A RICHFORD MAN’S PART TO D-DAY

Lyle Hurtubise recalls D-Day and his service during World War II as he shows off a shadow box in his home in 2015. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

By Linda Collins
for the County Courier

RICHFORD: Fifteen years ago Lyle Hurtubise was recounting memories of storming the beaches on D-Day sixty years earlier. Today, though the memories may be dimmer for him,  a new generation needs to be reminded of the sacrifices Hurtubise and many other Americans made.

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COMETS UPSET HORNETS, EARN CHAMPIONSHIP BID WITH RIVAL THUNDERBIRDS

ESSEX: The Comets were down by five runs Tuesday going into the seventh inning. They needed everything to go right in order to defeat the top-seeded Hornets of Essex- more than that, they needed to believe, according to Coach Bert Berthiaume.

Believe they did, the Comets stunned the Hornets, forcing a pitching change, and knocking in six runs by the time the Hornets could tally up three outs.

The Comets followed that up with stellar defense in the bottom of the seventh to round out the game, propelling them into the championship game against rival Missisquoi.

That game is scheduled to be played at Caselton University Saturday afternoon a 2 pm.

Also playing on Saturday will be Fairfax, the top seed in D3 Softball taking on White River Valley at 5:30 pm at Caselton.

Pick up a copy of this week’s County Courier for extensive coverage of the semifinals games played this week.

QUARTERFINAL UPSET SENDS ROCKETS TO SEMIS

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

The Rockets spent six hours on a bus Friday, but for Head Coach Jim Bose and the Richford athletes that made the trip, it was a day well spent. 

Richford, the fifth seed in Division III, traveled to Chester to face fourth-seeded Green Mountain, hoping for an upset to keep their season alive.  

“The Rockets played their hearts out,” said Bose, smiling after the game. 

Lagging just one run behind their opponents in the final inning of the game, Rocket catcher, Abigail Adams, launched a  two-run home run, propelling the Rockets to a 4-3 win. “Abigail wasn’t the only hero in this game,” Bose noted, “all 13 girls, including four freshman JV players, had something to bring to this win!”

Green Mountain scored first,  putting two runs on the board in the fourth inning. 

The Rockets answered in the sixth when Adams singled and Hayley Snider walked. Hanna Hurtubise singled scoring Adams. 

Freshman, Madison Johnson, who was pinch-hitting, hit a line drive to right field, scoring Snider and tying the game. In the bottom of the sixth Green Mountain’s strongest hitter, launched a ball to the outfield. Rocket center fielder, Christine Greenwood, made the catch.  

With two outs, Green Mountain batters reached base on singles and scored, bringing the score to 3-2 in their favor. Richford pitcher Katie Rotunno singled in the top of the seventh, giving the Rockets a much-needed base runner. With Rotunno on base, Adams stepped to the plate and hit the home run that would eventually secure the win.  

Rotunno returned to the mound in the seventh, pitching to three batters who each grounded out, one to Rocket third baseman Austin Archambault, one to second baseman Hanna Hurtubise and one back to Rotunno who made the final game-winning play. 

“Katie pitched an awesome, complete game getting ten strikeouts, two walks, and only three hits!” said Bose, still enjoying the thrill of the upset. 

Adams finished  3-4, including a double and the game-winning home run; Hanna Hurtubise collected two hits. Richford batters had a total of ten hits in the game.  

“The Rockets played with heart and determination and clearly wanted this game! I’m very proud of these girls!” said Bose. “I told the girls they all have ‘it’ and to bring ‘it’ to the game and play their hearts out! They did just that!”

Richford will be facing number one seeded BFA Fairfax on Tuesday, June 4 at 4:30 pm in Fairfax.

BULLETS BLAST PAST WOLVES

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

The Bullets’ softball team hosted Peoples in the Division III quarterfinals on Friday, earning a commanding 26-4 victory over the Wolves.

 Taylor Mitchell, the winning pitcher for the Bullets, went the distance, fanning 12, allowing four runs, six hits, one walk, and striking out 12. 

 Madison Murphy led the Bullets’ offense with three hits, including a triple, a double, and five RBI. Taylor Mitchell had two hits, a double, and four RBIs; Faith Orton and Ali Irish each had two hits, including a double, and Jaycee Douglas two hits. 

 Fairfax seeded first in their division, played their first playoff game on Friday after receiving a bye for the first playdown game.

 Heading into the tournament, Fairfax had a 15-2 record, dropping only two games all season to Division I MVU. 

 Fairfax will host fifth-seeded Richford on Tuesday in Fairfax at 4:30 pm in the D-III Semifinals.

WALKOFF RUN PROPELS ‘BIRDS TO SEMIS

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

SWANTON: The Thunderbirds will be hosting a semi-final game, thanks to the grit and determination the team displayed on Friday night.

