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BPS and New York softball players wrap up all-star competition

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 29, 2013 01:10 PM

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Latin Academy senior Sydney McGrath swings and misses during a friendly game against the New York City Public School Athletic League all-stars. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

The Boston Scholar Athletes (BSA) and New York City Public School Athletic League (PSAL) softball all-star teams wrapped up two days of competition and fun with a friendly scrimmage and luncheon on Saturday at Clemente field.

On Friday both teams played a doubleheader, both of which were won the New York team, 9-3 and 22-1.

“It’s nice to come up here and see a different organization play and play against different athletes,” New York coach Cathy Morano said. “It’s just a real nice experience for us to come out of New York City and come somewhere different and see how different leagues play.”

Both the BPS and the BSA sponsored the trip after BPS assistant chief operating officer Sam Depina reached out to PSAL director Donald Douglas to organize the trip.

“It’s exciting, even more so than softball,” PSAL softball commissioner Syleia Makresia said. “Just the excitement of meeting the others, seeing the city and all the activities they had planned for us.”

The teams were treated to a tour of the Freedom Trail, a Red Sox game, a duck tour and dinner at the Presidents Golf Course.

In the first game of the doubleheader, New York pitcher Brittany Rodriguez struck out eight Boston batters. Nylah Ramirez recorded two hits and had two RBIs. Jill Regan hit an RBI double.

New York had no problem scoring in the second game. Brianne Ortiz hit a two-run home run, a two-run double and an RBI single and Alexis Bernier hit two doubles and two singles and drove in two runs.

New York’s Blaise Halvorsen pitched a one-hitter in the second game and struck out 13.

The hit was a home run by Madison Park’s Krystal Edwards.

“I don’t give up because if you give up, everyone else is going to be down so I was encouraging people,” Edwards said. “The East Boston coach [Thomas Elliot] is really good at keeping encouragement. He kept saying this is a game of improvement, you’re only getting better.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

BPS students practice with Patriots

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 28, 2013 01:34 PM

Five Boston Public School students attended the annual SBLI Tedy Bruschi Kids football clinic at Gillette Stadium Tuesday, learning how to play the game the right way from Patriots great Tedy Bruschi.

Zion Simmons, Jahmeel Mack, Khalil Lofton, D’Jon Marc, and Wilmar Villar were the BPS student-athletes among 60 boys and girls at the minicamp. The students were selected based off essays they submitted.

Current Patriots Zoltan Mesko, Jerod Mayo, Stephen Gostkowski, and Julian Edelman, as well as 49ers safety Ray Ventrone, joined Bruschi in leading the drills.

The students received a personalized locker, an official Bruschi Patriots jersey, and an introduction while running through the big inflatable helmet onto the field.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

City softball players set to face New York all-stars

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 27, 2013 04:29 PM

Boston City League softball players will have a few more chances to wear their all-star jerseys before summer vacation.

Boston Public Schools assistant chief operating officer Sam Depina has organized a three-game series between the BSA all-stars and the New York City public high school all-stars at Clemente Field in the Fenway, with the first game set for tomorrow at 10 a.m.

The second game will follow at noon, and the all-stars will play a third Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

According to Depina, the series was set up as three games to ensure that all players on each team would get equal playing time and so that the New York City all-stars could enjoy a full visit in Boston.

The two all-star teams will enjoy a Duck Tour Friday, as well as a reception dinner at Presidents Golf Course in Quincy.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

All-Star game an intense, yet familiar, pitchers' duel

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 25, 2013 09:11 PM

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English’s Nelson Barreiro and Latin Academy’s Vincent Lopriore have had their share of battles in their careers, the city championship just one example.

The Boston Scholar Athletes baseball All-Star game at Harvard University’s O’Donnell field was no different, with each senior taking the mound for their last time as BPS scholar-athletes in the extra innings of the 5-5 tie.

“We’re completely competitive on the field,” Red team’s Lopriore said on Tuesday afternoon. “Not friends on the field, but off the field, I think he’s one of the nicest kids I’ve ever met.”

That competitiveness was clear after the Blue team erased the Red team’s 4-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning.

With two outs, Burke’s Elvin Perez got the rally started with a single off of Latin Academy’s Mark Guerard. New Mission’s Ansel Rivera brought the senior home with an RBI double.

After New Mission's Andy Gonzalez was hit by a pitch, Snowden’s Louis Medina hit a shot off of the left field fence to bring both runners home and tie the game, 4-4.

The Red team scored in the bottom of the sixth as Rivera allowed their first two batters to get on base. That’s when Barreiro, who had pitched last Sunday for his club team, told Blue team coach Ricardo Figueroa he had to take the mound.

“I don’t want to lose against Latin Academy boys,” Barreiro said. “I’m just trying to win the game and I work hard for that.”

Barreiro got the Blue team out of the inning, but not before Boston International’s Derlin Tejeda brought home Fenway’s Manuel Alvarez on a sacrifice fly to give the Red team a 5-4 lead.

East Boston’s Manuel Martinez started the top of the seventh with a single off of South Boston’s Mario Pina, causing Lopriore to also request a trip to the mound from Red team coach Rusty Young.

“I’m not really familiar with Vincent, but he pitched phenomenal and he had a terrific season for Latin Academy,” the Dorchester coach said.

Lopriore had also started the game for the Red team, causing Figueroa to argue the substitution with the umpires.

“I want to see all the players come here and have fun but when I see stuff like only going with one guy because he’s good and you think he’s better than others, I don’t feel happy,” Figueroa said. “I want to see everybody playing and whatever happens at the end, we’re going to take it.”

After a sacrifice bunt by English’s Alberto Navarro, and two drawn walks to Brighton’s Jose Valenzuela and O’Bryant’s Fernando Burgos, the bases were loaded for English’s Miguel Lorenzo.

Lorenzo hit a short pop-up along the third baseline causing the umpires to declare the infield fly rule. Upon seeing Lopriore and third baseman Frank Rosario collide and drop the ball, Martinez scored from third base.

The umpires ruled that because catcher Dan O’Connell did not tag Martinez but rather just stepped on home plate, the run counted.

“We had bases loaded when it happened. The rule is after the batter has been called out all of the force-outs are no longer in place,” Figueroa said. “I didn’t see the catcher tag the runner, I just saw him tag the plate for the force out.”

After the play was called, O’Connell could be heard saying that he not only tagged the plate but also Martinez.

“The pitcher and the third baseman collided, picked up the ball, the third baseman tagged the runner and he was on the plate,” Young said.

When asked again if he thought Rosario, not O’Connell tagged the runner, Young confirmed it was the third baseman.

“The force play was off because it was an infield fly rule,” Young said. “The runner advances at their own peril, so he was out in our eyes, but they allowed the run to score which tied the game.”

On the next play, the Blue team looked like they had the game won after Lopriore threw a wild pitch against O’Bryant’s Brandon Ruiz, giving Valenzuela an attempt to steal home from third.

“I knew he beat me to the plate, so I was just trying to block the plate as much as I can so I just dove in front of the plate,” Lopriore said. “Dan [O’Connell] threw it right at me, I tagged him and he was out.”

The game remained deadlocked after Barreiro and Lopriore pitched shutout seventh and eighth innings.

Their relationship was exemplified when Barreiro skimmed Lopriore’s helmet in the eighth inning. Even though the tension between the two teams was at its highest, Barreiro quickly ran to check if the Latin Academy pitcher was OK.

Lopriore initially denied being hit so that he could have another shot against his friendly rival, before being called hit by the first plate umpire.

“We’ve been so close with Latin Academy and English over the years, it was great to end with a tie,” Lopriore said.

However, the two pitchers are on the cusp of a new beginning. They will both be playing baseball for Curry College next fall.

“He’s a good hitter, he’s a good player too and I have played with him since I was a sophomore,” Barreiro said. “He’s a good kid and always when I play against him I say, ’I love you, man’ because he knows how to play the game.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Stage is set at Harvard for BSA all-star baseball game

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 24, 2013 03:08 PM

The Boston Scholar Athletes all-star baseball game is set to be played at Harvard University’s O’Donnell Field tomorrow at 4 p.m.

The city league all-stars were originally going to play at Fenway Park on June 14, but inclement weather caused the game to be postponed.

“Playing at Fenway Park is a different opportunity for the kids,” said English coach Ricardo Figueroa. “To go and play at Harvard is not the same opportunity but it’s going to be fun anyways.”

Figueroa was this season’s Boston City League Coach of the Year, and he will coach the Blue Team.

The game has been held at Harvard three out of the last four years. It was moved from Fenway as a result of inclement weather in 2009, too.

With the game being played at Fenway last year, the BSA and Boston Center for Youth & Families were hoping to make it two years in a row at the historic ballpark.

“In years to come, we hope to have the game there again one day, but with that being said, we’re very excited to be hosting the game at our best-in-class partner Harvard University,” said BSA director Rebekah Splaine.

Regardless of the venue, honoring of the city’s all-stars remains the goal.

“Either way, they are all-stars,” Figueroa said. “You've got to do what you've got to do, no matter where the game is going to be.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Three BPS athletes named All-Scholastic

Posted by Justin Rice June 21, 2013 10:30 AM

When the Globe’s All-Scholastic sports section is published Sunday, three Boston Public School students will be smiling in its pages.

Latin Academy senior tennis player Mark-Anthony Kenney, Latin Academy senior volleyball player Jian Yi Huang, and Burke senior sprinter Kevin Facey were all honored for their exploits in the spring season.

Playing No. 1 singles for Latin Academy, Kenney finished the regular season with a 13-4 record before going 4-1 in the individual state tournament. He will play for Whittier College in Los Angeles.

"I‘m really happy, it’s an honor," said Kenney. "It’s the best athletes in the state who not only demonstrate strong performances in their individual sport but also in the classroom. It is something I take seriously, balancing athletics and schoolwork, so it’s nice to be recognized for that.

“I know a lot of kids in the city don’t get recognized for being outstanding student-athletes, and being a kid from my neighborhood, basically representing my neighborhood, my city, and my school team, as well as my friends and family, means a lot to me.”

