The Super 8 committee has some difficult decisions to make come Feb. 23 when the tournament-bound teams are announced, but consider this your personal cheat sheet to what the decision-makers will be discussing.
There’s still more than two weeks of hockey left to play, but there are already several teams that are shoo-ins, with the rest still fighting to punch their ticket. Here’s an in-depth look into the definite, probable and long shot bids for the 2013 Super 8 tournament.
Springfield Cathedral Panthers
Pros: The Panthers have taken down the likes of BC High back on Jan. 12, Archbishop Williams on Dec. 22 and destroyed most of their other opponents. Cathedral is undefeated, has just two ties and has scored 79 goals through 15 games. That comes out to an average of more than five goals per game. It’s hard to beat a team when you have to score more than six goals on average to take it down.
Cons: Cathedral could use a few more big wins to solidify the No. 1 seed in the tournament, with one of its best chances to do so coming on the road against in its second meeting with BC High on Feb. 7. A season sweep of the Eagles would be huge for the Panthers and barring a loss against St. John’s Prep Feb. 16, all but ensure the tournament’s No. 1 seed.
Games remaining: Feb. 7 at BC High, Feb. 9 vs. Mt. St. Charles Academy (RI), Feb. 14 at St. John’s (S), Feb. 16 vs. St. John’s Prep, Feb. 20 vs. Needham, Feb. 21 vs. St. Mary’s or Malden Catholic (tournament game)
St. John’s Prep
Pros: St. John’s Prep is close to clinching the Catholic Conference title with a 7-1 conference record and 13-2 record overall. The Eagles have been on a roll as of late, defeating Malden Catholic, BC High, Catholic Memorial, and Xaverian twice in their past six games. Upcoming games against Arlington Catholic Feb. 16 and the Cathedral game 10 days later are the biggest hurdles in the Prep’s way for the rest of the season. Regardless though, the team will in all likelihood finish either No. 1 or No. 2 in the Catholic Conference and thus make the tournament.
Cons: The Prep’s only real problem right now is the two losses, one of which came against BC High on Jan. 9. St. John’s did avenge that loss and defeat BC High in the second meeting on Jan. 26. What could derail one of the top two seeds for the Prep in the Super 8 would be a loss to either AC or Cathedral to end the year. As long as it finishes in the top two in the Catholic Conference though, the Prep will be skating in the tournament this season.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Arlington Catholic, Feb. 9 at St. John’s (S), Feb. 13 at Bishop Fenwick, Feb. 16 at Springfield Cathedral, Feb. 20 vs. Wakefield
Pros: The Eagles have one of the Commonwealth’s best goalies in Peter Cronin and top playmakers in Tom Besigner. It’s not often you see Besigner end a game without an assist or goal and Cronin has only surrendered more than two goals three times this season. BC High is going to be in the Super 8 and will be one of the hardest teams to score against in the field.
Cons: The Eagles were the Globe’s top ranked team for some time earlier this season but they’ve had some tough times since losing to Cathedral on Jan. 12. Coach John Flaherty’s team lost to the Prep and face off with the Panthers Feb. 7. BC High still has an outside chance at the Catholic Conference title and a top three seed in the Super 8 but it needs to get back on track starting against Cathedral at UMass-Boston this week.
Games Remaining: Feb. 7 vs. BC High, Feb. 13 at St. Mary’s Lynn, Feb. 16 vs. Duxbury (Cape Cod Classic) Feb. 22 at St. John’s (S)
Pros: First in the Middlesex League, recently crushed second place Winchester, 5-0, and has lost just one game this whole season. The Rockets have been doing their best to show the Massachusetts hockey scene they’re for real and it’s kind of hard to say they’re not right now.
Cons: Lost to BC High Dec. 29 which was one of Reading’s most notable opponents all season. They score plenty of goals with 61 this season but some of the Rockets’ opponents this season aren’t as strong. Reading can and should finish the season undefeated in the league though, which will be a big help seeding wise in the Super 8.
Games remaining: Feb. 4 vs. Burlington, Feb. 6 vs. Belmont, Feb. 9 at Arlington, Feb. 13 vs. Woburn, Feb. 16 at Wilmington.
Pros: Rallied to tie Cathedral on Jan. 21, 8-0-1 and first in the Merrimack Valley Conference with 63 goals on the year. As long as CC wraps up the MVC, expect to see them as one of the first names announced for the Super 8.
Cons: A win against Cathedral would have been much more impressive than a tie, but the rally in the third period helps make up for that. With several tough contests left on the schedule, it’ll be interesting to see how the Raiders wind out the season, which will end up determining when and who they play in the tournament.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Malden Catholic, Feb. 9 at Chelmsford, Feb. 13 vs. Waltham, Feb. 16 at Andover, Feb. 18 at Catholic Memorial.
Pros: The Cougars are fresh off a Feb. 2 win over Arlington Catholic, defeated Central Catholic Jan. 9 and tied CC in the second meeting. Whoever wins the Catholic Central League will be in the tournament. Austin Prep is tied with Archbishop Williams so the selection of AP as a "definite" here could just as easily have been the Archies.
Cons: Prep doesn't have much in the ways of cons but the season may very well come down to the Feb. 13 game between the Bishops and Cougars. Unless either the aforementioned teams lose before then, that's where the Catholic Central League will be decided.
Games Remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Matignon, Feb. 9 at Andover, Feb. 13 vs. Archbishop Williams, Feb. 18 vs. Hingham (Cape Cod Classic)
Pros: The Knights started the season annihilating teams, outscoring their first three opponents 15-5 to start the year. Captains Liam Coughlin and Jack O’Hear are two of the best forwards you can ask for on offense. CM beat Malden Catholic, 7-4, on Jan. 8 and defeated three days prior to that contest.
