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Fryeburg Academy gets 3-0 shutout vs Greely

Grace Murley congratulates GK Rayna Wales after the win
Coach Burgess LaPage

(Fryeburg) “It’s a mystery to us why we can’t score,” said Greely field hockey coach Burgess LaPage.

The Rangers (0-5-1) were shut out, 3-0, by Fryeburg Academy on Thursday afternoon.

While the visitors have only two goals for the season the Raiders (5-2) have scored thirteen times.

The issue for FA was recovering from an 8-0 loss last game (Tuesday) versus Freeport.

“We had a good comeback today,” said FA senior captain Grace Murley afterwards.  “We had all our defense for this one.”

Grace Murley scores in first period

Grace had a goal for Fryeburg as did teammates Greta Hermanson and Sharis Santos.

“We certainly played better today than we did for sure on Tuesday,” conceded FA coach Dede Frost post-game.

The Raiders had goals in each of the first three periods this afternoon.

I asked Grace Murley about her goal in the first period.  “That goal was on a corner,” she recalled.  “It was off a rebound.  I just tapped it in.”

Sophomore Greta Hermanson was given an assist on Grace’s goal.

Greta had her own score in the second period.

Greta Hermanson had the second FA goal

“It was a cross from Eliza Thorne,” explained Coach Frost.

Eliza came very close to scoring later in that second period, but Greely GK Kate Parkinson made a big stop.

Greely goalie Kate Parkinson

“Kate has been playing incredibly,” said Coach LaPage.

Senior Eliza Thorne was no stranger to Greely.  Eliza had three goals during FA’s 3-0 win at Greely earlier in the season.

“We had to adjust for her,” said Coach LaPage. “She moves around a lot.”

Several times Eliza showed speed and dribbling skills to carry the ball for long distances.  The Portland Press Herald has Eliza on their list of “Twenty-five Players to Watch.”

Coach Frost described the Raiders final goal as, “super cool.” 

“We had a junior (Grace Porcaro) who is new to our team set up a freshman (Sharis Santos) for a goal,” added Coach Frost. 

Sharis Santos finds the ball behind the Greely goalie

The Rangers had chances, but the FA defense led by Haley Littlefield and GK Rayna Wales kept Greely scoreless.

“We showed up a little flat in the first half,” said Coach LaPage, “but in the second half we were much better.  We were stronger and mentally tough.”

“I love playing Fryeburg,” she said. “They’re very intense.”

Coach Frost talking about Eliza Thorne: “She had a hat trick at Greely. They marked her man-to-man in the second half which is exactly what I would have done.  Eliza is tough and tenacious.”

Eliza Thorne had a hat trick last time against Greely

Grace Murley: “I am hoping to play field hockey in college somewhere in Massachusetts.  I really like Bentley and Babson.  I am visiting Bentley next weekend.  My captain here when I was a freshman went there and we play the same position.”

Today’s weather was bizarre.  It had rained steadily all day and the chance to play this 4PM game seemed small.  But Greely was short on makeup-game options, so they headed over from Cumberland.  Suddenly at 3:30PM the rain stopped, and the sun showed up.  It was as nice as could be for the entire game! 

Grace Porcaro (#7) had an assist on the third FA goal

Pressure on GK Kate Parkinson by Grace Porcaro and Eliza Thorne

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Bad inning dooms Portland in 9-4 loss to Somerset in the EL Playoffs first round

Shane Drohan’s bad toss to first was part of Somerset’s 8-run inning

(Portland) It was a fall-apart inning of immense proportions.

The Portland Sea Dogs suffered through the disastrous frame, and it cost them as the Somerset Patriots took Game 1 of the Eastern League Playoffs, 9-4, on Tuesday night at Hadlock Field.

The Sea Dogs giddy-stepped into the top of the fourth inning with an impressive 3-0 lead. 

Consecutive homers by Niko Kavalas (two-run) and Hudson Potts (solo) in the bottom of the second inning had the Hadlock faithful feeling good about the team’s chances.

Nike Kavalas had a two-run homer in the second inning.
Hudson Potts removed the UMass football helmet after his homer celebration

But then came the top of the fourth inning.

One reporter said that it lasted thirty-five minutes! 

We saw three Portland pitchers.  We also saw four walks and eleven straight Somerset batters reach base. An error and an unturned double play were also on display.

