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 wasnât the case on Thursday afternoon.
Allie Dzialoâs 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 donât 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 seasonâs 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.
CENTRAL FALLS â The Unified Basketball League, the second-year R.I. Interscholastic League program that matches Special Needs athletes with partners from their respective high schools, has not only grown in the amount of teams that participate, but in its competitiveness.
Division I Northern rivals Central Falls and Woonsocket demonstrated that aspect Wednesday afternoon at the Warriorsâ Gymnasium with a thrilling, down-to-the-wire affair.
PAWTUCKET â It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only four seasons ago when St. Raphael Academy was competing for the Division I championship and Tolman High was joining the fastpitch ranks and looking to build a successful Division III program.
Fast forward to 2011. The Tigers are now one of the Division IIâs top teams. After going 50-3 and winning the 2008 state championship in their three years as a Division III squad, the Tigers made a smooth transition to Division II last season by going 13-7.
WOONSOCKET â Itâs a little early for Mount St. Charles to start circling the wagons.
The two-time defending Division II champions have played just one game in Division I this season, a 6-5 loss to Smithfield, and this afternoon they host powerful Lincoln High in a 4 p.m. game that could be an eye opener for the Mounties.
Lincoln, which has scored 10 runs in each of its first two league victories (over St. Raphael and Cumberland), is led by Ryan OâDell and a strong nucleus of players who should take the Lions deep into the playoffs in early June.
LINCOLN -- This No. 9 batter delivered the No. 1 hit of her high school career on Friday afternoon.
Senior left fielder Marissa Walshâs walkoff one-out single in the seventh inning delivered the run that gave Lincoln High a big 1-0 victory over Mount St. Charles Academy in their early showdown of Division I-North heavyweights at Saylesville Elementary School.
Walshâs clutch hit settled a superb pitchersâ duel between the Lionsâ Alyssa McCoart and the Mountiesâ Olivia Hendricks and gave her team their second win of the young season.
PAWTUCKET â Nary a trace of resentment could be found in Hideki Okajimaâs tone when asked if he felt he was bypassed by the Red Sox on Friday. Boston selected Felix Doubront â a pitcher who was shutdown during spring training with left forearm inflammation â to fill the clubâs left-handed need in the bullpen after designating the ineffective Dennys Reyes for assignment.
âNo,â was the straightforward answer Okajima came back with through interpreter Jeff Cutler after posed said question.
PAWTUCKET â This wasnât the Triple-A debut Kyle Weiland had in mind.
Hailed as one of the better starting pitching prospects in the farm system, Weiland was tagged for four runs on seven hits in three innings as Rochester won, 7-2, before 4,360 frigid souls at McCoy Stadium. The Red Wings made Weilandâs stay on the mound a short one after belting four extra base hits off the right-hander, one of them a solo home run by Trevor Plouffe in the third inning.
PAWTUCKET â All appeared to be fine in Alfredo Acevesâ universe when he walked into the home clubhouse shortly after 4 oâclock on Thursday afternoon. The righthander chatted briefly with a reporter before going through the necessary preparations for that nightâs start against Rochester.
Those plans were officially scrapped 15 minutes prior to first pitch, as Scott Atchison took Acevesâ spot. Itâs believed that the Red Sox will place reliever Matt Albers on the disabled list on Friday and call up Aceves in time for Bostonâs home opener against the New York Yankees.
PAWTUCKET â It had all the pageantry of Opening Day, from the introduction to the teams to the unfurling of an American flag in center field and a cannon salute that sounded off at the conclusion of the national anthem.