Archive - Sports Article
January 26th, 2011
WOONSOCKET â If anything, the announcement that Rocco Baldelli is retiring after a seven-year pro career and eight months shy of his 30th birthday should be viewed as an outpouring of relief for the Woonsocket native.
What was Baldelli? A good player, who showed flashes of talent that bordered on the greatness, the modern day answer to Napoleon Lajoie and Gabby Hartnett, two Hall of Famers with firm ties to the Blackstone Valley.
This is truly the winter of our discontent when it comes to weather and high school sports schedules. The seemingly weekly snowstorms in Rhode Island have created a backlog of makeup games in all sports, none more so than in boysâ basketball, where a compressed schedule this season necessitated a natural three-game week even before Mother Nature threatened to turn the month of February into an NBA-like marathon for high school student/athletes.
It may not be the Running Capital of Rhode Island, but Pawtucket is sure going to seem that way in the coming months.
Just a couple of months after an expected 3,000 participants invade the historic city for the inaugural Irish 5K on March 5, throngs of runners and walkers are predicted to be back on the downtown streets for another first-time event, the Cherry Tree Running Festival on May 21.
PAWTUCKET â In a game of runs, it was Shea High that had the big one at the end, and with it, a hard-fought Division II crossover victory.
The Raiders rattled off 11 straight points to ignite a 21-8 run in the final 7:48 of their duel with Cumberland High on Tuesday night and come away with a 73-62 win on their home floor that gave them their fifth victory in their last six games.
PAWTUCKET â There were coaches from North Kingstown and Bishop Hendricken sitting in the stands to view Mondayâs Division I crossover between Woonsocket and St. Raphael. No doubt they came to see Charles Correa, Cesar Mejia and Trevor Vasey and the rest of SRAâs starting five, but the coaches were probably just as likely to jot down notes pertaining to Jordan Peguero, Ben Pillsbury and Franklin Batista.
For many years weâve witnessed this perception vs. reality debate hovering over the basketball program at Providence College. Call it a man vs. wild struggle in which one side tries to impose its will over the other in the name of shedding light on what the expectations should entail.
The ever-improving Central Falls track and field program added another milestone to its list Saturday afternoon.
With their sweep of Northern Division rivals Woonsocket and Shea, the Warriors manufactured the schoolâs best league record since its inception in 1999-2000, finishing the dual-meet season at 6-2. The girlsâ team has a chance to match that effort on Jan. 31 when the Lady Warriors (4-2) conclude their Sullivan Division schedule against Moses Brown (2-2) and Rogers (1-5).
PAWTUCKET â Most pro football experts figured Kelsey Fournier and her New England Patriots cheerleader teammates would have spent a chilly Sunday evening outdoors at Gillette Stadium, coaxing freezing fans into making noise for the home team in the AFC championship game.
Instead, the New York Jets ousted the favored Patriots last Sunday in the conference semifinals, ending the season for players, fans and cheerleaders alike.
PROVIDENCE â So this is what winning in the Big East feels like.
Saturday bore witness to Providence College canceling its long overdue appointment with the conferenceâs win column. The return to sender memo was made possible by a 72-67 upset victory of 19th-ranked Louisville before an exuberant audience of 12,051 at The Dunk. It was the first conference victory for the Friars in 51 weeks, and their first win over former coach Rick Pitino.
PAWTUCKET â The long-running offseason production the PawSox put on, better known as the Hot Stove gathering, has always served a dual purpose.
CENTRAL FALLS â There was a buzz in the stands on Thursday night as Central Falls fans awaited the start of a Division II crossover game matching their North Division-leading Warriors with a 7-2 Tiverton team that is tied for first place in the East.
The Tigers quickly quieted the local crowd by storming out to a 23-5 lead midway through the first half en route to an 80-64 triumph.
âTheyâre good,â C.F. coach Brian Crookes conceded after the game. âI would put them up there with Rogers, West Warwick and Barrington as the best teams we have seen this season.â
WOONSOCKET â High school basketball coaches have a lot in common with teachers who send their students through rigorous courses like physics or chemistry. Hoop mentors must stand on the sidelines, trying to explain the finer points of their sport, while players try to absorb those lessons in the midst of competition.
East Providenceâs Alex Butler and Woonsocketâs Kyle Ivey-Jones did their best to educate their players on Wednesday night when the Townies visited the Villa Novans for a battle between two sub-.500 Division I teams.
PAWTUCKET â Shea High played the role of the New York Jets on Tuesday night, using a strong defensive scheme to dominate first-place West Warwick High by an impressive 77-62 margin.
The Raiders, who came into the game with a 4-4 record in Division II-Central, turned the tables on the Wizards, who were 7-1 and leading the South coming into this contest.
PAWTUCKET â Sure, wins right now have their place. Yet with an open tournament in less than two months to determine one true state tournament, Tolman head coach Mike Kayata has opted to take a look at the extended forecast.
NEW LONDON, Conn. â St. Raphael fell victim to a talented New London squad Monday night, 100-73. The Saints fell behind 12-0 and were unable to recover on their way to trailing 54-22 at halftime.
Charles Correa led SRA (8-4 overall, 6-2 Division I-East0 with 17 points while Cesar Mejia chipped in with 11. Trevor Vasey finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds.
SRA returns to in-state competition tonight when it welcomes Woonsocket.
PROVIDENCE â Freddy Gobewole has had problems with his shoulder since his junior campaign last year when he tore his rotator cuff during a scrimmage game for the Shea High football team.
But that hasnât stopped the talented senior from tearing up the track with his unmatched speed.
An interesting aspect of Rhode Island high school wrestling is the traditional powers typically avoid one another until the final month of the dual-meet season, choosing to compete in out-of-state tournaments in December and January before taking each other on during February.
In wrestling, familiarity isnât a good thing. Nobody likes to tip their hand before the pot gets big enough to mean something.
PAWTUCKET â Behold the power of defense.
St. Raphael knocked off Smithfield, 73-57, on Saturday afternoon because the Saints got downright defensive in the second half. The teams were deadlocked at 40-all with 12:49 remaining before the Saints dialed up their defense a few notches, resulting in a game-ending 33-17 run.
CUMBERLAND â Thereâs more than just the Lariviere twins behind this yearâs Cumberland High wrestling team. Defending state champions Shaidai and Shoneil Lariviere have help from a collection of ever-improving teammates, especially 130-pound sophomore Erik Travers.
âThe twins improve the team just by their presence,â Cumberland coach Steve Gordon said on Saturday night after his Clippers successfully defended their team title at the John D. Gorman Memorial Tournament. âThey make everyone else better.â
EAST PROVIDENCE â East Providence played a âfull 32 minutes,â in the words of coach Alex Butler, en route to a 56-43 victory over Division I-North leader La Salle on Friday night.
Joe Carnevale hit five three-point field goals while scoring 23 points for the Townies, who improved to 3-5 in Division I with the win. Derek Andreoli added 10 points for the Townies.
La Salle fell to 6-2 in league play with the loss.