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Tuft University’s Matt Collins returns to baseball form

M. COLLINS Hopkinton roots M. COLLINS
Hopkinton roots
By Marvin Pave
April 29, 2010

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For Tufts’ Collins, a return to form
Tufts University sophomore catcher/first baseman Matt Collins of Hopkinton has put up some Jumbo-sized numbers during his team’s run to the regular-season title in the New England Small College Athletic Conference’s East division.

The former Milford American Legion and Hopkinton High star batted .500 (10 for 20) over a seven-game stretch through last weekend, with nine runs scored and 10 RBIs. He had home runs in both ends of a doubleheader sweep of UMass Dartmouth in which he totaled six RBIs. And he had three hits in as many at-bats when Tufts knocked off Bowdoin.

The offensive outburst raised his average to .289 and his RBI total to 15. Tufts (21-4 overall, 9-2 conference), the top-ranked Division 3 team in New England, won six of the seven games, and will host the NESCAC championships May 7-9.

“Matty had a great preseason and was slated to be our DH and number two catcher,’’ said Tufts head coach John Casey, a longtime Milford resident. His sons, Kevin (now an assistant coach at Daniel Webster College) and Brendan (a freshman third baseman at Azusa Pacific University), played Legion ball with Collins. “But he took a pitch off his knee early in the season, and while he sat out a couple of games, his replacement got hot.

“We still felt we’d be a better team by getting Matty back in the lineup, and over the last week and a half we’ve had him catching and playing first base, and he’s brought his average up about 150 points.

“I saw him play about a zillion times with the Milford Legion and in high school, and I recruited him feeling he’d be a core guy for our team,’’ added Casey, “and his injury was just a brief pause in his progress.’’

Playing for Hopkinton High, Collins was the Tri-Valley League MVP in 2008 and a two-time league all-star.

Regis builds it
Regis College in Weston celebrated the inaugural season of its new $8.5 million outdoor athletic fields Saturday with ceremonies prior to a softball game against Wentworth Institute of Technology and a lacrosse contest against Colby-Sawyer College.

The event included a procession of the college’s varsity sports teams, a blessing of the fields and a cookout. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown out by Regis president Mary Jane England and a trustee, Judy Lauch.

Construction began last spring and was completed in August. The complex, which has been in use since the fall, features six tennis courts, an eight-lane track, a field events area, a synthetic turf field for soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, and a softball complex.

Charity on ice
Several area skaters representing the Colonial Figure Skating Club will perform Saturday during the club’s 29th annual Ice Crystals exhibition at the Nashoba Valley Olympia in Boxborough

The benefit’s two shows will feature 2010 US national bronze medalist Ashley Wagner and former Olympic pairs team members Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn. Local skaters include Jade Esposito of Weston, Benjamin Becker and Iris Zhao of Acton, Katie Heinrich, Aimee Buchanan, and Elyse Frenchman of Lexington, Kathryn Terranova of Boxborough, Julia Steeger of Medfield, Michelle Lichtor of Wayland, Katya Schwiegershausen of Harvard, Megan Wessenberg of Medway, Karolyn Shieh of Carlisle, Lucia Millham of Newton, and Bella Eberth of Concord.

Proceeds from the show will benefit Why Me and Sherry’s House, a Worcester nonprofit agency that provides crisis support to children with cancer and their families during treatments. The two performances are scheduled for 1 and 5 p.m., and tickets are $10 general admission and $25 VIP.

Here and there
Framingham State junior catcher Sean Callahan of Watertown may have had the game of his collegiate career when he hit a walk-off grand slam and drove in 10 runs to help the Rams get past Eastern Nazarene, 20-19. Framingham State was 19-14 overall and 7-3 in the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference going into Tuesday’s home game against Salem State. . . . Bryant University freshman left fielder Kevin Brown of Northborough was leading the Bulldogs with a .338 batting average, 27 runs, 5 homers, 25 RBIs, 52 hits, 19 doubles, and 2 triples through last weekend. Brown had his fourth four-hit game of the season Sunday when Bryant, which played at UConn on Tuesday, won its sixth straight, 12-5, over Fairleigh Dickinson.

Marvin Pave can be reached at 508-820-4223 or marvin.pave@ rcn.com.

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