Archive - Sports Article
August 4th, 2014
PAWTUCKET â Matt Spring is a career minor-league catcher who gets it.
You wonât find his name mentioned in the same way as acclaimed youngsters Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, two under-25 prospects who are viewed by many as potential catchers-of-the-future for the rebuilding Boston Red Sox.
Meanwhile, Spring sits three months shy of his 30th birthday, and is in the midst of his first extended stay at the Triple-A level with the PawSox.
BRISTOL, Conn. – Lightning struck twice for the Cumberland American All-Stars on Monday night.
After pasting Massachusetts champion Barnstable, 25-5, in its opener on Saturday, the bat-savvy Rhode Islanders strolled to a 10-0 “mercy-rule” victory over Goffstown, N.H. in another pool-play contest of what is becoming a terrific Little League New England Regional Tournament at Breen Field.
LINCOLN – The association of Ken Ryan’s name and this particular dateline can only signify that KR Baseball Academy is officially coming to town.
Everything became certified this past Friday when Ryan signed a lease to occupy space for his indoor baseball facility on 100 Higginson Ave. located in the Lonsdale section of town. A Pawtucket native who pitched for both the PawSox and Red Sox, Ryan hopes to open the doors either the first or second week in October.
BRISTOL, Conn. -- On the evening of Thursday, July 24, after the Cumberland American All-Stars had clinched the R.I. Little League Major Division (11-12) Tournament championship with a thrilling 8-7 victory over gritty Cranston Western, manager Dave Belisle’s crew lined up for the usual post-game handshakes with its foe.
Gary Bucci’s players couldn’t have been all too happy with the loss, but both teams’ athletes were seen high-fiving each other. It was the consummate exhibition of sportsmanship at its best.
BRISTOL, Conn. – Cumberland American All-Stars mentor Dave Belisle received a phone call from pitching coach Matt Wright late Tuesday night, and it had everything to do with the Massachusetts Little League state championship game between Barnstable and Holden.
Wright had good reason to make the 75-plus-mile trek to Beverly; after all, he wanted to scout the contest, as the victor would face Belisle’s bunch in the opener of the New England Regional Tournament at 2 p.m., Saturday at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Training Center.
PAWTUCKET — While teammates in Double-A Portland, Matt Spring had the opportunity to catch many of Henry Owens’ day-after-he-started side sessions.
Mechanics and pitch repertoire aside, those informal bullpen outings allowed Spring to acquire a deeper sense of what makes Owens tick. Even in low-pressurized situations, the lanky left-hander still displayed a competitive zest that really wasn’t all that different when Owens took the ball for the Sea Dogs once every five days.
The Rhode Island Thunder Gold 12U-Needle are the 2014 PONY National Champions after the team won the PONY Fast Pitch Softball Nationals in Sterling, Va., held the week of July 18-23.
The team, composed of players from both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, had a phenomenal run throughout the season, with had a phenomenal run this season, with an overall record of 71-4-1.
WEST WARWICK -- Just before the R.I. American Legion Senior Division Tournament championship tilt began late Wednesday afternoon, skipper Jim Mello huddled his troops outside the first-base dugout and issued a few simple thoughts.
“There is no tonight if we don’t take care of business right now,” he stated. “Think about this game and what you need to do. It’s do-or-die; now go out there and have some fun.”
WEST WARWICK – With Collette Vacations Post 79 facing their third-straight elimination game on Tuesday, Zach Mitsmenn dazzled the tournament’s top-seeded squad for nine innings, sending home the highly-touted Senerchia Post 74 and propelling Collette into the final day of play at the R.I. American Legion Senior Division Tournament.
PAWTUCKET â For reasons no doubt discussed ad nauseam in other forums, âRocketâ Roger Clemens will not be featured during this weekendâs Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Brandon Workman, Clemens fan, fellow Red Sox pitcher and fellow University of Texas Longhorn, hopes that changes someday.
KR Baseball Academy is on the move after a successful 10-year run in Pawtucket.
Though nothing is official, the owner hopes everything regarding the academy’s new Lincoln location will be signed, sealed and delivered by the middle of next week. More specifically, Ken Ryan plans to inhabit space on 100 Higginson Ave., which is situated in the Lonsdale section of town.
The running joke between Bob Walsh and Antone Gray became a rite of spring.
Whenever Walshâs name was linked to prospective Division I menâs basketball head coaching jobs, he would receive a reminder from a player who never seemed to stray too far from the mentorâs mind. Gray first placed the bug in Walshâs ear during their point guard/coaching partnership at Rhode Island College. He continued to do so after his graduation in 2011.
âEven when Antone was a sophomore playing for me, he would say, âDonât leave me here, donât leave me here,â Walsh recalled.
CUMBERLAND — Even dating back to last summer, skipper Dave Belisle had a feeling his Cumberland American Little League All-Stars wouldn't have much of an issue with the bats.
But even he's surprised with how his roster of 12 has produced this time around.
Consider these statistics: In four straight triumphs over Smithfield (11-3) and Lincoln (9-6) in the R.I. District IV Major Division (11-12) event, then two more against Coventry American (5-4) and Cranston Western (17-4) in the state tournament, his squad has outscored its opponents, 42-17.
BRISTOL – Sean Meers clubbed two homers, drove in five runs and scored three on Sunday as Cumberland American delivered a 17-4 mercy-rule bushwhacking of Cranston Western's best in a winners' bracket final at King Philip Little League's Roger W. Pigeon Field.
BRISTOL – When Cumberland American standout Addison Kopack launched a one-out, opposite-field “tater” over the right-center field fence to tie Coventry American, 4-4, in the bottom of the sixth – as a result forcing extra innings – Lincoln All-Stars' manager Charlie Hien responded as only he could.
“Honestly, it's like they have nine lives,” he said, shaking his head. “That team just doesn't quit.”
The Cumberland American All-Stars begin play Saturday in the Rhode Island State Little League Major Division Championship, their first appearance there since 2011.
PAWTUCKET – The newest member of the PawSox pitching staff had a familiar face waiting to greet him at T.F. Green Airport.
Make that a good friend who also doubles as an offseason housemate down in Baton Rouge.
PAWTUCKET – Whether it’s promoting him to a new level or putting more responsibilities on his plate, the Red Sox have never shied away from challenging Christian Vazquez.
“Whether it’s going to the Arizona Fall League or his first big-league (spring training) camp, this guy has exceeded expectations every time,” gushed Red Sox Minor-League Catching Coordinator Chad Epperson on Thursday when asked about the recently-promoted-to-the-majors Vazquez.
CUMBERLAND – Twenty-four hours after their epic, come-from-behind 9-6 victory over gritty Lincoln in the District IV championship game, it was back to business as usual for the Cumberland American All-Stars.
They returned to practice at their Garvin Field home on Tuesday night, ready to move on from one of the most exciting and memorable contests in R.I. Little League Tournament history.
BURRILLVILLE -- For participants and fans alike, Monday night’s R.I. District IV Major Division (11-12) Tournament championship game was something like a Six Flags water slide – jam-packed with thrilling twists and turns, while getting everyone soaked.
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