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Tough to track down

Sport:   Posted: April 14th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Tough to track down
Looney puts distance on rivals
By Joe Reardon  |   Sunday, April 13, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com 

Bishop Feehan’s Meg Looney has...
Photo by Matthew West
Bishop Feehan’s Meg Looney has her sights set on another state championship in the 800 meters before heading off to Harvard.
 

Like it or not, there’s no way the competition can run conservatively if they expect to defeat Bishop Feehan’s Meg Looney.

An 800-meter specialist during the outdoor season, the 18-year-old Looney forces her adversaries to run hard from the gun. Period. If not, they can kiss any chance at first place goodbye.

Nowhere was Looney’s damn-the-torpedoes style of racing more prevalent than during the 600-meter run in the Coaches Elite Invitational this past winter. At the gun, the defending champion took the lead immediately and was 30 meters clear of the talented field after the first 200 on the Reggie Lewis Center track.

Looney never let up and surged across the finish line, easily defeating Lincoln-Sudbury’s superb middle-distance runner Emily Mepham by nearly three seconds. Looney’s time of 1 minute, 33.61 seconds broke the 1999 meet record of 1:33.94, held by Stoneham’s Maura McCusker, and put her well ahead of Mepham’s 1:36.43.

The Shamrocks star was nearly untouchable during the winter campaign in the 600, capturing her third consecutive Class C title and second state championship. The lone blemish was a second-place finish in the New England championships. Eryn Wheeler of Coventry, R.I., managed to stay close to Looney and went by her a mere 15 meters from the finish line for the victory, spoiling her chance to win a second New England title. Looney’s time of 1:34.10 still bettered her 1:34.49 that gave her New England bragging rights the previous year.

Looney regards the Coaches Elite victory as her most satisfying win to date after falling just short of McCusker’s mark as a junior. She went into the race with the usual butterflies, but confident she could get the job done.

“Over the past year I’ve become more confident because I’m a year older and more experienced,” Looney said. “I went in this year hoping to break it (the record). It’s kind of instinctive - I definitely run my own race.”

One key to Looney’s success is her durability. She rarely gets injured and, save for a slight bout of anemia during the cross country season, misses very little training time.

“That’s really been her only setback,” Bishop Feehan coach Paul Powell said. “She’s never missed a season.”

One aspect of her training that Looney attributes to her success is the time she spends in the weight room. Looney takes her strength work very seriously, something not lost on her teammates and coaches.

“What I like about Meg is that she’s always the last one out of the gym,” Powell said. “She always does that little bit extra. Meg’s the easiest person I’ve ever coached.”

Looney looks to be on target for a stellar spring season. In the Shamrocks’ opening meet at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, she ran away with the 400 with a quick 58.57 in a race where she put two seconds between herself and the rest of the field over the final 100 meters. Just 25 minutes later, Looney cruised to a 2:25 victory in the 800 to complete what is a difficult double on the track.

“To run a 400 and come back 25 minutes later and run an 800 is one of the toughest doubles in track,” Powell said.

It’s the 800 in the state championships that Looney is eyeing this spring after a wild finish last year at Holyoke. Looney pulled Lincoln-Sudbury’s Molly Binder through a blazing sub-60-second opening 400 and ran even with Binder down the back straightaway. The pair was side by side rounding the last turn and down the final straightaway. It was Binder who edged ahead with 40 meters left for the 2:11.83 victory. Looney threw herself across the finish, two steps back, in 2:12.35 for her second runner-up finish in as many years.

“We were together the whole way and she got me on the straightaway,” the Harvard-bound Looney said.

At Harvard, Looney is looking toward the 800 and possibly moving up to the 1,500. Beyond the fact that it is arguably the best college in the country, attending the prestigious university made perfect sense to Looney.

“It’s the perfect location because I love Boston and I’m close enough to go home and see my family and friends,” she said.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/high_school/general/view.bg?articleid=1086826
 

Katin pitches Triton past Newburyport

Sport:   Posted: April 14th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Katin pitches Triton past Newburyport
By Dan Guttenplan
Sports editor


Triton's Joe Katin pitches vs Newburyport Saturday afternoon. Katin earned the complete-game victory over the rival Clippers, Triton's first since 2006. Jim Vaiknoras/Staff photo  


NEWBURYPORT — Triton picked up its first victory over Newburyport in two seasons Saturday — a 3-2 victory at Lower Field.

Triton's Sam Ferrara scored from third base on a passed ball in the top of the seventh. That run proved to be the difference. Joe Katin earned the complete-game victory for the Vikings in the opener, allowing six hits and one earned run.

Triton last beat the Clippers on May 24, 2006 when the Vikings posted a 7-6 victory in 14 innings. Newburyport came into the game with a 9-1 record against Triton in the last 10 meetings between the teams.

"No Newburyport team rolls over and gives a game away," said Triton's second-year coach Steve Padovani. "I knew they'd give us a great game. It's nice to earn my first victory over an always solid Newburyport team."

Newburyport's Tommy Morris matched Katin for seven innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. The Clippers had a chance to tie the game in the seventh inning when Kyle LeBlanc had a one-out single to right field with Tyler Stotz on second base. Stotz got caught in a rundown between third and home, eventually becoming the second out.

"We haven't turned the corner yet," said Newburyport coach Bill Pettingell. "We're better than a 1-3 team. All three losses could've gone the other way. But we need to learn to make our own breaks. We're still searching for our identity."

Triton took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Mike Cerbone. Newburyport responded and held a 2-1 lead in the sixth before Cam Kneeland led off the inning with a double. Katin played him with an RBI single.

"I know we'll be fine pitching-wise," Padovani said of his staff that includes Kneeland, Katin and Matt Emerzian. "We'll be OK defensively. My biggest concern is how well we'll swing the bats."

Triton provided just enough offense against a Newburyport team that has been held to two runs or less in three of its four games. LeBlanc will get the start at Pentucket on Tuesday (3:45 p.m.).

"Now that I'm getting a feel for this team, I've learned we're going to have to manufacture runs in a different way," Pettingell said. "I can't wait to play for a big inning like I've done in the past. We're going to bunt and move runners along. I'm fine with changing my style a little bit."

For pitchers, a longer road home

Sport:   Posted: April 14th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

For pitchers, a longer road home
Safety-inspired change puts softball mound at collegiate distance

By Brendan Hall
Globe Correspondent / April 13, 2008

Ashland High ace Nicole D'Argento, gearing up for Dover-Sherborn last week, has years of experience pitching from 43 feet.
Ashland High ace Nicole D'Argento, gearing up for Dover-Sherborn last week, has years of experience pitching from 43 feet. (Robert e. klein for the boston globe)

Her sophomore season on the mound for the Ashland High softball team was one for the ages: a 9-0 record, a 0.00 earned-run average, eight shutouts, capped with a perfect game. What does Nicole D'Argento do for an encore?
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With the aid of an important rule change, the junior right-hander could very well put together just as impressive a season, if not a better one, this spring.

Since last season, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted to move the pitcher's mound 3 feet farther from the plate, from 40 to 43 - the standard for college softball. Massachusetts and Florida are the only two states in the nation with the 43-foot distance for high school players.

Safety was one of the primary reasons for the change, but the new distance will affect other aspects of the game. With more time to react, hitters will be able to get around better on fastballs. And with more balls in play, defense will become more important. But breaking pitches will also be more effective.

