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Randolph T. Holhut/Commons file photo

Brattleboro guard Alana Bell, left, was instrumental in setting up her teammates for good shots in the Colonels’ 40-34 win over Middlebury in a Unified basketball playoff game on May 10 at the BUHS gym.

Sports

Terriers use ‘small ball’ to beat Rutland

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column for more than a decade and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at news@commonsnews.org.

Bellows Falls baseball coach Bob Lockerby loves to create offense by being aggressive on the base paths. Stealing bases, going from first to third on a well-hit ball, and the sacrifice bunt are all well-used tools in the Terriers’ toolbox.

When you have a young and offensively challenged team, such as what the Terriers have this season, executing this “small ball” strategy well is the difference between winning close games, and losing them.

Against Rutland on May 12 at Hadley Field, Lockerby saw one of his baserunners picked off, another thrown out attempting a steal, yet another caught in a rundown and tagged out, and still another baserunner cut down during an unsuccessful squeeze bunt.

“We pride ourselves on our bunting and base running,” Lockerby said. “We got a lot of guys who’ve never bunted before, but we haven’t given up on it.”

With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, you almost had to figure the Terriers would try to win it with a couple of well-placed bunts. This time, the strategy worked to perfection and BF walked off with a 6-5 win.

After giving up a pair of runs off a pair of errors and a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh, BF won the game when Jack Cravinho doubled to left field and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. That left it to Eli Allbee to lay down a perfect bunt to the first base side as Cravinho raced home to score the winning run.

“I told Allbee to do what he had been doing all day, which was putting the bat on the ball well,” Lockerby said. “After I saw him swing late, I just wanted him to put the ball in play with a bunt.”

Cravinho was the winning pitcher, throwing 123 pitches over seven innings, the absolute maximum allowed by Vermont’s rules. When Lockerby mentioned in the post-game interview how many pitches the senior had thrown in the game, Cravinho told his coach, “I could’ve thrown another 120.”

Probably not, considering how hard he worked on an 85-degree afternoon. He struck out 10, walked seven, and scattered three hits.

“Jack didn’t have great command today,” said Lockerby, noting how many times he got behind on the count against Rutland’s hitters. But Cravinho managed to get the job done, despite a couple of shaky moments, such as giving up a bases-loaded triple to Chaska Stannard to give Rutland a 3-1 lead in the third inning.

BF tied the game in the bottom half of the third on an RBI double by Allbee and a groundout by Peter Kamel that got another run in. The Terriers then took the lead in the fifth on an RBI single by Jeb Monier to center, and Allbee scored another run on a wild pitch in the sixth to give BF a 5-3 lead going into the eventful seventh.

Earlier in the week, Bellows Falls defeated Windsor, 11-2, on May 9 as winning pitcher Jamison Nystrom struck out eight batters and used his off-speed pitches to great effect. Patrick Barbour went 3-for-4, Nystrom had a pair of hits, and Monier, Cole and Jake Moore, Allbee, and Walker James each hit safely.

Nystrom got his second complete game victory of the week on May 14 in a 3-0 road win over Springfield. Nystrom struck out 10 batters and the BF defense preserved the shutout. Springfield gave up a pair of unearned runs and Allbee hit an RBI double for the Terriers.

The 3-0 week gave the Terriers a 9-3 record and the No. 3 ranking in the Division III standings. For a team that had only three varsity starters returning for this season, that record is a tribute to the hard work of the players and the patience of their long-time coach.

Baseball

• In a non-league game, Brattleboro blanked Stratton Mountain School, 8-0, at Tenney Field on May 9. Winning pitcher Jolie Glidden went the distance; he struck out 10 and gave up only two hits. Zinabu McNeice and Aaron Petrie drove in three and two runs, respectively, to lead the Colonels’ offense.

After the Colonels rolled over Hartford, 11-0, on May 12, Brattleboro got upset by Fair Haven on May 14. Winning pitcher Carson Babbie threw a complete-game two-hitter in a 9-0 win for the Slaters at Tenney Field. The Colonels are now 7-2 on the season.

• Leland & Gray was forced to cancel games with Proctor and Mount St. Joseph last week because of an outbreak of late-season flu mixed in with several positive test results for COVID-19. The Rebels’ record remains at 3-7, with five games left on their schedule.

Unified basketball

• Brattleboro was seeded third in the state Unified basketball playoffs and made it as far as the quarterfinal round.

In their first round game on May 10 at the BUHS gym, the Colonels defeated sixth-seeded Middlebury, 40-34. Forward Jeffrey White led the winners with a game-high 26 points, including 12 points in the decisive third quarter when the Colonels rallied from a 22-18 deficit.

Point guard Alana Bell set up several of White’s baskets with some deft passing. Guard Joanie Tuttle, another recipient of Bell’s passes, added eight points and was a rebounding force inside. Ashley Cleveland, Kyle Simuro, and Mario Day each scored two points. Nick Bakerian led Middlebury with 12 points, while Brittany Stone added 10 points.

