Monthly Archives: June 2017

Eduardo Rodriguez shelled in rehab outing at Portland

Eduardo Rodriguez in front of the Hadlock Field scoreboard before the game

ERod peers at one of the many Fisher Cat baserunners.

(Portland ME) Not hard to figure out what was going on.

It was a spring training outing for Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez at Hadlock Field on Thursday night.

The 24-year-old lefty pitched “competitively” for the first time since his knee injury in Baltimore on June 1st.

Tonight’s performance by Eduardo centered on  throwing strikes and using an assortment of pitches.  Getting outs were of secondary concern.  The score didn’t matter.

I have no doubt that those who came to see a major leaguer in action were stunned by the way Eduardo’s three innings went.  How do five earned runs and nine hits sound?

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats feasted on Eduardo’s heavy dose of strikes.  Leadoff hitter Jonathan Davis took ER out of the park on the second pitch of the opening inning.  Eduardo did end up striking out three batters in the 3rd inning but before that it was bang, bang, bang for the Manchester (NH) team.

Jonathan Davis homered on Eduardo’s second pitch.

Not sure when Eduardo will return to the Red Sox rotation.  I would have to believe that there will be more rehab starts ahead for him.

Tonight I got another look at 3B Rafael Devers.  I am stunned that he hasn’t been moved to Pawtucket yet.  Rafael is comfortable in the field and is making regular solid contact at the plate.

The times I saw celebrated Yoan Moncada last season I was not overwhelmed by him because of his lack of consistent contact.  Rafael puts the ball into play regularly.

The “other pitcher” in tonight’s game was Jon Harris.  Jon was Toronto’s #1 pick in the 2015 draft.  He pitched seven terrific innings against Portland giving up only five hits and two runs.

Jon’s 3-8 record would suggest a tough season to date but not tonight.  Jon’s last win, before tonight, was on May 23rd against Portland.

Got my first look at Michael Chavis.  Michael will be taking over 3B exclusively when Rafael heads south to either Pawtucket or Boston.  Michael was Boston’s #1 pick in 2014.  He swings hard and may strike out often the rest of this season.

How long will 3B Rafael Devers stay with Portland?

Also on hand was former Sea Dog Henry Owens.  Two years ago, Henry was on the fast track to Fenway.  However, to date he has not been too effective above Portland.  Much of the trouble was over ever-changing mechanics that led to too many walks.  Henry will seek to get a consistent handle to his mechanics in the weeks ahead at Portland.

What about Slugger?  The drizzle started after Eduardo finished his three innings.  I value my camera too much to risk damage from rain.  I wonder if Slugger ended his lifetime losing streak?

Thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging my Hadlock visit.

(Pictures from the Portland/New Hampshire game.)  Clicking on a picture will cause it to enlarge significantly.

Eduardo Rodriguez backs up a throw home

Shortstop Richard Urena chases an infield popup

Rafael Devers at 2B

Michael Chavis batting

Winning pitcher Jon Harris

Eduardo heads for the dugout

Eduardo pitches with Rafael in the background

Henry Owens is back at Portland

Eduardo Rodriguez ready to pitch

Eduardo Rodriguez

Rafael Devers

Jeremy Barfield had a 3-run homer in Portland’s 9-5 loss

Newcomer Michael Chavis

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers in the Portland dugout.

Danny Mars made the Eastern League All-Star team

ERod stretches before the game

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Filed under Eduardo Rodriguez, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs

Mckenna Smith pitches Old Town to Class B softball title

Mckenna Smith – 19 K’s and an RBI for Old Town

Mckenna checks on the pitch called.

(Standish ME) Mckenna Smith.

Where do you begin in describing her part in Old Town’s 2-0 victory over Fryeburg Academy in such an important game?

The obvious would be her NINETEEN strikeouts.  In a seven-inning softball game there are only twenty-one outs!  One of the other two outs was a popup caught by Mckenna.

The other out?  Great catch by Coyotes left fielder Jannessa Brown in the Raiders’ 3rd inning.  A shot by Fryeburg’s Mackenzie Buzzell looked headed for the base of the LF fence but Jannessa sprinted straight back and was tall enough to make the grab.  With a runner (Grace Condon) on first there might have been a FA run without Jannessa’s catch.