It was indeed a regrettable/forgetable inning.

Randy Vasquez

Somerset starter Randy Vasquez was about to make an early exit after Portland’s three-run second inning but found new life after his teammates raised the eight-spot on the scoreboard in the fourth inning.  Randy retired eleven Sea Dogs in a row to keep the home team from getting any comeback ideas. 

When the Sea Dogs did get a runner in scoring position, a call to the Somerset bullpen brought in the relief required.

Certainly, a different atmosphere at Hadlock tonight.  The usual crowd comes to be entertained.  Tonight’s crowd was there to actively support the Sea Dogs, a team that hadn’t been in the EL Playoffs since 2014.

Devern Hansack from the 2006 Sea Dogs EL Championship team threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The two-out-of-three series moves to Somerset on Thursday and possibly Friday night. 

I like the Sea Dogs’ chances. That bad inning is over with.  The team has won 17 of their last 21 games.  Last week they won 4 of 6 games at Somerset.

If Portland can get by the Patriots, there will be one and possibly two EL Championship games played at Hadlock starting next Tuesday.

Jasson Dominguez

No question the Somerset roster is loaded with New York Yankees’ prospects.  Six of their top nine prospects are on the team.

Nineteen-year-old Jasson Dominguez tops the group as their second-best prospect.  #1 prospect Anthony Volpe was with Somerset for part of the season but has moved up to AAA.

Ceddone Rafaela is Boston’s #3 prospect and he is the only one of their top-ten prospects to be at Portland.  I see the exciting fielder/hitter starting at AAA Worcester next season.

Very disappointed with Slugger tonight.  It had been ten days since he had raced at Hadlock.  I assumed he would have trained during those days off.  Severely doubt he did that after watch tonight’s race.  He started the race almost on third base and looked good until he crossed first.  His eyes told him that he could win (and he had a good lead) but his body said otherwise, and he went down in a heap as his two opponents ran home winners.

It’s not pretty to watch when you see your hero disintegrating into a season-long loser. 

September brings earlier darkness and despite the 6PM start the artificial lights of Hadlock had to be relied on for any of the game pictures.  Trust me, it’s a challenge.

Continued thanks to Chris Cameron for enabling me to be on hand for an EL Playoff game.  I hope to return next week when the stakes will be even higher.

Shortstop Christian Koss in the middle of a double-play turn

Deverne Hansack throws the ceremonial first pitch

Ceddone Rafaela pregame

Pregame player introductions

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Yarmouth defeats Poland 6-0

Battle in front of the Yarmouth net
Matt Gautreau – 2 goals, 1 assist

(Poland) Yarmouth boys’ soccer if very good.

They have been Class B champs the last two seasons.

They were ranked #2 in New England in a preseason poll this year.

The Clippers had that quality on display today as they defeated Poland, 6-0, on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Yarmouth is now 5-0-1 and it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see them making noise later in the season.

The Clippers have won ten state titles in the last eighteen years.

Yarmouth scored three times in each half.

Matt Gautreau paced the Clippers with two goals and an assist. 

“Our goal was to compete against them, and we did,” said Poland coach Josh Kennison afterwards.  “I think we played as well as we could.”

The busiest player on the field was Knights’ goalkeeper Sam Paladino.  Yarmouth had at least ten corner kicks by my unofficial count.

GK Sam Paladino clears away a corner kick
Stevie Walsh (10)

Stevie Walsh scored the first Yarmouth goal at 28:46 out of a scramble near the goal.

Truman Peters and Adam McLaughlin added first-half scores within a minute of each other.  Both players had good looks from further out.  Truman found the right corner while Adam’s shot went just under the crossbar.

“Most of them can take a shot from anywhere,” said Coach Kennison.  “They have multiple ways to attack you.”

“We moved the ball pretty well,” recalled Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty post-game.  “We have a lot of talented upperclassmen.”

Matt Gautreau’s two goals came in the second half.

Liam Hickey

Matt’s first goal was set up by a long-distance pass from Liam Hickey down the right sidelines.  Matt ran under it and was off on a clean look that led to a goal.

“I have been working on those long balls all year,” said Liam Hickey afterwards.  “We practice it a lot.  Matt made a good play.  He’s very fast.”

Matt’s next goal was set up by Zach Kelly. 

Luis Cardoso had a great look from in close after a pass from Truman Peters.

