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There was a show of hands for Leland & Gray senior left fielder Hannah Landers as she was introduced during Senior Day ceremonies in Townshend on May 26.

Sports

A mixed Senior day for Rebels as softballers are upset by Wildcats

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.

The Senior Day game is a tradition at local schools. Usually held on the final home game of the season, it’s the chance to recognize the 12th-graders and their families with thank yous and floral bouquets.

On May 26, Leland & Gray put a bit of a twist on the tradition, and recognized the seniors on three of the school’s teams playing this spring in one fell swoop.

With so many of Leland & Gray’s track & field team playing on the ultimate disc team, athletic director and softball Tammy Clausen was able to take care of two teams with one ceremony before the Rebels’ ultimate disc game with Long Trail School.

Seniors Peter Broussard, Emma O’Brien, Nick Petronic, Kate Petty, and Andrew Tolbert were recognized for doing double duty on the Rebels’ track and ultimate squads. Hunter Fillion, James Johnson, Mykah Meizis, and Raena Sanderson were honored for their efforts on the track team, while Warren Roberts earned honors for being on the ultimate squad.

The Rebels’ softball team was on hand for that ceremony, then they walked down the hill for their Senior Day ceremony to honor seniors Ansley Henderson and Hannah Landers before for their game with the White River Valley Wildcats.

Not only were the Leland & Gray athletes recognized, but Clausen made sure the seniors on the visiting teams were honored too. It was a nice touch of sportsmanship and class from “Rebel Nation.”

But when their respective games began, it was all business for the Rebels. While the Rebels beat Long Trail, 11-6, in the ultimate game, the softball team was not as fortunate, as the Rebels fell to the Wildcats, 12-9.

The result was a bit of a surprise, considering the Rebels beat WRV, 26-5, three weeks earlier, but not totally surprising, considering Leland & Gray was in the midst of a brutal five-games-in-six-days stretch to end the regular season.

The Rebels led 3-1 after one inning on RBI singles by Samantha Morse, Catherine Shine, and Landers. But the Wildcats rallied with five runs in the second inning on three walks, one hit batter, two singles and an error to take a 6-3 lead.

Shine drove in another run in the Rebels’ second, but WRV got another run in the fourth for a 7-4 lead. Leland & Gray then tied the game in the bottom of the fourth as a couple of throwing errors and a double by Kristen Lowe allowed Ava LeCours, Landers, and Ruth Wright to score.

The Rebels loaded the bases in the fifth, but couldn’t score. WRV came up in the top of the sixth and broke the game open by scoring four runs with just one hit. Walks by Lowe, who relieved starting pitcher Mary Sanderson, and passed balls did the rest.

While the Rebels got two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a throwing error, they could not finish the comeback.

If the loss to White River Valley was frustrating, the worst was yet to come. On May 28, they journeyed north to play Poultney in the morning and then play an afternoon game against Proctor. The day began with a 18-6 loss to the Blue Devils in five innings. Proctor then beat the Rebels 15-3 in six innings.

So how does a team that has beaten the likes of Bellows Falls, Green Mountain, and Springfield stagger across the regular season finish line with four straight losses and get mercy-ruled twice in the same day?

Clausen offered a simple answer after the loss to WRV. “When we have good pitching, good defense, and good hitting, we can win most games,” she said. “If we don’t play well in all three phases, we have a hard time winning.”

The good news for the Rebels is that they hung on for the No. 8 seed in Division III and will host No. 9 Randolph in a first-round playoff game on June 1 at 4 p.m.

Softball

• Brattleboro ended the regular season strong. Against Burr & Burton on May 25 at Sawyer Field, pitcher Leah Madore struck out 20 batters and threw a no-hitter as the Colonels rolled to an 8-0 win.

Her offense gave her plenty of support as Taylin Bauer and Logan Austin each had two hits and one RBI to lead the Colonels’ attack. Aliza Speno, Cynthia Velazquez, Lily Bingham, and Madore each had a base hit.

