An unseasonably warm day greeted Bellows Falls and Brattleboro on April 10 as they faced each other in the season opener for both baseball teams at Tenney Field.
Both teams only had a day of practice outside before this game, so all that BF coach Bob Lockerby and Brattleboro coach Chris Groeger could do is put nine players on the field and see what would happen.
There was a lot less guesswork for Groeger. His starting pitcher was Leif Bigelow. He struck out 12 batters, walked two, and hit another batter with a pitch in throwing a complete-game four-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over the Terriers.
“I thought he pitched well,” said Groeger. “He got behind in the count a few times, which is uncharacteristic of him. When he needed to bear down, he certainly did.”
That was the case early in the game, when BF loaded the bases in the first and third innings, but failed to score. Clayton Groenewold (2-for-3) was the only Terrier with more than one hit.
By contrast, Brattleboro gave Bigelow plenty of runs to work with in the first inning, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring 6 runs on 4 hits and 3 errors off losing pitcher Jacob Metcalfe. Runs were driven in by Conor Hiner, Dan Petrie, Kam Pelkey, and Matt Dulmaine, while Chris Hall hit a double to right.
Metcalfe gave way to newcomer Spencer Clark in the third inning. Clark allowed two more Brattleboro runs in the fourth when Petrie added an RBI single and pinch-runner Jeremy Rounds scored on a wild pitch.
BF’s Brady Illingworth threw the last two innings of the game and struck out five batters.
“Ordinarily, Brady would’ve gotten the start, but since this was the first game, I had to see what the players I had could do,” said Lockerby.
In Lockerby’s mind, losing to a Division I team only helps make his team get better.
“We had opportunities, but when you face a really good pitcher, you can’t waste them,” said Lockerby. “That’s why I like playing the big schools like Brattleboro, Hartford, and Burr & Burton, and facing their best pitchers. We won’t see anyone like Bigelow in our division.”
Groeger will never think that a BF game means an easy win. “BF always plays scrappy, and if you let them hang around, they always find a way to beat you,” he said, adding that getting a big lead in the first inning took a lot of the pressure off the Colonels.
Brattleboro got its second win on April 13 as Petrie and Bigelow each had three hits in a 19-2 rout of Fair Haven. Kam Pelkey and Chris Hall each finished with 2 hits and combined for 5 RBI.
Ben Nelson-Betz and Eli Lombardi shared the pitching chores and combined for 8 strikeouts and just 2 walks.
• It’s always good when, after being cooped up in a gymnasium for three weeks, your team can play its first game error-free.
It’s even better when good pitching and timely hitting is added to the mix. That’s why Bellows Falls coach Pete Fry was all smiles after an 8-4 road win over Windsor on April 10.
Even though it was only the second time they had been outside, BF played a steady game and took advantage of a couple of Windsor errors to score five runs in the sixth inning to clinch the opening day victory.
Terriers pitcher Murphy Hicks got the win, and helped her cause with a two-run double in the third inning. Lila Guerrina sparked the sixth inning uprising with a lead-off double. She scored on a groundout by Sam Upton. A Brooke Bennett walk, back-to-back errors off the bats of Hannah Dupuis and Aly Bashaw, and walks to Hicks and Paxton Santorelli did the rest.
A short rain delay disrupted the BF rhythm, and when play resumed, it looked like Windsor would get back into the game in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Olivia Rockwood hit an RBI triple and Jasmine Frazer followed with a run-scoring single.
But Hicks got a strikeout to end the inning, then pitched a scoreless seventh to secure the win. She struck out a total of 5 batters, with 2 walks and a batter hit by a pitch. While she did allow 8 hits, those hits were spread out to minimize the damage.
BF did not fare as well three days later, when visiting Springfield clobbered the Terriers, 17-2. Cosmos pitcher Hannah Crosby threw a complete-game one-hitter, with 17 strikeouts and 12 walks. Hicks left the game after one inning with a sore arm, so Santorelli had to pitch the rest of the way.
Springfield’s Cassidy Otis did much of the damage with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, 4 runs scored and 6 RBI. Crosby also hit the ball hard as she went 3-for-5 with 4 RBI. The Cosmos would score 5 runs in the fifth and 8 runs in the sixth.
• Brattleboro won its opening game, a 7-4 road decision over Fair Haven on April 13. Starting pitcher Josclyn Aither picked up the win, she went 6 innings for the Colonels. Hailey Derosia picked up a save, pitching a scoreless seventh.
Olivia Bowen went the distance and took the loss for the Slaters, despite striking out 7 batters. Brattleboro scored 3 runs in the seventh to win this game.
