Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thoughts on Katherine Quigley’s interview in today’s Newburyport Daily News

Losing is not easy.

Immediately after a tournament loss at Lowell High School I asked the losing coach for, “her take on what had happened.” She replied, “We lost,” and then gave me a look which suggested that my next question could well be the last question I ever asked!

The coronavirus has made “losers” out of all of us.

We’ve had 2+ weeks to settle into the new reality and many of us haven’t settled well.

We’re missing people and we’re missing things.

The hardest part about all this is that the end of it is totally uncertain. Therefore, putting dates on events like the senior prom, graduation, or a field trip to somewhere is foolish. Why make “promises” under these conditions? Yet the MIAA insists on doing just that by making post-CV scheduling plans. Shame on them IMO.

Katherine Quigley

The first question we ask those who are away from us these days is, “How are you doing?” Everyone has an answer and a story. Katherine Quigley of Triton responded to that question in today’s Newburyport Daily News.

It was good to see that Katherine can see the Big Picture despite all the interruptions she’s facing. “I do understand,” she said, “that the world is in a pandemic and losing these things to save lives and ‘flatten the curve’ is worth it.”

Filling an uncertain amount of time while being housebound is not easy. We’re used to time constraints. Things having a beginning and an end. What pressure do I have to get anything done when the next day I’m in the same setup?

But these are times when some folks separate themselves from the rest of us. They find something to do on their own. They get themselves engaged with a task of their own choosing and busy themselves doing it. They’re not bored. They’re not stagnant. And the time goes by productively. Easy for me to write!

I trust that the teenagers interviewed by the NDN will realize that though their lives are roughed up, it is even more of a troubling time for the adults in their lives. I can’t imagine how parents are coping all these days with school-aged kids at home.

When the school bus finally shows up at the end of the CV, the kids will run to get on the bus and the parents will not try to slow them down!

Nice to see that Katherine is staying positive with the underclassmen on the softball team. Older siblings can make a difference at home.

I have seen Katherine pitch a lot of games. She is very good at it and committed to it. She’s also way too polite when interviewed afterward! I trust/pray that the CV will end and that Katherine and the rest of us will get our away-from-home lives back again. I would also ask Katherine to take good care of a couple of my former students in the meantime that are also known as her parents.





Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Schools will not reopen

Schools will not reopen

Churches will not reopen.

Restaurants will not reopen.

Someone has to say it. This is our future.

Unless, of course, social distancing ends. And what are the chances of that happening?

In half a month, social distancing has gone from being considered a joke to now being close to a law.

I leave my house to go for a walk and see my neighbors keeping away from me, crossing the street to avoid being close to me.

There’s something in me that wants to be cavalier and return to the way things were. To take my chances.

I was working in close quarters with kids. I was attending church several times a week. I was occasionally eating out. But now each of those activities could prove fatal. I may not be afraid myself, but would I want to be responsible for bringing a fatal disease onto someone else? Definitely not.

And so, I optimistically cooperate, but after nearly two weeks, I see no end in sight.

I try to imagine what would have to be true for parents to feel comfortable enough to send their children back into the intimacy of a public/private school. Wouldn’t the fear of getting the virus have to end? How close is that? Each day there are stories and numbers shouting that there is no control.

Nice picture today in the Newburyport Daily News of the Rail Trail. Dogs and families were out of the house, getting some exercise and fresh air. Except that the story that went with the picture was that the mayor of Newburyport was threatening to close the Rail Trail because the social distancing rules weren’t being followed.

Hampton Beach is now closed to the public for the same reason.

Things are not trending away from social distancing. Just the opposite, so it seems.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that schools/churches/restaurants will reopen on a certain date in the near future? Are you naivete enough to believe that we are now capable of putting a date on when this crisis ends?

We must get the virus under control, and so far it hasn’t happened. There appears to be treatment available for most of the afflicted but not a means to prevent folks from being afflicted.

Promising reopening dates based on where we currently are is pure folly.

My advice: Pray for a miracle but also prepare for a very long haul.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Medfield takes Spartan Classic title 47-42 snapping Pentucket’s 17-game win streak

Camilla Silk defends for Medfield

Tourney MVP Kayla McNeil

(Lynn MA) “Beating Pentucket, I’m pretty excited about that,” said Medfield coach Mark Nickerson afterwards.

And who could blame him.

Pentucket, now 20-2, is the defending D2 state champs.

They had won seventeen straight games.

But the Warriors (17-2) held off the Sachems, 47-42, on Monday night to win the Division 2 Spartan Classic and end a long (17-games) Pentucket win streak.

This was a one-possession game (44-42) with thirty seconds left and Pentucket had the ball.

