Rain forced a very compressed first week of the Vermont high school playoffs. At the end of last week, there were three local teams that made it through to the semifinals — the Brattleboro softball and boys’ tennis teams and the Leland & Gray baseball team.
How compressed was last week’s schedule? There were 84 games played last Thursday statewide in Vermont, and several teams moved their Saturday games up a day to Friday to avoid another rainout on Saturday.
• The two-time defending state champs made it to the Division I semifinals as Brattleboro beat Champlain Valley and Mount Mansfield in the first two rounds.
Friday’s quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Mount Mansfield ended up as an uncomfortably close 4-3 win for the Colonels. Brattleboro had a 4-0 lead going into the sixth inning, but the Cougars rallied back.
Back-to-back RBI doubles by Colleen Davis and T’yana Cheney made it 4-2 in the sixth. In the seventh, Lizzie Armstrong then hit an RBI double to center to make it a one-run game. Then came the play of the game.
Mount Mansfield’s Chris Hallock hit a bouncer to the right side and BUHS second baseman Alyssa Bezanson threw over to first baseman Lou Lou Terwilliger for the second out. Armstrong was already around third and halfway down the line. She hesitated for moment, and then decided go for it. That hesitation was long enough for Terwilliger to fire the ball to catcher McKinlie Carpenter, who blocked the plate and slapped the tag on Armstrong to end the game.
Carpenter hit a two-run single in the second inning to give the Colonels the lead. Bailey Paige and McKenzie Bover each drove in a run in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. Pitcher Kayla Wood had seven strikeouts in the first four innings, and managed to hang on to pick up her ninth playoff win in nine tries.
Thursday’s playdown game was much less stressful. No. 14 Champlain Valley forfeited the game, meaning the Colonels got an extra day of rest for their showdown against Mount Mansfield.
The Colonels are scheduled to face second-seeded BFA-St. Albans on the road on Wednesday.
• No. 6 Green Mountain knocked third-seeded Leland & Gray out of the Division III playoffs with a 6-5 quarterfinal win in Townshend on Friday. Green Mountain starter Stephanie Knockenhauer gave up eight hits and struck out three to get the win.
In a playdown last Wednesday, Leland & Gray beat No. 14 Rice, 5-0. Rebels pitcher Nicole Sherman threw a no-hitter. Kiara Wilhite hit a two-run homer in the first, while Sherman had a RBI double in the third. Chelby Nystrom drove in a run with a single and Kori Griffin tripled and scored on a passed ball.
• No. 8 Twin Valley was scheduled to play in a Division III quarterfinal against top-seeded Peoples on Saturday, but the game got rained out and postponed to Monday. When the game finally got played, the Wildcats lost 15-7.
In a playdown played in Arlington last Wednesday, the Wildcats beat Enosburg, 3-2, for the school’s first-ever softball playoff victory. Savannah Nesbitt and Bit Aekus each had two hits for Twin Valley, while winning pitcher Kate Corey, who walked no one and struck out two batters, helped herself with an RBI single.
• The top seed in Division II, BFA-Fairfax, pounded No. 16 Bellows Falls, 15-0, on Thursday in a five-inning playdown game cut short by the 15-run mercy rule.
• The most dramatic game of the whole tournament came Friday at Tenney Field as Rice’s Tommy Fitzgerald drove in pinch-runner Sean Remillard with two outs in the top of the 10th inning to give No. 8 Rice an upset over top-seeded Brattleboro, 1-0, in a Division I quarterfinal.
Will Conroy pitched all 10 innings and held Brattleboro to just five hits to pick up the win. Sawyer Olson was the losing pitcher in relief of starter Tommy Heydinger.
It took three tries for the Colonels to get in their playdown game against No. 16 Spaulding. After rain washed out the game last Tuesday and Wednesday, the teams faced each other on Thursday and Brattleboro came out on top, 4-0. Heydinger needed only 62 pitches to throw a complete game two-hitter. Brattleboro ended its season at 16-2.
• Bellows Falls met the same fate as Brattleboro. The top-seeded Terriers ran into a tough pitcher in the quarterfinal round and were upset by No. 8 Fair Haven, 6-3, in a Division II game at Hadley Field on Friday.
Fair Haven’s Dan Brown struck out 11 and walked two in throwing a complete-game five-hitter for the win. Brown helped his cause with a pair of singles and a double.
Matt Marchica and Bruce Wells each went 2-for-2 for the Terriers, while Mike LaBeau added a two-run single. Cooper Long and Jeremy Kilburn split the mound duties for Bellows Falls, which finished with a 14-4 record.
The Terriers were nearly upset by No. 16 U-32 on Thursday, but pulled out a 3-2 win.
LaBeau went from goat to hero in the space of an inning. In the bottom of the sixth, he represented an important insurance run, but he was out at third due to a failed squeeze bunt. In the top of the seventh, LaBeau came into the game in relief of Kilburn with the tying run at second and U-32’s best hitter, Shane O’Neil, at the plate. He got the final two outs with a pick-off play and a groundout to preserve the win.
