The standard formula for winning a baseball game is good pitching, plus good defense, plus timely hitting equals victory. Bellows Falls had all of those things on May 23, when the Terriers beat Windsor, 6-3, at Hadley Field.
Jake Lober provided the timely hitting by going 3-for-3 and driving in four runs. Starting pitcher Zac Streeter did the rest with a complete-game four hitter, striking out 10 batters and walking one, and helping his own cause with a diving catch that started a double play that snuffed out a Windsor rally.
BF had a 5-1 lead heading into the fourth inning, but Windsor picked up two runs on an RBI single by Ryland Richardson and a throwing error. With one out, and a baserunner at third, Robert Slocum popped up the ball in front of the pitcher’s mound on a bunt attempt. Streeter dove and made the catch as Richardson was running for home. All Streeter had to do was throw to third to double up Richardson and end the inning.
“That was a nice play by Streeter,” said BF coach Bob Lockerby. “That was a nice diving catch turned into a double play. If that squeeze [bunt] works, it’s a one-run ball game, so if that squeeze had gone right, it does change things.”
The play also energized Streeter, who retired the final 10 Windsor batters he faced.
Unlike much of the season, BF generated plenty of offense in this game. Streeter and Brady Illingworth had two hits each and Reid Coursen drove in a pair of runs.
“I’m just happy we’re starting to swing the bats,” said Lockerby. “Even the outs. We hit some nice, hard balls today and that’s a sign of good things. If you’re striking out and hitting weak ground balls, that’s frustrating. When you’re hitting the ball hard, don’t worry about a thing. Just keep hitting it hard. It means you’re seeing [the ball] well and you’re taking good cuts at good pitches.”
The win improved BF’s record at 8-7, and put them in position to claim the Marble Valley League’s B Division title with a win over Fair Haven last Saturday night at Hadley Field in the regular season finale. The Slaters spoiled that scenario with an 8-4 win.
The 8-8 Terriers finished as the No. 6 seed in Division II, and were scheduled to host their local rival, the Springfield Cosmos (6-10) in the first round on May 31. BF split the season series with the No. 11 Cosmos, defeating Springfield 4-0 on May 3, but losing the second meeting 14-8 on May 14.
• Sam Ognenoff threw another masterpiece for Brattleboro on May 23 against Burr & Burton. He struck out 10 and walked just one batter in a complete-game four-hitter as the Colonels shut down Burr & Burton, 6-1, at Tenney Field.
A couple of errors, base hits from Dan Petrie and Chayse Cunniff, and an RBI walk by Tanner Bell staked Ognenoff to a 2-0 lead after three innings. Another unearned run made it 3-0 in the fourth, but the Bulldogs picked up a run in the sixth — the only inning that Ognenoff wasn’t razor sharp with his pitches.
His teammates picked him up with a three-run sixth inning, highlighted by a squeeze bunt by Cunniff that brought home two runs. Ognenoff finished with a flourish by striking out the side in the seventh.
It was the sixth straight win for the Colonels, who then closed out their regular season with a pair of narrow victories over Rutland. On May 27, the Colonels scored three times in the eighth inning to rally for a 7-4 road victory. The next day at Tenney Field, the teams completed a suspended game and Brattleboro again came out on top, 4-3.
At 13-3, Brattleboro earned the No. 6 seed in Division I and were scheduled to host No. 11 Hartford (9-7) in a first-round game on May 31.
• Leland & Gray clinched the Marble Valley League C Division title on May 25 when they rallied to beat Woodstock, 11-8. The Rebels trailed, 5-4, heading into the fifth inning before they scored seven runs to seize control.
Max Cramp was the winning pitcher. He teamed up with reliever Owen Beattie to strike out nine batters. Beattie went 3-for-4 at the plate while Cramp, Joel Emmons, and Jeremy Bovat added one hit apiece.
On May 26, Leland & Gray finished a suspended game at home against Twin Valley, winning 5-2 to clinch the top seed in the Division III playoffs, as winning pitcher Casper Rowe struck out five and walked two.
The next day, the Rebels beat Green Mountain, 1-0, for their 11th straight win. Leland & Gray was scheduled to host No. 16 Montpelier (3-13) in a first-round game on May 31.
• Twin Valley finished the regular season with a 7-9 record. They split a home-and-home series with Poultney, winning 8-7 at home on May 23 and losing 8-5 on the road on May 25. The Wildcats then won their final regular season game, 15-2, over Long Trail at Baker Field on May 28.
The Wildcats were seeded 10th in Division III and were scheduled to travel to Williamstown on May 31 for a first-round game.
• Brattleboro had their Senior Night on May 24 at Sawyer Field, and shut out Bellows Falls, 12-0.
The stars of the show were the battery of catcher Jamie Mahoney and pitcher Hannah Wilson. On offense, Wilson smacked a three-run homer in the first inning, while Mahoney hit a two-run triple in the fourth. Inside the circle, Wilson pitched a dominating game, with 10 strikeouts and no walks, in holding the Terriers to five hits.
BF tried to cross up the Colonel hitters by swapping out their usual starting pitcher, hard-throwing Murphy Hicks, for a soft-tossing freshman, Madison Streeter. It didn’t work. Brattleboro was patient at the plate, and drew 12 walks to go with their eight hits.
The Colonels finished the regular season with a pair of wins over Rutland. They shut out the Raiders, 4-0, on May 27 in Rutland, and rolled to a 9-3 win on May 28 at Sawyer Field in the completion of a suspended game.
At 12-4, Brattleboro earned the No. 6 seed in Division I. They were scheduled to host No. 11 South Burlington (5-11) in a first-round game on May 31.
