The Bellows Falls Terriers girls’ softball team could have ended their season last week, and everyone would have understood.
The pain of losing a teammate, suddenly and tragically, is a lot to ask a high school athlete to deal with. But the players chose to honor the memory of Jada Spaulding and continue their season in her memory.
On April 30, before the start of their game against the Leland & Gray Rebels, the Terriers stood in the middle of their home diamond for a brief pre-game ceremony for Spaulding.
Spaulding, a sophomore who was the team’s starting second baseman, was killed in a motor vehicle crash in Putney on April 25. She was 16, and social media last week was filled with an outpouring of words and pictures, and memories and condolences for her family.
Just two days after her death, the Terriers had a scheduled road game against Mill River. They played that game, and won 40-14. According to BF coach Don Laurendeau, there was no doubt that the team would continue their season.
“The girls got together and decided they wanted to play the rest of this season in memory of Jada,” he said. “We know that she would want us to play hard and to keep playing the game that we all love.”
There were tears as teammates Abby Joslyn and Emma Graham stood in front of second base and spoke to the fans before taking on the Rebels.
“She was kind, loving, compassionate and always wearing a smile that would light up any room. Her infectious laugh could make even the worst of days better,” said Joslyn in her pre-game speech. “Knowing Jada would want the games to go on, we plan to finish out the rest of our softball season with Jada in our hearts and never forgetting the energy and love she brought to this team.”
Once the game began, the Terriers were determined to win the game for Jada. And they did, with a stirring 11-7 victory over the Rebels.
It wasn’t the most elegant of games, as there were more than a few lapses in the field and on the base paths for both teams.
Ansley Henderson and Hannah Landers scored on passed balls, which gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but BF got three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Graham hit an RBI double; she and Taryn Darrell both scored on passed balls. Leland & Gray took back the lead in the second when Mary Sanderson and Hannah Greenwood both walked and both scored on a fielder’s choice by Catherine Shine and a sacrifice fly by Henderson.
Trailing 4-3, the Terriers rallied back as Natalie Noyes and Alysssa Leonard both doubled and Jenna Dolloph and Graham drew walks. All four crossed the plate to give BF a 7-4 lead. Then the Rebels chipped away at the lead again. They got a run in the third when Makaila Morse reached on an infield single and scored on a passed ball. They could have gotten more, but the bid was squelched when Joslyn and Riley Haskell teamed up on a double play to end the inning.
Leland & Gray got two more runs in the fourth when Henderson walked and Ainsley Meyer singled and both scored to tie the game, 7-7. But BF was not going to lose this one. They got four runs in the sixth inning as Leonard, Dolloph, Savannah Sylvester, and Graham all scored.
Aliya Farmer, who came on in the fifth inning to relieve Darrell, the starting pitcher, retired the Rebels in order in the top of the seventh to nail down the win.
“Jada would be proud of our effort,” said Laurendeau after the game. “She would have been right there against the fence, yelling and screaming for us.”
And he and his team will definitely miss Spaulding.
“She brought a lot of energy and she was one of our best players. She could stroke the ball,” Laurendeau noted. “Everybody wanted to be around her. She loved the game, loved being around her teammates, and was respectful and smart.”
Haskell, a ninth-grader, was asked to take over at second base. As she told the Claremont Eagle Times last week, it was an easy decision to step up for her friend and teammate. “I put my emotions aside and played for her,” she said.
The Terriers ended a tumultuous week with a 3-1 record and are near the top of the Division III standings. The rest of the season will not be easy, but they will get through it, backed by the love and support of so many.
“I will remember [Jada] as a teammate, and teammates are family,” said Graham in the pre-game ceremony. “We will have our ups and downs but, in the end, we have each other to lean on. This team is stronger than anything, and that bond is unbreakable.”
• Brattleboro pitcher Zinabu McNeice helped the Colonels open their season on a high note by striking out eight batters while walking three and scattering six hits over seven innings as they beat Green Mountain, 8-1, on April 26 at Tenney Field.
“I thought he did a great job. He was consistently getting ahead of hitters,” said coach Chris Groeger of McNeice. “I thought ‘Z’ had some extra velocity. I noticed that when he was warming up before the game.”
Reid Hrykiewicz had two hits and drove in the only run in the game for Green Mountain in the first inning. Jack Boyle also had two hits for the Chieftains. Losing pitcher Ty Merrill pitched four innings and struck out five.
