Archive - Aug 2012 - Sports Article
PAWTUCKET â Believe it or not, pitchers do gain velocity as the season deepens. In the case of Josh Fields, the spike in the right-handerâs radar gun readings have proven most dramatic â not to mention raise eyebrows.
These days a fixture in Pawtucketâs bullpen, Fields generally sits at 93-95 miles per hour with his fastball occasionally touching 96 mph.
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. â Thereâs a certain aura that surrounds those lauded as top prospects in the Red Sox farm system, and it only intensifies the higher they progress through the system.
His tenure with the Pawtucket Red Sox may have ended in a less-than-desirable fashion, yet make no mistake: Mark Prior remains as determined as ever to refute the industry bias surrounding him by pitching again in a major-league setting.
PAWTUCKET â After dropping one-goal verdicts in each of the past two Division I state title matches, could the third time be the charm for Shea High this fall?
Veteran head coach Pierre Ridore certainly thinks so, even though he graduated a half dozen key starters, and he let his feelings be known early Monday afternoon before his team boarded its bus for a preseason scrimmage against two-time defending Division II champion Smithfield.
CUMBERLAND -- When Ray Sikorowicz and his family drove from their Lincoln residence to Camp Ker Anna for the âYoâ Raymond Memorial 5K early Saturday morning, the 45-year-old veteran runner had two modest goals in mind â run a time that was in the low-18 minute range and compete for the top spot in his 40-49 age division.
Sikorowicz was able to accomplish both of those goals, as well as do something that in his wildest dreams he could not have envisioned â win the sixth annual race.
CENTRAL FALLS â Back in the mid-1990s, Brian Johnson and Chuck Rinebolt often teased each other about how long they would, or could, last playing semi-pro football.
The game, more often than not, can be thankless. They don't get paid, and â at times â are stuck paying for their own equipment, but they don't care. These men, most of whom work full-time, have to hustle to the practice grid two or three times a week before or after their jobs to hone their skills, speed and strength for their upcoming weekend opponent.
They're in it just for their intense love for football.
Starting Thursday, a series of chess matches will break out on high school football fields across the state.
By definition, scrimmages are akin to shifting pieces around on a square board. Some moves work while others produce less-than-desirable results. Regardless of what transpires during these low-pressure yet highly valuable tussles on the gridiron, coaches understand that the time has come to embark on the next phase of preseason camp following a period of steadily bringing the unit along.
PROVIDENCE â Monday saw the R.I. Interscholastic League Principalsâ Committee on Athletics officially welcome St. Patrickâs School of Providence into the fold for boysâ and girlsâ basketball, along with boysâ volleyball.
BOSTON â Thereâs bringing a player up to speed after heâs been out for a lengthy stretch due to injury. Then thereâs the term that Angels manager Mike Scioscia used in describing the heightened state of urgency Chris Iannetta finds himself in after missing 2 1/2 months with a broken bone in his right hand.
âYou can study and simulate stuff all you want, but when you get behind the plate, youâre like that jockey on a saddle,â Scioscia explained prior to Tuesdayâs Red Sox-Angels game at Fenway Park. âThatâs the feeling you need and thatâs where Chris needs the time in order to come together.â
CENTRAL FALLS â On the morning of Tuesday, July 16, Central Falls High head football coach Mo Jackson walked into his new classroom 107 at Calcutt Middle School and looked out a window bordering the courtyard.
His first thought: What courtyard?
âI was doing some summer programs, and I wanted to get the room ready for the kids,â admitted Jackson, who discovered since school year's end that he would be a new teacher's assistant and behavioral specialist at Calcutt. âI popped open the window, and I couldn't see anything. It looked like a jungle. I thought, 'My God, what happened to it?'
PAWTUCKET â If the Washington Nationalsâ decision to pose an innings limit on ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg was debated and haggled over in a court of law, itâs quite possible the rendering would be a hung jury.
Such a case involving a high-profile player and a playoff-starved franchise that has October baseball in its sights poses a provoking conundrum that can be argued and debated from both sides of the equation.
On one hand, Washington can be viewed as looking to protect the investment they have in Strasburg, a star at age 24 who underwent Tommy John surgery nearly two years ago.