Kenney’s classmate at Latin Academy, Yi Huang, shared Kenney’s sentiments. The outside and middle hitter said the high point in his tenure with the Dragons was being selected as a captain and being given the chance to lead the team.

"I feel like I did not put in all the hard work for nothing,” he said. “It is great having an award after trying your best. Of course, my teammates did help me on my achievement."

After bursting onto the track scene last winter by finishing seventh in the 55-meter dash at the indoor All-State meet, Facey followed with an encore performance this spring. First he won the 100-meter dash at the city championships and then he won the 100 in the Division 4 state championship meet.

After finishing fourth at the outdoor All-State meet in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.11 seconds, he finished 12th in New Englands with a time of 11.25 seconds.

“It means a lot to me because I worked really hard to get into that position and I put so much work into it,” Facey said. “That’s one of my best feelings, because nobody really knew I was fast or anything and now they know who I am and that I’m running for Boston and they know they have other fast kids coming up in Boston, not only me.

“It’s really good so they can know that about Boston.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Latin Academy soccer captain who transformed team wins Globe scholarship

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 20, 2013 08:37 PM

The summer has always brought excitement for high school students. It’s no different for Latin Academy soccer captain Nikiander Pelari; it’s another offseason to work on his game.

But as the summer before Pelari’s senior year began in 2012, he did not feel excited but rather unsatisfied. Despite all of his offseason training and practice, Latin Academy had never recorded a winning record in his tenure.

“We haven’t been in the playoffs in 20 years,” said Pelari, a recipient of a Boston Globe $3,000 scholarship known as the Boston Globe/Richard Phelps Scholar Athlete award. “It was my senior year, so I wanted to change that.”

The subpar records didn’t correlate with the expectations Pelari’s Albanian immigrant parents had for him. The way he felt made him think back to his junior year of high school, a time when Pelari began to neglect his assignments and engage more socially.

He remembered when he was left feeling helpless as he looked upon an assignment in French class he had not prepared for. He considered copying the work of one of his peers.

“It really hit me, like, ‘What are you doing?' " Pelari said. “ 'You used to be that student where kids would come up to you for help and now look at you.'

“From that day, I went home and I was really upset and I thought, ‘How can I turn this all around?' ”

That day, Pelari’s determination brought him to Staples, where he bought organizers, daily planners, and all of the supplies needed to get back into his academic mind-set.

It was that determination that carried the senior in his final offseason.

Pelari’s transformation of Latin Academy soccer began with him searching YouTube for different methods of improving one’s athleticism. He studied videos on ball control, passes, yoga, and workout routines.

“We were in the sort of shape where running a couple miles was tough, doing 10 pushups was tough, so we had to start slow,” Pelari said.

He even attended the Massachusetts State Soccer League’s Albania United practices to learn drills that would benefit his team.

Considering the players' lackluster physical shape in years past, Pelari worried about keeping them committed. So he consulted various persuasion textbooks while simultaneously educating himself in new workout methods.

“My whole thing was not just to get them ready for this season but to have that mentality for life, to always become better and always strive for more,” Pelari said.

As the intensity of the workouts grew, Pelari noticed a difference in the level of commitment among his teammates.

“When they looked at me, it was this look where they were really engaged in what I was saying,” Pelari said. “I was able to inspire them by relating how these techniques and morals that they were learning in these practices could be applied to their lives as well.”

Players who once could do only four pushups could now survive 30-minute intense workouts. Pelari and his teammates were in the best shape of their lives, and it carried them to an 8-6-2 record and their first state tournament berth in 20 years.

“In a long and distinguished career, he will be remembered for his dedication and total commitment to the team and the school,” said Latin Academy coach Denis Allen.

His athletic accomplishments make up just a portion of his achievements.

Pelari, who also was on the Latin Academy track team, participated in the science fair, received a National French Exam Award, and volunteered at his Albanian church. He also worked 10 hours a week at a local steak restaurant.

“In over 10 years of teaching, I can honestly say that Pelari is one of the most promising students I have encountered,” said track coach and English teacher Brian Leussler.

Pelari was again chosen as an all-star as a senior and ended his high school career with a 3.7 GPA. He will attend Holy Cross in the fall and looks forward to pursuing a three-year plan that could allow him to transfer to Columbia University for engineering.

This summer he is keeping a journal to document defining moments in his life. He listed that moment in French class his junior year as No. 1.

“That’s what really inspires me every single day,” Pelari said. “To go out there, to be more hard-working, to push harder, to obtain more, and to be the best person I can be.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Achievements of Charlestown's Centeio help unify large family

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 20, 2013 08:35 PM


As the list of textbooks, deposits, and other expenses continues to grow for incoming college freshmen, every earned dollar becomes more essential.

But for Charlestown’s Sara Centeio, receiving a $3,000 Boston Globe scholarship known as the Boston Globe/Richard Phelps Scholar Athlete award means more than its dollar value. It represents how her passion for sports paved the way not just for her success but also the unification of her with her 15 older siblings.

“We’re all separated,” said Centeio, who lives with only five of those siblings. “Once they got to know who I really was, it’s an amazing feeling to have your family know exactly what you love to do.”

With a lack of communication between Centeio and her siblings, none of them were really aware of her love for soccer and basketball. But once one sister witnessed one of Centeio’s basketball games, she immediately obtained film to show the rest of the family.

What they saw was a small piece of what would be an amazing career for the Holy Cross-bound senior.

Centeio was an all-star all four years on the basketball team and in her sophomore and junior years on the soccer team. As a freshman, she was voted Charlestown’s student-athlete of the year. As a senior, she led the basketball team in scoring at 19.5 points per game.

She did it all while maintaining a 4.82 GPA and recently graduated second in her class.

“Being the youngest of 15 children, one may find it difficult to be unique or stand out, but one student manages to defy this stereotype with flying colors,” said Centeio’s guidance counselor, Kristyn Hughes. “Sara Centeio does anything but fly under the radar. She is one of the most outgoing, vibrant, and top-notch students I have ever worked with in my 10 years as a guidance counselor.”

As Centeio achieved more and more on the court and the playing field, she noticed a growing presence among her siblings. One of her brothers, who is based in Brockton and to that point had been practically absent in her life for years, reached out to her upon hearing of the scholarship.

“The scholarship definitely kind of made him come back to me and made him realize he’s missing out on a lot in my life,” Centeio said.

She also noticed her siblings beginning to form stronger relationships among each other.

“All my accomplishments have them recognizing me now and they’re talking to each other about it,” Centeio said. “Before, everyone was doing their own thing and they didn’t talk to each other as much.”

It wasn’t the first time Centeio’s efforts unified people for a common cause. In her freshman year, she was one of the leaders in the push to create Charlestown’s first girls’ soccer team.

Not only did she achieve her goal but the team went undefeated.

“That was really memorable for me because we made history," she said, "and it was just an amazing feeling for the Charlestown community."

Centeio established herself as one of Charlestown’s premier athletes while making strides in the classroom, too. She became a member of the National Honor Society and never got a grade lower than a B in her high school tenure.

“Sara takes her place as the top scholar-athlete I have known,” said Charlestown American Studies teacher Steve Cassidy. “She personifies this term with her bulldog-like approach to athletic competition, academic work, and school leadership.

“No obstacle is too big for her to tackle.”

At Holy Cross in the fall, Centeio hopes to walk on to both the soccer and basketball teams – she loves both sports too much to choose one.

Hughes has no doubt she will overcome any challenge the future holds.

“She has a grit and determination to complete any task and remain in the highest percentile while doing so,” Hughes said. “No matter what the challenge or subject, Sara Centeio prevails. She is truly an inspiration to me as a strong, independent female.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Renovations begin at Boston English High athletic fields

Posted by Ryan Butler June 20, 2013 04:28 PM

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Construction began at Boston English High's athletic fields last week. The fields are expected to be completed in time for football practices in late August. (Justin A. Rice / For the Globe)

Construction began last week on Boston English's athletic fields, which were deemed unplayable for interscholastic sports last fall.

Completion is expected by the time football practice begins the week of Aug. 19, according to Boston Public Schools athletic director Ken Still.

“We’ve been told it’s supposed to be done by the fall, in time for practices,” Still said.

The turf field, put in by the city in 2002, is a public park that is also used for youth and adult soccer leagues, Ultimate Frisbee, flag football, and semipro football. Because of overuse, it was deemed unsafe for high school games last September, forcing English to play home games elsewhere.

“The turf field means no more slips or slides for the kids while playing,” Still said. “Less dangerous for them, too. Also, there’s less distractions from officials worrying about not being able to play because of weather. It also means an extra field. Any extra turf field is important.”

Boston Parks and Recreations commissioner Toni Pollak said the project is expected to cost less than originally expected. The original estimate was $1.5 million last fall, Pollak said, but the project will come in at $1.171 million.

“It’s really helpful to have a new multipurpose field,” Pollak said.

She said the batter’s box on the baseball field will be relocated to make the field larger.

Today’s turf fields, added Pollak, are built better than they were 10 years ago.

“It was our first generation of infield turf, and we learned a lot in regards to wear and tear,” she said. “The new mound for the baseball field helps with longevity. We came a long way in 10 years.”

Ryan M. Butler can be reached at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @butler_globe.

BSA all-star baseball game rescheduled to Tuesday

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 18, 2013 02:22 PM

The Boston Scholar Athletes all-star baseball game has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 25, at Harvard University's O'Donnell Field.

The time of the game is still TBA.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Fenway Park this past Saturday but was postponed because of inclement weather.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Blue squad takes Boston City League All-Star Game

Posted by Justin Rice June 15, 2013 03:42 PM

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East Boston sophomore pitcher Danielle Elliott got the win for the Blue squad in the Boston City League All-Star Game at Wentworth's Sweeney Field on Saturday afternoon. She had four strikeouts in the 15-7 victory against the Red team (Photo courtesy of FayFoto / Alec Chvirko)

Coming into Saturday afternoon’s Boston City league All-Star Softball Game, East Boston sophomore pitcher Danielle Elliott was hoping to get one final shot at beating Sydney McGrath.

Even though the Latin Academy senior pitcher who tossed a perfect game against Elliott and East Boston in the city championship missed Saturday’s all-star game because she had a tournament game for her travel team, Elliott will still take her Blue squad’s 15-7 victory against the Red team.