For a few pitchers in the area who play on elite teams during the off-season, the transition will be smooth. D'Argento has been throwing from 43 feet since she was 13, playing on the Polar Crush, a Worcester-based program that competes nationally.

This spring, she is using her change-up and curve more frequently and the results are impressive. On Monday, she opened the season with a one-hit shutout against Tri-Valley League opponent Westwood, fanning 11 batters and walking three.

"Speed is obviously the same," D'Argento said, and so at 43 feet the hitters have "a couple seconds to see the ball, but the ball breaks more, and differently."

Shrewsbury High pitcher Ali Ermilio began throwing from 43 feet as soon as the MIAA made its decision, practicing in yards and, over the winter, at the Bancroft School gymnasium in Worcester. Working out with her mother, Kathy, and her grandfather, former Team USA softball coach Ralph Raymond, she also placed an emphasis on her breaking pitch.

It's paid off. Ermilio, who also plays for the Polar Crush, is off to a smooth start this spring. She struck out five in the Colonials' win over Nashoba Regional on Monday.

"Hitters are definitely getting around . . . more, so you have to hit the spots a lot and spin the ball up," Ermilio said.

Playing on select teams out of season helps with the adjustment to the new throwing distance, but as first-year Natick coach Ginny Walsh pointed out, there are some pitfalls.

"The loophole is, it's not consistent from one league to another," said Walsh, who previously coached at Ashland High. "So that is a huge factor."

And for every experienced player like D'Argento, Ermilio, or Hudson senior ace Kaitlin Andrews, there are many who are not accustomed to the length.

Are there concerns? "Absolutely," said Ashland coach Steve O'Neill, who pointed to his pitcher for Wednesday's contest against Dover-Sherborn, Kylene Pease. The junior solidifies the rotation, but with only limited experience throwing from 43 feet, her pitch "isn't getting up with velocity like it has," said O'Neill.

The theory is that over the next few years, as players become more accustomed to the new length, the numbers will even out. But a number of area coaches predicted a significant drop-off after the top tier of programs.

"The have-nots are going to get worse," Shrewsbury High coach Phil Chevalier said. "The programs that don't have a pitcher throwing 55-60 at least, they're going to be the ones that suffer."

That may be more of a factor with smaller programs. On Monday, Assabet Valley Regional experienced the move's effect from both ends of the spectrum. In one inning, the Aztecs produced five runs without registering a hit, but committed seven errors in a 9-8 loss.

Unlike more prominent programs, the Marlborough-based vocational school doesn't have the luxury of a strong youth program as a feeder system. Aztecs coach Sean Coffey has to rely on whoever tries out; and often those players aren't on softball teams at other times of the year.

"We're creating players rather than getting ones that come into school all ready," Coffey said.

With the new rule in effect, Coffey said, there needs to be a greater emphasis on off-season strength conditioning - particularly the legs. He recommended such a program to his squad.

One problem: 90 percent of his Assabet team plays basketball in the winter, limiting their chances to perform the regimen. To make up for it, Coffey often had his pitchers throw from 45 to 46 feet in the preseason.

Coffey is also grooming two freshmen, Erin Moore and Nicole Soto, deploying them on the mound, in the infield, and sometimes in spot starts for the junior varsity squad. With this method, he is hoping to prepare the Aztecs for the future.

But the present is still a concern.

In the Zone: Falmouth's Nichole Eustis a good sport

Sport:   Posted: April 14th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

In the Zone: Falmouth's Nichole Eustis a good sport
By Rob Duca
STAFF WRITER
April 11, 2008 6:00 AM

Nichole Eustis, a shortstop for the Falmouth softball team and a defenseman for the Clippers' girls ice hockey team, was honored by the Boston Bruins and the MIAA for sportsmanship.

FALMOUTH — Nichole Eustis didn't think she would win a sportsmanship award following her senior season playing defense for the Falmouth High girls hockey team.

"I figured I had too many penalties," said the petite Clippers captain.

That drew an immediate laugh from her coach, Steve Cross. "No, no, that's not true," he said. "That's typical Nichole thinking she did.

"Sportsmanship is done by actions, not words," said Cross. "When I think of that, I think of Nichole right away. She was the first to arrive at the rink, she's always helped the other team get located in the locker room, she'd tell the other coach where I would be, and after the game was over, she'd take a last look around to make sure the locker room was clean. Little things you can't replace."

So when it came time for Cross to nominate a player to represent the Southeastern Massachusetts Girls Hockey League-South as winner of the MIAA and Boston Bruins annual sportsmanship award, Eustis was at the top of his list. On March 27, she was also at TD Banknorth Garden, receiving a medal between periods of the Bruins' game against the Toronto Maple Leafs along with winners from leagues across the state.

Clearly, Eustis has made an impact on her teachers and coaches at Falmouth High. "She's a quiet kid who always seems to do the right thing," athletic director Kathleen Burke said. "She would be the sportsmanship winner on any team in any school she was a part of."

Eustis attended the Bruins game with her parents. She met former Bruin Bob Sweeney, now the director of development for the club's foundation, before taking a spot on the Bruins bench to be introduced to the crowd. But she almost missed the game when the tickets mistakenly wound up in Florida.

The tickets were initially mailed to Eustis' old address, which is her grandparents' house. They were then forwarded to her at their winter home. Eustis didn't learn this until the day before the game.

"But the Bruins were real nice about it. They left tickets at the (box office)," she said

Only 5-2 and with an ever-present smile, Eustis was a clean, yet tough player for the Clippers. "She was our policeman," Cross said.

As captain, she led with a gentle hand, guiding freshman players through the difficult adjustments of high school hockey and diplomatically correcting teammates when necessary. She has carried that philosophy into the spring as captain and starting shortstop on the softball team.

"She's a leader," Falmouth softball coach Louis Falcone said. "She's first on the field, and usually the last off the field. She's always helping out, asking if she can carry the equipment, if she can do this or do that. Just a real down-to-earth kid."

Falcone calls Eustis "sneaky quiet."

"She's not the type who will be loud, vocal and in your face," he said. "She'll pull teammates aside and say, 'This is what we need to do.' She's not going to call you out. She'll try and fix the problem, but not in a way that will call attention to herself."

Embarrassing a teammate would never fit Eustis' style. "I can be loud, but I would never say anything in front of the team, unless it involved the whole team," she said.

Eustis says the definition of sportsmanship is fairly simple. "You lose with dignity, and when you win, you don't rub it in the other team's face."

As a defenseman, Eustis logged plenty of ice time, taking shifts on power plays and in short-handed situations. She began playing softball in her sophomore season and came to the varsity as a first baseman. But she shifted to shortstop last year, which suits her just fine.

"I love being in the middle of everything," she said. "I love the action at shortstop. You're always on your toes."

Said Falcone, "She's worked hard to get to where she is. Shortstop is a tough position to learn."

Plymouth State will be Eustis' destination for college in September. A solid student, she will major in English and hopes to become a teacher. Her writing skills were evident last year when she published a story in USA Hockey magazine. She plans on continuing her hockey career with the Division III Panthers.

"Any institution that gets Nichole is going to benefit," Cross said. "She's going to make any school or team look good."

Staff writer Rob Duca can be reached at rduca@capecodonline.com.

