Archive - Sports Article
April 14th, 2011
PAWTUCKET â€“ Relief pitchers arenâ€™t generally called into the game in the top of the second inning.
But thatâ€™s what Tolman High coach Theo Murray had to do on Thursday afternoon when ace hurler Chris Messier was experiencing soreness in his arm against Division II-Central rival Classical. Murray had to summon junior right-hander Andrew Larson to the mound.
Larson took the ball and then hurled a gem as he held the Purple to three hits the final six innings, lifting the Tigers to a 4-2 victory at Slater Park.
CUMBERLAND --- Through the years, Lincoln vs. Cumberland in softball has featured nothing but tight pitchersâ€™ duels that you can count the total runs (and sometimes the hits) on one hand.
That wasnâ€™t the case on Thursday afternoon.
Allie Dzialoâ€™s bases-clearing double with two outs in the top of the seventh inning keyed a comeback by the Lions that saw them grab an 8-5 win over their Division I-North rivals in a game that saw both teams combine for 23 hits and a truly dramatic finish.
The problem with Red Sox fans is they donâ€™t know how to deal with slow starts. During the Terry Francona Era, their favorite team has never been worse than 28-24 on June 1. That mediocre beginning, which looks downright red-hot compared to this seasonâ€™s 2-9 start, occurred in 2005. Yes, Boston rebounded to make the playoffs that year, bowing to eventual champion Chicago White Sox in the Division Series.
CENTRAL FALLS â€” The Unified Basketball League, the second-year R.I. Interscholastic League program that matches Special Needs athletes with partners from their respective high schools, has not only grown in the amount of teams that participate, but in its competitiveness.
Division I Northern rivals Central Falls and Woonsocket demonstrated that aspect Wednesday afternoon at the Warriorsâ€™ Gymnasium with a thrilling, down-to-the-wire affair.
PAWTUCKET â€” It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only four seasons ago when St. Raphael Academy was competing for the Division I championship and Tolman High was joining the fastpitch ranks and looking to build a successful Division III program.
Fast forward to 2011. The Tigers are now one of the Division IIâ€™s top teams. After going 50-3 and winning the 2008 state championship in their three years as a Division III squad, the Tigers made a smooth transition to Division II last season by going 13-7.
WOONSOCKET â€” Itâ€™s a little early for Mount St. Charles to start circling the wagons.
The two-time defending Division II champions have played just one game in Division I this season, a 6-5 loss to Smithfield, and this afternoon they host powerful Lincoln High in a 4 p.m. game that could be an eye opener for the Mounties.
Lincoln, which has scored 10 runs in each of its first two league victories (over St. Raphael and Cumberland), is led by Ryan Oâ€™Dell and a strong nucleus of players who should take the Lions deep into the playoffs in early June.
LINCOLN -- This No. 9 batter delivered the No. 1 hit of her high school career on Friday afternoon.
Senior left fielder Marissa Walshâ€™s walkoff one-out single in the seventh inning delivered the run that gave Lincoln High a big 1-0 victory over Mount St. Charles Academy in their early showdown of Division I-North heavyweights at Saylesville Elementary School.
Walshâ€™s clutch hit settled a superb pitchersâ€™ duel between the Lionsâ€™ Alyssa McCoart and the Mountiesâ€™ Olivia Hendricks and gave her team their second win of the young season.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Nary a trace of resentment could be found in Hideki Okajimaâ€™s tone when asked if he felt he was bypassed by the Red Sox on Friday. Boston selected Felix Doubront â€“ a pitcher who was shutdown during spring training with left forearm inflammation â€“ to fill the clubâ€™s left-handed need in the bullpen after designating the ineffective Dennys Reyes for assignment.
â€śNo,â€ť was the straightforward answer Okajima came back with through interpreter Jeff Cutler after posed said question.
PAWTUCKET â€“ This wasnâ€™t the Triple-A debut Kyle Weiland had in mind.
Hailed as one of the better starting pitching prospects in the farm system, Weiland was tagged for four runs on seven hits in three innings as Rochester won, 7-2, before 4,360 frigid souls at McCoy Stadium. The Red Wings made Weilandâ€™s stay on the mound a short one after belting four extra base hits off the right-hander, one of them a solo home run by Trevor Plouffe in the third inning.