“Since [McGrath ] wasn’t here we had a bigger chance to win, I wanted to go against her again and try to beat her but it is OK that she wasn’t here," Elliott said after logging the win by striking out four batters in six innings at Wentworth’s Sweeney Field.

"It was very awesome, I’m so excited that we won this game, it’s a big deal. It was really good because I didn’t expect it to be like this but I tried my best and did as good as I could."

After Red took a 3-2 lead in the third inning, the Blue team scored four runs in the third to go up 6-3. The Red squad got two runs back in the same innings to get within one run but the Blue team responded with a four-run fourth to up up 10-5 halfway through the inning.

“We had a few little mistakes and unfortunately those mistakes cost us quite a few runs but we came back a little bit and they fought the whole time so I’m proud of them,” first-year Boston English coach Jenelle Corey said of her Red team. “It was really exciting, I didn’t really know what to expect because it’s my first year and I’ve never been to an all-star game before but it was great.

“They are fantastic players, they all got along, they all know what they are doing; it makes my job easy so it was a lot of fun.”

Corey said the other two Latin Academy players on the team (Aurora Obrien and Rachel Kerrigan) had to leave halfway through the all-star game to go to a travel team tournament game as well.

“If she was pitching it would have probably been a completely different game,” Corey said of McGrath, “but they did well regardless and not just one person makes a team.”

Madison Park senior Krystal Edwards recorded an RBI double in the first inning that put Blue up 1-0 and Burke senior Yissa Guerrero had her own RBI double in the fourth inning as Blue took its 10-5 lead.

“I want to win and I just hit,” said Guerrero, who also scored two runs. “We wanted to get ahead so we could be in a good position. I felt that if I bring somebody in it helps us get the win. It was a great experience, it was my last year; it feels good to win like this. Good luck to those who come out next year.”

In the bottom of the fourth, South Boston junior Elaina Wright-McCarthy pitched an inning of relief before Elliott came back to close out the game. The Red team loaded the bases with one out before scoring two runs to make it 10-7. But Wright-McCarthy struck out one batter and forced another to ground out to get out of the inning with a three-run lead.

“I took my time,” Wright McCarthy said. “[My team was] definitely supporting me. It was easier when they supported me. I just did what I had to do.”

After Blue scored five insurance runs in the top of the seventh, Red threatened in the final half inning by putting a couple runners on with one out. But Blue was able to make the final out of the game after West Roxbury senior Nadia Ellies hit a shot to right field.

O’Bryant right fielder Naya Shedd overthrew first but senior Burke catcher Brenda Calderon backed up the play and threw to second to get Ellies out for the final of the game.

“It was a smart play,” Blue coach Bridgett Ryan said. “The kids know where to throw and they know where to back each other up.”

Ryan was thrilled to be coaching her first all-star game.

“Coach [Joanne Lee-Nieves] from Burke had something come up so I was filling in for her,” Ryan said. “It was awesome, it was a great day, the girls are phenomenal. They played well, they cheered each other on. They were just a lot of fun to spend my Saturday afternoon with.”

Noteworthy: The game was sponsored by the Boston Scholar Athletes program and Boston Center for Youth and Families. Burke’s Renee Pierre and West Roxbury’s Marissa Serrette were awarded the BCYF Sportsmanship awards.

--Boston public schools' Assistant Chief Operating Officer Sam Depina said he is trying to organize a game between BPS all-stars and New York City all-stars on June 28-29 at Clemente Field in the Fens.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Irving and Frederick win middle school baseball crowns

Posted by Justin Rice June 13, 2013 03:38 PM

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Jordan Diaz got the win in the Irving Middle School's victory in the "City Championship" Wednesday afternoon. The Frederick School won the "Town Championship" by beating the Curley on a walkoff home run. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

The Irving School won the middle school “City Championship” Wednesday afternoon at East Boston Stadium, while the Frederick School beat the Curley School on a walkoff home run in the “Town Championship” at Madison Park.

Both games were part of the Play Ball! Boston Public Schools Middle School Baseball Championships.

The Irving defeated the Ohrenberger, 10-3, in coach Lami Pilet's first year at the helm.

"It’s awesome," said Pilet. "It’s just incredible the amount of work and the joy I see from the kids' parents. And the kids' energy that they put in there, it’s incredible. Every game we played we won."

The team finished the season 7-0.

"Cedrick Pina started wild with his pitching then calmed down and did great," Pilet said via email. "Manny Ortiz came in and had an awesome inning. Jordan Diaz closed out strong, throwing about 75-plus.

"Roberick Sarita had a huge triple and also made a great play at the plate. Our outfielders were great at backing up the plays and we ran the base really well."

Pilet said he enjoyed watching his team grown throughout the season.

"Watching our players' talent grow along with their knowledge of the game was amazing," he said. "We practiced everyday and they always came ready to work hard. We had good fielding and solid pitching and were able to get hits when needed them. We also had a great season because of all the support we got from teachers and parents. Many came to the games, that gave our team an extra boost of energy. It was an amazing season."

Ohrenberger coach Mike Gavin said he was thrilled that his team made the “City Championship” in the program’s inaugural season. They finished the year 6-2.

“It was phenomenal," he said. "Better than we could have ever hoped for -- fantastic, great game."

Gavin said his team was not bothered by the fact that the game was originally supposed to be played at Fallon Field in Hyde Park but was moved to East Boston’s turf field because Fallon was soaking wet.

“No, not at all,” he said. “Honestly we would have traveled to Canada to play that game.

“The kids love to play baseball. It was two great teams. We saw them during the regular season; they are just a great team. They say if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Two great teams.”

Gavin's team graduates four eighth graders.

“That’s the good thing -- our seventh graders got to see what it looks like to win the championship,” he said. “That’s what it looks like, now let’s go do it next year. We do have a nice core group coming back.”

In the “Town Championship,” Frederick eighth-grader Enyel Santana hit a walkoff home run with two outs in bottom of the seventh inning to give his team a 3-2 victory.

“It was a very exciting game,” said Frederick coach Lionel Flores. “It was amazing.”

Santana went 2 for 3 or Frederick (5-2) while teammate Erick Albino got the win, striking out five batters.

This was the first season that Play Ball! organized “City” and “Town” championships. Santana likes the new format.

"It gives everybody an opportunity to get to the championship game," he said.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Baseball all-star game postponed

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 13, 2013 12:32 PM

The BSA baseball all-star game at Fenway Park has been postponed due to inclement weather.

"We will do our best to work with the Sox to reschedule the game for a later date," BSA athletic manager Brad Schoonmaker said.

The future location and date of the game has yet to be announced.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Dream Big! Conference pairs Boston athletes with accomplished women

Posted by Justin Rice June 12, 2013 01:30 PM

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The third annual Dream Big! Leadership Conference was held earlier this week at UMass-Boston (Photo courtesy of Dream Big!).


The following is a press release from the Dream Big!:

NEWTON, MA, June 10, 2013 – If you need proof that participation in sports plays an important role in empowering girls to succeed, look no further than the Third Annual Dream Big! Leadership Conference.

Presented recently by Dream Big!, and hosted by The University of Massachusetts Boston Division of Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs, more than 150 female athletes and coaches from 22 Greater Boston and Lawrence public schools and sports programs heard true-life accounts from former Olympic, professional, collegiate and high school female athletes about how their involvement in sports – and the mentors and friends they found through those efforts – laid the foundation for phenomenal success in the class room, in their careers and in life.

Emphasizing the equally crucial ‘off-the-field’ benefits, the conference speakers shared insights about how their participation in athletics paved the way for careers as doctors, business leaders, financial advisors, sports management professionals, professors, non-profit leaders, Olympic and professional athletes, scientists and coaches. Importantly, the women answered questions and provided advice to the students about the wide range of sports, educational and career opportunities that are available to them in today’s society and what they could do themselves to make their own dreams come true.

Conference presenters included:
• Connie Bauman: Former Collegiate Volleyball, Basketball and Softball Player; Professor of the Practice of Sports Medicine at Wellesley College and directs the Academic Sports Medicine and Wellness Programs

• Carolyn Campbell McGovern: Former Collegiate Field Hockey, Lacrosse and Track Athlete; High School Basketball, Soccer, Field Hockey & Track Athlete; Deputy Executive Director, Ivy League

• Linda Driscoll: Former High School Basketball, Softball, Soccer & Field Hockey Player; Founder & CEO, Dream Big!

• Andreen Gilpin: Former Collegiate Basketball Player; High School Basketball, Volleyball, Softball & Track Athlete; Quality Assurance Release Supervisor, Boston Scientific Corporation

• Candace Burns Johnson: Former Collegiate Field Hockey & Basketball Player; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Director, Workforce Development

• Amy Latimer: Former Collegiate Basketball Player; High School Field Hockey, Basketball & Track Athlete;
• President, TD Garden

• Dr. Megan Leo : Former Collegiate Soccer Player; High School Soccer, Volleyball and Softball Athlete; Attending Physician - Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center

• Rebekah Splaine Salwasser: Former Professional & Collegiate Soccer Player; High School Soccer & Lacrosse All American and All New England in Basketball ; Executive Director, Boston Scholar Athlete Program

• Kristen Rasmussen Tarr: Former WNBA, FIBA and WNBL Professional Basketball Player; Simmons College, Head Women’s Basketball Coach

• Helen Williams: Former Collegiate Basketball Player & Coach, High School Softball Player; Athletic Administration Fellow, Harvard and Author of COACH Like A Mother

• Sarah Keohane Williamson: Former Collegiate Rugby Player; High School Golfer; Partner, Wellington Management

• Sports Clinician - Heather O’Reilly: Three-Time Olympic Gold Medal Winner in 2004, 2008 and 2012, a member of the US Women’s National Team and a Midfielder for the Boston Breakers professional women’s soccer team

Another leadership conference highlight was the motivational speech and soccer clinic given by Heather O’Reilly, Three-Time Olympic Gold Medal Winner in 2004, 2008 and 2012, a member of the US Women’s National Team and a Midfielder for the Boston Breakers professional women’s soccer team. Heathers message to the athletes, based on her personal experiences and injuries, was that no matter what obstacles they faced in life they should never give up and if they work really hard they can succeed at anything and make their own dreams come true.

