Archive - 2013 - Sports Article
PAWTUCKET â Validation in the form of a job well done was bestowed upon Gary DiSarcina Thursday, as the former Pawtucket Red Sox manager was named Baseball Americaâs 2013 Minor-League Manager of the Year.
In his first and only season at the helm, DiSarcina guided the International League North division title with an 80-63 record. The PawSox accomplished that while employing the services of 64 different players during the regular-season (30 position players and 34 pitchers).
SOUTH KINGSTOWN â Ed Cooley has a grand vision for the stateâs annual college basketball passion play â Providence versus Rhode Island.
âMy goal is to get this game on CBS on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon,â proclaimed the Friarsâ head coach. âWhen you do that, you know that both programs are getting there. Take nothing away from the other channels, and I donât want to be disrespectful to anybody, but when youâre talking about trying to nationally brand your two schools, I think thatâs our ultimate goal.â
There figures to always be a soft spot in Tommy Harperâs heart for Jacoby Ellsbury. Harper got to know Ellsbury when the latter was on the fast track through the minor-league ranks, hence why the former had no trouble relinquishing his 36-year-old Red Sox record of 54 stolen bases in a single season, which Ellsbury shattered with 70 thefts in 2009.
When the topic of Ellsbury and the lavish seven-year, $153-million deal he reportedly agreed to with the New York Yankees came up during a phone interview on Wednesday, Harper elicited a response that was part clairvoyant, part reality check.
PAWTUCKET â It's the time of year when interscholastic coaches begin preparing their respective squads for the winter season, and Kim Hewson, the Shea High head swimming coach, was one of them on Tuesday.
He stood on the deck explaining to a few of his more inexperienced aquatic Raiders the nuances of proper stroke and rotary breathing techniques: that is, how the hands should slice the water, not slap it; how the body should rotate in order to breathe correctly to either side; how to close the fingers and turn them down slightly to create a âpaddleâ for each stroke.
WARWICK â If everything shakes out according to Thorr Bjornâs plan, the University of Rhode Island will have a new football head coach in place by the middle of the month.
Speaking about the ongoing search to find Joe Trainerâs successor at a college basketball luncheon held at the Radisson Hotel, Bjorn stated that the official job posting in accordance with state requirements took place Monday. The Rams' athletic director noted that such a step must take place before interviewing prospective candidates.
Even on the phone, Chris Skurka came across as a happy camper. Call such âmerrinessâ not in keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, but rather it is based solely on the fact that his Cumberland football outfit does not have to concern itself with a semifinal-round game on Tuesday night.
Sports editor emeritus
CENTRAL FALLS â On the surface, Saturdayâs Lincoln-Central Falls football game seemed like a battle between two teams finishing off losing seasons. Dig a little deeper, though, and the truth becomes evident. These two teams played with passion and love for the game that went beyond their win-loss records and to the core of why youngsters play football.
âPlaying on a frozen field is never fun,â Lincoln senior Giovanni Gray said after his Lions rolled to a 47-8 victory. âBut when the sun came out and the field turned to mud, now that was fun!â
Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET â Things were looking pretty bleak for Tolman Highâs football squad at halftime of Friday morningâs holiday clash with Shea inside McCoy Stadium. The Tigers trailed 18-0 on the scoreboard. They were missing five starters due to injuries or academic issues, including quarterback/kicker Corey Hughes, one of the Tigersâ co-captains.
PROVIDENCE -- Ed Cooley and his Providence College Friars ended up playing eight games in November. It nevertheless seemed that all took a backseat to the reoccurring storylines and hot topics that remain just as fervent as the calendar flips to the second month of the college basketball season.
WOONSOCKET â With the Division II Super Bowl looming a week from Sunday, Cumberland High veteran mentor Chris Skurka took a somewhat conservative approach to the annual Thanksgiving morning clash with Woonsocket on chilly, gusty Thursday.
In an effort not to âbreakâ any key spokes in his wheel, he chose not to start senior tailback Mike Stock; he wanted him to get some rest after he rushed for four touchdowns and 145 yards (with one catch for another paydirt) in his Clippers' 49-35 semifinal triumph over St. Raphael last Friday night.
PAWTUCKET â It doesn't matter who you talk to â Tolman High head coach Dave Caito or Shea High mentor Dino Campopiano.