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WIZ End of Season ALL State Comparisons (2008)

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: April 14th, 2008 by Tom Nolette


http://www.mbrbasketball.com/images/wordsfromthewiztitle.gif

WIZ End of Season ALL State Comparisons (2008)

After many weeks this year’s All-State selections are finally all done. The WIZ released his All-WIZ team back on 3/09/08, the Bangor Daily released theirs on 4/12/08 and the Portland Press released theirs on 4/13/08. Each year The WIZ likes to do a comparison between the three All-State selections.

This year The All-WIZ Team consisted of 5 teams and 25 Honor Mentions for a total of 50 players. The Bangor Daily All-State Team consisted of 3 teams and 26 Honor Mentions for a total of 41 players. The Portland Press All-State team consisted of their Top 10 players plus 20 Honor Mentions for a total of 30 players. The BDN and PPH Honor Mentions are listed in alphabetical order and The WIZ’s Honor Mentions are listed in no particular order.

In last year’s selection of the first team or top 5 players all three, The WIZ, BDN and the PPH had an identical list, but this year it is a little different. All three had Ryan Martin and Sam LeClerc on their 1st team. The ALL-WIZ and BDN also each had Mick DiStasio and The BDN and PPH each had Kyle Donovan on their list. The WIZ also had Thomas Knight and Jon McAllian. The BDN had Ryan Weston and the PPH had Keegan Hyland and Lee Suvlu on their list.

On the 2nd team all three had Derek.Libbey listed. The WIZ and the BDN each had Keegan Hyland listed. The BDN and PPH each had Jon McAllian, Thomas Knight and Kris Noonan listed. The WIZ also had Kyle Philbrook, Kyle Donovan and Ryan Weston

On the 3rd team The PPH does not have a 3rd team. The WIZ had Doug Alston, Lee Suvlu, James Morse, Sean Bergeron and Kris Noonan. The BDN had Adam Kingsbury, Andrew Pullen, Kyle Philbrook, Sam Bell and Jeff Winnie.

I think all three did an excellent job as all three have pretty much the same players listed just in different placements. If you look at the Top 10 all three had 8 of the same players listed and The WIZ and BDN each had 9 of the same players listed.

Biggest omissions or discrepancies:

Ryan Weston makes BDN’s 1st team, makes WIZ’s 2nd team, but does not make the PPH’s Top 10, but he is on their Honor Mention.
Lee Suvlu makes the PPH’s 1st team, makes WIZ’s 3rd team and he is not on the BDN’s top 3 teams, but he does make their Honor Mention.
Also I thought it was interesting that Indiana Faithfull makes WIZ’s 4th team but he is not even mentioned by the BDN or the PPH.
James Morse makes WIZ’s 3rd team, he is an Honor Mention by the BDN, but he is not mentioned by the PPH.
John Murphy makes WIZ’s 5th team, makes the PPH’s Honor Mention, but he is not mentioned by the BDN.
Finally Adam Kingsbury makes the BDN’s 3rd team and he makes WIZ’s 4th team and he is not mentioned by the PPH.


Here are the comparisons:

Player of the Year:

ALL-WIZ-----------------------BDN-------------------PPH

Sam LeClerc------------------******-------------Ryan Martin

Coach of the Year:

ALL-WIZ-----------------------BDN---------------------PPH

Phil Conley/Mike Adams----******---------------Bob Brown

ALL-WIZ----------------------BDN---------------------PPH

1st Team-----------------------1st Team-----------Top 10

Sam LeClerc----------------Ryan Martin--------Ryan Martin
Ryan Martin----------------Sam LeClerc--------Sam LeClerc
Jon McAllian---------------Ryan Weston--------Kegan Hyland
Mick DiStaiso--------------Mick DiStasio--------Lee Suvlu
Thomas Knight-------------Kyle Donovan------Kyle Donovan

ALL-WIZ----------------------BDN--------------------------PPH

2nd Team----------------------2nd Team------------Top 10

Keegan Hyland------------Jon McAllian-----------Mick DiStasio
Kyle Philbrook------------Keegan Hyland---------Jon McAllian
Derek Libbey--------------Thomas Knight--------Thomas Knight
Kyle Donovan-------------Derek Libbey-----------Derek Libbey
Ryan Weston---------------Kris Noonan-----------Kris Noonan

ALL-WIZ----------------------BDN--------------------------PPH

3rd Team----------------------3rd Team----------------*****

Doug Alston---------------Adam Kingsbury-------------******
Lee Suvlu------------------Andrew Pullen---------------******
James Morse---------------Kyle Philbrook--------------******
Sean Bergeron-------------Sam Bell--------------------******
Kris Noonan----------------Jeff Winnie------------------******

ALL-WIZ--------------------BDN---------------------------PPH

4th Team--------------------******--------------------******

Jeff Winnie-----------------******---------------------******
Indiana Faithfull-----------******---------------------******
Andrew Pullen-------------******----------------------******
Gordon Fischer------------******----------------------******
Adam Kingsbury----------******----------------------******

ALL-WIZ--------------------BDN---------------------------PPH

5th Team--------------------******--------------------******

John Murphy---------------******----------------------******
Sam Bell--------------------******---------------------******
Ben Russell-----------------******---------------------******
Eric Prue--------------------******---------------------******

ALL-WIZ--------------------BDN---------------------------PPH

Honor Mention-----------Honor Mention--------------Honor Mention

Cal Shorey----------------Spencer Adams---------Spencer Adams
Marc Zaharachuk--------Doug Alston--------------Doug Alston
Antonio Juco-------------Will Bardaglio------------Will Bardaglio
Shaine Burks-------------Dominic Borelli-----------Ian Barwise
Dominic Borelli----------Alex Bowe-----------------Sam Bell
Eddie Bogdanovich------Paul Campbell------------Alex Bowe
Paul Campbell------------Reid Christian-----------Reid Christian
Jacob Moore--------------Collin Ciomei------------Andrew Dickey
Spence Adams------------Kyle Corrigan-----------Gordan Fischer
Ian Barwise---------------Lucas Denning----------Will Furbush
Ronald Abwoch----------Seth Dwyer---------------Jake Longstaff
Will Bardaglio------------Gordon Fischer----------Stefano Mancini
Jordan Leeman-----------Brad Haase---------------John Murphy
Stefano Mancini---------Trevor Higgins-------------Lucas O’Neil
Russ Mortland------------Orlando Holmes--------Kyle Philbrook
Kory Martin---------------Owen Jones---------------Andrew Pullen
John Klages---------------Trevor Miller--------------Kyle Sanborn
Alex Bowe----------------James Morse---------------Ryan Weston
Eric Thistle----------------Mike Poulin----------------Jeff Winnie
Jamie Sawyer-------------Ben Russell---------------Cameron York
Ethan Cushman----------Kyle Sanborn---------------******
Mike Poulin--------------Lee Suvlu--------------------******
Tom Ray-----------------Corey Therriault-------------******
Will Furbush-------------Rod Tirrell--------------------*****
Mike Lowell-------------Brady Vose------------------******
******-------------------Cameron York---------------******



The WIZ

Players to watch: Boys Lacrosse

Sport:   Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Players to watch: Boys Lacrosse
By Herald staff  |   Thursday, April 10, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  