Student athletes in attendance represented: Beantown Jumpers; Beyond Soccer, Lawrence; Boston Scholar Athletes; Charlestown High School; Dorchester Academy; East Boston High School; John D. O’ Bryant School of Mathematics & Science; Madison Park High School; Roosevelt K-8; Tech Boston Academy and Timilty Middle School.

Founded in 2010, Dream Big!’s mission is to help break down the economic barrier that prevents low income and homeless girls from participating in sports and physical activities. Led by Linda Driscoll, a non-profit and sports management professional for 25 years, she launched the Massachusetts-based 501c3 charitable organization to ensure that all girls, regardless of socio-economic background, have the equipment, uniforms, athletic footwear, program fees, training expenses and supplies they need to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their overall health, fitness, education and well-being. Over the past three years, Dream Big! has already had a direct, positive effect on more than 3,500 girls through equipment, sports attire and athletic footwear donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and the Dream Big! Leadership Conferences.

“Participation in sports gives girls the strength, motivation and tools they need to succeed in life,” Driscoll said. “It was so inspiring to watch the girls throughout the day as they admired and learned from these amazing mentors and female athletes who shared their personal life stories, showed them that they could do and be anything they wanted to, taught them that they should always dream big and emphasized how participation in sports would play an important role in their life’s journey.”

Conference sponsors included:

The University of Massachusetts Boston Division of Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs

Boston Athletic Association

Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation

CHAMPIONS for Dream Big!

The University of Massachuetts Boston Division of Government Relations and Public Affairs

The University of Massachusetts Boston Office of Diversity and Inclusion

To learn more, donate, volunteer or benefit from Dream Big!, visit www.dream-big.org or call 888-291-7664, ext. 701.

All-stars excited about playing at Fenway, Wentworth

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 11, 2013 08:24 PM

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For the second straight year the Boston City League All-Stare baseball game will be at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon (CJ Gunther/EPA).

The Boston Scholar Athletes program will be honoring its athletes this week with events at some of the best venues yet for baseball and softball all-star games.

The baseball all-star game will return to Fenway Park for the second year in the row on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., while the softball game will be held at the newly renovated Sweeney Field at Wentworth University Saturday at noon.

BSA director Rebekah Splaine said that for the baseball all-stars, Thursday will be a day to remember.

“A majority of them were not all-stars last year, so this is their first opportunity to play at Fenway, which all of them said is the most exciting part of the year thus far,” Splaine said.

Christian Irizarry, coach of the Red all-star squad, said he noticed commotion among his Boston International players as soon as he told them where the game would be.

“A few of the kids started crying when they found out they would have the chance,” Irizarry said. “I’m pretty sure their not going to sleep for the next few days until they play.”

English pitcher Nelson Barreiro couldn’t give enough credit to BSA when asked about the opportunity to play at Fenway Park.

“This is a great program,” Barreiro said. “Students should be more involved in the program and it helps us to do the best work we can in the school.”

Barreiro will also have the comfort of having his coach, Ricardo Figueroa, being in the dugout at Fenway as coach of the Blue team.

“We’re not professionals yet but we can still play at Fenway Park, the oldest field in Boston and the country,” Barreiro said. That’s the best part of baseball -- we can play where the professionals play.”

One thing the softball game will have over the baseball game is a free barbecue open to all. Splaine realizes that attendance at the softball game, unfortunately, has been less than that for baseball, and she hopes that will change.

“We want to make sure we can incentivize participation in attendance with the BBQ,” Splaine said.

First-year English coach Jenelle Corey couldn’t be happier to coach the Red team Saturday.

“I am super-excited," said Corey. "I’ve seen the field and it’s awesome. I was more surprised than anything to get this honor so I’m really excited to be coaching and my girls were great so it was just a great year.”

Corey will be going up against a Red team coached by Burke’s Joanne Lee-Nieves.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

SCORES Cup set for Saturday at Gillette to raise money for America SCORES Boston

Posted by Justin Rice June 11, 2013 01:11 PM

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The annual SCORES Cup will be held this Saturday at Gillette Stadium to raise money for New England Scores Boston. (Photo courtesy of America Scores Boston)

The ninth annual SCORES Cup corporate charity soccer tournament will be held at Gillette Stadium on Saturday to raise money for New England SCORES America.

America SCORES Boston is a non-profit organization that uses soccer to inspire literacy and health in Boston public schools.

The seven-on-seven coed tournament provides corporate soccer teams the chance to show off their skills on the Gillette Stadium turf before watching the US Women's National Team take on Korea Republic in an exhibition at 7 p.m.

In partnership with the New England Revolution, the seven-on-seven tournament has grown to become America SCORES Boston’s largest fundraiser. The event features 32 teams from Boston-based companies and brings together over 500 people for a competitive tournament.

SCORES will also host its first Change The Game Breakfast at the House of Blues Boston on June 27th.

The free one-hour breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. as a way to educate attendees on the impact the SCORES programs. The event will feature entertaining and inspiring student stories.

The breakfast will be hosted by former U.S. Women's National Team player Kristine Lilly.
a lifetime achievement award will be given to Cheryl Gooding.

For more info on the breakfast click here or email Chris Bentson at cbentson@americascores.org.

For more information on the SCORES Cup click here.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Tenacity founder Eames inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted by Justin Rice June 11, 2013 12:54 PM

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Ned and his wife, Dilshad Khambatta Eames, at Saturday's New England Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony (Photo courtesy of USTA New England).

Ned Eames, the founder of Tenacity Inc. — a tennis and enrichment program for 6,500 youths in Boston and Worcester — was inducted into the New England Division of the US Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The former pro tennis player was inducted during a ceremony at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. for his community service.

Eames received the Tennis Hall of Fame 2012 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Award in March.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

BSA Boston Marathon team gathers for first time

Posted by Justin Rice June 11, 2013 12:46 PM

For the first time since the twin bombings at the 117th Boston Marathon killed three people and injured scores of others in April, the runners who raised money for the Boston Scholar Athletes program gathered for a private recognition event on Monday night.

Suffolk Construction employee Kim Norris and Liz Collins and BSA employee Joseph Cappellano also ran for the team that raised more than $25,000.

“It will be first time that we all got together since the marathon just to recognize how much we raised, which is a great accomplishment,” Dorchester Academy Zone Facilitator Shanell Mosley said before the Monday night dinner.

“A lot of us are inspired to run again next year. They are allowing those who did not finish to run again next year. I’m pretty sure most of us are intent on racing again next year.”

Mosley, who was stopped at Mile 21 when the bombs exploded, said the group raised more than $25,000. She’s unsure of their goal for next year.

“All of us plan to run again next year,” she said via email on Tuesday morning, “and we are hoping to have an even larger team! As for fundraising goals for next year, we are unsure.”

To donate to the BSA's marathon team click here.

Boston Scholar Athletes program raises money through Winston Flowers

Posted by Justin Rice June 11, 2013 12:12 PM

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The Boston Scholar Athletes program is raising money through Winston Flowers' Charity Bloom program.

For more information click here.

The lush mix of summer blossoms features blue-green hydrangea and light blue belladonna delphinium arranged with lavender roses and aromatic herbs in a green glass vase.

Winston Flowers will contribute 20 percent of the proceeds from this floral design to Boston Scholar Athletes program.

Boston Scholar Athletes program strives to increase opportunities for public school students to succeed through sport. BSA encourages athletic participation while providing the support students need to thrive academically.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Patterson named BSA Scholar Athlete of the Month for June

Posted by Justin Rice June 11, 2013 11:58 AM

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Recent Dorchester High graduate Darrius Patterson was named the Boston Scholar Athletes program's June Scholar Athlete of the Month. (Photo courtesy of Boston Scholar Athletes program)

When Darrius Patterson learned that he was named the Boston Scholar Athletes program June Scholar Athlete of the Month, he thought there was surely someone else who deserved it more.

“Oh, I always feel that there is somebody out there working harder than me,” he said. “It’s just me. I don’t like all this attention and spotlight being on me.”

But that doesn’t mean the award doesn’t give the recent Dorchester Academy graduate, who played football and basketball, pure joy.

“Deep down it feels great, really great,” he said. “I truly am blessed to have this award and be honored for these things.”

A two-time BSA Most Valuable Scholar Athlete in football and basketball who was recently selected to join the All-BSA team, Patterson made honor roll the last two terms and finished this year with a 3.4 GPA. That’s after spending much of his high school career just doing the bare minimum to be eligible to play sports.

Patterson was nominated as Scholar Athlete of the Month by Shanell Mosley, the BSA facilitator at Dorchester.

“He’s been an outstanding leader,” Mosley said. “Not one teacher can say anything negative about him because he’s a hard worker and most importantly he’s very humble. When I told him he was selected he said, ‘No Miss, no Miss, give that to somebody else.'

“It’s great that he’s finally being recognized for his commitment to being a scholar athlete. He’s proven his athletic ability. However, I was very impressed with him [academically] this last term. He applied for colleges, took finals, and was juggling personal family issues and he still approached everything with such grace and composure.

"I was impressed with him despite his circumstances of what’s going on in his life. He always accepts a challenge.”

A member of the Dorchester Academy Scholar-Athlete Advisory Council, Patterson is the first Scholar Athlete of the Month from his school.

“That’s even better,” he said. “Hopefully it will get the school out there and show people we do positive things at Dorchester and motivate the other students so they can be motivated to do something like this and hopefully someone else will be selected.

“I feel honored and grateful.”

Patterson said he couldn’t have won the award without the help of his coaches. He also said it gives him confidence as he goes forward with his studies. He will attend Bunker Hill Community College in the fall and study criminal justice.

He hopes to transfer to a four-year school eventually and play college football.

“Oh yes, it gives me a tremendous amount of confidence,” he said. “I know being rewarded for my academics, which I know is not my strong suit, that I can pull it off. It gives me great confidence that when college comes around, I can do anything that deals with the work.