In the regular season finale against Rutland on May 27, the Colonels scored the winning run on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh for a 5-4 win. Madore threw a five-hitter in the victory, with 13 strikeouts.

Brattleboro earned the No. 8 seed in the Division I tournament with a 9-5 record. On May 31, they edged No. 9 North Country, 5-4, in a first-round playoff at Sawyer Field. They now head north to take on top-seeded BFA-St. Albans in the quarterfinals on June 3.

• Bellows Falls got the third seed in Division III with a 6-5 win over West Rutland on May 28. Aliyah Farmer went 2-for-2, and Jenna Dolloph and Grace Wilkinson each went 2-for-4 to lead the Terriers. Earlier in the week, the Terriers lost to Leland & Gray, 10-8, as the Rebels scored six runs in the second inning to take control of the game.

BF gets a bye into the quarterfinals, where they will host the winner of the May 31 first-round game between No. 6 Green Mountain and No. 11 Williamstown on June 4 at 4 p.m.

• Twin Valley ended their season with a 24-7 loss at Proctor on May 26. The Wildcats finished with a 0-9 record and will not play in the Division IV tournament.

Baseball

• At 11-4, Brattleboro earned the third seed in the Division I tournament. They will host the winner of the May 31 first-round game between No. 6 Rice and No. 11 BFA-St. Albans in a quarterfinal game at Tenney Field on Friday, June 3, at 4:30 p.m.

In the regular season finale on May 26, the Colonels lost to Rutland, 4-1. Zinabu McNeice, who has been playing mostly as a shortstop and left fielder this season, was the starting pitcher against Rutland and went the distance in the loss, giving up six hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

A day earlier, the Colonels got a 4-1 win over Burr & Burton as Jolie Glidden pitched a complete game four-hitter with five strikeouts and four walks. Turner Clews and Alex Carpenter hit RBI doubles, McNiece scored on a wild pitch and had a pair of hits, and Charlie Clark got a run in by drawing a bases-loaded walk.

• Bellows Falls clinched the second seed in the Division III tournament with a 12-4 record. They also got a free ride into the quarterfinals. They will host the winner of the first-round game on May 31 between No. 7 Windsor and No. 10 Vergennes on Friday, June 3, at 4:30 p.m., at Hadley Field.

After losing a close one, 4-3, to Hartford on May 24, the Terriers beat Mount Anthony, 4-3, in Bennington on May 27.

• Leland & Gray finished the regular season with a 5-10 record and was seeded 12th in the Division III tournament. They will face fifth-seeded Green Mountain in a first-round playoff game in Chester on June 1 at 4:30 p.m.

After starting the week with a 17-3 loss to Green Mountain on May 23, the Rebels beat Mount St. Joseph, 8-5, on May 24. The Rebels then lost to Woodstock, 9-2, on May 26 and lost to Springfield, 4-2, on May 27. In the Springfield game, Jeremy Graves hit a home run in the seventh inning to break up a bid for a no-hitter by Springfield’s Sam Presch. It was the only Rebels hit in the game.

Track & Field

• The state meets for the local track teams are this weekend. Brattleboro will be in the Division I meet at Burlington’s D.G. Weaver Athletic Complex on June 4, while Bellows Falls goes to Windsor High School for the Division III meet on June 4. Twin Valley and Leland & Gray will be in Manchester on June 3 for the Division IV meet.

• In the Southern Vermont League championship meet last week, the Leland & Gray boys placed eighth out of 12 schools in the B Division. Hunter Fillion was second in the javelin, third in the discus, and fourth in the shot put to lead the Rebels, while Lucky Lucchesi was eighth in the 1,500 meters for Twin Valley, which finished 12th overall.

The Leland & Gray girls finished 11th as Kate Petty was fourth in the triple jump and 100 meter hurdles, while Emma O’Brien was fourth in the 1,500.

