Considering the seasons that their teams had, it was almost a no-brainer for the Marble Valley League to award Coach of the Year honors in Division A to Brattleboro baseball coach Chris Groeger and Brattleboro softball coach Kelly Markol.
Both Groeger and Markol have won this award numerous times. But both coaches will tell you that it was the players that were responsible for the success both teams achieved this season.
Groeger has been the Colonels’ baseball coach since 1999, when Brattleboro won the state championship in his debut season. They had a good shot at going for another championship this season, but were upset in the quarterfinals by Rice to finish the season at 16-2.
The Colonels are losing three key players to graduation — shortstop Soren Pelz-Walsh, pitcher and second baseman Tommy Heydinger, and pitcher and third baseman Sawyer Olson. All three were selected to the Marble Valley League’s All-League team in Division A.
Markol has led the Colonels’ softball program since 1998. Brattleboro was vying for its third straight state title, but lost to BFA-St. Albans in the semifinals.
This was a rebuilding year for Markol, and she’ll have even more rebuilding to do in 2013. She loses shortstop Mary Richardson, third baseman MacKenzie Bover, and reserves Kalee Graham, Erin Gendreau and Bridie Carmichael to graduation, and sophomore catcher McKinlie Carpenter is moving out-of-state.
The Marble Valley League also announced its All-League teams, and several local players were selected.
Bellows Falls had three selections to the Division B baseball team — Jeremy Kilburn, Cooper Long and Zach Rawling — while Leland & Gray saw Brandon Reilly selected. Twin Valley’s Dal Nesbitt and Colin Lozito were named to the Division C team.
On the Division A softball team, Bratttleboro pitcher Kayla Wood, a junior, was joined by teammates Richardson and Carpenter.
Local track stars shine at New Englands
• Brattleboro and Bellows Falls both sent up sizable contingents to the New England Track and Field Championships, held June 9 at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.
Senior Jacob Ellis wrapped a stellar season for the Colonels with a second place finish in the 800 meters in 1 minute, 55.22 seconds. He also anchored the 4 X 400 relay team of Paxton Reed, Alec Silver and Austin Nichols to a season-best time of 3:36.21 for 24th place. That time was second only to St. Johnsbury for Vermont teams at the meet.
Bellows Falls had six athletes at the New Englands. Joe Aslin launched the javelin 147 feet, 5 inches, while John Punger ran the 400 meters in a time of 53.12, Enny Mustapha threw the shot 31-0.25, Brit Moyna completed the 100 meter hurdles in a personal best time of 16.92, and TJ Bernier finished with two personal bests with a 16.17 in the 110 meter hurdles and a 41.75 in the 300 hurdles.
The Austine School’s Greta Pellerin competed in the javelin and placed 30th with a throw of 94-08.
• Approaching the midpoint of the Connecticut River Valley Baseball League season, the Claremont Cardinals and Keene Black Dawgs are tied for first place at 6-2. The Chester Crush are a half-game out of first at 5-2.
The Crush played host to the Cardinals on Sunday with first place on the line, and the Cardinals ended up crushing Chester, 16-2. Keene moved into a tie with the Cardinals thanks to a 10-5 over the last place Ludlow Athletics on Saturday night.
In other Sunday ganes, the Putney Fossils traveled to Newport, N.H., to take on the Polar Bears, and Newport came out on top, 8-7, to move into a tie with the Walpole Sky Blue for third place at 4-4.
The Saxtons River Pirates split a doubleheader Sunday at Vermont Academy. In the morning, they lost to the Brattleboro River Rats, 2-1. In the afternoon, they beat Walpole, 8-5.
The Crush are off this weekend while Claremont hosts Brattleboro at 11 a.m. this coming Sunday at Barnes Park. Ludlow and Saxtons River will play a doubleheader on Saturday at Black River High School in Ludlow beginning at 2:30 p.m. On Sunday, Putney hosts Walpole at 10 a.m., and Keene is in Newport for an 11 a.m. start at Bates Memorial Field. For more information, visit www.crvbl.org.
• Going into this week’s games in the Brattleboro Area Men’s Softball League, the Brattleboro Elks were undefeated at 6-0 in Division 1. Fletcher’s Auto is in second place at 4-1, followed by the Moose (3-4) and Sportsmen’s Lounge/Hotel Pharmacy (0-7).
Roadhouse Bar & Billards leads Division 2 with a 6-3 record. In Pursuit 365 is in second at 4-4, followed by Zooters/Green Mountain Creamery (3-4), and Westmoreland Auto (2-5).
Hescock Lawn Care started the week undefeated at 8-0 in Division 3, with VFW and Newton Business tied for second at 7-2, and Aerodyne in third at 6-3. GSP Coatings is in fourth at 5-4, followed by GS Precision (4-5), MT3/DJ’s/Goodenough (3-5), Marina/DMI (3-6), W&B Maintenance (1-8), and Stark Outdoors (1-10).
Falvey Pools leads Division 4 with a 8-1 record. Mocha Joe’s is in second at 6-3, while Frankie’s Pizza/McNeill’s Brewery is in third at 4-2 and the Firefighters and Tony Farnum Construction are tied for fourth at 4-3. Twin State Auto is in fifth at 4-4, followed by UNFI (4-6), Chelsea Road (3-6) and Brattleboro Family Health Care (0-9).
• The Brattleboro Area Women’s Softball League will have a bake sale to raise money for the league on Saturday, June 23, at the Vermont Welcome Center in Guilford.
Baked goods can be dropped off at the Welcome Center starting at 7:30 a.m., or bring baked goods Friday to Lisa at Pepsi on Putney Road from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., or to Deb at Corum, Mabie Law Office, 45 Linden St., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact Lisa at 802-254-6551 or Deb at 802-258-7742 for more information.
• The sixth annual Brattleboro Men’s slow-pitch softball double elimination tournament will be held Aug. 24-26 in Brattleboro and Putney. The non-refundable entry fee is $225. For more information, contact Mike Barre at 802-376-3400. The registration deadline is Aug. 12, or when there are 24 teams.
Sign up for July 4 Firecracker race
• The Bill Powers Memorial Firecracker 4-Miler is a 4-mile point-to-point race held on July 4 that begins at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro, travels through downtown Brattleboro and ends at the town Common. Each mile is marked. There is one water station at Mile 2. Water and light refreshments are provided at the finish.
There are prizes for the male and female overall winners, and the winner of each age group (1-12, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-plus).
The entry fee is $10 if you pre-register online at www.baystateevents.com/search/event.aspx?id=11998 before July 3, and $15 on race day. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 9:15 on race day at Living Memorial Park. For more information, contact race director Donna Smyth at 802-257-2015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.