Last June, the Champlain Valley Redhawks and Brattleboro Colonels faced off at Centennial Field in Burlington for the Division I baseball championship.
The Redhawks ended the Colonels’ hopes for a title with a 13-0 rout in one of the most lopsided championship games since the state high school baseball tournament was first held in 1938.
Most of that team is back this season and CVU had to like their chances when they journeyed south to play the Colonels on May 5 at Tenney Field. But the Colonels wanted to avenge that embarrassing loss, and they did so with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the Redhawks.
Jackson Emery got the start for the Colonels, and when CVU struck for two runs on three hard hit balls in the top of the first inning, the first thought many Brattleboro fans had was “here we go again.”
“It was reminiscent of the last meeting, when we fell behind before fans could even sit down and enjoy their hot dogs,” said Brattleboro coach Chris Groeger, “but we were able to settle in and eventually go ahead.”
Emery did settle down, striking out the side in the second inning and pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning.
That bought some time for the Brattleboro offense to get it together, and they tied the game in the bottom of the third. Reed Sargent drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on an infield error. Zinabu McNeice then beat out an infield single and later scored on a groundout by Turner Clews.
Brattleboro then broke through in the fifth inning with three runs. With one out, McNeice walked and Willem Thurber singled to left. Both scored when Clews hit a double down the third baseline. A two-out single to right by Alex Carpenter got Clews home with what turned out to be the winning run.
CVU took advantage of a tiring Emery, who gave up RBI singles to Oliver Pudvar and Kyle Tivnan in the sixth to cut the Colonels’ lead to 5-4. Emery came out with two outs after throwing 116 pitches, four short of the maximum allowed per game.
With the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Thurber came in to pitch and Emery shifted to play third base. Sure enough, the first batter Thurber faced — Braedon Jones — hit a sharp line drive right at Emery, who snared it to end the inning.
The Redhawks had one more chance to win the game in the seventh. Ryan Canty led off with a single to center, but his pinch runner Colby Galipeau made a fatal error. He tried to steal second and Clews, the catcher whom his teammates call “Cowboy,” gunned him down with a strong throw to shortstop Alex Bingham.
“That throw was huge,” said Groeger. “It took the momentum away from them.”
Thurber then got Jared Anderson to fly out and struck out Robbie Fragola to end the game and get the save.
Brattleboro ended the week at 5-1, and Groeger said the win over the previously undefeated Redhawks proves that this edition of the Colonels has what it takes to make another run at a state title.
“[CVU] are the cream of the crop in the state and really have been for years, and they have had our number,” he said. “This makes up for stubbing our toes against Burr & Burton [a 5-1 loss on May 3]. I think we’re on the same level as Burr & Burton, and hopefully, we’ll play better the next time we see them.”
• Jamison Nystrom was the hero as Bellows Falls needed 10 innings to beat Hartford, 1-0, on May 3. On the mound, Nystrom went 10 innings for the win, striking out 12 and limiting the Hurricanes to just two hits. He also scored the game’s only run when he reached on a bloop single in the 10th and ultimately came home on a throwing error.
BF kept up the momentum with a 6-3 road win over Fair Haven on May 5. Base stealing, bunting, and taking advantage of fielding mistakes generated most of the Terriers’ offense as winning pitcher Jack Cravinho held the Slaters hitless for four innings and hung on the rest of the way. The Terriers ended the week at 6-3 and hold the No. 3 spot in the Division III standings.
• Liam O’Brian got the game-winning hit as Green Mountain edged Leland & Gray, 4-3, on May 2 in Chester. The Rebels fared no better the next day against Poultney, losing 13-5.
Leland & Gray bounced back with a 16-0 win over Mill River on May 5, but lost 10-1 to White River Valley on May 6 to finish the week at 3-7.
• Brattleboro shrugged off the rain on May 2 and rode a 13-strikeout effort by pitcher Leah Madore to beat Keene, N.H., 4-2, at Sawyer Field. Cynthia Velazquez went 2-for-3 and Brittney Wright hit a home run to lead the Colonels’ offense.
The next day, the Colonels rolled to an 18-0 win over Burr & Burton to finish their week with a 4-3 record.
• Leland & Gray scored eight runs in the fifth inning to finish off Green Mountain in a 15-1 rout on May 2 in Chester. Anna Greenwood went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in three runs to lead the Rebels, and winning pitcher Kristen Lowe struck out four batters as the Chieftains stranded 10 baserunners.
Poultney then turned the tables on Leland & Gray when they drew 15 walks and got six hits on the way to a 23-10 win over the Rebels on May 3 in Townshend. The Blue Devils took an 8-0 lead in the first inning and cruised from there.
• Savannah Sylvester, Natalie Noyes, and Hailee Henslee all had three hits and combined for 10 RBIs as Bellows Falls rolled over visiting White River Valley, 13-1, on May 2. Izzy Stoodley and Aliyah Farmer split the pitching duties and combined to hold White River Valley to just six hits.
