Archive - Sports Article
April 2nd, 2014
At this point of the high school baseball season, the main topic of discussion doesnâ€™t pertain to the depth of the pitching staff or whether thereâ€™s enough offense to carry the day.
After the brutal winter and wet early spring Rhode Islanders have endured, the burning question pertains to the status of the local diamonds. Are they ready to come to life following a deep slumber?
PAWTUCKET â€“ The 2014 season for the PawSox is upon us, and with it brings the promise of intrigue and discovery. Who will produce enough to get summoned to Boston? The answers will start to reveal themselves beginning with Thursdayâ€™s season and home opener against Lehigh Valley.
Until the answers begin to trickle in, here are five items one scribe plans to closely monitor in the early going:
1). A spin-off of Threeâ€™s Company
PAWTUCKET -- A year after reaching the Governorsâ€™ Cup finals, the Pawtucket Red Sox are looking to come back even stronger with a veteran Triple-A squad that will boast more than just a ring of familiarity.
Eight players on the PawSox opening day roster will be at Fenway Park the following afternoon to receive the World Series rings they earned as contributors to last yearâ€™s champion Boston Red Sox. Among the â€śElite Eightâ€ť is Pawtucketâ€™s opening day starter, Allen Webster.
Veteran Mount St. Charles head coach Cliff Matthews couldn't help but pitch a bit of levity when asked how his girls' softball team should fare when Division I fast-pitch action begins this week.
â€śIt's not about Lincoln or Cumberland, La Salle or Coventry; it's all about the Mounties!â€ť he laughed. â€śTell (Lions' mentor) Dick Ryan we're coming after them.â€ť
Naturally, he was joking. How could he not? Lincoln hasn't lost a game since 2011.
PAWTUCKET â€“ â€śChampions Riseâ€ť is once again en vogue at McCoy Stadium. This time, though, the popular slogan is not directly paying homage to the buildingâ€™s primary tenants.
Last year, â€śChampions Riseâ€ť was synonymous with the Pawtucket Red Sox and the franchiseâ€™s 2012 Governorsâ€™ Cup title. As patrons passed through the main entrance at McCoy, they were greeted by a colossal banner that proved a fitting salute to a fitting champion.
PAWTUCKET â€“ As Kevin Boles discovered this spring, the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of managing the Pawtucket Red Sox will come in good time.
Reached over the weekend from Fort Myers, Boles noted that he and PawSox coach Bruce Crabbe remained with the parent club until the near completion of Grapefruit League play. Keeping the Triple-A manager around the big-league atmosphere is a fairly common practice for the Red Sox, as Boles recalled that his PawSox predecessor, Gary DiSarcina, reported to the minors just as camp was set to conclude.
In a recent conversation with former Central Falls basketball standout Rob Alers, he was asked the whereabouts of fellow C.F. alumnus and his roommate at Lyndon State, George Carle.
With immediate confidence â€“ the kind that comes when youâ€™re pretty sure about something â€“ Alers ventured a guess as to his good friendâ€™s location on the Vermont-based campus.
â€śHeâ€™s probably in the gym as we speak,â€ť was what Alersâ€™ senses were telling him.
As always before each practice session, head coach Lisa Bessette addressed her Pawtucket Pacers on Tuesday night, detailing what four groups of athletes would be doing for the next 75 minutes to prepare for the upcoming Special Olympics Rhode Island's Northern Area Games, those slated for Saturday, May 3 at Bryant University.
She stood in the middle of the Francis J. Varieur Elementary School's cafeteria/gymnasium, laying down the groundwork not only for that competition but also the SORI's State Games at the University of Rhode Island beginning May 30.
CENTRAL FALLS â€” Up until the final four-plus minutes, it had been a tight contest between two fierce combatants, each hustling up and down the court to muster a victory.
No one wanted that â€śWâ€ť more than Central Falls High senior Yeire Cepeda. Honestly, it couldn't have been more obvious.
During the course of this hoop contest against Mount Pleasant inside the Warriors' jam-packed gym on Wednesday afternoon, Cepeda looked disgruntled at times with several turnovers, failures to snatch a critical rebound or inability to drop a necessary basket.