Ian O’Connor recorded the shutout for the Clippers.

Coach Hagerty limited his starters’ playing time and had his team in a possession approach late in the game.

Taylor Langevin

“They showed good sportsmanship and I appreciated that,” said Coach Kennison.

“Their one touch is what makes Yarmouth special,” added Coach Kennison.  “Their first touch is just unbelievable.”

“I just happen to have some players who have played a lot more soccer than Poland does,” said Coach Hagerty.  “Poland (1-4) is making strides.  They’re positive and they work hard.”

“We’ve had a good start to the season,” said Liam Hickey, “but we have a long way to go.  We have to keep working in practice.”

Liam told me that he wasn’t sure if he would be playing soccer next year in college. 

The weather is the weather!  Temps in the low 40’s at 7AM give way to temps in the 70’s at the 11:15AM start time. 

(I made a picture gallery for MaxPreps from this game with fifty-five pictures.)

Luis Cardoso (30) lines up shot

Sam Lowenstein heads a corner kick

GK Sam Paladino tries to stop Sam Lowenstein

Truman Peters (9) – goal and assist

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Lake Region falls to Fryeburg Academy 2-0

Grace Murley and Greta Hermanson celebrate FA’s first goal

(Fryeburg) Fryeburg Academy scored twice in the second quarter and defeated Lake Region, 2-0, on Tuesday afternoon in Western Maine Athletic Conference action.

Coach Dede Frost

“It’s a local rivalry,” said FA coach Dede Frost afterwards.  “I was sure that it would be a good game, and it was.”

Greta Hermanson gave the (4-1) Raiders the lead three minutes into the second quarter.

Greta was well set up by teammate Eliza Thorne.  A pass across the front of the net gave the FA sophomore an open look which she cashed.

“We’re not marking up in the circle,” explained LR coach Pauline Webb post-game.  “Players are getting wide open shots.”

Getting down a goal was a problem for the (1-3) Lakers because goal-scoring has been difficult so far for the team from Naples.

“We had some good shots today,” added Coach Webb.

Unfortunately, the Lakers fell further behind before halftime.

Gabby Udoto

Junior Gabby Udoto took a centering pass from freshman Jocelyn Ray and drove it home from the left with only thirty-seven seconds left.

Being one goal down was a problem.  Two down was a very difficult place for the Lakers to be and they never recovered.

FA’s Eliza Thorne came close several times in the second half. One shot came after a long run down the left sidelines.

Despite the loss, Coach Webb was pleased with her team’s effort.  “We’re missing two starters (Kasey Johnson and Emma Aker) and have had freshmen filling in.  They’re getting experience.  We’ve had to change our formation to make up for the missing players.”

The FA defense did a good job of keeping the pressure off goalkeeper Rayna Wales. 

The action was seldom deep in either end.

I was very impressed with Raiders’ seniors Grace Murley and Eliza Thorne. 

“Those two are our captains,” said Coach Frost.  “They are both quick and determined.  They are little spitfires!”

Eliza was first-team all-conference in the WMC last year.

Eliza Thorne pressures LR goalie Reiyn Hart

The Raiders have now scored ten goals in five games.  Their only loss was 2-1 to York.

The game was a bit of surprise to me because the weather forecast said rain throughout the day.  Looked like a postponement in the making but the rain never came.  They did start the game early (3:45) which I like because it gave me more daylight to shoot pictures in.

Being at Fryeburg Academy recently, it is hard not to notice the beautiful turf football field that is going in.  They also have a new scoreboard.  It should soon be ready for use.

Alegra Bartlett

Ashley Pelletier

Coach Pauline Webb

Greta Hermanson

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David Hamilton stars as Portland edges Binghamton 4-3

Field of Dreams reenactment
David Hamilton had three hits, three RBI, and a record-setting steal

(Portland) The Field of Dreams reenactment at Hadlock Field is always a good take.

Today was the day for it.

The sun was shining, and the seats were filled.

In recent years the sight of Portland Sea Dogs players in uniforms from the 1920’s signals a season coming to a close.

But not this year.

The Sea Dogs are leading the Northeast Division in the second half and have a chance to make the Eastern League Playoffs.  That feat hasn’t happened since 2014!

Portland has another game with Binghamton and then a full week at Somerset (Yankees farm team) to close the regular season.

