Sunday, April 29, 2018

Kyle MacLean finds his power swing, is on home run tear

MacLean (WCSU athletics)
Western Connecticut State University junior Kyle MacLean had gone 164 college at bats without hitting a home run.
Then came at bat No. 165 against Eastern Connecticut State University this past Tuesday. The bases were loaded in the bottom of the third inning in a scoreless game. MacLean unloaded them with a grand slam, his first collegiate home run.
Fast forward to today, and MacLean has homered in four straight games. 
That's right, FOUR. 
The former St. Paul standout leads the team with four home runs after not having one through the first 26 games. In fact, MacLean has gone deep four times in his last 17 at bats, or a ridiculous rate of a home run every 4.25 at bats.
After a Wednesday doubleheader against Albertus Magnus College was cancelled -- weather has really been a problem this spring -- WCSU played at Lehman College in the Bronx on Thursday. The Colonials won a 20-12 slugfest against their hosts, and MacLean hit a two-run homer in the first inning.
After another cancelled game against John Jay on Friday, WCSU was at Rhode Island College for a doubleheader on Saturday. MacLean played in both games, and he went 6-for-9 with two home runs, eight RBI and four runs scored. 
In the first game of the twin bill, MacLean's three-run homer in the top of the third inning cut a Colonial deficit to 8-6. He also had a two-run single in the first inning of a game WCSU eventually won 14-10.
In the second game, MacLean launched a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to cut a deficit in half to 9-7. The Colonials wound up losing the game 9-7.
To recap, in MacLean's last 17 at bats, he is hitting .588 (10-for-17) with four home runs, one double, 15 RBI and seven runs scored. That's one amazing four-game stretch.
WCSU hosts New Rochelle on Monday, weather permitting of course.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: MacLean makes first collegiate home run a grand one

MacLean (WCSU athletics)
Western Connecticut State University junior Kyle MacLean hadn't hit a collegiate home run going into Tuesday's game against Eastern Connecticut State.
The former St. Paul third baseman got his first one with one big bang in the bottom of the third inning of a 7-5 loss. MacLean launched a grand slam to left field to put the Colonials ahead 4-0. The home run sailed well over the fence, just inside the fair pole.
MacLean doubled his career home run total in the next game he played, a 20-12 victory over Lehman on Thursday. This time, MacLean blasted a two-run homer the other way over the right centerfield fence. His homer scored fellow Southington native Joe Daigle and gave WCSU an early 3-0 lead.
MacLean has played in 16 of WCSU's 28 games. He is hitting .322 with two home runs, four doubles, 12 RBI and 12 runs scored.
MacLean wasn't the only former Bristol baseball player to contribute to that win over Lehman.

Marquis (WCSU athletics)
Zach Marquis, Western Connecticut State University baseball
The freshman from Bristol Eastern was called on to pitch during the high-scoring Lehman game, and he provided a whole bunch of relief.
Marquis threw 4 1/3 innings, gave up a single run and struck out five. He also earned praise from his head coach John Susi.
"Marquis was huge for the win," Susi said. "It was a bulldog effort from the freshman."
Marquis entered the game in the fourth inning, and he allowed Lehman a single run. That allowed WCSU to get its offense in high gear and take over the game.
Marquis has pitched in three games for the Colonials. He is 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA. He has given up three runs on 10 hits over 7 2/3 innings, struck out nine and walked just one.

Charline Plasczynski, Western Connecticut State University softball
Plasczynski (WCSU athletics)

The sophomore utility player and former Bristol Eastern standout has had a knack for getting extra-base hits.
That was never more evident than in a 10-0 win over New England College on April 20. Plasczynski was 3-for-3 that game with three doubles and a RBI. She leads the team with eight doubles and is second with four home runs. She is also hitting .333 overall.
Plasczynski has continued to hit since the second game of that New England College doubleheader. In the last six games, she has had two hits four different times. Plasczynski is in the middle of a seven-game hit streak and has driven in five runs.
WCSU plays a doubleheader today at Plymouth State. The Colonials are fourth in the Little East Conference standings and looking to improve upon their playoff positioning.

DeFoe (Albertus Magnus athletics)
Aubrey DeFoe, Albertus Magnus College softball
This Falcon freshman and former Holy Cross standout is also clubbing doubles at a high rate.
In fact, seven of DeFoe's 19 hits this season have gone for two bases. That's tied for third on the team and just two off of the top number of nine.
Two of those doubles came in a 6-3 win over the University of Saint Joseph on April 24 in West Hartford. It was the second time this month that DeFoe had two doubles in a game, with the other coming against Regis on April 8.
DeFoe, Watertown native, is hitting .339 for the season, and she has one of the 11 homers hit by the Falcons. Albertus Magnus hosts Emmanuel College today in a doubleheader. The Falcons are looking to maintain their grip on third place in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

Chris Flynn, Roger Williams University baseball
Flynn (RWU athletics)

Speaking of former Crusaders having an impact as freshmen, put this right-handed pitcher in that category.
Flynn threw a perfect top of the eighth inning on Thursday with RWU trailing Johnson & Wales 2-1. The Hawks rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning, and Flynn wound up taking the win in a 4-2 victory.
Flynn, a Naugatuck native, ran his record to 3-0. He has appeared in nine games for RWU, including two starts, and has racked up two saves. In 16 1/3 innings, Flynn has held opponents to a .200 batting average and given up six runs on 12 hits. He has struck out 15 and walked eight.
RWU is looking to keep its grip on the top spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings. The Hawks are 10-2, just ahead of 9-3 Salve Regina. RWU has five games left in the regular season, starting with today's doubleheader at Endicott. On Sunday, the Hawks host Salve Regina in a doubleheader that could determine the conference regular season champion.

Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Wolcott boys tennis tops Holy Cross, remains undefeated

Wolcott's Tyler Sgrott serves the ball to Holy Cross' Andrew Russo
during their No. 6 singles match on Thursday at Holy Cross.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The Wolcott and Holy Cross boys tennis teams will be very familiar with each other by the end of the day Saturday.
Because of all the rescheduling that has occurred this spring, the Eagles and Crusaders will have played each other in back-to-back matches. The first of those two showdowns occurred on Thursday at Wolcott High School, and it went in favor of Wolcott by a score of 6-3. The Eagles remained undefeated at 11-0 while the Crusaders dropped to 5-2.
This was supposed to be the season where someone would dethrone Wolcott. That could still happen, but the Eagles -- who lost four out of five top players from last year -- haven't lost yet.
Seniors Alex Hale and Raheel Chowdhury have led the way for Wolcott. The same held true on Thursday, with each claiming 8-3 wins against Holy Cross. Hale defeated Dan Huang 8-3 and Chowdhury knocked off Zekai Zhang 8-3.
At No. 5 singles, Wolcott's Kevin Quinn won 8-6 in a tightly contested match against Dan Chen. No. 6 singles went to Tyler Sgrott, 8-2 over Andrew Russo.
Wolcott's Kevin Quinn hits a backhand to Holy Cross' Dan Chen
during their No. 5 singles match on Thursday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
In No. 2 doubles, Chowdhury and Quinn defeated Zhang and Rich Denardo 8-2. At No. 3 doubles, Tyler Shoban and Sgrott won 8-2 over Chen and Peter Zhu.
Wolcott's lineup on Thursday included two juniors and a sophomore. The juniors are Shoban and Quinn, and the sophomore is Alex Fishbein.
Wolcott's closest match so far this season was 5-4 against Torrington at home on April 20. The Eagles and Red Raiders split their singles matches, so the contest came down to doubles. Hale and Fishbein won No. 1 doubles 8-2, Chowdhury and Quinn took No. 2 by a margin of 8-3. Wolcott improved to 8-0 at the time with the victory over Torrington.
The Eagles face Holy Cross on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Holy Cross. A rematch with Torrington awaits on May 4 in Torrington, followed by the home finale on May 7 against Naugatuck. There are also matches against Watertown (April 30) and Wilby (May 1).

GALLERY: Click here to see photos from Thursday's match.

Kennedy baseball rallies for 3-2 win over Sacred Heart

Kennedy breaks its postgame huddle after a 3-2 comeback win over Sacred Heart
on Thursday at Waterville Park. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The Kennedy baseball team played Thursday afternoon's game against Sacred Heart with 12 players.
A short roster has been the story of the season for the Eagles, but it got even more extreme on Thursday. By the time they tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning, they were down to 11 players. Junior Marquis Blagmon had to leave after scoring the tying run so that he could attend his National Honor Society induction, head coach Chris Sarlo said. A short bench in a tie game could be a major problem, especially if it goes to extra innings.
Kennedy used all 12 of its players, and fought to the end of the game at Waterville Park. The fight was well worth it, and the Eagles rallied to stun the Hearts by a score of 3-2.
Kennedy went ahead in the top of the seventh on Jake Desjardin's single, which brought home Anthony Quinones. Angel Galindez allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the inning, then gave up a grounder to second to slam the door on a 3-2 Eagle victory.
Kennedy's Jake Desjardins smacks a go-ahead single in the seventh inning
of Thursday's game. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Kennedy improved to 3-8, though you may never have seen a more satisfied 3-8 team than the one that walked off the field at Waterville Park on Thursday.
The Eagles fell behind 2-0, and they were still down that margin entering the top of the sixth. Blagmon led off with a double. He advanced to third on a fielder's choice, then made it home on an error on the same play. Galindez advanced from first to third on the play. Francisco Ogando lifted a sacrifice fly to left field, which brought home Galindez with the tying run.
In the bottom of the sixth, Galindez got a called third strike to strand a Sacred Heart runner on third base.
Quinones worked a walk to lead off the top of the seventh. With Desjardins at the plate, Quinones stole second base. He advanced to third after an error on a pickoff throw.
On a 3-2 count, Desjardins lined a single to center to bring home Quinones and put Kennedy ahead 3-2.
Sacred Heart catcher Evan Laferriere tags out Desjardins at home
in the seventh inning. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The game was far from over. Sacred Heart had Justin Stephens, Jimmy Edwards and Ernest McClary coming to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Sarlo quipped that it was like having Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees due up.
Galindez got a pop up back to himself for the first out, then picked up a strikeout for the second one. McClary walked, but Galindez induced a grounder to Quinones at second base, who threw to Pablo Barrera at first to end the game. 
Barrera pitched the first four innings for Kennedy. He gave up two runs, eight hits, struck out two and walked three. Xavier Frias came on in relief and pitched 1 1/3 innings, then was followed by Galindez for the final 1 2/3 innings. Galindez was the winning pitcher.
Sacred Heart (5-6) got both of its runs in the third inning. Noah Knappe led off with a double, reached third on a Justin Stephens single, then scored on a bunt by Jimmy Edwards. Stephens later scored on a double play to put the Hearts ahead 2-0.
Mike DeSimone pitched the first 5 1/3 innings for Sacred Heart. He gave up two runs on three hits, struck out six and walked two.