PAWTUCKET â Daniel Bard admits thereâs somewhat of a weight of his shoulders, knowing that regardless of how heâs fared with the Pawtucket Red Sox â 7.45 ERA in 28 appearances â he remains very much on Bostonâs radar.
Asked to respond to an item in Sundayâs Boston Herald in which an anonymous Red Sox source clarified that he will pitch again for the big-league team in 2012, Bard took the occasion to explain how he can use the remaining few weeks in Pawtucketâs season to his advantage.
PAWTUCKET â Who better to clarify any myths regarding the perceived toxic environment that is the Red Sox clubhouse than a player who spent a hearty amount of time inside the ropes?
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Darnell McDonald, the former part-time Boston outfielder whose access to the team was short-circuited upon getting designated for assignment in late June. Fortunately for this particular exercise, McDonald is seen as the perfect go-to guy to set the record straight in a Red Sox season that has taken on the tenor of a soap opera in terms of firestorms and drama.
PAWTUCKET â At this point, you have to feel for Daniel Bard.
The Red Sox can point to the fact that Bard was not touched for an earned run in his inning of work Thursday night, but make no mistake: it was another tough night at the office for the struggling reliever. In case youâre just joining us, Bardâs latest attempt to get back on track provided a nice, tucked-in capsule of what has plagued the reliever during his two-plus month stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
PAWTUCKET â If Daisuke Matsuzaka made what he dubbed a âsmall mechanical adjustmentâ prior to taking the mound for the fifth inning Wednesday night, itâs news to both PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur and catcher Dan Butler.
âWhatever tweak he made, he made on his own,â stated Sauveur on Thursday, one day after Matsuzaka delivered what could be coined a mixed bag of an outing.
There was good Matsuzaka â four scoreless innings in which he retired 12 of 13 Scranton batters â following by bad Matsuzaka, the damage pertaining to the five runs (four earned) he yielded in the fifth.
WOONSOCKET â Barbara Dixon will never forget the first-ever Blackstone River Valley Greenway Challenge, held in late September of 2001.
In fact, she and other organizers questioned whether they'd be able to take care of the logistics in time.
âThis is how bizarre it was that first year,â noted Dixon, who works closely with the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, located at the old train station near Main Street.
PAWTUCKET â The Elizabeth Beisel Welcome Home Tour made a stop at McCoy Stadium Wednesday evening, as the North Kingstown native and Olympic medalist threw out the first pitch and signed autographs at the ballparkâs Cox Fan Center.
Standing on the field in her Team USA jacket and a PawSox cap, Beisel was presented a Pawtucket team jacket by General Manager Lou Schweichheimer and infielder Tony Thomas, who took the occasion to tweet the following after catching the ceremonial toss: âNot a bad arm for a swimmer; thanks for keeping it close so I could catch it!â
PAWTUCKET â Stop if youâve heard this before, but PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur feels that embattled reliever Daniel Bard is closer than the numbers suggest.
Sauveur provided words of reassurance on Wednesday afternoon, one day after Bard had a devil of a time locating the strike zone. You probably know the grizzly numbers by now, but here they are again: On his way to recording one out Tuesday night against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Bard walked four and allowed two runs. Just 10 of the 27 pitches he recorded were strikes.
ATTLEBORO â There are plenty of recent high school graduates out there who don't have a clue as to what their immediate future may hold.
Connor Harrington, who in mid-June received his diploma from St. Raphael Academy, definitely isn't one of them.
On Tuesday morning, the unassuming, modest 18-year-old loaded his belongings into his car and trekked by his lonesome to New Jersey. His wants: Not only to begin his odyssey at Bergen Community College (he plans on becoming a veterinary technician), but also follow his dream of playing junior hockey for the New Jersey Renegades.
PAWTUCKET â Pawtucket Red Sox Team President Mike Tamburro will never forget the phone call he received from then-Red Sox General Manager Lou Gorman in June 1990.
âHow would you like Johnny Pesky to be your new manager?â was the message Gorman relayed to Tamburro. âI said, âWe would love to have Johnny (pilot the PawSox).ââ