|Madeline Lannin-Cotton says high school coaching has aided her game.|
Middleborough's Horan at home in Danbury
Middleborough's Tyler Horan, who batted .396 with a .771 slugging percentage in 28 games as a redshirt freshman at Virginia Tech this season, is continuing to provide offensive punch for the Danbury (Conn.) Westerners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Through last weekend, the former Boston College baseball and football star was hitting .315, was the NECBL's co-leader in home runs (7), and was tied for fourth in RBIs (19).
His highlights included an eighth-inning, three-run homer in a 4-3 comeback victory against Vermont, and a single, double, and home run in a 9-5 win over North Adams.
"He's a big, strong, left-handed hitter playing in a home park that's lefty-friendly," said Westerners manager Jamie Shevchik, noting the 315-foot distance down the right field line and 330-foot distance to the gap in right-center at Rogers Park.
"We've built our team around our field and Tyler fits that mold."
Horan was MVP of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League last summer with league champion Lake Norman in North Carolina. He paced the Copperheads with a .360 batting average while driving in 27 runs and slugging .436 with eight doubles, a triple, and two home runs. He also finished 16 for 16 in stolen base attempts. He drove in two runs in Game 1 of the championship series and went 2 for 4 at the plate in the clinching Game 3.
In Danbury, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Horan has hit fourth or fifth in the lineup, played right field, and taken a few cuts at designated hitter.
"He just runs so well for his size, steals a lot of bases, and that speed translates to his fine play in the outfield," added Shevchik. "And he's got a very strong arm."
Horan said he was happy to be assigned to Danbury by Virginia Tech's coaches, who watched him blossom late this season because of an injury to the Hokies' rightfielder.
"It's a 2Æ-hour ride home now from Danbury instead of 15 hours last summer, so my family has more chances to see me play, and my dad, whose job takes him to Connecticut, has made a few trips to Danbury," said Horan, who had seven doubles, a triple, three homers, and 12 RBIs for Virginia Tech while playing in 28 games, nine as a starter.
"Even though I was a part-time player this season, getting most of my at-bats at the end of the season definitely carried over when I came to Danbury," said Horan, a Globe-All Scholastic in baseball and the Globe's Division 1 Player of the Year in football at Boston College High. He played on state championship baseball teams in 2008 and 2009. A running back and linebacker, Horan scored 16 touchdowns, including a pair in a 13-7 win over Brockton in the Division 1 Super Bowl in 2008.
In their 50s, these two still have their A game
Rebecca Jones-Bloom of Dedham and Madeline Lannin-Cotton of Pembroke were members of the Massachusetts Miracles 55-59-year-old women's basketball team that competed in last month's Senior Games in Houston, Tex.
The Miracles, cofounded in 2006 by Jones-Bloom, finished seventh in the 3-on-3 tournament, whose medal round field included 18 teams. The Miracles qualified for the biannual Nationals by medaling at the Maine Senior Games.
Jones-Bloom, whose mother, Ruth Cunningham, played girls' basketball at Stoughton High and whose uncle, Russell Cunningham, played for the Stoughton boys' team, grew up in Shelton, Conn., on the Jones family farm.
She said she was "tall enough but a bit gawky" to make the varsity girls' basketball team in high school, and graduated from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 1973.
She got serious about the game playing in women's pickup games at Brighton High and Cambridge Rindge and Latin on Saturday afternoons in the mid-'80s before attending the "Never Too Late" adult-coached program in Jamaica Plain.
She met Miracles cofounder Jane Mooney in December 2005 at the Boston Sports Club gym in Wellesley, and the women began their quest to find others their age to compete.
An attorney for the past 23 years for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Jones-Bloom said playing for the Miracles has been the perfect recreational fit away from her demanding job.
Lannin-Cotton, varsity girls' basketball coach for 29 years and an English teacher at Rockland High, was a varsity basketball player and softball captain at the high school and a varsity softball player at Bridgewater State University.
She played basketball in the Boston Park League with her college teammates shortly after graduation in 1973.
"Staying in coaching helped me with the Miracles because we do a lot of 3-on-3 drills at the high school," said Lannin-Cotton, who guided Rockland High to the Division 3 state championship in 2000. "I've also been able to pass on a few tips to my Miracles teammates."
If interested in trying out for any of the Miracles teams, including a planned 60-plus squad, contact Mooney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marvin Pave can be reached at email@example.com.