Archive - Sports Article
May 4th, 2014
PAWTUCKET â€” Ryan Lavarnway has worn many labels since his dynamic Triple-A debut with the PawSox three summers ago.
Back then he was viewed as a long-ball threat whose catching abilities needed refining. To Lavarnwayâ€™s credit, heâ€™s made tremendous strides behind the plate, though some scouts wonder if itâ€™s come at the expense of his power. The 26-year-old clubbed a combined 14 home runs over the past two seasons between Boston and Pawtucket â€“ after belting 18 round trippers in only 61 games at the Class AAA level in 2011.
PAWTUCKET â€” Dating back to the 2000 campaign, when it captured its first R.I. Division II championship, Tolman High has been one of the premier programs not only against its divisional brethren but statewide as well.
Under veteran mentor Neil Nachbar's direction, the Tigers have earned numerous league titles and four state crowns, with two collected over the past three years.
In that time, only one program has eclipsed that mark. That would be Mount St. Charles, which has five, and because of that success now plays â€“ and excels â€“ in Division I.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Kevin Boles had no problem with the umpireâ€™s decision to pull the plug on Thursdayâ€™s game. The fog that had engulfed McCoy Stadium reached a point where player safety had been seriously compromised.
Boles had a good view on the final play of this abbreviated contest: a shallow pop fly off the bat of Garin Cecchini that Indianapolis left fielder Chase dâ€™Arnaud had trouble finding. Luckily for the Indians, shortstop Robert Andino â€“ remember him, Red Sox fans? â€“ was able to make the catch for the first out in the home portion of the seventh inning.
PAWTUCKET â€” Itâ€™s common to see a number of Pawtucket Red Sox hitters shuffle in and out of the indoor batting tunnel â€“ located a stoneâ€™s throw away from the home clubhouse at McCoy Stadium â€“ prior to heading outside for more hitting and on-field work.
This time-tested practice was once again on full display Thursday afternoon, as Bryce Brentz, Alex Hassan, and others chose to take full advantage of the early work services offered by hitting coach Dave Joppie. Daniel Nava was also among the participants, which wasnâ€™t at all shocking.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â€” For someone who had just watched his team improve to a perfect 9-0 in league play on the season, Tolman High head coach Neil Nachbar sure didnâ€™t seem very pleased.
His Tigers had just manufactured not only a 3-1 victory over gritty North Smithfield in a Division II crossover clash at the Lovett Memorial Gym on Wednesday night, but also a minimum of four individual season-best performances.
Among them were senior captainâ€™s Eric Silveiraâ€™s 20 kills and nine aces; fellow senior setter Kelvin Reyesâ€™ 50 assists; and classmate Denzel DePinaâ€™s 15 kills (with two blocks).
PAWTUCKET â€” To get picked first is always a noteworthy feat, not to mention the declaration of admiration and high regard that such a choice implies.
To get selected for the first broadcast in conjunction with CBS Sports Networkâ€™s Minor League Baseball Game of the Week package further legitimizes the Pawtucket Red Sox as a national brand within this cottage industry of cultivating and developing the next wave of major league hopefuls.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Much has already been said about Garin Cecchiniâ€™s ability to understand the strike zone and his propensity to get on base. Case in point, the PawSox third baseman entered Sunday ninth in the International League in on-base percentage (.415) while his .329 batting average has him just outside the top 10.
LINCOLN --- As the weather warms up, so do Lincolnâ€™s bats.
From the top of their batting order to the bottom, the Lions were impressive in putting on a hitting clinic on Monday afternoon at Saylesville Elementary Schoolâ€™s Sullivan Field, and it came at the expense of Warwick Vets.
The two-time defending champs collected 15 hits â€“ including a season-high eight that went for extra bases â€“ and the end result was a 14-3 thrashing that was halted after 4Â˝ innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
PAWTUCKET â€” The Daniel Nava that reported to McCoy Stadium Friday afternoon appeared to be in good spirits.
For the former independent league ballplayer whose rags-to-riches tale has been well documented, the fact the Red Sox shipped him to the minors after 67 at-bats is not going to yield fits of rage. Sure, Nava is disappointed with his .147 start at the plate and the .240 on-base percentage he compiled in 17 games with the Red Sox, but this is someone who has already beaten much bigger odds.
PAWTUCKET â€” If there was rust, Matt Barnes didnâ€™t appear to show any in first start of the season.
Standing on a mound in a â€śjuices followingâ€ť setting for the first time since facing Boston College on Feb. 27 in Fort Myers, Barnes navigated his way through five innings in Pawtucketâ€™s 6-2 conquest of Rochester on Friday night before 7,680 fans. A native of Connecticut, Barnes had been in extended spring training until earlier this week after right shoulder tenderness grounded him for the majority of spring training.