Cons: CM has lost its mental edge of late, losing to MC, St. John’s Prep, BC High and Barnstable over its past five contests. The Barnstable loss doesn’t count against the Knights’ overall record but it doesn’t help win over any committee members either.
Games remaining: Feb. 9 vs. Xaverian, Feb. 16 at Braintree, Feb. 18 vs. Central Catholic, Feb. 20 at Fairfield College Prep (CT)
Pros: Leading the Carey Division in the Bay State Conference with a 10-2 league record and wins over Weymouth and Framingham. The 2011 Super 8 tournament saw two BSC teams taken which helps the Wamps’ chances of being invited to the dance.
Cons: Braintree lost to Framingham in the two teams' first meeting of the season on Jan. 5 along and picked up two losses to Division 2 Newburyport and Barnstable during the Cape Cod Freezeout tournament.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Needham, Feb. 9 vs. Weymouth, Feb. 13 vs. Walpole, Feb. 16 vs. Catholic Memorial, Feb. 19 vs. St. Peter Marian, Feb. 21 at Brockton
Pros: A history of Super 8 appearances and success in the tournament helps the Harbormen. The 11-5-1 record is good, not great, but the 2010 Super 8 champions have some notable games coming up to boost their record and public opinion.
Cons: Hingham took losses to almost every big name opponent this year, including St. John’s Prep, Malden Catholic, Catholic Memorial, Cathedral and tied with Reading.
Games remaining: Feb. 9 at Marshfield, Feb. 11 vs. Winchester, Feb. 16 vs. Austin Prep (Cape Cod Classic)
Pros: The Archies are tied with Austin Prep atop the Catholic Central Conference and are currently undefeated in league play, so feel free to consider them on the same level as AP. The Bishops crushed Arlington Catholic, 7-2, back on Jan. 26 after tying 1-1 earlier in the season. They also tied Austin Prep and beat Chelmsford in the Cape Cod Cup.
Cons: The Archies only chance to add another big win comes against Austin Prep on Feb. 13, though that could change if things go the Bishops’ way in the Cape Cod Classic.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Bishop Fenwick, Feb. 13 at Austin Prep, Feb. 16 vs. Waltham (Cape Cod Classic)
Pros: It might be a tad unfair to call the Red Raiders a long shot considering some of their big tournament wins. Barnstable beat Braintree in the Cape Cod Freezeout consolation game after losing to Cathedral in a shootout the round prior. They also defeated Catholic Memorial in the Nate Nickerson Invitational via shootout before defeating Falmouth (ME) to win the tournament.
Cons: Other than those wins and a tie against Duxbury to start the season, there’s not a whole lot of tough competition on Barnstable’s record. Figuring in the Red Raiders have never been in the Super 8 is also something to consider.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 at Bridgewater-Raynham, Feb. 13 vs. Falmouth, Feb. 18 at Marshfield, Feb. 20 vs. Winchester (Cape Cod Hockey Showdown), Feb. 21 vs. Mansfield or Westfield (Cape Cod Hockey Showdown)
Pros: Division 2 Wilmington is the No. 1 team in the Middlesex League’s Freedom division, with just one loss to a division foe all year. The defending Division 2 state champion Wildcats also pulled out a big win against Winchester Jan. 26 and lost to Malden Catholic by just one goal on Jan. 14. If a Division 2 team is to make the Super 8, it could be Wilmington. The schedule proves they can play with the big boys.
Cons: Being a Division 2 team is a concern in the committee’s eyes and maybe, just maybe, Wilmington would say "thanks, but no thanks" to a Super 8 invite. But wins over Burlington and Reading to end the season might change their minds.
Games remaining: Feb. 6 vs. Melrose, Feb. 9 vs. Wakefield, Feb. 13 at Burlington, Feb. 16 vs. Reading, Feb. 18 at Acton-Boxboro, Feb. 20 vs. Tewksbury
Pros: The Panthers have absolutely owned practically every team they’ve played this season, with a 13-0-1 record and 70 goals scored so far. The only tie came against Newburyport on the road in a 0-0 stalemate.
Cons: If D2 is bad for Wilmington, then it’s worse for the Panthers. At least in the Wildcats’ case, they’ve beat some big name teams like Winchester and they play in a Division 1 league. Beverly hasn’t played any top teams this year which gives them little leverage when trying to compare its resume to Wilmington’s. A good Division 2 team, it’s hard to see Beverly getting, or wanting, a bid.
Games remaining: Feb. 9 at Winthrop, Feb. 13 vs. Danvers, Feb. 16 vs. Gloucester, Feb. 18 at Peabody, Feb. 20 at Lynnfield, Feb. 22 vs. Marblehead
Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe
Football is back in Boston.
And Monday's opening day of training camp marked major new beginnings at several city league programs.
Besides being the first day of practice for new coaches at Brighton High, Charlestown High and West Roxbury High, Monday was the first ever football practice for New Mission High.
New Mission secured a football program after it was announced last school year that the school would move from Mission Hill to the former Hyde Park Education Complex.
About 13 New Mission students participated in practice at Ross Field on Monday.
“This is surreal,” said New Mission coach Michael Pittman Forman, who used to coach at Cathedral High in the South End. ”I’ve been in Boston for a while and I’ve wanted to get into the city [league] and coach. It feels surreal and I’m happy for the turnout we have right now. It’s a little low but we should be getting more guys.”
Known for their formidable basketball teams, the Titans looked athletic as they ran through conditioning drills on Monday morning.
“Once we start running with helmets and shoulder pads we’ll see if they are football players,” Pittman Forman said. “I have a feeling it’s going to be great. Everything starts with baby steps and we’re taking baby steps right now. We’ll see how it goes from this point on.”