Greta Mauer crowds Tess Patry

During most of this game, Medfield’s length and their zone defense severely disrupted Pentucket shot attempts close to the basket. The Warriors were tall enough inside that they discouraged as many inside shots as they blocked.

Both Angelina Yacubacci and MacKenzie Currie put up game-tying attempts through a host of tall defenders in the closing minute but neither shot fell.

Kate Olenik & tourney MVP Kayla McNeil then combined for three free throws to give Medfield the 47-42 win.

Lillie Cumming led Medfield scorers with 13 points

Lillie Cumming (13 points) and Annie McCarthy (11 points) led the Warriors in scoring.

Angelica Hurley (15 points) and Angelina Yacubacci (12 points) paced Pentucket.

Fatigue was likely a factor in the Pentucket loss. The Sachems rely on a high-energy defense and have a short bench. Playing at that pace for two straight days is tough.

Medfield pressed early but spent most of the game in a half-court zone defense. That approach kept them out of foul trouble and required less exertion.

The Sachems had a 17-13 lead after an Angelina Yacubacci layup and one MacKenzie Currie free throw four minutes into the second period.

The next seven minutes of playing time were a complete disaster for the team from West Newbury. They didn’t score a single point while Medfield added fourteen in a row!

Angelica Hurley

Shots weren’t falling for Pentucket and there were six turnovers mixed into the unproductive minutes.

Medfield ran the last seven points of the second period and the first seven points of the third period without an answer from Pentucket. When the Sachems finally recovered, they were down by ten (27-17) 2 ½ minutes into the second half.

Lillie Cumming had a three and a rebound basket during this unanswered run of points and teammate Annie McCarthy hit a jump shot and took a Pentucket turnover in for a layup.

Being down ten in the second half is very unfamiliar territory for Pentucket but they found the energy to cut their deficit to one, 28-27, over the next three minutes.

MacKenzie Currie looks to score against Kate Olenik

It was four straight Hannah Lambert free throws and two Angelica Hurley triples that did the trick for Pentucket

Despite the impressive comeback, the Sachems could never make the big shot or get the big stop to get even with Medfield.

Pentucket was within three (39-36) with three minutes left when Kayla McNeil nailed a back-breaking triple. The shot clock was being counted down by the Warriors bench and Kayla hurriedly fired away. The shot-clock buzzer sounded as her shot got into the net and Medfield was back up by six.

Triples by Angelina Yacubacci and Angelica Hurley followed surrounding two clutch free throws by Tess Patry.

The teams went into the final minute with only two points separating them (44-42) but Medfield escaped with the win.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” recalled Coach Nickerson, “but we overcame them at the end.”

Pentucket coach John McNamara won his 300th game in the First Round win over Wilmington yesterday

Medfield is out of the very tough Tri-Valley League.

The Warriors are in the Central Division and the only place a rematch with Pentucket could happen would be in the state D2 championship game.

Medfield won the D2 title in 2013.

“We’ve been trying to prove ourselves all year long,” said Coach Nickerson. “We’re still doing it but hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

The Warriors have now won nine straight.

Pentucket had won the previous two Spartan Classics with a win over Groton-Dunstable last year and Arlington Catholic the year before.

Angelica Hurley had twenty-five points in Pentucket’s opening round win over Wilmington. She had six 3’s in that one.

Traditionally the tourney MVP comes from the team that wins the championship. Angelica added more three’s this afternoon and probably deserved the award…….but I digress.

Medfield’s only losses have been to Norwood (18-1) and Medway (17-2).

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

Medfield celebrates

Angelia Hurley fires from long range

Angelina Yacubacci at the line

Angelina Yacubacci guarded by Tess Patry

Annie McCarthy (12 points) finds an opening down the lane

Annie McCarthy looks for a pass

Arielle Cleveland tries a three

Freshman Kate Olenik shoots free throws late in the game

Kayla McNeil layup

Tess Patry eludes Greta Mauer


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Triton wins 5th straight defeating Amesbury 6-4

Catcher Tyler Godfrey and pitcher Jared Berardino celebrate a win

Drew Parsons tagged out by pitcher Blake Bennett in the first inning

(Amesbury MA) Triton pushed their winning streak to five with a 6-4 win over Amesbury on Saturday afternoon in Cape Ann League baseball.

The Vikings (5-4) tallied four runs in the sixth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit.

Triton batted around in that decisive 6th inning.  Cael Kohan tied the game with a two-run single to left center.  Later in the inning, Kyle Odoy delivered the go-ahead runs with a double to left.

Blake Bennett drove in all four of the Indians’ runs.  Three crossed on his long home run to center in the third inning.  A two-out error by Drew Parsons extended that inning and gave Blake the chance to bat with two on.

