Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Husson softball sweeps UMF in home openers

Bangor- The Husson Eagles softball team hadn't played a game since March 15th, and not having their field ready because of conditions for another couple of weeks, Husson improvised and used Boucher Field where the lacrosse team plays their home games to open up their home schedule on Wednesday afternoon.  The Eagles showed little rust and swept the UMaine Farmington Beavers in a non-conference doubleheader.  Husson took advantage of the 8 run, 5 inning rule twice to take a 8-0 win in Game 1 in 6 innings and 11-3 in Game 2 in only 5 innings.

Husson got real solid pitching in the first game as starter Kayla Merrill went the first 5 allowing no runs no hits and striking out 9 Beaver batters.  The Eagles offense picked up an RBI single in the 1st by Deb Colpitts and a pair of long two run homers in the fourth innning by Sami Shultz and Allie Hill to make it 5-0.  After Merrills hot start in the circle, the Eagles turned it over to Alannah Healy in the 6th, she worked a perfect inning as well with a strikeout. Husson finished off UMF in the bottom half of the 6th, getting an RBI single from Hill, an RBI double from Lyndsay Merrill and then an RBI single by Shaniah Haskell to end the game.  Merrill got the win in the circle and goes to 3-3 on the season, combining with Healy for the 6 inning no-hitter. Abby Burdin took the loss for UMF, falling to 0-1.

In the days second game, UMF jumped on Husson starter Healy, getting an RBI single from Meryl Bond and an RBI groundout by Katie Clark to make it 2-0 in the 1st.  Husson cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half with an RBI single from L. Merrill.  Farmington increased the lead back to two runs at 3-1 in the top of the 3rd on an RBI single to center by Kennadi Grover.  Husson would take control of this game by exploding for 7 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Hill tied the game after Husson loaded the bases with a 2-run RBI single.  Shannon Graves followed shortly after with a line drive RBI single to left center to give the Eagles their first lead of game 2 at 4-3.  With 2 outs and the bases still loaded, Gabrielle Bryant lifted a harmless flyball to Kiana Thompson, but the ball hit off the tip of Thompsons glove and was scored as an error, allowing all 3 runners on base and the batter Bryant to come all the way around to score and the Eagles were in the drivers seat making it 8-3.  A groundball RBI single to center field by pinch hitter Chelsea Brennan in the 4th inning made it 9-3 and then Bryant got hit by a pitch and Nicole Andrade walked both with the bases loaded to make it 11-3 Husson after 4.
Colpitts, who relieved starter Healy after 2 innings then set down the Beavers in order to end the game in the top of the 5th. Colpitts got the win improving to 2-1 on the season.  Emily Vitone took the loss for UMF allowing 5 runs 4 earned on 9 hits in 3.2 innings pitched.  Vitone falls to 0-1.

Husson gets to .500 at 7-7 with the doubleheader sweep and UMaine Farmington drops to 1-3.  UMF is scheduled to open their conference schedule Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. with a doubleheader at the University of New England.  Husson, weather permitting, is scheduled to open their conference schedule Saturday at 12 p.m. with a doubleheader against Johnson State.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Husson baseball continues red hot play

Bangor- The Husson Eagles baseball team hadn't swept a doubleheader at home with the Saint Joseph Monks since 2002.  That changed on Tuesday afternoon and evening as the Eagles overcame several deficits in both scheduled 7 inning contests to sweep the doubleheader by scores of 4-3 in game 1 and 8-7 in 11 innings in the 2nd game of the day, both in dramatic comeback fashions.

In the first game Husson bats were silenced for the first 5 innings as starting pitcher Nick Maletesta (2 IP)and Thomas Fortier held Husson scoreless with a combined 11 strikeouts and only 3 hits.  Brett Barbati had a an RBI groundout in the 1st inning, Scott Betts an RBI double in the 4th and Taylor Black hit a long home run to left field in the 5th and the Monks had a 3-0 lead.  Husson fought back in the 6th inning. Kyle Bishop tripled down the right field line followed by an error by St. Joseph shortstop Max McCoomb allowing JT Whitten to reach and driving in Bishop to make it 3-1.  Darik Messier continued the rally with a ground ball single to right field ending the day for Fortier on the mound.  After a walk by Christian Corneil to load the bases by Monks reliever Christopher Gerossie, Jordan Carter would deliver with a 2-run double to left ,off eventual losing pitcher Corey McNamara (0-1) ,to suddenly tie the game at 3.  In the 7th with the game still tied in the bottom half, McNamara retired Andrew Curran on a groundout and Brandon Gendreau on strikeout looking to start the inning. Bishop drew a 2-out walk setting the stage for Whitten.  Whitten flew a 2-2 pitch deep into left field which looked to be tracked by St. Joes left fielder Taylor Reuillard, but the ball landed on the bottom of the left field fence and Bishop came around to score to give Husson the game 1 walkoff win. Dennis O'Neil went the distance to pick up his first win of the year on the mound (1-1) allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, 7 hits and a strikeout in 7 innings pitched.