Ryan Abely, Sr., MF, (Xaverian); Garrett Akie, Sr., G, (Dover-Sherborn); Scott Austin, Sr., A, (Duxbury); Matt Bak, Sr., G, (Marshfield); David Barton, Sr., G, BC High; Jon Blackwell, Sr., MF, (North Andover); Andrew Brown, Sr., MF, (Marshfield); Andrew Bourget, Sr., G, (Mansfield); Chuck Czerkawski, Sr., MF, (Cohasset); Davis Butts, Jr., MF, (Walpole); Kevin Cassata, Sr., A, (Hopkinton); Garrett Clark, Sr., D, (Hingham); Kyle Crowley, Jr., A, (Scituate); Tucker Delaney-Winn, Sr., A, (Winchester); Tim Finnegan, Sr., G, (Lowell); Mark Flibotte, Sr., A, (Cohasset); Matt Foster, Sr., MF, (North Andover); Tyler Gelnaw, Sr., MF, (Lexington); Brendan Grant, Sr., A, (Xaverian); Mike Grimm, Sr., A, (Cohasset); Peter Hanson, Sr., MF, (Andover); Brendan Hughes, Sr., MF, (Andover); Peter Jennings, Sr., MF (Wellesley); Pat Lawlor, Jr., A, (Hanover); Michael McCarthy, Sr., D (Malden Catholic); Wilson McGrail, Sr., D, (Wayland); Jake McGuinness, Sr., A (Barnstable); Greg Melaugh, Jr., A, (Billerica); Alex Mock, Sr., D, (Beverly); Mike Morrill, Sr., F, (Mansfield); Chris Murray, Sr., D, BC High; Greg Nash, Sr., A, (Walpole); Alex Paganelli, Sr., A, (Dover-Sherborn); Gus Quinzani, Sr., A, (Duxbury); Matt Rayner, Sr., D, (Andover); Alex Reinhard, Sr., D, (Framingham); Greg Reynolds, Jr., A, (Scituate); Chris Rigoli, Sr., A, (Xaverian); Joey Santullo, So., A, Concord-Carlisle; Mark Scalise, Sr., A, (St. John’s Prep); Matt Schairer, Sr., A, (King Philip); Curtis Serafini, Sr., A, (Westford); Brett Serriello, Jr., A (Barnstable); Ryan Shea, Sr., D (Needham); Jake Smith, Jr., D, (Medfield); Ben Snow, Sr., A, (Masconomet); Ben Stephen, Sr., G, (Needham); Craig Sullivan, Sr., D, (Duxbury); Derek Sweet, Sr., A, (Duxbury); Cord Tocci, Sr., A, (Arlington); Jared Tringale, Sr., D (Malden Catholic); Max Vaickus, Sr., G, (Hingham); Chris Walker, Sr., A, (Marshfield); Ryan Whittemore, Sr., D, (Walpole); A.J. Zarinski, Sr., A, (Swampscott); Max Zuccarini, Sr., A, (Medfield).

PRESEASON POLL

(Division 1)
1. DUXBURY (18-4) -- Why do we get the feeling that last year was the time to get the Green Dragons.

2. XAVERIAN (22-1) -- Hawks figure to give Duxbury its stiffest challenge in the postseason.

3. ANDOVER (16-5) -- Nice nucleus back from last year’s state semifinalists.

4. BILLERICA (18-3) -- Indians will rely heavily on Greg Melaugh to duplicate his 85-point effort of a year ago.

5. BC HIGH (15-5) -- Defense will be the Eagles’ calling card this year.

6. MARSHFIELD (15-4) -- One can’t accuse the Rams of scheduling cream puffs in the early going.

(Division 2)
1. MEDFIELD (23-2) -- Warriors entered the season with 74 consecutive wins in league play.

2. HINGHAM (10-10) -- The Max factor in goal could spell the difference for the Harbormen.

3. KING PHILIP (17-7) -- Former Medfield star Matt Schairer could be the free agent acquistion of the year, joining his father Steve (the school’s athletic director) at King Philip.

4. WALPOLE (16-5) -- Nice one-two punch back in Davis Butts and Greg Nash.

5. MANSFIELD (17-3) -- New coach Tim Frias didn’t find the cupboard bare.

6. WELLESLEY (18-5) -- Raiders will look to Peter Jennings for production and leadership early on.

(Division 3)
1. COHASSET (16-1) -- State champions are clearly the favorites to do it again.

2. DOVER-SHERBORN (17-4) -- Raiders gave Medfield all it could handle last week before falling.

3. SCITUATE (16-4) -- Sailors relying on juniors for offense.

4. SWAMPSCOTT (15-7) -- Big Blue is a program headed in the right direction.

5. HANOVER (14-7) -- Young team will mesh as the season goes on.

6. HAMILTON-WENHAM (10-10) -- Generals took Malden Catholic to the wire in the opener.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/high_school/general/view.bg?articleid=1086186

Catholic Memorial 13, Franklin 3: Gloomy day for Panthers

Sport:   Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Catholic Memorial 13, Franklin 3: Gloomy day for Panthers
By Eric Ramsley/Daily News correspondent
The MetroWest Daily News
























John Thornton/Daily News staff
Franklin's Kyle Kaufman handles a pickoff throw yesterday.


FRANKLIN — As gloomy as the weather was yesterday at Franklin High School, the mood on the diamond after the Panthers fell at the hands of Catholic Memorial made the overcast skies and scattered drops of rain seem like bright rays of sunshine.

But it wasn't the 13-3 final that so disheartened Franklin, but more the way that the score came about. Take away nine unearned runs and seven errors, and the Panthers would have been right in this one.

"Ugly. Very, very ugly," Panthers coach Dave Niro said after his squad lost for the first time this season. "It's probably one of the worst games ... well, we've only played three games, and that was the worst one so far."

The game started off smoothly enough for Franklin. Sammy Adler, making his first-ever varsity start, set CM down in order in the top of the first. In the bottom half, an error by Knights shortstop Anthony Peguero followed by singles from right fielder Drew Leenhouts and Adler gave the Panthers the bases loaded with two outs. But first baseman Kyle Kaufman couldn't knock anyone home, ending the inning with a pop-up to shortstop.

Adler escaped a mini-jam in the second, allowing the Knights only two runs (one earned), but the senior slinger wasn't as fortunate in the third inning.

After Peguero grounded out to start the third, CM loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, and then Adler walked left fielder Frank Tierney to bring the Knights' lead to 3-0.

Things started to get really ugly after that. Catholic Memorial scored four quick runs on a passed ball and two fielding errors before Niro replaced Adler with Rob Perrault. The Knights scored twice more before Perrault closed out the last two-thirds of the inning.

"We're trying to come out and score some runs early," said Catholic Memorial coach Hal Carey, "and fortunately we did. It wasn't all pretty, but we'll take the runs that we got."

As bad as things were going in the field for Franklin, its trips to the plate weren't much better. Freshman fastballer Matt Goreham, in just his second career start, pitched the complete game with five strikeouts and five hits surrendered.

"He's pretty damn good for a freshman, lemme tell you," said Niro. "He's bigger than I am. He did a great job, he threw nothin' but fastballs and we couldn't touch him."

The Panthers finally broke onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth, when pinch-hitter Josh Fiske knocked a two-out single that plated center fielder Colin Gay from second base. Shortstop Pat Lawler followed with a two-run double that made the score 9-3, but it was as close as Franklin got.

