila beat Uri Vail, 6-4, 6-4, and at No. 1 doubles, where Josh Nordheim and Zeb Hathaway rallied to win 4-6, 6-3 (10-8).

The next day, at Hartford, the Colonels pulled out a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes. The doubles teams were the heroes, as both rallied from losses in their first set to win their matches on 10-point tiebreakers. The No. 1 team of Rowan Kidder and Forest Zabriskie pulled out a 3-6, 6-4 (10-5) win, while No. 2 Logan Affnito and Casey O’Brien came back to win 2-6, 6-1 (10-4).

The Colonels finished the regular season at 11-3.

• Bellows Falls ended the regular season on May 17 with a 5-2 win over Fair Haven at the Hadley Field courts.

The Terriers swept the singles matches as Simon Bupp-Chickering, Franco Marengo, Quinn Lambert, Poe Terena, and Cooper Stafford were all victors. BF finished the season with a 2-10-1 record.

Track and field

• The Brattleboro boys and girls placed first and second respectively in an eight-school meet on May 17 on the Freeman Track.

Jasper Reed won the 100, 200, long jump, and triple jump to lead the Colonel boys. Isiah Gilbeau (shotput and javelin), John Lonardo (discus), Orion Stone (110 hurdles), Jonah Goldenbird (pole vault), and the 4 x 100 relay team of Tyler Clement, Liam Reynolds, Goldenbird, and Stone also won their respective events.

The BUHS girls won two events, as Kira Boucher took the triple jump and Kai Boyd won the javelin. Sarah Gallagher was second in the 1500 and third in the 800.

Skyler Boyd won the 300 hurdles and took second in the high jump to lead the Twin Valley boys. Caitlin Hunt was seventh in the triple jump for the Wildcat girls.

Brattleboro finished with 331 points to win the boys’ meet, followed by Monadnock 95, Mount Anthony 56.5, Twin Valley 36, Rutland 33.5, Proctor 30, Burr & Burton 26, and Mill River 2.

Monadnock narrowly beat Brattleboro, 219 to 204.99, to win the girls’ meet. Burr & Burton was third with 69, followed by Mount Anthony 42, Mill River 41, Rutland 38, and Twin Valley 2.

Tour de Heifer’s challenging rides attract cyclists from a wide area

• Cyclists from at least 13 states will participate in the Tour de Heifer, the cycling event on Strolling of the Heifers Weekend, taking place on Sunday, June 5.

Organized as a fundraiser for the Stroll, the Tour features 15-, 30- and 60-mile rides that all begin and end at Lilac Ridge Farm in West Brattleboro.

“The 15-miler includes some pavement and not too much in the way of hills,” Tour organizer Hanna Thurber said in a news release. “We call that the Country Ride, and it can be done by riders without too much experience who are in good shape.”

But the 30-miler and the 60-miler are nearly all on dirt roads and involve lots of hills: a total of 3,300 vertical feet for the 30-miler, and nearly 7,000 feet for the 60-miler.

“That’s why it’s been called Vermont’s most challenging dirt road cycling rides,” Thurber said. “And we have lots of riders who like a challenge!”

So far, the Tour has signed up riders from all over New England, plus New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois and New Mexico.

All of the rides include a great, farm-fresh lunch served at Lilac Ridge Farm. For the 60-milers, there are snacks midway at the Green River bridge.

For families and people who would rather just walk, the Tour also offers a three-mile guided hike to the top of nearby Round Mountain.

Riders and hikers may register for the Tour at www.bikereg.com/tourdeheifer. Rates, lunch included, are $20 for the hike, $35 for the Country Ride, and $60 for 30 and 60-mile options. Children 16 and under riding on any route, $15. Higher rates will be in effect on the day of the event.

For information, contact Thurber at hannathurber@yahoo.com or 802-380-0502.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #358 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016). This story appeared on page D4.

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