I’ll be honest. Summer youth baseball in Brattleboro is my favorite time on the sports calendar.
The Brattleboro Little League is wrapping up its regular season this week and has picked its All-Star teams for the 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old tournaments.
The Babe Ruth Baseball state tournaments for the 13-15-year-old All-Stars are just around the corner.
And, for the high schoolers, there’s American Legion Baseball, and Post 5’s annual seven-week dash to the state tournament at the end of July.
If you love baseball, spend some time this summer at Tenney Field to watch some Legion ball, or at South Main Street Field for the Little Leaguers. You’ll be glad you did.
• As for Legion ball, Brattleboro Post 5 had its home opener on June 12 against cross-mountain rival Bennington Post 13 at Tenney Field, and cruised to an 11-2 win.
Winning pitcher Jeremy Rounds got himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, and settled down to hold Bennington to just three hits over five innings, with six walks and four strikeouts.
Rounds got plenty of run support as Post 5 took a 6-0 lead after two innings. Rounds was hit by the first pitch of the game in the first inning, stole second, and later scored on a wild pitch.
In the second inning, Rounds helped himself with a two-run double; Jack Price added an RBI single and Joey Rafus drove in a run with a triple to right.
Post 13 would score their only runs of the game in the fifth, on a pair of bases-loaded walks. Forrester Avard, who was just a day away from his eighth-grade graduation at Dummerston School, came in to relieve Rounds in the sixth and threw two scoreless innings of relief.
Brattleboro finished the scoring with five more runs in the sixth inning. Alex Kendall and Chris Frost each hit two-run singles.
The two teams met again at Tenney Field on June 14, and it took a walkoff hit by Dan Petrie to give Post 5 a 4-3 win over Bennington.
Starting pitcher Christian Thomsen threw four shutout innings and kept Brattleboro in the game, and Adam Newton came on in relief to win it. Petrie went 2-for-4 at the plate, and Rafus drove in a pair of runs.
On June 15, Post 5 split a doubleheader with Rutland Post 31. Rutland won the first game, 2-1, while Brattleboro took the second game, 4-3. Rounds got some timely hits for Post 5 in Game 2, Newton was the winning pitcher, and Tyler Millerick picked up a save as Post 5 finished their first week of divisional play with a 3-1 record.
• Bellows Falls Post 37 started its league schedule this week, with a scheduled game against Bennington at Hadley Field on June 18. Post 37’s first game with Brattleboro is set for June 27 at 7 p.m. at Hadley Field.
Bill Lockerby will once again coach Post 37, and he reportedly has 18 players out for the team this season.
• After Ludlow Post 36 dropped out, there are only seven teams in the Southern Division this year — Brattleboro, Bennington, Bellows Falls, Lakes Region, Randolph, Rutland, and White River Junction.
The Northern Division added a team, Barre Post 10, so they now have nine teams.
This means the Southern Division teams will have to play each other four times. This is to make sure that all 16 Legion teams in the state play the same number of divisional games before the state tournament on July 26.
MVL picks All-Star teams for baseball, softball
• The Marble Valley League selected its baseball and softball All-Stars last week.
In softball, Brattleboro dominated the A Division first-team selections as pitcher Hailey Derosia, first baseman May McAuliffe, shortstop Rachael Rooney, and third baseman Lauren McKinney were all selected. Bella Powell received honorable mention.
Outfielder Brooke Bennett of Bellows Falls was a first-team selection in the B Division, and shortstop Grace Wilkinson and first baseman Emily Bazin were honorable mentions.
Leland & Gray catcher Erin Cutts and pitcher Sarah Anderson were C Division first-team selections. Third baseman Isabella “Izzy” Ameden and center fielder Abby Lowe earned honorable mentions.
Twin Valley had three honorable mentions in C Division — shortstop Maria Page, second baseman Jarrett Niles, and center fielder Celia Betit.
In baseball, Brattleboro was well-represented with three selections in the A Division. Catcher Tyler Millerick and pitcher/outfielder Brenden Gilbeau were both named to the first-team, while pitcher/shortstop Adam Newton received honorable mention.
Bellows Falls head coach Bob Lockerby was named the B Division Coach of the Year, as he guided a young Terrier team into the Division II quarterfinals. Outfielder McGregor Vancor was a first-team selection and pitcher/infielder Jack Brown got honorable mention.
Leland & Gray pitcher/outfielder Christian Thomsen was named to the C Division first-team, and third baseman Kaie Quigley and outfielder Dylan Greenwood both received honorable mentions.