GALLERY: Click here to see images from Thursday's game.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

TRACK AND FIELD NOTES: Penisse earns St. Paul team record in pole vault, Mbaya a strong thrower for Crosby

St. Paul senior pole vaulter Vinnie Penisse set a school record in his event
at 11 feet, six inches during Tuesday's meet against Crosby and Sacred Heart.
Penisse won the event at 11-6. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
It was a good day for St. Paul senior pole vaulter Vinnie Penisse on Tuesday at Jimmy Lee Stadium in Waterbury.
Not only did he win the pole vault at 11 feet, six inches, he set a Falcon program record, according to head coach Jim Husbands, who began coaching the team in 2011. Husbands said they haven't been able to find track records at St. Paul before his arrival, so Penisse's mark puts him at the top.
"I'd like to see Vinnie over 12 feet," Husbands said during the tri-meet against Crosby and Sacred Heart. "He's done 11-6 consistently, he just needs to keep working on smaller things."
Penisse was the lone individual winner for St. Paul at the meet, but there are plenty of Falcons working hard to achieve individual goals.
Senior Christian Sturm has qualified for the state meet in the shot put and is close in the discus. Sturm also competes in the hammer throw, and Husbands believes Sturm can make a run at a state record and a second straight state championship in the event.
Junior Eric Langland is taking aim at state qualification in the javelin, and Husbands said he is close to getting it.
The St. Paul girls won 66-53 over Crosby. The Falcons had two overall individual winners and one first place relay. Junior Melissa Lyder was first in the 300 hurdles with a time of 60.43. Fellow junior Alena Hauer took the top spot in the pole vault at six feet, six inches.
The 4x100-meter relay of Emily Biscoglio, Krista Christmas, Emma Schatz and Irene Rotondo was first in a time of 61.95.

The Crosby boys defeated St. Paul and came within nine points of
Sacred Heart during Tuesday's meet at Jimmy Lee Stadium. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Bulldog boys beat St. Paul 110-25 and came within nine points (79-70) of Sacred Heart.
Crosby senior Bernardo Mbaya swept the throwing events in another strong performance. Mbaya won the shot put with a toss of 40 feet, seven and a half inches. He took the top spot in the discus at 123 feet, 10 inches. Mbaya was first in the javelin at 136 feet, nine inches.
Crosby also picked up single individual wins from Jaedon Wolfe (100 dash, 12.14), Evinn Campbell (400 meters, 52.64), Tolany Velez (300 hurdles, 46.09) and Elijah Lewis (800, 2:11.21). The Bulldogs also got a win in the 4x100 in 46.17 behind the team of Malik Patrick, Evinn Campbell, Wolfe and Raecuan Digsby.
The Crosby girls lost both meets on Tuesday. Sophomore Ja'Taya Evans won two events, which were the long jump and triple jump. Evans did 15 feet, 7 3/4 inches in the long jump and 29 feet, 3 3/4 inches in the triple jump.

Heart boys track and field looking to compete in NVL, also taking aim at Class S title

It was full speed ahead for the Sacred Heart boys in wins over St. Paul and Crosby
on Tuesday at Crosby High School. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Sacred Heart boys track and field improved to 7-1 with wins of 79-70 over Crosby and 119-29 over St. Paul during Tuesday's tri-meet at Jimmy Lee Stadium.
The Hearts aspire to compete at the highest levels of both the NVL and Class S, where they were the runner-up to Derby. In running events, Sacred Heart can compete in anything from the 200 meters to the 3200.
"I've got great coaches, I've got great kids," Hearts head coach Tom Festa said.
Sacred Heart has strong athletes up and down the lineup, led by a strong distance team paced by senior Jonny Warren. 
"We're moving forward where we want to go," Festa said.
The Hearts also step up to fill voids when they occur. For instance, star E.J. Williams is out a couple weeks with a sprained ankle. In steps Noah Francisco, who took first place in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 20.66.
"Everybody steps up now that E.J. is out," Festa said.
Festa also listed names like Mechai Hayes, Andre Anderson, Mike DiGiovancarlo, Nyron Drunnaramanio and Zach Francisco. Klajdi Cepa is solid in the throws and the javelin. In a show of depth, three Hearts have qualified for states in the 200 meters so far this season.
Sacred Heart has to go up against Derby, Seymour, Woodland and Naugatuck for NVL supremacy. In Class S, Derby and Immaculate are among the major foes.
The wins for the Sacred Heart boys were the following:

4x800: Zach Francisco, Adam Pepin, Nick Salerno, Jonny Warren, time of 9:29.46
110H: Noah Francisco, 20.66
1600: Warren, 4:42.36
200: Mechai Hayes, 23.65
3200: Warren, 10:27.89
4x400: Z. Francisco, Michael DiGiovancarlo, Andre Anderson, Hayes, 3:37.01
HJ: Drunnaramanio, 5-8
LJ: N. Francisco, 18-10
TJ: Tajeem Staley, 36-9

Jenna French and the Sacred Heart girls also picked up wins over St. Paul and Crosby
on Tuesday at Crosby High School. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Hearts improved to 5-3 with wins of 113-26 over Crosby and 109-34 over St. Paul on Tuesday.
"They cheer each other on, they all work hard," Festa said.
Junior distance runner Jenna French is a big-time contributor for Sacred Heart. Sophomore Beverly Okoronkwo was mentioned by Festa, and she had a solid day against the Bulldogs and Falcons. Okoronkwo qualified for the state meet in the 200 and is close in the 400, Festa said.
Veronique Recile, Elysa Lopez and Nicole Dasilva are tremendous sophomores, and Asia Chapman is a freshman who will have to be reckoned with down the road.
Senior Michele Vasiliou is solid in the throws.
"They just compete and they work hard," Festa said.
The wins for the Sacred Heart girls were the following:

4x800: Melany Boivin, Nicole Dasilva, Ashlyn Arcuri, Jenna French, time of 12:39.34
100H: Ashley Vasiliou, 20.63
100: Asia Chapman, 13.79
1600: French, 5:39.74
400: Okoronkwo, 66.42
800: French, 2:37.21
200: Okoronkwo, 28.32
3200: French, 12:44.90
4x400: Lopez, Dasilva, Victoria Creaven, Arcuri, 5:27.47
HJ: Madeline Bouffard, 4-6
SP: Michele Vasiliou, 30-4.5
Discus: Michele Vasiliou, 78-1
Javelin: Alyssa Parrillo, 75-6

Sacred Heart senior Jonny Warren working hard, making name for himself

Sacred Heart senior Jonny Warren, right, runs around the perimeter of the Jimmy Lee Stadium
track during Tuesday's meet against St. Paul and Crosby. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Sacred Heart boys track and field has several names that immediately click in your mind, but there's one that doesn't get as much recognition.
That name is Jonny Warren, and he is the leader of a strong Hearts corp of distance runners. Warren's name isn't bantered about as much as others such as E.J. Williams and Mechai Hayes, but Warren is OK with that. In fact, he embraces the role of underdog.
"It's not like everyone's worrying about me," Warren, a senior, said during Tuesday's meet against St. Paul and Crosby at Jimmy Lee Stadium. "I just get to go out there and surprise them."
Warren runs down the final stretch of the 1600 meters
during Tuesday's meet. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Warren has worked hard, and his personal reward came Wednesday morning, when he signed his National Letter of Intent to Division II Southern Connecticut State University.
Warren received strong praise from head coach Tom Festa.
"The hardest worker I've ever had," Festa said. "I hope this distance team takes his lead. We should be very good for years to come."
As for SCSU, it was close to Warren's hometown of Naugatuck and the Owl runners share a commitment to running and working hard to get even faster.
"For me, it was a perfect blend," Warren said.
Warren said he saw SCSU runners like him going much faster than they had in high school.
"Obviously, it's working for them," Warren said, adding that he would love to get faster.
Warren said running is more methodically taught at SCSU, and it goes into greater detail. It's not surprising Warren likes that, given he gravitates more toward the tactical approach that distance running provides.
Warren's specialties are the mile and two-mile races (1600 and 3200 meters). During Warren's sophomore year, he knew he had a chance to compete at the next level.
"I started to take it a lot more seriously," Warren said.
For distance runners, training is emphasized more. Warren could be seen running around the Jimmy Lee Stadium facility after his win in the 1600. Warren also won the 3200, and he was part of the winning 4x800-meter relay team.
"I do a lot of high-mileage stuff," Warren said.
Warren focuses more on aerobic strength in his training.
As for the classroom, Warren is unsure of a major, though Exercise Science sounds interesting. Warren talked about studying a human's limits and how Nike was trying to get someone who could run a marathon in less than two hours.
Warren's focus on a high school track is on being ready for the big meets at the end of the season: NVLs, the Class S championship, and the State Open.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sacred Heart's Raheem Solomon signs with Division I Niagara University

Sacred Heart star Raheem Solomon (11) signed his National Letter of Intent
with Division I Niagara University on Tuesday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2018 file)
Sacred Heart senior boys basketball basketball standout Raheem Solomon signed his National Letter of Intent to Division I Niagara University on Tuesday.
Solomon figures to get a chance to contribute early for the Purple Eagles. Niagara loses three senior guards from this past season's team to graduation, including redshirt senior Kahlil Dukes, who played for Capital Prep in Hartford. Dukes originally went to USC, then transferred to Niagara. Dukes was Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention as a senior with the Purple Eagles.
As for Solomon, what is there to say about what he has done at Sacred Heart? Four straight NVL championships without a single loss, three state championships, and the third highest point total in program history are just part of his accolades.
This stat is by far the most astounding: 107-1. That was Sacred Heart's record against CIAC opponents during Solomon's time in the program. Solomon did everything, and I mean everything, he could to make that record 108-0 in the Division I state final loss to Notre Dame-Fairfield.
Solomon joins half-brother Mustapha Heron, Tyrn Flowers and Malik Petteway in the recent slate of Hearts who have made their way to a Division I college basketball program.