Devin Millerick, Emmalee Waite, and Lauren McKenney each hit an RBI single during the rally, while Jamie Mahoney and Derosia both successfully bunted their way on base.
• Twin Valley had a road opener on April 10 that it would rather forget. West Rutland clobbered the Wildcats, 33-2, in a game stopped after 5 innings due to the mercy rule.
Golden Horde pitcher Lauren Harvey got the win, pitching 4 no-hit innings with 11 strikeouts and 5 walks. West Rutland got 12 hits and 24 walks off the Wildcats’ pitchers.
On April 13, Burr and Burton beat Twin Valley, 17-1, in Manchester in another mercy rule-shortened game. Jenny Kiernan struck out 9 batters over 5 innings and Amber Morris homered.
• Leland & Gray also got a crack at West Rutland on April 12, but the Horde also prevailed in this game in West Rutland, 6-3.
Rebels pitcher Olivia Brown threw three perfect innings, but West Rutland figured Brown out by the fourth inning. Trailing 2-0, Brooke Raiche tied the game with a two-run homer and Abby Kukene hit a three-run triple in the fifth.
Harvey scattered 8 hits, striking out 4 and walking 4. Brown gave up 7 hits, with 4 strikeouts and a walk, to take the loss. Jessie Stockwell hit a solo homer for the Rebels and Emma Lane celebrated her birthday by scoring two runs and hitting a double.
The Rebels bounced back with an 11-5 road win over Windsor on April 14. This game was close until Leland & Gray scored 3 runs in the sixth and 4 more in the seventh.
Stockwell had 2 hits, including a three-run homer, and Rachel Borgesen had 3 hits, including a two-run triple. Mackenzie Boyle went 3-for-4 as the Rebels finished with 10 hits.
Brown was the winning pitcher for the 1-1 Rebels; she struck out 9, walked 1 and gave up 7 hits.
• In high school athletics, the key to having a successful program is having a successful feeder program that provides the fundamentals in a particular sport to young players.
For the past few years, the Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department has run youth lacrosse programs. The Colonels’ girls varsity program is now reaping the benefits of that training, said coach Sarah Clark.
While Clark says she has a lot of ninth-graders on her roster, “these young players all have a great understanding of the game,” thanks to the Rec. Dept. program. As a result, Clark said her young players can play with more confidence.
That showed in an 8-7 win over the Wahconah Warriors at Natowich Field on April 13. The Colonel girls saw a 3-1 lead slip away in the second half as the Warriors scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead with 15:07 to play.
Brattleboro didn’t panic, and responded with three unanswered goals. Sam Cragin got the tying goal with 14:11 left. Tobin Lonergan got the go-ahead tally set up by a breakaway pass from Olivia Romo with 10:21 remaining, and Liz Day got the third goal with 7:44 to go.
But the young Colonels need work on protecting a lead, as the last 5 minutes of this game saw Brattleboro and Wahconah trading goals. Romo got what turned out to be the winning goal with 3:45 left, but the Warriors scored twice in the last 3 minutes to make it uncomfortably close for the Colonels.
“It definitely got a little scary at the end,” said Clark, “but I thought we played fantastic.”
Lonergan finished with two goals and two assists. Meg Ayotte also had two goals. Liv Stent got a goal and Day also had an assist. Senior goalie Sarah LaPorte got the win in goal in only her second varsity game between the pipes.
• In the season opener for the Colonel girls on April 10 in Belchertown, Mass., Ayotte had five goals and three assists as Brattleboro rolled to a 19-3 win. Romo, Cragin, Day, and Stent each scored three goals for the Colonels, while Lonergan chipped in two goals.
• Carter Vickers had a goal and 4 assists as Burr & Burton beat Brattleboro, 9-2, in Manchester on April 14.
Jake Baker had 4 goals for the Bulldogs and Sean Apps had 2 goals and an assist. Goalie Maxx Ingison made 7 saves to get the win.
Jack Gagnon had both Colonel goals, and goalie Griffin Lynde made 11 saves in Brattleboro’s first game of the season.
• Brattleboro ended last week undefeated and in first place in the Southern Unified standings with a 4-0 record.
Their latest win came on April 13, a 52-44 victory over Rutland in the BUHS gym.
• Leland & Gray had a tough time of it in the second half in Springfield on April 10, as the Cosmos rolled to a 40-18 win.
The game was tied 12-12 at the half, as Rebels guard Teresa Derosia scored a pair of baskets late in the second quarter. Lance Robinson then took over the game for the Cosmos, as he scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half. Cameron Colon added 12 points for Springfield.