If the Sea Dogs are still standing after that series, they will start the Playoffs at home on September 20th.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies fell to the Sea Dogs 4-3 this afternoon.

That’s forty wins for Portland in the second half with only twenty-two losses.  Overall, Portland is 70-61.

Kyle Hart earned the win for Portland

Sea Dogs’ starter Kyle Hart allowed a hit to the first batter (Wyatt Young) and a two-run homer to the second batter (Carlos Cortes).

Long afternoon ahead?  Not today. Kyle shut down the RP’s for the next six innings to get the win.

David Hamilton stole his team record-breaking 65th base and hit a three-run homer to give Portland the lead for good.

David also scored the first run.  He was on third base when Ceddane Rafaela hit an infield grounder.  The fielder looked David back but as soon as he threw to first David headed home diving in ahead of the throw.

David Hamilton dives for home as catcher Hayden Senger waits for the throw

On David’s 65th steal there wasn’t even a throw.

Shortstop Ronny Mauricio

The New York Mets only top-thirty prospect at Binghamton is shortstop Ronny Mauricio.  The 21-year-old has twenty-five homers and eighty-two runs batted in.  Certainly a next-level player in 2023.

The last-place Rumble Ponies have definitely been helpful to the Sea Dogs.  The current record between them is 15-2 in Portland’s favor!

Christian Koss will win the team MVP Award tomorrow (Sunday).  He leads Portland in almost every offensive category.  Good chance Christian will be at the next level in 2023.

Ceddane Rafaela

Another rising player in the Red Sox farm system is Portland’s Ceddane Rafaela.  He instantly catches your eye with his defense in centerfield.  He can hit and has speed.  Hard to imagine that he wouldn’t be at Worcester next year.

The pregame show was excellent…as usual.  Emma Tiedemann was in costume and was the narrator.

One difference I noticed this year was that the players did not have cellphones with them.  Last year many of them were busy taking pictures while pretending it was the Field of Dreams era.  Not this year.

Many hands were involved in getting the cornfield setup in centerfield and afterwards removing the cornfield. Well organized.

Very warm day.  May have reached the mid-80’s.  Sunburns were there for the taking!

Slugger was victimized by the weather.  Management had the talented big guy out there doing an energetic dance routine the inning before the race.

But credit Slugger, in his race around the bases he got off to the best start I’ve ever seen.  The young opponent was fast, but Slugger toasted him around second.  For a second I thought that finally the losing streak would end.

Slugger with a huge lead around second base

But as Slugger passed first base, he just flat-out ran dry.  He couldn’t move another step. He went down in a heap and his opponent got the win.

Slugger runs out of gas and loses again

I have to partially blame management for the loss because dancing and doing somersaults just before you’re running the bases (on a hot day) is asking a lot.  Fortunately, the big guy wasn’t seriously injured. 

Thanks again to Chris Cameron for setting up my visit.  I plan to return on September 20th if the Sea Dogs are in the Playoffs.

Slugger somersault

Christian Koss in pain after getting hit by a pitch

Pony race

Carlos Cortes crosses home after two-run homer in the first inning

Wyatt Young steals second as Christian Koss takes throw

Tyler Dearden pauses before the game

Portland players go into the crowd as part of the pre-game festivities

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Will Dunphy wins second Outlaws feature

Will Dunphy (4) avoids trouble in Lap 12
Will Dunphy wins his 2nd feature

(Oxford) Will Dunphy waited patiently, and it paid off.

Will took the win tonight in the Outlaws’ twenty-lap feature at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Will sat comfortably in fourth through twelve laps watching drivers Betty Nelson, Drew Morse, and Skip Tripp battle for first.

“I saw them rattling each other pretty good,” said Will afterwards, “and I decided to back off.”

“I knew that something was going to give at some point,” he added.  “I didn’t know when, but I wanted to be on the defensive for it.”

Sure enough, the three lead cars got tangled up and Will sailed by on the low side to take the lead. 

Will quickly took control on the restart and won for the second time with room to spare.

The last time Will won an Outlaws feature was on June 10th.  He had finished second seven times since then mostly to Skip Tripp.

Victory lap

“Even when I finished second to him (Skip Tripp) this car was far superior to his,” said Will. “I just ran out of laps.”

Skip Tripp took second tonight and has a commanding lead in the Outlaws points race.