Jack Pattison went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the Colonels’ offense, which pounded out nine hits. Brattleboro tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first thanks to singles by Aaron Petrie, Pattison and Alex Kurucz.
In the second inning, the Colonels pulled away when McNeice got a hit, Greg Fitzgerald smacked an RBI double, and Pattison delivered a two-run single for a 5-1 lead. From there, McNeice cruised on the mound as GM’s hitters had a tough time dealing with his offerings.
The Colonels kept on hitting on April 30 as they rallied for nine runs in the fifth inning to beat Burr and Burton, 13-1, at Tenney Field. Pattison went 4-for-4 with a grand slam for the 2-0 Colonels, who finished with eight hits. Winning pitcher Alex Bingham went all five innings for the win, allowing just two hits.
• Leland & Gray swept a doubleheader at Proctor on April 24. Winning pitcher Kristian Pierson struck seven batters in 8-4 victory in game one. Riley Barton and Ethan Cutts had three hits apiece, while Dylan Greenwood had two hits. In the nightcap, Parker Richardson was the winning pitcher as the Rebels rallied from a 4-1 deficit to a 15-6 victory.
• Bellows Falls blanked Mill River, 17-0, on April 27 in North Clarendon. Matt Hayes struck out 10 and gave up just one hit to pick up the win. Jamison Nystrom and Ethan Kelly each hit home runs, Grady Lockerby added a triple, and Colton Baldasaro, Dom Kendall, and Nystrom all hits doubles. Jack Burke, Jack Cravinho, and Nystrom each scored three runs for the 2-3 Terriers.
• Brattleboro bounced back from losing its opener to Lyndon with a 12-0 win in five innings over Burr & Burton at Sawyer Field on April 30. Winning pitcher Leah Madore threw a no-hitter, with nine strikeouts and two walks. Madore did equally well at the plate by going 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Taylin Bauer and Alexa Kinley each had a hit and drove in two runs for the 1-1 Colonels.
• Twin Valley lost on the road to Poultney, 25-4, in a five inning game on May 1. The Wildcats gave up 15 hits, including a pair of home runs, in the loss. Hannah Sullivan was the losing pitcher, and Jaylen Crawford and Rita Messing got the only two hits of the game for the Wildcats. The two teams will meet again in Whitingham on May 6.
• Bellows Falls defeated visiting Brattleboro, 5-2, on the Hadley Field courts on April 24. Haley McAlister, Anya Taylor, Ariana Wunderle, and Madison Moraney each won a singles match for the Terriers, while Emma Perkins and Kathleen Dole added a win in doubles play.
Brattleboro’s two wins came from Clara Seymour in No. 2 singles and Lauren Stockwell and Maxine Hlavaty in No. 2 doubles.
• The Brattleboro boys defeated Burr & Burton, 5-2, on April 30. Nathan Kim, Ben Luna, Leo Bodett, and Abe Moore Odell were the singles winners for the Colonels, while Jackson Heller and Ben Berg were victorious in doubles play.
Track & Field
• Both the Brattleboro girls’ and boys’ teams swept their respective meets against host team and runners-up Springfield, and third-place Leland & Gray on April 24.
In the girls’ meet, Brattleboro’s Alina Secrest won the 100 and 200 meter sprints and ran in the 4x100 and 4x400 relay races, which the Colonels both won. Ava Whitney (400 and long jump) and Fiona Kidder (100 hurdles and 300 hurdles) each won two events, and Sylvie Normandeau (800), Katherine Normandeau (1,500) and Montana Frehsee (shot put) each notched a win.
In the boys’ meet, Brattleboro’s Finn LaMorder won the 100 and ran in the 4x100 and 4x400 relay races, which the Colonels swept. Magnus vonKrusenstiern won the 400 and 800 and was part of the winning 4x400 foursome. Tenzin Mathes captured the 1,500 and Nolan Holmes won the 3,000.
Hunter Fillion (200 and discus) and Liam Towle (110 hurdles and 300 hurdles) won their events to lead the Leland & Gray boys, while Kate Petty was the runner-up in the 100 and 300 hurdle events to lead the Rebel girls.
In a home meet on May 1, both the Brattleboro teams finished second against Thetford and Woodstock.
