PROVIDENCE – In basketball, as in life, timing is everything. That’s why PC Friar fans should take note of the addition of Jeff Battle to Ed Cooley’s staff – it comes at an intriguing juncture for the program.
It’s hard to avoid associating Kris Dunn’s return to PC for his redshirt junior season and Battle’s arrival as an assistant. Dunn has NBA point-guard pedigree, and who better to educate the talented youngster than a coach who knows a thing or two about working with top-tier college point men.
PAWTUCKET – The door swing wide open when the Red Sox cut ties with Juan Nieves has officially closed after they settled on new pitching coach Carl Willis.
It got me thinking about Rich Sauveur, the former PawSox pitching coach who resigned last season following a successful seven-year stint with the Triple-A ballclub. Had Sauveur still been with Pawtucket, might he have finally received the big-league summons that proved elusive during his PawSox tenure?
Alas, we’ll never know the answer.
CRANSTON – Despite a dominant showing from Smithfield, several area athletes successfully turned in noteworthy performances at the Girls’ Northern Division Championships, held Wednesday at Cranston West High.
Smithfield ran away with the team title as the Sentinels’ 197 points was 52 more than runner-up Cumberland. Woonsocket came in fourth place (44) followed by Mount St. Charles (26), Lincoln (23.5) and Burrillville (13).
PAWTUCKET – Long before his rise to All-Star status and subsequent fall that resulted in him getting sent to the minors, Allen Craig was a part-time player for the St. Louis Cardinals.
As a 26-year-old with St. Louis in 2011, Craig logged 219 plate appearances in 75 games. He certainly made the most of his limited exposure, producing a triple-slash line of .315/.362/.555 along with 11 home runs and 40 RBI.
Congratulations and best wishes to Pawtucket’s Jean-Daniel Roussel, who is in Green Bay this weekend on a tryout deal with the NFL’s Packers. A product of St. Raphael and Sacred Heart University, Roussel was one of a reported 26 players that the Green Bay front office invited on a tryout condition.
At Lincoln High School, officials want to continue playing Rhode Island interscholastic girls’ hockey despite recently learning that their co-op partner Cumberland will drop the sport.
If the Lions are to keep playing, they’ll need a new partner, as they lack the numbers to field a team on their own.
One potential candidate is Mount St. Charles Academy, a program that bears a proud history in the sport but has seen declining participants in recent years.
WOONSOCKET – Cruising to wins by nine points or better in their last four games, the Clippers achieved another easy triumph on Thursday, this time 16-7, at Mount St. Charles.
In a Division II-North clash at Wheeler way back on April 24, Cumberland High allowed 10 goals in the first half and eventually suffered a 17-15 defeat. Head coach Scott Carpenter called that the turning point of his team’s Division II-North campaign.
COVENTRY — The last pitcher the Coventry baseball team wanted to see after struggling to mount much offense in the last two games was Lincoln’s Bryant-bound righty Mason Palmieri.
The Oakers, who were coming off a surprise loss to Cranston East two days ago, only struck out four times against the All-State pitcher Wednesday afternoon, but Palmieri scattered three hits and worked around two errors to throw a complete-game shutout.
EAST PROVIDENCE – Early on in the Division I campaign, Tolman High head coach Craig Giarrusso knew he was loaded with players who could swing the bat with authority, but were suspect at flashing the leather.
During a D-I crossover clash against East Providence on Tuesday, his frustrations mounted, despite the fact his Tigers had manufactured a rather easy 11-6 triumph. The reason: A total of six fielding and throwing miscues.
ATTLEBORO – No more than 48 hours removed from her latest adventure, a 10-day trip to China with fellow members of her school’s China Club, Shea High senior Karla Argueta discovered last Monday that she had been selected the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
Possibly the biggest difficulty for the selection committee was whether Argueta would be able to fit accepting the award into her packed schedule.
PAWTUCKET – Turns out I spent floods of nervous force over absolutely nothing.
Even though I had performed my official act as pitch-clock operator when I pushed the button that officially signaled that first pitch was exactly 60 minutes away – a mock cheer went up inside the McCoy Stadium press box once the countdown was underway – my palms were extra sweaty as the first game of the April 21 doubleheader between the PawSox and Buffalo Bisons drew closer and closer.
PAWTUCKET – Now comes the real test of Major League Baseball’s commitment to speeding up the game.
Starting with Friday’s Durham-Pawtucket contest and likewise at Triple-A and Double-A ballparks across the country, those in violation of letting the clock expire will be charged with a ball or strike – depending on the offending party. Whether or not these unprecedented efforts have a direct bearing on the game’s outcome will be closely monitored in the weeks and months ahead.
A quick check on how several locals are performing at the college baseball and softball level. (Editor's note: all stats are current through Tuesday, April 28):
Lincoln High graduate Nick Zammarelli made some news Monday when the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) named the Elon University sophomore its Baseball Player of the Week. The recognition marks the first weekly conference honor of his Phoenix career.
CUMBERLAND – One swing of the bat helped Lincoln High remain unbeaten at 5-0, and to no one’s surprise, the bat belonged to senior captain Stacey Mayer.
The St. Joseph’s University-bound talent blasted an inside-the-park grand slam in the top of the second inning, a frame which saw the Lions score six times, on their way to beating Division I-North rival Cumberland, 8-6, at Tucker Field on Tuesday.
PAWTUCKET – “Everything is out of my control. I just play ball.”
So said Jackie Bradley Jr. earlier this month at PawSox Media Day, but the outfielder most likely did in fact exert some control over his promotion to the major leagues on Tuesday, with his run of excellent play throughout the month of April.
PAWTUCKET – As promising as North Smithfield’s start was, St. Raphael still had 21 outs to work with.
Turns out the Saints needed just 18 outs in a come-from-behind 8-7 win over the Northmen on Monday afternoon at Hank Soar Complex.