Brattleboro softball coach Kelly Markol is someone who will never be satisfied. And she wants her players to feel the same way.
“Our goal is to get better with every game, to play with intensity, and to never settle for less than our best effort every day,” Markol said.
Her team finished last week with a 3-1 record, but it is the one loss that sticks in the craw of Markol, her coaching staff, and her players.
The Colonels started the week with an 11-1 loss to Mount Anthony in Bennington on April 18. Brattleboro scored the first run of the game in the opening inning, and were shut out the rest of the way by winning pitcher Taylor Dicranian.
Brattleboro pitcher Hailey Derosia started the game, but had trouble finding the strike zone. Two hits and 4 walks turned into a 4-1 MAU lead before Markol lifted Derosia in favor of Jocelyn Aither, who pitched the rest of the way.
“Frankly, we played horrible,” said Markol. “We were totally flat. The next day in practice, we all knew we had a lot to work on.”
The frustration after the MAU loss was washed away at Rutland on April 20 as Brattleboro rolled over the Raiders, 13-2. Aither got the starting assignment, and held the Raiders to just 4 hits and a walk.
“This is Jocelyn’s first year as a pitcher, and she’s doing a good job,” said Markol. “At the same time, I’m trying to get Hailey into games and work on having her develop as a pitcher.”
The Colonels gave Aither plenty of run support as they had 14 hits. Lauren McKenney went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBIs, and Emmalee Waite, Derosia and Mariah Powers each drove in 3 runs. Jamie Mahoney had two hits, Devin Millerick batted in a run, and Olivia Weeks and Marissa Betit both hit safely.
Against Otter Valley on April 22 at Sawyer Field, the Colonels kept on hitting and Aither kept up her solid pitching in a 19-2 win in a five-inning game cut short by the 15-run mercy rule.
Aither held the Otters to just two hits. One of them was a towering two-run homer over the left field fence in the first inning by Gabby Poalino that gave the Otters their only lead of the game.
As in the Rutland game, the Colonels swung the bats and staked Aither to a big lead early on. In the first inning, McKenney and Weeks both hit two-run doubles, In the second inning, Aither hit a two-run single and McKenney drove in another run with a base hit.
In the third, the Colonels scored 7 runs thanks to a couple of errors and RBI singles by Mahoney, Derosia, and Waite, and a RBI double by Aither. Brattleboro finished the scoring in the fourth with a grand slam by McKenney to left field.
“We made solid contact on a lot of pitches,” said Markol, “and Lauren is just ripping the ball.”
However, while the week ended well for the Colonels, Markol said her players realize there are plenty more games to play and much to improve upon if they want to be championship contenders this season.
• There’s something about April and playing baseball against Bellows Falls at Hadley Field that doesn’t mix well for Leland & Gray.
Last year, the Rebels lost to BF, 14-1, on a cloudy, windy, and occasionally snowy afternoon. This year, on April 19, the Rebels lost to BF, 16-1, on a cloudy, windy, and occasionally rainy afternoon.
The only difference, besides precipitation type, between the two games was that this year’s game was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule, and that the Rebels had only 10 players available because school vacation.
For the Terriers, after losing to Division I powers Brattleboro and Hartford, it was a chance to pick on someone their own size and get their first win of the young season. But BF coach Bob Lockerby was quick to put it in perspective.
“It’s always better to be on the winning side, but no one enjoys playing in a game like this,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot to fix and get better at, but so does everybody else in Vermont this time of year.”
The Rebels scored the first run of the game as Pat McDonald doubled and scored on an error in the top of the first. After that, it was all BF.
In the Terrier half of the first, losing pitcher Luc Dugrenier threw 68 pitches, walked 5 batters and gave up 4 hits as BF sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 9 runs.
Leadoff hitter Jacob Streeter had 2 hits in the first inning, a double and a single, and scored twice. Noah Rawling also scored twice as he reached on a walk and a single. Clayton Groenewold, Brady Illingworth, Liam Hackett, Brian Green, and Spencer Clark also scored runs.
Staked to a big lead, Illingworth held the Rebels scoreless in a solid pitching performance on a lousy day for baseball. He struck out 10, gave up 2 hits, and walked a batter, throwing 86 pitches over five innings.
Lockerby could afford to give Illingworth the work. It was the only game of the week for BF, so pitch count concerns were not an issue.