BOYS LACROSSE NOTES: JV football coach Hayes the head man at Wolcott

Wolcott's coaching staff and players look on before the second half of Monday's match
at St. Paul. Chris Hayes, middle, is the head coach. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Wolcott boys lacrosse has had a tough two-match stretch against Holy Cross and St. Paul.
The Eagles lost 12-11 in sudden death overtime to the Crusaders at home last Friday, then were drubbed 16-2 by the Falcons on Monday. The losses dropped Wolcott to 2-3 on the season.
The Eagles had bigger struggles to worry about up until the season began. Wolcott was officially without a head coach until March 20, when Chris Hayes was approved at a Special Board of Education meeting. Hayes took over for former head coach Sam Glaser. Glaser's resignation was approved at the Oct. 10, 2017, Board of Education meeting. Glaser has since become a coach of Nonnewaug's club lacrosse team.
Hayes is the head coach of the junior varsity football team. Anthony Bell and Dean Bard were approved as volunteer assistant lacrosse coaches at the same March 20 BOE meeting.
It was a quick adjustment period for the new coaches and their players, given that the first official day for practice was three days earlier on March 17. For those who played last season, Hayes is their second head coach in just two varsity seasons.
The season opener against St. Paul on April 4 was a rough one. Wolcott followed it up, however, with two straight wins over Bristol Central on April 5 and Vinal Tech on April 13.
Wolcott's seniors, according to the CIAC roster, are Joseph Bly, Michael Harkin, Colin Pawlak, Nathan Lucas, Ryan Audibert, Nicholas Welton and Justin Thibeau.

PHOTOS: Click here to see photos from Monday's match against St. Paul.

The Crusaders picked up a 6-4 road win over Watertown on Monday night, and two players were once again at the center of the action.
Senior Dillon Sanzari and junior Alex Ward each scored two goals for Holy Cross. Sanzari and Ward lead the Crusaders with 12 goals apiece, according to stats posted on MaxPreps.
Ward is also very strong on faceoffs. He has won 32 of 46 faceoffs, or 69.6 percent.
If there's an assist on a goal for Holy Cross, it generally comes from freshman Danny Mara. Mara had an assist on Monday and leads the team with 11.
Junior goalie Justin Bebarski tallied 16 saves for Holy Cross on Monday. He has 57 in five matches in this season.
Sanzari and fellow seniors Rich Blanco, Manny Diorio and Cam Cooney are counted upon to grab groundballs. Sophomore Jack Villano has also contributed in that department.

St. Paul boys lacrosse off to awesome start

Kevin Ashworth and the St. Paul boys lacrosse team are off
to a 7-0 start after Monday's 16-2 win over Wolcott.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69
Another match, another easy win for the St. Paul boys lacrosse team on Monday.
This time, Wolcott was the opponent. The Falcons sprinted out to a 9-1 halftime lead and wound up winning 16-2. St. Paul is 7-0 and has outscored opponents by an astounding margin of 125-18. Six of those matches have been against Western Connecticut Lacrosse Conference foes.
Freshman Brycen Kennedy had seven goals and two assists, and junior Kevin Ashworth added four goals and four assists. Sophomore Tucker Raymond tallied three goals and three assists. Senior captain Chris Dionne had a goal and an assist, junior Ryan Prendergast scored a goal, and junior Connor Bogdanski tallied an assist. 
That's a lot of offense, and that's what St. Paul has brought to the field in the first seven games. Raymond, Kennedy and Ashworth are the attackmen, and they are dynamic together. Raymond and Kennedy find themselves among the state leaders in goals and total points, according to results reported by teams to MaxPreps. Dionne is also capable of scoring for the Falcons, giving them four legitimate threats.
When St. Paul won the faceoff against Wolcott, it immediately bolted into the Eagle end of the field, and often found the goal in quick fashion.
St. Paul head coach Chris Kennedy looks on during Monday's match.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Head coach Chris Kennedy is happy with where the Falcons are, but he knows there's more work to be done. 
There are also some tough non-conference matchups coming up. St. Paul hosts Jonathan Law of Milford today at 4 p.m. Law is 3-3, but it plays in the much larger Southern Connecticut Conference. On May 7, St. Paul welcomes North Branford of the Shoreline Conference at 4 p.m. Two days later, the Falcons are under the lights at 6:30 against Northwest Catholic of the Central Connecticut Conference. St. Paul is at Canton of the North Central Connecticut Conference on May 12. On May 15, the Falcons host Bristol Eastern of the CCC at 4 p.m. The final non-conference matchup is at Woodstock Academy of the Eastern Connecticut Conference on May 17.
Kennedy and his coaching staff are looking to see how St. Paul stacks up against its non-conference schedule. The first issue for any St. Paul opponent, however, will be to figure out how to slow down the explosive Falcon offense.