The dear friends and former backfield mates at Johnston High had hoped to muster solid campaigns in their respective leagues, for the Tigers the top tier and the Raiders Division II-B; both, however, suffered from different issues en route.
PROVIDENCE -- St. Raphael Academy head coach Mike Sassi had stated on the evening before his squadâs rather new holiday rivalry game against Moses Brown that â despite the upcoming inclement weather forecast â the two foes would play.
Evidently, the Providence private school didnât want to go to combat on Thanksgiving Day; perhaps a primary reason being it would have slightly less rest to prepare for a Division III semifinal tilt this coming Tuesday.
LINCOLN â The hope was to blend in as the new kid in a new high school.
But that wasnât a luxury afforded to Thaddeus Moss, and it didnât take this precocious young football player long to realize that he wasnât in Kentucky or West Virginia any more.
Moss arrived at Lincoln High School in March, and the schoolâs lights seemingly became more luminous the moment he was spotted in the hallways. He was commanding nonstop attention, though in an entirely different fashion as what he was accustomed to on the gridiron.
The mystery surrounding where the Division II Super Bowl will take place is no more.
Monday saw the Rhode Island Interscholastic League confirm the bowl sites and times for all four divisions. To date, the only division with a confirmed matchup is Division II, with defending champion Cumberland squaring off against West Warwick.
The Clippers and Wizards will meet Sunday, Dec. 8 at Cranston Stadium. The kickoff is 3 p.m. and will be preceded by the Division I contest, which gets underway at high noon.
LINCOLN â In the days leading up to his main event fight on Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.âs âPride & Powerâ card, Peter Manfredo Jr. referred to himself as a boxer who was âpast his primeâ and dearly hoped to bring back âthe Peter Manfredo Jr. of oldâ one more time.
Not only was Manfredo facing a very tough super middleweight in Lincolnâs Rich Gingras, but he also dedicated his fight to one of his good friends, Cranstonâs Gary Balletto, the former EBA and IBU lightweight champion who was paralyzed from the waist down following an accident at his home in July.
There was nearly an oversight committed as Cumberland and Woonsocket looked to stay the course in the high school football playoff arms race.
Now that the postseason sabers have officially been placed in the Villa Novansâ closet and off to the side for the time being for the Clippers, itâs officially time to talk turkey â as in the annual Thanksgiving Day contest involving these two longtime Blackstone Valley rivals. The latest chapter takes place this Thursday morning with a scheduled 10:30 a.m. kickoff at Woonsocketâs Barry Field.
CUMBERLAND -- Courtesy of a fierce and furious ground attack, Cumberland High not only claimed a thrilling 49-35 victory over St. Raphael Academy in a R.I. Division II semifinal at Tucker Field on Friday night, but also snagged its second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
Can another title be far behind?
If ever there was a career night posted by a Clipper, junior Mike Stock would own it. While bulling his way to 144 yards and four touchdowns on 29 handles, he added a fifth on an 11-yard scoring toss from classmate and quarterback Tyler Calabro.
PAWTUCKET â The saying goes that you can't look ahead without fully understanding where you've been â and why.
Both Cumberland High chief Chris Skurka and St. Raphael Academy mentor Mike Sassi are utilizing that philosophy as they prepare their clubs for a monumental R.I. Division II semifinal, slated for Tucker Field at 7 p.m., Friday.
LINCOLN â Ask any professional boxer what the toughest part of their craft is and the answer is pretty much unanimous.
Itâs not the fights themselves, nor is it the months of training and sparring they devote prior to those bouts.
Rather, itâs the 24-48 hours before they have to weigh in on the day before their fights, and if you needed any proof of that, all you had to do was check out Thursday afternoonâs final weigh-in and press conference at the Wicked Good Bar & Grillâs back room at Twin River.
CUMBERLAND â You knew long before the question was posed how uncomfortable Tom Kenwood was.
Now in his 40th year as the Cumberland High boysâ indoor and outdoor track & field mentor, the soft-spoken Kenwood always has dodged â still does â any queries about his impact on the consistent successes of his teams; heâll talk about his athletesâ intense work ethic and drive, competitive nature, etc., as the reason.
In fact, during this particular âsit downâ with Kenwood in the Wellness Centerâs Room 103, surrounded by free weights, Kenwood seemed a bit fidgety.