BF then won a pair of road games, defeating Leland & Gray, 12-4, in Townshend on May 5, and beating Springfield, 11-9, in eight innings under the lights on May 6 to finish the week at 5-4.
• Twin Valley dropped a pair of games to Mill River on May 7 in North Clarendon. The first game, which was set to be the completion of an April 28 game in Whitingham that was suspended with the Minutewomen in front, 24-19, ended up not needing to be played. It turned out the teams had played the required number of innings for it to be considered a completed game, so Mill River got the win.
With a victory in hand, Mill River again beat the Wildcats, 23-13. Going into the Mill River doubleheader that wasn’t, winless Twin Valley had lost to Woodstock, 14-0, on April 30, and to Burr & Burton, 14-2, on May 5.
• The Brattleboro girls are still searching for their first win. On April 30, Rutland held the visiting Colonels scoreless in the second half on the way to a 16-3 win. With losses last week to Woodstock (14-5 on May 3) and Burr & Burton (20-4 on May 5), the Colonel girls now have a 0-7 record.
• The Brattleboro boys came close to getting their first win of the season on May 4, but fell just short in an 8-7 loss to Keene, N.H., at Natowich Field to end their week at 0-6.
• Leland & Gray keeps rolling. On May 3, the Rebels beat Long Trail School, 14-8. Jackson Fillion led the way with four goals and Trevor Hazelton and Andrew Tolbert each had five assists. On defense, Hazelton and Tolbert had seven and six blocks, respectively.
• The Brattleboro boys swept Mount Anthony, 7-0, on May 3 in Bennington. Nathan Kim, Max Naylor, Will Taggard, Ty Smith, and Ben Luna all won their singles matches, as did the doubles teams of Elias Gradinger and Jackson Heller and Ben Berkson-Harvey and Darren Paquette.
• The Brattleboro girls got swept, 7-0, by Mount Anthony on May 3, as the Colonels had to forfeit two singles matches and one doubles match due to a lack of players.
• Brattleboro pulled out 38-34 win over Springfield in the regular season finale on May 4 at the BUHS gym. Seniors Justin Wegiel, Kyle Simuro, and Robert Chaffee were all honored before the game.
Senior Center Tennis Group continues
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department and the Brattleboro Senior Center continues to offer Senior Tennis on every Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 to 11 a.m. for anyone 55 years old and older.
This program will be held at the Fred H. Harris Tennis Courts at Living Memorial Park. This is a freelance program with no instruction, no officials, and no participation fee. Participants must have their own equipment. All abilities are welcome.
If there are special needs required for this program, or more information is requested, call program leader Ruth Lane at 802-254-6772, or contact Sarah Clark at the Brattleboro Senior Center at 802-257-7570 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace Cottage in running for a Red Sox Foundation grant
• If you’re a fan of Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital in Townshend, you can help them win a $10,000 grant from the Red Sox Foundation.
Every year the Red Sox Foundation IMPACT Awards give Red Sox fans (and others) the opportunity to nominate their favorite nonprofits in all six New England states. Grace Cottage was one of the many organizations nominated and they’ve been selected as one of the finalists chosen for Vermont, in recognition of their work to raise awareness and to improve mental health outcomes in the West River Valley community.
There are just five finalist organizations in each state. From these, a first ($10,000), second ($3,000), and third ($2,000) place winner will be chosen, based on the number of votes received. You and anyone you know can vote once a day, every day, from now until May 31, so if you want to see the Red Sox give a big check to Grace Cottage, cast your votes at www.redsox.com/IMPACT.
Senior bowling roundup
• The summer 2022 season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl began on May 5 with eight teams. The Keglers, Good Times, and the Number 1’s (all 5-0) started the new season undefeated, followed by Angus & Company (4-1), and The Anythings, Trash-O-Matic, The Strikers and Stayin’ Alive (all 0-5)
Sally Perry had the women’s high handicap game (227) and series (636). Marty Adams had the men’s high handicap game (279), while Chuck Adams had the high handicap series (697). Angus & Company had the high team handicap game (858), while The Keglers had the high handicap series (2,479).
In scratch scoring, Chuck Adams led the men with a 606 series with games of 257, 223, and 217. Marty Adams had a 623 series with games of 256 and 189, while Robert Rigby had a 616 series that featured games of 237, 192, and 187.
Stan Kolpa had a 522 series with a 203 game, Duane Schillemat had a 518 series with games of 184 and 182, and Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 513 series with a 192 game. Fred Bump rolled a 203 game and Jerry Dunham had a 183 game.
Josie Rigby had the women’s high scratch game (171), while Nancy Dalzell had the high scratch series (460). Shirley Aiken had a 168 game and Sally Perry rolled a 161 game.