Over in West Roxbury, another new era of football started as Derek Wright was in place as head coach instead of Leo Sybertz. The 74-year-old retired after the 2007 season only to return for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Wright served as Sybertz' assistant for two seasons.
“It was a restless night, the anxiety, now it’s all on my shoulders to be the head guy,” Wright said.
The Raiders junior quarterback David Bertucci said it was strange without Sybertz at practice on Monday.
“But I’ve been with these coaches since I was a freshman and I love them all to death,” he said. “But you can’t really replace a coach Sy, it’s always tough. Coach Wright coached me since JV year so I’ve been under his tutelage. It’s always good working with a coach you’ve worked with before. It makes everything easier. I’m happy they made Coach Wright head coach, I wouldn’t want anyone else to be head coach.”
Bertucci also said it’s a little tough coming back to practice and conditioning because it means summer is over and school is about to start.
“But the football helps to remove that pit [in your stomach] and makes everything better,” said Buertucci, whose father played at Westie in the 1980s and is an assistant for the Raiders. “I’m just happy to be back. I’ve been waiting for this since the last game of the year last year against Brighton. We finished off strong and we have a good group of guys here and we’re hoping to go deep in the playoffs.”
At Brighton’s camp in Cleveland Circle on Monday, longtime Bengals’ assistant Randolph Abraham officially took over the reins from James “Timo” Philip, who retired last year after coaching the Bengals for 30 years.
Abraham played for Philip until 2000 and became his assistant coach after graduating from Nichole’s College in 2004.
“It feels awesome, this is a dream of mine, I’ve wanted to do since I was a student here,” he said. “It’s going to be a grind but I think we’ve got great coaching.”
Last week Abraham joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if Philip turned up at the first day of practice. While Philip was a no show on Monday, Abraham joked that Philip would "hate" how organized practice is.
“He likes to roll with it,” Abraham said of Philip. “Me, I’m the opposite. We’re very organized and precise as you can see. We’re getting a lot done today. It feels like we’ve been here for four hours but we’ve only been here for two. They’re working.”
During the first week of Brighton’s practice last year, Brighton's star tight end Prince Unaegbu suffered a dislocating wrist and played most of the season with a cast on his forearm.
“It feels good, I’ve been waiting all year for this," the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder said. "When I came in today it felt like I was getting ready for a game or something.”
The Boston Scholar Athletes program is hosting the POWERADE/AE Pre-Season Nike Sparq Football Combine on Saturday at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Dorchester (650 Dudley St.).
Running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the combine will provide Boston public high school football players with a chance to receive a Nike SPARQ rating, which will allow them to compare themselves to other high school football players. The attendees will also participate in a series of Nike SPARQ training drills.
No more than 25 members of each BPS football team can attend the combine and all students must be academically eligible.
Each athlete will partake in four tests (40 yard dash, pro agility, vertical
jump, and kneeling power ball throw). At the completion each score will be put into
a computer system and the player will then receive a Nike SPARQ rating.
There will also be six stations (agility cones, speed hurdles, speed
ladder, parachutes, power ball, linear speed) with each station lasting between eight to
An hour of position specific teaching and fundamentals will also be conducted.
8:00am-9:00am: Registration (handled by BSA staff)
12:00pm-1:00pm: Hydration & Lunch
1:00pm-2:00pm: Nike Sparq Training
2:10pm-3:10pm: Position Specific
3:20pm-4:20pm: Half Line Drills and Skelly
4:30pm-5:00pm Wrap Up
Several teams in the Boston Neighborhood Basketball League started their seasons about a week late last week after league officials cracked down on a long-time residency rule that was never truly enforced before now.
The 43-year-old summer basketball league known as BNBL is — like all programs run by Boston Centers for Youth & Families — only for Boston residents because it’s funded by the city and its taxpayers.
But in past years, a player’s residency was only checked if it was challenged by another team during the course of the season. BCYF Director of Recreation, Sports and Fitness Ryan Fitzgerald said the policy was too hard to enforce once the season already started.
So this year BCYF officials required BNBL players to prove residency before the season started by showing a report card, birth certificate or another document that proved their address is in Boston — a process that delayed the start of the season for some teams.
“This is no different from what a lot of programs and leagues in the city require anyway,” Fitzgerald said. “We had many coaches and players and participants in the program voice concerns on the issue so we’ve taken steps to address it and minimize the infractions.”
While Fitzgerald said he hopes the missed games will be made up on off days, many teams and players a still irked.
“It’s very frustrating because I wanted to play basketball and I wanted to be with my team last week when we should’ve started,” Jaleel Bell of the Dorchester YMCA team said after his squad played its first game last Wednesday night at the Perkins Community Center in Dorchester.
“In Massachusetts you’re a Massachusetts player, if other people want to play its OK. We’re all playing basketball, it’s for the youth, we’re not doing anything dangerous, we’re not doing drugs; we’re playing basketball so it’s something positive.”
Dorchester YMCA coach, Andrew Angus agreed that the league should be open to everyone because it helps keeps kids off the streets.
“We also go down there and join their leagues too, it goes hand-in-hand, I think we’re Massachusetts it’s not anything else, we’re all one,” Angus said.
The former BNBL player, who won three MIAA state titles as a player with Charlestown High from 2000 to 2003, said competing against players from outside the city in the summer made him a better player during the school year.
“It kind of made the league a little better with people who come from all over to just play BNBL [from outside the city]," he said. “That’s just bringing different talent inside the city. You’re just playing everybody. So trying to keep it in the city you kind of take away a little bit but it’s what the city wants I guess.”