“It makes my family proud of me knowing I’m doing something in school trying my hardest to be successful in life and what not.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


A track milestone for Lara of Hernandez School

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 9, 2013 08:24 PM

While John Lara hopes this season doesn’t mark his peak in track and field, the Hernandez School student has already soared to new heights.

The eighth grader won the city championship for the 400-meter dash, won the BAA invitational mile, and broke the state record for the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:04 at the Division 3 middle school track and field state championship Saturday at Fitchburg State.

He is the first BPS student to win a state title at the middle school level.

“Thank God," said Lara. "I’m blessed to do good in track and field and to do good in the 800-meter."

Hernandez coach Michael Baugh saw not one but two of his student-athletes break the record in the 800-meter dash. Just two heats before Lara, Jovan Talavera broke the two-year-old record of 2:13 with a time of 2:10 to get him third place.

“Jovan had the record for, like, 5 minutes,” Baugh said.

The coach said that Talavera, who ran with a hip flexor injury, wasn’t disappointed when he saw Lara win. With the year Lara has had, he even expected it.

Baugh brought 10 student-athletes to the championships, and each one placed top-five in at least one event. John’s brother, Joel Lara, placed seventh in the 800 meters. The 4x400 relay team of Brian Sanchez, Reynaldo Gutierrez, and the Lara brothers captured third place in the state.

Overall, Hernandez came in 10th place in the championships.

“I’m proud of [John], I’m proud of all my boys,” Baugh said.

It wasn’t always this easy for Lara. Baugh said he didn’t start winning races until the seventh grade. In his first two years on the track team, he struggled to make the GPA requirement and wasn’t academically eligible.

If his gold medals don’t testify enough to his turnaround, Lara surely will when he gives an honors speech at the Hernandez graduation.

“This year he really got himself together and did a phenomenal job,” Baugh said.

However, the coach might want to give himself more credit.

“I thank my coach for giving us good training,” Lara said. “It paid off.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

West Roxbury opens long-locked trophy case for D4 North runner-up prize

Posted by Justin Rice June 9, 2013 01:33 PM

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West Roxbury coach Clifton Wilson hoists the runner-up trophy after the Division 4 North baseball final at LaLacheur Stadium on Sunday morning. (Justin A. Rice / For the Boston Globe)

LOWELL — Coming off a one-game suspension for disciplinary reasons, Raymond Tejada wanted nothing more than to make it up to his teammates in the Division 4 North baseball final at LaLacheur Stadium on Sunday morning.

Perhaps he wanted to make it up too much in what was ultimately a 12-3 loss to Lowell Catholic.

Trailing 2-1 in the third inning, West Roxbury’s defense fell apart as senior Chris Underwood and junior Nick Cervizzi scored on an a West Roxbury throwing error to first base. On the next at bat, senior Alex Larnard came in on a passed ball.

The string of follies started with Tejada bobbling a hard hit ball to centerfield by Craig Maxfield.

The Raiders bobbled another ball on the next play before giving up the three unearned runs in the inning to fall down 5-1.

“I overran it by a half of step and it hit the heal of my glove,” Tejada said on his way out of the stadium the Lowell Spinners call home. “That really got me off my game; I was really emotional after that. I’m a really emotional player. I don’t know, I just kept trying; I just tried to forget it and go to the next play.”

In the semifinals on Thursday, West Roxbury beat No. 1-seed Boston International despite Tejada and starting pitcher Sean Haugh being suspended for disciplinary reasons. But while Tejada only received a one game suspension, Haugh was not permitted to return for Sunday's final.

“It’s tough, you know. I got suspended, I got in trouble in school and I really, it really didn’t hurt my team as much, so that’s good, but coming in here I felt I could have done better,” Tejada said. “My whole team, I felt that we did pretty good but we just made errors. I don’t know, it’s kind of painful but hey.”

After making six errors in a semifinal victory against Georgetown on Thursday, Lowell Catholic buttoned up its defense on Sunday to win its first Division 4 North title.

“It was nice to tighten up the defense,” Lowell Catholic coach Matt Stone said after the 12-3 victory against West Roxbury. “A couple of the errors were questionable, they were base hits in the book but we still made three or four solid errors last time so we went to practice, we went to work, took ground balls, back to the fundamentals of things, and tightened up today and made two. Next game it will be one.”

On Sunday, No. 2 Lowell Catholic committed two errors behind winning pitcher Joe Levasseur, who struck out four batters and gave up four hits and two earned runs in seven innings.

Making its first trip to a Division 4 North final in program history, No. 5 West Roxbury (12-9) committed five errors.

“This was great run for us as a Boston team, getting out of our environment and playing a state tournament,” Raiders coach Clifton Wilson said. “We weren’t sure how we would do compared to other teams but this has been beyond anything I personally as a coach could’ve predicted. And I think it grew. As we won it grew. Unfortunately today it didn’t end the way we’d like but we were beaten by a far superior team."

In the last two games West Roxbury only made a combination of two errors in two games.

“We did not execute today like we had in the past,” Wilson said.

Lowell Catholic’s bats got an early start when Maxfield’s sacrifice fly scored junior Aaron Crandall in the first inning and senior Alex Larnard’s single knocked in junior Connor Sullivan to go up 2-0.

West Roxbury got one run back in the second after senior third baseman Christopher Moreta scored on a passed ball after getting to third with a triple hit to deep right field. Moreta walked in the fourth before scoring on an error to account for West Roxbury’s second run.

“Chris was one of our two seniors on the team, certainly one of our leaders all year,” Wilson said of Moreta, who also pitched two innings in relief. “I was really, really glad to see him be a leader today out there in the field. Unfortunately he had a sore arm so he was gutting it out and throwing. Our starting pitcher [Alejandro Lopez] only had two day’s rest. We had no pitching.”

Moreta and Lopez are the only seniors on the team.

“It was great, I loved the experience, hopefully next year we’ll be here and we’re going to come out on the winning end,” Tejada, who only reached base once on a walk, said of playing in a pro park. “We have a lot of juniors here, we’re going to be well prepared, we’re going to be experienced and we’re going to come here knowing what the deal is and we’re going to work hard and we’re going to come out on the winning end next year.”

Even though Tejada wasn’t able to atone for his transgressions on the field, he said it is nice to know that they at least walked away with the second-place trophy.

“It’s a good feeling that we came out with the trophy; open the trophy case that hasn’t been opened in quite a while,” he said. “It’s alright. We’ll be here next year with the golden trophy.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


West Roxbury will play underdog role in D4 North baseball final Sunday morning

Posted by Justin Rice June 8, 2013 04:32 PM

Having already made school history on Thursday afternoon, the West Roxbury baseball team knows that anything it does in Sunday morning’s Division 4 North final will be gravy.

“This is special,” West Roxbury coach Clifton Wilson said after the No. 5-seeded Raiders advanced to the Division 4 North championship for the first time in program history by beating No. 1 seed Boston International 6-2 at Bentley University. “To be the only team from the city left in the tournament and to represent the city like this is great for city baseball.”

In fact, West Roxbury is the only team from a Boston public school left in the postseason this spring, across all sports.

West Roxbury (12-8) doesn’t even mind that it is playing No. 2 Lowell Catholic (17-5) in the final at LeLacheur Park, the home of the Lowell Spinners.

“They are a very good, strong, disciplined team,” Wilson said. “It will be a like a home game for them. They will probably have a lot of fans.”

Another issue for West Roxbury will be pitching.

West Roxbury beat Boston International without starting pitcher Sean Haugh and center fielder Raymond Tejada, who were suspended for disciplinary reasons. But while Tejada only received a one game suspension and will be back to play on Sunday, Haugh is done for the year.

“I only have two or three pitchers left,” Wilson said.

But Wilson said he will try to use the fact they are the underdogs to motivate his players.

“We’ve used it all year because we’re the lowest seed left so we know that we’re not going to be the top seed or the home team,” he said. “So we’ve come in realizing we have something to prove. Given that, I’m excited where we are at. The kids are excited and I told them we will do our best.”

They are also excited to play in a minor league ballpark.

“If you could have seen the look on these kids when we walked into Bentley here they were in absolute awe,” Wilson said. “Their mouths were dropped. They said ‘Coach we’re playing here?’ And Lowell will probably be even better. It will be a better facility probably.

"They are soaking this all in. It’s a dream come true.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


West Roxbury defeats Boston International to reach Division 4 North final

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 6, 2013 08:54 PM

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West Roxbury junior catcher Brian Navarro carves "Westie" into the pitchers mound after the Raiders beat Boston International to advance to the Division 4 North final on Sunday in Lowell. (Justin A. Rice / For the Boston Globe)

Despite a shorthanded roster, West Roxbury still made history Thursday afternoon by advancing to the Division 4 North baseball final with a 6-2 win over Boston International.

“I’m going back to Manny Delcarmen when he played here -- I don’t believe they’ve ever been to the [Division 4 North final],” said West Roxbury coach Clifton Wilson after the win at Robert DeFelice Field at Bentley University. “This is historic.This is special.”

The Raiders beat the No. 1-seeded team without starting pitcher Sean Haugh and center fielder Raymond Tejada, who were suspended for disciplinary reasons. Wilson was left with 10 players on his roster and had to start four freshmen.

The focus was on the mound, where senior captain Alejandro Lopez had to fill in for Haugh. Lopez pitched well, striking out five batters and allowing just one run in the sixth inning before senior Christopher Moreta relieved him.

“Our game plan coming in was to pound the zone with his fastball,” Wilson said. “He threw the fastball for strikes and he used his off-speed pitch, which is his curveball, very effectively through five.”

West Roxbury got on the board first when Ruel Delarosa hit an RBI single to score Jan Pereyra, who had reached on an error. Freshman Cesar Garcia added to that in the second by knocking in Jean Done on a double.

The Raiders opened it up in the fifth inning when Moreta and Lopez were brought home on a Pereyra double. Junior Brian Navarro iced the game in the sixth by scoring Delarosa on a single, and William Cabral Santos brought Navarro home for the sixth run of the game.

“Even though we have people out, we still have to take leadership in what we’re doing,” junior catcher Brian Navarro said. “Play our game, come out and do what we got to do. Stay hard. Go hard or go home, that’s the key.”