The Raiders (16-4) could have used that run because they had just fallen behind by two runs in the top of OT’s tainted third inning.

Old Town’s third-inning runs were both unearned.  After a bloop single to right by Natalie St. Louis, Morgan Love reached on a drop in right by Chloe Coen.  Natalie raced to third on that play with no outs.  Morgan then took second uncontested putting two Coyotes in scoring position with no outs.  Mckenna Smith hit a sacrifice fly to RF scoring Natalie and getting Morgan to 3B.

Morgan Love scores the second Coyotes run

Key play warning!  Olivia Albert struck out but the ball was dropped by FA catcher Makayla Cooper forcing her to throw to first to get the out.  OT junior Morgan Love alertly broke from third on Makayla’s throw and beat Kaylee Emery’s relay home giving Old Town a huge second run.

Those would be the only runs reigning Class B champion Old Town (18-2) would get but they were enough with Mckenna’s assortment of pitches working.  From where I was watching (press box), it was the rise that did in Fryeburg.  Many of FA’s swings-and-misses were on pitches that ended up shoulder height.

Old Town won the game and all that but it would be a shame to overlook the pitching of the Raiders’ Nicole Bennett.  The FA senior did not give up an earned run and had nine strikeouts.  Nicole surrendered seven hits but stranded eight Coyotes in a strong effort.  Delete the two misplays in the 2-run Old Town third and the late innings would have been a lot more tense.

Nicole Bennett struck out nine Coyotes and did not give up an earned run

Though down by two runs, I kept waiting for FA to put a rally together as they had against #1 seed Wells in a 4-run miracle final inning in the South title game.  But junior Mckenna Smith would have none of it.

Certainly a remarkable playoff run for Old Town.  They did not allow a run in any of the four tournament games.

Mackenzie Buzzell, Kaylee Emery, and Chloe Coen had the hits for Fryeburg.

Versus Fryeburg Academy, Mckenna struck out seven batters in a row during one stretch and later six in a row during another stretch.

Mckenna had 128 strikeouts in 61 innings during the regular season.

Old Town now has three softball titles since 2012.

Shortstop Olivia Albert pitched for Old Town in last year’s title game against York and had a home run.

Fryeburg Academy senior Mackenzie Buzzell was injured sliding into second base in the first inning.

Lauren Gasaway and Olivia Albert each had two hits for the Coyotes.  Mckenna Smith had the first of OT’s seven hits.

LF Jannessa Brown robs Mackenzie Buzzell in the 3rd inning

Last time I saw Fryeburg softball was in 2012 when they defeated Greely 8-1 to take the Class B South championship.

Good crowd from Old Town on hand.  Why?  The OT baseball team was scheduled to also play at St. Joseph’s later in the afternoon.

Mckenna was given signals from the dugout by assistant coach Adam Boucher.  She would check her wristband after each signal and several infielders did too.  When I saw Mckenna looking at her wrist I couldn’t help but think of Celtic Isaiah Thomas and his routine of looking at his imaginary watch during “Isaiah” time.  No question it was “Mckenna time” on this afternoon!

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Old Town – 2017 Maine Class B softball champions

Morgan Love and Mckenna Smith

OT coach Jenn Plourde gives Mckenna Smith the ball used on the final pitch

Fryeburg Academy seniors – Alexandria Fraize, Mackenzie Buzzell, Makayla Cooper, and Nicole Bennett

Old Town celebrating begins after the final out

Freshman Jannessa Brown

Shortstop Tina LeBlanc sets to throw to first base

Shortstop Tina LeBlanc awaits throw as Olivia Albert slides into 2B

Natalie St. Louis celebrates the first OT run with teammate Lauren Gasaway

RF Chloe Coen drops a fly ball in the 2-run Old Town 3rd inning

Brooke Juneau drops a ball in LF

RF Chloe Coen makes a nice catch to end the first inning OT threat

 

 

 

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Logan MacDonald (11 K’s) leads Austin Prep to D3 North title 8-0 over Latin Academy

Austin Prep – Division 3 North Champs

Junior Logan MacDonald had eleven strikeouts for Austin Prep

(Beverly MA) It was a long afternoon for the #1 seed Latin Academy Dragons.