 MVU, seeded second, hosted ten seed, Rutland, narrowly escaping an upset. The Thunderbirds, who took only one loss during the regular season, proved that they have what it takes to earn a win in a close game.

The second-seeded Thunderbirds pose for a team photo after defeating tenth-seeded Rutland in Friday’s Quarterfinal game in Swanton. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

 “They made us work really hard, and they gave us an opportunity to have one of those games where we get a chance to measure ourselves and see if we are worthy of moving on,” said MVU head coach Jay Hartman. “Fortunately, we were able to do that in the bottom half of the seventh inning.”

 The two teams exchanged the lead multiple times during the game; Sarah Harvey recounted Hartman’s words of wisdom as the Thunderbirds pushed through the tough contest. 

 “He told us that if we wanted to keep playing, we had to win every inning,” noted Sarah, who was named the Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year this week.

 Heading into the bottom of the seventh, the teams were knotted at seven runs apiece. 

MVU’s Emily Graham stretches to secure the catch at First base, getting the out during Friday’s Quarterfinal game against tenth-seeded Rutland. Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

 MVU was down to their last out when a close call at first gave MVU new life. Madison Conley hit a single and outran the throw to first. 

 “Madison is an amazing kid. We watched her during the hockey championship this year; she’s gutsy, she’s gritty, she finds a way to get it done,” said Hartman of his sophomore catcher. 

 “Natalee delivered with a hit in the gap in left, advancing Conley and putting the T-Birds in scoring position. Ellie Bourdeau came to the plate for MVU, hitting a ball toward third. A bad hop sent the ball into the outfield, allowing Conley to score on the walk-off.” 

 “It was textbook, exactly what you’d hope for,” said Sarah Harvey. 

 Both Harvey sisters threw for MVU with Sarah earning the win. Sarah tossed the final three innings, combining with starter Natalee for 12 strikeouts. 

Natalee Harvey throwing a strike in the Quarterfinal game against Rutland on Friday. Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

 This year the two sisters are playing their final season together. 

 “They’re two different players,” said Shannon Harvey of her daughters. “They have equally, incredible strength and I love how they love each other. Natalee has said a couple of times that she hates that this season is going to end.”

 Thankfully, the Thunderbirds will play another game. 

 “I was impressed with the way the team kept battling back. Rutland played extremely well. They sacrificed and bunted people into scoring position, and they had three big hits,” said Hartman. 

 Rutland had two, two-out hits that scored two runs in both the fourth and the sixth innings, and a home run in the top of the seventh that scored two more. 

Senior Sarah Harvey prepares to tag a Rutland player attempting to steal second base in Friday’s Quarterfinal at Missisquoi. Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

 Hartman noted that one of the strengths he’s seen in this years’ team comes in their flexibility, which was on display on Friday.

 “Henry Ford has nothing on interchangeable parts when it comes to us,” said Hartman. “We have fourteen girls on the team this year, so everyone has needed to learn multiple positions. The kids know that if we decide to do certain things, it’s going to move people around, and they’ve become very comfortable and very adept at it.” 

 Bill Sheets, the pitching coach for MVU, also complimented the team.

 “They’ve really gelled, and we have a lot of leadership throughout the team.”

 Hartman, who has over three decades of experience at the helm, enjoys the post season. 

The Thunderbirds congratulate Freshman Alexandra Brouillette as she evened the score 1-1 with her Home Run during Friday’s Quarterfinal with tenth-seeded Rutland. Rachel N. Lamoureux, County Courier

 “This a fun group, and we’re not ready for the season to end yet,” said Hartman. “This was a gutsy win, and hopefully, it’s something we can build on and move forward.” 

 The Thunderbirds will face Lyndon Institute at home on Tuesday at 4:30 pm. 

HORNETS SQUEEK OUT WIN, OVERCOME THUNDERBIRDS’ ENERGY

The second-seeded Enosburg Hornets celebrate their win Friday evening over the seventh-seeded Thunderbirds of Missisquoi, advancing to the D-II semifinals Tuesday when they host third-seeded Fair Haven. Caleb Laroche photo

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

 The Thunderbird and Hornet baseball teams faced off Friday night in a rare, in-county playoff contest, both vying for a semi-final berth. 

 Mississquoi put two runs on the board in the first inning; the Hornets answered in the bottom of the first when Nik Sabrowski drove in Karson Fortin. Dylan Pattee drove in Sabrowski, the tying run, on a two-out single. 

 The Thunderbirds came back in the second, scoring on a hard hit ball by Robert Boucher.

 The teams traded the lead over the next five innings, with MVU holding a precarious one-run lead as the Hornets came to bat in the bottom of the seventh. 

 The Hornets tied the game early in the half inning. David Antillon scorched a no-out double, Pattee was intentionally walked, eventually reaching second while Antillon was caught stealing.