Leland & Gray was led by Derosia with 6 points. Brandon Holcomb and Ben Stone added 4 points apiece, and Savannah Lawley and Sammi Pelton chipped in two points each. The Rebels also played Mill River last week, and lost 53-48. They are 0-5 on the season.
• Brattleboro blitzed Springfield, 7-0, in the home opener for the Colonel girls on April 12.
In singles’ play, No. 1 Jazmin Smith defeated Katie Worth 6-3, 6-0. No. 2 Annie Takacs defeated Alyssa Jamie 6-3, 6-1, while No. 3 Pilar Rivera defeated Kayla Hammond 6-1, 6-0. No. 4 Camden Haskins defeated Jocelyn Hunt 6-2, 6-1, and No. 5 Paige Starkweather won by default.
In doubles, No. 1 Hannah Blake and Colette Anton beat Aya Tukalova and Ariel Day 6-2, 6-0. The No. 2 team of Camille Gunzberg and Rachel Reynolds won by default. Now 1-1, the Colonels are off for school vacation week and will host Rutland on April 24.
• Brattleboro lost at Rutland, 6-1, in a match far closer than the final score might indicate. While the Raiders swept in singles, three of the matches went to three sets to achieve a result.
Andres Aguilar beat Brattleboro’s Martin Sipowicz 6-3, 6-2, while Connor Solimano defeated Brattleboro’s Alex Shuey 5-7, 6-4, 10-8. Austin Roussel outlasted Brattleboro’s Josh Nordheim 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6), 11-9; Joe Salisbury-Jennings beat Brattleboro’s Mason Powers 7-5, 6-1; and Henry Prouty got by Brattleboro’s Jonah Petrie 3-6, 6-4, 10-4.
Brattleboro’s top doubles tandem of Tom Szpila and Ari Essunfeld got the only win of the day against Nova Wang and Michael Silva 6-1, 6-4; while Rutland’s Keegan Bliss and John Michael beat Rowan Kidder and Jack Spanierman 6-0, 6-0.
Track & field
• DJ Snide and Reno Tuttle were double winners and Molly Kelly added a victory as well as Bellows Falls hosted a season-opening meet on April 14. Brattleboro won the boys’(159.33) and girls’ (149) teams titles, with the Terriers finishing second in each (133 boys, 112 girls).
Snide won the 100 meters in 15.39 seconds to best teammate Shane Clark (17.32). Snide then took the 400 with a time of 56.52. Snide also had a second in the triple jump and a third in the discus.
Tuttle, who won an indoor state title in the shot put over the winter, showed his outdoor form is tops too with a winning heave of 42 feet, 6.5 inches. He also took the discus with a throw of 137-4.
Clark was second in the javelin and third in the triple jump and pole vault, while BF’s Nic Potter placed third in the 1,500 and 3,000. The BF 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams also finished third.
Jasper Reed won three events for the Colonel boys — the long jump, triple jump and 200. Isaac Freitas-Eagan added victories in the 1,500 and 3,000 for Brattleboro.
In the girls’ events, Kelly cleared 4-6 to win the high jump for BF, while Brigid Hodsden was second in the 100 hurdles, and teammate Megan Banik was a runner-up in the 800.
Dani Wood won the 200 and was second in the 100 for the Brattleboro girls.
The Terrier girls had several third place finishes, including Michelle Marchica in the 300 hurdles and triple jump, Jasmine Boucher in the 200, Keri Ticino in the pole vault, and the 4x100 relay team.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 13 of the winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League saw Team 2 (39-26) hang on to the top spot in the standings, but Team 7, Team 9, and Team 10 (all 37-28) are in a three-way tie for second place. Team 4 (36-29) is not far behind in third. Team 6 (34-31) is in fourth, followed by Team 1 (33-32), Team 5 (28-37), Team 8 (26-39), and Team 3 (18-47).
Carole Frizzell was the top female bowler in all categories last week. She had the high handicap game (266) and series (696), and also had a 500-plus series (525) and a 200-plus game (209).
Al Dascomb had the men’s high handicap game (237) and Fred Bump had the men’s high handicap series (632). Team 8 had the high team handicap game (865) and series (2,447).
Marty Adams (526), Fred Bump (500), Tom Johnson (511), and Jerry Dunham (539) all rolled 500-plus series. Adams (204) was the only male bowler with a 200-plus game.
• New teams are forming now for the upcoming summer Senior Bowling League season. Anyone interested in joining a team should call Brattleboro Bowl at 802-257-1177.