Cael Kohan

Blake came up in Amesbury’s final inning with a runner (Logan Burrill) on base.  This time around Triton centerfielder Jack Tummino looked to be playing back somewhere in New Hampshire and was able to catch Blake’s long blast in his direction.

Cael Kohan started for Triton.  After Cael loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning, Coach Ryan McCarthy brought in Jared Berardino.  In a turning-point moment, Jared got Tucker Molin to ground into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play to keep Amesbury from enlarging a 3-2 advantage.

Amesbury (5-5) was at times its own worst enemy.  Starter Blake Bennett yielded six walks and four of them scored.  Triton’s first two runs scored on wild pitches.  Twice innings ended for the Indians on the bases.  In the third, Derek Doherty was picked off first by Cael Kohan.  In the fifth, catcher Tyler Godfrey threw out Blake trying to steal third.

The Vikings scored a run in the second.  Cam Gilroy walked, stole second, and reached third on a fielder’s choice.  A wild pitch brought him home and gave Triton a 1-0 lead.

Blake Bennett rounds third

Amesbury took a 3-1 advantage in the third with Blake Bennett’s homer.  At first it looked as if Blake would only get a ground-rule double but the umpires gathered with the coaches and it was ruled to be a home run.

Triton got a run back in the fourth.  The Vikings loaded the bases with two outs before a wild pitch scored Tyler Godfrey to make it 3-2.

In the fifth inning a Logan Burrill double into the left field trees was followed by a Blake Bennett single to left producing a run and a 4-2 lead.

Triton won the game in the sixth.  The Vikings were helped along by three walks and a wild pitch. Cam Gilroy, Tyler Godfrey, Jared Berardino, and Cael Kohan were the run scorers.

The Indians have played all their home games at Town Park because the high school field is water logged.  Amesbury is fortunate to have an alternate field.  I read today that some of the schools in Maine have only been able to play two games so far because of the weather.

Left field at Town Park

What could go wrong in left field at Town Park?  In the picture you can see trees, branches, folks in lawn chairs, a car, and a dog all in the playing area.

Both coaches, before the game, considered me bad luck because I’ve only seen them lose this season.  I’m flattered to think that I have such an influence!

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

Cael Kohan reaches home

Cam Gilroy (2B) in the middle of a 6-4-3 double play

Drew MacDonald

Drew Parsons handles a bad throw as Logan Burrill gets back to second

Shortstop Drew Parsons throws to first

Logan Burrill (3 hits) rounds third

Near collision in the Amesbury outfield

Shane Rooney, Drew Parsons, Blake Bennett, and Cam Gilroy wait for the umpires’ ruling

Shea Cucinotta under a popup

Triton celebrates

Jared Berardino pitched the final 3 2/3 for Triton

Jeremy Lopez reaches to pick up a grounder

Kyle Odoy drove in two runs in the sixth inning


Leave a comment

Filed under Amesbury, Triton, Uncategorized

Tim Tebow and Vladi Guerrero in Manchester (NH)

Tim Tebow takes a big hack

Catcher Pat Cantwell looks for a foul pop

(Manchester NH) The long ride didn’t seem to bother Binghamton.

The AA Rumble Ponies hosted Erie on Wednesday. A 5 ½ hour trip after the game to Manchester for a Thursday game would impact performance…….you would think.

Didn’t happen that way.  The RP’s clobbered the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 11-1.  The visitors were rude to every pitcher they faced.

Meanwhile, the heavy hitting home team didn’t even get a hit until the 6th inning off Nabil Crismatt.  That hit was a surprise because it took Vladi Guerrero legging out a grounder to deep first to do it.  It helped Vladi that Nabil was a little late getting over to cover.

The attraction for the Binghamton team is having Tim Tebow on their roster.  I suspect that everywhere Tim goes the crowd reflects it.  Tonight was no exception.  The weather helped the crowd size, but I’m sure that Tim brought many of them in.

Bo Bichette

I was at the stadium shortly after 5 for a 6:30 start.  There already were lines along the edge of the Binghamton dugout.  Granted, they have other good players including #4 Mets prospect Peter Alonso, but the sheer volume suggests Tim’s appeal.

Tim did do a pre-game interview in the dugout with a select group.  I saw Tim’s publicist nearby.

I wanted to get Tim warming up and did so from the left-field seats.  I thought that I might get him in left field during the game, but he was DHing.

Tim was noticed every time he came to the plate by the crowd.  That didn’t go so well because he struck out the first four times. Trust me, he wasn’t cheated, hacking frequently.  He had the out-of-the-park swing going.  He did hit a long foul to left (he’s a lefty) the first time up.

