Leland & Gray baserunner Molly Bingham (22) slides safely into third base ahead of the tag by White River Valley shortstop Tanner Drury in the third inning of their softball game on April 25 in Townshend.
Randolph T. Holhut/The Commons
Leland & Gray baserunner Molly Bingham (22) slides safely into third base ahead of the tag by White River Valley shortstop Tanner Drury in the third inning of their softball game on April 25 in Townshend.

Rebels off to a good start in softball

-The Leland & Gray softball team has a new coach this season. Mike Bingham, who assisted longtime coach Tammy Claussen last season, took the helm when Claussen decided to step down after 23 years of leading the Rebels.

But no matter who is in charge, there are some things that never change in Rebel Nation. This small school always seems to produce hard working young people who never back down from a challenge and always strive to be better at whatever they are doing.

Those qualities were out in force on April 25 in Townshend as the Rebels rallied from a 7-0 deficit on the way to a wild 22-19 victory over the White River Valley Wildcats.

Leland & Gray trailed 7-0 after a rough first inning, but quickly got back in the game by scoring six runs in the bottom half of the inning. Rihanna Dryden's two-run triple was the big blow in that inning.

After a sloppy start, Rebels starting pitcher Kristen Lowe and the defense behind her settled down and held the Wildcats scoreless in the second inning and were unfazed when WRV scored four runs in the third and took an 11-6 lead.

That's because, once again, the Rebels battled back. They sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third and scored 13 runs in an inning that saw Ava Lecours and Amanda Fontaine both hit two-run singles, Annabelle Brooks and Molly Bingham both hit two-run doubles, and Lowe hit a two-run triple. Sierra Chris and Sam Morse also had base hits that drove in runs as the Rebels took a 19-11 lead.

The Wildcats chipped away at the lead with three runs in the fourth, but were held scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings as Lowe struck out the side in order in the fifth and the Rebels got three quick outs in the sixth.

Leland & Gray got what turned out to be three important runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as Brooks had another two-run single and Lecours drove in another run on a sacrifice fly for a 22-14 lead. WRV made one final comeback attempt and scored five runs in the seventh inning before the Rebels finally retired the side and escaped with the victory.

"This was a great effort," Mike Bingham said after the game. "This was a good team we faced and we didn't get down when we got behind early. We just kept chipping away."

While all the Rebels contributed to the win, Bingham said it was Lowe who "got us through the game." She went the distance in this slugfest, and Bingham was pleased with how she was able to handle the pressure.

It was the Rebels' third straight victory, but two days later, they ran into the buzzsaw that is Izzy Stoodley and the Bellows Falls Terriers. Stoodley, who is making the case for being one of the top pitchers in the state, struck out 12 batters and drove in four runs as the visiting Terriers clobbered the Rebels, 16-1.

Now that spring vacation week is over, the pace of the season will pick up for all the teams, but Bingham is confident that the Rebels can keep improving and make the month of May an enjoyable one in Rebel Nation.


• Bellows Falls is off to a 4-1 start, but coach Bob Lockerby is far from satisfied. The Terriers have a great pitcher in Jaxon Clark, who had won both of his starts this season, including an 11-0 victory over the Springfield Cosmos on April 23. But Lockerby is concerned about what happens when Clark isn't on the mound, pointing to the 13-7 win over the Fair Haven Slaters on April 26 at Hadley Field.

"We made it hard on ourselves," Lockerby said after the Fair Haven game. "We'll always take the 'W,' but our pitchers need to pound the strike zone and not give teams extra outs."

BF got off to a good start when starting pitcher Trenton Fletcher retired the Slaters in order on just five pitches in the first inning. He got a run to work with in the bottom half of the inning as Eli Allbee singled, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jesse Darrell, and scored on a double by Steve Joslyn.

Things unraveled in the Slater second when Fletcher loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. Fletcher then hit a batter to get one run in, Mason Gutel hit a two-run single, and Trey Lee got another run in with a sacrifice fly to give Fair Haven a 4-1 lead.

BF got a run back in the second inning on an RBI single by Jake Tostrup and tied the game in the third when Darrell walked and ultimately scored on a balk by losing pitcher Noah Woodbury, followed by Fletcher reaching base on an error and scoring on a single by Walker James.