The Knights responded with four runs in the top of the sixth, and the Panthers only managed one more baserunner the rest of the way.

"It went pretty poorly," said Leenhouts, a senior captain. "I think there were a bunch of plays in the beginning of the game that could have gone a different way. We're definitely a better team than that."

The Panthers did manage to find a silver lining in the loss, though. Niro was glad that his team chose today to have a sloppy game as opposed to Monday, when Hockomock League rival Oliver Ames comes to town.

"That's a good team (Catholic Memorial), and hopefully we can get to the playoffs and see them again," said Niro, "because I know they're not 10 runs better than us, I know that."

Algonquin 13, Hudson 3: T-Hawks charged by battery

Sport:   Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Algonquin 13, Hudson 3: T-Hawks charged by battery
By Pete Jones/Daily News correspondent
The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Apr 11, 2008 @ 09:42 PM
























Marshall Wolff/Daily News staff
Algonquin's Graham Henningson (13) is greeted at home plate after one of his home runs Friday against Hudson.


NORTHBOROUGH — Junior catcher Graham Henningson and senior pitcher Mike Bonner turned out to be quite the battery yesterday for Algonquin.

Bonner submitted a stellar outing for the Tomahawks, throwing five strong innings to earn the win, but it was Henningson who stole the show. The first-year catcher blasted a pair of two-run home runs in his first two at- bats to spark the Tomahawks to an early advantage, as Algonquin cruised to a convincing 13-3 win over visiting Hudson.

Bonner gave up only two hits, two runs and struck out three over five innings of solid work, and Henningson finished 3-for-3 with a single, a walk and the two big blasts. Despite what coach Neil Burke calls a "very inexperienced pitching staff," all is well in Northborough as two-time defending Division 1 state finalist Algonquin is 3-0.

"We do hit the ball fairly well," said Burke. "Our pitching just needs to keep us in it ... but we're very inexperienced at that position."

Bonner looked anything but inexperienced yesterday. The right-hander, who was cut from last year's squad, showed good command with his fastball and used an effective change-up to keep a solid Hawks lineup off balance. He also did well against Hudson's No. 3-5 hitters - Matt Jacobs, Mike Wood and Mike Ryan - who combined for just one hit.

"He didn't pitch at all for us last year," said Burke. "He got cut last year but pitched in summer ball and he really improved. He pitched well today, that was nice."

Hudson starter Matt Jacobs and relief pitcher Evan Childs didn't fare nearly as well as their counterpart. Any mistake either of them made seemed to get hammered by the potent Algonquin lineup, which has scored 27 runs in three games. Jacobs went three innings, gave up seven runs on seven hits, struck out three and was credited with the loss.

"What can you say, we got dominated," said Hudson coach Brian Davis. "They put up numbers all day so we have a lot of work to do. Hopefully we'll get better. Sometimes you really have to get whacked good and see if you fall in the hole or come out and show some character, bounce back like a good program should."

Aside from the two homers by Henningson, Algonquin also received big blows from the likes of junior John McKenna (2-for-3 with two RBI doubles), freshman Kyle McGinnity (2-for-4 with an RBI double and a 3-run triple) and leadoff hitter Kevin Brown (3-for-5 with two singles and an RBI triple).

"Our team, overall, is hitting really well," said Henningson. "One through nine, everyone's hitting. I'm really excited about this year especially with the way we're hitting."

"We're hitting the ball pretty well," commented Burke. "We also have some speed at the bottom of the lineup so they can get on that way too."

As for the Hawks (2-1), a mainstay in the Division 2 ranks, yesterday could serve as a lesson learned the hard way. Hudson mustered very little offense and suffered through four hitless innings. Leadoff hitter Derek Palatino was the only Hawk with multiple hits.

"As bad as you get whacked, and we got whacked," commented Davis, "it only counts for one loss. We'll tip our hat to them, they're a great program. I like to think that we're a decent program too but we weren't today. The better team won today, there's no doubt about that."
Copyright © 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

Taunton thinking long run

Sport:   Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Taunton thinking long run
Defending champs will lean on Wade

By Chris Estrada
Globe Correspondent / April 9, 2008

ERIN WADE Taunton's ace
ERIN WADE Taunton's ace

Will a mere 3 feet have a big effect on MIAA softball teams this season?

A rule change has moved the pitching rubber from 40 to 43 feet. Field changes aside, though, the postseason landscape shouldn't change much from last season.

Division 1 state champion Taunton, which beat Franklin, 6-0, in its season opener last Thursday, returns plenty of starters. Leading the way for the Old Colony League power is senior pitcher Erin Wade, who went 25-2 last season in earning the Globe's Division 1 Player of the Year honor. After two years of summer ball with the Rhode Island Thunder Gold AAU team, Wade is already used to the 43-foot mound. As a result, Taunton coach David Lewry isn't terribly worried about the new distance.

"I think Erin's adapted very well," he said. "Actually, she told me that she likes it better because it gives her more movement on her breaking balls . . . Our other pitchers will have more of an adjustment to it. They don't throw as hard, so they'll have to rely more on their breaking ball and on location than they did at 40 feet."

Taunton has several quality juniors, including left fielder Jess Moitoza and catcher Jess Furtado, who moves behind the dish after playing third base last season. Lewry said he's still experimenting at first base and left field.

"The outfield position will solve itself once I know what first base is," he said. "We've been working with various people, but I'm not real comfortable there yet."

Bishop Stang is loaded for another deep postseason run, although it will be tested by Eastern Athletic Conference rival Coyle-Cassidy, which beat the Spartans in last year's Division 2 South final. All nine starters are back for Stang, and it has senior leadership from top to bottom. Look for second baseman Brynn Hussey (team-high 32 RBIs last year) to play a key role. Both EAC favorites may see a familiar face in the tournament in Tri-Valley power Ashland, which finished 20-3 last season and is led by junior pitcher Nicole D'Argento.

New Bedford had to replace a whopping 10 players - including All-Scholastic pitcher Jocelyn Abaray - but it still has two major weapons with which to compete in the Big Three: senior catcher Tristyn Desrosiers and senior first baseman Chelsea Sampson.

In the Patriot League, Hanover will be led by All-Scholastic senior shortstop Lesley Guenard, who batted .548 last year to earn her third league all-star nod. In the South Coast Conference, expect Dighton-Rehoboth to thrive behind up-and-coming hurler Kyla Puccini, while in the Bay State League, Braintree brings back league all-stars Liz DiMascio on the mound and Laura McDonough at short.

The status quo appears set in the Merrimack Valley Conference, where Tewksbury and Lowell are the favorites in a stacked league. Both teams return a number of position players as well as their aces - Marissa Fiorentino for Tewksbury and Danielle Hebert for Lowell.

Lowell lost six starters, but with Hebert and pitcher/shortstop Shelby Moran back, coach Rick O'Brien is confident of his team's chances to make the postseason.

"[The players] know as well as the coaches do that there is no easy game in the MVC," he said. "Even teams that may be struggling as far as numbers are concerned, every game is tough. It's a real difficult league.

"What usually happens with us is, if we can make the tourney, we have the pitching and the offense that can do well, no matter where we are in it, because we've done well being the 12 seed or the 16 seed. It doesn't really matter."

