A little of this, a little of that …
• The first Rhode Island High School Helmet Tournament was captured by the new football team on the block.
Actually, Davies Tech is gearing up for its second season, but you catch my drift. A Twitter-specific voting competition that started on May 23 with 44 helmets all vying for supremacy culminated last Friday. When it was over, the Patriots emerged as the last helmet left standing.
To outlast a statewide field and earn the distinction as the best helmet in 2020 is a major feather in the caps of athletic director Bob Morris and head coach Henry Cabral.
“The kids supported it. That was the best part,” said Morris.
The helmet’s noteworthy features – a star with the letter “D” superimposed on it amidst an all-white background – proved to be eye-catching and popular enough for Davies Tech to outlast East Providence and Hope in the first round. Getting out of the quarterfinals, the Patriots navigated past Shea and Portsmouth.
“We went back-and-forth for months on how the helmet was going to look,” said Morris, who worked closely with Cabral in creating a distinctive design.
The good times continued in the semifinals with Davies defeating Cumberland. During the 48-hour window that votes could only be cast via the Twitter account for Rhode Island Helmet Tournament (@RI_Helmets), the Patriots walked away with bragging rights after earning 542 percent of the votes compared to 45.8 to fellow finalist Pilgrim.
Per Morris, word of mouth proved to be essential in Davies’ ability to keep on advancing.
“We had current and former athletes and kept it going from there. Kids were texting other kids to vote and coaches were texting their players,” said Morris. “I just think it speaks to the school spirit that exists.”
A few states still need to wrap up before the field is officially set for the National Helmet Tournament (the Twitter handle is @hshelmettourney). Voting should begin early next week.
• Kyle Moison and Ally Plante were the evening’s two big winners when Lincoln High School conducted its annual Senior Athletic Banquet in a virtual setting earlier this week. Moison, the All-American hammer and weight thrower who will continue his career at the University of Auburn, was awarded the Charles Hien Outstanding Male Athlete Award. Plante, a former field hockey contributor who parlayed her success in the throwing circle into a scholarship to Sacred Heart University, earned the Katherine Tiberii Outstanding Female Athlete Award.
Earning the Michael J. Monteleone Sportsmanship Award were Emily Kennedy (field hockey, competitive cheerleading, softball) and Randall Hien (football, boys basketball, baseball). Hien was also presented the Richard Elderkin Memorial Scholarship and Special Award.
Receiving the Richard E. White Student Athlete Award that takes into account both academics and athletic accomplishments were Hannah Schermerhorn (girls volleyball, girls lacrosse) and Nicholas Gaitanis (boys cross-country, boys indoor & outdoor track & field).
The Lincoln Athletic Council Scholarships went to Spencer Smith (hockey & boys lacrosse) and Sarah Leonetti (girls soccer and girls lacrosse). Josh Jahnz (boys soccer and boys basketball) was recognized with the Peter L. Moreau Scholarship. Sharing Co-Coach of the Year honors were two mentors who guided their respective teams to championships: John D’Aloisio (boys soccer) and Kent Crooks (boys basketball).
• Stressing the importance of Little League baseball, Pawtucket State Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr. last week penned a letter to Janet Coit, the director of the Department of Environmental Management and tasked with overseeing the state’s youth sports guidelines.
“Youth sports are an essential and time-tested way to keep children occupied,” the letter stated. “Now more than ever, we have the need to bring children together in a safe and organized way. Perhaps this can happen gradually with practices and mini-scrimmages to begin with. Maybe we could even have a fall season.”
Johnston, a longtime past president of the Pineview Little League, has been in regular contact with Bob Walker, who serves as district administrator for District 2 of Rhode Island Little League. In a nutshell, Johnston is emphasizing the importance of complying with all the safety rules and social distancing protocols during this reopening phase where teams are allowed to conduct practices and scrimmages within their specific groups.
“Little League baseball is very proactive when it comes to safety, and the COVID-19 crisis is no exception,” the letter goes on to say. “The organization has been extremely diligent in providing the leagues with the tools and materials to reopen in a safe way, such as publishing and distributing best practices guides, and producing resumption guide webinars.”
• Nick Zammarelli isn’t set to put a bow on his pro baseball career, not by a long shot. The Lincoln native, however, did acknowledge that a number of minor leaguers who were cast aside as part of last week’s purge by Major League Baseball teams may end up faced with no choice but to call it curtains.
“It’s unfortunate because something like this might make them retire,” said Zammarelli. “This might be the final tipping point for them.”
• PawSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg is adamant about staging a proper farewell at McCoy Stadium before the Triple-A franchise relocates across state lines. At this point, the only question that truly matters is whether such a ceremony will take place in conjunction with an actual baseball game. If not, the dining experience that figures to dominate the summertime calendar may end up the only opportunity that fans have to bid adios to a ballpark that has supplied five decades’ worth of baseball moments.
“You want an emotional and beautiful sendoff whenever the time is right,” said Steinberg. “You want to thank McCoy for being a house of memories.”
• Speaking of the PawSox, the cover story for the June issue of Sports Illustrated takes a deep dive into the current state of minor league baseball during the pandemic and how teams are looking to stay afloat at a time when there’s no gate receipts.
In late April, SI sent a survey to 160 MiLB clubs – per Wikipedia, there are 261 minor league organizations – that inquired how the COVID-19 waters were being navigated. The PawSox politely declined to participate in SI’s field experiment. The outlet received 68 responses.
One question asked was whether teams have had to furlough or lay off employees – 50 percent said yes, 47 percent replied no, while three percent did not answer. Another question from SI to MiLB teams wanted to know if organizations have received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The response: 82 percent said yes, six percent said they were denied, while 12 percent did not apply.
• Uniform numbers for new Providence College men’s basketball players: freshman guard Alyn Breed (No. 10), sophomore guard Brycen Goodine (No. 12), freshman forward Jyare Davis (No. 13), and junior forward Ed Croswell (No. 21).
• The NHL has turned over its cards and released details as to how the season will resume. On Wednesday, it was the NBA’s turn to leak out its plan to restart the season with Orlando serving as the main hub for game activity.
MLB? It needs to get its act together and fast.
• This column would have been longer, but it’s time to take a look at who’s staring back at you in the mirror. You want to make change based off what’s been going on in this great country of ours? Start with yourself. Just make sure your idea of change doesn’t involve the destruction of property.