July Sports Spotlight: Speed, Defense Prime Assets for Senior Ruth Squad
Bellngham Bulletin Sports Editor Ken Hamwey
written by KEN HAMWEY Bulletin Sports Editor
The Bellingham Senior Babe Ruth team, which defeated Medfield for the Central Mass. championship last year, will rely on defense and speed this season as it attempts to defend its crown. The Bulldogs finished their regular season at 16-2 last year, then cruised to a 6-1 record in the playoffs, downing Holliston, Medway and Medfield.
For the 2015 campaign Coach Paul Jacques has assembled a 15-man squad that blends talent from Bellingham High and Mount St. Charles Academy of Woonsocket, RI. “Our strengths are definitely fielding and speed,’’ said Jacques, who has led the Bulldogs to three championships in his 10 years at the helm. “Our style will be small ball and hit-and-run. We hope to develop pitching depth as the season moves forward. Our hitting should be okay.’’
Jacques’ infield features Tyler Murphy and Dave Hole at first base; Sean Williamson and Josh Roberts at second; Tyler Rudek, Derek Izzo and Nick Penza at shortstop; and either Williamson, Izzo or Matt Montgomery at third.
“Murphy is a good fielder, and Hole provides power at the plate,’’ said Jacques, who coached the Mount St. Charles boys soccer team and the boys and girls track teams last year. “Williamson can hit and field, and Roberts has one of the best gloves on the team. Rudek, Izzo and Penza are all athletic, have strong arms and can go deep into the hole at short. Williamson, Izzo or Montgomery, a first-year player, will handle third base.’’
The outfield consists of Anthony Crowley in left, Tate Laquerre in center and either Logan Ewing or Corey Dubay in right. Crowley, who starred at Bellingham High, was the co-MVP in the Tri Valley League and likely will play baseball at Westfield State.
“Crowley has power and passion for baseball,’’ Jacques said. “He’ll hit third. He can track down a ball and he’s got a strong arm. Laquerre is a capable hitter who’ll bat behind Crowley. Ewing is in his first year with us. He’s a student of the game, and Dubay, who played soccer and ran track at Bellingham High, has great speed.’’
The catching chores are in the capable hands of Josh Reget, who was a TVL honorable-mention all-star at Bellingham. The senior had a quality back-up in Owen Haley, who played for Bellingham’s jayvees, but he suffered a fractured wrist and is out for the season. “Josh is a good defensive receiver,’’ said Jacques. “He does a good job handling our pitching staff. Derek Houle, who played for Blackstone Valley Tech, and Nick Dulac of Bellingham will compete for the No. 2 spot.’’
Jacques has a pitching staff that features a pair of fire-ballers in Williamson, a righty, and Andrew Uttermann, a left-hander of Mount St. Charles. Penza, Rudek and Izzo are right-handers who rely on an off-speed assortment of curve balls and change-ups. “All five have good control,’’ Jacques said. “Uttermann throws the hardest and Izzo can really hit his spots.”
The Central Mass. League comprises two divisions (North and South). The North teams are Framingham, Sudbury, Marlboro, Medfield, Natick and Westboro. The South squads are Bellingham, Medway, Milford, Holliston, Hopkinton, and Franklin. The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.
“We should be a playoff team again,’’ said Jacques, a special education teacher at the Milford Middle School. “In our division, Holliston and Medway have lots of players returning, and Franklin has improved.’’
Now in his 11th year as head coach of the Bulldogs, Jacques has guided his squad into the Central Mass. finals six times and has won the crown three times. His career record with the Bellingham contingent is 140-45-1.
The Bulldogs opened their season with a 10-5 victory over Medway at Bulletin deadline.
Edwards Excels in 3 Track Meets
Sarah Edwards finished third in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:11.74 at the New England Championships in Saco, ME, on June 13. Her time was a hundredth of a second off her best effort, which came at the All-State Meet a week earlier. “I was pleased with my race,’’ Edwards said. “I finished ahead of all Massachusetts runners, and it definitely was good preparation for the national meet I’ll be competing in at Greensboro, NC.’’
Bellingham coach Peter Lacasse praised Edwards’ effort and said that “although she got cut off at the start and got boxed in, she fought her way out and finished very strong.’’ Lacasse believes that Edwards will run well at the June 21 meet in North Carolina. “She wants to break 2:10 and she knows what she needs to do to achieve that,’’ he said.
The top two runners at the New Englands — Danae Rivers of Connecticut and Hannah Parker of New Hampshire — are the same pair that finished ahead of Edwards last year. Rivers ran the 800 in 2:05 and Parker’s time was 2:06.
“The temperature was near 90 and it was windy for the New Englands,’’ Edwards said. “Those conditions should help me in North Carolina, where it’s projected to be about 93.’’
Edwards’ times at two other meets were dominating. She set a meet record in the mile at the Division 4 Championships at Norwell by winning the event. Her time was 4:58.74, breaking her previous best of 5:02. She also finished second in the 800 in 2:14.22. At the All-State Meet in Fitchburg, she finished second in the 800 in a time of 2:11.73, qualifying her for the Nationals.
“Sarah set a personal record at the All-State Meet,’’ said Lacasse. “At the Division 4 Championships, we talked about the possibility of a sub-5-minute mile and she achieved that. Her efforts make us proud as she continues to keep getting faster.’’