Tim’s worst at-bat was in Binghamton’s 4-run inning.  There had been a string of hits and runs before his appearance with the bases loaded.  He promptly K’d and the hitting resumed with the next batter!

Cavan Biggio continues to play well at Manchester

Vladi and Bo (Bichette) are still with the Fisher Cats.  Both are already showing the hitting/fielding skills to move at least to Buffalo (AAA).  Vladi made a nice play to his left on a grounder with a strong throw.

The “non-prospect” Cavan Biggio still looks (to me) to be a next-level possibility.  Very smooth in the field.

The defensive play-of-the-game was a leaping catch NH’s Harold Ramirez made in front of the right-field fence.

Peter Alonso was at first for Binghamton.  He was selected in the 2nd round in 2016.  He can hit and play the position.

Binghamton pitching coach Frank Viola was very interactive with NH fans before the game.  I remember him as a Twin.

Tim Tebow takes a knee

Weather was pleasant.  No jacket required or rain clouds hovering.

Minor league baseball is a great take.  Price is low and the closeness to the field is a reality.

I encountered two foul balls during this game.  One went over the backstop screen and caromed nearby off the dugout edge.  I was trying to take a picture at the time!  The other one happened as I was in the NH dugout.  This was a hard, low grounder that hit the board below the lower railing in front of me damaging it.  My ability to get out of the way of any hit ball is suspect.  Maybe I should consider a helmet and/or a mouth guard?

I activated my smallest, fast lens.  From the backstop screen the players were within three feet of me.  The lighting for the long-range pictures lessened as the night went on.  Adjusting (successfully) to it is what separates me from a “real” photographer!  I need to study and practice.

Getting to Manchester?  Best way from north of Boston is NOT via 93 North.  Did that during my first two visits and discovered that stop-and-go is a way of life there.  Best way?  North on 95 to the Hampton Tolls and then 101 West to 93 and then 293.  Took less than an hour both coming and going.  Slowest part?  Getting over the Merrimack River and into the stadium parking lot.

Thanks again to Tyler Murray for arranging the visit.

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

Prospect Pat Mazeika

Prospect Jhoan Urena

Tim Tebow runs in the outfield

Nabil Crismatt got the win for Binghamton

Bo Bichette takes a cut

Vladi Guerrero takes a swing

Vladi beats Nabil Crismatt to first for a hit

Tim Tebow to the plate

Vladi at third




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cody Graham (22 points) guides Portsmouth to D1 Title 46-38 over Dover

The final result settles in on Portsmouth and Dover

Cody Graham had answers when the Green Wave got close

(Durham NH) Neither team was supposed to be there.

Portsmouth had heavy graduation losses while Dover hadn’t been to a D1 final since 2005.

But Portsmouth had an 18-2 season and #11 seed Dover upset three higher seeds to gain the Big Game.

The standing-room only crowd at Lundholm Gymnasium, saw Portsmouth excel in the late game and defeat Dover, 46-38, on the UNH campus on Saturday afternoon.  This was the Clippers third straight title.

Senior Cody Graham (22 points) led all scorers and on three different occasions in the second half put up points when Dover had gotten with two points of the lead.

Cody’s most crucial contribution came after the Green Wave (11-11) was within two (40-38) on a Tyler Vitko (18 points) jump shot with 2:52 left.

Dover had the ball twice with that late-game, 2-point deficit but couldn’t find the Big Shot.

When the Clippers started riding that small lead with dribbling and passing the Green Wave was forced to foul and Cody Graham ended up at the line.

Cody Graham (22 points) about to shoot last-minute free throws

Cody (all-time Portsmouth scoring leader) calmly drained two freebies (38 seconds left) and then came back and did it again fifteen seconds later after Tyler Vitko missed a 3-pointer.

Ty Vitko (18 points) surrounded by Clippers

Now up by six (44-38) the Clippers, added two more free throws (Alex Tavares) to take the Division One championship.

“We got it done on defense,” said PHS coach Jim Mulvey afterwards. “They had it down to two.”

Junior Alex Tavares recalled the timeout with the lead at two: “We said, look, if we get a stop here we seal it.”

This was Portsmouth’s fifth straight time in the final game.  Being used to it, probably was a factor in the last few minutes.

Coach Mulvey was quick to praise Cody Graham: “Cody stepped up and made those free throws.  He also covered (Tyler) Vitko who has been killing people.  Cody was unbelievable on both ends of the court.”

John Cantwell surrounded

Dover looked to be on the verge of getting blown out in the first half.  The combination of Portsmouth building an eleven-point lead (23-12) and Dover’s John Cantwell having two fouls, and being on the bench, had me wondering if the #11 seed could recover.

Well, they did!  There were rumors that “everyone” from Dover was there and it sounded like it.  That crowd lifted the GW.

