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Blue Mountain Holds Down Lady Chargers in Opener

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WELLS RIVER – Blue Mountain is showing no signs of slowing down in their Division IV softball title defense early on this spring, and they added another blowout win to their resume last week over the Craftsbury Academy (CA) Lady Chargers.

Head coach Ashley Gravel and her Lady Charger softball team drew the short straw in opening their season against Blue Mountain last Friday as the Lady Bucks cruised at home 18-0. Kaylee Hamlett struck out eight over four innings of work to earn the win in the circle. Aspen Wescot pitched a perfect fifth to finish off a five-inning no-hitter for Blue Mountain.

Senior Karli Blood led the offense with three hits, including a three-run blast to break the game open with an 8-0 lead after two innings.

Ava Kingsbury drove in three more runs with a double and scored three times. Hamlett helped her own cause with a pair of RBIs. Addison Murray and Jade Lamarre combined to score five times in the win.

Savannah Boyce took the loss in the opener for CA and Hazen’s Serenity Leach finished up in the fifth.

“Obviously not the outcome we were looking for, but this was literally our third time on a softball field this year, so we are going to keep some perspective early on in the season, especially against a great program like Blue Mountain. Everyone got some field time which is important, and I really like the way this team is coming together unity-wise,” said Gravel.

“Eighth grader Kyra Ingalls was a bright spot for us, making some spectacular plays in centerfield and she is going to be a pillar for us defensively out there this season. I’m excited for the way our starting roster is taking shape and the way this group works, they are going to continue to get better and better.”

Gravel has her largest team in six seasons at CA, with ten additional players coming over from Hazen Union and Peoples Academy this spring. CA and Hazen have begun a three-year partnership of merging athletic programs. Hazen players will play in Charger softball uniforms this spring and vice versa under Hazen head coach and CA alum Shaun Allen. Hazen’s Sarah Collier, Gracie Crown, Ginger Bowley, Serenity Leach, Willow Lockamy, and Kaitlyn Cloutier are on the Lady Charger roster this season, with Collier starting behind the plate and Crown starting at third base for Gravel.

Blue Mountain picked up right where they left off from last season’s Division IV tournament, outscoring opponents 46-4 in their first three games. Head coaches Carrie Peters and K.J. Beck have built their own version of a superpower in Wells River that were state runners-up in ’14 and state champs in ’15.

The Lady Bucks have won 56 games under Peters and Beck, including three Final Fours, a state runner-up, and a state title last spring where they knocked off top seeded defending champ West Rutland 17-6.

CA is scheduled to travel to Richford on Thursday and Winooski on Saturday afternoon. They will host Twinfield-Cabot-Danville in their home opener at Craftsbury’s Dustan Field next Tuesday.

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