BRATTLEBORO -- Having already captured a state championship five years ago, eight members of Brattleboro’s 2009 Little League baseball team are hoping to experience that thrill once again this spring.
Four of them are playing for the seventh-seeded BUHS baseball team, which has a 10-6 record and will host No. 10 North Country (8-8) in a Division 1 playdown game today at 4:30 p.m. And four others are on Brattleboro’s fourth-ranked boys lacrosse team, which has a 12-4 mark and will welcome today’s Spaulding/Middlebury winner in Friday’s quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m.
"I don’t let their 8-8 record fool me. I expect them (North Country) to be tough. They are from the north and the top four seeds in this tournament are all from the north, so they have played against all of those teams up there," said Brattleboro Union High School coach Chris Groeger.
Danny Richardson, who has a 5-1 record on the hill this season, will be today’s starting pitcher for the Colonels. Also on the staff are Jimmy Mills (4-2), Kassidi Ramirez (1-2) and Kevin Tao (0-1).
"Danny has to have command of his breaking ball. He’s not overpowering, so it’s imperative that he throws his breaking ball for strikes," added Groeger. "The last couple of practices, we have worked hard on our defense. We can’t afford to make costly errors.
The four members of the varsity team that were also a part of the 2009 Little League club, are Brattleboro’s leading hitters. Chris McAuliffe is batting .429 with 17 runs driven in, Rob Heileman is next at .370 with nine RBIs, Ramirez is hitting .275, and Ryan McAuliffe has a .262 average with a pair of homers.
"Chris can bring some power. If the game’s on the line, that’s who I want at the plate," said Groeger, who added that Heileman is a contact hitter and that Ramirez can really run.
Sam Siegel, Brennen Zolnoski, Johnny Curtis and Tanner Freeman, also members of Brattleboro’s state championship Little League team in 2009, have helped the BUHS boys lacrosse team earn the No. 4 seed in the Division 1 tournament.
Freeman just scored four goals as the Colonels ousted rival MAU, 10-8, on Senior Night. Siegel had a hat trick in the previous game and "Zolo" went off for seven tallies earlier in the season versus Hartford.
The top three seeds in that bracket are: Champlain Valley Union (14-1), South Burlington (13-2) and Woodstock (12-3).
The 10-6 Brattleboro softball team, which has won three of the last four Division 1 state titles, is ranked sixth and will host No. 11 Colchester (5-11) in a playdown game today at 4:30 p.m.
"Offensively, our goal is to make solid contact and execute with runners in scoring position. We have to play with confidence and play the way we are capable of playing," said BUHS coach Kelly Markol.
Shortstop Maddy Derosia is leading the purple and white with an impressive .509 average. She is followed by Samantha Harrison (.300), Mckinlie Carpenter (.291) and Daisy Giroux (.281).
"We have to play consistent. Our biggest flaw this year is that we have been inconsistent with each game," added Markol.
Sophomore Hannah Wilson has been trying to fill the cleats of Kayla Wood, who was 13-1 in the circle during her outstanding postseason career. Wilson fanned four and walked just one in an upset of rival MAU on Thursday.
"Hannah will be pitching and she has to throw well for us -- hitting corners and working her change-up. She is going to have to minimize pitches as she has a tendency to go deep in the count with most batters. Other teams are going to hit the ball so we have to play flawless defense," stated Markol.
Under first-year coach Shannon Garrett, the Brattleboro girls lacrosse team went 8-6 and was seeded eighth in the Division 1 tournament. The Colonels will welcome No. 9 Burlington (8-6) in Wednesday’s first-round matchup at 4:30 p.m.
Lizzie Clark is coming off of a big day in Bennington, when she scored six goals in one game against MAU and three others in the one that was completed from a previous day. Hannah Lynde, Megan "Dirt" Siggins and Cassidy Stebbins have also had a hot hand for the Colonels.
Burr and Burton (13-2) is the No. 1 seed in the field. Mount Mansfield (12-2) is ranked second and is followed by No. 3 St. Albans (11-3), No. 4 MAU (11-4) and No. 5 Middlebury (10-4).
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.