A Devin Cady layup (assist to John Cantwell) had Dover within two (33-31) with 2:20 to go in the third period.  But the next points were scored by Portsmouth’s Cody Graham (layup).

The Green Wave were again within two (35-33) but again Cody Graham answered.  This time it was a 3-pointer assisted by Max Lincoln.

Devin Cady (3), Cody Graham (23), Alex Tavares (22)

Later, as I described earlier, Dover was again within two (40-38) but still yet again it was Cody Graham rescuing Portsmouth.  This time with free throws.

They did not name an MVP but the “answer man” (Cody Graham) certainly would have gotten my vote.

The flawless free throw shooting by Portsmouth didn’t surprise Alex Tavares: “We shoot 50+ every day at the end of practice.”

On December 19th the Clippers had a 63-44 win over Dover at Portsmouth.  I asked Alex Tavares what was different about Dover this time around: “They all jelled.  Their offense flowed.  They were making tough shots.”

Box from the game

The Clippers won their 21st state title this afternoon.

Alex Tavares guards John Cantwell (13 rebounds)

Portsmouth entered this season on a 43-game win streak.  That ended opening night.  The Clippers, after today, now have a fourteen-game win streak running.

Dover was able to put two three-game win streaks together this season.

John Cantwell had thirteen rebounds for Dover.  His time on the bench with fouls was costly in the second quarter.

Starters Alex Tavares and Calvin Hewett will return next season for Portsmouth.  It will be interesting to see how PHS replaces the scoring of Cody Graham.

(All the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Mike Sanborn

Coach Jim Mulvey

Dover coaching staff

Steal by Griffin Carloni (14)

Mike Sanborn shoots from long range

Alex Tavares shoots a three with the Dover crowd in the background

Ty Vitko in front of the Portsmouth student section


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ashley Sampson explodes in OT leading Foxboro over Pentucket 58-54

The final result settles in on Pentucket and Foxboro

Foxboro coach Lisa Downs switched to a zone in the second half.

(Woburn MA) I preach to anyone who will listen that no one player loses/wins a team game.

I start with that point because individuals on the losing team can think that they lost the game because they missed free throws or turned the ball over.

They may have done those things but in a game thirty-six minutes long, every player on the floor is a contributor to the final outcome.  No one player loses a game!

But can one player win a game?  Wouldn’t have said so before tonight’s Foxboro win over Pentucket but afterwards?  Ashley Sampson was about as good as you can get in overtime, leading Foxboro into the D2 state finals on a win over Pentucket on Wednesday night at Woburn High School.

Ashley (commit to D2 Adelphi on Long Island) finished with twenty-two points but had FOURTEEN of them in the 4-minute overtime.

Ashley Sampson (22 points) had a remarkable overtime for Foxboro

And just to get to overtime, Ashley had the only points in the last minute of regulation.  She had an old-fashioned three to get the Warriors within two (43-41) and then with two seconds left drove the left baseline to tie it.

You never saw two different halves.

Pentucket, led by Casey Hunt (19 points), made shots and played an excellent brand of half-court man-to-man defense.

Foxboro (24-1) didn’t score a point in the final 4 ½ minutes of the second quarter while Pentucket put up nine points.  In that segment, Jelly Hurley (15 points) had a layup and a three. Maddi Doyle had two free throws, and Emily Riley (assist to Liv Cross) added a layup.

All that good defense/offense put the Sachems ahead, 29-14, at the half.

“Our man-to-man defense wasn’t good in that first half,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs afterwards.  “They were penetrating way too much and we weren’t getting a lot of help defense.”

Senior Lily Sykes was more blunt about the Warriors first half: “We were playing like 4th grade basketball in the first half.”

Casey Hunt (19 points) had ten of them in the first quarter

The Sachems would add five more points to their lead to start the second half and to bring their advantage to twenty (34-14) on a Casey Hunt rebound hoop and a Jess Galvin trey.

Down by twenty, one minute into the second half, you had to like the Sachems chances of being on a bus to Springfield on Saturday. The Warriors had other ideas.

Foxboro had been averaging 66 points a game so that first-half, fourteen points was likely to change significantly.

What turned this game around for Foxboro, however, was their defense.  Overmatched by the Pentucket offense, the Warriors resorted to a zone defense in the second half.  Usually when a team is down, they are forced to play man-to-man to change the tempo.  Going the other way, from a man-to-man to a zone, however, struck gold for the team from the Hockomock League.

As their offense picked up, especially long range, the zone defense did what it was supposed to do.

Lily Sykes had five 3’s for Foxboro

The Warriors drained five 3’s in the second half; two by Katelyn Mollica (3rd quarter) and three by Lily Sykes (4th quarter).

