BUHS softball team rallies to advance

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BRATTLEBORO — On Wednesday afternoon at Sawyer Field, Delaney Rankin joined a short list that includes former Utah high school student Savannah Garner and the then UCLA-bound Rachel Garcia.

All three varsity softball pitchers have thrown a no-hitter and lost in the past five years.

Rankin struck out nine, walked zero, and didn't give up any hits when her ninth-seeded Saint Johnsbury softball team lost to eighth-ranked Brattleboro 2-1 in a Division 1 playoff game.

"She was able to keep our kids off-balance today," noted BUHS coach Kelly Markol.

Mya McAuliffe and Julie Hendricks each reached on a miscue and scored an unearned run in the fifth inning to help the Colonels take the lead for good. A sacrifice fly to right field by Alexa Kinley drove in the winning run.

"I felt like these teams were very even. I think the difference was that we were able to capitalize on their mistakes this time," said Markol, whose team had lost to the Hilltoppers 7-4 six days earlier in a regular-season contest.

Rankin also went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a single to left in the top of the first. Her pinch runner stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to put the visitors ahead 1-0.

The Saint Johnsbury ace would throw to the minimum 12 batters in her first four innings of work, before watching two infield errors lead to a couple of Brattleboro runs in the fifth.

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In likely her final home softball game, Hailey Derosia fanned nine, walked seven and gave up four hits to earn the victory.

"It was nice to have a lot of people come and cheer so loud. It was such a good environment," Derosia commented.

The senior hurler made one of her team's best defensive plays by charging a dribbler in the sixth and firing to first base to leave two runners stranded. Hendricks (RF) made a nice catch to her right despite colliding with Bella Powell (CF) in the fifth. And shortstop Rachael Rooney, now wearing the No. 6 jersey, showed off her rifle arm in the third when she threw out Rankin on a grounder.

"Let's go defense," is a chant Brattleboro fan Daryl Pillsbury started up at the end of the sixth frame. Another BUHS backer repeated it moments later, and then several players inside the home dugout began saying the same words.

Rankin and Saleena Porter would both reach base for the visitors in the top of the seventh, however Derosia recorded her ninth K of the day to end it.

The 12-5 Colonels will play at top-seeded Essex (14-1) in Friday's Division 1 quarterfinal at 4:30 p.m.

"We just want to go up there and beat them," stated Derosia.

Brattleboro lineup: Hailey Derosia P, Rachael Rooney SS, Lauren McKenney 3B, Mya McAuliffe 1B, Julie Hendricks RF, Leah Madore LF, Alexa Kinley C, Natalie Hendricks 2B, Bella Powell CF.


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