BRATTLEBORO -- Twin Valley Athletic Director Buddy Hayford has a difficult decision to make.
With his school's softball and baseball teams each playing in a Division 4 semifinal today at 4:30 p.m., he could make the drive up Route 91 to Wells River or he could take a ride to Rutland instead.
"I might just stay in the valley and wait for text messages," said Hayford on Monday night. "It's a good decision to have to make. I'd love to be able to go to both games."
Prior to this year, the Twin Valley baseball and softball programs were batting a combined .182 in postseason history.
They had just four playdown victories out of 22 total playoff games. They were outscored 44-13 in quarterfinal matchups.
But coaches Jim Burke and Aaron Wood have suddenly turned things around.
Today, both teams will be competing in a semifinal for the first time. In a couple of Division 4 contests at 4:30 p.m., the No. 3 Twin Valley baseball team will play at No. 2 MSJ and the ninth-seeded Twin Valley softball team will visit No. 4 Blue Mountain.
"I'm proud of both teams, regardless of how the remainder plays out," stated Hayford.
Twin Valley softball pitcher Colton Butler has given up just three total hits in the first two rounds of the playoffs. She threw a one-hitter when the Wildcats walloped No. 8 Twinfield 15-1 in a playdown and then pitched a two-hitter in her team's 7-6 upset of No. 1 West Rutland in the quarterfinals.
"She's the best pitcher in Division 4," stated coach Aaron Wood following Sunday's shocker.
Christina Moore has been swinging the bat really well for the Wilmington team in the postseason. She went 3-for-5 in round one and belted an RBI double in the second round.
Savannah Nesbitt also had three hits against Twinfield. Butler drove in three runs in that game, and Natalie Herrick chipped in with two hits and a pair of RBI's.
"I'm expecting our kids to go up there and win that game," said the Twin Valley A.D. "They have played a tough schedule and it's paying off."
Their next opponent, the No. 4 Blue Mountain Bucks, is coming off of a 14-1 rout of fifth-seeded Whitcomb. Morghan Sulham earned the victory inside the circle, Allanah Farley went 3-for-5 and Torie Peters added a couple of hits for the team from Wells River.
Following a first-round bye, the Twin Valley baseball team trounced No. 11 Proctor, 14-1, in the quarterfinals. Dal Nesbitt went the distance and fanned seven to pick up the win, while Sam Molner racked up three hits and Colin Lozito followed with two hits, to lead the attack.
The Wildcats will now face an MSJ team that they swept during the regular season, winning 9-8 and then 8-6.
MSJ of Rutland squeezed into the semifinals by scoring two runs on a suicide by Nate O'Shea in a recent 3-1 decision over Danville. Zach Lanzillo struck out nine and got the complete-game victory.
"Our baseball team's had a heck of a year. They have great leadership and talent," noted Hayford.
Twin Valley baseball roster: Coaches -- Jim Burke, Mark Berman, Jesse Lane, Mitchell Balutski. Players -- Colin Lozito, Dal Nesbitt, Cade Nesbitt, Craig Green, Dylan Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Nicolas Goodnow, Martin Balutski, Sam Molner, Kyle Murdock, Baylee Crawford, Justin Hicks, Chris Robinson, Brett Swanson, Ethan Fox, Kyle Lazelle.
Twin Valley softball roster: Coach - Aaron Wood. Players - Hannah Swanson, Sammy Cunningham-Darrah, Savannah Nesbitt, Abby Putnam, Jordan Niles, Colton Butler, Christina Moore, Kathy Brad, Natalie Herrick, Jessica Fox, Kaylea Niles, Teya Johnson, Breanna Rasus, Megan Gehoe, Cassidy Walkowiak, Robyn Cunningham.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.
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Twin Valley baseball (10-7)
April 21: 5-9 loss to Woodstock
April 23: 6-4 win over West Rutland
April 24: 5-6 loss to Proctor
April 29: 3-4 loss to Springfield
May 2: 9-8 win over MSJ
May 5: 12-2 win over Black River
May 6: 1-11 loss to Poultney
May 10: 12-8 win over Black River
May 12: 8-1 win over Proctor
May 15: 11-6 win over West Rutland
May 17: 8-6 win over MSJ
May 20: 10-0 win over Leland & Gray
May 21: 2-12 loss to Green Mountain
May 28: 12-11 win over Leland & Gray
May 28: 3-9 loss to Woodstock
May 30: 9-11 loss to Green Mountain
*earned No. 3 seed in tournament
D-4 playdown: bye
D-4 quarterfinal: 14-1 over Proctor
D-4 semifinal: today, 4:30, at No. 2 MSJ
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Twin Valley softball (7-10)
April 21: 17-9 over Woodstock
April 23: 1-16 loss to West Rutland
April 24: 9-14 loss to Bellows Falls
May 2: 4-2 over MSJ
May 6: 12-4 over Poultney
May 7: 2-12 loss to Leland & Gray
May 10: 6-12 loss to Black River
May 12: 9-1 over Proctor
May 14: 11-16 loss to Burr and Burton
May 20: 10-2 over Bellows Falls
May 21: 1-2 loss to Green Mountain
May 22: 7-8 loss to Springfield
*earned No. 9 seed in tournament
D-4 playdown: 15-1 over No. 8 Twinfield
D-4 quarterfinal: 7-6 over No. 1 West Rutland
D-4 semifinal: today, 4:30, at No. 4 Blue Mountain