Archive - Sports Article
April 24th, 2011
High school baseball players in New England understand there are two phases to their season â€“ chilly and warm. April is usually rainy and cool until the final week of the month. Players must deal with the conditions and try to persevere, knowing the warmth of May is eventually going to arrive.
With the temperature climbing to 76 degrees on Sunday, thereâ€™s a hint that warmer weather is right around the corner. Thatâ€™s good because the division races are starting to take shape and some of this weekâ€™s games are pretty interesting.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The Pawtucket Red Sox â€“ as well as Boston â€“ now holds its collective breath regarding the left shoulder of outfield prospect Ryan Kalish.
Kalish make a diving grab to his left to rob Syracuseâ€™s Michael Aubrey of a surefire base hit in the second inning of Thursdayâ€™s 14-0 matinee massacre of the Chiefs. Replays showed that the center fielder jammed his shoulder as he hit the turf and rolled over. Teammates quickly huddled around their fallen comrade as Kalish remained on the ground for several minutes.
By the time the PawSox return home a week from Saturday, April will all but be a memory. With that in mind, here are some early-season observations/thoughts about the local club.
Josh Reddick saw his miserable start at the plate last season cost him a chance to get up to Boston far sooner than as a September call-up. As his batting average plummeted to unimaginable depths â€“ it stood at .189 on May 30 â€“ Reddick watched as Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish were summoned to the big leagues.
PROVIDENCE â€” When youâ€™re on a roll like Lincoln High, things just seem to fall into place.
The Lions did their best work in the latter innings Thursday, scoring three runs apiece in the sixth and seventh innings to best La Salle Academy, 8-5. At 7-0, Lincoln stands tall amongst the Division I-North hierarchy. In fact, the Lions are one of just two teams in the league to sport such a glittering mark, North Kingstown being the other.
PAWTUCKET â€” For most of his first five seasons in the Red Sox system, Felix Doubront was buoyed by a starting pitcherâ€™s mentality. The 23-year-old was accustomed to taking the ball once every five days, only to spend the down time between starts preparing for his next turn.
PAWTUCKET â€” Andrew Miller holds the potential of emerging into a key member of Bostonâ€™s pitching plans this season â€” emphasis on "potential."
PAWTUCKET â€“ The Pawtucket Red Sox are on the type of roll that has not been seen in these parts in quite some time.
True, the PawSox won eight straight games last August, but the team was far removed from playoff contention at that point. The winning streak Pawtucket currently enjoys â€“ itâ€™s now five games after Tuesdayâ€™s well-executed 3-1 win against Syracuse â€“ lends credence to the idea that the 2011 season could be different from last couple of campaigns, which saw the locals spend most of the summer playing out the string.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Theo Murray wasnâ€™t completely sure what he was going to get out of Chris Messier, his starting pitcher for Tuesdayâ€™s game against Shea. The reason for concern on the part of the Tolman head coach seems justified, especially since Messier was forced to leave his last start with arm soreness.
For the second time in as many days, a signed PC recruit has been relieved of his commitment.
Tuesday saw new Providence College coach Ed Cooley grant Kyan Anderson, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Fort Worth, Texas, his release of his signed letter-of-intent. The release of Anderson and Markus Crider, the second member of ex-coach Keno Davisâ€™ incoming class for 2011, means the Friars as of this moment have zero incoming freshmen for next season.
PAWTUCKET â€” Rich Hill could have been sulking and pouting on Monday afternoon after learning the news that fellow southpaw Hideki Okajima -- not he -- was called up to the Boston Red Sox and added to the clubâ€™s bullpen.
After all, Hill had been lights out in his four appearances with the Pawtucket Red Sox, striking out 11 batters, recording a save, and yielding just five hits, two walks, and no earned runs in his 8 2/3 innings of work.
PAWTUCKET â€” Mount St. Charles is starting to look a bit like the baseball program that captured two straight Division II state titles before joining Division I this season.
The Mounties won their second Division I game in four days on Monday, breaking open a tight contest against St. Raphael Academy with a seven-run rally in the fifth inning en route to a 10-3 victory.
Mount, now 2-3 in Division I, got a complete-game pitching performance from junior Taylor Sutherland, who scattered seven hits and settled in after allowing single runs in both the first and second innings.
Kyan Andersonâ€™s future regarding whether heâ€™ll play basketball at Providence College is still very much up in the air.
The same cannot be said for fellow recruit Markus Crider.
FOXBORO, Mass. â€” Pawtucketâ€™s Kelsey Fournier will return for her third and final year as a New England Patriots cheerleader, and her second as one of the squadâ€™s co-captains.
PAWTUCKET â€“ There was no hiccups, nor was there any red flags from Matt Albersâ€™ relief appearance with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.
A clean and effortless sixth inning was what Albers delivered as the Pawtucket Red Sox cooked up two wins at McCoy Stadium. Daniel Nava capped off the suspended portion of the proceedings with a game-winning single in the 10th inning, lifting the PawSox to a 2-1 win past Buffalo.
Albersâ€™ 1-2-3 frame came in the regularly scheduled contest as Pawtucketâ€™s offense came alive in a 10-6 victory.
PAWTUCKET â€” While this is not a book review of Dan Barryâ€™s â€śBottom of the 33rd,â€ť the goal here is to lend depth behind the 255-page opus currently available.
This is about reenacting the journey Barry took in taking one particular subject and spinning it into a finished product. Reliving the process Barry undertook â€“ from countless interviews to visiting the archives at The Pawtucket Times â€“ is almost as fascinating as the final product itself because of the different angles he explores.
SMITHFIELD â€“ Cumberland High survived injuries to its starting pitcher and catcher on Friday to outlast Smithfield 6-5 in eight innings.
â€śThis was a great team effort,â€ť Cumberland coach Paul Murphy admitted. â€śOur starting pitcher, Hayden Namaka, hurt his hand and left in the third inning. Eric Murray, who had pitched only one inning this season, took over and gave us five good innings. And then our catcher, Matt Billington, got hurt and we replaced him with Matt Bare in the fourth inning.â€ť
SMITHFIELD â€“ Donâ€™t tell Lincoln head coach Ed Hunt that the stolen base isnâ€™t a handy tool.
The Lions qualify as a running bunch, witnessed by the five bags they swiped Thursday in a 9-1 win over Smithfield.
What makes the liberties Lincoln are taking on the base paths even more of a game-changing factor is that a run-producing hit came on the heels on every swiped base except the one Joe Yankee pulled off in the first inning.
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.