Sean von Ranson (200), vonKrusenstiern (400), Nolan Holmes (3,000) ,and Alexander Shriver (110 hurdles) all won an event for the Colonels boys, as did the 4x100 relay team of Benjamin Kowalski, Jacob Girard, LaMorder and von Ranson and the 4x800 quartet of Sam Freitas-Eagan, Mathes, vonKrusenstiern, and Holmes.
Sylvie Normandeau led Colonels girls with wins in the pole vault and discus, and swept the relays, with Caitlin Lonardo, Priya Kitzmiller, Secrest and Sylvie Normandeau winning the 4x100, and Katherine Normandeau, Sadie Mills, Montana Frehsee and Whitney winning the 4x800.
• The Bellows Falls girls’ and boys’ teams both defeated Green Mountain, White River Valley, and Sharon Academy in a multi-team meet at Hadley Field on April 23.
Elijah Ghia won the 800 and 1500 and was part of BF’s winning 4x400 relay team (along with Owen LaRoss, Mack Ross, Devon Porier). LaRoss also prevailed in the shot put and discus, and Tylar Stanley took the 300 hurdles. Harrison Gleim was second in the javelin, 100, and triple jump.
Stephanie Ager (1,500, 3,000) and Maya Waryas (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) each won two events for the BF girls. Ashlynn Boucher, who helped the hosts win the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, finished first in the pole vault. Breanna Stockman added a javelin victory.
• In another home meet on April 30, the Bellows Falls teams got another sweep, this time over Windsor and Hartford.
Ghia (800, 1500) and Stanley (300 hurdles, pole vault) each won a pair of events for the BF boys. LaRoss finished first in the discus, while Luke Parker-Jennings added a victory in the high jump. Stockman took the javelin, discus and shot put to lead the BF girls. Boucher (triple jump and pole vault), Waryas (100 hurdles and 300 hurdles) and Ager (800 and 1,500) were also winners.
Grace Bazin contributed with a victory in the long jump, Ava LaRoss prevailed in the high jump competition, and the BF girls also triumphed in the 4x400 relay (Molly Hodsden, Eryn Ross, Ager, Boucher).
BOC Consignment Sale set for May 8
• Due to COVID-19, it’s been two years since the Brattleboro Outing Club has been able to hold its Paddling Program fundraiser; the annual Consignment Sale of canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, SUPs, small sailboats, and related boat & car-top gear.
This year, the BOC event returns on Saturday, May 8, in Brattleboro, from noon to 2 p.m., at the corner of Western Avenue and Spruce Street. It will be held outdoors, with masks and physical distancing, on the lawn at Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors.
The sale is being held, rain or shine. Craft will be accepted for the sale on Friday, May 7, from noon to 2 p.m., and 5 to 7 p.m., and May 8 from 8 to 11 a.m. The drop-off site is on Spruce Street. No motors or motorboats will be allowed.
Prospective buyers are welcome to browse on May 8 from 11 a.m. to noon. In the event two or more “buyers” are interested in the same craft, a mini-auction will take place. Since this is a fundraiser, the highest bidder gets the boat. Only cash and local checks will be accepted for payment.
For the first hour, boats are sold at, or above, the asking price. After that, boats will be available for a negotiated price. All sales are final. Donations of craft and gear will be accepted. All purchased and “left-over” craft must be removed by 3 p.m. For more information, contact Larry McIntosh at 802-254-3666 or Lmacyak@gmail.com.
Senior bowling roundup
• After a lengthy hiatus due to COVID-19, the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League resumed competition with six teams at Brattleboro Bowl on April 29. Team 5 finished the first week at 5-0, with Team 1 and Team 3 (both 4-1) tied for second, followed by Team 2 and Team 4 (both 1-4), and Team 6 (0-5).
In week 4 play, Doris Lake had the women’s high handicap game (246) and series (661). Stan Kolpa had the men’s high handicap game (239) and Fred Bump had the high handicap series (641). Team 4 had the high team handicap game (873), while Team 1 had the high handicap series (2,516).
In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby had games of 222 and 214 to complete a 605 series to lead the men. Warren Corriveau Sr. rolled a 187 and 227 in his 586 series. Chuck Adams had games of 220 and 200 in his 579 series, while Carl Head had a pair of 187 games in his 531 series. Bump rolled a 187 as part of his 503 series, and Pete Cross had a 181 game.
Josie Rigby rolled a 202 as part of her high scratch series of 530 to lead the women in week 1. Nancy Dalzell had a 187 game as part of her 504 series, and Shirley Aiken rolled a 181.