“I just decided if whoever I started is throwing strikes and doing the job, I’m going to let them go longer,” he said. “They need to build up some stamina. He said he felt great.”
Streeter went 3-for-3 on the day, while Groenewold, Rawling, Green, Clark, and Shane Healy-Fletcher each had a hit. Storm Rowe hit a double in the fifth inning for the only other Leland & Gray hit.
“Not much you say about a game like this,” said Rebels coach Eric Durocher. “We know we can play better.”
After getting hammered by BF in last season’s opener, the Rebels regrouped and made it all the way to the Division III semifinals. Will it happen the way once again? Durocher says he believes once he has a full roster and some more time outside, the Rebels will play to the level they’re capable of playing.
• Brattleboro started off last week by facing one of the top pitchers in southern Vermont — Mount Anthony’s Ryan O’Neill. But the Colonels have an ace of their own, Leif Bigelow. He and O’Neill dueled through a taut and tense game in Bennington on April 18 that was ultimately won by Brattleboro, 2-0, in nine innings.
O’Neill struck out 12 batters over 8 scoreless innings. He got out of bases-loaded jams in the fourth and eighth innings before he hit his pitch count limit and had to be removed from the game.
MAU reliever Blake Casey then gave up both of Brattleboro’s runs in the top of the ninth. After two walks to start the inning, Eli Lombardi laid down a sacrifice bunt to move up the Colonel baserunners. Bigelow followed with a two-run single to give Brattleboro the lead.
Bigelow struck out 11 batters in 7 1/3 innings of work, but ended up with a no-decision. Lombardi pitched the remainder of the game in relief, and got a pair of strikeouts in the eighth and retired MAU in order in the ninth to get the win.
The Colonels hosted Mill River on April 22, and came away with a 6-0 win. Bigelow was the starter and wasn’t at his sharpest, but still managed to strike out 8 batters over 5 innings.
The difference in this game was shoddy defense by Mill River. Even though the Colonels were held to just two hits, they scored 6 unearned runs, including 3 runs on a dropped fly ball with the bases loaded. Brattleboro ended the week at 4-1.
• Otter Valley’s Katie Coolidge went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBIs to lead the Otters to a 7-1 win over Leland & Gray in Townshend.
The Rebels got their only run off an RBI triple by Rachel Borgesen in the first inning. It was all Otters after that, as they knocked around losing pitcher Olivia Brown was 14 hits and 3 walks.
Winning pitcher Courtney Bushey held the Rebels to 7 hits and 4 walks. Erin Cutts and Jesse Stockwell each had two hits for the 1-2 Rebels.
• Fair Haven’s Olivia Bowen struck on 16 batters and held Bellows Falls to just a single base hit in a 7-0 win on April 22. Bowen took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but BF’s Allie Bashaw broke it up with a one-out double to right. Murphy Hicks was the losing pitcher for the 1-2 Terriers.
• Vacation week thinned the ranks of the BF team, leaving them with five players for their April 18 match with Brattleboro at the BUHS courts. The Terriers had to forfeit both doubles matches, and lost 4 of the 5 singles matches on the way to a 6-1 defeat.
Brattleboro’s No. 2 Alex Shuey, No. 3 Jonah Petrie and No. 5 Jack Spanierman all won their singles matches 6-0, 6-0. In the No. 4 spot, Rowan Kidder defeated BF’s Alden Parmelee 6-0, 6-1.
The only competitve match of the day came at No. 1 singles, where BF captain Simon Bupp-Chickering defeated Brattleboro’s Martin Sipowicz 6-3, 6-4.
Track & field
• Brattleboro and Bellows Falls again finished 1-2 in the boys’ and girls’ team scoring at the Windsor “Vacational” track meet on April 19. There were 11 teams in the boys’ meet and 8 teams in the girls’ meet.
Dani Wood won the 100 (13.28 seconds) and 200 (28 seconds) to lead the Colonel girls. Other winners for the Colonel girls included Sarah Gallagher in the 3,000 (11:29.93), Dory Abdallah in the 300 hurdles (53.94), and Kai Boyd in the javelin (107 feet). The Putney School’s Delaney Bullock won the 800 in 2:34.96 and was second in the 1,500 in 5:11.55.
