Archive - Sports Article
July 26th, 2011
Itâ€™s a special time for the players of the Cumberland American Little League All-Star team. The squad, which is mostly comprised of 12-year-old youths, stormed through the District IV Major Division Tournament and after two dominating victories at the state level stands just a win away from representing Rhode Island at the Eastern Regionals in Bristol, Conn., next week.
Manager Arnie Beyeler may not want to admit it but his Pawtucket Red Sox are in a pennant race. They open a four-game series with International League North leader Lehigh Valley tonight in Allentown, Pa. The PawSox trailed the IronPigs by one game heading into Monday nightâ€™s action.
We hear all the time that Pawtucketâ€™s main job is to have replacement players ready for Boston, and the PawSox have succeeded in that department, too. Their â€śalumniâ€ť have played an integral role in Bostonâ€™s rise to the top of the American League East this season.
Two-time regular-season champion Cumberland Post 14 and red-hot Collette Vacations Post 79 will be among the â€śElite Eightâ€ť teams that will play for the state championship this week when the R.I. American Legion Senior Division tournament moves into the double-elimination format.
In seasons past, the double-elimination portion of the postseason wouldnâ€™t get under way until four ballclubs were left standing after winning a best-of-three quarterfinal and semifinal-round series.
WARWICK â€“ Another day, another offensive explosion by Cumberland American.
Manager Dave Belisleâ€™s club moved within one win of claiming the Major Division state championship Sunday, throttling Cranston Western 15-0 in a four-inning mercy-rule affair at Warwick West Side Little Leagueâ€™s Abe Klitzner Field.
WARWICK â€“ Collette Vacations Post 79 took care of business in the preliminary round of the R.I. American Legion Senior Division playoffs, sweeping Senerchia Post 74 in two games.
Post 79 got a near-flawless pitching performance from Andrew Veiga during Saturdayâ€™s 2-0 victory in Game 2. Veiga only faced 30 batters over nine innings as Colletteâ€™s defense once again played a key role in the teamâ€™s victory.
SEEKONK â€“ Firefly Golf Course certainly fits the definition of the word â€śunique.â€ť
What other golf course in the area plays to a par of 60 and measures just 3,644 yards? Only Firefly, an executive golf course that was designed and built by womenâ€™s golf legend Joanne Carner and her husband Don Hoenig back in 1962.
CUMBERLAND â€” Cumberland American Little League All-Star coach Dave Belisle has been this route before.
When his team, the recent District IV champions, takes to the field Saturday night for its opening-round game in the state tournament, it will be the second time that Belisle has made the trip.
Four years ago when his son Brian was on the squad, he was the coach when CALL also competed at the states after copping the district title with an exciting win over a very-talent Smithfield team in the finals.
PAWTUCKET â€“ PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler gave everyone a scare after lifting shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias after seven innings Thursday night. After all, this is the same Iglesias that was hit in the head with a fastball on July 3, resulting in a concussion that sidelined him for two-plus weeks.
After a narrow 5-4 loss to Lehigh Valley, Beyeler clarified that the plan was to ease Iglesias back into the fray. â€śHe felt good. We were thinking three at-bats or five innings, something in that range,â€ť said the skipper. â€śHe had a nice night.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€“ Plate discipline and strike zone recognition can be found on the first page of the hitterâ€™s manual. Knowing the pitches one can drive goes hand-in-hand with refusing to chase the ones that dance outside the strike zone, tempting as they may be.
One day Yale head baseball coach John Stuper passed along this nugget to Ryan Lavarnway, words of wisdom mentioned to him by Gene Tenace, a former teammate of Stuperâ€™s with the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 80s.
The R.I. American Legion Senior Division tournament will get under way this weekend at fields across the state, but the format of this summerâ€™s tournament will be vastly different from the one used in past seasons.
Instead of 16 teams trying to claim back-to-back, best-of-three series to reach the â€śFinal Fourâ€ť of the tournament, the goal this season will be to earn berths in the â€śFinal Eightâ€ť double-elimination format that begins on Tuesday night at McCarthy Stadium in West Warwick and Pierce Field in East Providence.
