Archive - Sports Article
August 4th, 2011
PAWTUCKET â It is August and baseballâs various pennant races are beginning to take shape.
The Pawtucket Red Sox and their âparentâ team in Boston are locked in battles for first place in their respective leagues. The PawSox are chasing Lehigh Valley for first place in the International League North while maintaining a slight edge on the Gwinnett Braves for the leagueâs lone wild-card berth.
Some things I think I think:
Former Pawtucket resident Mason Williams is leading the New York Penn League in batting average. The son of former Patriots wide receiver Derwin Williams is hitting .358 in the short-season Class A League while toiling for the Staten Island Yankees. He leads the league in hits, is tied for fourth in total bases and OPS, and has 16 steals in 42 games.
PAWTUCKET --- Edd Pedro has been a busy man these days. Very busy.
The namesake and driving force behind what will be the eighth edition of the Edd Pedro Wiffleball Tournament has been burning the midnight oil this week making final preparations for Sundayâs mega-event at Slater Park.
âThis weekâs been pretty crazy,â Pedro said on Tuesday night during a break from his preparations. âIâm up to midnight every night normally, and Iâm just out in my garage working on something for the tournament.
CUMBERLAND - It's always the same. For most of his 30-plus years playing softball, nothingâs changed for Kirby Murphy each time he faces an opposing pitcher.
Before he approaches the on-deck circle, he takes three warm-up swings with three different bats. He then walks near the batterâs box with the bat that heâs going to use and swings that three times. He then signals for a time out and takes two more swings inside the batterâs box before heâs ready to go.
PAWTUCKET â It wasnât as if Kevin Millwood was deliberately ambiguous when asked if the veteran pitcher envisions finishing the season with the Pawtucket Red Sox. The simple answer is that Millwood doesnât have one.
âI donât know. Thatâs kind of tough to answer right now,â said a well-meaning Millwood after tossing a bullpen session Tuesday morning.
PAWTUCKET â Nate Spears did more than achieve hero status after belting a game-ending two-run home run in Pawtucketâs 4-3 win against Louisville Tuesday afternoon. Rewarded with his efforts with a shaving cream pie in the face â courtesy of Michael Bowden, Luis Exposito and Ryan Lavarnway â Spears reminded the masses that the PawSox feature contributors who may not appear on any prospect watch list, but they are just as instrumental to the cause.
CUMBERLAND â After a much-deserved 10-day break from competitive baseball, recent state champion Cumberland American begins its quest for a trip to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series this weekend. The All-Star squad faces Massachusettsâs titlist Andover National Saturday afternoon at 2 in the opener of the New England Regional Tournament at Breen Field in Bristol, Conn.
PAWTUCKET â The topic was Ryan Lavarnway and the most prolific home run hitters to ever to suit up for the Pawtucket Red Sox. After all, when youâve amassed 13 round trippers in 43 games â Lavarnwayâs mashing rate heading into Mondayâs action â you start flashing back to names like Jim Rice, Sam Horn, Phil Plantier and Izzy Alcantara and the baseballs they made vanish.
PAWTUCKET â The Connie Mack Baseball League has always taken a back seat to American Legion baseball during the summer months. And thatâs too bad because there are some good players performing in relative anonymity inside the 12-team Rhode Island organization.
Elmwood Sports, which features players from Pawtucket and Central Falls, showed off some of its talent during a 2-0 victory over West Warwick in a first-round playoff game on Monday evening at McConnon Field. Bryan Quinlan knocked in both runs to back Andrew Larsonâs shutout pitching.
WEST WARWICK â As Jim Dawber watched a mentally and physically drained Ryan OâDell unleash pitch after pitch, a conclusion to Sundayâs marathon of baseball at McCarthy Stadium unfolded in his mind.
âOh wow,â the Cumberland Post 14 manager thought to himself. âWeâre going to win the championship, and heâs going to win the MVP.ââ
Speaking through visible emotion a short while later, Dawber came to grips with the crushing reality.
âIt didnât play out that way in real life,â he said.
PAWTUCKET â Lars Anderson made four trips to the plate Sunday, every one of them transpiring in a Pawtucket Red Sox uniform.
For someone who spent Saturday night bidding farewell to teammates and contemplating a future in Oakland, Anderson spent most of Sunday morning trying to make sense of the unstable trade winds that had rocked his universe. One minute the first baseman was standing in the batterâs box in McCoy Stadium. Then came word that Anderson was involved in a trade that would have sent starting pitcher Rich Harden to Boston.