Fitzgerald, who played in the league himself as a youngster, said he sees both sides of the issue.
“I can certainly see that point of view,” he said. “As a young kid I was excited to play against all competition no matter where it came from. I get that. The only problem is this is a program run by the City of Boston with city resources so it becomes complicated about who we can provide services to.
“For every person that has [Bell and Angus’] opinion there is another one who feels that it should be City of Boston kids and that’s what the program was started for. I’m not saying either one is wrong but as it is currently constituted that’s what we have to do.”
Perkins Community Center coach Eric Bradshaw said the residency issue has been a problem since he started coaching BNBL 20 years ago. He said he doesn’t’ have a problem with cracking down on residency but said that that BCYF should start figuring out who can and can’t play earlier in the school year.
“Every year it’s always been the same thing,” he said. “I don’t know why it took so long to be honest with you but it’s been an issue for 20 years.”
Fitzgerald said they notified coaches and players of the new policy starting in May.
“We feel there was ample amount of time to get this information,” he said. “But I don’t begrudge anyone who had trouble and I certainly understand it takes more work to collect it. … We knew it might be a little bumpy this year. When things are new and different, especially when they were done the same way for such a long time, there are hiccups.
“But I think next year when people are prepared for it I anticipate it to be a lot more smooth.”
One of the league’s founders, Alfreda J. Harris, said she would’ve liked to see the policy shift happen years ago.
“It’s very simple, the program originated 43 years ago and it’s for Boston residence,” said Harris, who is a school committee member in Boston. “The money comes from city of Boston tax payers, it’s always been that way. It’s better to get it clear now than wait till the end of the season when teams lost to teams because they had illegitimate players.
“I think it was a good idea for Ryan [Fitzgerald] to clamp down and get the paperwork in at the beginning of the season.”
The 2012 Bay State games have already begun, and there are at least eight Boston public school athletes taking part.
Four athletes hail from Boston Latin, including junior left fielder Malcolm Nachmanoff for baseball, sophomore shortstop Paige Mulry (West Roxbury) in softball, and one of Boston public school’s leading pitchers, sophomore Caitlyn Berry (Roslindale) in softball. In basketball, center Maggie Mulligan (Brighton) will also take part.
Kareem Murrell (Dorchester) and Francis DePina are competing in 9th and 10th grade boys basketball. Both players represent Snowden International.
A top scorer for East Boston, Jonathan Perez (Lowell) is playing for the boys soccer team in the games.
Just one student represents New Mission, Diandra Humphries. She's playing girls basketball.
Leo Sybertz’s trademark green mesh practice jersey and fishing cap will once again be missing from the sidelines at West Roxbury football games this fall.
The coach who retired after the 2007 season only to return for the 2010 and 2011 seasons was replaced by his assistant coach, Derek Wright, last week. The 74-year-old coach said headmaster Rudolph Weekes wanted a coach who also works in the school.
“I retired from teaching five or six years ago,” Sybertz said during a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m disappointed but he’s the one who makes the choices so it's entirely up to him. I have no qualms against him.”
Wright, 44, who has been a police officer at the school for the last four years, played at Dorchester High and spent two seasons at Boston College. He served as Westie's assistant the last two seasons and said he would’ve liked to have one more year under Sybertz before taking his first head coaching position.
"I’m up for the challenge to be honest with you," he said. "It came a year earlier than I thought, but I’m up for the challenge. I already started preparations for the upcoming season."
Sybertz coached West Roxbury from 1976 to 2007, won 202 games, including five Super Bowls and 13 league championships. He made 10 playoff appearances and sent two players to the NFL.
Sybertz said he never missed more than a few practices during his tenure.
“I honestly know from the bottom of my heart and from the top of my head to my toes, I know every single practice and every single game I always gave it all I had,” Sybertz said. “And that’s what I’m proudest of. You could say I’m a good coach or anything in between but that makes no difference to me.”
Brian Collins took over West Robxury’s program after Sybertz retired in 2007 but stepped down two years later because his wife had a child. That’s when Sybertz was called back to the sidelines to plug the hole.
Sybertz served one season as an assistant at Boston Latin and one season as an assistant at Sharon High before leading West Roxbury to a combined 9-11 record the last two seasons.
“I’m perfectly happy the way things are,” Sybertz said. “I have no axe to grind with anybody, that’s unhealthy to be that way. I’m fine with everything that’s going on. Life is good. I’m a lucky person. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found a coaching job between now and then. There could very well be something out there.
“I still have plenty of stuff left. I’m in good shape. I work out every day; I’m living the good life.”
Photo courtesy of John Maconga
The eighth annual SCORES Cup corporate charity soccer tournament returns to Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
The 32-team tournament benefits America SCORES Boston, 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 New England Revolution play the Seattle Sounders FC.
Each team will play a minimum of three 30-minute games.
Participants also receive an Official SCORES Cup Adidas jerseys, their company logos in the game day program as well as post-tournament activities at Patriot Place.
Some of Boston's largest companies will participate in the event that is expected to raise close to $200,000 for SCORES.
The Boston Scholar Athlete program will conduct a free six-week fitness program for Boston public school athletes beginning next month.
The BSA Summer Fit 2012 program will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays from July 9 to Aug. 15 at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Dudley Street in Dorchester.
"BSA Fit is open to every male and female athlete (or prospective athlete) in our schools," according to the BSA's most recent monthly newsletter. "Come and get ready for the fall season with BSA Fit!"
The six-week program will be operated by BSA fitness and training partner, Athletic Evolution.
"Athletic Evolution’s philosophies are to help athletes train the correct way, while always keeping in mind the reason for training," according to the BSA newsletter. "While mastering the skills of a sport is one element of becoming a better athlete; mastering the training techniques for that sport along with the skills will breed ultimate success in sports."
