The 64th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is set for Saturday, Aug. 4, at Castleton University’s Spartan Stadium.
The pre-game parade will take place at 3 p.m. The football game that pits the top graduated high school seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire follows at 5:30 p.m.
The Shrine game seems to have found a home to its liking in Castleton, which became the game site in 2015 after many years at Dartmouth College. The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Board of Governors reported that the 2015 and 2016 games at Castleton were the most financially successful in years.
Since the game is a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Board is happy with the combination of lower expenses and higher attendance and the support that has come with playing in Castleton.
The Vermont team will led by Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby. After two trips to the Shrine game as an assistant coach— once with the legendary BF coach Bis Bisbee, the other with longtime Springfield coach Mike Hatt, Lockerby will get his chance to run the show for the Green Mountain Boys.
Lockerby will be bringing along the Terriers coaching staff that led BF to the Vermont Division II championship last year. Frank Brown will be offensive coordinator, Mike Empey leads the offensive line, Matthew Harris runs the defensive line, and Ryan Stoodley is defensive coordinator.
This will be Stoodley’s second Shrine game, he played in it for Bellows Falls in 1999.
Local players on the Vermont squad are running back Jahyde Bullard, defensive lineman DJ Snide, and center Brady Illingworth from Bellows Falls. and offensive guard/linebacker Conor Hiner and fullback/linebacker Kolton Ravenna from Brattleboro.
Last year, Vermont ended a 15-year losing streak against the Granite Staters with a 50-2 win. New Hampshire still holds a 47-14-2 record in the series.
Flag football comes to BAMS
• Concerns over concussions in football have prompted a debate about the safety of the sport. That debate, in turn, has led to decreased levels of participation in youth football.
That debate, and the lower numbers of students going out for football, prompted the Vermont Principals’ Association to announce that tackle football will be phased out at the middle school level. Starting in 2018, seventh- and eighth-graders will only be allowed to play “padded flag” football.
In padded flag football, the 11 players on each side of the line of scrimmage wear helmets and pads, and contact (i.e., blocking) is allowed. What isn’t allowed is tackling players to the ground. Instead, every player also wears two flags around their waist, and any ball carrier may be tackled only by pulling off one of the flags.
Brattleboro Area Middle School decided not to wait for next year, and will institute padded flag football this fall.
• Bellows Falls doesn’t have a middle school football program, but it does have the Connecticut Valley Pee Wee Football League (CVPWFL), which celebrates its 50th season of football this year.
It is unaffected by the VPA’s edict against tackle football. The league offers flag football for kids aged 4-7. There is a third-grade team, Pee Wee football for kids in grades 4-6, and a junior high program for grades 7-8. All children are welcome.
The CVPWFL will have its yearly signups and try-outs on Thursday, Aug. 10, at 5:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Aug. 15. at 5:30 p.m., at Bellows Falls Union High School. Equipment issue will be on Thursday, Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m. Players wear shorts, T-Shirts and sneakers to try out, which will take place after registration.
Prospective players must attend one of the signup nights to register and players already in the League must attend one of these dates as well or make arrangements by calling Glenn Gendron 603-398-6216 or Ed Vancor 802-376-5902.
Bellows Falls Post 37 was one of last four teams standing in the Vermont American Legion baseball tournament, but their season ended on July 25 with 7-2 loss to the host team, White River Junction Post 84, at the Maxfield Sports Complex.
With the final games of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament being nine innings, rather than the usual seven, pitching was at a premium. But White River pitcher Dylan Spencer was the hero as he pitched all nine innings to shut down Post 37.
Spencer scattered 12 hits, but was helped by a couple of double play balls. He struck out two, walked one, and hit a batter.
White River scored a run in the first inning when Ryland Richardson singled and came around to score as the result of several Post 37 errors.
Bellows Falls tied it up in the second inning by bunching three hits together. Zach Streeter and Liam Hackett singled and Kyle Weeks’ base hit scored Streeter.