The Terriers then took the lead to stay in the fourth inning as Cole Moore hit a two-run single, and a pair of errors on balls hit by Fletcher and James led to a 9-4 BF lead.

Darrell took over for Fletcher on the mound to start the fifth inning. Fair Haven and BF each scored a run in the fifth, and the Slaters got two more runs in the sixth to cut the Terriers' lead to 10-7. BF got its final three runs in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Darrell, an RBI single by Joslyn, and a fielder's choice by Moore.

Fair Haven tried to get a rally going in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs before Joslyn relieved Darrell and got the final out and give BF the win.

• Brattleboro is still searching for their first win, but the Bears are getting closer. On April 23 in Swanzey Center, New Hampshire, Monadnock's Ben Dean and Brattleboro's Jackson Emery each pitched five scoreless, no-hit innings, but the Huskies ultimately prevailed in a 5-1 victory.

It was Dean who broke up Emery's no-hitter with a single in the sixth. A pair of walks loaded the bases for Lucas Williams, who hit a two-run double. Two more walks and a wild pitch scored three more runs in the inning.

Fittingly, Emery broke up Dean's no-hit bid with a solo home run in the seventh, but that was the only hit for the Bears. Dean finished with 16 strikeouts and two walks in the complete-game victory. Emery struck out 10 and held the Huskies to just two hits, but walked five batters in the loss as the Bears fell to 0-4.

• Leland & Gray couldn't overcome an early 12-0 deficit and ultimately lost to White River Valley, 14-8, in Townshend on April 25. The Rebels then picked up their first win of the season with a 11-1 victory over winless Springfield to improve to 1-4.


• The Brattleboro boys swept Frontier Regional of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, 7-0, on April 22 at the BUHS courts.

In singles play, No. 1 Nate Kim, No. 4 Mark Richards, and No. 5 Ben Berg all won their matches by a 6-0, 6-0 score. No. 2 Malo Renault (6-1, 6-2) and No. 3 Thomas Hyde (6-2, 6-3) also won in straight sets.

The doubles matches were more competitive as the No. 1 team of Dorian Paquette and Eben Wagner earned a 6-3, 6-2 win, while the No. 2 team of Elias Frazier-Olsen and Wyatt Cudworth needed a tiebreaker to prevail, 7-5, 6-3. The Bears are 2-0 on the season.

• The Brattleboro girls got their first win of the season on April 20 in Rutland with a 5-2 win over Mount St. Joseph.

The doubles teams of No.1 Amelia Lafland and Ava Bark and No. 2 Amelia Newton and Emma Lafayette-Havens stayed undefeated with wins in their respective matches. Paige Renaud and Kel Plumb picked up singles victories, while Ava Rosenzweig-Davidovits fell just short in a singles match that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours. The Bears improved to 1-1.

Track & Field

• The Bellows Falls girls' track team is off to a good start with a second place finish in a multi-team meet in Brattleboro on April 16 and a win in a five-team meet at Green Mountain on April 23.

Laura Kamel, the reigning two-time Division III state champ in discus, won at the Brattleboro meet with a throw of 98 feet, 6 inches, while Eryn Ross took the javelin with a throw of 86 feet, 1 inch, and Veronica Moore won the long jump with a leap of 13 feet, 8.75 inches. Nola Sciacca finished third in discus and second in javelin, while Tela Harty was third in shot put.

The Terriers were fast on the Freeman track as Hadley Gleim won the 100-meter dash in 13.90 seconds and was third in the 200 and triple jump. Harty was second in the 100-meter hurdles and Desi Broadley was second in the 3,000-meter run.

At the GM meet, Gleim and Kamel were the standouts as Gleim won the 100-meter dash, long jump, and triple jump, while Kamel was first in discus and shot put and third in javelin.

Gleim also joined Harty, Sciacca, and Ava LaRoss on the winning 4x100 relay team. Harty also won the 100-meter hurdles and was second in javelin, while Sciacca was second in discus. Broadley won the 200-meter dash and was second in the 1,500, while Addison Bacon was third in the 400. The 4x400 relay team of Hannah Terry, Ross, Bacon, and Moore finished second.

