This is the new logo for Brattleboro Union High School, incorporating its new mascot, a bear. It was unveiled last week as the 2022-23 school year came to an end.
Courtesy photo
This is the new logo for Brattleboro Union High School, incorporating its new mascot, a bear. It was unveiled last week as the 2022-23 school year came to an end.

Claussen steps down as Rebels softball coach

After 34 years here in Windham County, I've gotten to know many people at our local schools. I'm now writing about the children of the players and coaches I've associated with in that time.

One marker of those passing years has been Tammy Brassard Claussen, who recently announced she was stepping down from her post as varsity softball coach at Leland & Gray Union High School.

I met Tammy Brassard in the fall of 1990, a young woman from Brookfield who was fresh out of Springfield College in her first job as physical education teacher at LGUHS. She soon became the school's athletic director and softball coach, got married to Al Claussen, and juggled raising four sons with her work at the school.

I watched her sons grow from rambunctious toddlers running around the gym or soccer sidelines to young men who all played spring sports at LGUHS. And I watched Tammy work wonders with her second family - all the young women who played softball over her three decades of coaching the junior varsity and varsity teams.

In 23 years of leading the varsity team, she compiled a 222-174 record with three appearances in the Division III finals in 2013, 2015, and 2017. The Rebels reached the semifinals in Division III in 2010 and 2011, and made the semis in their first season in Division IV this year. While her teams were unable to win a title, they usually were contenders inmost seasons.

But more important than wins and losses was the influence she had on her players. As she told the Brattleboro Reformer last week, “I hope I instilled that passion in them for the sport of softball and I hope I taught them some life lessons as well. It's not just about teaching them about softball, but teaching them about being a good teammate, perseverance, communication, and working together - things that you can't accomplish by yourself. That's what it's all about being on a team and those are lifelong transferable skills.”

Tammy's youngest son, Spencer, is starting ninth grade this fall. He played baseball as an eighth-grader this year, and Tammy would like to be able to follow his varsity career in a way that she couldn't for Spencer's big brothers. That is the main reason why she is stepping away from the sport that has been a part of her life ever since she was playing for Randolph Union High School back in the 1980s.

She will remain the athletic director at LGUHS, and will help in the process of finding a successor to lead the softball program. You'll probably still hear her sing the National Anthem before Rebels games (and in my opinion, she does one of the most beautiful renditions of the Anthem that I have ever heard). Retirement is still a ways away, and I wish nothing but blue skies for one of the class acts on the Windham County sports scene.

Farewell, Coach Spencer

• The flip side of being around here so long is that you find more of your friends and colleagues in the Milestones section of this paper. As the curator of that page, it pained me to see the obituary for Frank Spencer, the longtime coach and educator at Wilmington High School and Twin Valley High School.

I first met Frank on the Reformer's softball team in 1989 (the less said about my softball career, the better) and got to know him better as the boys' basketball coach in Wilmington. He was a good coach, but was an even better teacher and administrator.

He earned the UVM Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award in 1986 and was recognized as Vermont's Outstanding Secondary Principal by the Vermont Principals' Association and the National Association of Secondary School Principals in 1999. He was inducted into the VPA Hall of Fame in 2011.

Frank died in Florida on June 17 at age 74, from complications of Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare nervous system syndrome that affects the ability to communicate. It's a cruel fate for someone like Frank, who was erudite (he was a Harvard Man, after all) and possessed a fine, dry wit. A memorial service is being planned for later this summer in Wilmington.

GM's Mosher takes fourth at decathlon

• Green Mountain senior Eben Mosher capped off his high school track & field career with a fourth-place finish at the Vermont Decathlon, which took place on June 19 and 20.

Mosher came into the second day in ninth place, but moved up five spots to finish fourth overall with 5,620 points in the boys' competition. Bishopp Boutin, competing as an independent, won the boys' decathlon with 6,113 points.

On Tuesday, Mosher finished second in javelin, fifth in the 110-meter hurdles, eighth in discus, 14th in pole vault and 15th in the 1,500 meters. Teammate Conner Miles was 61st overall with 3,255 points.

Other local boys competing in the event were John Parker-Jennings of Leland & Gray (38th with 3,801 points), Tristan Boylan of Bellows Falls (47th, 3,624 points), Trevor Stillwagon of Leland & Gray (50th, 3,509 points), Justin Draper of Bellows Falls (52nd, 3,480 points), and Gavin Joy of Bellows Falls (53rd, 3,450 points). Participating, but not placing, were Colby Dearborn of Bellows Falls and Jacob Girard, Trevor Gray, and Sean von Ranson of Brattleboro.

