It may be too soon to ask the question about whether the Brattleboro Colonels’ softball team can win their third straight state championship, but despite losing six seniors from last year’s team, it looks like all the pieces may be in place for another run at the title.
The biggest piece that the Colonels have is merely the best softball pitcher in the state. Kayla Wood was routinely dominent in leading the Colonels to the 2010 and 2011 championships, and the junior appears primed to add to her record of accomplishment.
The Colonels opened the season on April 7 in Dalton, Mass., against Wahconah Regional, a team that won the Massachusetts Division 2 title last year. Brattleboro prevailed in the battle of champions with a 7-1 victory.
Wood struck out nine, walked two, and gave up just three hits in earning the victory. The only run Wahconah scored came in the first inning.
Wood and Bailey Paige each had two hits and two RBIs, but the biggest hitting star was newcomer Daisy Giroux, who was a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Debuting as the Colonels’ No. 3 hitter, she went 3 for 5 with a single, a triple, and a home run, driving in two runs in the process. Rissa Smith and Lou Lou Terwilleger also got base hits.
Brattleboro followed that effort with a 6-1 win over Mount Anthony in Bennington on Friday. They scored those runs on only four hits, as Giroux singled and homered, and Terwilleger and Paige each added a base hit. Wood had to stay sharp, and did, as she threw a three-hitter for the win.
• If you’re not going to get a lot of hits, you’d better have good pitching. Brattleboro seems set in the pitching department, as Sawyer Olson turned in another strong performance for his second win of the season last Monday. Olson struck out eight batters and threw a one-hitter as the Colonels shut out Mill River, 3-0.
The Colonels got all the runs in the third inning as Kevin Paciulli hit a two-run single and Jamie Martell followed with an RBI double. Travis Beeman-Nesbitt went 2 for 2 with a walk and scored a run. Elliott Gragen also had a base-hit.
On Friday at Mount Anthony, the Colonels let a 4-0 lead slip away as the Patriots rallied to win, 5-4. Losing pitcher Tommy Heydinger threw well for three innings, but was rocked for five runs in the fourth inning. Olson pitched two innings of scoreless relief, but the Colonels could not get any more runs off MAU’s Tyler Kunzmann, who struck 12 in going the distance for the win.
Soren Pelz-Walsh, Martell, and Gragen all had a hit and scored for Brattleboro, now 3-1.
• Since losing their opener, Leland & Gray has won three straight games. The latest win was a 16-9 drubbing of Springfield last Monday. Brandon Reilly had a double and drove in two runs, while Caleb Bristol went 2-4 with an RBI and a triple. Darius Ladolce drove in three runs. Drew Barnum and Zach Wilkins split the pitching chores on a cool, rainy afternoon.
• Bellows Falls is also playing well to start the season. Last Wednesday, Jeremy Kilburn pitched a complete-game three-hitter and drove in the winning run as the Terriers beat Hartford, 3-2, at Hadley Field.
Kilburn struck out 6 and walked no one. The Terriers got just enough offense as Stewart Shaughnessy had a pair of hits, and Zach Rawling, Cooper Long, and Matt Marchica all hit safely.
BF saved all their offense for the end of their 6-2 win Friday over Green Mountain. The Terriers were hitless through the first five innings, but still managed to score three runs on walks and errors. They got their final three runs in the sixth inning to salt the game away. Rawling, Mike Hall, and Mike LeBeau all had hits in that inning. Long got the win on the mound as he threw a complete-game three hitter. BF finished the week at 4-1.
• Twin Valley continues to struggle. Last Tuesday, they lost to Mount St. Joseph, 19-4, in a five-inning game cut short by the 15-run mercy rule. They bounced back on Friday with a 9-4 win over Black River. Dal Nesbitt battled through five innings, but it was Sam Molner that got the win with two innings of relief. The Wildcats were scoreless until they got four runs in the sixth and five more in the seventh. They finished the week at 2-3.
• Leland & Gray let a 6-0 lead slip away as the Springfield Cosmos rallied to win, 7-6, in Townshend last Monday. Pitcher Nicole Sherman had 10 strikeouts, but walked 3 and gave up 7 hits.
The Rebels bounced back from that game last Thursday with a 14-0 shutout at Bellows Falls. Sherman threw a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts and 4 walks as she completely overmatched the Terriers.
Losing pitcher Emma Shaw struck out 10 batters, but the Terriers gave the Rebels too many chances with errors and mental mistakes. Shaw got the only hit off Sherman, a two-out single in the bottom of the first.
• Twin Valley scored early, and scored late, in holding off Mount St. Joseph, 11-7, last Tuesday. Pitcher Kate Corey struck out 7 and walked 4 in picking up the win; she also went 2-for-3 at the plate. Jordan Niles went 3-for-5, while Savannah Nesbitt went 3-for-4. Both scored 2 runs. Colton Butler and Christina Moore both went 2-for-3.
The Wildcats scored a bunch of runs, and gave up a bunch of runs in a wild 23-17 win over Long Trail last Wednesday. Nesbitt went 3-for-3, with a single, triple, and a home run to drive in 3 runs. Hannah Swanson and Ashley Dix also had 2 hits apiece.
Twin Valley finished the week on Friday with an 11-5 loss to Black River in Ludlow. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 4-1.