The BSA is also looking for "smart and driven scholar-athletes" to participate in its three-day Summer Zone Program, from July 25-27.
The program, which will take participants to institutions such as Boston College, is free for qualifying BSA Zone members.
"The program offers an opportunity for scholar-athletes to interact and learn together in a healthy and fun environment with emphasis on leadership skills, team building, and reinforcing athlete self-confidence," the newsletter says. "Activities include a ropes course, team activities, mental and physical challenges, in addition to career and life skills training."
Interested Zone members can apply on the BSA website.
The Boston City League baseball all-star game will return to Fenway Park next month after a short hiatus at Harvard’s O’Donnell Field.
The annual City of Boston All-City Baseball Classic will be at 5:30 p.m. on June 10 at Fenway Park.
The game is organized by the Boston Center for Youth & Families and held in partnership with the Boston Scholar Athlete Program and sponsored by the Boston Red Sox.
The game was held at Harvard the last two years. Three years ago it was scheduled to be played at Fenway but had to be moved to Harvard due to inclement weather. It was last played at the iconic ballpark in 2008.
In the last three years the all-star game has struggled to garner full participation due to a lack of interest, lack of transportation to Harvard or conflicts with graduations and proms.
Boston schools Athletic Director Ken Still said Fenway Park should help remedy participation issues.
“Fenway Park is a lure because it’s Fenway park, you have people coming from all over the world to sit in Fenway Park,” Still said during a telephone interview on Tuesday morning. “To have a chance to play there as a youngster and baseball person, that’s overwhelming.”
Still announced that the game will be back at Fenway during the Boston City League championship baseball game on Monday morning at Boston English High.
On Tuesday morning, he said he hopes the weather cooperates this year.
“[Fenway is] very tough to get but when we’re able to I say take advantage and let’s do it,” he said. “I hope they are able to get on the field and represent."
The BSA’s new Athletic Director, Chris Rooks, said “It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids.”
West Roxbury’s injury-plagued softball team clinched a berth in the city championships on Friday afternoon in the most dramatic fashion possible, a 15-14 win over South Boston.
The come-from-behind victory on the final day of the regular season gave the Raiders the tiebreaker over Dorchester for the wildcard slot in Saturday’s city championship semifinal against East Boston.
“We could win or lose by 20 points in cities, I don’t care,” junior Nadia Ellies said as she walked off Kirby Field in South Boston victorious.
After trailing 8-2 in the early innings, Westie scored eight of its own runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth to take a 14-10 lead. South Boston tied the game at 14 in the sixth inning before the Raiders took the lead for good when Ellies scored from third base on a wild pitch.
Westie and Eastie will play at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Clemente Field in the Fens while Latin Academy and O'Bryant will play in the other semifinal at 11 a.m. on Cobe Field, also in the Fens.
The championship game is slated for 10 a.m. on Monday at Cobe Field.
West Roxbury has qualified for the city tournament in two of the previous three seasons but coach Grace V. Diggs said she’s never won the tournament in her 20-year tenure. She said qualifying this year is a bit more sweet than in past years because she has four injured players, including three seniors.
“We’ve had a lousy season as far as injuries but we pulled it off,” Diggs said. “I guess just the luck was on our side … It is special and it’s exciting because we don’t have our full team so that makes it special.”
Trailing 10-5 going into the fifth inning, West Roxbury batted around before it tied the game when Ellies’ twin sister, junior catcher Nakia Ellies, knocked in junior Selena Gonzalez. Nakia Ellies eventually scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball before Nadia Ellis logged an RBI single and junior pitcher Marissa Serrette hit an RBI double to make it 13-10.
After Westie scored another run in the sixth, South Boston responded with four runs to tie the game at 14. Senior infielder Yaritza Otero, senior third baseman Francois Mitchel, senior center fielder Katrina Hernandez and junior second baseman Crystalyn Mitchel all scored runs as Southie only made one out.
Then Serrette struck out the next batter. And after she allowed the go-ahead runner on base, she struck out the next batter to retire the side.
Serrette, who recorded the win by striking out eight batters, also allowed the game-tying run on base in Southie’s final at bat before closing the game on a strike out and a ground out.
“Our outfield isn’t that great because we took a lot of JV players,” said Serrette, who was 4 for 4 from the plate with a double and 2 RBIs. “My focus was getting it over the plate and getting it to the twins’ gloves. I was trying to keep it out of the outfield as much as possible because they are still learning how to catch.”
Nakia Ellies,the team's vocal leader from her perch behind the plate and on the bench, said playing from behind doesn’t faze her team.
“I always play like we’re coming back so yes you can never know what’s going to happen,” she said when asked if she was nervous about South Boston’s comeback.
The twins are not just glad to be going to city tournament, but they are glad to be going together.
“It’s been long season, it’s been a hard season so even getting to cities is an accomplishment for us,” Nadia Ellies said. “This is the second year I’m playing with [my twin sister] so it feels good to be there.”
Tuesday's full slate of Boston schools' baseball and softball games has been canceled due to inclement weather, wreaking havoc on the race for the city championships. The softball and baseball city championships are slated for this weekend but mother nature is making it difficult to determine who will be playing.
In softball, East Boston (9-6, 8-0) and O’Bryant (7-5, 7-3) are poised to represent the North conference in the city championships while Latin Academy (9-10, 7-0) and South Boston (9-3, 9-3) and Dorchester (8-3, 8-3) are fighting for the South conference slot.
The forecast isn’t much better for Wednesday, when Brighton and Latin Academy are slated to square off in a baseball battle that could be the key to determining who represents the North conference in the baseball city championships.