BHS All-star Selections in the TVL
Tri Valley League coaches have selected their all-star players for the spring season, and Bellingham High fared well in landing its share of top-caliber competitors.
The softball team, which finished the regular season at 16-4, had two first-team all-stars in pitcher Zoe Haley and shortstop Chloe Woodward and a pair of second-team selections in designated-player Julia Caddell and leftfielder Kelly Corbitt. Centerfielder Julia Kilduff was an honorable-mention selection.
The baseball squad, which posted a 12-8 record during the regular season, had outfielder Anthony Crowley as its only first-team selection. However, the power-hitting Crowley was named co-MVP with Eric Bamford of Westwood. Other baseball all-stars included Michael Farrell and Michael Ryan on the second team, and Shawn Rebello and Josh Reget were honorable-mention choices. BHS also was selected for the Team Sportsmanship Award.
Alex Kates (shot put) was chosen to the first team in outdoor track, and sprinter Nick Michaud was named to the second team. The boys took first place in sportsmanship. In girls track, Sarah Edwards (800, mile) was selected to the first team and Katerina Tsiounis (high jump, hurdles and triple jump) was named to the second team. The girls tied for first place with Holliston for the sportsmanship award.
The girls lacrosse team didn’t place anyone on the first or second team but did have eight honorable-mention selections: Audrey Fenter, Jocelyn Pelletier, Samantha Turk, Erin Connolly, Brittanie Smith, Sarah Parent, Brianna Chamberlain and Emily Ryan. The boys squad had no all-stars but finished second in the sportsmanship award voting.
Solid Effort for Boys Track Team
The Bellingham High boys track team concluded its season at the Division 4 Championships in Norwell with Alex Kates and Alex Carr finishing eighth in the shot put and 800-meter run, respectively. Kates managed a throw of 44 feet, 6½ inches, and Carr’s time was 2:03.94, a personal best for the sophomore.
The 4x800 relay squad--Carr, Darius Shubert, Boston Strong and Kyle Martin--had a fifth-place finish, recording a time of 4:32.78. Coach Peter Lacasse was pleased with his team’s showing, noting that “all the boys ran their best as the season came to a close.’’
Milestone for Girls Lacrosse Squad
Coach Lynn Myatt’s girls lacrosse team ended its season with a 4-14 record, the most victories ever compiled in a season. The triumphs came against Northbridge and Norton (twice each). The veteran coach had lots of praise for her nucleus of leaders.“Audrey Fenter, Sarah Parent and Emily Ryan were a formidable defensive trio, and sophomore Becky Tynan had an amazing season in goal, averaging 12 saves a game,’’ Myatt said. “Erin Connolly and Sabrina Ulsh won lots of center draws, and midfielders Brittanie Smith, Brianna Chamberlain and Isabella Mancini played consistently and handled the transition game well. Jocelyn Pelletier, Katie Mancini and Samantha Turk were our top scorers and Erin led the team in assists.’’
Three other players (all seniors) who contributed often were Jackie Doucette, Sadie Quattrocchi and Jaxie Traudt.
“I look forward to next season, but I’ll miss our 10 seniors,’’ Myatt said.
BHS Boys Lacrosse Captains Named
The boys lacrosse team, which ended its season with a 14-0 loss to Groton-Dunstable in the Division 3 Sectional Tournament, held its annual banquet on June 11 and named defenseman George Pearson and goalie Eric Cote as captains for the 2016 season.
Both Pearson and Cote will be seniors next year. Other key returnees include Will Schmith at midfield, and attackmen Hunter Haynes, Jake Cohen and Pat Henderson. Attack Paul Dwelly heads the list of graduating players, which includes John Howard, Sean Russell, Branden Flaherty, Tom Conroy and Kalvin Cho. Dwelly finished with 29 goals and 8 assists.
Although the Blackhawks were blanked by Groton-Dunstable, the same team that defeated Bellingham last year in its first tourney appearance, the Blackhawks played a spirited brand of lacrosse. “We had our chances to score early but didn’t capitalize,’’ said coach Tyler Smith. “We hit the posts five times. Our program is improving and our goal for the future is to be competitive and play hard.’’
Smith is pleased with the number of boys playing in the youth lacrosse league. “Hats off to Steve Linehan, who’s done a phenomenal job with that program,’’ Smith said. “His staff has done a great job instructing the players and getting them ready for a higher level.’’
The boys finished their regular season with a 5-15 record.
Mini-Meets to Help Special Olympics
A series of mini-meets will be conducted at the high school track on July 13, July 27, Aug. 10, and Aug. 17 for students ages 6-14. The meets get under way at 5 p.m. and conclude at 7 p.m.
The events include the 100, 200, 400 (ages 8-14), mile (ages 10-14), long jump and javelin. Bring sneakers, water, snacks and a parent or guardian. The age groups will be 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, and 12-14. Cost to participate is $1, and all proceeds will go to the Special Olympics. Ribbons will be presented to first-, second-, and third-place finishers of each gender in each age group.
The meets will be run by volunteers from the Bellingham track and field team, National Honor Society, and Bellingham Youth Volunteer Association.