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Globe West Sports Notebook

Bedford’s Dave Ahern gets a shot at pro ball

The late Read Albright, seen speaking to the Fenn School football team in an undated file photo, was honored at a memorial service at the school. The late Read Albright, seen speaking to the Fenn School football team in an undated file photo, was honored at a memorial service at the school.
By Marvin Pave
Globe Correspondent / August 4, 2011

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Bedford’s Dave Ahern gets a shot at pro ball Bedford’s Dave Ahern was in the right place at the right time last month when he attended a tryout held by the Brockton Rox of the Can-Am League.

Although Ahern, Babson College’s star outfielder and pitcher and the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Player of the Year, wasn’t signed by Brockton, he was approached that day by a scout from the New York Federals, another team in the league.

“I threw a bullpen session for the Federals and they called a day later and said there was a spot for me,’’ said Ahern, who made his professional debut July 17 at Brockton, and appeared in seven games as a reliever prior to his first start on Tuesday, again against the Rox.

“I was playing for the Medford Americans in the Intercity League this summer and also attended some tryouts with affiliated pro teams, and the scouts told me my best chance of getting to the next level was as a pitcher and with an independent team,’’ said the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Ahern, who has recovered from Tommy John arm surgery that sidelined him for the 2009 season at Babson.

Ahern, a Dual County League All-Star at Bedford High, put the exclamation mark on his outstanding Division 3 college career this spring by hitting .438 with 18 doubles, 9 home runs, 36 runs scored, and 30 runs batted in. He was also 5-2 with a 1.19 earned run average and 36 strikeouts. The righthander tied or broke nine of Babson’s game, season or career records this season, and holds 11 school marks overall.

He also pitched two scoreless innings against Division I opponents in this year’s New England All-Star Game, was named to two All-New England first teams, and was chosen as Babson’s Male Athlete of the Senior Class.

“Dave has worked extremely hard to achieve his childhood dream. Hopefully he can continue to develop, maybe catch a break or two and make a good run at this,’’ said Babson head baseball coach Matt Noone. “I truly believe he has all the intangibles and mental toughness to persevere in the professional ranks.’’

Can-Am League teams, although professional, are not affiliated with major league franchises.

The Federals, based in Westchester County, N.Y., play all their games on the road, so Ahern has been living in hotels and traveling almost daily. He has also been playing against seasoned veterans, some of whom have had the proverbial cup of coffee in the majors.

“My catcher has been a pro for 10 years,’’ Ahern said, “and he’s gone as far as Triple-A,’’ one step from the big leagues, “so I definitely listen to what he has to say because I’ve never faced hitters of this caliber before.

“The best part is that I’m getting a chance to play professionally, and my arm feels amazing two years after not playing at all.’’

Hundreds turn out to honor Read Albright Read Albright, head varsity football coach at the Fenn School (grades 4-9) in Concord for 35 years until his retirement in 2003, was honored by more than 500 friends, faculty members, students, and former players Saturday during a memorial service on campus at Robb Hall.

The tribute to Albright, who died at age 72 on July 16, was so well-attended that separate video and audio feeds were set up to accommodate the gathering.

He had also taught English and served as the head of several departments at the private school.

After last weekend’s service, a bagpiper led the assembly across campus to the center of the school’s new all-purpose field, which has been named Albright Circle. It will serve as the pregame meeting area for all Fenn teams.

The school bell then tolled 39 times for each year of Albright’s tenure, and a former player, Kevin Keegan, closed out the memorial observance with a short reflection on what it was like to play for Albright, a Brookline native for whom the football field was named.

“Above all else he had the utmost respect, and ultimately love, of his players,’’ said Albright’s son, Bob, who played for his father. “I remember my first practice for him in eighth grade and watching him saunter out to the field wearing jean shorts that my older sister, Channie, had personally embroidered with bumblebees and flowers, complemented by a tattered gray wool sweater that was three sizes too small.

“I was thinking that my wisecracking peers were going to have a field day. No one said a peep.’’

Area swimmers make All-American team Area athletes were well-represented on the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association’s High School All-American teams from last season.

The organization’s honor roll recognizes the top 100 competitors in each boys’ and girls’ event from among approximately 300,000 high school swimmers nationwide.

The 52 Massachusetts swimmers selected for the girls’ team included, for the 200-yard medley relay, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional’s Lauryn Brown, Catherine MacKeen, Megan Griffin, and Christina Hurley; in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Lincoln-Sudbury’s Brown, Hurley, Griffin, and Kathy Wetherbee; and in the 200-yard freestyle, Acton-Boxborough Regional’s Zoe Judd.

The boys’ team included King Phillip Regional High School’s Patrick Myers in the 100-yard butterfly.

Sisters Kendall and Lilybet MacRae of Sherborn, who attend Phillips Academy in Andover, were named to the All-American team for diving.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.