In baseball, the top two teams from the North conference qualify for the tournament so
English High is also in the running to make cities.
The top team from the Central and South also qualify for cities. East Boston is looking like the runaway leader in the Central conference while Boston International and Fenway are battling to represent the South conference.
International (8-3, 5-1), which has already had eight or nine rain outs this year, has several conference games to make up this week. They are slated to play a double header against Charlestown on Thursday and back-to-back games against Snowden and Burke on Friday.
Boston International coach Christian Irizarry said he has plenty of pitching to get his team through the nonstop schedule of games.
“I have five arms besides my regular pitcher,” he said. “So for our league we are pretty good in terms of pitching.”
Fenway (9-7, 7-3), which clinched the state tournament for the first time in eight years on Monday, feels like they deserve to be the South representatives in the city tournament, especially because they defeated Boston International, 8-4, on Saturday. International beat Fenway 6-5 earlier in the season.
First-year Fenway coach David Walsh said his team would go to cities if the tiebreak came down to runs scored.
“We would definitely do damage in the cities,” he said. “If we don’t get in at least I know we’re in states.”
If the remainder of Boston International’s league games are rained out, it’s unclear how they will be counted in the standings.
“If I don’t play anyone because of the weather why should [Fenway] be on top?” Irizarry said.
The baseball city championship semifinals will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday at English High. The title bout will be on Monday at 10 a.m.
The softball semifinals will be at 11 a.m. at Clemente and Cobe Fields in the Fens. The championship game will be at 10 a.m. on Monday at Cobe Field.
Pitching for his life: Brighton senior pitcher, DeLouchrey, uses baseball to overcome personal setbacks
Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe
After giving up 11 hits in a 12-8 season-opening loss to West Roxbury, Brighton senior pitcher Christopher DeLouchrey responded by striking out 18 batters in his next outing against Boston English and 15 in the outing after that against the defending city champs, Madison Park.
“He only stuck out 10 today; poor, poor performance,” Brighton High coach Bill Mahoney chided his ace after an 11-0, 5-inning mercy against West Roxbury May 3 at Rogers Park.
Brighton's coach for the last 12 years went on to say that the senior is probably the best pitcher the Bengals have ever had.
“[His stats] are wild, off the charts," Mahoney said as DeLouchrey blanched beside his coach. "He throws strikes, he’s got movement; if you got movement and you throw strikes and you got location you are probably going to win two out of three games.
“The problem is he puts our outfielders and infielders to sleep. Who wants to play with him when he’s striking everybody out? They’ve got gloves on their hands; they want the ball hit to them."
The 17-year-old West Roxbury native, who pitched the last three seasons for Dedham High before moving back to the city, has had a wild start to his first season with Brighton, in which he’s struck out 75 batters in 38 innings.
“It’s been crazy, I didn’t expect my second game to be 18 Ks, it just happened like that. I didn’t think I was going to get that big in that short of a time," said DeLouchrey (3-3, 1.51 ERA). "It feels good, it feels good to be noticed.”
Brighton (7-7 overall, 3-4 Boston City League North) will put DeLouchrey on the mound on Wednesday against Latin Academy with a spot in the City Championships on the line.
Brighton lost to the Dragons, 3-2, this past Thursday but a victory on Wednesday would force a tiebreak. The Bengals also need to win two of their last four games to qualify for the state tournament for the 13th consecutive year.
“I deal good with pressure,” said DeLouchrey, who also has 14 hits and 11 RBIs in 35 at bats this season. “I think that’s why I’m good at pitching. I don’t really let stuff get to me. When I’m on the mound it’s nothing. It’s me and the catcher.”
In fact, DeLouchrey has dealt with far more adversity off the mound than what he will ever have to deal with on the field. The last decade has been tumultuous for his family, filled with more tragedy than most teenagers could bear.
When he was 7-years-old, DeLouchrey’s estranged father died of a drug overdose. After the third grade, the Parkway Little League star moved to Dedham with his mother, her new husband and his half-brother.
DeLouchrey continued to thrive in Parkway Little League but he struggled to fit in, all the way through his junior year in high school. Last year, DeLouchrey’s mother was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and also got divorced. The family lost their home in Dedham and moved back to West Roxbury.
And if that wasn’t enough for one teen-ager to handle, DeLouchrey’s 21-year-old cousin,
Stephanie Harrington of Braintree, was hit by two cars in Weymouth and died just days before Thanksgiving last year.
“He was going to take her to the prom, just because they are good friends,” DeLouchrey’s mother, Diane DeLouchrey, said. “I know that put a damper on him. … It’s been a tough year for all of us. I give him a lot of credit for standing so strong as he has.”
DeLouchrey’s mother put him in Little League when he was 5-years-old and has supported him ever since. She threw batting practice to him until he could hit the ball so hard that it “whizzed” by her face and she bought him a backyard pitching machine and batting cage.
She said her son didn’t get much playing time when he started playing Little League until a coach named Jim Galvin recognized his abilities.
“Then he started,” she said. “You should see all the trophies he got; golden gloves for how insane he pitched.”
As an 11-year-old he played on a team that battled the Walpole Little League squad that went to the Little League World Series in 2007. DeLouchrey has also played a game in Yankee Stadium and traveled to Japan for a tournament.
“He really is something else, he’s a great kid and I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother,” Diane DeLouchrey said. “He’s got enormous heart.”
For his own part, DeLouchrey said he doesn’t know what his life would be like if it wasn't for baseball.
“Usually kids that go through all this end up doing drugs and all this other stuff," he said. "Baseball, I knew if I wanted to play I had to stay away from drugs and I had to stay focused. Baseball is my main focus point. Without it I don’t know where I’d be right now.”