“We had a shock that was bad in the heat, and we were so loose in the feature,” said Skip afterwards.

Skip Tripp finished second

“Will was really good tonight,” added Skip.  “He had the better car.  I was glad to see him win.  We go a long way back.  If it’s not going to be me, it might as well be him.”

Betty Nelson won the 8-lap heat and was leading the feature until she was sent spinning in Lap 12.

Betty has competed in all twelve Outlaws features this season.  The best she has done, so far, is third.  She looked like she had a chance for her best finish of the season until trouble happened tonight.

Weather was cool but not cold.

I liked the 5PM start because it extends daylight.  Trying to photograph (or really see) action on the track when relying on the OPS lights is a major reach.

Still keep thinking about the action on Lap 242 in the Oxford 250.  There were some seriously unhappy folks after the race because of that incident!

Tight finish in the Outlaws heat with Betty Nelson winning

Betty Nelson, Drew Morse, and Skip Tripp lead early in the feature

The top three stay close early in the Outlaws feature

Will Dunphy after the race

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Cole Butcher raises ruckus with Oxford 250 win

Johnny Clark spins out as Cole Butcher gets the lead with eight laps left
Cole Butcher hears it from the crowd

(Oxford) It wasn’t at the “Let’s go, Brandon” level but it was in the neighborhood.

The 49th annual Oxford 250 ended, and the boos descended.

The subject of the OPS spectators’ attention was young Cole Butcher who had just won the Oxford 250 on Sunday night.

As one of the regulars on the OPS track told me, “The winner should be proud of winning but not of how he won it.”

Most of the unhappiness was centered around an incident with eight laps left. 

Crowd favorite, and former 250 winner, Johnny Clark had the lead with Cole Butcher close behind.  Johnny came up on a lapped car driven by Jimmy Hebert and slowed down to avoid hitting Jimmy. 

Cole did not slow down and got into the back of Johnny’s car enough to start him spinning toward the infield.  With Johnny suddenly out of control, Cole, Gabe Brown, and Eddie MacDonald went past him.

Johnny settled back to 4th and that was where he finished.

Johnny took out his frustration on Cole after the race.  Cole parked on Victory Lane, but Johnny drove into Cole’s car and moved him off Victory Lane.

Things didn’t progress to the next level but there were plenty of angry words tossed around.

Interviewed afterwards Cole said, “I had nowhere to go.  I didn’t want that to happen, that’s not how I race.”

Cole, from Hantsport, Nova Scotia, has raced multiple times at Oxford.  It will be interesting to see how his next visit goes.

That ending “stuff” spoiled what was a great night of racing.  There was a great crowd and plenty of action to get excited about.

There were nineteen cautions and what is more exciting than a restart?

How about a caution with only two laps left??

It was a two-lap race for the championship

That’s what we had last night.  That final restart gave Gabe Brown and Eddie MacDonald a chance to move by Cole Butcher, but they couldn’t do it.

Eddie MacDonald finished second

“I knew that we didn’t have anything for the lead,” explained Eddie MacDonald (second) afterwards.  “That 53 was fast.  Whoever had the outside was going to end up third.”

Gabe Brown was third

“I was sideways the whole time around,” recalled Gabe Brown (third).  “I just had to get to the bottom as soon as I could.”

While the two challengers struggled, Cole had what was needed for the victory.

Eddie MacDonald has a flat tire

The beauty of the longer race was that drivers had the time to recover from early problems.  Eddie MacDonald pitted early because of a flat tire while Gabe Brown went into position-losing spins twice in the first twenty laps.

Both drivers rallied to get back on the lead lap and went from there to top three finishes.

Despite all the cautions and collisions there were no medical situations. 

There were several damaged cars that were brought back to life thanks to some great pit-crew work.

Max Cookson in the lead

Max Cookson was the 19-year-old in the field.  Max said that his crew was “unbelievable” and “it was awesome to be out there in such a big race.”  Max took the lead on Lap 81.

The restarts are treacherous for the leader because all of their competition is suddenly close by.

However, when there aren’t restarts the leader must deal with lapped cars.  Where is the lapped car supposed to go?  On a track as slick as OPS has been, moving up the track is a slide waiting to happen.

In the Clark/Butcher collision on Lap 242, the lap car was on the bottom.  There was room for Johnny Clark to go around the lapped car, but he closed so fast on the lapped car (which was going slower than he had expected) that he had to slow up.  Cole Butcher wasn’t ready for the slow down and went into the Clark car full speed causing it to spin.

