Archive - Sports Article
August 5th, 2011
As the associate head coach at Norwalk (Conn.) Community College, Patrick Vigilio enjoyed a front row seat to see Erik Bedard go from an unknown with tried-and-true Canadian roots to a bona fide staff ace.
â€śErik was a hockey player for the most part. Most kids in Canada are because they donâ€™t have high school baseball up there,â€ť recalled Vigilio in a telephone interview Friday. â€śHe was throwing in the mid 80s when he started out, but through hard work he was able to take his game to the next level, obviously.â€ť
BRISTOL, Ct. - Manager Dave Belisle considers every one of the 13 players on his Cumberland American All-Star roster a reason itâ€™s down in Bristol, Connecticut this weekend for the Eastern Regional Tournament, a reason it has an outside chance to earn a trip to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series
â€śWhat you see with this team is theyâ€™re picking each other up,â€ť Belisle said. â€śThere have been some situations where we looked like we were going to fold, but someone has picked the individuals up. Itâ€™s a team game. It just seems that one through 13 somebody contributed.
FOXBORO â€“ Tom Brady is especially glad heâ€™s not a rookie this year â€“ for a couple of reasons.
â€śNot only because their salaries got cut in half,â€ť said the New England Patriots quarterback, referencing the NFLâ€™s newly ratified collective bargaining agreement.
Rookies are also tasked with an accelerated acclimation to NFL life because of the leagueâ€™s 4 1/2-month lockout.
A week into his 12th training camp with the Patriots, Brady acknowledges that this one is unique.
LINCOLN --- Itâ€™s been nearly two months since Bruce Foster finished in a tie for second place with his brother, Jeff, at the 2011 Spartan Death Race, a 45-hour ultra-endurance test through a grueling 40-mile course in Pittsfield, Vt., but their accomplishment has still been the talk around Lincoln.
The brothersâ€™ success has also reached a point where workout enthusiasts of all ages, sizes, and abilities have asked them if they could train with them and follow the extra-tough training regimen they used to prepare for and succeed in the Death Race.
PAWTUCKET â€” It is August and baseballâ€™s various pennant races are beginning to take shape.
The Pawtucket Red Sox and their â€śparentâ€ť team in Boston are locked in battles for first place in their respective leagues. The PawSox are chasing Lehigh Valley for first place in the International League North while maintaining a slight edge on the Gwinnett Braves for the leagueâ€™s lone wild-card berth.
Some things I think I think:
Former Pawtucket resident Mason Williams is leading the New York Penn League in batting average. The son of former Patriots wide receiver Derwin Williams is hitting .358 in the short-season Class A League while toiling for the Staten Island Yankees. He leads the league in hits, is tied for fourth in total bases and OPS, and has 16 steals in 42 games.
PAWTUCKET --- Edd Pedro has been a busy man these days. Very busy.
The namesake and driving force behind what will be the eighth edition of the Edd Pedro Wiffleball Tournament has been burning the midnight oil this week making final preparations for Sundayâ€™s mega-event at Slater Park.
â€śThis weekâ€™s been pretty crazy,â€ť Pedro said on Tuesday night during a break from his preparations. â€śIâ€™m up to midnight every night normally, and Iâ€™m just out in my garage working on something for the tournament.
CUMBERLAND - It's always the same. For most of his 30-plus years playing softball, nothingâ€™s changed for Kirby Murphy each time he faces an opposing pitcher.
Before he approaches the on-deck circle, he takes three warm-up swings with three different bats. He then walks near the batterâ€™s box with the bat that heâ€™s going to use and swings that three times. He then signals for a time out and takes two more swings inside the batterâ€™s box before heâ€™s ready to go.
PAWTUCKET â€“ It wasnâ€™t as if Kevin Millwood was deliberately ambiguous when asked if the veteran pitcher envisions finishing the season with the Pawtucket Red Sox. The simple answer is that Millwood doesnâ€™t have one.
â€śI donâ€™t know. Thatâ€™s kind of tough to answer right now,â€ť said a well-meaning Millwood after tossing a bullpen session Tuesday morning.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Nate Spears did more than achieve hero status after belting a game-ending two-run home run in Pawtucketâ€™s 4-3 win against Louisville Tuesday afternoon. Rewarded with his efforts with a shaving cream pie in the face â€“ courtesy of Michael Bowden, Luis Exposito and Ryan Lavarnway â€“ Spears reminded the masses that the PawSox feature contributors who may not appear on any prospect watch list, but they are just as instrumental to the cause.
