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Baker to Be Inducted into Ashland Hall of Fame

Apr 27, 2018 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Dennis Baker

written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports Editor

Dennis Baker, who taught, coached and was athletic director at Bellingham High, will be inducted into Ashland High School’s Hall of Fame in November. The 69-year-old Baker will be entering the Clockers’ Hall of Fame in two categories—individually as a three-sport athlete and also as a member of Ashland’s 1966 state title baseball team.

A 1966 graduate of Ashland, Baker excelled in baseball, football and basketball before heading off to the University of Maryland on a baseball scholarship. He was a two-way end in football, a center in basketball and a first baseman in baseball. A Dual County League all-star in football and baseball, Baker was the sixth man on the 1964 hoop squad that lost to Holliston in the state finals. In 1966, he helped Ashland win a state crown in baseball by defeating Norton, which earlier had beaten Bellingham in the semifinals.

“I was surprised and humbled when I found out I had been nominated,” Baker said; “and, when I was informed that I had been voted in as a player and as a member of the state title baseball team, that was such an honor. It’s so meaningful and special.”

Baker has fond memories of his coaches and teammates on the state-title squad. “It’ll be an incredible feeling to be inducted with so many quality players,” Baker noted. “Clem Spillane and Al Adams were terrific coaches, and I greatly respected all my teammates. We had excellent team chemistry and a sense of togetherness. And we had a lot of fun.”

The scholarship to play baseball at Maryland was no fluke. Baker, who could hit for power, batted .500 in Ashland’s cleanup slot as a junior. He was a league and all-scholastic choice and was selected to play in the Hearst All Star game at Fenway Park. His DCL batting average was .480.  Later on, Baker coached Ashland’s varsity baseball team for 14 years, compiling 200-plus victories and winning three Tri Valley League championships. He was named Boston Globe Coach of the Year in 1990.

At Bellingham High, Baker taught physical education and was the Blackhawks’ athletic director for 15 years. He coached varsity baseball for BHS and is still the school’s softball coach. His 2014 softball team posted a 25-1 record and captured the state title by beating Grafton. During his tenure as athletic director, Bellingham won three Super Bowls and captured state titles in basketball, field hockey, softball and baseball. Baker was on staff at BHS for 41 years.

Starrett Puts Pro Hockey on Hold

Bellingham native Beau Starrett, who was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014 in the third round (88th overall) of the National Hockey League draft, will finish his collegiate career at Cornell University, where he’s wrapping up his junior year.

The 22-year-old Starrett helped lead the Big Red into the NCAA Tournament, where it lost in March during the quarterfinal round to Boston University, 3-1. Cornell compiled a 25-6-2 record in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and was seeded No. 1 for the eastern bracket of the NCAA playoffs. The Big Red was ranked No. 4 nationally at the end of the regular season.
“It was disappointing to lose in the tourney, but we had a great season and a great opportunity and there’s a lot to build on,” said Starrett. “We worked hard to bring Cornell back as a formidable representative of eastern hockey. We’ve put Cornell hockey on the map and are aiming for continued success next season.”

That means the 6-foot-5, 225-pound center will hold off signing a pro hockey contract with Chicago until 2019, when he’ll graduate with a degree in communications. “Professional hockey is definitely on my radar, but I’ll cross that bridge when it’s time,” he said. “Getting my education completed and getting a degree from an Ivy League school will be huge.”

Starrett played wing in his freshman and sophomore seasons at Cornell but moved to center this year. Skating on what’s labeled “the shutdown line,” he had three goals and seven assists. “Coach [Mike] Schafer uses our line to limit our opponents’ high-scoring lines,” Starrett noted.
Meanwhile, Starrett’s brother, Shane, a top-notch goalie for the Air Force Academy who signed a two-year entry-level contract with Edmonton last year, finished his first season with the Oilers, alternating between Wichita of the East Coast Hockey League and Bakersfield of the American Hockey League.

Shane was named to the ECHL all-star team and was the winning goalie in the all-star game. When he signed with Edmonton last year, that gave him the distinction of becoming the first hockey player from Bellingham to sign an NHL contract. Beau and Shane have two other brothers who played hockey. Peter played at Harvard, and Troy was a captain at Babson. All four brothers competed at Catholic Memorial.

Boys Track Team Unbeaten in 3 Meets

The boys track team at Bellingham High is undefeated in its first three meets, defeating Ashland, Millis and Norton.