Cole Butcher celebrates his win

There was plenty of sunshine, but the shade was welcomed as the race got underway. 

It was good to see so many spectators at OPS.  In most of the regular weekly races there often seem to be more folks in the pit grandstand than across the way. 

Thanks to the Mayberry’s for allowing me to check out the racing action.

The top three

Johnny Clark leads with Cole Butcher close behind

Tight squeeze for the leaders

Nick Cusack (2) off the track

Garrett Hall in the infield

Curtis Gerry spins out of the lead

Steven Chicoine in a spin

Joe Pastore, Curtis Gerry, Trevor Sanborn, Joey Doiron

Dan Winter off the track

Gabe Brown (50) spins in a crowd

Cole Butcher

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Erie wins heat battle 6-4 vs Portland

Quincy Nieporte homered twice for the Erie Seawolves
Trying to awaken the princess

(Portland) You want hot?

That was Hadlock Field Sunday afternoon during the end-of-series Eastern League game between Portland and Erie.

The temperatures were in the 90’s and there were plenty of very warm empty metal seats.

The Sea Dogs dropped the game, 6-4, as their relief pitching betrayed them.  Sounds like a certain major league team south of here, doesn’t it.

I was planning to get my first look at two newcomers to Portland: Ceddane Rafaela and Nick Northcut.  I also wanted another look at the Eastern League’s top base stealer, David Hamilton.

David Hamilton

None of them were in the starting lineup!

But I knew them by number and figured out which ones they were as they sat in the dugout.  I probably got better shots of them in the dugout than I would have in the field.

It was the last game of a six-game series so I shouldn’t have been surprised by some backups getting some playing time.

Pitcher Ty Madden made his AA debut for Erie. Ty was drafted in the first round by the Tigers last year.

Ty went 4 2/3 innings before being pulled.  He gave up three earned runs, on four hits including two homers.  He did strike out six Sea Dogs.

Stephen Scott homered for Portland

Catcher Stephen Scott went deep for the Sea Dogs as did Izzy Wilson.  I was interested in how the home team would celebrate the homer in the Portland dugout.  What they did was teammates put a UMass football helmet on Stephen as he entered the dugout which he wore as he worked his way thought the dugout.

Quincy Nieporte homered twice for Erie.  His homers in the 7th and 8th innings were responsible for the two-run separation at the game’s end.

Quincy (27) was one of those fill-the-roster older players given, in this case, a chance to compete by Detroit. He has run with the opportunity currently leading the EL in homers (26) and RBI (69). 

Quincy was up early in this game with the bases loaded and two outs and sent Portland LF Wil Dalton to the warning track.  Later in the game, the Sea Dogs weren’t as lucky!

Christian Koss

Christian Koss has been Portland’s best player this season.  His numbers get your attention. He leads the team in five offensive categories.  The 24-year-old is an infielder who can hit.  I would expect him to get promoted to Worcester (AAA) soon.  He’s earned it.

Had trouble figuring out Slugger today.  Was he a prince or a princess?  The Sleeping Beauty routine would suggest princess, at least for this afternoon.

In the race with the youngster, Slugger was in costume wearing a skirt.  I promise you; you can’t do your best running when you’re encumbered with a bulky outfit.  The race today was never close.  Once they passed second base, the kid was long gone.  Slugger, as he sometimes does, took a very wide turn between second and first, and gave the outcome away entirely in the process.

How can Slugger be competitive in that outfit?

Slugger, however, does seem to be in good shape, so a win in the future is possible.  However, he can’t show up in a bulky costume and expect much.

I got into a seat just behind home plate and the backstop to get some shots of Ty Madden.  Those metal seats were nearly at the “grill” level!  I was wearing long pants, thankfully.

Ty Madden made his first AA start. Detroit picked him in the first round last year
Ty Madden sets to throw to first

I met an adult male on the elevator coming down from the sky-view seats.  He was wearing a baseball glove and I asked him how that had worked out for him.  I’m thinking he’ll tell me about catching a foul ball. He said he had it to protect his family from foul balls.  He reported that someone up there today had gotten hit in the face!  There isn’t much of a warning in those foul balls and they come fast.