GALLERY: Click here to see my photos from Monday's match.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

More pro basketball for Waterbury's Ryan Gomes

Gomes (Power, Big3 Basketball League)
Former NBA player Ryan Gomes will be back playing basketball, though maybe not where you thought he he would be.
The Waterbury native and former star at Wilby High and Providence College was chosen in the Big3 Draft by the Power.
OK, so the first question is: What the heck is the Big3?
The Big3 is a second-year league co-founded by rap mogul Ice Cube, who has had a strong solo career after his time in NWA. It is three-on-three basketball. Ice Cube is co-CEO of the league, and the commissioner is none other than former NBA star and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler. Pretty heady stuff.
As for Gomes, his new teammates are Corey Maggette, Cutino Mobley, Glen Davis, Quentin Richardson and Chris Anderson. The team is coached by Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman.
The Big3 is filled with former NBA players and several teams are coached by former pro stars like Julius Erving and George Gervin.
It will be the first professional action for Gomes since he played for the Los Angeles D-Fenders in 2016. The D-Fenders are now the South Bay Lakers and play in the rebranded NBA G League.
Big3 play begins on June 22.

Cowboys will reportedly pick up fifth-year option on St. Paul, UConn alum Byron Jones

Jones (Dallas Cowboys)
It may not be football season, but there's good news to report about former St. Paul Catholic and UConn standout Byron Jones.
Jones, who has played three seasons in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys after being drafted in the first round in 2015, is going to have his 2019 contract option picked up. That was reported by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Twitter this morning. The option is what's called a fifth-year option, and it is for $6.17 million, according to Rapoport.
Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on April 16 that he is switching to cornerback from safety, where he played for two seasons. Jones has past experience as a corner with the Cowboys, having switched between that position and safety during his rookie season.
In three seasons with Dallas, Jones has recorded 236 total tackles, including 177 solo. He has 24 passes defended and two interceptions, one of which he took to the house for a touchdown. Jones has also forced two fumbles in his career.
Jones was a big-time football and track and field athlete while at St. Paul. The New Britain native then went on to have a good career at UConn. An amazing performance at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis catapulted Jones into the spotlight and earned him a first round selection by the Cowboys.

St. Paul offense goes off in big baseball win over No. 2 St. Joseph

Julian Thayer had a monster day for St. Paul in its 13-6 win over St. Joseph
on Saturday. Thayer homered twice, doubled, drove in five runs and scored
four more. He was also the winning pitcher. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69, 2018 file)
St. Paul baseball had won five straight games entering their contest on Saturday, but their opponent was one of the toughest they will face all season.
St. Joseph had just lost for the first time all season on Friday, 7-1 at Wilton, but the Cadets were still 7-1 and ranked second in the latest GameTimeCT/New Haven Register Top 10 Baseball Poll.
Well, Julian Thayer and St. Paul went ahead and handed one of the state's best a second straight loss in explosive fashion by a score of 13-6 at St. Paul Catholic High School.
Thayer hit two home runs, drove in five runs and scored four as the Falcon offense erupted against the Cadets. St. Paul held leads of 11-2 and 13-4 in the game.
Ryan Greene smacked a home run and two doubles, drove in four runs and scored one. Josh Cofrancesco was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Thayer was also the winning pitcher. He allowed four runs (three earned) over six innings and struck out five.
Greene got St. Paul going in the first inning with a RBI double. St. Joseph got the first two outs of the second inning, then the roof caved in. Sean Crean walked, then Shaun Remillard and Cofrancesco followed with singles. Nick Morrell drove in two with a single, then Thayer launched a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left for a commanding 6-0 lead.
Cofrancesco started the next outburst in the fourth inning with a walk. Back-to-back doubles by Thayer and Greene brought in two runs, Cofrancesco and Thayer, for a 9-2 lead.
A two-out error in the fifth proved costly for St. Joseph. Thayer got a chance to bat because of the error, and he ripped his second homer of the game for an 11-2 advantage. St. Paul scored its last two runs in the sixth on some wild St. Joseph pitching (five walks, some wild pitches).
It was a dominating win, and a big win to boot, for the Falcons. St. Paul stays home for three games this week. First is Wilby on Monday, then Ansonia visits on Wednesday. On Saturday, the Falcons host Lewis Mills.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Another clutch at bat from O'Bright gives St. Paul softball walkoff win

St. Paul catcher Lindsey O'Bright and pitcher Abby Poirot (44)
had plenty to smile about on Friday. Poirot struck out 12 in the circle
and drove in a run at the plate. All O'Bright did was notch a walk-off
single to complete a 4-for-4 day. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
St. Paul catcher Lindsey O'Bright already had clutch at bats to her credit this week when she stepped into the box in the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday afternoon's home game against Oxford.
On Tuesday, O'Bright's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning put the Falcons ahead of Westerly, R.I., at the ESPN Wide World of Sports softball complex. They wound up winning that game 6-5.
O'Bright had another big opportunity, albeit in way colder, windier conditions, on Friday with St. Paul tied 3-3. The right-hand hitting senior came through again, this time with a walk-off single to deliver a 4-3 Falcon victory. O'Bright was 4-for-4 with a double, three singles and two RBI.
Abby Poirot came up big in the circle and at the plate for St. Paul. Poirot struck out 12 in a complete-game win, and she also put the Falcons ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning on a RBI triple to left field. Katelynn Oullette singled up the middle to drive in Poirot for a 3-1 lead.
Oxford tied the game in the sixth with two runs, setting up more heroics from O'Bright.
Two straight one-win runs have run St. Paul's streak to six. The Falcons (6-1) haven't lost since their season opener against Watertown. The next game is Monday against Wilby at 4 p.m. at Bucks Hill Park.

