This & That

High school baseball/softball opening games

Things were headed toward being the best spring for high school baseball and softball opening week we have had in a long time. More fields than usual were clear and the spring coaches had their fingers crossed that somehow weather would not still force postponements, which would pile up the way they usually do, forcing 10 or more games in a three-week period in the waning weeks of the season in May.

Fall Mountain
Fall Mountain tried to open their season on time, despite April showers. Stock photo

I do applaud both of our local states for instituting pitching regulations so no zealous looking-for-wins coaches are able to overthrow his pitchers during those stretches. I also applaud most coaches for good practice anyway, but over the years there have been some who overuse young arms until they almost fell off.

Fall Mountain has new coaches for both baseball and softball, and they both were looking forward to opening their season Monday. Things looked great until it rained Monday. They are only opening early this week because of some quick maneuvering by Wildcat Athletic Director Gordon Danserau. You see the Fall Mountain fields are ones that are not playable yet. Danserau first put in a call in hopes of playing the openers at Walpole’s wonderful Hubbard site, but those fields hadn’t passed their spring test yet either, so Danserau did the next best thing. He gave Monadnock a call and hoped that their neighboring southern rivals might have the southern exposure necessary for drier conditions. The call was successful and the games were moved to Swanzey for Monday.

Then… that rain I spoke of fell and the game was moved to Tuesday. I am typing these words at 1 p.m. Tuesday and the game is still on, but the two ADs had agreed to speak a few minutes from now to update the latest weather forecast. Hopefully the best laid plans of two ADs don’t get washed away.

Long time Fall Mountain Coach Kevin Hicks will be the new softball coach. Hicks has served as a varsity coach at Fall Mountain before, but this is his softball debut. “We have 29 players out and can field two teams and I expect with half the players returning from last year, many in key positions, that we can compete well with the teams on our schedule.”

Justin Parrott will be the junior carsity coach and Hicks’ daughter, Murphy Hicks, a former Bellows Falls Terrier softball pitcher, will assist her dad with the varsity. “I always had coached something over the years, but I took time off to watch Murphy compete in both high school and college. I started to get the coaching itch back recently and the fact Murphy can help was also a factor in me coaching again.”

Tom Boudro has been hired as the baseball coach. The former Windsor athlete, who was the Wildcat junior varsity coach for the past four seasons and has also served for the same number of years at the school as a varsity football assistant coach is excited to be taking over. He knows graduation last spring took away a number of pieces of the program, but “we hit the ball very well in our jamboree last Saturday and we have six pitchers with varying amounts of experience, but they are committed so much I am feeling good about the season.”

One name which surfaced as a possibility when the job was open for quite some time was retired coach Hank Beecher. Could he still be a possibility in the future? Fall Mountain has had a number of short in time coaches since Beecher departed and the fact Boudro is considered an interim coach makes it feasible. Beecher admits at least having discussed this year’s opening before realizing it just wouldn’t work out. Beecher is currently in charge of an elite baseball program in Keene connected with the Keene Swapbats. They play at a lighted complex in Marlboro, N.H. and he coaches young players with serious ambitions. Beecher also umpires now.

Beecher did mention to me that when discussing the Fall Mountain job with school officials “It was appealing. You don’t spend that many years doing something and not feel attached all of a sudden.”

If Beecher gets more appealed in the next 10 months and decides he can take some type of pay hit, who knows? He used to coach Fall Mountain and live in the Keene area. So now that he has moved to Walpole, it at least makes since to me that he would be a natural for the Wildcats. As I often say, stay tuned.

Fly on the wall

I am sure there have been times in your life when you just wish you were a fly on the wall listening to a conversation. The other night in Oakland, Chris Sale was pitching a stellar game, but his velocity was so far down concerns were being voiced all over New England. NESN’s camera caught Alex Cora in a very serious conversation with Ludlow’s finest Brad Pearson. That was my last fly on the wall wish.

Whatever Cora said to Pearson left the Red Sox head trainer in very deep thought. So deep, the camera cut away to Pearson more than once. Obviously Brad was thinking deep for some type of answer. The Pearson family and all of Ludlow should be so proud of how this former Black River President has developed.

No real news on any situation with Sale was released for a number of days. Then, the morning of the Sox opener, manager Alex Cora told the media, “Chris had been ill. I don’t normally make excuses for my players, but this is an exception.”

He went on to say that Sale threw limited pitches in between starts because of illness, making his six-inning start in Oakland special. I believe that is the truth. But, is it the whole truth? I still can visualize the look on Pearson’s face.

  Ice cream and running

 

Fall Mountain
Bellows Falls Track team moved up from Division III to Division II and only time will tell how they do this year. Stock photo

Depending upon how much ice cream one eats, running for a certain distance after consuming the treat, might be a good idea. There is one runner who can’t wait to get his ice cream. I spoke to Willie Moore over the weekend, one of the winners in last season’s Dari Joy Baseball Contest and the former Bellows Falls Union High School cross country and track star is enjoying a strong senior year at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, a Division II school.

During the indoor season, his performance on the anchor leg of the Distance Medley Relay guaranteed his team a fifth place team finish at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships. During the same meet, Moore ran an altitude converted 4:14 indoor mile.

This spring in outdoor track, Moore sparkled in the 5,000 at the Washington University Invitational in St. Louis, finishing seventh out of 250 participants with a 14:49 clocking. During this season, he also turned in a 3:59 in the 1,500 at the Cal Invitational.

Moore’s alma mater, Bellows Falls Union High School, opens their home season Friday at Hadley Field. The Terriers will be competing in Division II this spring following a string of Division III championships for each gender, which left the entire division in the dust.

Despite moving up, Coach Tim Eno believes his teams will be competitive moving up, but at the moment, “Abbe Cravinho has an achilles injury and more than a dozen kids are going to Europe for 10 days, so growth will be tough to tell for a while. I do feel a top-three finish is doable for both teams though.”

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