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Sports

Colonels reach Division I softball semifinals

The Brattleboro Colonels have reached the Division I softball semifinals for a fourth straight season.

And, for the fourth straight season, the Colonels have done so behind the arm of pitcher Kayla Wood, who didn’t give up a hit in Brattleboro’s first two playoff games last week.

Wood, a senior, has been flirting with a perfect game all season. On June 4 at Sawyer Field, everything came together for Wood and the Colonels as they rolled to a 15-0 win over No. 14 North Country in a Division I playdown shortened to five innings by the 15-run mercy rule.

Wood kept up her end by striking out eight, walking no one, and allowing no one to reach base. Her defense did its part with flawless fielding. At the plate, the Colonels slugged out 18 hits off losing pitcher Taylor Blake. Haley Struthers had four hits, including three doubles, to lead Brattleboro. Bailey Paige, Rissa Smith, and Alyssa Bezanson all added three hits each.

How do you top that effort? By throwing a no-hitter and getting the game-winning hit in a dramatic 1-0 victory over the BFA-St. Albans Comets in nine innings at Sawyer Field last Saturday.

Wood struck out 18 batters. The only Comets to reach base were Emilee Teague, who was struck by a pitch with two outs in the sixth to end Wood’s bid for a second straight perfect game, and Abi Fugere, who reached first on a leadoff walk in the eighth inning.

Comets pitcher Maria Machia was just as tough to hit. Struthers broke up her no-hitter with a single in the fifth inning. Machia struck out 13, walked five, and matched Wood in putting zeros up on the scoreboard until the fateful ninth inning.

Paige led off the inning with a walk. Daisy Giroux followed with a sacrifice bunt, but an errant throw by Comets first baseman Caitlin Abbott allowed her to reach second and moved Paige over to third. Smith struck out swinging, but Struthers drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Lou Lou Terwilliger struck out, and then it all came down to the matchup of the day — Wood versus Machia.

Squared off and ready, Wood flied out to center in the third, popped up to second in the fifth, and dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt in the eighth.

In the ninth, Wood worked the count to 2-1, then drove the ball to left-center against a drawn-in outfield to score Paige and set off a wild celebration at first base.

The two wins capped off a great week for Wood. Last Thursday, she learned that she was named the 2012-13 Gatorade Vermont Softball Player of the Year. The 5-foot-5-inch senior right-hander led the Colonels to a 13-2-1 record during the regular season. Despite being hampered by a back injury for a sizable chunk of the season, she compiled a 12-2 record with a 0.46 earned run average. She struck out 166 batters, walked 16, and allowed 51 hits in 106.2 innings pitched.

The Gatorade award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and character. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year Award, to be announced later this month.

Wood will be attending and playing softball for Castleton State College this fall. First there’s that unfinished business: delivering Brattleboro’s third state title in four years.

Lacrosse

• It was an afternoon and evening fit for neither man nor beast. But apparently it was fit for lacrosse players.

Last Friday’s heavy rains left Natowich Field a sodden mess, but the Brattleboro girls’ and boys’ lacrosse teams went ahead with their Division I quarterfinal playoff games — and walked away winners.

The No. 4 Colonel girls’ had the first half of the doubleheader against No. 5 Essex, and battled their way to a 8-7 win.

The game saw Brattleboro control the ball for most of the first half, but Essex had a 4-1 lead before Megan Siggins scored the first two of her three goals in the game, and Alex Fellows added another to make it a 4-4 game at the break.

Both teams traded goals until Hannah Lynde scored the game winner with three minutes left in regulation. Maddie Rollins scored a pair of goals for the Colonels, while Kathleen Young and Charlotte Stuart scored three goals each for Essex.

The No. 4 Colonel boys played the nightcap against No. 5 Middlebury, and Brattleboro prevailed, 11-9. Sam Siegel again had the hot hand with three goals and two assists to lead the Colonels.

Brennen Zolnoski, Tanner Freeman, and Conner Elliott-Knaggs each scored twice for Brattleboro. Devon Avery, Nik Rancourt, and Jake Castine scored one goal each.

Brattleboro led 6-2 at the half, but Middlebury went on a 4-1 scoring spurt to tighten things up at the second half. The Colonels clamped down on defense after that as Romello Lindsey made 24 saves in goal.

Connor Quinn rocketed in three goals to lead Middlebury, which also earned two goals apiece by Sam Usilton and Christian Higgins.

Softball

• As the top seed in Division III, Leland & Gray avoided a playdown game and went straight to the quarterfinal round, where the Rebels beat No. 9 Thetford, 9-6.

The Rebels trailed 4-1 after four innings, but rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead to stay. Pitcher Elizabeth Symanski had five strikeouts in the complete-game victory.