Not only did they have to deal with the pitching of junior Logan MacDonald (eleven K’s) but they also had a tough afternoon of defense.

Those two aligned themselves under a sunny sky at Endicott College on Saturday afternoon and the result was an easy 8-0 win for the #2 seed Austin Prep Cougars.

The victory gives the 22-2 Cougars the Division 3 North title and a Tuesday night, state semi-finals matchup against West Bridgewater (South champs) at Taunton High School.

The Dragons (23-3) had won ten straight games in a season in which pitcher Olivia McGrath (six K’s vs Austin Prep) had been dominant especially in the Boston City League.

Olivia’s pitching had carried the young (they started two eighth graders) Dragons but on this afternoon the AP hitters began making serious contact against Olivia early.  Both Lauren Sablone and Frank Frelick struck home-run distance foul balls to left in the first inning.

In the second, Lauren (freshman) straightened one out and over the left-centerfield fence it went for a two-run homer.

Freshman Lauren Sablone nears home after 2-run homer

Austin Prep led 4-0 after two and held that lead after four innings.  Meanwhile, during those four innings, pitcher Logan MacDonald had notched eight strikeouts and held LA to one hit (Mackenzie Theriault).

The team from Reading sealed this one in the top of the 5th inning.  The Cougars got two hits (Kendra Currier, Frank Frelick) but it was the miscues in the field that killed Latin Academy.  A mishandled bunt (catcher Shantary Pimentel) and two passed balls led to four unearned runs.

In that breakaway fifth, even a bad AP play, turned into a run.  Caroline Sablone did not tag up from 3B on a fly to left but went back and tagged up belatedly and then tried to score.  A certain out turned into a run for Austin Prep as the throw home was high.

Austin Prep had two errors of their own (Cristina Tighe, Kendra Currier) but Logan MacDonald followed with strikeouts to avoid damage.

AP shortstop Kendra Currier runs off the field covered with dust after an inning-ending play

Best play of the game?  Kendra Currier in the 5th inning.  The Dragons had runners on first and second with two out and trailed by eight.  Could they break through against the Cougars?  Kendra made sure it didn’t happen. Michaela Russell hit a hard grounder to Kendra’s left.  Looked like a run-scoring base hit but Kendra dove to make the stop and then flipped to 2B Ella Saracco to end the inning.

The Cougars finished with eight hits including three by Kendra Currier, and two each by Lauren Sablone and Frank Frelick.  Logan MacDonald had the other hit.

The Dragons were limited to three singles (Mackenzie Theriault, Emma Walsh, and Shamyia Banks).

AP tallied a run in the first.  Lauren Sablone singled, stole second, and was sacrificed (Alex Santostefano) to 3B.  Frank Frelick’s grounder to deep shot brought the run home.

Shaky defense caused LA trouble in the three-run Austin Prep second.  3B Jessica Rynne deflected Ella Saracco’s infield grounder to start the inning.  Logan MacDonald sacrificed Ella to 2B.  A passed ball got Ella to 3B and then CF Mackenzie Theriault dropped a fly ball allowing Ella to score.  Later in the extended inning Lauren Sablone had the 2-run homer.

Michaela Russell and Shannon Bedard converge on a popup

Those gift runs were just too much to get back against a pitcher of Logan MacDonald’s ability on this afternoon.

Neither pitcher walked anyone.

Olivia McGrath will be attending Keene State.

The possibility of a D3 state finals rematch between Turners Falls and Austin Prep is just a win away.  Turners Falls took the title in 2016 and I am certain that Austin Prep has not forgotten it.

Austin Prep only losses this season have been to Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s.  AP did avenge those losses with a win over the Spartans in the D3 North semis.

Very nice softball facility at Endicott.  Beyond centerfield is a huge rock.  There was a plan to have a water fountain located there that would be similar to the one in Kansas City.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Olivia McGrath throws to 1B

Mackenzie Theriault drops a line drive

Shantary Pimentel

Lauren Sablone steals second

Latin Academy before the game

Shamyia Banks

Freshman Frank Frelick

Trophy pose

Shamyia Banks out swinging to end the game

8th grader Carleigh Schievink lines up a fly ball

Logan MacDonald

Ella Saracco scores on a passed ball

Frank Frelick tries for home as catcher Shantary Pimentel awaits throw

Kendra Currier scores on a passed ball

Dragons shortstop Michaela Russell

Olivia McGrath (six strikeouts)

 

 

 

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Whittier gets 2-1 walk-off versus Essex Tech in D3 North First Round

Whittier coach Cheryl Begin celebrates the walk-off win with the Beauchesne sisters

Winning pitcher Nicole Verrette struck out nine and scattered four hits

(Haverhill MA) Whittier Tech defeated Essex Tech for the third time this season.

