Colonels to host Terriers in baseball opener
BRATTLEBORO — Baseball players throughout the state are probably starting to wonder if Leif Bigelow puts his uniform on inside of a phone booth, but it's a superpower that several of his Brattleboro teammates possess that might be getting overlooked.
They can fly.
The Colonels, who have speed demons such as Chris Frost, Tyler Millerick and Kam Pelkey in their batting order, will open up against Bellows Falls on Monday at Tenney Field at 5 p.m.
"This team has more speed than any team I've ever had," said 19-year Brattleboro Union High School varsity baseball coach Chris Groeger. "With all of the speed we have, we have to put the ball in play and get on base."
Groeger plans on leading off with Frost, who was a dangerous running back in the fall. Millerick, also a sophomore, will follow in the order.
"Tyler has speed and handles the bat very well. He will be asked to bunt, hit and run, and steal bases for us," stated Groeger, whose team went 11-7 a year ago.
Bigelow, Dan Petrie, Kris Carroll and Pelkey will be next in the lineup and will be counted on to drive runs in. Petrie led the way with a .458 average and 18 RBI last season, while Bigelow (.425, 9 RBI) and Pelkey (.353, 7 RBI) also did plenty of damage.
"Dan is a leader. I consider him the leader of this team," Groeger said of his senior catcher. "He works hard every single day. He blocks the plate well, throws well, and hits well."
The Brattleboro coach is even tinkering with the idea of using Petrie as the team's closer.
"We didn't really have that solid No. 2 starter last year, but I'm hoping that Adam Newton can be that for us now," noted Groeger, who watched Newton pitch very well in a 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Hartford in 2017.
The team's ace is clearly Bigelow, who will be playing for UConn next spring.
"Leif's stats over the past two seasons speak for themselves," Groeger said. "He is capable of striking out a bunch of batters, but we have to make the routine plays behind him. We can't extend innings defensively like we did last year."
Bigelow fanned 58, walked 10, allowed 13 hits, and gave up just one earned run in 38 1/3 innings of work as a junior. He threw a no-hit shutout versus Mount Mansfield in a first-round playoff game.
The senior hurler is expected to be handed the ball when the Colonels host the Terriers on Monday afternoon.
"We are a young team with promise — if we can get all of the pieces in place and learn our role as they develop. This is an eager group that has brought a great attitude to the preaseason," said Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby.
Jourdan Metcalfe, Clayton Groenewold, Spencer Clark, Lucas Saunders and Noah Rawling are the returning players from a Bellows Falls team that went 9-8 in 2017, including a 5-1 loss to Otter Valley in a Division 2 quarterfinal.
Bellows Falls roster: Coach — Bob Lockerby. Seniors — Jourdan Metcalfe, Clayton Groenewold, Jared Zobkiw, Spencer Clark, Lucas Saunder, Noah Wilkinson. Juniors — Noah Rawling, Jack Brown, Jeff Rainville, Joe Terry. Sophomores — McGregor Vancor, Griff Waryas.
Brattleboro roster: Coach — Chris Groeger. Seniors — Ben Nelson-Betts, Leif Bigelow, Kam Pelkey, Dan Petrie. Juniors — Hunter Beebe, Kris Carroll, Evan Finnell, Brenden Gilbeau, Nate Lewis, Adam Newton, Jack Price, Jeremy Rounds, Bret Worden. Sophomores — Tyler Millerick, Chris Frost.
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