BOC announces 2024 paddling schedule, watercraft swap and sale

• The 2024 Brattleboro Outing Club paddling schedule features 14 trips on local reservoirs, lakes, ponds & rivers in, and around the Brattleboro area.

According to BOC paddling guru Larry McIntosh, the northernmost outing is Grafton Pond in Grafton, New Hampshire. To the east is Spoonwood Pond in Hancock, New Hampshire (a place motorboats can't access). The southernmost outing is Tully Lake in Royalston, Massachusetts, and in the west is Somerset Reservoir, northwest of Wilmington. "Lots of water to paddle in that big circle," he wrote in an email to The Commons.

BOC trips are free and open to the public; just show up at the time and place noted with your boat or board and all the safety gear (and lunch) necessary for a day's outing. Life jackets (PFDs) are required. A list of all the trips planned for this season, and the recommended gear you'll need, can be found at BrattleboroOutingClub.org (click on "Summer Paddling").

Descriptions of all "flat water" trips can be found in the third edition of the AMC Quiet Water books for Vermont/New Hampshire and Southern New England. River trips are shown on the Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail Maps, second edition. Meeting locations provide a place to car and boat pool.

The lone BOC-sponsored camping trip this year is Saturday, Sept. 7, at Wilgus State Park, along the Connecticut River, in Ascutney. Camping is available at Spoonwood Pond, Tully Lake, Grafton Pond, and Somerset Reservoir. Paddlers wanting to include camping in their outing are advised to plan early. Reservations are required in most locations, and Connecticut River camping is first come, first served (locations are identified on the Connecticut River Paddlers' Trail Map).

• The annual BOC Consignment Sale & Swap of small human and wind-powered watercraft will be held on Saturday, May 11, from noon to 2 p.m., at Black Mountain Square, 972 Putney Rd., Brattleboro. Boats will be accepted on Friday, May 10, from noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. On May 11, boats will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m., until 11:30 a.m. The swap portion of the event takes place from 11:30 a.m. to noon, with the sale starting at noon.

This is a consignment sale to fund the BOC Summer Paddling Program. Boat owners set the price, and BOC Paddling receives 10% of the eventual selling price. When two or more prospective buyers want the same boat, an "auction'' will decide the eventual buyer. For more details on the sale, contact McIntosh at [email protected].

Saxtons River Rec holds fishing derby

• The Saxtons River Recreation Area will hold its annual fishing derby Saturday, May 4, at the ponds on Pleasant Valley Road. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with fishing starting at 8:30 a.m. Adults are responsible for providing their children with all the gear, bait, and assistance needed while at the derby. Trophy prizes will be given for First Fish, Biggest Fish, and Most Fish.

Donations toward expenses and snacks will be accepted at the derby, and volunteers of all ages are needed and can contact derby organizers at [email protected] or through the Saxtons River Rec Facebook page.

Food drive this week at BCC

• The Brattleboro Country Club (BCC) is joining with golf courses from across America to try to stock local food shelves before school gets out for the summer.

Through May 5, the BCC will be collecting food for Foodworks, the food shelf on Canal Street in Brattleboro. Bring nonperishable food items such as peanut butter, canned items (soup, fruit, vegetables, beans, and tuna), and personal hygiene items such as bar soap and toothpaste to the BCC Pro Shop on 58 Senator Gannett Drive. For more information, contact BCC owner Melanie Boese at [email protected].

Senior bowling roundup

• The final week of the winter/spring season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on April 25 saw High Rollers (57-23) clinch the league title, while Stepping Stones II (48-32) leapfrogged Four Seasons (47-33) and Stayin' Alive (46-34) to finish second. Four Pins (34-46) finished fifth, followed by Good Times (32-48), Hairiers (24-56), and Slow Movers (20-60).

Doris Lake had the women's high handicap game (217) and series (626), while John Laamanen had the men's high handicap game (244) and Wayne Randall had the high handicap series (673). Good Times had the high team handicap game (836) and series (2,404).

John Walker had the men's high scratch series (645) with games of 221, 214, and 210. Robert Rigby had a 559 series with games of 205 and 193. Randall had a 520 series, Peter Deyo had a 510 series, and Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 193 game.

Carol Gloski had the women's high scratch series (468) and game (167), while Nancy Dalzell had a 164 game. The spring/summer league season begins on Thursday, May 2.

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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