BRATTLEBORO -- Three years after the Leland & Gray baseball team’s three-peat came to an end, coach Eric Durocher is hopeful that Townshend will once again be known as Title Town.
"The team is led by senior co-captains Zac Wilkins, Wade Beattie and Drew Barnum who have a tremendous sense of leadership, knowledge of the game, and a drive to win," said Durocher. "We have an experienced team this year and feel that we have what it takes to be successful."
The Rebels, who owned the Division 3 crown from 2008 to 2010, will host Bellows Falls in their 2013 season opener on Monday at 4:30 p.m.
"We graduated three seniors last year and there are some very big shoes to fill, both offensively and on the mound. However, the spots have been filled with some exceptional young talent that should help to ease the transition as we start our season," added Durocher.
Leland & Gray went 11-5 during the 2012 regular season, before going 2-1 in the playoffs. Barnum pitched brilliantly in all three of those postseason contests, but also had a pair of hits in the quarterfinals and a two-run double in the semis. Riley Kenney, another returner, had a two-hit game and a solo homer during his team’s Division 3 run.
"It has been harder this spring because field access has been limited, but almost all the schools in Vermont will be in the same situation, so it will be interesting to see how teams adapt," noted Durocher.
One of those teams is Twin Valley, which opens with four consecutive road games -- starting with Monday’s showdown in Arlington at 4:30 p.m.
"It still looks like winter here," said Twin Valley Athletic Director Buddy Hayford on Wednesday. "These poor kids will be practicing indoors here for quite some time."
The Wildcats are coming off a 6-11-1 season, which included a victory over Whitcomb in a playdown game and a loss to Rochester in the Division 4 quarterfinals. Returners Cade Nesbitt and Sammy Molner had four and five hits respectively in the 2012 postseason.
Twin Valley’s home opener is scheduled for May 2 versus Black River at 4:30 p.m.
Leland & Gray roster: Coach -- Eric Durocher. Captains -- Drew Barnum, Zac Wilkins, Wade Beattie. Other players -- Riley Kenney, Robbie Litchfield, Andrew Parsons, Trey Cayton, Corey Nystrom, Ryan Borgesson, Josh Donna, Nick Bills, Jeremy Bovat.
Leland & Gray schedule: April 8 -- host Bellows Falls, 4:30 p.m.; April 12 -- host Green Mountain, 4:30 p.m.; April 19 -- at Springfield, 4:30 p.m.; April 24 -- at Windsor, 4:30 p.m.; April 27 -- host Springfield, 11 a.m.; April 30 -- at Woodstock, 4:30 p.m.; May 7 -- host Arlington, 4:30 p.m.; May 9 -- host Black River, 4:30 p.m.; May 11 -- at Twin Valley, 10 a.m.; May 14 -- at Otter Valley, 4:30 p.m.; May 16 -- at Green Mountain, 4:30 p.m.; May 17 -- host Twin Valley, 4:30 p.m.; May 21 -- host Woodstock, 4:30 p.m.; May 24 -- host Otter Valley, 4:30 p.m.; May 28 -- at Bellows Falls, 4:30 p.m.; May 31 -- host Windsor, 4:30 p.m.
Twin Valley roster: Coaching staff -- Jim Burke, George Molner Sr., Derek Cipriano. Managers -- Abbi Molner, Whitney Murdock. Seniors -- Jason Moore, Patrick Eilers, Hunter Therrien, Joel Gonzalez. Juniors -- Craig Green, Dylan Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Nicklas Goodnow, Cade Nesbitt, Dal Nesbitt, Martin Balutsk. Sophomores -- Sammy Molner, Douglas Lazelle Jr. Freshmen -- Kyle Murdock, Baylee Crawford, Justin Hicks, Chris Robinson.
Twin Valley schedule: April 8 -- at Arlington, 4:30 p.m.; April 11 -- at West Rutland, 4:30 p.m.; April 24 -- at MSJ, 4:30 p.m.; April 29 -- at Black River, 4:30 p.m.; May 2 -- host Black River, 4:30 p.m.; May 4 -- at Poultney, 4:30 p.m.; May 7 -- host Proctor, 4:30 p.m.; May 9 -- host Arlington, 4:30 p.m.; May 11 -- host Leland & Gray, 10 a.m.; May 14 -- host West Rutland, 4:30 p.m.; May 14 -- host West Rutland, 4:30 p.m.; May 17 -- at Leland & Gray, 4:30 p.m.; May 18 -- at Mt. Everett, noon; May 21 -- host Green Mountain, 4:30 p.m.; May 24 -- host MSJ, 4:30 p.m.; May 28 -- host Poultney, 4:30 p.m.; May 31 -- at Proctor, 4:30 p.m.