Archive - Sports Article
August 18th, 2011
As the players and coaches in the Cumberland American camp discovered this week, thereâ€™s nothing little about the Little League World Series.
On the surface, competing in this grand spectacle â€“ how else would you describe an event that includes participants hailing from around the country and the world? â€“ can seem overwhelming. ESPN cameras are practically everywhere, which CALL manager Dave Belisle hinted at earlier this week upon stating, â€śAll of the eyes of the world are on Williamsport.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€“ Alex Wilson is the latest starting pitching prospect to join the Pawtucket Red Sox. Time will tell if the parent club decides to curb his starting duties and relocate him to the bullpen.
For the past several seasons the Red Sox have openly explored the practice of turning starting pitchers into relievers, the switch in mound assignments more often than not taking place at the Triple-A level. In most instances, the reclassification of guys like Michael Bowden reflects the situation in Boston and whether the hole in the bullpen can be fixed by promoting from within.
PAWTUCKET â€“ On a day in which Ryan Lavarnway was likely inundated with congratulatory messages, his college coach had no problem reaching his former pupil.
â€śHe sounded very matter-of-fact,â€ť Yale head coach baseball John Stuper said via cell phone Thursday, the same day Lavarnway made his major-league debut with the Boston Red Sox. â€śHeâ€™s a pro now and I donâ€™t think this was a surprise to him. If anybodyâ€™s earned it he certainly has â€“ not just through hard work but through actual production.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€“ For a team that has been almost flawless this season, the Columbus Clippers were anything but on Wednesday night.
The Clippers, the top team record-wise in the International League, committed three costly errors that resulted in four unearned runs. Such gift-wrapping tendencies proved to be difference as the Pawtucket Red Sox remain in first place in the I.L. North for another day after posting a 5-2 win before 7,010 at McCoy Stadium.
Pawtucket stands a game up on second-place Lehigh Valley, which defeated Rochester, 3-1.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. â€“ Dave Belisle has long been a standout hockey coach at Mount St. Charles.
But for the next few days, heâ€™s just a kid again.
The 14 members of the Cumberland American Little League team have carried Belisle on the ride of his life this summer. This week the ride has reached its final destination, the ultimate destination for every Little Leaguer â€“ the Little League World Series. The Series does not only exist on television to these players and coaches anymore. They are here, they are experiencing it and they are enjoying every moment.
Mike Hazenâ€™s role with the Boston Red Sox may have expanded, but make no mistake: heâ€™s still very much in touch with whatâ€™s moving and shaking down on the farm.
Promoted to vice president of player development prior to the season, a position that involves overseeing the minor-league operation and amateur scouting, Hazen spoke Wednesday about some of the storylines that have crept up over the past 4 Â˝ months as they relate to the Pawtucket Red Sox.
PAWTUCKET â€” McCoy Stadium is always a pretty upbeat place. Itâ€™s a standing rule that Pawtucket Red Sox employees greet customers with smiles on their faces. Club President Mike Tamburroâ€™s optimism and good nature extend all the way down to the most part-time of team employees.
When the PawSox are in first place, a position they have maintained for the past week, then baseball really becomes fun around the local ball park.
PAWTUCKET â€” The Columbus Clippers showed Pawtucket last night why they are heavy favorites to successfully defend their Governorsâ€™ Cup championship trophy next month.
In a meeting of the International Leagueâ€™s two best teams, Columbus got a grand slam home run from Luis Valbuena in the second inning off PawSox starter Felix Doubront and seemed headed for an easy win until Pawtucket broke through for two runs in the bottom of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate. Reliever Josh Judy got Jose Iglesias to ground into a close force play at second base to preserve a 5-2 victory.
Lawrenceville, Ga.- If there has been any cause to put the Sharpie-strong stamp on the notion that the 2011 Pawtucket Red Sox are peaking at the right time, it was out in full prominence after Monday nightâ€™s 7-3 victory over the Gwinnett Braves at Coolray Field.
With the win, decided after the bat rack and bullpen both got the better of their Gwinnett counterparts in the eighth and ninth innings, the PawSox completed their best of seven eight-game road trips at 6-2. They are also 10-3 in August at the halfway mark of the month.
END OF THE CAMP -- During the Pawtucket Parks & Recreation Tennis Campâ€™s pizza party and awards ceremony at Slater Park in Pawtucket last Friday, award recipients and staff members posted for a group photo.
