Two Tristen Chaine second-half goals spark Lake Region’s 4-2 win over Poland

Tristen Chaine (#2 in white uniform) finds the far right side of the Poland net.

The Knights celebrate their first goal in five games.

(Naples ME) I love these matchups!

Put two hardworking teams together, throw out the records and catch the excitement.

And there was plenty of excitement today as visiting Poland fell to Lake Region, 4-2, on a chilly Saturday morning/afternoon of Class B South boys’ soccer.

Lake Region senior Tristen Chaine was the difference maker in the final outcome with two second half tallies.

The Knights controlled play for much of the first half but opportunistic LR jumped in front, 2-0, on rebound scores by junior Jacob Arey.

Paul Vigna (11) defended by Andrew Frechette moves in on outcoming Poland goalie Matt Thebarge

But Poland, which hadn’t registered a goal in four games, got an answer as sophomore Cooper Keene put in his own rebound with 8:57 left in the first half.

The Knights carried that 2-1 deficit to halftime and the closeness of the score was unfamiliar ground for the visitors.  In a season of frequent bulging first-half deficits, here was a game they had a solid chance to win.

Poland tied the score on a lovely corner kick/header conversion with 31:54 remaining.  We now had ourselves a ballgame!

I think the chilly weather really helped both teams by lessening the fatigue that the recent high heat brought.  And I think the fact that both teams were in a winnable position in the second half was also an inspiration.  Take your pick of the reasons. We saw minutes full of back-and-forth runs with a significant number of near misses and goalie stops as the game continued tied.

Tristen Chaine found crucial open space in the second half

But then Tristen Chaine took over.  The senior showed the knack of beating defenders off the dribble during most of the game. Twice, with the game tied in the second half, those moves into space allowed him to launch left-footed rockets from the left.  One at 14:00 and another at 9:02.  Knights goalie Matt Thebarge had no chance on either shot as both were hard-hit and both found the upper right corner of the Poland net.

Those goals turned out to be the difference in the final 4-2 outcome.

Four minutes after the first Tristen goal, the Lakers were awarded a penalty kick when Poland captain Sam Walker took down Giovani Lopez in the penalty area.  Giovani took the PK but his low shot was blocked by Matt Thebarge.

I thought, at the time, that Matt’s big save might spark a Knights’ counterattack and a possible tying goal but instead within a minute Tristen tallied his second score to increase Poland’s deficit to two.

Jacob Arey (8) converted two rebounds into goals.

Jacob Arey’s two first-half goals were almost identical.  He was on the right side as first Paul Vigna, and later Jason Harlow, had one-on-one’s versus Poland GK Matt Thebarge.  Matt made two gutsy blocks but both produced rebounds that went directly to Jacob with open nets to shoot at.  Jacob didn’t miss on either opportunity.

Noah Breton’s goal was a beauty.  Captain Sam Walker’s corner kick was head high and Noah’s was the head that connected with it.  LR goalie CJ Ferguson had the middle of the net covered but Noah’s header went into the left corner.  Nice play.

There were no cautions and very little contact.

I was impressed with the Vigna brothers (Paul/Peter).  Peter had several key defensive plays to stymy Poland surges.

There were a few raindrops in the first half.  A few more and I might have gone to my car and if I had I would have missed a very good game.

Poland (0-9) hosted Lake Region (2-8) on September 12th and lost 3-1.  LR took a 3-0 halftime lead and held off the Knights in the second half.  This time around the Knights were in a tie game until the final fifteen minutes.

The Lakers had scored only two goals in their previous six games making today’s four-goal effort a welcome change.

Matt Thebarge blocked Giovani Lopez’s PK

Last time I saw the Lakers’ Matt Mayo in action was during this summer’s, “Wizard of Oz.”  Terrific show.

I did the Fryeburg Academy/Leavitt football game at FA last Saturday.  That day I was looking for shade (temps in the high 80’s).  Today was a bracing 35 degrees cooler.  I had four layers on!

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

Giovani Lopez (7) chased by Isaac Austin

loose ball

Tristen Chaine chased by Andrew Frechette and Brayden Gurney

GK Matt Thebarge looks to save

Freshman Logan Parsons pressed by sophomore Cooper Keene

Paul Vigna (11) in on Knights GK Matt Thebarge

Defender/Actor Matt Mayo tangles with Cooper Keene

Sam Walker

Noah Breton gets his head on Sam Walker’s corner kick

Noah Breton’s header sails past CJ Ferguson

Freshman Jason Harlow assisted on the second LR goal

Sophomore Noah Breton

Poland coach David Coyne questions a call

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lake Region, Poland

Leavitt stays undefeated in Class C South with 17-14 win over Fryeburg Academy

Leavitt’s Eli Lind steps into a successful 26-yard field goal

Nothing but open field for Jason Chisari (TD, 112 yards) in the first quarter

(Fryeburg ME) On a very hot afternoon it was crucial to stay cool.  (I enjoyed the shade of pine trees before the game and during halftime.)

The Fryeburg Academy Raiders (3-1) lost their cool in the second quarter and in the process set up visiting Leavitt (4-0) for what turned out to be a decisive field goal.

The final was 17-14 with all the points coming in the first half and Leavitt is now the only undefeated team in Division C South.

Caleb Bowen set up the first Leavitt score with a leaping 36-yard pass reception

Senior Caleb Bowen tallied both Hornets’ touchdowns on short passes (9,2 yards) from quarterback Tim Albert.

Seniors Jared Chisari and Scott Parker scored untouched TDs for Fryeburg.

Jared answered Leavitt’s grinding first touchdown with a first-play dash around the right side that covered sixty-nine yards.

As the first half was in its final minute, Scott Parker, lined up on the left side and broke about as free as you can get into the Hornets secondary.  QB Oscar Saunders put the pass where it needed to be and teammate Scott took a lonely route to the Leavitt end zone.

Those were the touchdowns.  Both teams had the weapons to put up points but the heat was a key factor in the scoreless second half.

The heat got both teams but it really was the FA penalties that cost them this game.  In the second half, the Raiders had a first-down pass to Scott Parker called back, a 67-yard TD run by Jared Chisari called back, and a pass interference call on Scott Parker to extend Leavitt’s final possession.  And that wasn’t even the most costly of the Raiders’ rule violations.

FA Coach Dave Turner’s team ran into three straight unsportsmanlike conduct penalties

The most costly?  A collection of three penalties in a row.  In the second quarter, the Hornets started at the Fryeburg 41 after a Caleb Eklund punt.  And that’s when the trouble started for the Raiders.  Junior Josh Frye complained about an earlier penalty long enough to get an unsportsmanlike penalty.  FA coach Dave Turner stepped in to defend his player and also earned the same penalty.  When the FA coach persisted, he was assessed a second unsportsmanlike penalty.  When the flags stopped flying, the visitors had remarkable field position (Fryeburg 11) after those thirty yards of penalties.

Leavitt didn’t turn the gift into seven points but they did get three as Eli Lind connected from twenty-six yards out to give the Hornets a 17-7 lead with 2:42 remaining in the first half.

Credit FA for bouncing back during the remaining time in the half to get the Scott Parker score but the Raiders would never get back the three points that were set up by the unsportsmanlike penalties.

Leavitt’s first score was at the end of 5 ½ minute drive to open the game.  The big play in the march was a lofted pass by senior Tim Albert that Caleb Bowen outleaped Ryan Hewes for.  That catch set the Hornets up on the Fryeburg 4.

Jared Chisari tries to fend off Bryce Hudson

Jared Chisari showed terrific speed in FA’s quick response to the Leavitt TD.  Once Jared broke into the secondary there was no pursuit anywhere to be seen.  Jared was on his own the final forty yards of a 69-yard run.

On the Hornets next possession, they put together a 68-yard drive to regain the lead.  The key play this time was a nice slant pass from Tim Albert to junior Oren Shaw that put Leavitt at the FA 4.  Tim avoided the Fryeburg rush, bought time, and found Caleb Bowen several plays later for his second TD from the FA2.

Eli Lind delivered kicks for Leavitt after both scores.  Eddie Thurston did the same for Fryeburg after their two scores.

Eli Lind kicked what turned out to be the winning field goal

The winning field goal was interesting because in the series prior to it, in the second quarter, Hornets’ coach Mike Hathaway had opted to pass the ball on 4th down from the FA 2.  After the trio of penalties in the next series Coach Hathaway went for the three and Eli Lind delivered.  The kick barely got over the crossbar but it counted big-time ultimately.

Best player on the field may have been FA linebacker Tucker Buzzell.  His tackle count had to have been large.  He was also the FA center on offense, so on the hottest of hot days there wasn’t much time to rest.

Allen Peabody intercepted a pass intended for Scott Parker in the second quarter.

Fryeburg QB Oscar Saunders recovered a high snap in the second quarter deep in his own territory.

Punter Caleb Eklund tried a fake punt in the 3rd quarter but Leavitt’s Cole Morin kept the play from working.

Cody Gullikson recovered a Hornet’s fumble in the final quarter.

Junior Brad Moreau turned the left corner for a first down late in the game that was good for a first down and allowed Leavitt to run out the clock and leave with a 3-point victory.

Good crowd on hand for both sides.

Surprised that there was no charge for anyone to watch the game.  Being from Massachusetts, I expected otherwise.

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

Oscar Saunders had a touchdown pass in the first half

Cody Gullikson (7) comes up with a fumble recovery

FA quarterback (12) faces Leavitt defensive lineman Riley Parmenter (75)

Scott Parker pleads his case

Cole Morin (2) and Scott Parker (33) battle for a pass

Caleb Bowen scored two touchdowns

Brad Moreau (31) flies for a first down late in the game

Quarterback Tim Albert (two TD passes)

Scott Parker after scoring touchdown

Scott Parker runs uncovered into the end zone in the second quarter

Jared Chisari (22) gets blocks from Josh Frye (73), Tucker Buzzell (50), and Cody Gullikson (7)

Allen Peabody runs back an interception

Leavitt QB Tim Albert sets up behind linemen Nolan Cabral (54), Cole Melanson (50), and Riley Parmenter (75)

Eli Lind nails one of his two extra points as Will Krug skies in an attempted block

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fryeburg, Leavitt

Freeport flies past Fryeburg Academy 8-1

Kalie Eastman (5) and Allison Greuel (4) track a loose ball

Taylor Rinaldi (two goals) gets into a shot against Sharlah Mae Day

(Fryeburg ME) Freeport ended a two-game losing streak in convincing fashion with an 8-1 win over Fryeburg Academy on sunny Tuesday afternoon.

Six Falcons scored and everyone played in an afternoon of golden chances for the visitors.

Senior Taylor Rinaldi and junior Allison Greuel each had two tallies for Freeport (2-2).

Sophomore Kayla Willard had the Raiders goal late in the second half off a direct kick rebound.

Winless FA (0-4) struggled to get shots.  Freeport was patient in their own end with short passes.  Freshman goalie Carly Intraversato was passed to frequently and her presence up the field lessened the area the defense in front of her had to cover.

Becca Cameron (9) in the middle

The freshman goalie down the other end (Morgan Fusco) faced a ton of good-look attempts by Freeport.  It was the numerous ways that the Falcons got into those juicy scoring situations that impressed me.  I saw the straight away blast (Becca Cameron), the dribble into an open space (Taylor Rinaldi), and unselfish passing in very close (Catriona Gould, Allison Greul).

The Falcons collected four goals in the first half (Taylor Rinaldi (2), Becca Cameron, Catriona Gould), and four in the second half (Allison Greul (2), Lindsay Routhier, Bailey Davis).

The goals by Catriona and Bailey were registered in the last minute of each half.

Incoming

Taylor’s two goals were collected in the first ten minutes of the game.  The 4-year starter dribbled in for a clean look on the first and drilled the second from long range under the crossbar.

Another 4-year starter (Becca Cameron) was a standout in the middle of the field and put a charge into a long shot that GK Morgan Fusco never had a chance on in the first half.

Twice in the second half Falcons’ team members gave up excellent scoring opportunities from very close to set up teammates for open-net shots.  That’s unselfishness!  Last year’s team high scorer (Catriona Gould) did it for Allison Greul and then Allison did the same thing for Lindsay Routhier.

Freshman Luna Barrionuevo

Despite the lopsided result, senior Kalie Eastman and freshman Luna Barrionuevo played well for the Raiders.  Kalie started the game on defense but was moved to offense late in the first half.  Both she and Luna disregarded the score and hustled to create openings for teammates all afternoon.

Beautiful weather with plenty of sunshine.

Freeport won a first-ever victory over Cape Elizabeth to start this season.  Losses to Class B South toughies Greeley and Yarmouth (defending champs) followed.

Fryeburg has struggled on defense since the get-go.  They have been outscored 33-2 in their four losses.

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

Catriona Gould takes a shot

Freeport goalie Carly Intraversato

Loose ball in the Raiders end

Allison Greuel sets to fire a goal

Taylor Rinaldi (2) and Nicole DePaolo (3)

Jessica Driscoll (10) battles with Victoria Hayes (8)

Bailey Davis (5) lines up the 8th Freeport goal

Taylor Rinaldi

Becca Cameron

Catriona Gould (21) and Kalie Eastman (5)

Becca Cameron on the move

Raiders GK Morgan Fusco skies to tip a shot

Loose ball in the Fryeburg end

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Freeport, Fryeburg

Gray-New Gloucester gets first win (2-1) on two Alexa Thayer goals vs Lake Region

Emma Woods (8) lines up a direct kick late in the game as Alexa Thayer (4) moves to the front of the net defended by Elaina Sturk (7)

The celebrating begins after the Patriots scored the go-ahead goal late in the game

(Naples ME) The Gray-New Gloucester Patriots came into their meeting with the Lake Region Lakers scoreless and winless after two starts.

That all changed versus LR as second-half goals by junior Alexa Thayer earned the visitors a 2-1 victory in a thunder-delayed game on Friday afternoon.

In a matchup of Class B South opponents, the Lakers scored early in the first half when

Neva Leavitt’s corner kick eludes goalie Chelsea Davis in the first half

GNG goalie Chelsea Davis mishandled Neva Leavitt’s corner kick.  It was sophomore Neva’s 2nd goal of the season.

The Patriots (1-2) controlled play during most of this contest relying on patient passing.  LR took the long-ball approach.

By patient passing I mean being willing to pass the ball back and sideways not straight ahead.  That patient approach set up numerous scoring chances but this was where Lakers GK Maddie Rock stood out denying several GNG point-blank attempts.

The home team held that 1-0 lead until Alexa Thayer responded to a rebound off an Emma Woods shot from the right side and tapped in the game-tying tally with 18:56 left in the second half.  The Patriots were thereby able to end their scoreless streak at 222 minutes.

“We have been focusing on following up on rebounds,” said GNG’s 7th year coach Kiaran McCormack afterwards. “You don’t score style points.  If you can be there for a rebound two yards out it counts the same as a 20-yard rocket to the top corner.”

The Patriots pressure had led to several direct kicks during the game.  On almost every occasion the kick had gone over or wide.  Finally, late in this match, junior Emma Woods put a hard shot on net from straight away on a direct kick that turned up a juicy rebound for Alexa camped to GK Maddie Rock’s right.  Alexa’s tap-in gave GNG the lead and was indeed the game-winner with only 2:28 left.

Alexa Thayer’s game-winner gets past LR goalie Maddie Rock

Neva Leavitt scored the Lakers goal on a corner kick in the first half

The game got off to an ominous start as the rumble of thunder forced a 30-minute delay.  After that it was typical Maine weather: sunshine, clouds, sunshine, clouds, but in this section of Naples, no more rain.

I was most impressed with the way Gray-New Gloucester kept control of the ball.  Their passing and dribbling forced LR to chase for a high percentage of the game.  That can be tiring and it may have caught up to the Lakers in the end game.

Emma Woods was a standout in the center of the field for the Patriots.  The senior took control of a number of goal kicks and was a skillful dribbler/passer.  Emma also had assists on both goals.

The best player on the field?  I would take junior Neva Leavitt of Lake Region (0-2).  She beat defenders all game long with clever dribbling.

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

Alexa Thayer (4) moves in on a rebound that will end up as a goal for GNG

Save in traffic

The run back after a goal

Emma Dyer

Lauren Jakobs

Bri Jordan (11), Aisley Sturk (5) and Lauren Jakobs (16)

Bri Jordan (11) and Kenzie Siebert (3)

Chelsea Davis saves

Jordy Grant

Brooke Harriman (23) pushes past Abbey Michaud (6)

Chandler True

Jordy Grant (10), Danica Chadwick (24), and Alexa Thayer )4)

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gray New Gloucester, Lake Region

Yale notches first win 3-0 over Howard

Freshman Aldo Quevedo collects his own rebound and shoots into an open net

Bulldogs celebrate after John Leisman (#21) goal

(New Haven CT) The Yale Bulldogs (1-1) won their first game of the young season, 3-0, on a very rainy Sunday afternoon at Reese Stadium.

The home team put plenty of pressure on Bison goalie Carlos Caro (17 shots) and cashed the trio of scores within a fifteen-minute span of the first half.

Sophomores Ryan Matteo and John Leisman, plus freshman Aldo Quevedo found the Howard net for Yale.

The visitors (0-3) mustered few shots because they spent so much time dealing with the continuous attack of the Bulldogs.

Rainy conditions

This was a game of ever-present rain.  There wasn’t much wind, just plenty of moisture.

I try to cover sports in the locations I find myself in.  My granddaughter, who is attending Southern Connecticut, now lives within a mile of the Yale Bowl and so I was looking around for something to use for a blog entry.

I walked to the Bowl on Saturday afternoon and although I couldn’t get inside, I did discover Reese Stadium beside it.  A check of the Yale Athletic website turned up the Yale/Howard men’s soccer game there on Sunday afternoon.

I had a few problems to deal with before I could cover the contest: (1) my press pass was elsewhere, (2) my normal game-shooting lenses were elsewhere, and (3) it was raining.

Nigel Grant (#15) of Howard picked up a yellow card after this play.

The press pass never came into play and access to the field was never questioned.  I found an umbrella and I was willing to get what I could get from the small lens I had.

With only one small lens, I knew that much of the field would be out-of-range.  So to get good pictures I needed to know where on the field the action would take place and set up there.

Who had the better team?  Yale or the team from DC?  If I knew that then I could be near the end they were shooting at.

My brief research convinced me that my best picture bet was in the Howard end.  Why?  The Bison had won only FIVE of their last seventy-seven games.  The Bulldogs weren’t overwhelmingly better (nine wins over the same time frame) but they were playing at home.

It was a good guess on my part.  I had a good look at the three Yale goals.

The first two goals had players getting clean looks at the Howard goal.  The third goal had the Yale player collecting his own rebound from in close.

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

Yale’s first goal

Yale’s second goal on the way

Ryan Matteo (12) shoots second goal

Lucas Kirby (7) and Matteo Turner (16)

Getting a foot in

Theo Miller (23)

Ball in the air

DJ Palmer (8), Robert Davis (29), and Isaac Mbappe (21)

Sophomore Carlos Caro leaps to make a Bison save

Work in the corner

Josh Totte (22) had an assist

Incoming shot

Andres Gomez (10) and James Kochanski (6)

Pre-game introductions

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Howard, Yale

Curtis Gerry wins 44th Oxford 250 and I get hit by a race car!

Curtis Gerry wins the 2017 Oxford 250

Cassius Clark (3rd), Curtis Gerry (1st), Reid Lanpher (2nd)

(Oxford ME)  Sunday afternoon/evening I took in the biggest car race in the northeast….the Oxford 250.

Curtis Gerry of Waterboro (ME) was the surprise winner at the Oxford Plains Speedway.  Racing on a low budget, the 46-year-old didn’t even try the 250 last year.  This year, however, has been different.  The wins have come (at Beech Ridge Speedway in Scarborough) and his car has been consistently solid.  He had the fastest practice time during Friday’s OPS practice runs.

Pole-sitter Cassius Clark had the car to beat in the first hundred laps but a sea of cautions (eleven in the first 125 laps) offered too many chances for an eventual lead change.  That finally happened but Cassius would finish strong to get 3rd.

Curtis took the lead with 53 laps left and fought off challenges from Eddie MacDonald (4th) and Reid Lanpher (2nd) to get the $25,000 top prize.

The sunny/cool weather was perfect for the race.

Drivers were very adept at avoiding collisions

This race had seventeen cautions.  Almost all of them were caused by individual drivers losing control and spinning out.  There were a couple of multiple-driver incidents but little damage done.  You become aware of the skill of these drivers when you witnessed seventeen restarts on a 3/8-mile track and watched them repeatedly avoid sideswipes on the tricky turns on the small track.

Scott McDaniel spins out

If this entry was for a newspaper it would end shortly but it’s a blog and I get to personalize the Oxford 250 experience.

The big guy in the racing “room” today was Speed51.  These folks were everywhere.  They had the equipment and personnel to thoroughly cover the race.  I realized the extension of their clout when I moved to my favorite viewing spot on top of the grandstand.  Been up there for years.  Didn’t last this time.  A Speed51 person informed me that they had exclusive rights to that space.

Now how would I get pictures?  I can assure you that I had no plan to hang out in the infield as the race went around me!  I saw photographers doing it but it was never a possibility for me.

One of the OPS staff members recognized what had happened to my usual vantage point and directed me to a windowed booth.  The beauty of that spot was that there was a (closed) door which lessened the deafening car noises.

I never had any intention of being in the infield.  Why?  Things happen too fast.

I had discovered earlier in this afternoon that the pit area can be dangerous too.  The pit areas are tight.  You have drivers, cars and crew/family members milling about.  And then there are the photographers, like me.  When races are in progress the cars come fast into the pit area where quick attempts are made to fix problems and get the car back out into the race.  Everyone has to be alert or you can get hurt.

I have been a fan of Eddie MacDonald’s ever since I learned that he was from Rowley (MA). I supply pictures to The Town Common which is headquartered in that town.  Eddie won the Oxford 250 twice (2009 & 2010).

I did not expect to see Eddie at today’s race because there had been zero news that he was coming and he wasn’t in the field in 2016. However, I saw in the early afternoon that he indeed was competing.

The starting positions for the race are determined by performance in qualifying heats.  Qualifying waivers are given to former winners but if they want to start up in the field they must qualify for a better placement.  Competing against drivers who don’t have waivers makes the going extremely rough-and-tumble as Eddie found out.  Twice in the consolation race he was knocked off the track.  The second time he decided to come into the pits to get repairs before re-entering the race.

That’s where Eddie and I got “together.”

I saw his car turned around in the infield during a qualifying consolation race and then I saw him heading for the pit area for repairs.  I decided to get closer to get a picture of the repairs being done in the pit area.

After taking this picture I moved to the left of the tire. Little did I know that Eddie MacDonald in the red car ahead would reverse into me.

Eddie parked his car perpendicular to his normal space.  I took a picture of the work being done and then moved to safety in a spot beside a car two spaces away from Eddie’s space.

I suspected that Eddie would do a quick forward turn and head back to the track when the repairs were done.  Instead, he came my way in fast reverse.

I was beside another car two spaces away and clearly off the roadway but it didn’t matter.  Eddie didn’t realize that there was a car parked in the direction he has chosen to go and he definitely didn’t see me.

I turned to avoid a direct hit and Eddie’s car drove me into the parked car.  I believe that Eddie realized at the last second the bad route he was on and hit his brakes.  I would have been in a morgue, instead of writing this entry, if he hadn’t I suspect.

I never went down and I do not recall Eddie’s car leaving the scene.  I do know that he went back out and competed.

Instantly there were folks coming from everywhere seeing if I was all right.  I told them that I thought I was.  I was offered a chair which I gladly took.  In a while, I stood up to see if my legs were okay.  I felt some soreness in my right side but nothing serious.  People offered me water.  Some of them were my daughter’s age.  The one that meant the most was a young lady who was probably my granddaughter’s age.  So young and yet so thoughtful!

A lady connected to the OPS medical staff talked to me several times.  She wanted me to come over to where the ambulance was and I started imagining a trip to Norway’s St. Stephen’s.  No thanks.  Not needed.

I was asked if I was with anyone.  I wasn’t and there would be no other ride home.  My wife wasn’t going to be called.  No need to worry her because the pain was minor.

As these numerous interactions were taking place the consolation race ended.  Before I knew it, Eddie and his car were back two spaces away.

I stood up to see if Eddie was there.  He was, with his driver’s suit half off.  He must have known that something had happened earlier, when he backed up into me, because he was looking back to where he had hit me.  I put both of my arms up in the air beside me, gesturing in his direction.

For some reason, at that instant, I decided to go over there and see him.  I approached him and said that I was the one he had hit.  He asked if I was alright.  He said he was sorry.  I told him that I couldn’t understand how the accident had occurred since I was not on the road.  He said that he had been hit a couple of times during the race and wanted to get right back out there and wasn’t careful enough.  I told him not to worry about it that I was okay.

The medical staff person intercepted me after that and had me fill out paperwork stating that I had refused medical assistance.  She said that if there any medical problems tomorrow (Monday) the paperwork was in place to proceed.

One of the witnesses to my getting hit told me that instead of signing anything I should find out who Eddie MacDonald’s insurance was with and sue them.  Future lawyer, I suspect!

You would have guessed that my interactions with Eddie MacDonald ended there, wouldn’t you.  But you be wrong.

I have already described my grandstand “adjustments.”  From that new (better?) position I watched the Oxford 250.

Eddie was nearly dead-last in the 43-car field at the start.  But in a long race things happen.  With thirty laps left of the 250 laps, Eddie was in second hounding leader Curtis Gerry.  I started imagining that Eddie might pull this one out.  It was not meant to be, however, and Eddie started to slide back.

I figured that I might get one last interaction with him if he made the top three.  Those are the trio that get to pose with the winner’s check.

Eddie, however, ended up 4th.  I worked my way down to the track.  I had media credentials and planned to get shots of the top three.  I didn’t realize that the top five were down there.

I took the expected collection of pictures of the top three finishers and then I ventured over to where Eddie was.

Eddie MacDonald

I knew his father by sight from Eddie’s two championships.  Eddie was talking to his father and I headed over to them.  Eddie saw me coming and told his father, “This is the guy I backed into.”  Yup, that’s me!

Eddie’s dad asked if I was okay and was quite concerned.  I said that I was fine.  I repeated that I couldn’t understand how the accident happened.  This time Eddie said that he had been directed to back up by his crew.  It was not good advice.

And that’s my version of this year’s Oxford 250.

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

Joey Polewarczyk

Derek Griffith

Sparks fly from Mike Hopkins’ car

Curtis Gerry finishes first

Reid Lanpher

Cassius Clark was the #1 qualifier

Ben Tinker wins Pass Modified feature

Justin Drake (09) nips Dennis Spencer and Mike Rowe in Last Chance race

Joey Graf gets sideways

Andrew Breton wins Street Stock feature

TJ Brackett

Ray Christian

Mike Rowe

Ben Rowe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Oxford, Oxford 250

Mitch Keller (#2 Pirates prospect) and Michael Chavis (#3 Boston prospect) in action at Portland

Pittsburgh Pirates #2 prospect Mitch Keller

Michael Chavis (Boston Red Sox #3 prospect)

I love going to Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine for a Sea Dogs game.

