by Ken Brown
WELLS RIVER – Blue Mountain showed why they’re a Division IV title contender last week, spoiling the Craftsbury Academy (CA) softball team’s season opener.
Kyra Nelson and Kaylee Hamlett combined to twirl a five-inning no-hitter last Monday, as Blue Mountain shut down the Lady Chargers 12-0 at home. Nelson and Hamlett combined to strikeout 10 and Lauren Joy helped stake the Lady Bucks to a 9-0 lead after two innings with a pair of triples, while driving in three.
“It was cold and rainy and even though we lost, we walked away with our heads held high,” said head coach Ashley Gravel.
Nelson and Hamlett also provided on the offensive end with a double apiece and a pair of RBI’s for Blue Mountain. Felicity Sulham also drove in a pair of runs and Gabby Houghton added two hits and an RBI in the win. The Lady Bucks have outscored their opponents 43-13 in their three wins this season, with their only losses coming to Woodsville, N.H., and undefeated Division III power Oxbow.
“They’re a tough team to play, let alone on the road, but they beat us 22-1 last year, so it is an improvement, especially being our first game of the season,” added Gravel.
Blue Mountain made it to the Division IV Final Four in 2021 with a senior laden team and reached the quarterfinals with a 12-4 record last season with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores. Gravel led her young program to their first playoff victory at CA in nearly two decades in 2022. Softball was just a club sport at CA four years ago before being dormant for nearly 10 years. The Lady Chargers survived their first full season in the rugged Mountain League last year, winning four games and losing only one senior to graduation. Her team will have a full week of practice outside to get ready for the meat of their schedule in a busy month of May.
“Rescheduling our game against Thetford Academy gave us time to prepare and do some work on the field, but it was ultimately delayed and postponed due to safety concerns. With Spring Break this week, we will have a full week of practice to work on game situations outside and continue to get the field ready for the season,” said Gravel.
The Lady Chargers will face off against Blue Mountain for the rematch on May 2 at Dustan Field.