• Fifth-seeded Leland & Gray beat No. 13 Oxbow, 12-3, in a Division III quarterfinal on Friday. After giving up three runs in the first inning, Rebels pitcher Drew Barnum shut down the Olympians the rest of the way. He got plenty of run support as the Rebels scored six runs in their half of the first, and six more in the third. Brandon Reilly had a team-high three hits, while Riley Kenney and Barnum added two hits each. The trio combined for seven RBIs.
In a playdown last Wednesday, Leland & Gray beat No. 12 Windsor, 2-1. The Rebels got eight hits off losing pitcher Ethan Hill, but only had a pair of runs to show for it. Barnum and reliever Caleb Bristol split the mound duties.
The Rebels were scheduled to face top-seeded Northfield in the semifinals on Tuesday.
• No. 7 Twin Valley journeyed to second-seeded Rochester and lost a Division IV quarterfinal to the Rockets, 11-2, on Friday. The Wildcats’ lack of hitting and some mental errors in the field sealed their fate.
It took two days for the Wildcats to beat No. 10 Whitcomb, 9-7, in a playdown at Baker Field last Wednesday. Twin Valley took a 7-0 lead on Tuesday before rain stopped the game in the fourth inning. The weather was still lousy on Wednesday, but the two games managed to finish the game despite the rain, wind, and mud. Cade Nesbitt went 3-for-4 and Jason Moore went 2-for-3, each scoring a run. Sam Molner also went 3-for-4 and drove in a run. Dylan Johnson went 2-for-4.
• Sixth-seeded Mount Anthony took a 7-4 lead at the half and withstood a strong second-half comeback by Brattleboro as the Patriots upset the third-seeded Colonels, 10-9, in a Division I quarterfinal at Natowich Field on Friday.
Jeremiah Colbath tallied three goals and two assists to lead the Patriots, with goalkeeper Ben Faller stopping 14 shots by Brattleboro. Conner Elliott-Knaggs scored four goals for the Colonels. Sam Siegel had three assists and goalie Romello Lindsay made 18 saves.
The Colonels finished with a 12-5 record.
• Michaela Kiley scored four goal as fourth-seeded Champlain Valley defeated fifth-seeded Brattleboro, 12-8, in a Division I quarterfinal game in Hinesburg on Friday. Ava Myette and Maddie Rollins scored three goals apiece for Brattleboro.
• Sixth-seeded Brattleboro upset No. 3 U-32, 6-1, in a Division I boys’ tennis quarterfinal on Friday in East Montpelier.
The Colonels won all of their singles matches. No. 1 Isaiah Ungerleider won 6-1, 6-0 over Greg Asni, while No. 2 Jordan Davie-Stefanick beat Luke Larosa 6-4, 6-4. No. 3 Asa Lane rallied to beat Jake Fielder 2-6, 6-0, 10-7, while No. 4 Jordan Renouf outlasted Jordan Blais 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), and No. 5 Cuyler Cunningham came back to beat Austin McEathron 4-6, 6-2, 10-7. The No. 1 doubles team of Seth Marcil and Benson May beat U-32’s Andrew Toro and Sean Sinclair 6-1, 6-2.
The Colonels managed to get most of their playdown match against Burr & Burton in last Wednesday, with a rain-shortened 4-0 victory over the Bulldogs at the BUHS courts. Ungerleider beat Max Gomez 6-0, 6-3, in No. 1 singles, while Lane prevailed over Adis Muminovich 6-2, 3-6, 10-4 at No. 3, and Cunningham beat David Shehadi 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5. In doubles, Marcil and May finished with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Burr & Burton’s Noah Weatherald and Connor Pierce.
Brattleboro was scheduled to travel to Rutland on Tuesday to face the second-seeded Rutland Raiders in the semifinals.
• The fourth-seeded Rutland Raiders rolled over No. 13 Brattleboro, 6-1, in a Division I girls’ tennis playdown on Thursday. Libby Annis earned the lone Brattleboro victory at No. 5 singles, defeating Rutland’s Olivia Vitaglenio 6-1, 6-3. The Colonels finished with a 5-9 record.
Track and Field
• Brattleboro came in fifth overall in the Division I boys’ meet on Saturday in Burlington.
Jacob Ellis took the 800 by a hundredth of a second in 1 minute, 59.05 seconds, besting second place Dage Minors of St. Johnsbury. Ellis had a little more cushion in the 1,500, winning in 3:57.33 to set a new Division I record. He also ran in the 200 and came in fifth in 23.85 seconds, and ran in the 4 X 400 relay with Austin Nichols, Alec Silver, and Paxton Reed that finished fourth in 3:38.73.
Sam Kochinaskas cleared 5 feet, 10 inches to win the high jump. Other Colonels to finish in the top five included Andy Hale, who was second in the discus, and Reed, who was fourth in the triple jump at 38 feet, 7 inches.
• The Brattleboro girls finished 11th in their Division I meet. The only Colonel to place in an event was Ursula Casey, who was sixth in the triple jump.
• Greta Pellerin, a junior at the Austine School for the Deaf who practices with the BUHS team with coaches John Dimick and Paula Schultz, won first place in the javelin with a throw of 93 feet at a meet hosted by Green Mountain on May 23.
Pellerin has qualified to enter the New England meet in Saco, Maine this Saturday. Partnership with BUHS allows Austine students the opportunity to participate in track and field as well as other school sports not available at Austine.