PAWTUCKET â€” Other than Will Middlebrooks expressing confidence that he was able to put some nice swings on the ball and that his strained calf survived several demanding tests at third base, thereâ€™s not much to take away from Thursdayâ€™s matinee at McCoy Stadium.
Anthony Ranaudo struggled on the bump and Pawtucketâ€™s bats went cold as Rochester ran away with an 8-1 victory. Middle-brooks concluded his three-game rehab stint with another hitless day, going 0-for-4. In 10 minor league at-bats, the third baseman failed to collect a single base knock.
PAWTUCKET â€” At first blush, it would seem PawSox manager Kevin Boles has a dilemma on his hands.
His team already flush with options at first base and the corner outfield spots, Boles will have another warm body at his disposal when Daniel Nava finally reports to the Triple-A ranks on Friday. Since Nava isnâ€™t on a rehab assignment, his stay with Pawtucket figures to cut into someoneâ€™s playing time.
LINCOLN â€” Itâ€™s very safe to say Cumberland High skipper Paul Murphy had hoped Thursday afternoonâ€™s intense winds would affect rival Lincolnâ€™s pitchers and fielders more than his own.
Through the first four frames of a Division I tilt at Chet Nichols Memorial Field, he didnâ€™t get his wish.
The Lions rushed out to a quick 5-2 lead after the third, but Cumberlandâ€™s fortunes changed on a dime in the fifth. Behind only two hits but a pair of Lincoln errors, Murphyâ€™s crew manufactured five runs and raced to what had seemed an improbable but satisfying 7-5 victory.
Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET â€” The wind came howling in off Newport Avenue on Thursday afternoon, blowing straight across Bailey Fieldâ€™s softball diamond in gusts approaching 30 miles per hour, as Bay View Academy and Tolman High squared off in a Division I matchup.
The Bengals proved oblivious to the conditions, excelling in the field and at the plate during a 12-3 victory over Tolman that evened their record at 2-2 on the season. Tolman, which lost its third game in a row, fell to 4-4.
PAWTUCKET â€” If Will Middlebrooks is indeed activated by Boston on Friday night, he will have the good fortune of facing a pitcher that has much less zip on his fastball than the one that stymied the PawSox on Wednesday night.
Touching 99 miles per hour on the radar gun, Rochester starting pitcher Alex Meyer slowed the Pawtucket bats to a virtual crawl. Meyer struck out 11 in 6.2 innings and got Middlebrooks to go down swinging in all three of his at-bats.
PAWTUCKET â€” Will Middlebrooks can relate to Daniel Nava.
A year ago, Middlebrooks scuffled so badly that the Red Sox were left with little choice but to send the starting third baseman to Triple A. Looking back at his minor-league penance, Middlebrooks says that he was able to weather a turbulent stretch thanks to his ability to quickly put the grief behind him.
PROVIDENCE â€” Shea High head coach Christina Daily explained she really wasnâ€™t in the mood for a mini-postgame press conference early Wednesday afternoon.
Really, who could blame her?
Her Raiders had looked pretty solid in a first-game victory over Division II crossover foe Central High, but â€“ slowly â€“ unforced errors, points with little or no communication and serves gone awry became more commonplace.
In the end, the Knights celebrated a 3-1 victory at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house â€“ and it came via scores of 15-25, 25-14, 31-29 and 32-30.
PAWTUCKET â€” On a Tuesday night when Brandon Snyder crushed two dingers and righthander Rubby De La Rosa assembled a mound masterpiece, the Pawtucket Red Soxâ€™s bullpen collapsed.
The result: An emotionally-draining â€“ not to mention truly sad â€“ 7-5 loss to the Rochester Red Wings before a bummed crowd of 3,070 at McCoy Stadium.
De La Rosa had been hurling a gem, yielding only three hits, an earned run and a walk while fanning seven.
The bib numbers in the 30,000s and high 20,000s look awfully strange.
And the newly created fourth wave wonâ€™t start until at least 85 minutes after the first wave has crossed the starting line in Hopkinton.
But to Lincolnâ€™s Poyee Oster, Pawtucketâ€™s Linda Bachand, and the nearly 5,700 runners that did not finish last yearâ€™s Boston Marathon because of the terrorist attack, that means very, very little.
Getting another chance to return for the 118th running of this legendary race, and this time, finishing what they started, is the only thing that matters.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Never once did the thought of becoming the Red Soxâ€™s everyday center fielder cross Shane Victorinoâ€™s mind. He was committed to playing right field, meaning someone else was going to have to fill the void created when Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees.
Initially, the plan coming out of spring training was to have Victorino flanked by newcomer Grady Sizemore with Jackie Bradley Jr. holding tight in the minors. Of course, those best-laid plans went awry when Boston placed Victorino on the disabled list prior to the first game of the 2014 season.