Couldn’t have been happier afterwards to find a free-sample truck in front of Hadlock Field giving out ice cream sandwiches.  Perfect ending to my visit to a Sea Dogs’ game!

Thanks, as always, to Chris Cameron for arranging my visit. 

This coming Monday-Sunday will have Richmond at Hadlock.  They are in the San Francisco Giants farm system.

The price at Hadlock is always right.  Well worth a visit.

Wilyer Abreu steals second base

Wenceel Perez with Coach Gabe Alvarez in home run trot

Parker Meadows takes a cut

Nick Northcut and friend

Jon Rosoff leads off second base

Dillon Dingler

Daniel Cabrera after driving in two runs

Dane Myers slides into third base

Christian Koss

Ceddane Rafaela

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Ruben Sanca wins YH ten-mile race

Ruben Sanca (10-mile winner 2022)

(2022 Yankee Homecoming Road Races)

(Newburyport) One runner knew the course.

The other runner didn’t.

Those facts turned out to be significant as Ruben Sanca navigated the familiar (to him) Yankee Homecoming 10-mile course to his third straight victory.

Ezra Mutai

Meanwhile, Ezra Mutai, who finished second, had heard about the course and had seen a video of the route. 

The inexperience with the course influenced this excellent runner as he covered the same 10-mile course on Tuesday night.

Ezra, from Springfield and a former student/runner at American International College, took second but it was a distant second.

Ruben finished at 51:02 while Ezra finished at 52:27.

I like to start my race coverage at the one-mile point, which is down near Federal Street.

A look at this picture tells you that Ezra was in the lead at one mile and looking strong.

Ruben and Ezra one mile into the 10-miler

“The early going was good,” Ezra told me post-race. 

Ruben was close behind, however, and biding his time.  He told the PA announcer afterwards that he just tried methodically to gain a little bit of ground as the race progressed.

Then came the hills.

“Around eight miles it was too hilly,” recalled Ezra.  “That was the toughest place. I knew about the hills, but I had never run them.”

Ruben Sanca crosses first

Ruben, from Salisbury (MA), often runs the streets of Newburyport and knew what to expect. On those hills was where Ruben took the lead and built on it the rest of the way. 

“This was my first 10-mile race,” explained Ezra.  “I usually run shorter distances.  I’m working toward doing a half marathon.”

Ezra told me that he plans to give the Yankee Homecoming 10-miler another try next year.  “Next time I’ll know better what to expect,” he said with a smile.

Women’s ten-mile winner, Emilee Risteen, also had limited knowledge of the course.

“All I knew was that there were hills through the middle,” she said afterwards.

Emilee (Derry NH) started fast and left all her competition in the dust early.  There were no women to chase and there were no challengers to worry about.

At one mile, Emilee Risteen is keeping pace with Jack Chambers who finished 6th overall

Emilee (1:03.10) crossed with a time of 1:03.10., four minutes ahead of Beth Dollas (Amesbury) who finished second.

Emilee Risteen wins the women’s 10-miler
Emilee with her time in the background

“I was going for a time,” Emilee said, “but didn’t get it.  We’ll just pick it up and keep trying.”

“I learned about Mile Three that I couldn’t go for what I wanted,” she added.  “I then had to readjust and play it smart so that I could finish strong.”

Emilee was 11th overall of 650 runners in the 10-mile event.

Emilee graduated from Moody Bible Institute (Chicago IL) and has been coaching at Concord Christian Academy in New Hampshire.

My strategy of seeing both races one mile into each of them always prevents me from seeing the end of the 5K race.

My positioning, however, allows me to see the leaders of both races about a mile into each race.  Almost without fail, the leaders then win the races or come close.

The Walsh brothers (Joseph & Timothy) from Auburn (MA) dominated the 5K race.  They were one-two at the one-mile mark.

Joseph Walsh chased by his brother (Timothy) and Justin Freeman in the 5K

Justin Freeman did separate them by the end of the race.  Justin won the 10-mile race a few years ago when the end of the race was near the stadium entrance.

Yvonne Bungei and Betsy Suda were close at one mile, but it was Yvonne (18:48) edging Betsy (18:57) for the win in the women’s 5K. 

Betsy Suda and Yvonne Bungai after a mile in the 5K

Betsy has been the 5K women’s winner several times.  She may have defeated Yvonne in 2019.