It didnâ€™t take long for Dave Belisle and his Cumberland American Little Leaguers to become immersed in the â€śChristmas in Augustâ€ť fervor that typically surfaces in Williamsport, Pa. around this time each year.
Street & Smithâ€™s SportsBusiness Journal publication has issued its annual Top 10 ranking of minor league markets in the U.S.
The Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa. market in central Pennsylvania earned top honors for the second year in a row, according to SBJ Research Director David Broughton, who researched and wrote the article. San Bernadino, Calif. finished second with the Pawtucket/Providence area coming in a solid third.
Hereâ€™s the top 10 list:
1) Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa.
2) San Bernardino County, Calif.
3) Providence-Pawtucket, R.I.
4) Reading, Pa.
5) Portland, Maine
PAWTUCKET â€” In this town, Pawtucket Country Club is to golf as Fenway Park (or Yankee Stadium) is to baseball.
Legends have long resided on this plush piece of greenery located on the cityâ€™s border with Seekonk. Caddy master Jim Tanner has been working the room since 1952. You can still find him downstairs almost any day of the week, taking care of clubs and caddies.
The Cumberland American team that waltzed its way to Bristol, Conn., had gone missing in action.
Sure, the pitching and defense were still present, but the merciless offensive attack that became the theme of Cumberlandâ€™s state title run was nowhere to be found. The Rhode Island champions dropped two of their first three pool-play games in the New England regional tournament, standing perilously close to the end of a memorable summer.
But just when manager Dave Belisleâ€™s club needed them most, Cumberlandâ€™s bats awoke from their ill-timed slumber. The rest, as they say, is history.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. â€” For the first time in 19 starts this season, Matt Fox, the lone PawSox ambassador to the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game, made it through a full seven innings Sunday afternoon.
Every segment after that constituted a long-awaited combination of a package, wrapping paper and a radiant bow addressed to his relievers. Fox upped his pitch count from 79 to 90 as he tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, then returned to the mound for a nimble ninth that ended with Brandon Hicks stranded on first base and the Sox victorious over the Gwinnett Braves, 5-0, at Coolray Field.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. â€” On paper, the PawSox four-game enterprise against the stingy Gwinnett Braves pitching staff ought to have gotten gradually easier after they got the better of Julio Teheran on Friday.
Manager Arnie Beyeler wanted no such notion inhabiting his clubhouse, as evidenced by his thoughts between Friday and Saturday nightâ€™s bouts and the outcome of the latter game.
BRISTOL, Conn. â€” It was only fitting.
The shutdown pitching. The relentless hitting. The comeback.
They were all on display in Saturdayâ€™s New England regional final. And that is why the Cumberland American players circled Breen Field in jubilation, their championship banner in tow, with Kool & the Gangâ€™s â€śCelebrationâ€ť blaring over the sound system.
Next stop: South Williamsport, Pa.
Down three runs before taking a swing, Cumberland erupted in an eight-run bottom of the first inning that set the tone for its 13-7 victory against Andover (Mass.) National.
LAWRENCEVILE, Ga. â€“ The PawSox mustered just enough to deny the International Leagueâ€™s winningest pitcher, Julio Teheran, another decision Friday night. The Gwinnett Braves ace, who entered with a 12-2 record and a sparkling 1.11 ERA, nearly preserved a 2-1 lead through seven innings, but instead left with a 2-2 deadlock at hand.
â€śI thought hockey was tough.â€ť
BRISTOL, Ct. â€” Dave Belisle, who along with his dad Bill Belisle, was part of 26 state titles won by the Mount St. Charles Academy hockey team the last four decades, couldnâ€™t help but make that analogy on Thursday night. Those five words were the first to come out of his mouth after the Cumberland American manager watched his squad hold on for an 8-7 semifinal win over Fairfield American in the New England Championship of the Eastern Regional Tournament.
BRISTOL, Conn. â€“ While his two-run homer in the fifth inning proved to be the eventual game-winner on Thursday, that wasnâ€™t the main reason that Dave Belisle was smiling.
It was what Chris Wright did as a reliever - particularly in the bottom of the sixth - that had the Cumberland American manager beaming with the most pride after his teamâ€™s hard-earned 8-7 semifinal victory over Fairfield (Ct.) American in the New England portion of the Eastern Regional Tournament.