• Leland & Gray is equally hot heading into the playoffs. On May 23, Mackenzie Boyle hit a grand slam as the Rebels steamrollered Mill River, 15-0, in a five-inning game. Caroline Tietz had four hits and scored three runs, while Erin Cutts had three hits and two RBIs and Rachel Borgesen got two hits and scored three runs.
Winning pitcher Keltsey Rushton struck out 10 and walked two batters in holding Mill River to just two hits over five innings.
The Rebels finished up a suspended game with Twin Valley, running away with a 19-0 win on May 26 in Townshend. Rushton had another short afternoon, holding the Wildcats to a single hit over five innings as she struck out 11 and walked two.
Leland & Gray finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, good for the fourth seed in Division III. The Rebels were scheduled to host No. 13 Twin Valley for a first-round game on May 31.
• Earlier in the week, Twin Valley was pulverized by Poultney in a 33-1 loss at home on May 23. They made it a little more respectable in the return match against the Blue Devils in Poultney, losing 8-5. The Wildcats finished with a 1-15 record.
• Bellows Falls finished the regular season on the road with an 11-6 win over Windsor on May 26 and a 9-0 loss to Fair Haven on May 28. At 4-12, the Terriers were seeded 15th in Division II and were scheduled to travel to face No. 2 Lyndon (13-2) in a first-round game on May 31.
• For the first time since 2008, the Brattleboro boys’ lacrosse team will be sitting out the Division I playoffs. The Colonels failed to get enough wins to qualify for the postseason under the BUHS 25 percent minimum winning percentage standard. They needed two wins in their final four games and didn’t make it.
Brattleboro waited out a 90-minute thunderstorm delay on May 19 before falling to Mount Anthony, 13-6, at Natowich Field. Two nights later, East Longmeadow, Mass., scored five goals in the last five minutes to beat Brattleboro, 11-8.
Rutland then dashed the Colonels’ playoff hopes and spoiled Senior Night with a 17-7 win on May 24 at Natowich Field. Senior Evan Perkins scored three goals in his final home game. Other seniors playing in their final game on Natowich Field were Aleks Harrison, Greg Wood, and Tyler McKenney.
The regular season ended with an 8-6 loss to Mount Anthony on May 27 in Bennington. Perkins scored three goals and Jack Gagnon added two more as the Colonels finished with a 2-14 record.
• The Brattleboro girls finished up their regular season with a pair of losses — a 12-5 defeat at Mount Anthony in Bennington on May 23 and a 7-5 loss to Woodstock at Natowich Field on May 27.
Unlike the boys, however, they will have at least one more game this season. At 6-10, the Colonels are the No. 11 seed in Division I and will travel to Manchester on June 1 to face sixth-seeded Burr & Burton (9-6).
• It was one-and-done for the Brattleboro boys’ tennis team, as sixth-seeded Essex rolled to a 6-1 win in the opening round of the Division I playoffs on May 25 at the BUHS courts.
Martin Sipowicz defeated Noah Laporte of Essex 2-6, 7-6, 10-4 at No. 2 singles for Brattleboro’s only win. In the other singles matches, No. 2 Preston Gordon defeated Oliver Goodman 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 Andy Shen beat Gideon May 6-2, 6-4; No. 4. Derek Pham downed Alex Shuey 6-4, 6-1; and No. 5 Jake Wagner beat Tom Szpila 6-2, 7-5.
Brattleboro was swept in doubles play as the Essex duo of Carl Fung and David Wrenner defeated Josh Nordheim and Zeb Hathaway 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1 and Brendan Brooks and Dominic Mincideo beat Cole Merkle and Jack Spanierman 6-3, 6-0 at No. 2.
“I was very happy with our performance despite the loss,” wrote BUHS coach Charlie LaRosa in an email to The Commons. “Everyone faced their toughest opponents of the year and rose to the occasion to play their best tennis.
“Although it proved not to be enough, we have come a long, long way since last year and we are still a young team. The majority of our players are still sophomores and freshmen and we have every reason to anticipate more success in the coming seasons.”
The Colonels finished the season with a 10-4 record.
• The Brattleboro girls also got a quick exit from the Division I playoffs courtesy of Essex. The 11th-seeded Colonels were swept, 7-0, on May 26, losing all their matches in straight sets.
In singles play, No, 1 Jordan Walsh skunked Claudia Craviotto Roca 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Anna Ursiny defeated Jazmin Smith 6-2, 6-4; No. 3 Zoe Filan beat Kimberly Ball 6-2, 6-1; No. 4 Rylee Wrenner knocked off Annie Takals 6-1, 6-2; and No. 5 Lauren Riley defeated Camille Guazburg 6-1, 6-1.
In doubles action, No. 1 Vika Simons and Sam Kershner beat Hannah Blake and Kelsea McCauliffe 6-0, 6-3, while No. 2 Gita Krishna and Emily Friedman beat Tre Harrison and Christol Lang 6-1, 6-0.
• The No. 9 Bellows Falls girls fell to No. 8 Otter Valley, 4-3, in a Division I first round match on May 25 in Brandon.
Picking up singles wins for the Terriers were Reaghan Lapinski and Sarah Scarlett. The Bellows Falls doubles team of Nora Bright and Sophie Guerrina were also winners.
The Terriers, who split with the Otters during the regular season, ended up with a 1-11 record.
Sign-up for baseball camp
• The Brattleboro Area Baseball Camp has set its schedule for the 2016 season. The eight-day camp for ages 9-12 will start on June 22. It will run June 22-24 and June 27-July 1 from 9 a.m. until noon each day.
The camp is directed by Alan Libardoni on Tenney Field at Brattleboro Union High School. It is held in cooperation with the Brattleboro Recreation Department. If you have any questions or need more information, call Libardoni at 802-257-4203.