Baseball has certainly helped him assimilate at Brighton High. DeLouchrey said he initially thought going to school there would be “terrible.” But now he flashes a smile when talking about how his classmates ask him in the hallways how many strikeouts he had the previous day.
It also helped that a few of his teammates from his club team, the Boston Astros, attend Brighton High. They introduced him to the other baseball players in the school, including senior catcher Jonathan Morrero.
“Our chemistry hit right when I met him, our chemistry was there,” Morrero said. “We just spent a lot of time together, whether off the field or on the field, we spent a lot of time together learning his pitches, learning where he throws, where his sweat spots are, knowing where he wants it.”
For the last few months DeLouchrey has been living with his aunt, Barbara Nahim, while his mother recovers. Nahim said it’s been amazing to see how this season has transformed her nephew’s demeanor and has picked up the entire family’s spirits.
“It’s incredible because my boys, as well as his brother, he’s their idol and they want to follow in his footsteps,” she said. “They want to play Parkway baseball as well. They just want to be just like him. He’s just an incredible kid. He’s an incredible baseball pitcher and an incredible player all around.”
Nahim and her husband are helping DeLouchrey navigate the application process for schools next year. She said she thinks he would benefit from an extra year of high school at a prep school. Vermont Academy has accepted DeLouchrey but isn’t offering financial aid, Nahim said. She said they are waiting to hear back from Bridgton Academy in Maine.
Fitchburg State, MassBay Community College and UMass-Boston have also expressed interest in DeLouchrey.
Mahoney, the former Boston University coach, said DeLouchrey could eventually play Division 1 baseball.
“Right now he can play Division 2 or 3 and I’d say after one year he could probably be pitching for a Division 1 team,” Mahoney said. “He’s still raw. He’s a thrower not quite a pitcher yet. We talk a lot about preparation, mechanics, and sequence of pitches. We’re trying to get him acclimated to be a pitcher. He’s getting there.”
For DeLouchrey, getting to college is not just an opportunity to extend his baseball career, but it is a bridge over troubled waters.
“Baseball, when I play it, it takes my mind off everything,” he said. “It’s just me and my team. I just forget about everything that happened outside [of baseball]. I just focus on what’s going on right now. It’s what I like to do and I don’t want anything to get in the way or stop me from playing.
“With what went on in my life,” he continued, “doing this is a chance to get away from all that and make everything better if I could go college and come up from all these tough times … and do something better with my life.”
Following are games of the Week in the city league for May 14-19:
Monday: East Boston at English, 3:30 – Both teams are off to a strong start to the season, but will need to continue that success to guarantee themselves a place in the postseason. Monday's game could be a jumping off point for both teams.
Wednesday: Brighton at Madison Park, 3 – After going to the city championship game last season, the Cardinals have had a rough start this year. They can still finish on a high note but will have to get through a Brighton team that has only one loss.
Wednesday: English at Latin Academy, Town Field, 3:30 – The two squads are neck and neck for a shot at the postseason with identical 5-2 league records. The Blue & Blue have a slight advantage with a 7-4 overall record to the Dragons’ 6-5 standing. Wednesday’s game will be big for both teams.
Thursday: Dorchester at Boston International, 3:30, Fallon Field – Boston International still boasts an undefeated league record at 4-0, but Dorchester sits in third in the standings and is hungry to solidify themselves as playoff contenders. An upset for Dorchester could give them the momentum they need heading into the final week and a half of regular season action.
Saturday: Brighton at Wellesley, 12 p.m. – Brighton has a solid record at 6-1 and is sitting on top of the standings with a trip to the postseason in sight. They haven’t played any non-league games, however, and Saturday’s tilt will be a good measuring stick for just how good the Tigers are.
Monday: Boston International at Burke, Casey Field, 4 – Boston International has had a strong season with a young team of players. They currently sit on the outside of the playoff picture, but could make a late push to make the tournament. A win over a struggling Burke (3-5) could be a jumping off point.
Monday: Charlestown at Madison Park, 3 – Madison Park is coming off a big win over West Roxbury, but needs to keep raking in the victories if they want to qualify for the tournament. A win over struggling Charlestown (1-5) could be what the Cardinals need to get the ball rolling.
Tuesday: East Boston at Bishop Fenwick, 3:30 – Eastie is a strong 5-0 in conference action, but has yet to win a non-conference match-up with a 0-4 record in non-league match-ups. A win against Fenwick could give the Jets a ton of confidence heading into the final weeks.
Thursday: Dorchester at O’Bryant, Madison Park, 3:30 – O’Bryant is currently in position to make the tournament, while Dorchester sits just out of reach. The game will be more important to the Bears, but both teams could use a win as a turning point.
Thursday: West Roxbury at Snowden, Fens (Cobe), 3:30 – The Raiders have just one loss, a 14-6 setback to Madison Park. They’ll look to get back on track against a Snowden team that needs wins down the stretch in order to make the tournament.
Rooks will manage all athletic programs run by the nonprofit organization designed
to support Boston Public School athletics.
“What I’m really excited about is the opportunity to work with the kids, work with the constituents in Boston and grow a program that helps them use the foundation of athletics to improve themselves as individuals, academically as well as in life,” Rooks said during an interview on Tuesday morning.
Founded in 2009 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and chairman John Fish, the BSA provides support to all 19 Boston Public High Schools, 157 athletic teams, 3,900 players and 132 coaches.
The program, which was started after the Globe ran a seven-part series on the sad state of the district's athletic program called Failing our Athletes, has also established learning centers for athletes at each of Boston’s public high schools known as the BSA Zones.
