BRATTLEBORO -- Last spring, Kayla Wood promised assistant coach Jeff Rawson that the Brattleboro softball team would make it to the state championship game. And the star pitcher made good on it by shutting out all four of the Colonels’ playoff opponents, including 20 strikeouts and a perfect game in a 1-0 victory over Missisquoi to capture the Division 1 crown.
Yes, it’s definitely a tough act to follow for coach Kelly Markol’s club, which won three titles during Wood’s remarkable varsity career.
The purple and white will debut at home on Monday, April 7, versus Drury of Massachusetts, at 5 p.m. Two other Brattleboro Union High School teams will open on the same day, with the baseball team hosting Drury at 5 p.m. and the girls tennis team competing at Rutland at 4:30 p.m.
Brattleboro’s girls and boys lacrosse teams -- each made it to the state semifinals last season -- will start out on the road. The girls will open up at Hartford on April 8 at 6 p.m. and the boys will begin at Northampton on April 11 at 4:30 p.m.
The BUHS boys tennis team, which won 11 matches in a row after an 0-4 start last season, will open up at Bellows Falls on April 9 at 4:30 p.m. And the Brattleboro boys and girls track teams will welcome Rutland on April 10 at 4 p.m.
Wood, who has already pitched four innings as a freshman for Castleton State College, went 13-1 inside the circle in the postseason during her high school career.
You might remember her family members cheering during playoff games, with things such as "Kayla’s uncle" or "Kayla’s aunt" written on the back of their shirts. And you can probably still hear the chants from the Brattleboro players through innings 1-7 of every game -- "We want a single" or "Hey, Kayla, woo-woo, yeah!"
Alyssa Bezanson, Bailey Paige, Maddy Derosia and Wood all hit over .300 to lead Brattleboro offensively during the season. Derosia, the strong-armed shortstop, had a team-high 12 RBIs, while Rissa Smith (10), Paige (10) and Mckinlie Carpenter (9) also drove in their share of runs.
"Boy, did they ever deliver. I am very humbled and blessed by the love and support this team continues to bestow upon me and my family," said Rawson, who had his chemotherapy appointment postponed so that he could attend the 2013 state championship game that Wood promised him the Colonels would get to.
The Bellows Falls boys track team also struck gold last spring, thanks in part to Division 3 victories by Jamie Moore in the 800, 1500 and 3000. And Enny Mustapha had a huge day for the Terrier girls, as she prevailed in the shot put and javelin, took silver in the discus, and helped the 4x100 relay team to victory lane at the state meet.
Season openers for Bellows Falls varsity teams: Softball -- host Poultney on April 7 at 4:30 p.m. Boys Tennis -- at Hartford on April 7 at 4:30 p.m. Baseball -- host Windsor on April 8 at 4:30 p.m. Girls Tennis -- host Springfield on April 11 at 4:30 p.m. Track -- TBA.
Season openers for Twin Valley varsity teams: Softball -- at Leland & Gray on April 7 at 4:30 p.m. Baseball -- at West Rutland on April 9 at 4:30 p.m. Track -- at Brattleboro on April 10 at 4 p.m.
Season openers for Leland & Gray varsity teams: Softball -- host Twin Valley on April 7 at 4:30 p.m. Baseball -- host Otter Valley on April 8 at 4:30 p.m.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.