GALLERY: Click here to see my photos from Friday's game.

Holy Cross softball tops Sacred Heart on windy day at Joan Joyce Field

Holy Cross left fielder Lizzy Diorio dives into home plate to complete
her two-run, inside-the-park home run on Friday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Holy Cross softball is seven games into its 2018 season following Friday's 6-3 road win over Sacred Heart at Joan Joyce Field.
The Crusaders (5-2) play undefeated Seymour (7-0) at home today at 1 p.m. And by home, it will actually be at Holy Cross High School. Holy Cross will step foot on its own field for the first time all season today. When the Crusaders have practiced, it has been in the gym. When it's been nice out, Holy Cross has been on another field playing a game. It'll be good to be home for the Crusaders today, even with the opponent being the always formidable Wildcats.
Sacred Heart's Kayleigh O'Donnell puts down a bunt as teammate
Kaitlynn Keeley looks on from third base. Keeley scored on the play after O'Donnell
was thrown out at first base. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
On Friday, Holy Cross overcame Sacred Heart and wind that never seemed to stop. The sun was shining bright, but there was little warmth to be had. The Crusaders got home runs from Val Nobrega and Lizzy Diorio, and good pitching from Nicole Strielkauskas in the victory.
Holy Cross claimed three runs in the first inning. Allie Brown scored on an error, then Diorio began her big day with a two-run single that plated Nobrega and Jenna Mowad.
It was very windy at Joan Joyce Field on Friday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
In the third inning, Nobrega smacked a line drive into the gap in left center and made it around for an inside-the-park home run and a 4-0 lead. Anything with much hang time turned into an out with the wind, but line drives at least had a chance. Nobrega's was a line drive, and it went for a run.
Sacred Heart (5-3) struck for a run in the bottom of the third. Lauren Kiluk reached on an error, stole second, reached third on another error, then came home on Kaitlynn Keeley's 5-3 groundout.
Both teams scored a pair of runs in the sixth. Holy Cross again did it with a line drive. After Mowad reached on an error, Diorio smacked a line drive the other way to right field that turned into an inside-the-park, two-run homer and a 6-1 lead.
Sacred Heart didn't stop fighting. The Hearts got a leadoff walk from Kaitlynn Keeley, then Taylor Benjamin singled. A sacrifice moved the runners up, then Kaylee O'Donnell's fielder's choice brought in Keeley with a run.
The wind reared its ugly head on a pop up from Madison Gendron. The Crusader second baseman Nobrega ended up moving from her position at second base to near the first base bag as the wind pulled the ball backward and sideways. Nobrega dropped the ball, and Benjamin scored. All Nobrega could do was smile and laugh at the ridiculousness of the wind.
Strielkauskas got the final out of the inning on a called third strike. She finished with six punchouts.
Gendron struck out eight for the Hearts.
Holy Cross finally gets its home game today, and Sacred Heart waits until Tuesday to play its next contest.

GALLERY: Click here to see my photos from Friday's game.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

HIGH 5 OF THE WEEK: Matt Warren swings his way to GNAC Player of the Week honor

Warren (Albertus Magnus athletics)
Former Wolcott standout and current Albertus Magnus College sophomore Matt Warren put together a monster doubleheader, and he wound up with his league's top honor.
Warren was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference Baseball Player of the Week.
The left-handed hitter drove in 11 runs in two games against Rivier University, which wound up as 18-0 and 16-0 wins in favor of the Falcons last Saturday. Warren went 2-for-5 with a triple, five RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base in the 18-0 victory. 
In Game 2, Warren was 3-for-4 with a home run, triple, six RBI and three runs scored. The six RBI are a career-high and the three runs scored are a season-best, which Warren did twice in the doubleheader.
That's two games -- 5-for-9, a home run, two triples, 11 RBI, six runs scored and a stolen base.
Warren also doubled, scored a run and walked in a 14-9 loss to Worcester State on April 11.
For the three-game week, Warren hit .545 with a .538 on-base percentage and 1.273 on-base plus slugging.

Harris (Albertus Magnus athletics)
Tyriq Harris, Albertus Magnus College baseball
Warren wasn't the only local NVL guy who had a big doubleheader against Rivier.
Former Wilby and Waterbury American Legion Post 1 standout Tyriq Harris finished a single short of the cycle in the two-game stretch. He was 6-for-8 with a home run, triple, double, six RBI, six runs scored and a walk.
In the first game, Harris was 2-for-3 with a triple, three runs scored and a walk. During the second game, he was 4-for-5 with a home run, double, three RBI and three runs scored.
In the Worcester State game on April 11, Harris doubled, drove in a run and scored another.
Harris is a junior outfielder for the Falcons.