The idea of starting the race at 6PM always assumes that things will be cooling down as the race takes place.  It never seems to work.  As Mark Twain said, “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it!”

Additional pictures from the two races:

Paul DeRosa and Chris O’Donnell

Steve Dowsett (4th)

Ezra Mutai

Kulicki’s finish the 5K

Emilee Risteen after one mile

Ruben Sanca at one mile

Barbara Lopes (Lynnfield) cheers on Ezra and Ruben

5K dribbler

Anna Affolter

Luke Devin (Danvers) and Joe Rand (Haverhill) in the 5K

5K winner Joseph Walsh

Emilee Risteen signals to her friends

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Lynnfield turns Amesbury miscues into 10-8 win

Henry Caulfield and Cam Stanley
Alex Gentile drove in the winning runs in the 7th inning

(Amesbury) Lynnfield came in struggling.

They were 1-6, scoring only sixteen runs.

They had lost four straight.

But today the Pioneers got runs and a happy-ending, 10-8, win over Amesbury on Thursday afternoon.

Lynnfield trailed 8-6 after six innings but put a four-spot up and Amesbury (6-3) didn’t recover.

“Both teams hits balls pretty well and put them in play,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien afterwards.  “They made some mistakes.  We made some mistakes.”

1B Aiden Donovan

Only in the Lynnfield fifth did a side go in order.

Sophomore David Tracy came on in relief for the Pioneers in the fifth inning.  He limited Amesbury to one run over the final three innings to get the win.

“David Tracy was clutch.,” said junior Alex Gentile afterwards.  “He did the job for us.”

Alex paced the Lynnfield attack.  He had two hits, two RBI, and scored two runs.

Pinch-hitter Nick Razzaboni tied the game in the 7th with a double.  After a walk to Henry Caulfield, Alex’s long single brought in both runners to gain Lynnfield a 2-run lead. 

David Tracy

David Tracy gave up a double to Will Arsenault leading off the Amesbury seventh but then retired the next three batters to clinch the victory.

You sensed “long game” for Amesbury as the first inning played out.  The Indians had four throwing errors in the infield, rolling up pitches on starter Drew Scaldone’s arm and handing Lynnfield three runs.

“We gave up seven outs in the first inning,” said Amesbury coach Joel Brierley post-game.  “Can’t give a team like that extra outs.”

But Amesbury can hit, and they got two in the first and two more in the second to get the lead.  Jake Harring drove in a run in the second with a triple and came home on a bad throw from the outfield to allow Amesbury to jump ahead, 4-3.

Trevor Kimball had solo homer

Lynnfield regained the lead in the fifth inning.  An error, a wild pitch, and Dan Dorman’s sacrifice fly were factors.

Lynnfield gifted Amesbury back with two runs in the fifth thanks to an error, hit batsman, a wild pitch, and a passed ball.

But the Pioneers would recover and pull this one out in the final frame.

“I’m proud of the kids,” said Coach O’Brien.  “They didn’t give up even when we were down going into the last inning.”

Henry Caulfield scores the 10th Lynnfield run

“This was a tough loss,” said Coach Brierley.  “We’ve been hitting well and bailing out our errors.  If we’re going to be a team that plans to do something we’ve got to be able to make routine plays.”

There were sixteen walks and wild pitches and passed balls were frequent. 

Alex Gentile on his hit in the seventh: “He kept giving me curveballs in the count and I knew he was going to come back with another one.  Luckily, I got a good piece of it.”

Junior Trevor Kimball had a solo home run in the fifth inning.

Will Arsenault

Will Arsenault led Amesbury with two hits.  Both Cam Stanley and Jake Harring scored two runs.

Drew Scialdone started for Amesbury while Dan Dorman started for Lynnfield.

The weather was definitely unpleasant.  The temps were close to 50 with an unwelcome wind.

Lynnfield     3   0   0   2   0   1   4   =   10

Amesbury   2   2   0   2   1   1   0   =     8

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Chasing a popup
Adventures in the tough rightfield sun
Tyler Bartniski and Dan Dorman
Jake Harring – on base four times
Catcher Devin Bolger throws to first
Lynnfield unofficial box
Amesbury unofficial box
David Tracy out at second
Watching the action
Drew Scialdone holds onto third base
Shea Cuccinotta and Aidan Burke
John O’Brien and Joel Brierley
Drew Scialdone out at home

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