This time the score was 2-1 in a Division 3 North First Round game on a sunny/cloudy/drizzly Saturday afternoon at Whittier.

The ending was dramatic as Olivia Beauchesne’s two-out blast in the bottom of the seventh inning (over RF Hannah Lilly’s head) delivered teammate Kayle Hobbs from 3B with the game winner.

The Wildcats trailed 1-0 in the second inning as senior Anna Cloutman brought in freshman Hester Murphy with an RBI single that was nearly caught by WT rightfielder Eliza Slocum.

Whittier (19-2) tied things in the fourth inning.  Kaley Thibault walked to lead the inning off and later scored on Alyssa Wilson’s sharp single to CF.

I was impressed with both pitchers.  Whittier sophomore Nicole Verrette K’d nine Hawks and allowed four hits.  Four of the Hawks outs in the last two innings were strikeouts.  Essex Tech freshman Sheree Fallon struck out only two but limited WT to four hits.

CF Allison Vienneau makes a great catch for ET in the first inning

Several defensive gems by ET (14-8) kept them in the game against a team that already had 8-3 and 6-1 wins over them this season.  In the first inning, CF Allison Vienneau made a back-to-the-infield, catch deep in center field.  I’m guessing that the shot by Allison Beauchesne would have left a fenced-in outfield.  Hester Murphy had two sparklers at 3B.  Both were line drives.  The first one (in the 2nd inning) was turned into a double play.  The other one (in the 7th inning) was hit by Nicole Verrette.  Hester’s catch on that one was the second out of the inning.

Kayle Hobb’s base-running in the walk-off inning was very important.  After singling, Kayle went from first to third on a grounder to third.  That infield grounder by Kyleigh Campbell pulled in 3B Hester Murphy and Kayle saw the base uncovered as she rounded second.  Shortstop Emily Brown covered 3B but the throw from 1B Caitlyn O’Shea was high and Kayle was in safely.  The next batter (Nicole Verrette) whacked a line drive to 3B Hester Murphy and Kayle resisted the impulse to take off for home on contact.  It would have been an inning-ending double play if she had.  Next batter Olivia Beauchesne then delivered the long hit to right field to win the game.

Olivia Beauchesne’s game winner was hit a long way

I believe that Olivia’s hit to right would have left the fenced-in parks I’ve seen.

Essex Tech’s four hits came from junior Hannah Lilly (2), and one each from freshman Hester Murphy and senior Anna Cloutman.

Kayle Hobbs had two of WT’s hits.  Freshman Alyssa Wilson and senior Olivia Beauchesne had one each.

The solid pitching and sound defense made this a game that lasted just over an hour.  Good thing because the game no sooner ended when it started to drizzle.

Special thanks to Whittier AD Kevin Bradley for helping me get to the correct field.  I was unknowingly heading for the Whittier/Bishop Fenwick baseball game which started at the same time as the softball game.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.  Retweeting the coverage is greatly appreciated.)

Nicole Verrette

Whittier shortstop Kelleigh Greaney

Essex Tech CF Allison Vienneau

Hester Murphy steals second base

RF Eliza Slocum nearly catches Anna Cloutman’s sinking liner

Hester Murphy scores the Essex Tech run

Hannah Lilly makes a play in RF

3B Hester Murphy sets to throw to 1B

Kaley Thibault ties the game for Whittier in the 4th inning

IB Caitlyn O’Shea tosses to 1B

ET freshman pitcher Sheree Fallon allowed only four hits.

ET coach Jody Norton

ET catcher Allison Sholds

Kayle Hobbs gets to 3B on some very aggressive base-running

WT coach Cheryl Begin talks to Nicole Verrette in the 7th inning

 

 

 

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Filed under Essex Tech, Whittier, Whittier Tech