Navarro added that playing at a college field made him even more animated.

“Oh man, I was like, 'It feels like ‘I’m in Fenway Park!' ” Navarro said. “It’s pretty big, it’s a pretty good field and this is my first time playing here so I love it.”

West Roxbury also showed defensive prowess, twice turning double plays on line drives.

“I’ve got confidence in my teammates," said Navarro. "The double plays they made were even surprising for me. I’m glad they did those plays, got us out of the inning. That's what we got to do.”

Even though West Roxbury swept International this season, Wilson said he has respected coach Christian Irizarry’s squad since first seeing them.

“I gained tremendous respect for that team, their coach and all that they did, and we knew coming into today that we would have to play extremely well to beat them,” Wilson said.

Boston International scored one run in the sixth on a Nelfry Velez RBI and one in the seventh on RBI triple from Pedro Peguero. Velez and Junior Perdomo are the only two graduating seniors on the roster. The rest of the team is made up of sophomores and freshmen.

“They came in, they had fun, they had a good season,” Irizarry said. “Just keep working. We have a young team, so next year we hope to be here and hopefully win it all.”

West Roxbury will move on to face the winner of the Lowell Catholic-Georgetown game Sunday at 10 a.m. at LeLacheur Park, home of the Lowell Spinners.

“I’m just proud of the West Roxbury baseball team, the players that came out,” Wilson said. “We put everything that we had into it and I couldn’t be happier.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Celtics and City Year tell students to "Step Your Game Up"

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 5, 2013 07:32 PM

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The Boston Celtics "Step Your Game Up" event on Wednesday featured Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger and students who showed the most improvement during the school year. One winner was chosen from each of the 12 Boston public schools who participated in the event. (Photo courtesy of Boston Celtics)

Celtics forward Jared Sullinger and mascot Lucky paid a visit to City Year headquarters Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the accomplishments of students in the “Step Your Game Up” program.

“I knew with my work and my wisdom and everything I’ve been through, I can hopefully say some words for them to know that education is the future,” Sullinger said.

“Step Your Game Up” focuses on students struggling academically, whether it be with chronic absences or failure in core subjects. The students are sent a letter from the program, challenging them to improve.

This event focused on honoring 12 students who had shown significant improvement since joining the program. Burke, English, Young Achievers, Tobin, Dever-McCormack, Dearborn, Harbor, Mildred Ave, Neighborhood House Charter School, Irving, Orchard Gardens, and Higginson Lewis were schools represented by the students.

“We want to encourage students to start to go to school and do all of their work for the wrong reasons -- to get to meet someone like Jared or to get to go to a game -- in the hope that we can someday encourage them to go to school for the right reason,” Celtics director of community relations Matt Meyersohn said. “To really get an education and have a bright future.”

Meyersohn also praised the Celtics' partner in the program, City Year, which had volunteers working the carnival-themed event, whether it was fortune telling, food serving, or games.

“City Year is a perfect partner for this program,” Meyersohn said. “Where we can provide the incentives and support that work, they’re the ones on the ground every day working with thousands of kids.”

Earlier in the year, Sullinger took students bowling with some of his Celtics teammates. At this event, Sullinger and Lucky took photos, played games, and presented raffle prizes.

“I had fun all year doing things like this, because the kids really need something to uplift them,” Sullinger said.

Growing up with parents who were teachers taught him the value of education, he said, and he hopes to relay that to students.

“They might not be a basketball player, they might not be a football player, but they can be something special in this world and develop our economy in this world to make it a better place,” Sullinger said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Rogers, Orchard Gardens win middle school track city championship

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 5, 2013 06:59 PM

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Rogers sprinter Jamesa Jenkins and her coach Junior Joseph pose with her gold medal after she won the 100-meter dash in 13.10 seconds in the Middle School City track championships at White Stadium. (Zolan Kanno-Youngs / For the Boston Globe)

Even though this was the hardest year of coaching for Rogers’s Junie Joseph, he still was all smiles when he saw his girls’ track team holding the first-place trophy at the Middle School Track City Championships at White Stadium Tuesday.

“Most of my girls here have been with me for three years,” Joseph said. “I’m so proud of them. I really love them.”

Even though the coach was forced to go without an assistant, Rogers was still able to win its conference. Much of the credit has to go to runners like Jamesa Jenkins (or “other J.J.,” as her coach calls her).

Jenkins won the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.10 seconds.

However, Rogers was edged out in the 4x100 relay by Mildred, which took second place in the meet with a score of 52 compared with Rogers’s 74.

Mildred was trailing for a majority of the race until Britana Lewis passed her competition just before the finish line and sent the crowd into frenzy.

Asked if she could hear the cheers, Lewis said, “No. I was focused on the finish line."

In the boys' competition, Orchard Gardens won first place with 66 points while Hernendez settled for second with 60.

Javelin champion Abubal Sulieman and shot put champion Jason Correia led the champions.

“They just developed some great dedication over the season,” coach Jose Colon said. “Being very responsible with their academics, coming to practice every day, wanting to get better, working hard. They’re very unselfish and they work as a team.”

Even though it came in second, Hernendez still has a lot to be proud of. The squad won the 4x200 relay with a time of 1:45.90, Jovan Talavera won the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:10.80, and John Lara won the long jump with a distance of 17-5.5.

Lara also won the 400 meters -- again -- with a time of 55.7 seconds. In all the meets the future Catholic Memorial runner has competed in this year, he has yet to lose in the 400.

“It’s been a pretty good year for me,” Lara said. “[The race] is pretty difficult but it’s the training that helps me.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

DCL champion Boston Latin bows out of state softball tournament

Posted by Justin Rice June 5, 2013 06:56 PM

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Boston Latin softball coach Tim Holland speaks to his starting pitcher, junior pitcher Kaitlin Berry, during a state tournament loss to Central Catholic in Lawrence on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Boston Latin School Association)

LAWRENCE — Three years ago, Boston Latin’s softball team missed out on winning its first Dual County League title in school history by one run -- a 2-1 11-inning loss to Westford in the final regular-season game of the year.

To make matters worse, that was the year the team graduated All-Scholastic pitcher Emily Berardi.

But after that 2011 season, a group of five sophomores -- Mary Demora, Mallory O’Brien, Meghan Burns, Kim Miller, and Sally Gillis -- made a pact to win a league title before they graduated.

“We figured that we just had to leave some sort of legacy up there because we’re not going to be able to play softball for Latin forever,” said Demora, who along with the other four made good on that pact, with Latin securing the DCL title this season.

On Wednesday, their high school softball careers came to an end with an 11-4 loss to Central Catholic in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 North state tournament in Lawrence.

For a half-inning, it seemed coach Tim Holland would get another gift from his senior class. Latin, which beat Everett, 3-0, in the opening round, scored three runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Junior catcher Paige Mulrey hit an RBI double and O’Brien added an RBI single in that inning.

But just as fast as they took the lead, they lost it.

Central Catholic countered with seven runs in the third to take an 8-3 edge. Leadoff hitter Krista Maloney had three hits in the game -- a single, a double, and a solo home run in the fifth inning. Karoline Leavitt hit a three-run double in the big third inning.

“It’s a little tough,” Demora said. “We had that run that put us up, 3-1, and that kind of fired us up, but their hitters were really, really on today. They just batted up and down the lineup.”

No. 4 Central Catholic (18-4) advances to the semifinals to play top-seeded Concord Carlisle at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Martin Field in Lowell.

“They came out and put some runs on the board, and we talked about finding ways to put some people on base,” Central Catholic coach Stacy Ciccolo said. “We put a couple people on base and then Karoline unloaded a nice double to clear the bases and I think everyone relaxed after that and hitting got a little contagious after that.”

No. 5 Boston Latin finishes its season 17-5, a record Holland said is the second-best in his 12-year tenure.

“Give Central credit, they hit the ball hard, they hit it where we weren’t,” Holland said.

Holland, who started teaching physical education at Latin six years ago, said he’ll miss the five seniors who made that pledge.

“This was the first class I came in with,” he said. “They were seventh graders when I came into the school teaching, and since I’ve been teaching, they’ve qualified for the tournament every year. Whereas the five years before that, we hadn’t.

"It’s just a special, special group of kids.”

Holland has four juniors coming back next year, including Lauren O’Shea, who was third or fourth in the league in hitting, and Mulrey, who hit well over .400 this year.

“We’re going to graduate a lot of hits and a lot of leadership certainly, but we have four good juniors coming back,” Holland said.

Junior pitcher Kaitlin Berry, who struck out three batters Wednesday despite an injured foot, is also returning. She said this group of seniors has taught her a lot about leadership.

“I learned basically to push myself as hard as I can, because this group of seniors, they come to practice every day," she said. "They work their hardest and you can see it in them the way they play and the way they pick everyone up.

“If you make an error, they pick you up. They just want everyone to work their hardest and they want to win and be the best they can.”

Demora said it hadn't sunk in that her high school softball career is over.

“No, not really,” she said. “I mean, I’m happy I had all these years with a Latin jersey, and I wouldn’t give them away for anything.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reachd at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Yale football coach visits Dorchester students

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 5, 2013 06:52 PM

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New Yale football coach Tony Reno spoke to Dorchester High students on Wednesday afternoon. (Zolan Kanno-Youngs / For the Boston Globe)

Coach Tony Reno is used to drawing up schemes in front of young players, but on Wednesday, he wasn’t in front of his Yale football team and he wasn’t just teaching football.

Instead, the Yale head coach was in a Dorchester High School classroom relaying to scholar-athletes the best strategies to get into college.

“Get yourself squared away and figure out your goals,” Reno told the students. “It’s so much easier because you all want to be here. You're on the doorstep, you’ve gotten yourself to this point. Now you've just got to get to that next step.”

Reno emphasized how lucky the Dorchester student-athletes were for having a Boston Scholar Athlete zone to focus on their studies. BSA was the organization responsible for bringing in Reno as a guest speaker.

“[We did it] to get the kids an experience with a college coach who knows what the expectations are of high school student-athletes,” Dorchester assistant football coach Joe Cain said. “Give them an opportunity to ask questions and figure out what they need to do to play at the next level if that’s something they want to do.”