PAWTUCKET â€” Immediately after the Tolman High girlsâ€™ squad had finished its routine at these New England Regional Competitive Cheerleading Championships, held as always at Lawrence (Mass.) High on Saturday afternoon, head coach Jessica MacLaughlinâ€™s crew seemed rather subdued.
At least thatâ€™s the way she viewed it.
â€śThe girls already seemed, like, deflated,â€ť she recalled. â€śThey thought there was no way they would place in the top five, that it was over and done with, and they had failed. They were just sitting there, waiting to see who had won.â€ť
PROVIDENCE â€” Based on Mondayâ€™s discussion amongst the Rhode Island Interscholastic Leagueâ€™s Principalsâ€™ Committee, there appears to be growing concern with regard to fan behavior at boysâ€™ high school hockey games.
â€śWe feel that weâ€™ve seen and heard of more issues happening at the rink. Not really players, but parents and students in the stands,â€ť expressed Tom Mezzanotte, RIIL executive director.
KINGSTON â€” With 5:22 remaining in the R.I. Division II Tournamentâ€™s championship final, and top-seeded St. Raphael Academy trailing 48-30, superb senior co-captain Becca Gonzalez found an opening in the lane, drove through it and put up an easy lay-in attempt.
It hit the back of the rim, then the front, and fell out.
Gonzalez turned to no one in particular, put her hands out as to make a plea then hustled back down the floor.
PROVIDENCE â€” As much as Ed Cooley probably wishes he could sit back and enjoy the magic carpet ride his Providence Friars have ridden this month, he knows the importance of pressing forward. Reflections will come in due time.
SAN ANTONIO â€“ In the end, the 20th and 21st offensive rebounds that the Providence Friars surrendered proved to be their undoing.
Two free throws by James Michael McAdoo in the final 3.5 seconds helped snap a 77-77 affair and propel North Carolina to a 79-77 victory over a heartbroken bunch of Friars Friday night in the Eastern Regional portion of the NCAA Tournament.
Bryce Cottonâ€™s final game in a Providence uniform was the stuff of legends, the senior netting a career-high 36 points while doling out eight assists.
For full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Times.
SAN ANTONIO â€“ While the point-guard matchup between Providenceâ€™s Bryce Cotton and North Carolinaâ€™s Marcus Paige has been the talk de jour leading up to Fridayâ€™s NCAA Tournament contest, thereâ€™s a frontcourt bout that could prove as important in deciding the outcome.
SAN ANTONIO â€” Letâ€™s remove all the tradition and corresponding subplots from the equation.
Instead, letâ€™s delve into how Providence and North Carolina arrived at this particular juncture â€“ a second-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament thatâ€™s on tap Friday night (7:20 tip) at the AT&T Center. The two schools may have arrived at the same destination, yet itâ€™s safe to say that the steps taken to get here were vastly different.
SAN ANTONIO â€” Thereâ€™s no question that the NCAA Tournament is the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company. Between the 14-year, nearly $11 million television agreement that CBS and Turner Sports entered into back in 2010 and the presence of recognizable corporate sponsors such as AT&T and The Coca-Cola Company, it wouldnâ€™t come as a shock to learn that theyâ€™re printing money at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
The question is, just how big of a slice of mince pie do NCAA participants such as Providence receive?
Sports editor emeritus
PROVIDENCE â€“ Cumberland put its sterling credentials on the Meehan Auditorium ice for all to see on Thursday night in the Division II championship opener against the co-op team from Providence Country Day, St. Raphael Academy and Wheeler.
SAN ANTONIO â€” Just when everything appeared set regarding the saga involving Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock, the one-time hot topic has been thrust back into the spotlight.
The timing of the news that the Providence police are looking into a complaint of sexual assault against one freshman that left the Providence College basketball program (Austin) and another who is still a Friar (Bullock) seems a tad curious. PC is here preparing for its first NCAA Tournament contest in a decade.
PROVIDENCE â€“ Way back in January, St. Raphael Academy faced Scituate in a crossover tilt between league frontrunners.
Despite the Spartansâ€™ physical presence, or the fact it would eventually become the Division II-North champion with a stellar 16-2 mark, the Saints manufactured a 44-38 triumph, though head coach Fred Saunders claimed it was a tough, aggressive affair.
The two foes met again in a R.I. Division II semifinal at Rhode Island College on Wednesday night for the right to play for the state crown on Saturday. And this time, the same ensued, except â€¦