The Warriors zone did its part forcing the Sachems to rely on long shots (which weren’t falling) and getting control of the boards.

It was a terrific offense/defense combo for Foxboro and slowly but surely the Pentucket lead began to vanish.

The wildcard was Ashley Sampson and her 19 points per game average.  Sophomore Jelly Hurley came off the bench in the first quarter to shadow Ashley and it worked up until the last minute of regulation.  Ashley had only three points and was on the verge of ending a 1500-point career on a bad note.

“I just didn’t want this to be the last game,” Ashley told me afterwards.

Ashley Sampson was 6-for-6 from the line in OT

Ashley would get the final five points Foxboro needed in the last minute to gain overtime.

Katelyn Mollica (8 points) drives on Angelina Yacubacci

Pentucket had only nine points in the second half after taking that twenty-point lead.  They couldn’t hit from long range and they couldn’t get to the basket.  Almost every possession was one-and-done.

But they still were in good shape after Jelly Hurley nailed a three (from Casey Hunt) with 1 ½ minutes left in regulation.  They were up by five (43-38).

The rest of regulation was a virtual nightmare for the team from West Newbury; two turnovers, misses on the front end of two one-and-one’s, and the inability to secure a rebound on Foxboro’s next-to-the-last possession.  Delete any of those disasters and I suspect that the team from the Cape Ann League would now be a lot happier.

Ashley Sampson tied the score in regulation and then had two three’s in the first two minutes of OT.  A Maddi Doyle layup cut the FHS lead to two, 49-47, but Ashley answered back with a layup.

The rest of the way Foxboro shot free throws.  Grace Tamulionis made one while Ashley was six-for-six.

“Coach always says that free throws win games,” said Ashley post-game.  “Tonight, we hit ours at the end like we practice every day.”

Ashley Sampson tries to get past Jelly Hurley (15 points)

Maddie Doyle and Casey Hunt hit three’s in the last few seconds but Foxboro still won, 58-54.

The Warriors will face Hopkinton on Saturday in Springfield.  Those two faced each other twice this season and each team won once.  Should be a good battle.

Saturday’s title game will be Foxboro’s first one in fifteen years.

Coach Downs: “Ashley played at the end like the MVP she is.  When the pressure is on we want the ball in her hands.”

Lily Sykes: “We knew if we were to get back in the game it would have to be defensively.”

“Once we started making shots in the second half our confidence built up,” said Ashley.

Casey Hunt (19 points) had a terrific game.  The sophomore had ten points in the first half getting freely to the basket several times.

Jelly Hurley dropped three 3’s on her way to a 15-point night.  Her defense on Ashley Sampson was very good until Ashley got it going late in the game.

Casey Hunt passes to Liv Cross

The quality of Foxboro was evident when Pentucket couldn’t turn them over with their pressure.  Foxboro ended up with twelve turnovers while Pentucket had fourteen, including two in the final ninety seconds.

The Sachems (23-3) graduate three from the team but should be very strong next year.

I managed to get lost getting to Woburn High School.  Seems that Montvale Street will get you to a quiet neighborhood.  However, Montvale Avenue will get you to the high school.  Fortunately, for me, a mailman was able to straighten me out on that significant difference and I adjusted my GPS.

Foxboro box

Pentucket box

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

Casey Hunt guarded by Ashley Sampson

Casey Hunt and Lily Sykes

Abby Hassman looks to pass

Grace Tamulionis lines up a three

Maddie Doyle to the hoop in overtime

Late-game free throws

Late-game free throws










Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wondering about vacationing in Turks and Caicos?


White sand, turquoise water, and a dark cloud that quickly went by greeted me on my first day at Turks and Caicos

I first visited Turks and Caicos for a week in November of 2008.

My return visit was April 9-16 of this year.

Eight years ago Turks and Caicos was the first Caribbean Island I had ever visited.  Since then I have vacationed in Barbados and Anguilla.

A second time back to a place offers the possibilities of then-and-now comparisons but that will not help readers trying to decide if TCI is a place they should visit for the first time.  So I will resist comparisons.

I would make it clear immediately that if you’re looking for nightlife and entertainment, I won’t be able to enlighten you.  However, if you’re looking for a stay-put vacation, I can offer details from my experience there.


Pelican in the TCI breeze

Turks and Caicos is a breezy island with plenty of sunshine.  You want to know the weather for TCI?  Get “Cockburn Harbour” (capital of TCI) onto your weather site.

The island is small so any rain there tends to be brief.  It just passes through!

Temperatures for us were in the high 70’s during the afternoons.  Nights and early mornings were in the 60’s.

One certainty is that there will be wind.  It is persistent and could get you into a windbreaker if you’re on the beach at night.  That breeze, however, is wonderful if you’re out in full sun during the day under an umbrella.