CUMBERLAND â€” After a much-deserved 10-day break from competitive baseball, recent state champion Cumberland American begins its quest for a trip to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series this weekend. The All-Star squad faces Massachusettsâ€™s titlist Andover National Saturday afternoon at 2 in the opener of the New England Regional Tournament at Breen Field in Bristol, Conn.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The topic was Ryan Lavarnway and the most prolific home run hitters to ever to suit up for the Pawtucket Red Sox. After all, when youâ€™ve amassed 13 round trippers in 43 games â€“ Lavarnwayâ€™s mashing rate heading into Mondayâ€™s action â€“ you start flashing back to names like Jim Rice, Sam Horn, Phil Plantier and Izzy Alcantara and the baseballs they made vanish.
PAWTUCKET â€” The Connie Mack Baseball League has always taken a back seat to American Legion baseball during the summer months. And thatâ€™s too bad because there are some good players performing in relative anonymity inside the 12-team Rhode Island organization.
Elmwood Sports, which features players from Pawtucket and Central Falls, showed off some of its talent during a 2-0 victory over West Warwick in a first-round playoff game on Monday evening at McConnon Field. Bryan Quinlan knocked in both runs to back Andrew Larsonâ€™s shutout pitching.
WEST WARWICK â€“ As Jim Dawber watched a mentally and physically drained Ryan Oâ€™Dell unleash pitch after pitch, a conclusion to Sundayâ€™s marathon of baseball at McCarthy Stadium unfolded in his mind.
â€śOh wow,â€ť the Cumberland Post 14 manager thought to himself. â€śWeâ€™re going to win the championship, and heâ€™s going to win the MVP.â€™â€ť
Speaking through visible emotion a short while later, Dawber came to grips with the crushing reality.
â€śIt didnâ€™t play out that way in real life,â€ť he said.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Lars Anderson made four trips to the plate Sunday, every one of them transpiring in a Pawtucket Red Sox uniform.
For someone who spent Saturday night bidding farewell to teammates and contemplating a future in Oakland, Anderson spent most of Sunday morning trying to make sense of the unstable trade winds that had rocked his universe. One minute the first baseman was standing in the batterâ€™s box in McCoy Stadium. Then came word that Anderson was involved in a trade that would have sent starting pitcher Rich Harden to Boston.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Not even the nifty baserunning maneuver that Ryan Lavarnway pulled off the eighth inning could yield a smile on the face of PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.
Truth be told, Lavarnwayâ€™s ability to avoid the tag while sliding into second base represented the lone highlight in Pawtucketâ€™s 7-2 loss to Louisville Sunday afternoon. The power-hitting catcher had his eyes on second base after lining a bullet down the left field line. The throw from Bats leftfielder Felix Perez was there with plenty of time to spare, but Lavarnway was able to dance around the tag and get a hand on the bag.
PAWTUCKET -- Three consecutive two-out singles off Kevin Millwood in the sixth inning doomed the PawSox in their series-opening 3-2 loss to the Louisville Bats.
Millwood struck out Devin Meoraco and Danny Dorn to begin the sixth for his ninth and tenth strikeouts of the evening. Chris Valaika and Mike Costanzo followed with singles to put runners at first and third- still with two outs. Louisville's ninth batter, Kristopher Negron, followed Costanzo's base-hit with an RBI single to make it 3-2 Bats and that was the last run scored in the ballgame by either side.
According to ESPN.com,a trade that had been in the works to send right-hander Rich Harden from the Oakland Athletics to the Boston Red Sox has reportedly fallen through.
Harden said Saturday night he was told by general manager Billy Beane he was staying put and would start Tuesday. The clubs had been close to a swap that would have sent Harden to Beantown and brought Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson to the A's.
WEST WARWICK â€“ Like many American Legion coaches, Collette Vacations boss Ray Ventura was probably hoping that Jeff Diehl was going turn pro after getting drafted by the New York Mets in June.
You could see why Friday night as Diehl single-handily almost won the game for Gershkoff/Auburn Post 20, the catcher belting two home runs in a 6-4 win over Collette in the winnersâ€™ bracket final of the American Legion Senior Division playoffs.
WEST WARWICK â€“ Instead of dwelling on Thursdayâ€™s loss to Collette Vacations Post 79, the boys from Cumberland Post 14 answered the challenge of keeping its season alive.
Top-seeded Post 14 lives to fight another day thanks to eight standout innings from knuckleball artist Zach Perry and key hits from Tyler Santaniello and Nick Zammarelli. Almost forgotten in the aftermath of Fridayâ€™s 5-2 win against defending champion New England Frozen Lemonade/Shields Post 43 was the spectacular â€“ some may argue season-saving â€“ catch Matt Sorkin made in center field to end the top of the first inning.