Archive - Sports Article
May 6th, 2014
PROVIDENCE â€” If Rhode Island College was going to see Bob Walsh pursue his basketball coaching dreams elsewhere, Anchormen Athletic Director Don Tencher took comfort in knowing that he was not going to lose his head coach to a Division II or III school.
PAWTUCKET â€” The Alex Wilson who posted a 10.80 ERA in four Grapefruit League outings is a distant memory.
In his place is a reliever who has been a rock solid contributor at the backend of Pawtucketâ€™s bullpen. Entering Tuesdayâ€™s game against Toledo, the right-hander has posted a microscopic 0.71 ERA in 12.1 innings. International League foes are hitting a paltry .143 against Wilson, who is averaging 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
ATTLEBORO â€“ If not for Abigail McNultyâ€™s father pushing her in the direction of high-school running, there is no story about how this Cumberland native and Bishop Feehan senior blossomed into a long-distance ace that will be Stanford-bound this September.
To borrow from a popular television series: â€śFather Knows Best.â€ť Tom McNulty certainly fits the bill after parlaying a strong tennis career at Feehan into a scholarship to Providence College.
PAWTUCKET â€” Itâ€™s not often that an athlete at an advanced stage such as Triple-A baseball is hearing something for the first time, but that was the case after Pawtucket held on for a 3-2 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday.
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.