Nate Carney, Southern Connecticut State University baseball
Carney (SCSU athletics)

The Owl sophomore and former Bristol Eastern standout earned a no-decision in 2-1 loss against LIU Post last Friday, but he found his way onto the Northeast-10 Conference honor roll.
Carney pitched the first seven innings and allowed the Pioneers five hits and one walk. He struck out four, got 10 flyouts and seven groundouts.
Carney has appeared in eight games, including seven starts. He is 3-1 with one save and a 2.25 ERA. Carney has struck out 31 and walked seven in 44 innings. He has given up 21 runs (11 earned) and 53 hits.

Driscoll (USJ athletics)
McKenna Driscoll, University of Saint Joseph softball
The Blue Jay sophomore made the GNAC Weekly Honor Roll after blasting her way to a good week.
USJ went 6-0 during the week, including 4-0 in the conference. All Driscoll did during that time was hit .533 (8-for-15) with six RBI. She had two doubles and a pair of runs scored.
Driscoll's best effort was a 4-for-4 day against Norwich in the second game of a doubleheader on April 12. The Blue Jays won 7-6, and they couldn't have done it without the former Bristol Central backstop. Driscoll had a double, three RBI and a run scored.
In the first game, a 4-1 win, Driscoll went 2-for-2 with a RBI, run scored and a walk.
She has played in 19 games and is hitting .431. Driscoll has a homer, three doubles, 16 RBI, eight walks and nine runs scored.

Emily Bourassa, University of Saint Joseph lacrosse
Bourassa (USJ athletics)
While in Bristol, this Eastern graduate was part of the first teams ever to play as part of the Bristol Co-op between the Lancers and their Ram counterparts at Central.
Bourassa made history with the co-op during that time. Now the goalkeeper is a senior at USJ, and she hit a big career milestone last Saturday at Rivier. When Bourassa made her seventh save of the game, it was the 600th of her career. She started all 49 of her career games in goal for the Blue Jays.

In 10 games this season, Bourassa has 120 saves.

Statistics and information compiled from the team website of each athlete.

Different experiences for young Bristol Eastern, Central softball teams

The Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central softball teams are both young, but they are experiencing different kinds of seasons.
The Lancers are 4-1 after Wednesday's 9-0 win over Berlin at Bristol Eastern High School. Less than 10 minutes away at Casey Field, the Rams were dealt a 17-4 mercy-rule loss by a powerful Middletown offense. Central fell to 2-2 with the loss.
Here's what happened in each game:

Bristol Eastern 9, Berlin 0
Erin Girard, right, and Lauren Aparo, left, helped lead Bristol Eastern
to a 9-0 win over Berlin on Wednesday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Lancers used an explosive seven-run fourth inning to turn a 2-0 lead into a 9-0 advantage.
Taylor Keegan doubled with one out to start the rally. Zoe Lowe brought Keegan and herself home with her second inside-the-park home run of the game, which made the score 4-0. Singles by Jordan Fitzsimons and Alyssa Hackling were followed by a bunt from Paige McLaughlin, which scored Fitzsimons. An Erin Girard single loaded the bases, then Lauren Aparo cleared them with a three-run triple to put Eastern ahead 8-0. A grounder from Lyzah Corliss scored Aparo for the final run of the inning.
Girard would have been fine in the circle with the two runs she got before the fourth inning. She fired a three-hitter with nine strikeouts in another solid performance.
Girard, only a sophomore, has been in the circle since she got to Eastern. Fitzsimons is a senior and a key player at the plate and in the field at shortstop. McLaughlin is a junior with plenty of experience.
Here's how the rest of the lineup plays out: 
Keegan, Hackling, Aparo and Corliss are sophomores. Lowe and Riley Gilblin, who doubled and scored, are freshmen.
There are key players, but there must also be a supporting cast. Eastern has a good one, and it's off to a good start because of the whole group.

Middletown 17, Bristol Central 4
Bristol Central's Jenna Ptak led off the bottom of the first inning
with an inside-the-park home run against Middletown on Wednesday.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Rams fell behind by a run after the first half inning, but they got a loud response from junior Jenna Ptak.
Ptak launched a ball into the left centerfield gap and didn't stop running until she hit the plate and tied the game with an inside-the-park home run. Ptak was a strong hitter as a sophomore and made the All-Blue Division team in the CCC's South Region. Junior Kayla Beaulieu was also All-Blue Division last season.
Central was able to respond to Middletown's first punch, but the Blue Dragons hit back with way too much offense for the home team to overcome. Middletown pounded out three home runs, two triples and one player had two doubles by herself.
Central has its own sophomore pitcher in Peyton Greger, but she is gaining experience on the go, and that isn't always easy. Greger was a backup to senior Ali Holden last season, and this is her first season being the main arm. Greger has seen success this season, like her varsity win, a 11-2 triumph over Plainville last Saturday where she struck out 10.
The only seniors on the team are Sierra Reed and Xia'ian Carrasco.
It was a tough day for Central, but there will be better days ahead. The Rams are hard-working, and they have the will to succeed.

Bristol Eastern: Click here to see photos from the game.
Bristol Central: Click here to see photos from the game.