PAWTUCKET â Not even the nifty baserunning maneuver that Ryan Lavarnway pulled off the eighth inning could yield a smile on the face of PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.
Truth be told, Lavarnwayâs ability to avoid the tag while sliding into second base represented the lone highlight in Pawtucketâs 7-2 loss to Louisville Sunday afternoon. The power-hitting catcher had his eyes on second base after lining a bullet down the left field line. The throw from Bats leftfielder Felix Perez was there with plenty of time to spare, but Lavarnway was able to dance around the tag and get a hand on the bag.
PAWTUCKET -- Three consecutive two-out singles off Kevin Millwood in the sixth inning doomed the PawSox in their series-opening 3-2 loss to the Louisville Bats.
Millwood struck out Devin Meoraco and Danny Dorn to begin the sixth for his ninth and tenth strikeouts of the evening. Chris Valaika and Mike Costanzo followed with singles to put runners at first and third- still with two outs. Louisville's ninth batter, Kristopher Negron, followed Costanzo's base-hit with an RBI single to make it 3-2 Bats and that was the last run scored in the ballgame by either side.
According to ESPN.com,a trade that had been in the works to send right-hander Rich Harden from the Oakland Athletics to the Boston Red Sox has reportedly fallen through.
Harden said Saturday night he was told by general manager Billy Beane he was staying put and would start Tuesday. The clubs had been close to a swap that would have sent Harden to Beantown and brought Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson to the A's.
WEST WARWICK â Like many American Legion coaches, Collette Vacations boss Ray Ventura was probably hoping that Jeff Diehl was going turn pro after getting drafted by the New York Mets in June.
You could see why Friday night as Diehl single-handily almost won the game for Gershkoff/Auburn Post 20, the catcher belting two home runs in a 6-4 win over Collette in the winnersâ bracket final of the American Legion Senior Division playoffs.
WEST WARWICK â Instead of dwelling on Thursdayâs loss to Collette Vacations Post 79, the boys from Cumberland Post 14 answered the challenge of keeping its season alive.
Top-seeded Post 14 lives to fight another day thanks to eight standout innings from knuckleball artist Zach Perry and key hits from Tyler Santaniello and Nick Zammarelli. Almost forgotten in the aftermath of Fridayâs 5-2 win against defending champion New England Frozen Lemonade/Shields Post 43 was the spectacular â some may argue season-saving â catch Matt Sorkin made in center field to end the top of the first inning.
The fourth week in July means the following:
1). The bombardment of back-to-school commercials, serving as a cruel reality check and a reminder that summer reading will not be accomplished through osmosis or CliffsNotes.
2). Thereâs roughly a month remaining in the minor league season. Where does the time go?
3). Another fast-moving July 31 trading deadline is just days away from building toward a crescendo.
EAST PROVIDENCE â Itâs been quite some time since Collette Vacations Post 79 enjoyed a nine-game win streak or found itself two wins away from a state championship, but thatâs the state of the Pawtucket ballclub heading into tonightâs 8 p.m. winnersâ bracket final at McCarthy Stadium.
Eric Geisman gave a splendid performance on the mound and Post 79 did just enough offensively to help produce a 4-1 victory over Cumberland Post 14 on Thursday night in their semifinal-round game at Pierce Field.
WEST WARWICK â No one could have seen this coming.
There was Collette Vacations Post 79 and Hurd Auto Mall of Johnston on Wednesday, locked in a 2-2 duel after nine innings. Then came the top of the 10th, which saw Hurd run into major problems on the mound. Goodbye tightly played affair. Hello 12-2 lop-sided victory for Post 79, coming in the opening round of the American Legion Senior Division âElite Eightâ double-elimination tournament. Collette, the fifth seed, now faces top overall seed Cumberland Post 14 Thursday night at 7, the venue Pierce Field.
WEST WARWICK â To say that Ryan OâDell and his Cumberland Post 14 teammates are looking forward to the American Legion Senior Division playoffs would be a gross understatement.
Just a few months earlier, many of the same players on manager Jim Dawberâs crew figured prominently on the Lincoln High baseball squad that exited quickly from the Division I playoffs. It was the type of ending that was viewed in some corners as a complete shock, especially since Lincoln had captured the I-North division title and rattled off seven consecutive wins to begin the season.