BRATTLEBORO -- Jeff Rawson isn’t alone in his fight against bone cancer. His second family made that clear on Tuesday at Sawyer Field.
Wearing yellow ribbons in their hair to honor their assistant coach and team photographer, the Brattleboro softball players got it going late and downed visiting Fair Haven 6-1.
"It’s really emotional. Jeff is an amazing person. He’s a big part of our softball family. The kids absolutely love him, and us coaches do as well," said Colonels coach Kelly Markol, before looking skyward to ask that everything goes OK for Rawson.
A yellow ribbon tied to the fence in front of Brattleboro’s bench had "we love you Jeff" written on it in black ink, for the well-liked man who will be starting chemotherapy this week. And beads on the players’ cleats had the initials JR on them.
"Jeff would have gotten a picture of that," said Brattleboro fan Bob Page after right fielder Bailey Paige made a fine catch in the second inning. He uttered the same words in the fourth following a diving grab by Daisy Giroux in center.
BUHS ace Kayla Wood, who has been dealing with a back injury recently, fanned 10, walked just two and gave up five hits to get the victory. She pitched five innings of shutout ball, until the Slaters picked up an unearned run in the sixth.
"I’m feeling good. I’d say I’m about 90 percent," said the senior slinger, who had two highlight plays made behind her by center fielder Daisy Giroux. "Daisy does that all the time. Whenever hitters put the ball in play, our defense usually makes the play."
Wood made a double play in the first, when she caught Hunter Pedro’s bunt and threw behind Cassidy Anger at first. She watched Giroux make a diving catch to rob Kayla Stoudley of extra bases in the fourth and later saw the center fielder throw Pedro out at the plate in the sixth.
The Colonels broke the ice with a five-run fourth, which began with Lou Lou Terwilliger drawing a free pass and Haley Struthers reaching on an error. After Jessica Mann singled to center, Maddy Derosia delivered a two-run double to right. Alyssa Bezanson then walked to load the bases, and Mckinlie Carpenter smoked a bases-clearing double down the left field line.
With the hosts leading 5-0, each team scored once in the sixth. Fair Haven’s Pedro, Timi Carone and Marissa Lamoureau started the top of the inning with consecutive singles, and Carone would go home on an errant throw. The Colonels answered with back-to-back hits from Bezanson and Carpenter, followed by an RBI ground out from Paige.
Wood would face just four batters in the seventh. With 1450 AM announcers Tim Johnson and Bill Holiday calling the action, she made the assist on a grounder by Rachel Butrimas, walked Casey Fyles, watched Terwilliger make an out at the hot corner and then struck out Anger to end it.
Carpenter finished with two hits and three RBI’s to lead the Colonels offensively. Derosia drove in two runs with a double, while Bezanson, Mann and Terwilliger also hit safely.
Brattleboro (6-1) will play at Fair Haven (7-2) on Saturday.
Brattleboro lineup: Mckinlie Carpenter -- C, Bailey Paige -- RF, Daisy Giroux -- CF, Rissa Smith -- LF, Lou Lou Terwilliger -- 3B, Haley Struthers -- DP, Jessica Mann -- 1B, Maddy Derosia -- SS, Alyssa Bezanson -- 2B, Kayla Wood -- P/Flex.
Fair Haven lineup: Cassidy Anger -- P, Hunter Pedro -- CF, Timi Carone -- C, Marissa Lemoureau -- LF, Kayla Stoudley -- 3B, Emily Ringquist -- 1B, Rachel Butrimas -- SS, Casey Fyles -- 2B, Anna Fabian -- DP, Cassie Ciejko -- RF/Flex.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.