Against second-seeded Mill River, the Colonels lost, 38-25, in North Clarendon on May 13. Matt Kennedy scored 14 points and Susan Benini added 12 points to lead Mill River. The Minutemen led by 13 at the half, thanks to a 14-point second quarter. White, a 6-foot-5 freshman, led the Colonels with 16 points.

Softball

• Brattleboro is starting to get it together at the right time. On May 11, the Colonels beat Hartford, 6-1. Against Fair Haven at Sawyer Field on May 14, Madore struck out 17 batters as the Colonels held on for a 5-4 win over the Slaters. It was the fourth straight victory for the 6-3 Colonels.

• Bellows Falls doubled up Green Mountain, 24-12, in six innings on May 10 in Chester. Hailee Henslee and Emma Thompson each had four hits and a combined 11 RBIs for BF, including Henslee’s three-run homer to center. Grace Wilkinson reached base five of the six times she batted and hit a double. Savannah Sylvester added two hits, three RBIs, and four stolen bases.

Abby Williams led the Chieftains with three hits, including a double.

After a 22-6 rout of White River Valley on May 12, the Terriers and Chieftains had a rematch in Westminster on May 14, and BF took advantage of several Green Mountain errors to pull out a 7-6 win. The Terriers ended the week at 8-4.

• The COVID-19/flu outbreak at Leland & Gray forced the softball team to cancel its games with Proctor and West Rutland. The Rebels had a 5-3 record, with seven games left to play.

• Twin Valley got beaten up twice by West Rutland. On May 10, the Wildcats lost 25-7 in five innings. Twin Valley was held to one hit, a triple by Olivia Bills. When the scene shifted to Whitingham on May 12, West Rutland rolled to a 40-1 win in a game stopped after four innings.

The winless Wildcats finished up the week with a 26-0 loss at Poultney on May 14. Twin Valley was held to just three hits.

Lacrosse

• The Brattleboro girls broke into the win column on May 12 with a 10-7 road victory over Keene, N.H. Willow Romo had eight goals for the Colonels, while Sophia Mikijaniec had a goal and two assists and Juliana Miskovich also scored. Goalie Raina Armour-Jones earned the win between the pipes.

On May 14, the Colonel girls suffered a 15-4 loss to Mount Anthony to drop their record to 1-8.

• The Brattleboro boys are still looking for their first win of the season. They lost to Stowe, 13-5, on May 10 and were defeated by Woodstock, 18-3, on May 14, to fall to 0-8.

Tennis

• The Bellows Falls girls beat Brattleboro, 5-1, at the Hadley Field courts on May 9. BF’s Grace Guild, Anya Taylor, Ariana Wunderle, and Kathleen Dole all won their singles matches in straight sets, and won a doubles match by forfeit.

At No. 1 doubles, Brattleboro’s Amelia Lafland and Ava Bark defeated BF’s Dani Robinson and Sapphire Joy 2-6, 7-5, 11-9.

It was the first win of the season for the Terrier girls. Brattleboro remains winless.

• The Brattleboro boys rolled to a 6-1 win over Hartford on May 9 at the BUHS courts. In singles play, Nate Kim, Ben Luna, Elias Gradinger, and Ty Smith all earned wins for the Colonels, while the doubles tandems of Ben Berg and Thomas Hyde and Eben Wagner and Jackson Heller were both victorious.

Against Burr & Burton on May 11, the Colonel boys eked out a 4-3 win. Max Naylor and Smith won their singles matches and the doubles duo of Gradinger and Heller prevailed. It took the second doubles tandem of Leo Bodett and Hyde to win their match 6-1, 6-4, to clinch the victory.

The winning streak ended with a 5-2 loss at Rutland on May 14. The Colonels ended the week with a 6-2 record.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 2 of the summer 2022 season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on May 12 saw Good Times and Angus & Company (both 9-1) tied for first, followed by The Keglers (6-4), The Strikers and the Number 1’s (both 5-5), Trash-O-Matic (4-6), and The Anythings and Stayin’ Alive (both 1-9).

Pat Bentrup had the women’s high handicap game (251) and series (692), while Jerry Dunham had the men’s high handicap game (237) and series (667). Stayin’ Alive had the high team handicap game (844), while Angus & Company had the high handicap series (2,472).

In scratch scoring, Robert Rigby led the men with a 651 series that featured games of 227, 213, and 211. Chuck Adams had a 635 series with games of 203, 223, and 201. Jerry Dunham had a 589 series with games of 198 and 180, while Charlie Marchant had a 538 series with an 182 game. Warren Corriveau Sr. also had a 538 series with games of 185 and 183. Fred Ashworth had a 516 series and Gary Montgomert had a 512 series with games of 183 and 181.

Bentrup had the women’s high scratch game (186), and series (491), while Pamela Greenblott rolled a 171 game.

The senior league will be on hiatus for the next few weeks due to renovations at Brattleboro Bowl.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #664 (Wednesday, May 18, 2022). This story appeared on page C4.

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