Lexington is the defending Middlesex League champ for the first time in almost two decades. To stay on top, it will have to hold off Reading, which won the Division 1 North title in 2007 before falling to Taunton in the EMass final. The Rockets will be led by All-Scholastic and reigning league MVP Jen Abrams at catcher.

The Dual County League is strong up top with Acton-Boxboro and Concord-Carlisle. A-B reached the Division 2 North final last season, while C-C looks to replace Division 2 Player of the Year Kim Miner, who graduated. The Patriots have a strong lineup, including sophomore first baseman Georgia Guttaduaro.

North Andover came within one game of the Division 2 state final last season and will contend again in the Cape Ann League behind a strong returning cast. Expect an experienced Amesbury squad to stay with the Knights in the division. North Reading, the defending Division 3 state champion, returns most of its starters, including CAL all-star pitcher Caroline Gattuso (18-5, 0.58 ERA in 2007).

Weiss ready to compete at Tournament of Champions

Sport:   Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Weiss ready to compete at Tournament of Champions
The Courier-Gazette
By Mark Haskell


Aaron Weiss, an eighth grader at Rockland District Middle School, took second place in the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals. Mark Haskell
 

    BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. — It is no secret that Aaron Weiss is one of the best wrestlers in the Midcoast, regardless of age or weight class. But after taking part last weekend in a national wrestling tournament, he could be one of the best in the country.

Aaron Weiss, an eighth grader at Rockland District Middle School, took second place in the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals. Mark Haskell
    Weiss took second place in 16-wrestler bracket of the 155-pound cadet division weight class of the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals over the weekend in Baldwinsville, N.Y. at the Greater Baldwinsville Ice Arena.

    “It was pretty awesome,” said Weiss. “The whole ride back all I could think was ‘wow.’”

    He now moves on to the Tournament of Champions in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, April 26, where he will compete against some of the best wrestlers in the country. He qualified for the tournament by winning the Marshwood Tournament at the Cumberland County Civic Center March 29. By taking second place in the Gene Mills tournament, he will be granted a higher seed in the Tournament of Champions.

    Mills, who oversees the Gene Mills Eastern Nationals, is a former New Jersey state wrestling champion and a high school national champion, as well as Syracuse University’s first four-time All-American in wrestling. He was also a 1980 U.S. Olympian and voted “Athlete of the Year” by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Mills compiled a career record of 1,356 wins and 46 losses.

    Weiss was sure of his abilities heading into the tournament, but also believes his being a relative unknown may have had something to do with his success.

    “I kind of went in as the underdog from Maine, and nobody really knew who I was,” said Weiss. “So it felt pretty good to come out [of the bracket to the finals].”

    Weiss defeated John Lake, Aiden, N.Y., 8-3; defeated Will Lloyd, Macedor, N.Y., 3-1; defeated Zack Morris, Corry, Pa., 6-2; and lost to Dickey Silverthorn, Duxter, N.Y., 6-3 in the finals.

    Weiss handled his defeat in the finals with grace. He talked with Silverthorn after the match about an abundance of things, such as how he conditions and how long he had been wrestling. Silverthorn, who is also an eighth grader, has had the benefit of competing against high school wrestlers all year.

    “In New York, eighth graders can get a special physical from their doctor and they are allowed to wrestle for their high school team,” said Weiss. “His father is also in the military and he had all this advanced training and everything, and he told me that I was one of his better matches. I didn’t mind losing to him, but I made a few mistakes I probably shouldn’t have.”

    Weiss received a wakeup call as far as training is concerned when Silverthorn informed Weiss that he runs seven miles a day every other day. That explained why Weiss was considerably more tired towards the end of their match as opposed to Silverthorn.

    “Down there the periods were a minute and a half, and normal periods are only a minute,” he said. “So by the third period I was pretty worn out and I just couldn’t keep up with the kid. He was too fast for me, so I’m going to start training harder.”

    The Tournament of Champions will be an even bigger test of endurance for Weiss. Instead of the typical three one-minute rounds format, the TOC has a rigorous three-minute round instead.

    “Conditioning is going to be the main thing,” said Weiss. “According to my coaches I don’t really need to learn anything more, I just need to condition and get in better shape.”

    Jacob Berry, a senior at Camden Hills Regional High School and a winner of three straight state championships in his weight class, will be working with Weiss to help him train for the Tournament of Champions.

    “We ran into him at Pizza Hut and asked him if he’d come down and help,” said Weiss. “So he’s going to come down and help and teach me a few things.”

    Weiss did a great job putting the experience in perspective, saying whether he won or lost in the tournament, the experience was a positive one.

    “This is only my fourth year wrestling, and most of these kids have been wrestling their whole lives,” said Weiss. “So just being there is great. I got second and it’s better than most kids dream of.”

    Younger brother and teammate Chris Weiss and teammate Matt Zable also took part in the tournament, with both turning in solid performances of their own.

    The younger Weiss competed in the 76-pound junior division, racking up a record of 2-2 in the tournament. Weiss defeated Dillon Kramer, Womelsdorf, PA, 6-1; lost to Jesse Porter, Bullston Lake, N.Y., 7-1; defeated Matt Dodge, Colchester, CT, 6-2; and lost to Danny Graham, West Waverly, N.Y., 7-1.

    Zable competed in the 95-pound cadet division, and finished with a 1-2 record. Zable was pinned by Jonathan Vaisey, town and pin time unknown; defeated John Goldthwaite, Phoenix, N.Y., 11-2; and lost to Paul Sughrue, Methuen, Mass, 6-3.




Copyright © 2008 MaineCoastNOW.com

Class A baseball preview: Bangor team to beat

Sport: Baseball  Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Class A baseball preview: Bangor team to beat
FROM STAFF REPORTS

There are a few changes in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A division this season. Gardiner, Erskine and Old Town dropped to Class B, and Mt. Blue moved from the South to North Division. One thing that didn't change, two-time defending regional champion Bangor is still considered the team to beat in Eastern Maine.

"With their enrollment, they should be good in everything they play," Lawrence baseball coach Wally Covell said of Bangor. "From tiddlywinks to baseball."

A majority of the central Maine teams are playoff contenders. Many return strong pitchers and veteran position players.

"Everyone's got one ace," Skowhegan coach Rick York said. "I'm looking forward to (the season)."

Covell returns one of the more experienced teams in the league. The Bulldogs lost just one starter to graduation and have eight seniors on the roster. Three pitchers who saw a lot of innings last season, John Flynn and lefties Nick Nelson and Nick Lee, all return to the Lawrence rotation. Sophomore Chris DeRaps and freshman Shawn Russell, another southpaw, could contribute on the mound as well.

"The pitching has been looking good. Obviously, a year of maturity helps," Covell said.

Flynn hit over .400 last season and leads the offense, along with designated hitter/first baseman Brian Manzo, third baseman Brock Lawrence and catcher Jack Hersom, who moves behind the plate from the infield. Lawrence will hit leadoff for the Bulldogs, and will once again be the catalyst for the team's aggressive style.

Skowhegan also returns a number of players, including ace pitcher Cody Vigue.

"(Vigue) was in a lot of big games for us last year," York said. "He pitched a lot of big games for us. He wants the ball."