Bur Post 84 took the lead for good in the third inning with two runs. Jacob Perkins led off the inning with a booming triple and scored when a balk was called on Post 37 pitcher Josh Woods. Hunter Perkins walked and later scored on a groundout.
Woods gave up two more runs in the fourth on four hits. An infield hit by Richardson was followed by an RBI double by Hunter Perkins. Jordy Allard followed with an RBI single.
Brady Illingworth relieved Woods to start the fifth, but White River keep adding to the score. They got two more runs off him in the sixth inning with just one hit, a one-run single by Moises Celeya, and three walks.
Zach Streeter led Bellows Falls with three hits, while Joe Corey got two hits.
Post 84 went on to face undefeated Franklin County for the state Legion title on July 28. Post 84 won the first game, 12-2, in seven innings, forcing a winner-take-all second game. Franklin County won that game, 11-7, in 10 innings. It was the first state Legion title for northwest Vermont since St. Albans won in 1934. Franklin County now heads to the Northeast Regional in Shrewsbury Mass.
Post 37 third baseman Alex Groenewold was selected to the all-tournament team,while catcher Liam Hackett won the Sportsmanship Award.
For Post 37, getting to the final four of this highly-competitive tourney as the fourth-seeded team in the South offered a bit of satisfaction. While most of their position players will be moving on, Post 37 coach Billy Lockerby will have a good core of pitchers expected back for the 2018 season.
Little League roundup
• For the first time in a decade, Essex Junction captured the Vermont 12-year-old Little League Baseball championship with a dominating 10-0 win over Brattleboro on July 29 at Seman Field in Essex.
Essex Junction pitcher Andrew Goodrich shut down the reigning state champions. He threw a two-hitter as he struck out 13 batters.
On offense, all 13 Essex players reached base safely at least once. Goodrich led the way with three singles and an RBI, while Eli Bostwick hit a three-run homer in the third inning.
Sam Hall was Brattleboro’s starting pitcher and lasted until the fifth inning in taking the loss. Cam Frost got Brattleboro’s only two hits of the game.
Brattleboro lost to a clearly superior team. Essex was undefeated in the state tournament, and won their three games by an aggregate score of 31-0.
It was a close game early on. Essex scored a run in the first inning, and it stayed 1-0 until Bostwick’s homer in the third put the game out of reach.
Essex Junction now advances to the New England Regional Tournament, which begins on Aug. 6 in Bristol, Conn.
Rec. Dept. offers mountain bike camp
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will offer a Mountain Biking Camp for area young people ages 10 to 14. This adventurous camp, instructed by avid rider Steven Robinson, will run the week of Aug.14 though 18 from 9 a.m. to noon, with the center base being Living Memorial Park.
The first day will consist of bike maintenance, safety, and proper gear. The rest of the week will be fun riding with plenty of trails within the community to explore. The cost of the program is $100 for Brattleboro residents and $115 for non-residents.
For more information, or if there are special needs required for this program, call the Recreation & Parks Department at 802-254-5808.
New hours for Living Memorial Park pool
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department says the Living Memorial Park Pool will stay open for a while longer this summer.
Pool hours for Aug. 6 through Aug. 20 will be 1 to 5 p.m. The pool will close for the season on Aug. 20th at 5 p.m.
Senior bowling roundup
• Team 4 (49-16) is cruising along in first place after Week 13 of the spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League. Team 8 (41-24) remains in second, followed by Team 3 (31-34), Team 2, Team 5, and Team 1 (all 30-35), Team 7 (27-38) and Team 6 (22-43).
Jennifer Anderson (2228) had the women’s high handicap game, while Roberta Parsons (642) had the high handicap series (655). Wayne Randal had the men’s high handicap game (214) and series (613). Team 6 had the high team handicap game (791) and series (2,263).
It was a low-scoring week, as no bowler rolled a 200-plus game, but Warren Corriveau Sr. (514) did have a 500-plus series. With two-thirds of the season over, Shirley Aiken (148) has the high women’s average, followed by Sonya Shippee (142) and Carole Frizzell (138). Corriveau (186) leads the men for highest average, followed by Marty Adams (172) and Fred Ashworth (165).