In the relay events, Brattleboro’s Honnee McManus, Angelika Toomey, Gallagher, and Abdallah took the 4x400 in 4:54.07. Jasmine Boucher, Brigid Hodsden, Abbe Cravinho, and Tess Kinney were winners for BF in the 4x100 in 55.97, while Liz Clark, Sophia Hyslop, Macie Streeter, and Baylee Davis to the 4s800 for BF in 12.13.46.
Jasper Reed led the Colonel boys with wins in the 100 (11.28), the 200 (23.32), and the long jump (20 feet, 4.5 inches) to lead the Colonel boys. Bram Tabachnick won the 3,000 in 11:11.40 and Orion Stone won the pole vault (10 feet).
The BF boys were led by Shane Clark, who won the triple jump (38-9.5), 110 hurdles (17.22), and javelin (158-4). Reno Tuttle added wins in the shot put (46-1) and discus (123-4).
• Monadnock rolled to a 12-4 win over the Brattleboro boys in Swanzey Center, N.H., on April 19. Nick Boucher had 3 goals for the Huskies, while Chris Boucher, Hayden Goodenough, Levi Bassingthwaite, and McKenzie Pace scored 2 goals each.
• The Brattleboro girls lost to Northampton, Mass., 13-6, at Natowich Field on April 19. Megan McCarthy had 6 goals and 2 assists for the undefeated Blue Devils, and Alli Zadworny added 2 more goals. Michelle Radke made five saves in goal for Northampton.
Senior bowling update
• With one week to go in the winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League, Team 2 (43-27) remains in first place, and Team 7 and Team 4 (both 40-30) are tied for second place. Team 10 (39-33) slid down to into third. Team 9 (38-32) is in fourth, followed by Team 6 (35-35), Team 1 (34-36), Team 5 (32-38), Team 8 (30-40), and Team 3 (19-51).
Roberta Parsons had the high handicap game (241) and series (651) for the women. Wayne Randall had the men’s high handicap game (254) and Jon Peters had the men’s high handicap series (692). Team 5 had the high team handicap game (840) and series (2,429).
Fred Ashworth (504), Charles Marchant (506), Jerry Dunham (527), Peters (542), Warren Corriveau Sr., (547), and Marty Adams (501) all rolled 500-plus series. Dunham (212), Corriveau (201), and Randall (215) had 200-plus games.
• 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.
Mud season continues on the trail
• Don’t let the warmer weather we’ve had over the past couple of weeks fool you. The hiking trails around Vermont are still deep into mud season, and the Green Mountain Club (GMC) is reminding trail users to stay off the trails, particularly those at higher elevations, until things dry out.
Snowmelt and rain causes trails to remain wet, muddy, and prone to erosion, according to the GMC, and hikers walking on saturated soils or on the sides of trails cause damage to surrounding vegetation, widen trails, and inhibit natural drainage.
Fixing the damage caused by hikers and mountain bikers on muddy trails usually means the GMC and the state Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has fewer resources to devote to other major projects on Vermont’s trails.
“Please give the trails time to dry out for the summer hiking season,” Dave Hardy, Director of Trail Programs for the Green Mountain Club, said in a news release. “Until the end of May, consider hiking on south facing slopes and lower elevations where the sun can dry out the trails sooner."
Dry trails at lower elevations, dirt roads, and recreation paths provide excellent opportunities for spring outdoors activities. A weekly trail update with the latest conditions and a list of alternative hikes will be posted on the Vermont State Parks website at vtstateparks.com.
Go paddling with the BOC
• The Brattleboro Outing Club is again sponsoring paddle trips this season, starting Saturday, April 29, in the Hinsdale setbacks, a major birding area along the Connecticut River. Meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot off Route 119 in Hinsdale, N.H.
Other trips this season include Herrick’s Cove in Rockingham (May 14), Gale Meadows Pond in Winhall (May 17), Grafton (N.H.) Pond (May 24), Tully Lake/Long Pond in Royalston, Mass. (June 7), Harriman Reservoir in Wilmington (June 17), Somerset Reservoir (July 16 and Oct. 1), the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (Aug. 25-27), Thimble Islands on Long Island Sound (Sept. 6), Spoonwood Pond in Nelson, N.H. (Sept. 20), and Pillsbury State Park in Washington, N.H. (Sept. 23).
All paddle trips are free (except the 3-day Northern Forest trip), and open to the public. Details of each trip, including meeting time and location,are at www.BrattleboroOutingClub.org (click on Summer Paddling); or email Lmacyak@gmail.com.