CUMBERLAND --- The Cumberland Major Division all-star teamâ€™s roads to the District IV and state championships were tough. The squadâ€™s next venture only promises to be a whole lot tougher.
Cumberland joined nine other ballclubs from the northern part of the country this weekend to take part in the Eastern Regional Tournament at Breen Field on the Bart Giamatti Complex in Bristol, Conn.
PAWTUCKET â€” The Pawtucket Red Sox are in a pennant race.
Just donâ€™t mention it to PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.
â€śI get excited about all of our wins,â€ť Beyeler said Wednesday after his PawSox moved to within one game of International League North division leader Lehigh Valley with a 2-1 walkoff victory, their third win in as many games with the IronPigs this week.
Pawtucket can move into a tie for first place with a win over Lehigh Valley in tonightâ€™s series finale.
PAWTUCKET â€” Kevin Millwood isnâ€™t much different than the average working man who is nearing the end of his professional career.
The 36-year-old veteran of 14 big league seasons is proud of his accomplishments (159 wins, third in the 1999 National League Cy Young voting) and determined to go out on his own terms, pitching baseballs on hot summer days in the minor leagues, waiting for one last call to the big leagues.
PAWTUCKET â€” Greg Grall, the bullpen catcher for the Pawtucket Red Sox, describes Ryan Lavarnway, the catcher, as â€śraw, which gives him the upside of what he can possibly do. Obviously with his hitting, heâ€™s going to have the potential of playing in any lineup. Now heâ€™s just going to work on continuing to improve his defense. Thatâ€™s the key.â€ť
EAST PROVIDENCE â€” There were more than a half dozen birdie putts that either lipped out or just missed the mark. There were two holes that he probably wished he could have had back.
But after an opening round of 3-over 73 at the 82nd annual New England Amateur Championship on Monday, Pawtucketâ€™s Kyle Hoffman was perfectly content with how he shot the ball at the challenging and tricky Metacomet Country Club.
As a Hall of Fame second baseman blessed with the ability to influence the game's outcome with his bat and glove, Ryne Sandberg appreciates the intangibles that present day second sackers Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano bring to the ballpark.
To Sandberg, Lehigh Valleyâ€™s first-year manager, Pedroia and Cano are chips off the old block. For good measure, so is Chase Utley, who unlike Pedroia and Cano operates outside of the A.L. East caldron.
PAWTUCKET â€“ This was certainly not the way the Pawtucket Red Sox wanted to end their four-game series with the Durham Bulls.
Locked in a tight game for six innings on Sunday afternoon, the Bulls cut loose with nine runs in the final three frames to cruise past the PawSox, 13-3, before 6,318 at McCoy Stadium. Durham collected 16 hits in the three-plus hour affair, including a three-run homer from Felipe Lopez in the ninth.
Durham scored eight of its runs with two outs, while the PawSox were just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The second and final game of Carl Crawfordâ€™s rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox left much to be desired.
An 0-for-3 showing at the plate and no action in left field in the PawSoxâ€™s 11-8 loss to the Durham Bulls on Saturday at McCoy Stadium wasnâ€™t the evening Crawford envisioned before rejoining the Boston Red Sox. Nonetheless, the left fielder departed Pawtucket with at least one reason for optimism: a healthy left hamstring.
PAWTUCKET â€” The fans came to see Carl Crawford and went home talking about Ryan Lavarnway.
Crawford, in his first of two rehab games with Pawtucket, reached base in all three of his at-bats during Pawtucketâ€™s 3-2 win over Durham on Friday night. He blooped a single over the second basemanâ€™s head in the first, walked in the third, and reached on a fielderâ€™s choice in the fifth, scoring one batter later when Lavarnway crushed a home run down the left field line that cleared everything, bouncing around in the parking lot as the crowd collectively murmured â€śWho is this guy?â€ť
BURRILLVILLE â€” Down by four runs and staring at a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the second inning, Cumberland American showed the heart of a champion and staged a marvelous comeback that landed the ballclub the District IV Major Division title.
Connor Mastin and Stephen Dugas each bashed a pair of home runs and Max Hanuschak delivered five superb innings of relief to help CALL win a 12-6 slugfest with neighboring rival Lincoln on Friday night before a packed house at Sherman Park.