• Windsor beat Bellows Falls, 10-1, last Monday. Stephanie Green, Emma Shaw, and Chelsea Wilder all had 1 hit each for the Terriers.
• The Brattleboro boys fell to Rutland, 5-2, in a hard-fought match on April 9. The only wins came at No. 4 singles, where Jordan Renouf rallied after losing the first set 6-2 to take the second and third sets against Rutland’s Cameron Pierce, 7-6, 10-7, and No. 1 doubles, where Benson May and Seth Marcil beat Rutland’s Jake Piatek and Patrick Salisbury Jennings, 7-6, 6-2.
• The Brattleboro girls started their week with a 7-0 sweep of Springfield last Monday. Caroline Dinicola-Fawley and Hayley Ryan had easy wins in the No. 1 and No. 2 singles slots, while No. 3 Katie Tsukamoto and No. 5 Carly Emond had to work a little harder for their straight set victories.
The most competitive match of the day was at No. 4 singles, as Aiden Earley fought off two match points in the third set tiebreaker to beat Kiana Nelson 6-2. 3-6, 11-9. In doubles play, Jen Hutton and Anna Kerlin-Smith and Ali Fielding and Kasey Kidder both won their first matches of the season.
On Wednesday, the Colonels cruised past Otter Valley, 6-1. Dinicola-Fawley, Tsukamoto, Earley and Emond all won their singles matches in straight sets. The doubles teams of Hutton and Kerlin-Smith at No. 1 and Fielding and Kidder at No. 2 also won in straight sets.
It was Ryan’s turn to have the nail-biter match at No. 2 singles, as she battled and ultimately lost to Kate LaRock, 6-2, 2-6, 6-10.
The Colonels finished the week with a 4-3 win over Hartford on Friday at the BUHS courts. Tsukamoto battled her way to a win in the final match of the day to keep Brattleboro undefeated at 4-0. Dinicola-Fawley, Earley and Ryan were the other singles winners. Hartford swept the doubles matches.
• The Brattleboro girls traveled to Northampton, Mass., last Monday and lost, 8-5. Northampton scored three goals in the first 80 seconds of the game, and stayed in control the rest of the way. Ava Myette had one goal and two assists, while Maddie Rollins scored twice.
On Thursday in Woodstock, Rollins scored five goals to lead the Colonels to a 9-4 win. Becca Bird scored twice, Myette and Lizzie Clarke added a goal each, and Karley Fortier had two assists. The win evened the Colonels record at 2-2.
• The Brattleboro boys beat Mount Greylock, 10-7, at Natowich Field on Friday. Attacker Jon Thomson and midfielder Nik Rancourt led the Colonels with four and three goals, respectively. Rancourt also had two assists. Sam Siegel had two goals and an assist, and Conner Elliott-Knaggs also scored. Goalie Romello Lindsey made 19 saves.
Track and Field
• Brattleboro played host to Twin Valley, Springfield and Bellows Falls in their first home meet of the season last Thursday. The Terriers edged out Brattleboro to win the girls’ meet, while Brattleboro turned the tables on BF to win the boys’ meet.
Enny Musthapha was first in the shotput and the 200, and was third in the javelin to lead the Terrier girls. Other firsts included Brit Moyna in the 100 hurdles and pole vault (she was also second in the high jump), Kammie Crawford in the javelin, Daion James in the 100, Chapin Reese in the 400, and Chloe Boyce in the 300 hurdles.
Winners for the Brattleboro girls included Halie Lange (800 and 1,500), Rebecca Potter (3,000), Ursula Casey (triple jump), and Helen Manning (high jump).
Jacob Ellis led the Brattleboro boys with wins in 800 and 1,500, and ran the anchor leg for the victorious 4 X 400 relay team. Other winners included Sam Kochinskas (high jump), Trenton Fletcher (pole vault), Miles Goldenbird (discus) and Colin Owen (javelin).
Will Bourne won the 100 and 200 to lead the BF boys. Jacob Stoddard took the triple jump, Joe Aslin won the shot put, and Tim Jones won the 3,000.
BOC tennis classes begin May 1
• The Brattleboro Outing Club has many tennis camps and programs for both children and adults, starting May 1 and going through October. They have Quick Start tennis classes for young children ages 5-10 who are just beginning to learn tennis, and week-long summer camps for ages 8-17, which start when school lets out and go into August.
Tennis classes are held at the BOC tennis courts on Cedar Street in Brattleboro, and are open to the public. For more information, contact Pam Bolduc at email@example.com or call 802-387-2109. Scholarships are available.
Silent auction benefits Grace Cottage
• The Silent Auction portion of the Grace Cottage Hospital “Tee Up for Health” golf benefit is now open for bids from the public. The auction is open until June 10, the day of the golf benefit, which will be held starting at noon at Tater Hill Golf Club in Windham. Players are also welcome.
Among the prizes available through the Silent Auction are an African photo safari, an Oriental rug, a long weekend getaway on the Gulf Coast, a two-night stay in New York City, a day’s sail for four on the Mystic Whaler, a handmade quilt, exercise equipment, the chance to be named in an Archer Mayor mystery book, and more. To see the items and to bid, visit http://www.gracecottage.org/events_golf. For information, call 802-365-9109.