Coach Peter Lacasse is pleased with the fast start and is looking forward to the second half of the season, which could end with a Tri Valley League Small Division title. “The kids are working hard, giving great effort and having fun,” he said. “If we can win our last three dual meets, we’ll be TVL Small champs. Dover-Sherborn, however, is a very strong team and that will be a tough test.”

Senior captain Josh Jones has had stunning success in the three meets, going undefeated in the shot put and discus. His best throws have been 45-6-3/4 in the shot and 103-3 in the discus. Junior captain Cam Picard is unbeaten in the javelin. His best distance is 142 feet and his best time in the 200-meter run is 24.1 seconds. Junior captain Ethan Carr has a 2-1 record in the 800 and is also running the mile. His best 800-meter time is 2:07.7.

BHS Softball off to a Good Start

The Bellingham High softball team is 2-1 after three outings, beating Ashland and Blackstone Valley Tech and losing to Medway.

In a 5-1 victory over Ashland, Kasey MacGowen pitched a complete game and allowed only one earned run. She also excelled at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one RBI. The Blackhawks were flawless in the field, led by shortstop Katie Reed, who had six assists and two putouts.
“Maddie Mantegani, MacGowen and Reed are our 1-3 hitters in the lineup, and they combined to get on base nine times against Ashland,” coach Dennis Baker said. “Our defense was excellent. After losing, 8-0, to Medway, we were ready to play in the Ashland game. There are no excuses in our loss to Medway. Our timing was off a bit, but give Medway lots of credit. They’re a good team.”

BHS Nine Splits Pair of Games

Bellingham High’s baseball team split a pair of games to start the season, defeating Medway, 2-1, and losing to Ashland, 4-1.

Junior Michael Reissfelder pitched a complete game in the win over the Mustangs. He yielded only three hits and one run. Junior Corey Chiappone’s double in the sixth inning drove in the winning run. Chiappone and Ben Youkilis pitched well against Ashland, but three unearned runs cost the Blackhawks.

“We’ve struggled in the early going to get runners on base,” coach Chiappone said. “We’ve got a young team (2 freshmen, 4 sophomores), but we’re pleased with the work ethic of our underclassmen. In our first two games, we’ve got only six hits, so patience will be needed.”
Besides Reissfelder, Corey Chiappone and Youkilis, the coach was pleased with soph centerfielder Zac Hildred, who has impressed the staff with “his willingness to work hard.”

Boys Lacrosse Team Has Improved

The Bellingham High boys lacrosse team has shown lots of improvement. Coach Steve Linehan’s squad has defeated Blackstone Valley Tech (11-4) and Norwood (17-7) for a 2-3 record to start the season.

“One of our goals was to be competitive in every game and we’ve done that,” Linehan said. “Another goal was to win more than five games, which would make us the first team at BHS to top five victories. Our future looks bright, plus we’ve got a complete jayvee team. We’ve stressed basics and our skill level has improved.”

Linehan likes the way his offense and defense have played. On offense, Mic Flynn and Colin Day have excelled. Flynn is the leading scorer with 13 goals and 4 assists while Day, a midfielder, is the Blackhawks’ second leading scorer. Defensively, Kyle McCann, Cade Linehan and Lyall Chambers have stood out.

Girls Lacrosse Team Focuses on Basics

The Bellingham High girls lacrosse team was 1-5 in the early stages of the season. Their only victory came against Blackstone Valley Tech, 16-9. Sophomore midfielder Grace Costello had four goals in a losing outing against Medway; and, in a loss to Ashland, Costello, Julia Milot and Bella Mancini each scored a goal.

 Coach Whitney McKay has been pleased with the play of sophomore Julia Carletti and senior Maureen Krista on the defensive end. “They’ve both been a strong presence on defense,” McKay said. “Sophomore Caela Hurley and eighth-grader Abigail Pierce have alternated as our goalies and they’ve done a good job.”

McKay said her squad is “growing as a team and focusing on fundamentals.” She added, “We look forward to having success every game, and we’ve been doing that regardless of what the scoreboard says. The girls are progressing and their effort is there throughout each game.”

Three Solid Finishes in Girls Track

The girls track team is winless in three meets, but coach Gordon Cole is pleased with the squad’s work ethic and its improvement.

Junior Madi Vadenais placed first in the long jump against Millis and Norton with a jump of 14 feet, 4 inches. Junior Hannah Levy posted a time of 13.6 seconds in the 100 for a second-place finish against Norton and Millis, and freshman Caitlin Nolan had a 14-foot long jump for a second-place finish against Norton and Millis.





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