The Indians return a trio of four-year starters -- catcher Les Marcue, center fielder Andy Calder and second baseman Jonathan Wheaton. Senior Matt Hisler is back at short.

Although Cony has just one senior, the Rams could be a surprise team in the KVAC this season. Many on the team have played at regional and national levels the past three seasons in Babe Ruth League.

"We've got tremendous depth and big-game experience at the younger levels," Cony coach Ray Vallee said. "Really what we need is for a couple of those young kids to prove themselves at the varsity level."

Senior Cory Nason anchors a pitching staff that also includes sophomores Ryan Minoty and Jake Beland. Junior Greg O'Neill leads the returning hitters and the rest of the lineup has excellent overall speed.

The Rams drew a couple of tough crossover opponents from the conference's northern division in Bangor and Brewer.

Messalonskee has three-year starters Tony Jacobs at catcher and Nick Curato in the outfield. The Eagles also return Chris Farrar, one of the top pitchers in the conference.

"Hopefully, (Farrar) will look a lot better this year, because he became a little bit known," coach Ray Bernier said. "That means he'll have to work twice as hard."

The Eagles are strong up the middle, with shortstop Josh Gilbert and second baseman Ray Bernier back as the double play combination. Coach Bernier said the corner infield spots are up for grabs.

Mt. Blue just missed the playoffs last season, finishing one point behind Edward Little for the final spot. With just four players returning, the Cougars hope to rebuild and make a run to the postseason.

Senior Joe Gilbert is the most experienced pitcher on the Mt. Blue roster. Sophomores Tim Smith, Alex Whitt and Ryan Backus will pitch as well.

"We're looking for (Gilbert) to carry the load early," Mt. Blue coach Craig Collins said.

Senior first baseman/outfielder Bobby Duley is Mt. Blue's top returning hitter. Junior Brad Dority is back at short and will pitch some.

New coach Jared Foster takes over a Nokomis team that has struggled in recent years, and won one game last season. In sophomore Derek Amoroso, Foster thinks he has a pitcher he can build around.

"He throws the ball hard, has a good breaking ball, and we're working on his changeup," Foster said.

Seniors Cody Johndro will serve as the designated hitter and could close some games. Casey Reynolds, also a senior, is back at first base.

Staff writer Gary Hawkins contribued to this report

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

KIA finishing up renovations

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

KIA finishing up renovations
BY BILL STEWART, Staff Write

HALLOWELL -- Three white lights hanging over the center of the ice dim the barren Kennebec Ice Arena. An aura of fresh paint permeates the chilly air, and a sense of stillness is apparent.

The place looks and feels dead, but a closer examination reveals an awakening.

Power tools, paint rollers, yellow caution tape, brooms, extension cords, torches, propane tanks, ladders, shovels, and even chunks of Plexiglas are scattered throughout the 35-year-old arena.

There is still work to do before the renaissance is complete and the new-look arena is unveiled Tuesday with a public skate. However, much has been accomplished since the building closed March 17 for a massive and impressive makeover.

For starters, 5-year-old boards that once stood inside the former FleetCenter in Boston are installed. Bigger and thicker Plexiglas, also once property of the Boston Bruins, is in place as well. New penalty boxes and team benches are up as well.

"It's been a learning experience," said KIA rink manager K.C. Johnson. "We were afraid to rip this up in case we opened a can of worms. It was in rough shape."

Scott Peacock of Lakeland Associates, a West Gardiner construction business, helped install the boards. He said it took a four-person crew about a week to put up the boards.

"It was kind of fun," he said. "The whole job was different. It's been a blast really. It's been different than pounding nails, a good change."

Lakeland Associates is also putting in new flooring inside the arena, as well in the hallway leading to the four locker rooms.

"That will be recycled vinyl," Peacock said. "We still have some stuff to do."

The privately owned KIA purchased the boards and Plexiglas from the Boston Bruins Foundation for about $25,000 in the fall. New boards and glass can cost an arena up to $150,000. In November, pieces of the old FleetCenter -- the Bruins now play in the TD Banknorth Garden -- were shipped to Maine.

The KIA stored the parts at Everett J. Prescott Inc. -- a pipeline business in Gardiner -- during the winter. After the high school and Maine Moose junior hockey seasons concluded, Johnson and his seven-person crew went to work.

The old boards, which were donated to the Gardiner Youth Hockey Association for a possible outdoor rink, came out first. Next came the installation of the new boards, boxes and Plexiglas. Earlier this week, KIA crew members painted the rink's floor and began the tedious process of placing the new logos, lines, circles and creases.

Although at some arenas the logos and lines are painted, the KIA used a mesh-like substance produced by Amusement Media Inc. in Stafford, N.H.

The mesh, which comes pre-cut to size, is laid down before the surface is "misted" with a thin coat of ice. That thin coat holds the mesh in place, as water seeps through the holes to create a suction-like effect. Once complete, the floor is flooded to create the ice surface.

"We did a quick misting over the paint to seal the ice," said Johnson. "That took a good day to do."

The new Plexiglas differs greatly from the old. The new Plexiglas is 8 feet tall at each end of the rink and 6 feet tall on the sides. The old, marked up glass was 6 feet tall at the ends and 4 feet tall on the sides. Furthermore, the new stuff is a half-inch thick; the old Plexiglass was three-eighths inches thick. That extra thickness will help the glass better absorb contact.

Other changes to the arena include new carpeting around the rink and in the locker rooms.

"It's been quite the experience," Johnson said. "Our goal is to get up and open by April 15, and we're sticking to that."

The KIA will be open for a public skate April 15, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The arena will host a Community Day on April 19, which includes a free public skate from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Bill Stewart -- 623-3811, ext. 515

bstewart@centralmaine.com

Brewer seeking hitting boost to go with formidable pitching

Sport: Baseball  Posted: April 12th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Brewer seeking hitting boost to go with formidable pitching
By Ernie Clark
Saturday, April 12, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

BREWER, Maine — The Brewer High School baseball team relied on pitching and defense to reach last year’s Eastern Maine Class A championship game.

This spring the Witches hope the addition of a more consistent hitting attack will lead to even greater success.

"Last year we went to the Eastern Maine championship and we had one guy hit over .300," said Brewer coach David Morris.

"We had pitching and defense, but hopefully we can hit the ball better this year," he said. "We’re really doing a lot of talking about hitting right now because we have the physical tools but I’m not sure if we’re there mentally yet. We’ve been really working on a lot of mental toughness and situational hitting."

Brewer graduated some key contributors — first baseman Brad Brown, second baseman Rick Adams and pitcher Jim Nicknair among them — from last year’s team, which won 11 of 14 games after a 2-2 start to earn its second trip to the EM final in the last four seasons.

But there’s a veteran nucleus back both on the mound and in the field — with most of the returnees buoyed by additional high-quality experience at the American Legion level.

"We lost a couple of core guys, but we’ve got some young kids who I think are going to step up to fill in the holes," said senior pitcher-first baseman Prentiss Swett. "We only have one sophomore, no freshmen and a lot of juniors and seniors. We’ve got a lot of veterans; we’re an older team."

Senior Greg Higgins returns to anchor the pitching staff, along with sophomore Eric White. Swett, Billy Bissell and Chase Daniels — who emerged during last summer’s American Legion Zone 1 tournament — provide talented depth, with Swett and Bissell likely to see some duty as the team’s closer.