Synthetic turf may be coming to Natowich Field
• Brattleboro Union High School may soon take a big step toward improving its sports facilities after voters on June 12 authorized the BUHS Board to borrow up to $750,000 for a period not to exceed five years to install synthetic turf at Natowich Field.
It is an idea whose time has come, but the new field surface will happen only if the forced merger that is creating the new Windham Southeast School District is somehow stopped before July 1.
Right now, Natowich Field is used for football in the fall and lacrosse in the spring, and the turf takes a tremendous beating. The grass field is lumpy, bumpy, and chewed up during both seasons, and it has little time to recover between the seasons.
With a synthetic surface at Natowich Field, BUHS athletes would get a fast, level, and cushioned playing surface that would be available for most of the year. The goal would be to move field hockey and soccer from Tenney Field to Natowich Field, and finally give both sports a regulation-sized field to play on.
For the spring sports such as baseball, softball and Ultimate disc, there would be less time spent practicing in the gym and more practices outside.
The modern varieties of artificial turf hold up well and there are fewer injuries associated with its use compared to the surfaces that pro football players called “fuzzy concrete” back in the 1970s.
Four high schools in Vermont — Burr & Burton, Burlington, South Burlington, and Rutland — now have them. At the college level, Landmark, Castleton, St. Michael’s College, Middlebury, and UVM all have turf fields.
• Besides creating an all-weather, all-purpose field for football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, synthetic turf at Natowich Field would have another benefit — it would preserve Tenney Field in its present state as among the most historic baseball fields in Vermont.
Added to the Vermont Register of Historic Places last year, Tenney Field and its one-of-a-kind concrete grandstand would be saved from a proposal that would demolish the structure and realign the baseball diamond.
There is a plan on the table to renovate the grandstand and make it ADA-compliant for those in wheelchairs or with mobility impairments. The work would be done with private funding and volunteer labor. Whether Natowich Field gets its turf, or not, I think the BUHS Board should green-light this plan for Tenney Field.
A restored grandstand and spruced-up diamond could lead to more baseball being played at Tenney Field. I can easily see the return of state or regional Babe Ruth tournaments, or seeing teams from the New England Collegiate Baseball League or Futures Collegiate Baseball League play their games in Brattleboro.
All it takes is some vision, and some cash.
Rec. Dept. hosts basketball camp
• The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department presents its “Hoop It Up” basketball camp for children entering first-grade through eighth-grade. The camp is scheduled for the week of June 24 through 28 and is held at the Gibson Aiken Center, 207 Main St.
The cost of the camp is $90.00 for Brattleboro residents and $105 for non-residents. For students in grades 1-4, the camp will run from 9 a.m. to noon and will focus on the development of motor skills, giving each child the opportunity to practice specific skills in a structured and fun setting.
Students in grades 5-8 will have their camp from 1 to 4 p.m., and will focus on the development of motor skills as well as opportunities to practice team skills in game situations. The camp is meant for boys and girls to improve their skills with ball handling, dribbling, passing, catching, and lay-ups.
Note that there is a maximum of 30 participants per age group, and each participant will receive a free t-shirt. For more information, visit the Rec’s page at www.brattleboro.org, “Like” them on Facebook, call 802-254-5808, or stop by the Recreation & Parks Department Office at 207 Main St.
Senior bowling roundup
• The standings after Week 7 of the spring/summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl shows The Great Lakes (26-9) still in first place with Team DDL (24-11) not far behind in second. Both teams had 5-0 weeks.
Team BDR and Team 5 (both 23-12) are tied for third, while Team JKL and Team MNR (both 19-16) are tied for fourth, followed by Stayin’ Alive (17-18), The Dentists (15-20), 3 Stooges (14-21), Stars & Strikes (13-22), and Tornadoes and Tres Amigos (both 10-25).
Debbi Kolpa had the women’s high handicap game (2410, while Beverly Middelstadt had the high handicap series (666). Jerry Dunham had the men’s high handicap game (251) and series (706), and Tornadoes had the high team handicap game (659), and series (1,918).
In scratch scoring, Dunham rolled games of 222, 209, and 188 for a 619 series. Wayne Randall had a 207 game as part of his 545 series, and Adams had a 192 game as part of his 505 series. Warren Corriveau Sr. rolled a 207 game and Peter Gilbert had a 177.
Carole Frizzell (487) had the women’s high series. Shirley Aiken had the women’s high game (182), while Doris Lake and Pat Bentrup both rolled a 173.