Archive - 2014 - Sports Article
As the players and coaches in the Cumberland American are discovering this week, there’s nothing little about the Little League World Series.
On the surface, competing in this grand spectacle – how else would you describe an event that includes participants hailing from around the country and the world? – can seem overwhelming. ESPN cameras are practically everywhere, which CALL manager Dave Belisle hinted at earlier this week upon stating, “All of the eyes of the world are on Williamsport.”
PROVIDENCE â For a different and perhaps refreshing change of pace, Ed Cooley wonât have to worry about juggling timeouts, what instructions to bark out or rack his brain in hopes of recalling the vivid details of the oppositionâs scouting report.
As Cooley and his Providence College Friars embark on a 10-day, three-game exhibition swing through Europeâs sunny peninsula, the head coach does so with somewhat of a lightened load. During PCâs three exhibition contests against Italian competition, Cooley will let his assistant coaches run the show while he sits and observes.
PAWTUCKET --The very presence of Magic Johnson at McCoy Stadium on Sunday offered an interesting juxtaposition.
Here was the NBA legend, standing on the same plush and well-manicured field that became second nature to Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa during the past two seasons. The two former PawSox pitchers represent the prospect-laden haul the Red Sox received from Johnsonâs Dodgers when the two teams ironed out a blockbuster trade that is rapidly approaching its two-year anniversary.
Special to The Times
It's a bus ride that will never get old for Cumberland American Little League.
The newly crowned New England Regional champions left Bristol, Conn., Sunday morning for Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series.
"They left via coach bus at nine in the morning," Eastern Region assistant director Patrick Holden said.
BRISTOL, Conn. – Perhaps 30 minutes after the Cumberland American All-Stars had sustained a 5-3 walk-off loss to Fairfield American of Connecticut on Tuesday night, manager Dave Belisle conducted a meeting in the team dorm.
In essence, he told his bunch to keep their heads up, that they had played well in the defeat and to believe in themselves as they always did.
PAWTUCKET â Manager Kevin Boles doesnât pretend to be unaware of the fact that his Pawtucket Red Sox are now in the throes of a pennant race, something that in recent years has been an annual staple of August baseball around these parts.
âThereâs a buzz and definitely aware whatâs going on. They want to accomplish some special things,â Boles said. âWeâre here to develop winning ballplayers.â
PAWTUCKET – When reached early Sunday afternoon, Jim Mello admitted he's had a lot on his mind over the previous few days.
Ever since his Collette Vacations Post 79 squadron captured its first-ever R.I. American Legion Senior Division Tournament title with back-to-back 8-2 and 9-6 victories over the Newport-area's R&R Construction last Wednesday at McCarthy Field, he's had to prepare loads of paperwork.
In fact, he mentioned he was still trying to complete all of the necessary forms on his kitchen table.
BRISTOL, Conn. – Cumberland American’s All-Stars had inflicted a lot of pain to opponents with three walk-off hits on their road here to the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center.
On Tuesday afternoon, they shockingly were on the receiving end.
PAWTUCKET â Matt Spring is a career minor-league catcher who gets it.
You wonât find his name mentioned in the same way as acclaimed youngsters Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, two under-25 prospects who are viewed by many as potential catchers-of-the-future for the rebuilding Boston Red Sox.
Meanwhile, Spring sits three months shy of his 30th birthday, and is in the midst of his first extended stay at the Triple-A level with the PawSox.
BRISTOL, Conn. – Lightning struck twice for the Cumberland American All-Stars on Monday night.
After pasting Massachusetts champion Barnstable, 25-5, in its opener on Saturday, the bat-savvy Rhode Islanders strolled to a 10-0 “mercy-rule” victory over Goffstown, N.H. in another pool-play contest of what is becoming a terrific Little League New England Regional Tournament at Breen Field.
LINCOLN – The association of Ken Ryan’s name and this particular dateline can only signify that KR Baseball Academy is officially coming to town.
Everything became certified this past Friday when Ryan signed a lease to occupy space for his indoor baseball facility on 100 Higginson Ave. located in the Lonsdale section of town. A Pawtucket native who pitched for both the PawSox and Red Sox, Ryan hopes to open the doors either the first or second week in October.
BRISTOL, Conn. -- On the evening of Thursday, July 24, after the Cumberland American All-Stars had clinched the R.I. Little League Major Division (11-12) Tournament championship with a thrilling 8-7 victory over gritty Cranston Western, manager Dave Belisle’s crew lined up for the usual post-game handshakes with its foe.
Gary Bucci’s players couldn’t have been all too happy with the loss, but both teams’ athletes were seen high-fiving each other. It was the consummate exhibition of sportsmanship at its best.
BRISTOL, Conn. – Cumberland American All-Stars mentor Dave Belisle received a phone call from pitching coach Matt Wright late Tuesday night, and it had everything to do with the Massachusetts Little League state championship game between Barnstable and Holden.
Wright had good reason to make the 75-plus-mile trek to Beverly; after all, he wanted to scout the contest, as the victor would face Belisle’s bunch in the opener of the New England Regional Tournament at 2 p.m., Saturday at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Training Center.
PAWTUCKET — While teammates in Double-A Portland, Matt Spring had the opportunity to catch many of Henry Owens’ day-after-he-started side sessions.
Mechanics and pitch repertoire aside, those informal bullpen outings allowed Spring to acquire a deeper sense of what makes Owens tick. Even in low-pressurized situations, the lanky left-hander still displayed a competitive zest that really wasn’t all that different when Owens took the ball for the Sea Dogs once every five days.
The Rhode Island Thunder Gold 12U-Needle are the 2014 PONY National Champions after the team won the PONY Fast Pitch Softball Nationals in Sterling, Va., held the week of July 18-23.
The team, composed of players from both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, had a phenomenal run throughout the season, with had a phenomenal run this season, with an overall record of 71-4-1.
WEST WARWICK -- Just before the R.I. American Legion Senior Division Tournament championship tilt began late Wednesday afternoon, skipper Jim Mello huddled his troops outside the first-base dugout and issued a few simple thoughts.
“There is no tonight if we don’t take care of business right now,” he stated. “Think about this game and what you need to do. It’s do-or-die; now go out there and have some fun.”
WEST WARWICK – With Collette Vacations Post 79 facing their third-straight elimination game on Tuesday, Zach Mitsmenn dazzled the tournament’s top-seeded squad for nine innings, sending home the highly-touted Senerchia Post 74 and propelling Collette into the final day of play at the R.I. American Legion Senior Division Tournament.
PAWTUCKET â For reasons no doubt discussed ad nauseam in other forums, âRocketâ Roger Clemens will not be featured during this weekendâs Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Brandon Workman, Clemens fan, fellow Red Sox pitcher and fellow University of Texas Longhorn, hopes that changes someday.
KR Baseball Academy is on the move after a successful 10-year run in Pawtucket.
Though nothing is official, the owner hopes everything regarding the academy’s new Lincoln location will be signed, sealed and delivered by the middle of next week. More specifically, Ken Ryan plans to inhabit space on 100 Higginson Ave., which is situated in the Lonsdale section of town.
The running joke between Bob Walsh and Antone Gray became a rite of spring.
Whenever Walshâs name was linked to prospective Division I menâs basketball head coaching jobs, he would receive a reminder from a player who never seemed to stray too far from the mentorâs mind. Gray first placed the bug in Walshâs ear during their point guard/coaching partnership at Rhode Island College. He continued to do so after his graduation in 2011.
âEven when Antone was a sophomore playing for me, he would say, âDonât leave me here, donât leave me here,â Walsh recalled.
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