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.
The fourth week in July means the following:
1). The bombardment of back-to-school commercials, serving as a cruel reality check and a reminder that summer reading will not be accomplished through osmosis or CliffsNotes.
2). Thereâ€™s roughly a month remaining in the minor league season. Where does the time go?
3). Another fast-moving July 31 trading deadline is just days away from building toward a crescendo.
EAST PROVIDENCE â€” Itâ€™s been quite some time since Collette Vacations Post 79 enjoyed a nine-game win streak or found itself two wins away from a state championship, but thatâ€™s the state of the Pawtucket ballclub heading into tonightâ€™s 8 p.m. winnersâ€™ bracket final at McCarthy Stadium.
Eric Geisman gave a splendid performance on the mound and Post 79 did just enough offensively to help produce a 4-1 victory over Cumberland Post 14 on Thursday night in their semifinal-round game at Pierce Field.