• In the SVL’s A Division meet in Brattleboro last week, Bellows Falls finished second in the girls’ meet, with Brattleboro finishing third. Breanna Stockman (javelin), Laura Kamel (discus), and Stephanie Ager (1,500) finished first for the Terrier girls, while Isabella Lonardo and Ava Whitney had three wins each for the Colonels.

Lonardo swept the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and won the long jump, while Whitney took the high jump and the 400 and 800 meter runs and teammate Sylvie Normandeau added a victory in the pole vault.

Bratleboro was fourth in the boys’ meet as Michael Slade (800) and Miles Ackerman-Hovis (300 hurdles) each finished second in their events. Owen LaRoss gave Bellows Falls its lone victory in the discus.

• Many of the local standouts in the SVL meets competed in the Essex Invitational on May 28, which serves as a tune-up for the state meets and a qualifier for the New England championships later in June.

Normandeau led the Brattleboro contingent with a second place finish in the pole vault, clearing 2.66 meters. Lonardo was fourth in the 300 hurdles and Whitney was sixth in the 800. Ager led BF with a third place result in the 3,000, while Stockman was fourth in javelin and Laura Kamel was fourth in discus.

In the boys’ meet LaRoss was third in discus and Max Hooke was fifth in the high jump for Bellows Falls, while Fillion finished sixth in the javelin for Leland & Gray.

Tennis

• The boys’ state individual tournament was held at The Edge in Essex on May 28, and Brattleboro’s Nathan Kim made it to the finals. Kim won his semifinal match over Burlington’s Hugo Crainich 6-1, 6-2, and was defeated in the finals by Nick O’Donnell of Burr & Burton, who won the match 7-6, 6-2.

Ben Luna, and the the doubles teams of Max Naylor and Will Taggard, and Elias Gradinger and Jackson Heller also represented the Colonel boys in the tournament. Luna lost his singles match in the first round, while the Brattleboro duos both got as far as the quarterfinals before they were eliminated.

Brattleboro finished the regular season with an 8-5 record and the No. 8 seed in Division I. They will host ninth-seeded Rutland in a quarterfinal match on June 1 at the BUHS courts.

• The Brattleboro girls earned the No. 11 seed in the Division I tournament and lost to sixth-seeded Colchester, 7-0, in a first-round match on May 31.

• The Bellows Falls girls were seeded sixth in the Division II tournament and will face third-seeded Middlebury on June 2 at 3 p.m.

Lacrosse

• The Brattleboro girls had a 1-2 week to finished the regular season at 3-12. They will be sitting out the Division I playoffs.

After losing to Middlebury, 17-8, on May 23, the Colonels Iost to Burr & Burton, 16-5, at Natowich Field on May 26. Willow Romo led the Colonels with three goals. In the finale on May 28, the Colonels beat Stratton Mountain School, 15-7.

• After winning their first game on May 21, the Brattleboro boys ended the regular season with three straight losses to finish the season at 1-15. They were seeded 11th in the.Division II tournament, and will play sixth-seeded Mount Anthony in Bennington on June 1.

The Colonels opened the week with an 8-4 loss at Natowich Field to Northampton, Mass., on May 23, Mount Anthony then held Brattleboro to just 12 shots on goal and the visitors went on to win, 10-2, on May 25. In the finale at Hartford, the Colonels fell to the Hurricanes, 15-1.

Ultimate disc

• Leland & Gray earned the fifth-seed in the boys’ state ultimate tournament, and will host 12th-seeded Colchester (5-6) in a first-round game in Townshend on June 1 at 4:30 p.m.

In the May 26 win against Long Trail, Trevor Stillwagon had three goals, Ely White and Jackson Fillion scored twice, Petronic had a goal and two assists, and Tolbert, Fillion, and Trevor Hazelton each had two assists.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #666 (Wednesday, June 1, 2022). This story appeared on page C4.

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