In the girls' decathlon, Tela Harty of Bellows Falls finished 13th with 3,757 points, while teammates Nola Sciacca finished 38th with 2,669 points, Ava LaRoss was 41st with 2,577 points, and Eryn Ross was 45th with 2,475 points. Teagan Thurber was Brattleboro top finisher (48th, 2,297 points), followed by teammates Maeve Bald (50th, 2,252 points), Priya Kitzmiller (52nd, 2,237 points),

Leland & Gray's Mary Sanderson was 51st with 2,248 points, and teammate Avery Hiner was 60th with 1,439 points. Green Mountain's Sophia Cherubini was 34th with 2,809 points, while teammate Gracie Vanakin was 64th.

The girls' winner was Essex's Genevieve Brzoza with 5,010 points. She won by just nine points over teammate Kayla Guerino.

SVL tennis all-stars named

• The Southern Vermont League announced its all-star teams for girls' and boys' tennis last week.

No Brattleboro players made the A Division girls' first team, but Wren Parker of Bellows Falls was a first-team selection in the B Division. Brattleboro's Nathan Kim was named to the boys' A Division first team, with teammate Ben Berg earning honorable mention.

Beware of purple bears

• This is how change happens in the digital age- a Friday night email blast from BUHS Athletic Director Chris Sawyer to the state's media outlets letting them know that, from here on out, the high school's mascot is a purple bear.

As you can see from the new school logo on this page that Sawyer sent to Vermont's media, the BUHS bear looks hungry and fierce -teeth bared and mouth wide open. As bears go, the purple bear appears to be no pushover and not terribly cuddly. It means business.

And thus, a years-long battle to retire the Colonels moniker comes to end. You'll be seeing a lot of this purple bear in the coming months, as the school's new branding takes hold and new uniforms for the various teams are unveiled.

Post 5 off to good start in Legion ball

• Brattleboro Post 5 rallied to beat Lakes Region, 4-3, on June 19 in American Legion Baseball action at Tenney Field. The Lakers led 3-1 through five innings, scoring runs in the third and fourth to push ahead, but Post 5 got three runs in the sixth inning to win it.

Jackson Emery was the winning pitcher for Post 5, he held the Lakers to three hits over five innings. Reliever Alex Patch was the losing pitcher. He entered the game in the sixth inning after starter Carson Babbie pitched five innings and held Brattleboro to a pair of hits.

Later in the week, Post 5 had another big rally and handed Bellows Falls Post 37 a 5-3 loss. Brattleboro scored four runs in the sixth inning and Jayke Glidden would pitch the last two innings in relief to pick up the win. The victory left Post 5 with a 3-1 league record, and a 7-1 overall record.

Fossils smash Granite

• In Connecticut River Valley Baseball League (CRVBL) action at Gouin Field in Dummerston on June 18, the Putney Fossils defeated the Walpole Granite, 17-3.

Keith Lyman earned the win for Putney, pitching the final two innings of the mercy rule-shortened seven-inning affair. Lyman helped his cause by going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and one run scored. His battery mate, catcher Steve Stanley, also had three hits, elevating his team-leading batting average to .500.

Peter Wagner pitched the first three innings for the Fossils, extending his consecutive scoreless-inning streak to 14. Wagner and shortstop Andrew Peloso each contributed two hits and two runs batted in. Mike McMahon, Rob Stevens, Abe Allen, and Ty Kirkwood each had a hit for the Granite, with Gus McGee, Brian Pearlman, and Kirkwood scoring their team's three runs.

Senior bowling roundup

• Week 8 of the spring/summer season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on June 22 saw No Splits (27-13) have a 4-1 week to move into sole possession of first place. There's now a three-way tie for second between Slo Movers, Five Pins, and Turkeys (all 25-15), followed by The Bowlers (22-18), Stayin' Alive (21.5-18.5), Skippers (18.5-21.5), Wrecking Crew (17-23), and High Rollers (16-24).

Pam Greenblott had the women's high handicap game (257), while Doris Lake had the high handicap series (684). Jerry Dunham had the men's high handicap game (264) and series (667), while The Bowlers had the high team handicap game (919) and series (2,554).

Chuck Adams led the men's scratch scoring with a 638 series that featured games of 225, 217, and 196, while Robert Rigby had a 583 series with games of 222 and 201. Dunham had a 565 series with a 230 game, Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 546 series with a 217 game, Duane Schillemat had a 531 series with a 188 game, Gary Montgomery had a 529 series with games of 198 and 189, and Wayne Randall had a 183 game.

Carol Gloski again had the women's high scratch series (465), while Greenblott had the high scratch game (197). Shirley Aiken had a 178 game, while Gloski rolled a 177.

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