Reno drew up two lists, one with academic goals and one with athletic goals. He emphasized how it was imperative to focus on both.

“Right now, it’s foundation time, so what you’re doing right now is that foundation to start your life,” Reno said.

One of the students listening intently was sophomore football player Javaughn White, who aspires to play in college.

“I benefited from this by just knowing that you can get into any school no matter if it’s an Ivy League or a top-ranked school,” White said. “Just know that if you put your best foot forward, the door’s open to you.”

Another huge portion of Reno’s speech was on adversity. He described how he loves seeing even his own children fail because they are given the opportunity to bounce back. He also gave examples of Yale football alumni who have failed countless times in their lives but still ended up successful.

“When you talk about high school athletics, when you talk about college athletics, when you talk about living on a daily basis, athletics teaches you to be able to deal with adversity,” Reno said. “To be able to say, no matter what the situation is, I’m going to push through it.”

At the end of the event, Reno invited the students to a Yale football game. He even said he might try to catch one of the Bears football games this fall.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Dream Big! hosts third annual leadership conference at UMass-Boston

Posted by Justin Rice June 5, 2013 01:17 PM

The third annual Dream Big! leadership conference will provide opportunities for middle and high school girls from Boston Public Schools and other districts in Greater Boston to meet with accomplished women at UMass-Boston Thursday.

The event will go from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the UMass-Boston Campus Center, Third Floor Ballroom (100 Morrissey Blvd.).

Founded in 2010, Dream Big!’s mission is to help break down economic barriers that prevent girls from low-income situations from participating in sports and other physical activities.

High school, collegiate, Olympic, and professional female athletes will speak about the wide range of sports, educational, and career opportunities for young women. Among the speakers will be Olympic gold medalist and Boston Breakers professional soccer player Heather O'Reilly.

O'Reilly also will conduct a soccer clinic as part of the day's events.

Students and teachers/program leaders attending the conference will represent: Beantown Jumpers; Beyond Soccer, Lawrence; Boston Scholar Athletes; Charlestown High; Dorchester Academy; East Boston High; John D. O’ Bryant School of Mathematics & Science; Madison Park High; Roosevelt K-8; Tech Boston Academy; and Timilty Middle School.

Other conference presenters include:

-- Connie Bauman, former collegiate volleyball, basketball, and softball player; professor of the Practice of Sports Medicine at Wellesley College

-- Carolyn Campbell McGovern, former collegiate field hockey, lacrosse and track athlete, high school basketball, soccer, field hockey and track athlete, and deputy executive director, Ivy League

-- Linda Driscoll, former high school basketball, softball and field hockey player, and founder and CEO of Dream Big!

-- Andreen Gilpin, former collegiate basketball player, high school basketball, volleyball, softball, and track athlete, and quality assurance release supervisor for Boston Scientific Corporation

-- Candace Burns Johnson, former collegiate field hockey and basketball player; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, director of workforce development

-- Amy Latimerk, former collegiate basketball player, high school field hockey, basketball, and track athlete, and president of TD Garden

-- Dr. Megan Leo, former collegiate soccer player, high school soccer, volleyball, and softball athlete, and attending physician/emergency medicine, Boston Medical Center

-- Rebekah Splaine, former professional and collegiate soccer player, high school soccer and lacrosse All-American and All-New England basketball, and executive director, Boston Scholar Athlete Program

-- Kristen Rasmussen Tarr, former WNBA, FIBA, and WNBL professional basketball player, and Simmons College head women’s basketball coach

-- Helen Williams, former collegiate basketball player and coach, high school softball player, and athletic administration fellow at Harvard, and author.

-- Sarah Keohane Williamson, former collegiate rugby player, high school golfer, and partner, Wellington Management

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Senior-led Latin Academy tennis team plays final match

Posted by Justin Rice June 4, 2013 07:45 PM

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Latin Academy senior Ricardel lost to St. John's Niko Limacher 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in the final match of his high school career on Tuesday afternoon in Danvers. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

DANVERS — It didn’t take long for Mark Anthony Kenney to realize his high school tennis career was over.

"Now, now,” Latin Academy’s No. 1 singles player said when asked if it had sunk in that he lost his No. 1 singles match in the Dragons’ 5-0 quarterfinal loss in the Division 1 North state tournament to St. John’s Prep Tuesday.

“I’m just disappointed, it’s just disappointing.”

Kenney, who will play for Whittier College in Los Angeles in the fall, lost to Chris Toner, a top 10 New England player who will play for the University of Connecticut next year.

“We got a tough draw," said Toner after his 6-1, 6-2 win. "They are a tough team to play in the first round because we are the four seed and they are the five seed. We played them earlier this year and it was definitely tough and we came out and tried to do the same thing today.

“We played them in the past and they’ve always had a strong team and they are especially strong this year. Mark Anthony and Jimmy Ye are really good players, and Ricardel [Bailey], and they have strong doubles teams. It was good to play them in the regular season so we knew what to expect. And we came out with the W.”

St. John’s (13-4) beat Latin Academy (14-6) by a score of 4-1 on May 20. Ye, another senior, got the Dragons' only victory of that match, by beating Niko Limacher.

On Tuesday, Ye, who will play for Holy Cross, played his final high school match at No. 2 singles. He lost, 6-0, 6-2, to junior Dan Cunningham. Ye was suffering from a wrist injury during the match.

“I did my best,” Ye said. “I didn’t want to sit out the match. I just did whatever I could. I wanted to go out strong.”

Ye, who played at Latin Academy for four years, said he will most remember the big victories.

“The wins we had against tough teams,” he said. “Last year against BC High, that was a pretty memorable match. Earlier this year against Brookline High. Just good matches like that.”

Latin Academy also beat Andover and Brookline for the first time in program history this year. Fifth-year coach Andy Crane’s team tied for the best record he’s had at Latin Academy.

“We beat a couple Dual County League teams -- we had never done that during my
tenure -- so this was a very solid team, a very dangerous team on any given day,” Crane said.

“Obviously we got beat by a better team today but this was a really good season.”

In No. 3 singles, Limacher beat Bailey, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

Bailey said Crane taught him to play tennis as part of the Tenacity youth program when he was 9 years old. He said he will likely play at Virginia State next year.

“Andy was there when I first picked up a tennis racket,” Bailey said. “He was the man who helped me further my tennis.”

Latin Academy’s No. 1 doubles team of Ming Lau and Saiful Mahmood lost to Ian Wright and Alec McNiff, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

“They played a phenomenal first set,” Crane said. “That’s as well as they played all year. I’m really proud of those guys.”

Lau and Mahmood also are seniors.

“They are all going to end up at really great schools,” Crane said of his five seniors. “They are all really good students and I’ve watched them grow up. I couldn’t be happier with them. I really couldn’t.

"One of our top JVs will be a senior [next year] and we've got a bunch of our younger kids. We’re going to have to grow. It will be a different kind of team, but we’ll grow.”

The only junior on the squad, Gar Paul, lost his No. 2 doubles match with freshman Troy Fredericks, 6-0, 6-4, to Jon Shaffer and Sean Nark. Paul said he’s a little nervous about being the only senior on the team next year.

“Obviously I’m really scared but I have the confidence,” he said. “I think I can do some pretty amazing stuff if I put my mind to it. I always felt that I was a singles player more, so I’m really looking forward to singles.”

When asked to impart some advice to Paul, Kenney said: “Keep your head up because it’s going to be tough for you guys. That’s basically it. Keep working hard and try to get better. Just try to be a leader. Lead the team as best you can. Stay positive. Keep your guys positive and your guys will have positive results.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

West Roxbury and Boston International set for showdown

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 4, 2013 06:14 PM

After No. 5 West Roxbury and No. 1 Boston International square off Thursday, there will be only one city baseball team left in the MIAA state tournament. The two will face each other in the Division 4 North semifinals at Bentley at 4 p.m.

West Roxbury coach Clifton Wilson, fresh off of a big win against Mystic Valley in the quarterfinals, has mixed feelings about being one of the two left.

“There’s a tremendous amount of pride for Boston baseball, which I believe is making an attempt to get better,” Wilson said. “On the other hand, I’m very proud that we are one of the two remaining teams left.

"I think that makes a statement for the program we’re running here and also the program Boston International is running.”

Having not played since Friday, Wilson is excited about being able to start his best pitcher, Sean Haugh. The coach also doesn’t believe that focusing on Boston International’s play in its win against Rockport will be essential.

“It’s not about Boston International, it’s about West Roxbury baseball,” Wilson said. “We have to be able to execute, we have to take care of our own situation.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Celtics and "Step Your Game Up" to honor students

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 4, 2013 06:10 PM

The Celtics are teaming up with the ”Step Your Game Up" program to encourage students to improve their academic performance in the classroom.

The event, set to be held tomorrow at the City Year Headquarters in Boston from 4:30-6:30 p.m., will feature Celtics forward Jared Sullinger and mascot Lucky, who will interact and pose for pictures with the students.

The celebration will be carnival-themed and include food, games, raffles, and other giveaways. Students who attend will receive a “Step Your Game Up” Celtics sweatshirt.

The founder of the “Step Your Game Up” program, Judy Pagliuca, and City Year Boston managing director Lisa Fortenberry will also be in attendance.

“The Celtics organization and I are incredibly proud of the 100 students that will be recognized tomorrow for their ability to 'Step Their Game Up' and increase their engagement in school and reach their goals," Pagluica said. "We all hope the students will have a really good time tomorrow and that this program will create a lasting impact in academic lives."

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Latin Academy tennis coach Andy Crane honored at Tenacity gala

Posted by Justin Rice June 3, 2013 06:30 PM

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Andy Crane getting a hug from a Tenacity alum, Boston College graduate, and current Tenacity Fellow Luis Sanchez as Keon Jones (rear far left), Yves Singletary (rear middle-clapping), and dozens of other Tenacity alums applaud. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Versoy)

Surrounded by more than 30 former and current players, Latin Academy tennis coach Andy Crane was honored during the Tenacity gala at the Westin Waterfront Hotel over the weekend.

