PAWTUCKET â€“ Plate discipline and strike zone recognition can be found on the first page of the hitterâ€™s manual. Knowing the pitches one can drive goes hand-in-hand with refusing to chase the ones that dance outside the strike zone, tempting as they may be.
One day Yale head baseball coach John Stuper passed along this nugget to Ryan Lavarnway, words of wisdom mentioned to him by Gene Tenace, a former teammate of Stuperâ€™s with the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 80s.
As a Hall of Fame second baseman blessed with the ability to influence the game's outcome with his bat and glove, Ryne Sandberg appreciates the intangibles that present day second sackers Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano bring to the ballpark.
To Sandberg, Lehigh Valleyâ€™s first-year manager, Pedroia and Cano are chips off the old block. For good measure, so is Chase Utley, who unlike Pedroia and Cano operates outside of the A.L. East caldron.
PAWTUCKET -- Hideki Okajima tossed two spotless innings Monday, his first appearance since July 8. The lefty lowered his ERA to 1.47 in 21 appearances, yet it hasnâ€™t been all fun and games, at least according to the pitcher himself.
â€śItâ€™s been very unsatisfying,â€ť said Okajima through interpreter Jeff Cutler when asked how he would quantify the season to date. â€śI havenâ€™t been able to enjoy baseball the way I would like to.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€” The Pawtucket Red Sox are in a pennant race.
Just donâ€™t mention it to PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler.
â€śI get excited about all of our wins,â€ť Beyeler said Wednesday after his PawSox moved to within one game of International League North division leader Lehigh Valley with a 2-1 walkoff victory, their third win in as many games with the IronPigs this week.
Pawtucket can move into a tie for first place with a win over Lehigh Valley in tonightâ€™s series finale.
EAST PROVIDENCE â€” There were more than a half dozen birdie putts that either lipped out or just missed the mark. There were two holes that he probably wished he could have had back.
But after an opening round of 3-over 73 at the 82nd annual New England Amateur Championship on Monday, Pawtucketâ€™s Kyle Hoffman was perfectly content with how he shot the ball at the challenging and tricky Metacomet Country Club.
PAWTUCKET â€“ The second and final game of Carl Crawfordâ€™s rehab assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox left much to be desired.
An 0-for-3 showing at the plate and no action in left field in the PawSoxâ€™s 11-8 loss to the Durham Bulls on Saturday at McCoy Stadium wasnâ€™t the evening Crawford envisioned before rejoining the Boston Red Sox. Nonetheless, the left fielder departed Pawtucket with at least one reason for optimism: a healthy left hamstring.
PAWTUCKET â€” The fans came to see Carl Crawford and went home talking about Ryan Lavarnway.
Crawford, in his first of two rehab games with Pawtucket, reached base in all three of his at-bats during Pawtucketâ€™s 3-2 win over Durham on Friday night. He blooped a single over the second basemanâ€™s head in the first, walked in the third, and reached on a fielderâ€™s choice in the fifth, scoring one batter later when Lavarnway crushed a home run down the left field line that cleared everything, bouncing around in the parking lot as the crowd collectively murmured â€śWho is this guy?â€ť
RIVERSIDE â€“ Their pitchers might not have thrown as hard and their batters might not have had the same pop, but when it came to throwing strikes and make plays in the field, no one was better than Cumberland National.
Cumberland was spotless defensively and pitchers Sydney Provencal and Katerina Kent allowed only seven base runners the entire game as the offense took advantage of two errors in a 3-0 win over East Greenwich to claim the Rhode Island Major Division Softball Championship Friday night.
EAST GREENWICH --- Jamison Randall has already proven in his young career that heâ€™s a golfer with unlimited potential.
On Thursday afternoon at the R.I. Amateur Championship, he also proved he has the heart that goes with it.
Randall wasnâ€™t able to advance to todayâ€™s quarterfinal matches, but the recent Cumberland High grad gave two-time champion Brad Valois all he could handle during match play of the Round of 16 at the Potowomut Country Club.
WOONSOCKET â€” Will the third bout in Reynaldo Rodriguezâ€™s comeback be the charm?
Itâ€™s been more than seven years since Rodriguez experienced the thrill of victory, but the Woonsocket super middleweight will try to end that dry spell on Friday, July 29, when he appears on the undercard of Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.â€™s â€śHeat Waveâ€ť show at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Rodriguez (5-2, 2 KOs) will contest Keith Kozlin (6-2, 4 KOs) of West Warwick in a six-round showdown thatâ€™s sure to grab the attention of the Rhode Island fight fans that will make the short trek to the casino.