"I think what we’re really pleased with so far this spring is that the pitching’s been pretty decent," said Morris. "Overall, there’s a confidence in our pitchers that we’re pleased with because that’s definitely one area where we have some guys returning."

Senior Caleb Smith anchors the infield as a third-year starter at shortstop.

Swett and Higgins both will see duty at first base, while White and senior Mike Kotredes will play third. Several candidates are vying to replace Adams at second, including Coby Hutchins and Kyle O’Connell.

White and senior Shun Sasaki are returning starters in left and center field, while the strong-armed Bissell will play right. Jon Thoms and Andy Bush are the top catching candidates.

"I think we’ve got a lot of kids who hit the ball well," said Swett, who will bat in the middle of the lineup. "We’ve got a lot of contact hitters, too, who we can work in the top and the bottom of the order, and if they’re on base, we’ve got some guys in the middle of the order who can drive them in."

Rams' seniors eyeing return to state final

Sport: Baseball  Posted: April 11th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Rams' seniors eyeing return to state final
By Ernie Clark
Thursday, April 10, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine - Ian Edwards, Kyle Vanidestine and Shane Walton are developing quite a baseball legacy at Bangor High School.

As sophomores, they started on a state championship team. As juniors last spring, they helped extend the program’s winning streak to 30 games en route to a second straight Eastern Maine Class A title.

But the season ended on a downer — an 11-4 loss to Deering of Portland in the state final — a fact that adds to their motivation level as the trio prepares for their senior seasons.

"Right after that [Deering] game we were saying ‘next year,’" said Edwards. "It was hard to say it around the seniors, but with our class and the then-sophomore class that’s the first thing we said, that we’ve got to get back to that game next year and prove them wrong."

The Rams, 19-1 last year and 37-3 over the last two seasons, suffered some significant graduation losses, as catcher Gordon Webb, outfielder Tom Crews and pitcher-first baseman Alex Gallant are all playing collegiately this spring.

"Tom and Gordy and Alex had such great offensive years that they’re going to be tough to replace," said Rams coach Jeff Fahey.

Edwards, Vanidestine and Walton — all first-team All-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A North choices last spring — should fill the leadership void, and will team with junior outfielder Ryan Larochelle, a second-team All-KVAC choice, to provide much of the offensive punch.

Bangor also returns middle infielders John Cox and Chad Kelley, as well as veterans Tyler McDade and Tyler Brookings.

"Ian, Shane and Kyle have been big members of the team for three years, but other guys like myself need to step up this year," said Cox, a senior shortstop.

"Last year we had a ton of depth, even with the kids who weren’t playing much. But everyone’s going to have to step up this year, and I think we have some players who will surprise people."

Bangor returns its top two pitchers in 2007 KVAC Class A North player of the year Edwards (7-1 with four shutouts) and junior Jordan Clarke (8-0).

They’ll be joined by junior lefthander Zane Gray as well as some promising pitchers up from the junior varsity as the Rams seek to eliminate a lack of pitching depth that caught up with the team in last year’s state final.

"We’re not going to make the same mistake we made last year where we kind of hoped Alex would be back for the playoffs," said Fahey. "He was close, and we thought he was going to be able to go and then he wasn’t and we really kind of hung ourselves when we didn’t have that No. 3 guy."

That pitching depth will be tested during a regular season that features a slightly revised schedule. Former foes Old Town and Erskine Academy of South China have dropped to Class B, and Bangor will have three new opponents in Cony of Augusta, Mt. Blue of Farmington and Brunswick.

"Overall I think this is probably the most competitive league Bangor’s ever been in, even going back 25 years," said Fahey, who brings a 106-24 record into his eighth season as the Rams’ coach.

While Bangor may not have quite as many lopsided victories this season as it did a year ago when 10 of its wins came via the 10-run rule, the Rams are optimistic that they will remain among the top contenders to return to the state final.

"We’d like to finish strong this year and get another title," said Vanidestine, who may move to center field after playing right the last two seasons. "I know a lot of people are thinking we’re not the team we were last year. We definitely lost some good players, but we’ve got some underclassmen coming up who if they step up will be pretty good."

"Senior year, I think we’re just looking to give it our best shot," added the University of Maine-bound Walton. "Obviously we want to get back to the last game and come out on top, but we’re just going to take it one game at a time, really, and do what we can and see how it goes."

Where the Rams hope their season will go is where it went each of the last two years — to the final game.

"I’m just looking forward to another good season," said Edwards, who will play football and baseball at Bowdoin College in Brunswick next year. "We’ve had two great seasons, and I’m just looking for the same this year.

"I want to go out on top, as they say, and hopefully with this group we can do it."

Match in national meet puts Caribou wrestler in spotlight

Sport:   Posted: April 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Match in national meet puts Caribou wrestler in spotlight
By Ernie Clark
Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - Bangor Daily News


Carlin Dubay of Caribou lost eight times as a freshman, but only four more times through his final three seasons, and none as a senior, including a New England title.


Carlin Dubay had a season unmatched in Maine high school wrestling history this winter.

The Caribou High School senior went 54-0, winning not only his third straight Class B state championship at 103 pounds but also a New England championship and All-American status.

And with the publication of the April 7 edition of Sports Illustrated, Dubay received two pages of national exposure with a picture of his first-round match at the recent National High School Coaches Association Senior National Wrestling Championships.

Dubay admittedly wasn’t the focal point of the photo, which featured him wrestling against Dustin Carter of Hillsboro (Ohio) High School — a quadruple amputee who nevertheless went 41-2 for his high school team this winter while reaching the quarterfinals of the Ohio state tournament.

"It was pretty cool," said Dubay of the photo, which showed Carter unsuccessfully attempting to flip him over. "The picture wasn’t really about me, it was about him, but just being in Sports Illustrated was cool."

Dubay heard shortly after he arrived at the nationals at Virginia Beach, Va., that there was a competitor in his weight class without arms or legs, and he soon learned that Carter would be his first opponent.

"I realized before I fought him that it was going to be a completely different strategy," said Dubay. "I didn’t prepare any differently, but in my mind I knew my strategy was going to have to be different to wrestle a guy without arms and legs."

Carter, who had both legs amputated above the knees, his right arm amputated below the elbow and his left arm amputated just above the elbow due to a life-threatening blood infection at age 5, used his considerable upper body strength to stay competitive throughout the match.

Dubay eventually scored a 1-0 victory, scoring a point at the start of the second period when Dubay chose the down position and Carter then chose neutral, essentially enabling Dubay to earn the pivotal point on an escape.

"My strategy pretty much didn’t work at all," said Dubay, who nevertheless exerted control for much of the match and withstood several attempts by Carter to score a takedown once both wrestlers were on the mat.

"It was pretty much a 50-50 match," said Dubay, who finished his high school career with a 162-12 record, with eight of those losses coming as a freshman.

"There were some close calls, but I did what I needed to do to win it," said Dubay.

That victory eventually enabled Dubay to finish sixth in his weight class at the nationals, thus earning All-American honors.

Dubay, who will attend Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle this fall, currently is participating in preseason workouts with the Caribou outdoor track team. He will compete in the pole vault, long jump and sprints for the Vikings.

Dubay also said he may compete in one final wrestling event, the Maine-Nebraska Friendship Series scheduled in Nebraska this summer.
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