Snorkeling was a terrific way to enjoy the coral residents

The sand does not get hot.  I commented on that feature in my TCI review from 2008.  I’m used to the hot-sun, hot-sand of New England’s beaches.

That breeze can fool you into a sunburn if you’re not careful.  You’re in the sun but the breeze has you feeling cool.  Sunscreen is essential.

The water is warm and a beautiful turquoise color.  Recommendation: bring water shoes.  There are lots of beaches, but off many of them is coral.  It’s sharp but with water shoes you can get in without foot damage.

The waves were small because of a sandbar out from where we stayed on Turtle Bay.  That made it a lot easier to navigate in the water.

This trip I was introduced to snorkeling for the first time.  There was a pool at the villa (Paprika) and there I learned to snorkel comfortably.  That coral off the beach was a terrific place to take in an underground aquarium that was dazzling.

This has to be said:  I was on the beach on one particular day and saw a shark (4-foot) swim through the area close to shore that I had snorkeled in.  At that size I wasn’t imagining Jaws but my attention was gotten for sure.


Some of the small shells brought home from TCI

If you have an interest in collecting shells you are in luck.  The nice thing about TCI shells is that not only are they different from each other but they are small.  Easy to carry back to the US.


Plenty of beautiful flowers at TCI

Many tropical plants to be seen including bougainvillea.  Not many birds, though.  I did get a picture of one of the few pelicans that flew by.

I strongly suggest having a camera with you if for no other reason than the sunsets.  They were awesome on a nightly basis.  The sunrises were pretty good too but nothing like the sunsets.

It always makes sense to bring food with you.  We had a suitcase full of snacks and canned food such as tuna fish.

A pleasant surprise was a significant supermarket near the airport.  What worked for us was stopping at the IGA Grocery Store on the trip from the airport before arriving where we stayed. The items available at IGA were just like back in the US.  We bought plenty of bottled water. The attention getter, however, was the prices.  But to have the foods you like available at a beautiful location lessened the sticker shock.

I avoided renting a car and never left, or wanted to leave, the villa area.  Did notice that gas was $4.97 a gallon.  It was a shocking, at the time, $3.99 when we visited eight years ago.


The Green Bean served Starbucks coffee.

We did find a place nearby (Green Bean) that served Starbucks coffee.  That information gave several of us impetus to take morning walks to get the familiar brew.

I found that the television/internet connections were consistently good.  I was hardly cut off from the rest of the world.

The flights down and back were on time and uneventful.  If you travel much you know about getting to the airport early and having to wait and wait.  You also know that there are certain items that you will have to take out of your carry-on’s at security checks.  I could have prepared better for that by packing the sure-to-be-checked things on top and then repacking them after getting through security.

A clever move I noticed on the flight from Boston to TCI: It was probably in the 40’s in Boston when we left so you had to dress warmly but in flight I saw several folks strip off outer layers and pack them in their carry-on bags.  Those folks looked like geniuses when we walked off the plane and into the 70+ degree temperatures of TCI.  Those same folks probably put on warm clothes from their carry-on bags as they approached Boston at the end of the trip from TCI.


Remarkable sunsets were a daily occurrence.

A daily routine for me that included: being with family, beach walking, snorkeling, blogging, eating, napping, and picture-taking made the time spent in beautiful TCI delightful.


TCI gets high marks from me!

I recommend vacationing in Turks and Caicos and I am hoping to return there.






Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hamilton-Wenham defeats Newburyport 3-2 on Austen Michel’s homer in the 8th inning

Austin Michel is in the home run trot after a long blast in the 8th inning

Austen Michel is in the home run trot after a long blast in the 8th inning

Brett Harring forced extra innings with a 2-out RBI in the seventh inning

Brett Harring forced extra innings with a 2-out RBI in the seventh inning

(Newburyport MA)  Hamilton-Wenham remains unbeaten after rallying to defeat Newburyport, 3-2, in eight innings on a sunny/drizzly Friday afternoon of Cape Ann League baseball.

The Clippers (0-2) were one out away from winning this game in seven innings but Brett Harring singled in the hole to score pinch-hitter Ted Hogan.

Austen Michel led off the Generals’ 8th with an opposite-field bomb over the rightfield fence off hard-luck Clippers starter Cam Beaulieu.  That run was enough as HW reliever Drew Gallant retired Newburyport in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Hamilton-Wenham (2-0) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning.  Harrison O’Brien reached on an infield single, was bunted to second, and reached third with two outs.  Drew Gallant pushed the run across with a single to center.