PAWTUCKET â€“ All appeared to be fine in Alfredo Acevesâ€™ universe when he walked into the home clubhouse shortly after 4 oâ€™clock on Thursday afternoon. The righthander chatted briefly with a reporter before going through the necessary preparations for that nightâ€™s start against Rochester.
Those plans were officially scrapped 15 minutes prior to first pitch, as Scott Atchison took Acevesâ€™ spot. Itâ€™s believed that the Red Sox will place reliever Matt Albers on the disabled list on Friday and call up Aceves in time for Bostonâ€™s home opener against the New York Yankees.
PAWTUCKET â€“ It had all the pageantry of Opening Day, from the introduction to the teams to the unfurling of an American flag in center field and a cannon salute that sounded off at the conclusion of the national anthem.
The Red Sox have certainly provided plenty of grist for the mill. Thatâ€™s what happens when you begin the season with unprecedented expectations (World Series or bust) only to stumble out of the gate with six straight losses. Agony doesnâ€™t even begin to describe the early-season travails with your Boston baseball club.
Weâ€™re not about to declare that hope is lost, especially when you subtract six from 162 and end up with 156, which is how many games the Red Sox have left. Time is on their side.
PAWTUCKET --- Lincoln High made good on its first splendid day of the spring to play baseball.
The Lions scored four times in their opening swings and tacked on three runs in the third inning before settling on a 10-5 victory over St. Raphael Academy on Thursday afternoon in the Division I-North opener for both teams at sun-drenched Vets Park.
University of Rhode Island-bound Ryan Oâ€™Dell went 3-for-4 to propel the Lionsâ€™ 11-hit assault, and Kyle Jacksonâ€™s two-run double in the first inning and Matt Sorkinâ€™s two-run single in the third were the key hits for the visitors.
The 2011 season for the PawSox is finally upon us, and with it brings the promise of intrigue and discovery. Who will produce enough to get summoned to Boston? Answers will start to reveal themselves beginning with tonightâ€™s opener against Rochester.
Here are five items one scribe plans to closely monitor in the early going until the picture becomes clearer:
1. Good gloves will always travel, but be patient with the hitting.
LINCOLN â€” As Bill Lee and Bob Montgomery swapped stories and shared laughs Wednesday afternoon at Kirkbrae Country Club, the former Red Sox pitcher-catcher battery took time to address some of baseballâ€™s hidden truths that todayâ€™s coaches and players like to put a different spin on.
WOONSOCKET â€” Cumberland High coach Marty Crowley believes he has a strong enough team to contend for a state title come mid-June.
But in his eyes, and perhaps most in Division I, the squad that everyone in the league should be concerned about is last yearâ€™s state runner-up Mount St. Charles Academy.
â€śAbsolutely,â€ť he said. â€śThey went to the finals last year. They (basically) got everybody back. They should be the favorites to win the whole thing. Theyâ€™re good.â€ť
LINCOLN â€“ At the core of Bill Leeâ€™s multi-faceted personality is a baseball pitcher who remains fascinated -- even at the age of 64 -- by the process of getting batters out.
Lee came here on Wednesday to serve as keynote speaker at the annual â€śWelcome Home, PawSoxâ€ť luncheon hosted by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. He walked into Kirkbrae Country Clubâ€™s dining area a few minutes before noon, dressed like a cowboy, his still-athletic frame topped off by a wide-brimmed hat that identified the former Red Sox pitcher as a man of great presence.
PAWTUCKET â€” Relief pitchers inherently are the most fickle commodity in baseball. Thatâ€™s why teams are inclined to stockpile as many candidates as they can each season, crossing oneâ€™s fingers that one or two arms pan out and solidify the foundation already in place.
PAWTUCKET â€” Mike McKenry doesnâ€™t completely feel like a stranger in a strange land. The new PawSox catcher has St. Raphael alumnus Chris Iannetta to thank for that.
Ed Hunt knows that all three subdivisions in this yearâ€™s Division I circuit are going to be tough, but not as difficult as the battles awaiting his Lincoln team in the Division I-North ranks.
â€śThere are no weak sisters in our division,â€ť the veteran coach said before his Lionsâ€™ workout on Monday afternoon. â€śI think we have the toughest division from top to bottom, whereas most of the other divisions, theyâ€™re balanced this year, but they still probably have four good teams.â€ť