Game 2 of the doubleheader was a wild 3 and a half hour contest.  Husson had a 2-0 lead through 4 innings, scoring on a wild pitch in the 1st and a Ryan Rebar RBI triple in the 4th inning behind starter Tommy Burns.  St. Joes looked to take control in the game as they plated 5 runs in the top of the 5th.  Betts started the inning with a double followed by a towering 2-run homer to right field, his first of the year, by Lincoln Sanborn to tie it 2-2. After a flyout to centerfield, McCoomb would line a double to right center, ending the day for Burns on the hill.  RBI doubles by Black and Jameson Collins and Reuillard also would reach on an error to drive in a run and the Monks held a 5-2 lead.  Husson would again face a 3-run deficit but this time in their last at bat in the bottom of the 7th.  Gendreau started it with a line drive single to center followed by another frozen rope line drive single to center by Bishop, which was bobbled by centerfielder Dennis Meehan allowed Gendreau to advance to third. Whitten walked to load the bases with no outs but then Messier struck out swinging and then Corneil lifted a sacrifice fly to left allowing Gendreau to come in to make it 5-3 with two outs.  Carter then came to the plate with a chance to tie it and hit a groundball hard to second baseman Black, whose throw would get past the first baseman Collins and go into the stands and be ruled a 2 base error and allow both runners to score and putting Carter in scoring position and the game was tied 5-5. Husson had a chance to win it but Zach Sugar struck out to end the rally.  A pinch hit RBI double by Barbati and another pinch hit RBI single by Dan Donavan in the 8th put St. Joes back up again 7-5. Again Husson put on its rally caps getting an RBI triple from Gendreau and an RBI groundout by Bishop to once again extend the game, tying it 7-7. Husson would finally end this game in the bottom of the 11th inning.  Bishop started it with a walk and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Seth Freudenberger.  Messier then hit a shot to right center where centerfielder Meehan looked like he made a tremendous diving catch, but the ball popped out allowing Bishop to only get to 3rd base and put Messier on 2nd.  After an intentional walk to Corneil, Carter lifted a fly ball to left that Reuillard handled easily but Bishop had no trouble tagging and scoring standing up and the Eagles ended the marathon to get the sweep on another walk off win. Freudenberger picked up the win on the mound, improving to 1-0 on the season, going 3 innings allowing no hits or runs and striking out 2.  Daniel Giitis was the tough luck loser for the Monks, falling to 0-1, having only pitched to 1 batter and gave up a base on balls.  Matt Wojciak started the game for St. Joes and was solid in his 3.2 innings pitched, allowing 2 runs, only 1 earned, 4 hits and 3 strikeouts.  Husson used a total of 5 pitchers in game 2 while St. Joes used 7.

Husson, winners of now 8 straight, improve to 10-7 on the season (6-0 in the NAC) and will return to conference play on Thursday with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. to be played at the Winkin Complex in Bangor but will be home games for UMaine-Farmington, who can't host due to field conditions. St. Josephs, now 6-10, will open their conference schedule at home Thursday with a doubleheader against Lasell also beginning at 2 p.m.

Questions are there as opening day approaches for the Red Sox

Who is the closer? Who is the catcher? Who is the right fielder? Those are all questions that Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell will answer in the coming days.

Coming into spring training, it was pretty clear who the closer and catcher would be. The closer would be Koji Uehara. A sore hamstring has changed those plans.Uehara who turns 40 on Friday, confirmed to the Boston Globe that he will be starting the season on the disabled list.

That means Edwin Mujica will most likely start the season as the closer. Mujica recorded 37 saves for the Cardinals in 2013. Junichi Tazawa is another option for Farrell. Matt Barnes has had a solid spring for the Red Sox. The 24 year old Barnes could be the best solution in the long term for the 2015 team. Barnes had a minor setback with food poisoning, that could impact his spot on the opening day roster.

It was pretty clear until last week who the regular catcher was going to be. Christian Vazquez is considered to be the best young defensive catcher in baseball. 

On Monday, Vazquez was put on the 60 day DL with an elbow injury.  On Wednesday, Vazquez will see Dr. James Andrews. It is not uncommon for players to find out they need Tommy John surgery when they visit Andrews. If that is the case, the season will be over Vazquez.

The Red Sox acquired Sandy Leon from the Nationals on Monday. It looks like Ryan Hanigan will start the season as the regular catcher, with Leon the backup. Top prospect Blake Swihart will most likely start the season at Pawtucket. It would not be surprising if Swihart makes a big impact at some point for the 2015 Red Sox.

Who is going to play right field may be the thing that will not be clear until the last day of spring training. Shane Victorino has started three straight spring training games and it seems like he will be the one who will be in the lineup against Cole Hamels when the season starts.

Rusney Castillo has had a solid spring, and the Red Sox paid a lot of money to get him. The problem is the Red Sox may have too many outfielders. In the long run it will be a good thing, with the depth it will provide, and/or  give them the ability to trade and get what is needed 
during the season.

The Red Sox will have Hanley Ramirez starting in left, Mookie Betts in center, it will be fun watching him play for 162 games. 

Mike Napoli has shown that he is healthy and will be the regular 1B, Dustin Pedroia will be at 2B. It would not be surprising to see Pedroia have a big season, with so many doubting him with his power numbers going down in recent years. 

Xander Bogaerts will be at shortstop, with Pablo Sandoval at third base.

We all know who the DH is. Without the DH in Philly for the first three games, Ortiz will see some time at 1B.

Clay Buchholz will be the opening day starter. Buchholz will hope to bounce back after a horrible 2014 season. Rick Porcello, Wade Mikey, Joe Kelly, and Justin Masterson will fill out the rotation. 

I see a lot of promise with this team. The biggest question marks come with the bullpen. There is no so called ace in the current starting rotation, but they have guys that will give quality starts. With the type of offense the Red Sox should have, pitchers with ERA's at 4.50 or under will be good enough with a bullpen that is getting the job done.

Next week we will preview the first week of the season.

Houlton's first varsity football game- at Orono- 9/5/14

Houlton's first varsity football game- at Orono- 9/5/14