Newburyport tied the score in the 4th.  Scott Webster (2 hits) singled to left center and reached second when HW starter Jack Clay misfired on a pickoff attempt.  Ryan Furlong (2 hits) singled to center getting Scott Webster to 3B.  Scott rounded the base drawing a throw which sailed past the HW catcher.  Fortunately, pitcher Jack Clay made a nice play backing up his catcher.  However, Jack Clay followed with a wild pitch in the dirt that Scott Webster did come home on to tie the score at 1-1.

Scott Webster heads home with the second Newburyport run

Scott Webster heads home with the second Newburyport run

The Clippers pulled in front in the fifth inning.  Third baseman Harrison O’Brien rushed a throw after a good Chance Carpenter bunt and Chance ended up on second.  Chance reached third on a wild pitch and raced home on Caleb Stott’s sacrifice fly to right.

Hamilton-Wenham forced extra innings with an exciting seventh-inning rally.  Pinch-hitter Ted Hogan walked and pitcher Cam Beaulieu balked him to second.  Mark Vivenzio singled Ted Hogan to third and took second on the throw in.  That put two runners in scoring position with no outs.

Newburyport nearly came out of the inning unscathed.  Cam Beaulieu K’d Travis O’Brien and got Henry Eager to pop to third for the second out.  The Clippers needed one more out but they didn’t get it until after catcher Brett Harring had slashed an opposite-field grounder between third and short driving in Ted Hogan with the tying run.

Austen Michel’s homer was a no-doubter.

Caleb Stott waits to tag Austin Michel in the first inning

Caleb Stott waits to tag Austen Michel in the first inning

Austen Michel was out trying to stretch a single in the first inning.  The throw in from the Newburyport outfield sailed over the cutoff man but arrived in plenty of time for shortstop Caleb Stott to apply the tag.

The Clippers turned a nifty 5-4-3 double play in the second.

Newburyport squandered a glorious chance in the second inning.  Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out but HW starter Jack Clay K’d Ben Ventura and got Jeremy Grabowski to ground out to second baseman Drew Gallant on a very close play.

Centerfielder Henry Eagar handles six chances.

Cam Beaulieu

Cam Beaulieu

Cam Beaulieu’s only walk was in the seventh inning.

The Clippers were held hitless during the final three innings.

Alex Demers led the Generals with two hits.

Weather?  Nice and sunny at the start but there was a storm cloud in the distance.  By the fifth inning that storm cloud was producing drizzle.  My camera and I have a deal: I keep it dry and it keeps working!  Fortunately, at Newburyport there is a storage shed nearby which provided adequate shelter.

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

Harrison OBrien about to be tagged out at third

Harrison OBrien about to be tagged out at third

Scott Webster hustles to beat a throw to first

Scott Webster hustles to beat a throw to first

Harrison OBrien settles under a popup

Harrison OBrien settles under a popup

reliever Drew Gallant

reliever Drew Gallant

reliever Will Cataldo

reliever Will Cataldo

Jack Clay

Jack Clay

Steve Malenfant and Reggie Maidment enjoying the pre-game

Steve Malenfant and Reggie Maidment enjoying the pre-game

James Nutter starts a 5-4-3 double play

James Nutter starts a 5-4-3 double play

catcher Brett Harring

catcher Brett Harring

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Violent weather in the Midwest and how to pray (Deuteronomy 9:19-20)

It interests me the way Scripture, written so long ago, can relate to nowadays.

I was reflecting on the deadly weather in the Midwest and thinking of it in relation to how to pray about it.  A Moses story came to mind.

Moses was up on Mount Sinai for forty days with God, receiving the Ten Commandments.  During the end of the visit God gave Moses a disastrous report about the people he had left behind.

God reported that during the brief absence the Israelites had constructed an idol (golden calf) to worship.  God cannot tolerate other gods.

God told Moses to go away and that He was going to wipe out the Israelites entirely.  God added that He would create a new group of followers with Moses as the starter.  (Sounded to me a bit like what happened during Noah’s time.)

Moses headed back down the mountain, possibly believing that things couldn’t be as the Lord had told him.  But they were……..and what was Moses’ reaction?  (Check Deuteronomy 9)

Moses fell on his face before God fasting for forty days as he interceded for the Israelites.

The interceding worked and the Israelites were spared.  Here is the great Scriptural summary by Moses of the incident.

“I feared the wrath and anger of the Lord.  For God was angry enough with you to destroy you. BUT again God listened to me.  And He was angry enough to destroy Aaron BUT at that time I prayed for him too.”  Deuteronomy 9:19-20

Reconnecting to the weather in the Midwest.  I wanted to pray for those in the area as well as pray for some individuals I know who live in that part of the country.  Moses covered both “bases.”

Moses interceded for the Israelites, in general, and for Aaron specifically.  God answered both prayers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized