BHS Title Team Honored at State House Luncheon
written by Ken Hamwey, Bulletin Sports EditorBellingham’s state champion softball and baseball teams toured the State House on July 9 and later were honored at a luncheon hosted by Senator Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) and State Representative Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge). House and Senate resolutions were read by the legislative leaders, the first by Moore, who cited the softball team’s 25–1 record and its title-winning 3-1 effort against Grafton. Kuros, who donned a hat with a Bellingham logo, recapped the baseball team’s 23–3 overall record, which concluded with an 11–6 triumph over Monument Mountain. The names of all the players were included in the resolutions.
“Your outstanding performance on and off the field was special,” Moore said of the softball squad. “We want to recognize your commitment and hard work.” Moore told The Bulletin later that “it’s always nice to honor achievement, especially by young people because they’re our future. They also get to learn lessons that will help them become leaders.”
Kuros noted that June 14, the day when both teams won their state titles, was “a great day,” and significant for the championships because they were won on Flag Day, which was also his 23rd wedding anniversary.
“I’m a former baseball player who played on league championship teams, but to be a state champion is a testament to your dedication and hard work,” Kuros said. “The championships indicate that both programs have set the bar high. The softball and baseball teams this year achieved the best records for their programs in school history.”
School Superintendent Ed Fleury attended the celebration and noted the high caliber of both squads. “When fans were nervous as you advanced in the tourney, you stayed calm and under control,” he said. “We may have been underrated at the start, but the season ended in championship fashion. You’re a great group that lived up to tradition, and I’m glad to represent you.”
The players enjoyed the tour, which began in Memorial Hall and moved to the House and Senate chambers, then Senate Reception Room ending at the inspiring Great Hall of Flags, where the luncheon was held.
Michael Ryan, the baseball team’s catcher, said, “This is so humbling, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” while the softball team’s catcher, Rachel Kuhlman, called the invitation “cool and exciting.” She also noted that the occasion was bittersweet because, she said, “This is one of the last times we’ll all be together.”
T.J. Chiappone, the baseball team’s head coach, put the day’s events in perspective with some poignant comments. “Being honored at the State House indicates that both teams were the best in their divisions,” he emphasized. “Having the kids experience this today is great, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it more later. Also, it’s nice for both teams to be celebrating their achievements together.”
Nagle Takes Job at Worcester AcademyDan Nagle, who guided the girls basketball team at Bellingham to a Sectional title last winter, has resigned as head coach. The 27-year-old Nagle has taken the varsity girls coaching job at Worcester Academy, where he also will be teaching three history classes. Worcester Academy is a grade 6-12 prep school.
In his two years at the helm at BHS, his teams qualified for tourney play twice. His career record at Bellingham was 33-12. “I want to thank the players and coaches who helped me leave the program in better shape than when I started,” said Nagle, who will be moving to Shrewsbury. “I’m looking forward to my new role and hope to sustain the great tradition that’s been built at Worcester Academy.”
Last winter, the Blackhawks defeated Millbury, Northbridge and Tyngsboro in the tourney for the Sectional crown before losing in the state semifinals to Hoosac Valley.
Nagle is a graduate of Emmanuel College and earned his master’s at Northeastern University. Before arriving at BHS, Nagle coached the Norton High boys jayvees and was an assistant for the UMass-Boston women’s team. Nagle also is resigning as director of basketball operations at Mass. Premier Courts in Foxboro.
BHS Grid Team Opens with Blackstone-MillvilleBellingham’s football team will play host to Blackstone-Millville Regional in its season opener on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. The Chargers will be playing their second year of varsity football. In 2012, the Chargers competed as a junior-varsity squad, then had their program elevated to varsity status last year. BMR went 2-7 in 2013, beating Keefe Tech twice.
“I think it’ll become a great rivalry,” said Dan MacLean, Bellingham’s coach. “It should be exciting because they’re a team from two nearby communities. Steve Silva has done a good job coaching them in the early stages of their program.”
The Blackhawks’ other two non-league games will be on Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. in Haverhill against Whittier Tech and on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at home against Mystic Valley, a charter school in Malden.
The Blackhawks will play the rest of their schedule against Tri Valley League Small Division teams (Dover-Sherborn, Ashland, Norton and Millis). Three dates (Oct. 31, Nov. 7 and Nov. 14) will be against teams yet to be determined because of the playoff format, and the annual Thanksgiving Day game against Norton will be at home at 10 a.m. on Nov. 27.
Two scrimmages in Bellingham have been scheduled to date. They include an Aug. 23 date with Northbridge at 10 a.m., and on Aug. 30, Nipmuc will face the Blackhawks in a 6 pm encounter.
BHS, BMR Merging in Ice HockeyBellingham High and Blackstone-Millville Regional are merging as a co-op hockey team.
Tri Valley League athletic directors voted unanimously, 10-0, on May 1 to okay the proposal, and final approval by the MIAA District C Committee came on June 25. BMR is expected to supply about six skaters, who will join coach Ken Bertoni’s Bellingham varsity, which will have only 13 skaters for the 2014-15 campaign. The Chargers offer hockey as a varsity sport, but candidates previously played as a co-op team with Milford High. That agreement expired, and now Bellingham and BMR will form one squad.
Bellingham will serve as the host school, the team will still compete in the Tri Valley League, home games will still be in Franklin and user fees will be paid by BMR to Bellingham. Approval by the MIAA is for one year.
“We’re pleased that we received approval from the MIAA,” said BHS Athletic Director Dennis Baker. “It’s a well-deserved shot in the arm that will give us the numbers to compete. Hopefully, we can sustain a quality program.”
Bellingham’s record the last two seasons was 1-15-4 in 2012-13 and 4-15-1 in 2013-14.
“We won’t turn it around in one year,” Baker said, “but we’ll evaluate the situation again at the end of the hockey season. We hope the co-op plan will be a big plus going forward.”
DeDentro New Golf Coach at BHSBrian DeDentro has been hired as Bellingham High’s new golf coach. The 31-year-old DeDentro teaches history at the high school and, although he’s never coached golf, he has coaching experience. DeDentro previously coached the North Smithfield junior varsity baseball team and also has been a varsity baseball assistant.
An avid golfer the last five years, DeDentro said he hopes to improve the Blackhawks’ golf program by “making the sport an athletic endeavor instead of an activity.” He’s eager to spark interest in golf by teaching fundamentals, making sure players are in good condition and aiming for improvement every day in practice.
“We know that competing in the Tri Valley League is challenging,” he said. “We hope to better last year’s record, and we’re aiming to attract about 20 candidates for the opening day of practice.”
DeDentro has a bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and earned his master’s in educational administration from Providence College. He also has studied abroad in Dublin.
Last year, Bellingham’s golf team finished its season with a 1-17 record.
Charest New Cheerleading Coach at BHSJackie Charest is the new cheerleading coach at Bellingham High. The 25-year-old Charest is a graduate of Tri County Vocational, where she played volleyball and was a cheerleader for four seasons (captain as a senior). The new coach currently is in her first year studying to be a dental hygienist.
Charest has some definite goals, including being competitive at the Tri Valley League meet and making sure her student-athletes are motivated and enjoying their sport. “I’ll be stressing dance and motion,” Charest said. “What’s important is performing movements that are tight, clean and sharp. Being in sync with all the movements is a big key.” Charest said she’ll instruct her girls on gymnastics to a point. Tumbling, however, will be the major emphasis.
“I’m ecstatic to be coaching the squad and glad to be part of the athletic staff at Bellingham High,” Charest said.
Besides the TVL meet, Charest said she’d like her girls to compete in two open invitationals. Captains have already been chosen: senior Delaney Beshai and juniors Sadie Shea and Kylee Dowdy.
Senior Babe Ruth Team Qualifies for PlayoffsThe Bellingham Senior Babe Ruth team has qualified for the playoffs with a 15-2 record and will face either Milford or Holliston in the first round. At Bulletin deadline, with two games remaining in the regular season, coach Paul Jacques’ squad had five players hitting over .300 and four pitchers with perfect records.
Anthony Crowley has a .417 batting average with two homers, eight runs-batted-in and 13 stolen bases. Ryan Postler was hitting .386, and his brother Sean was hitting .435 with 11 stolen bases. Other top-notch offensive threats are Tate Laquerre, who was hitting .326 and had 13 RBIs, and Tyler Rudek, who had a .385 batting average and 11 RBIs.
Mike Farrell leads the pitching staff with a 4-0 record, one save, an earned-run average of 0.95 and 26 strikeouts. Andrew Uttermann is 2-0 with one save, an E.R.A. of 0.37 and 27 strikeouts. John Cutler has a 3-0 record and a 2.62 E.R.A., and Jared Abernathy is 2-0 with an E.R.A. of 3.29.
The Bulldogs, who are seeded No. 1 for the playoffs, won the Southern Division last year and finished runners-up to Medfield, which won the Central Mass. Senior Babe Ruth League crown. Jacques, who lost 14 players from last year’s contingent, is delighted with the way his club won this year’s Southern Division regular-season title. “We’ve adapted well to wooden bats, I’m pleased with our record and we’re peaking at a good time with the playoffs about to start,” he said.