“This is pretty awesome, you think about it, everybody on this stage I’ve known for quite a long time,” Crane said to a ballroom packed with about 800 people. “They don’t look that old do they?”

In 1999 Crane became the founding program director at Tenacity — a tennis and enrichment program that began with 1,100 students and currently serves 6,500 youths in Boston and Worcester.

On Saturday night, the 66-year-old received the organization’s Founders Award, two years after he left the organization as a fulltime employee.

“You’ve been an amazing mentor to me, Tenacity, the staff at tenacity, to so many hundreds of kids,” Tenacity President and Founder Ned Eames said in a video tribute to Crane played during the gala, which raised approximately $500,000. “Tenacity simply would not be here today in anywhere close to the form, shape and scale that it’s in if it wasn’t for you. You’re an amazing guy, very unselfish, very talented, very capable and we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

During his final year at Columbia University in 1969, Crane was hired by the Amsterdam News to cover Arthur Ashe at the US Open, which Ashe unexpectedly won. Crane later wrote for Newsday and the New York Post for a year and got to cover the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup in 1970.

Crane decided to go to law school at Boston University. He worked as a public defender in Vermont before being appointed to be Defender General by the Vermont governor. In 1985 he was hired to be the Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission, a post he left in 1995.

In the mid 1990s he helped found Boston Latin’s tennis team before he started working for Tenacity.

“He is a lawyer by training and education,” Tenacity employee Stephanie Gendron said in the tribute video, “and he is a tennis player and he never had any formal training in the field of youth development or social work or education and yet he’s better at all of those things than the entire Tenacity staff put together.”

Another former Tenacity employee Kaytie Dowcett said: “Andy was the busiest person I knew and if I needed anything and I went into his office I was the center of his attention and I know that was true with any kid, any employee; you never got the sense that he was frazzled or that he was spread in 35 different directions even though you knew he was, because his attention was all about what was in front of him and who was in front of him.

“And that influenced my role as a supervisor at Tenacity, it influenced my role as a teacher and mentor with kids at Tenacity and it influences my role as a school teacher right now.”

After the video Crane was introduced by a former student, Luis Sanchez, who recently graduated from Boston College and broadcasts the women’s basketball games at BC. He is also a Tenacity Fellow.

Sanchez first signed up for Tenacity in the summer of 1999 but still struggled to point his life in the right direction. Crane took him in to live in his own Jamaica Plain two bedroom apartment as a 14-year-old in 2004.

“He had one rule, his one rule was that I go to school every day,” Sanchez said. “I had to attend and this was a nonnegotiable. My life went from a downward spiral and came to a complete halt and began an upward trajectory. It’s possible that if Andy did not interject into my life, intervening in the way that he did, that I would not be here today or not have graduated from high school, I would have graduated from college. I might still be sleeping on a street or somewhere worse, a jail cell or in a coffin.

“His presence has been felt not only in this room but in the hearts and minds of everybody that has been impacted. He is my mentor, my family, my best friend.”

After receiving the award on Saturday night, he told the crowd that helping students like Sanchez was better than all of the previous accomplishments in his life before he started working for Tenacity in 1999.

“I had a great life prior to 1999 but it will come to no surprise to anybody that nothing compares to this,” he said, “because every one of these young people has an amazing story and I got to live through all of them.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Latin Academy tennis team ready to take on St. John's Prep in opening state tournament match

Posted by Justin Rice June 3, 2013 06:12 PM

If Latin Academy’s players needed any motivation for Tuesday afternoon’s quarterfinal state tournament match against St. John’s Prep, they got it when their coach, Andy Crane, was honored during Saturday night’s Tenacity gala.

“It was great, it was inspiring,” senior Mark Anthony Kenney said.

Crane is the founding program manager for the tennis and youth enrichment program Tenacity. He won the organizations's Founders Award at the Westin Waterfront Hotel on Saturday night.

“Andy and I have had a lot of conversations," Kenney said. "I’ve gotten to know him personally. I think the award that he got tonight was just a testament to what a great person he is, and how devoted he is to youth.”

Originally slated for Monday, the match between No. 4 St. John’s Prep (12-4) and No. 5 Latin Academy 14-5) was moved to 4 p.m. Tuesday at St. John’s Prep in Danvers because of a lousy weather forecast.

Kenney, who will play for Whittier College in Los Angeles in the fall, didn’t complain about drawing St. John’s Prep in their first postseason match this spring.

“It’s definitely a tough draw but you can’t complain about the draw,” he said. “The seeds fall where they do and you have to roll with the punches and get it done. We were going to have to face them at some point so getting them out of the way first round it will be better for us.

“It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a grind; really it could be potentially the last match of my high school career, a lot of our high school careers, and we’re just going to go out there and give it all we got and get a win.”

His teammate Jimmy Ye still thinks they can take out St. John’s Prep.

“I don’t think there is a team we can’t beat,” he said. “If we are all focused we can beat anybody. I think we can go all the way but we have to be focused and have to be determined. That’s what I’m shooting for, that’s what I’m going to try my hardest to do and hopefully it’s enough.”

Ye, who will play for Holy Cross in the fall, was also moved by Saturday’s tribute to his coach.

“Andy is the man,” he said. “It’s definitely special. Something like this, an event like this, he definitely deserves it, but I think Andy gets appreciation every day.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

BSA baseball all-star teams

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 3, 2013 11:18 AM

The BSA baseball all-star game will be played at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Fenway Park. The following scholar-athletes will make up the red and blue all-star teams.

Red

Coach: Christian Irizarry, Boston International

Vincent Lopriore, Latin Academy

Dan O'Connell, Latin Academy

Mark Guerard, Latin Academy

Luis Atiles, Charlestown

Rodney Soto, Charlestown

Moises Beltre, Dorchester

Manuel Alvarez, Fenway

Gaby Pena Soto, Fenway

Frank Rosario, Boston International

Derlin Tejeda, Boston International

Daurys Pena, Madison Park

Hugo Mateo, Madison Park

Mario Pina, South Boston

Aviel Collazo-Fuentes, South Boston

Brian Navarro, West Roxbury

Sean Haugh, West Roxbury


Blue

Coach: Ricardo Figueroa, English

Jesus Soto, Brighton

Jose Valenzuela, Brighton

Terell Andrews, Burke

Elvin Perez, Burke

Manny Martinez, East Boston

Michael Theriault, East Boston

Nelson Barreiro, English

Alberto Navarro, English

Miguel Lorenzo, English

Andy Gonzalez, New Mission

Ansel Rivera, New Mission

Jose Vasquez, O'Bryant

Brandon Ruiz, O'Bryant

Fernando Burgos, O'Bryant

Louis Medina, Snowden

Victor Velasquez, Snowden

Baseball Sportsmanship Award
Nelson Barreiro, English
Nelfry Velez, Boston International

BSA softball all-star teams

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 3, 2013 11:01 AM

The BSA softball all-star game will be played at noon Saturday June 15 at Wentworth's Sweeney field. The following scholar-athletes will make up the red and blue all-star teams.

Red

Coach: Jenelle Corey, English

Sydney McGrath, Latin Academy

Aurora Obrien, Latin Academy

Rachel Kerrigan, Latin Academy

Crystal Figueroa, Brighton

Kristie Cruise, Brighton

Jeanette Supulveda, Dorchester

Brittany Saintcyr, Dorchester

Nicole Sandell, New Mission

Alison Davey, New Mission

Mackala McPherson, West Roxbury

Nakia Ellies, West Roxbury

Heidy Barreiro, English

Lorena Labour, English

Stephanie Morales, Snowden

Ana Ortiz, Snowden


Blue

Coach: Joanne Lee-Nieves, Burke

Jarolin Espinal, Boston International

Johanny De Jesus, Boston International

Brenda Calderon, Burke

Renee Pierre, Burke

Yissa Guerrero, Burke

Vanessa Bernabei, East Boston

Stephanie Rizzo, East Boston

Danielle Elliot, East Boston

Lorena Escolero, Fenway

Laura Escolero, Fenway

Krystal Edwards, Madison Park

Katiria Andujar, Madison Park

Kristen O'Brien, O'Bryant

Valerie Nieves, O'Bryant

Elaina Wright-McCarthy, South Boston


Softball Sportsmanship Award
Marissa Serrette, West Roxbury
Renee Pierre, Burke


English exits early again

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs June 1, 2013 08:20 PM

The city champions continued an ugly tradition of losing in the first round of the MIAA state tournament on Saturday, with English dropping against a relentless Dracut team, 8-6.

“It’s sad, they are a No. 6 seed and we are No. 1,” English coach Ricardo Figueroa said on the loss at Fallon field. “We’re eliminated now but that’s the way baseball is. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. Today the ball bounced the other way.”

It’s the second year in a row English has won the city championship and had an early first round exit.

It looked like the ball was bouncing English’s way in the bottom of the fourth inning. Down 4-2, seniors Nelson Barreiro and Richard Gonzalez got the rally started with back-to-back singles.

Dracut’s shortstop Adam Barbosa then made an error on a Tommy Lugo groundball, scoring Barreiro from third. After Ruben Pena loaded the bases with a bunt, Miguel Calderon gave English a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly.

Dracut’s 3-run response came in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI from Ben Gacek, Dylan Ryan and Stig McElhinney, all of which came with two outs.

“They’re a good team but we’ve won five of our last seven,” Dracut coach Mike Saucier said. “We’ve won a lot of these kind of games. We just never die and we came back.”

It was a game full of chances for English. In the sixth inning, they had men on first and third but could not capitalize when pitcher Dylan Ryan forced Barreiro to fly out.

Another chance came in the bottom of the seventh when Lugo and Pena hit back-to-back singles with one out. However, Ryan forced a flyout and a strikeout on the next two batters ending English’s season.

Figueroa still found a way to see the positives in the game pointing out the great performance from his No. 8 and 9 hitters, Tommy Lugo and Ruben Pena.

Lugo was 2-for-3 on the day with a double and a single and Pena was 4-for-4, knocking in two runs on a pair of singles

“They stepped up and did the job,” Figueroa said. “Well done. It wasn’t enough but it was good to see those guys trying hard.”

Luckily for Figueroa, both of those players are underclassmen.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.
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