 Chase Joyal, who noted he’s been struggling with his at-bats the last few games, came to the plate for the Hornets. 

 Avery Feeley, who threw all seven for the Thunderbirds, worked Joyal into a 2-2 count. 

 Joyal saw his pitch and launched a hard-hit ball down the third base line to score Pattee and earn Enosburg the 6-5 quarterfinal win.

 “I knew I needed to do something; we had the winning run at second,” said Joyal, “My legs were shaking; I hit the ball and just hoped it wasn’t going to go foul. I rounded first, got to second, and I realized I’d just hit a walk-off!”

 Pattee, who crossed the plate with the game-winning run, complimented Joyal’s at-bat. 

 “Chase kept fouling them off and fouling them off and then he hit that bomb to left field on the fence. I was halfway between second and third, and Coach told me I had to get on my horse!” said Pattee, laughing. 

 Enosburg head coach, Rodney Burns, who was doused with water during the interview, smiled as he recounted his team’s grit. 

 “We kept battling throughout the whole game; we’d go down a couple of runs, and then we’d come back up. The guys never gave up. We put the bat on the ball and scored two runs in the last inning,” said Enosburg head coach Rodney Burns. “Overall, I couldn’t ask for a better group. They’ve been amazing all season long.” 

 Nik Saborowski started the game for the Hornets on the mound, going six innings and allowing five hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. Jacob Parent entered as a relief pitcher in the seventh.

 Avery Feeley took the loss for the T-birds, however, pitched a strong game, going six and one-third innings, allowing eight hits and striking out five.

 “Avery kept his pitch count low; he pitched with good rhythm. He’s been our rock on the mound this year for sure,” said MVU head coach Roy Sargent. 

 Offensively, for Enosburg, Dylan Pattee went 2-3 with an RBI and scored the winning run. David Antillon doubled, and Nik Saborowski added a hit and an RBI. Chase Joyal singled in the seventh for the walk-off hit. Shea Howrigan, Karson Fortin, and Brandon Parent each had hits.

 Avery Feeley led the Thunderbirds with two hits. Bobby Boucher added a hit and an RBI for MVU, while Jackson Porter and Adam Rice each had one. 

 “It was nice to get the two runs in the first. We came ready to play and jumped right on them. The game was a battle the whole way through,” said Sargent. “I think both teams were mirror images of each other tonight.”

 The Hornets will host the semi-final game on Tuesday at 4:30 pm in Enosburg. 

 “It all comes down to this–the team behind us, the fans here tonight, that’s what it’s all about. It’s amazing to have everybody behind us,” said Pattee. 

SIX LOCAL TEAMS IN THE TOP FOUR OF THEIR DIVISION

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated Monday morning after the official tournament pairings were announced.

The regular season has closed for High School sports and five local teams have made it into the top four slots within their division.

Here’s a rundown on how each team finished the regular season, including who they will take on in the postseason. The official pairings and schedules were posted Monday morning by the Vermont Principals’ Association, here, and will be updated as the tournament continues.

BFA FAIRFAX

Baseball

Finishing 11th in their division, the BFA Fairfax Baseball program experienced a growing year with a final record of 3-12. They will travel to #6 Oxbow on Wednesday in the first round of the tournament.

Softball

Despite practicing only a handful of days outside this year due to weather constraints, the Bullets’ Softball program went 14-2 for the season, losing only twice, both to Missisquoi, one of the best teams in the state this year.

The Bullets earned the top spot in Division III, earning a bye to the quarterfinals later this week. The winner of #8 Peoples and #9 Williamstown will travel to Fairfax on Friday to take on the Bullets in the quarterfinals.

BFA ST. ALBANS

Baseball

The Bobwhites find themselves ranked 15th in a tough Division I this year, picking up four wins in the season while dropping 10 games.

On Wednesday the #15 Bobwhites will travel to #2 Burr and Burton.

Softball

The Comets fought hard for a fourth seed this year, finishing 12-3 for the season. The Comets are will take on the 13th seeded from Middlebury on Tuesday afternoon. The Comets did not play Middlebury in the regular season.

Boys Lacrosse

Picking up the second rank in Boys’ Lacrosse, the Bobwhites finished with a record of 12-2, dropping to Essex by one goal and the defending champions, CVU by eight.

The Bobwhites picked up a bye in the first round of the playoffs, advancing to the quarterfinals on Friday when they host the winner of #10 Mt. Anthony at #7 South Burlington. The game begins at 4 pm.

Girls Lacrosse

Finishing 6th out of 14 teams, the Comets’ Lacrosse team earned a record of 9-5 for the season. The Comets will host the 11th seeded MMU Cougars on Tuesday, with a game start of 4 pm. The Cougars are a team that the Comets beat when they played at home as well as away.

