Christian Avard won four medals at the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer National Championship in Sarasota, Florida. He placed eighth in the nation in the Men’s 50-54 50 meter breaststroke, ninth in the 200 meter backstroke, and medaled in two relays as well.
Jennifer Goneau
Christian Avard won four medals at the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer National Championship in Sarasota, Florida. He placed eighth in the nation in the Men’s 50-54 50 meter breaststroke, ninth in the 200 meter backstroke, and medaled in two relays as well.

Fossils win third straight CRVBL title

The Putney Fossils defeated the Connecticut River Iron Men, 6-3, on Sunday, August 13, to retain the Richard W. Bissell Cup as champions of the Connecticut River Valley Baseball League (CRVBL).

The victory marked the Fossils' third CRVBL championship in a row and fifth in the past six years.

Fossils starting pitcher Peter Wagner capped a stellar season with a complete-game gem for Putney, allowing only five hits while striking out 10 and walking one. Wagner went 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 43 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched.

The Fossils got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, designated hitter Keith Lyman drew a walk. Wagner and third baseman John Peloso followed with singles to load the bases. Right fielder Ryan Lawley hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop, forcing Peloso out at second as Lyman scored the game's first run. Attempting to race home from second, Wagner was thrown out at the plate by second baseman Dan Felicetti.

In the third inning, the Fossils loaded the bases again, with three straight singles by shortstop Andrew Peloso, second baseman Brandon Reilly, and center fielder Ryan Smith. Iron Men pitcher Tyler Kerr retired the next two Fossils on a line out to second and a strikeout, but then Lyman laced a two-out single to right, driving in both Peloso and Reilly to give the Fossils a 3-0 lead.

The Iron Men answered in dramatic fashion in the top of the fourth. After Wagner recorded two quick outs, third baseman Andrew Robbins singled, and first baseman Kris Keelty walked. Right fielder Brendan Mayhew then blasted a home run to deep center field, tying the game at 3-3.

Although the Fossils would load the bases again in the bottom of the fourth, they could not push across a run, and the score remained deadlocked until the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Smith reached on an error and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Kerr. First baseman Alex Gauthier also reached on an error and stole second, placing runners at second and third. Kerr recorded the second out of the inning before issuing a full-count walk to Lyman and loading the bases with Fossils for the fourth time in the game. Wagner then walked to force in the go-ahead run.

Armed with a one-run lead, Wagner retired the side in order in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, the Fossils' bats came to life. Andrew Peloso hit a one-out double to right and Reilly drove him in with a double to the right-center gap. Smith followed with a single to drive in Reilly, making the score 6-3.

The Iron Men did not go quietly in the ninth. Center fielder Jed St. Pierre led off with a single, and Kerr followed with a screaming line drive to center that Smith managed to snag for an out. After St. Pierre stole second, Wagner induced two ground balls to end the inning, the game, and the 2023 CRVBL season.

"We put in a great team effort today," Fossils manager Danny Lichtenfeld said in a news release, "just like we have all season long."

Lichtenfeld noted that although the Fossils may have been the presumptive favorite coming into the season, he wasn't so sure.

"Just before the season started, we lost two of our best players, Kyle Whitworth and Chayse Cunniff, to season-ending injuries," Lichtenfeld said. "But as it turned out, our newest additions, the Peloso brothers and outfielder Blake MacLellan, along with Steve Stanley and Keith Lyman, both of whom came out of retirement to play again this year, made sure we didn't miss a beat."

Information about the Connecticut River Valley Baseball League, including box scores, stats, photos, and more for the 2023 season, is available at Players or teams interested in joining for the 2024 season should fill out the inquiry form on the website.

Avard competes at second U.S. Masters national swim meet

Christian Avard, a frequent contributor to The Commons, competed at the U.S. Masters Swimming Summer National Championship on Aug. 5-6 at the Selby Aquatic Center in Sarasota, Florida. This is the second time Avard competed at the national championship. Like last year, he qualified in four events: 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter freestyle, 50 meter breaststroke, and 200 meter backstroke.

Avard placed eighth in the nation in the Men's 50-54 50 breaststroke with a time of 40:36 seconds, and ninth in the nation in the Men's 50-54 200 backstroke in 2 minutes, 59.84 seconds. The other highlight for Avard was competing in two relays. His Men's 200 meter freestyle relay finished eighth overall in the 200+ age group (the aggregate age of the four swimmers) with a time of 1:57.21 and fifth overall in the mixed medley relay 240+ age group with a time of 2:23.90.

Avard was a member of the Team New England Masters Swim Team, which was comprised of masters swimmers from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Team New England also finished second in the regional teams division behind North Carolina Masters.

A forner Dummerston resident, Avard swam competitively growing up in Nashua, New Hampshire and got back into competitive swimming in 2011 at the Colonial Pool and Spa in Brattleboro. He now lives in Unity, N.H., and swims for the Upper Valley Rays Masters Swim Team at the Upper Valley Aquatic Club in White River Junction.

After a brief break, Avard said he will return to swimming in mid-September, and hopes to be at the next U.S. Masters Swimming Summer National Championships in August 2024 at the Marguerite Aquatic Complex in Mission Viejo, California.

Still time to get out and paddle with BOC

• This summer has flown by, but there are still a few more weeks to get out on the water and paddle with the Brattleboro Outing Club. Except for the sunrise paddle trip on Aug. 26, all these outings are all-day paddles, and require lunch, water, and snacks. More information is available at; just click on "Summer Paddling." Here are the upcoming excursions:

• On Saturday, Aug. 26, there will be a sunrise paddle and potluck breakfast at Harriman Reservoir in Wilmington. This is the rescheduled paddle trip from June 24, which was rained out. Meet at 6 a.m. at the Royal Diner on Route 9 in West Brattleboro, or at the Coffee House at the junction of Route 9 West and Route 100 South, at 6:30 a.m. Participants will paddle out to an island for a potluck breakfast.