Why?  The atmosphere is so unpretentious.  There are no airs put on.  The players hustle and their recognition by the fans is minimal.  Top draft pick?  Who cares?  Let’s see some baseball played.

Today’s noon game had perfect summer weather to boot.

A big attraction at Portland is the concession stands.  The smell of pizza and French fries is overwhelming.  And there I am on a nutritarian diet in which such things are totally avoided!

While others fail to take note of top draft picks, I don’t.  I can trace that “noticing” back to a game I covered in New Britain (CT) in 2012.

I somehow became aware that Gerrit Cole (#1 draft pick the year before) would be at the Twins former AA site representing the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Altoona team.

Shortstop Cole Tucker was the Pirates #1 pick in 2014

So I went to New Britain with a specific goal of getting a good Gerrit Cole picture.  I managed that and also added shots of Brock Holt (leading Eastern League in hitting) and Aaron Hicks (New Britain outfielder).

Therefore, with that background, my latest visit to Hadlock included prospect chasing.  Getting Rafael Devers earlier this summer convinced me that chances may end quickly.

Portland currently has 2014 first-rounder Michael Chavis on their roster while visiting Altoona has 2014 first-rounder Cole Tucker on theirs.  Portland also has Josh Ockimey (5th round) and Mitch Keller (2nd round) from the same year.

Pitcher Mitch Keller was the important one.  He is now the Pirates #2 prospect.  He started in Bradenton this season moved to Altoona on August 4th.  He is a pitcher on the rise.

Michael Chavis is a 22-year-old third baseman for Portland.  He’s rated 3rd in the Red Sox prospect list.  Where Michael fits into the Boston team of the future is a bit of a mystery.

Cole Tucker is ranked fifth by the Pirates and is a shortstop.

Josh Ockimey is Boston’s #10 prospect.

I had my first look at Boston’s Josh Ockimey.  The tall first baseman has not been in AA very long.  He’s rated the 10th Red Sox prospect.

I have now seen Michael Chavis twice.  His ability put in quality at-bats reminds me of Rafael Devers.  Neither player seems to be over-matched by pitching and both can hit the ball hard.  I did not have the same vibes last summer with Yoan Moncada.  Way too many swings-and-misses and that still seems to be the case for Yoan.

Another player who has impressed me during my recent Hadlock visits is outfielder Danny Mars.  Again, trying to imagine an outfield future in Boston with the young B’s strongly entrenched is a stretch but you never know.  Danny plays the position well and is hitting over .300 in his full season in Portland.  I figure him for Pawtucket in 2018.

The star of the game I saw Thursday was Portland pitcher Trey Ball.  Trey was a RS first-rounder in 2013.  He looked exactly like he deserved to be that high pick with a 9-strikeout, 7-inning performance in Portland’s 2-0 win.  It was likely the lefty’s best effort of the year.

The Big Event for me is always Slugger’s race against the very young.  I continue to believe that a win is in his future and I want to be there when it happens.

As today’s race unfolded I couldn’t help but think that Slugger’s life-long losing streak was about to end.  The big guy blazed around second leading by five yards.  Around first he went on the final stretch still in good shape.  But suddenly the big fellah ran out of gas.  Too fast a start, I suspect.  He just wilted near the first-base box and hit the ground.  Meanwhile, the opponent, who was so young he had to be guided by a staff member, kept a race-long even pace and won easily.  What’s the problem? It was a bit warm but it is obvious that Slugger is spending too much time walking the aisles of Hadlock greeting fans.  His legs were shot by the time the race took place.  An earlier race start would improve Slugger’s chances.  Maybe my hero is being set up to lose every time?  That would be outrageous.

More thanks to Chris Cameron for arranging Thursday’s visit.

Play at the plate

3B Michael Chavis

Cole Tucker

Play at second

Danny Mars

Chad De La Guerra

Cole Tucker

Baserunner

Pitcher Trey Ball was impressive against Altoona. He is a former #1 Red Sox selection (2013)

Michael Chavis

Chad De La Guerra

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Altoona Curve, Portland, Portland Sea Dogs