• No. 14 Bellows Falls traveled to No. 3 Vergennes, and the Terriers were subjected to a 29-0 beat-down on June 4 in a five-inning Division II playdown game cut short by the 15-run rule. Pitcher Dani Brown held the Terriers to one hit and helped herself by driving in four runs. BF finished the season at 4-13.

• No. 8 Twin Valley traveled to No. 9 Thetford and lost 15-4 in a Division III playdown on June 4. Shania Covey went three for five for Thetford with a triple, a homer and five RBIs. Abbi Putnam was the losing pitcher for the 4-13 Wildcats.

Baseball

• Fourth-seeded Leland & Gray opened with a 5-1 win over No. 13 Richford in a Division III playdown on June 4. The Rebels’ one-two pitching punch of Drew Barnum and Zach Wilkins combined for a four-hitter; Barnum struck out six, walked two, and allowed three hits over five innings to get the win. Wilkins went three for four at the plate, and Josh Donna was two for three.

The Rebels eked out a 1-0 win over No. 12 Windsor in a quarterfinal game in Townshend last Saturday. Wade Beattie’s sixth-inning RBI single scored the only run of the game. On the mound, Barnum struck out five and allowed just one hit in the five innings he worked. Wilkins threw the final two innings and picked up the win.

• No. 9 Fair Haven ended the playoff hopes of No. 8 Bellows Falls with a 3-1 win in a Division II playdown on June 4. This was a bitter loss for BF. Their ace pitcher, Mike LaBeau, was on the mound, striking out 10 over the first five innings. But Fair Haven’s Matt Graziano had a better day with 16 strikeouts.

The difference for the Slaters was that they got the timely hit to win the game, in this case, a two-run single in the fifth off LaBeau. Carson Fullam and Chris Armstrong pitched in the sixth and the seventh innings, respectively, for BF.

• No. 7 Twin Valley got by No. 10 Proctor, 11-8, in a Division IV playdown in Brattleboro on June 4. The Wildcats then faced second-seeded Mount St. Joseph in Rutland last Saturday in the quarterfinals, losing 13-0.

Jason Moore was four for four with a single, a double, a two-run homer, and a solo homer to lead the Wildcats. Colin Lozito was three for four.

Starter Dal Nesbitt struck out eight over five innings. Sam Molner threw the final two innings to get the save.

State track results

• Jamie Moore won the 800, 1,500, and 3,000 races to lead the Bellows Falls boys’ track and field team to the Division III state title on June 8 in Chester.

The BF boys took the top three spots in the 3,000, with Willie Moore and Collin Johnson finishing second and third, respectively. TJ Bernier won the 110 and 300 hurdles, and was runner-up in the discus. David Dunbar finished first in the high jump and second in the triple jump, while Kendrick Mills was second in the pole vault and third in the triple jump.

The BF girls were runners-up in Division III. Enny Mustapha enjoyed a huge day with wins in the shot put and javelin, and a second in the discus. She also teamed up with Sarah Wells, Chapin Reis and Cassidy Santorelli to win the 4x100 relay. In the pole vault, BF’s Brit Moyna took second, Santorelli third, and Mariah Barnett fourth. Moyna also had a win in the 100 hurdles and a third in the 300 hurdles.

At the Division I meet in Burlington on June 8, the Brattleboro girls’ and boys’ teams each placed 11th. Myles Goldenbird took third in the javelin to lead the Colonel boys, while Paxton Reed (triple jump) and Josh Parro (long jump) each finished sixth. Ursula Casey led the Colonel girls finished with a fifth in the triple jump.

Twin Valley’s Oscar Smith was the star in the Division IV meet on June 7 at Chester. He was third in the 300 hurdles, fourth in the 110 hurdles, and teamed up with Eli Park, Conall Sullivan, and Nick Nilsen for fourth in the 4 X 100 relay. Jared Lambert was third in the shot put, while Alex Kennedy led the Twin Valley girls with a fourth in the 100 hurdles.

Rec. Dept. hosts two summer programs

• The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department presents a coed track and field program for ages 6-14 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. The program runs from June 11-27 at the BUHS track area. Cost is $10 for Brattleboro residents; $25 for non-residents. Register at the recreation office, 207 Main St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

The Rec is also sponsoring a free “Afternoon Fun” program for children aged 5-12, Monday, June 17, through Thursday, June 27, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Living Memorial Park. They’ll announce the day’s activities at the pool, and play all games on the lower softball field.

To discuss special needs or for more information, call the Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department at 802-254-5808 or visit www.brattleboro.org.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #207 (Wednesday, June 12, 2013).

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