ENOSBURG

Baseball

Finishing the regular season with a record of 11-2, the Hornets earned the number two seed in the postseason. That positioning pairs the Hornets up with #15 Woodstock in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday, in Enosburg at 4:30.

Coming off a loss to Division 3 Peoples Academy, the Hornets are looking for vengeance.

Softball

The Lady Hornets take the third seed in D2 Softball. With that, the Hornets up with the 14th ranked Yellowjackets of Milton for the opening round on Tuesday at 4:30.

MISSISQUOI

Baseball

The Thunderbirds picked up a big 2-1 win last week against Middlebury, placing Missisquoi in the middle of the pack going into the playoffs with a #7 seed. The Thunderbirds will be hosting #10 Montpelier in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday at 4:30.

Softball

Finishing with only one loss, the Thunderbirds take the second seed going into the tournament and will host 15th seeded North County on Wednesday at 4:30.

Despite beating top-seeded Essex two weeks ago, the Thunderbirds’ second seed comes with a calculation of average index points. Third-seeded Lyndon finished undefeated for the season but played only two DI schools

RICHFORD

Baseball

With Richford’s sole win coming at the heals of Twinfield a week and a half ago, the #14 Falcons will travel to #3 Vergennes on Wednesday to begin the postseason.

Softball

Finishing the season 8-5, the Rockets are looking for a rebirth this week with a #5 seed, which gives the Rockets a bye into the quarterfinals, at which point they will travel to #4 Green Mountain in the quarterfinals.

REPEAT OFFENDER ON PAROLE CHARGED WITH VIOLATING ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER

Joshua T. Rocheleau, 28, of St. Albans appears in Franklin County Criminal Court with Public Defender Steve Dunham on Friday afternoon in St. Albans.

 By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

 ST. ALBANS: Joshua T. Rocheleau, 28, of St. Albans was arrested early Friday morning on charges that he violated an abuse prevention order earlier in the month.

 According to court records, Rocheleau confronted his ex-girlfriend who had an abuse prevention order filed against him more than a year ago.

 That order came about from a previous domestic assault in which Rocheleau was convicted and is currently a sentence that could keep him behind bars until 2024.

Because Rocheleau had reached his minimum, he had been released on Parole, giving him the opportunity to stalk his ex-partner.

 The victim in the case, who the County Courier has decided not to identify, told police that Rocheleau approached her at the Family Dollar in downtown St. Albans, wanting to talk to her.

 The victim was inside her vehicle as Rochleau allegedly rode his bicycle around her vehicle several times as he tried to convince the female to talk with him.

 Police responded to the area, and took a statement from the female who said in part, “I was super scared of how unpredictable and violent he can be.”

 Late Thursday evening, a St. Albans Police Officer knowledgeable with the case saw Rocheleau and knew him to be wanted in questioning with the incident. As that officer tried to confront Rocheleau, he retreated into his parents’ home on Walnut Street.

 Police tried to coax Rochleau out but were not successful, so they sought a search warrant for the home. Once inside, the officers were unable to locate Rocheleau “due to the mass clutter of the residence,” according to court records.

 St. Albans police then contacted Vermont State Police for a K9 unit to respond. Once that K9 began searching the home, Rocheleau came out from a garbage can just outside the back door of the residence, one officer said in a written statement.

 “Joshua stated that he gave up from hiding in order to avoid being bitten by the K9,” wrote Officer Ferguson’s written affidavit filed on Friday.

 Rocheleau was serving parole for a conviction of aggravated domestic assault, one of at least three domestic assault convictions on his record, so he was ordered back to prison pending a review by the parole board. His maximum release date is March 15th, 2024. However, he could, and is likely to be released sooner by the parole board.

WOMAN LEADS POLICE ON CHASE, CRASHES, GETS AWAY THREE TIMES

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

ST. ALBANS: Vermont State Police say Melissa Labounty was behind the wheel Tuesday afternoon in Swanton when police tried to stop her for a moving violation. That’s when she took off at a high rate of speed, fleeing from the traffic stop.

Police tried to stop Labounty, who had a criminally suspended license, near the intersection of Woods Hill Road and Bushey Road before she fled, traveling towards St. Albans.

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FNESU VOTERS TO ELECT BOARD MEMBERS TODAY, SOME WILL ALSO VOTE ON BUDGET

Voters from the Northern Mountain Valley Unified Union School District gathered at the Berkshire Elementary School Monday evening to vote on articles from the floor as well as ask questions about items to be voted on today by Australian Ballot. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

Polls are open for voters in six towns today to elect board members, and for some, approve a school budget.

The towns of Berkshire, Bakersfield, Montgomery and Sheldon (the Northern Mountain Valley Unified Union School District) will be voting on a $16.3 million school budget, as well as electing eight members to their newly expanded board.

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