PAWTUCKET â€“ Daniel Bard got his wish Monday night. Unfortunately for the pitcher, the switch to the bullpen did little inspire confidence that heâ€™s ready to turn the corner.
Working one inning, Bard allowed one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts as the PawSox saw a ninth-inning rally come up just short in an 11-8 loss to the Gwinnett Braves. Bard ended up tossing 22 pitches, 11 for strikes.
Through all the video and bullpen sessions along with everything else geared toward the task of Reconstruction: The Daniel Bard Story, thereâ€™s one loose end left.
What exactly is Bardâ€™s mound assignment moving forward â€“ starter or reliever? Judging by the early returns in his minor-league stint with the PawSox, such a pretty important clarification appears to have been left off the struggling pitcherâ€™s itinerary, the one that the Red Sox brain trust undoubtedly compiled and left atop Bardâ€™s equipment bag as he packed up his Fenway Park locker.
PROVIDENCE â€“ And just like that, there will be a new champion in Division II this year.
Tolman Highâ€™s run at the top came to a sudden and abrupt end Monday night, the semifinal loss sustained against an undefeated Pilgrim High outfit that pulled away in the third and final game en route to posting a sweep at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house.
PROVIDENCE â€” Immediately after the Davies Tech team bus arrived at the Rhode Island College diamond at approximately 4:30 p.m., Sunday, skipper Scott Cooper strode up the aluminum stands to the press box for a coin flip with Central High's mentor, Michelle Rawcliffe.
That toss would decide the home team for this Rhode Island Division III Tournament championship series' â€śrubberâ€ť tilt.
When Rawcliffe chose â€śtailsâ€ť and won the flip, choosing to bat in the bottom half of each inning, Cooper silently said a prayer.
WEST WARWICK â€” If there is a margin of separation between the Cumberland Clippers and the South Kingstown Rebels, it doesnâ€™t appear to be a very big one.
Yesterday, behind a shutout pitched by Justin Patrick, the Clippers beat the Rebels 1-0 to send the series into a third game. In seven innings, Patrick gave up just two hits while striking out six batters with only one walk.
Cumberlandâ€™s head coach Paul Murphy could not have asked for more of his starter in a critical elimination game.
â€śHeâ€™s been absolutely fantastic in the playoffs,â€ť Murphy said of Patrick.
PAWTUCKET â€” There was Ryan Lavarnway the other day, sitting in PawSox manager Arnie Beyelerâ€™s office along with Chad Epperson, the Red Sox minor-league catching coordinator. The seating arrangement resembled that of an atypical boardroom meeting, with Beyeler staring directly at Lavarnway from his behind-the-desk vantage point while Epperson occupied the plush leather couch to the right of 24-year-old.
PAWTUCKET â€” Mike Cather was Daniel Bardâ€™s pitching coach in Double-A Portland when Bard made the conversion from starting pitcher to reliever.
What does Cather, currently the minor-league pitching coordinator for the San Diego Padres, recall about watching Bard undergo said conversion in 2008? Letâ€™s just say that experience is something that the struggling Red Sox pitcher should think long and hard about drawing upon during his stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox.
PROVIDENCE â€” Constant success can be bad for the psyche.
So claimed Lincoln High head coach Dick Ryan after his Lions posted an unusual, come-from-behind 5-2 victory over Coventry in a state Division I Tournament quarterfinal at Rhode Island College late Friday afternoon.
In 12 of its initial 18 contests, Lincoln registered seven or more runs, and six of those were of the 10-run â€śmercy-ruleâ€ť variety.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Daniel Bard could have taken the easy way out.
He could have tucked himself away in the trainerâ€™s room, or if he wanted to be out of complete sight, he could have hid in the indoor batting tunnels or some other out-of-the-way location in McCoy Stadium.
Instead, the embattled starting pitcher faced the media in the Pawtucket Red Soxâ€™s weight room at 5 p.m. sharp Thursday, discussing his recent demotion from Boston and the mechanical issues that have plagued him.
LINCOLN â€“ When Dr. Edward M. Matejkovic chose to hire Lincoln's own Jad Prachniak to skipper his West Chester University baseball squad last July, he knew he was putting a lot of faith in an unknown product.
After all, up to that point, Prachniak had served just one year as an undergraduate assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island in 2005, then served as Frank Leoni's pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at the College of William & Mary the following five years.