• The center section of Harriman Reservoir in Wilmington will be the destination on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Meet at the Coffee House in Wilmington at 8:30 a.m., or at Great River Hydro's Ward's Cove picnic area, off Route 100 South (turn right, at the stables) at 9 a.m. This is a large body of water, subject to strong wind, big waves, and motorboat wakes. It is not a trip for small boats.

• On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the BOC Paddlers will go to Somerset Reservoir. Meet at the Coffee House in Wilmington at 8:30 a.m., or at the car-top launch area, at the end of the road in Somerset, at 9:30 a.m. This is a trip requiring long-distance paddling and is subject to strong winds and big waves. It is definitely not for small boats.

• Grout Pond in Stratton will be the destination on Saturday, Sept. 30. Meet at the Coffee House in Wilmington at 9 a.m., or at 10 a.m. at the pond, which is located off Route 100 North and Kelly Stand/West Wardsboro-Arlington roads.

• A "Leader's Choice" trip is set for Sunday, Oct. 1, to wherever the fall colors are peaking. Meet at 9 a.m. at the south end of the Hannaford parking lot on Putney Road in Brattleboro.

• The season wraps up on Wednesday, Oct. 4 with a trip to Sunset Lake and South Pond in Marlboro. Meet at the Royal Diner in West Brattleboro at 9 a.m.

Sign-up for hunter safety classes

• If you or someone you know would like to go hunting this fall but have never taken a hunter education course, this is the time to act. Vermont's volunteer hunter education instructors are now holding a limited number of courses throughout the state.

A person must pass the basic hunter education course before they can purchase their first hunting license. Courses are available in basic hunter education, bowhunter education, trapper education, and combination hunter-bowhunter education. A Vermont hunter education card entitles you to hunt in all 50 states, as well as some international locations.

Classes will be posted on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website in the coming weeks. The courses will be listed as they become available at On the Home page, click on "Hunt" and then "Hunter Education" and "Find the Right Class for You."

Rec. Dept. offers flag football this fall

• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will be working with BUHS varsity football coach Chad Pacheco and BUHS football players to offer NFL Flag Football for those in grades 1-6.

Players will need a mouthguard (required) and cleats or sneakers. NFL Flag Jerseys and flags/belts are included in the program fee and will be provided. The fee is $50 for Brattleboro residents and $65 for non-residents. This program will begin on Sept. 11 and will run on Mondays from 6 to 7:15 p.m. until Oct. 23, with the exception of Oct. 9.

This is a no-contact football program that is open to non-experienced and experienced football players in grades 1-6. Players will work on basic skills, drills, and agility for both offense and defense and play flag football games. Participants will be taught techniques and skills to play football safely. Bring your own flags if you have them, otherwise, they will be loaned out each day.

Register online at In-person registration at the Gibson-Aiken Center main office is available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. There is a $10 fee for late registration, beginning Sept. 1. Anyone registering on or after Sept. 8 will be added to a wait list and will be permitted to register for the program only if space allows. For more information, call the Gibson-Aiken office at 802-254-5808 or visit the Recreation & Parks page at

Senior bowling roundup

• Last week's roundup got squeezed out due to the Hall of Fame coverage, so let's catch up with what's happening with the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl.

With two weeks left in the spring/summer season, Five Pins (53-27) remains in first place, followed by Turkeys (49-31), No Splits (48.5-31.5), Skippers (47.5-32.5), Slo Movers (44-36), The Bowlers (38-42), Wrecking Crew (37.5-42.5), Stayin' Alive (36.5-43.5), and High Rollers (36-44).

In Week 15 action on Aug. 10, Doris Lake had the women's high handicap game (232), while Carol Gloski had the high handicap series (631). Robert Rigby had the men's high handicap game (263) and series (695), while High Rollers had the high team handicap game (871) and series (2,511).

Rigby led the men's scratch scoring with a 662 series that featured games of 252, 231, and 179, while Chuck Adams had a 646 series with games of 231, 215, and 200. Milt Sherman had a 571 series with games of 234 and 172, Duane Schillemat had a 515 series with a 205 game, Skip Shine had a 503 series with a 193 game, and Jerry Dunham had a 500 series with a 191 game. John Walker had a 178 game and Charlie Marchant rolled a 170.

Gloski had the women's high scratch series (451) that featured games of 173 and 167, while Debbi Kolpa rolled a 161.

In Week 16 action on Aug. 17, Nancy Dalzell had the women's high handicap game (252), while Roberta Parsons had the high handicap series (651). Chuck Adams had the men's high handicap game (275) and series (680), while High Rollers again had the high team handicap game (895) and series (2,537).

Chuck Adams led the men's scratch scoring with a 680 series that featured games of 275, 221, and 184, while Rigby had a 650 series with games of 223, 220, and 207. Milt Sherman had a 536 series with a 200 game, Gary Montgomery had a 532 series with a 198 game, John Walker had a 525 series with a 185 game, and Wayne Randall had a 521 series with a 198 game. Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 202 game, and Rick Westcott rolled a 170.

Dalzell had the women's high scratch series (466) and game (196). Carol Gloski had games of 168 and 166, while Shirley Aiken rolled a 162.

Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column since 2010 and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at [email protected].

This Sports column by Randolph T. Holhut was written for The Commons.

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