As the associate head coach at Norwalk (Conn.) Community College, Patrick Vigilio enjoyed a front row seat to see Erik Bedard go from an unknown with tried-and-true Canadian roots to a bona fide staff ace.
âErik was a hockey player for the most part. Most kids in Canada are because they donât have high school baseball up there,â recalled Vigilio in a telephone interview Friday. âHe was throwing in the mid 80s when he started out, but through hard work he was able to take his game to the next level, obviously.â
LINCOLN --- Itâs been nearly two months since Bruce Foster finished in a tie for second place with his brother, Jeff, at the 2011 Spartan Death Race, a 45-hour ultra-endurance test through a grueling 40-mile course in Pittsfield, Vt., but their accomplishment has still been the talk around Lincoln.
The brothersâ success has also reached a point where workout enthusiasts of all ages, sizes, and abilities have asked them if they could train with them and follow the extra-tough training regimen they used to prepare for and succeed in the Death Race.
CUMBERLAND - It's always the same. For most of his 30-plus years playing softball, nothingâs changed for Kirby Murphy each time he faces an opposing pitcher.
Before he approaches the on-deck circle, he takes three warm-up swings with three different bats. He then walks near the batterâs box with the bat that heâs going to use and swings that three times. He then signals for a time out and takes two more swings inside the batterâs box before heâs ready to go.
CUMBERLAND â After a much-deserved 10-day break from competitive baseball, recent state champion Cumberland American begins its quest for a trip to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series this weekend. The All-Star squad faces Massachusettsâs titlist Andover National Saturday afternoon at 2 in the opener of the New England Regional Tournament at Breen Field in Bristol, Conn.
PAWTUCKET â The topic was Ryan Lavarnway and the most prolific home run hitters to ever to suit up for the Pawtucket Red Sox. After all, when youâve amassed 13 round trippers in 43 games â Lavarnwayâs mashing rate heading into Mondayâs action â you start flashing back to names like Jim Rice, Sam Horn, Phil Plantier and Izzy Alcantara and the baseballs they made vanish.
WEST WARWICK â As Jim Dawber watched a mentally and physically drained Ryan OâDell unleash pitch after pitch, a conclusion to Sundayâs marathon of baseball at McCarthy Stadium unfolded in his mind.
âOh wow,â the Cumberland Post 14 manager thought to himself. âWeâre going to win the championship, and heâs going to win the MVP.ââ
Speaking through visible emotion a short while later, Dawber came to grips with the crushing reality.
âIt didnât play out that way in real life,â he said.
NORTH ATTLEBORO â The mission of Chemawa Golf Course is simple.
âIf people think itâs fair, theyâll come back,â Chemawa owner Glen Burke was saying over the weekend. âA lot of older guys have said âI went somewhere and the rough was so high and thick that I was tired by the end of the round.â [At Chemawa] youâre not going to be tired, youâre going to enjoy yourself.
âMy thought is that when they come into the parking lot, they forget about their worries and enjoy themselves,â Burke added. âI think thatâs true as based on the number of car doors and trunks that open.â
PAWTUCKET â Lars Anderson made four trips to the plate Sunday, every one of them transpiring in a Pawtucket Red Sox uniform.
For someone who spent Saturday night bidding farewell to teammates and contemplating a future in Oakland, Anderson spent most of Sunday morning trying to make sense of the unstable trade winds that had rocked his universe. One minute the first baseman was standing in the batterâs box in McCoy Stadium. Then came word that Anderson was involved in a trade that would have sent starting pitcher Rich Harden to Boston.
PAWTUCKET â Not even the nifty baserunning maneuver that Ryan Lavarnway pulled off the eighth inning could yield a smile on the face of PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.
Truth be told, Lavarnwayâs ability to avoid the tag while sliding into second base represented the lone highlight in Pawtucketâs 7-2 loss to Louisville Sunday afternoon. The power-hitting catcher had his eyes on second base after lining a bullet down the left field line. The throw from Bats leftfielder Felix Perez was there with plenty of time to spare, but Lavarnway was able to dance around the tag and get a hand on the bag.
WEST WARWICK â Joe Yankee wasnât even sure heâd be able to pitch on Saturday. Hurd Auto Mall certainly wishes he hadnât.
With Cumberland Post 14 fighting to stay alive in the American Legion Senior Division state tournament, its ace left-hander overcame back and shoulder discomfort to toss a complete-game three-hitter that headlined his teamâs 2-0 win at sun-splashed McCarthy Stadium.
It was quite an afternoon for the Lincoln High School rising senior, who celebrated his birthday by striking out eight batters and not allowing a runner past second base.