“I am excited to have Chris on the BSA team,” Fish said in a statement. “The
experience and relationships he gained working for the NBA, combined with his
passion for athletics and professional development, will elevate the BSA
athletic program to a whole new level as we work to help Boston’s
scholar-athletes play to achieve.”
Rooks spent more than 11 years working for the NBA. He was most recently a senior manager
for player development who was responsible for the creation and administration
of athlete life skills programs, transitional workshops, awareness and prevention seminars and professional development resources.
“I come from a background of business development and player development,” Rooks said. “For the last six years I worked in the player development department where our role was to work with teams, players and our partners to try to benefit the personal, professional and social development of our players."
Rooks said his background in the NBA will help him build rapport with the BPS student-athletes.
“One of the things we wanted to make sure that the [NBA] understood is that the fame and the popularity of both [the players] and their sport kind of obligates them to take a position in social responsibility because of so many people who are looking up to them,” Rooks said. “It’s one of
the things we really pushed hard was that guys do more in the community so they can
be seen because of the impact they have."
At the BSA, Rooks will be responsible for building long-term local and national
relationships as well as providing leadership, strategic direction, management
and coordination for all aspects of the BSA’s athletic program. Rooks will
also be responsible for the development of relationships with the BSA’s current
and potential markets along with increasing the program’s athletic support for
players and coaches.
Rooks received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Ohio State in 1994 and he earned his master’s degree in sport administration in 2000 from OSU. Rooks replaces Evan Davis, who is currently the chief operating office at the Sports Legacy Institute.
“I’m really excited to be here working with the quality staff at BSA, the folks at BPS athletics and our athletic community here throughout all of Boston,” Rooks said.
West Roxbury held on to a late two-run lead to defeat Burke, 18-16, in girls’ softball Wednesday afternoon at Casey Field in Dorchester.
The teams went back and forth, but West Roxbury (5-1) was able to take advantage of its offensive opportunities to collect the win.
“Clutch hitting (was the key),” said West Roxbury assistant coach Wilson Mercado. “We struggled a bit defensively, but we were able to pick it up offensively in the later innings.”
The Raiders scored in each of the first six innings, including a five-run second and five-run fifth.
Burke scored in each of the seven innings, but wasn’t able to get enough runs off West Roxbury pitcher Maritza Serrette. The junior went all seven innings to pick up the win. She also contributed with the bat, going 4 for 5.
Also aiding the Raiders offense was junior catcher Selena Gonzalez, who went 2 for 4.
West Roxbury is in first place in the Boston City League and Mercado says his team has been able to put all aspects of the game together.
“Defense and offense on the same day,” Mercado said. “Last year we would have good defense one day and good offense another, but this year we have put them together.”
Pavel Dzemianok/For the Globe
There's no such thing as a free lunch and there's also no such thing as free running sneakers.
The Latin Academy senior ran the race — which loops around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line — Sunday morning in a time of 5 minutes, 8.2 seconds.
“I’m kind of a big fish in a small pond; I’m the best in the [Boston City] league but it doesn’t really compare to some of these other guys,” Finch said of the race, which features two athletes from each city or town along the Boston Marathon course. “But it’s nice to have someone to chase. To get a better performance, I need to race people who are faster than me. It’s nice I get to do it at least once a year.”
Finch said the race also gives him a boost going into the heart of the City League season.
Boston Latin junior Michael Ward finished the race in 4:40.6, just missing a top-three finish. Framingham's Ben Groleau won the race in 4:27.2 while Justin Keefe from Newton North (4:39.7) finished second and Tim Bolick of Hopkinton (4:40.4) was third.
“I went out and I stayed with the Brookline pack because I knew they were solid guys,” Ward said. “I stayed there till about 800 [meters] and then moved up and followed one of the Brookline guys [Mark Perry] in the last lap and just kicked it in and got caught at the line for fourth.”
Ward was running the race for the first time.
“My teammates have done it the last few yeas so they gave me some pointers,” he said. “I was just running. I knew a lot of the guys in the race so I used that to help me through it.”
Ward’s Latin School teammate, Ava Violich, finished 11th in the girls’ race in 5:49.5.
“It was fun,” the sophomore said. “I've never run in road races, on concrete, before. It just gives me a feel of what it’s like to really run the marathon.”
“I did not know the course, I did not know any of the competitors,” she said.
The morning also featured a boys’ and girls’ middle school 1-kilometer race. John Lara of the Rafael Hernandez School in Roxbury led the first half of the race before being eclipsed by Zachary O'Leary of Ashland, who won in 2:54.5.
“It’s all right, everybody loses,” Lara said “I was trying to get the win but he caught me. I was out in front [for one lap] and he caught me.”
Lara finished in 3 minutes flat while his brother, Joel Lara, finished sixth in 3:13.7 to give Boston first place in the team standings.
“I felt famous," Joel said of crossing the marathon finish line.
In the middle school girls’ race, Mia Sheets, was eighth (4:01.1) and Kalsia King finished 11th (4:10.4) despite falling down and hurting her elbow at the start of the race.
“I started off trying to get to the front and I tripped and I rolled to the ground,” King said with a bandage on her right elbow. “I had to strive for a little bit, I had to catch up a little.”
Finch, who will attend George Washington University in the fall, said he's not running in college, but he will run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington.
"I don’t think I’m fast enough to run competitively in college," he said, "but I’ll be running the rest of my life whether competitively or not."
Pavel Dzemianok for the Boston Globe
Ben Groleau is hitting .500 lifetime at the boys’ Boston Athletic Association Scholastic Invitational Mile.
Running the race — which loops around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line — Sunday morning for the fourth straight year, the Framingham High senior had a winning time of 4 minutes, 27.2 seconds. The race features two athletes from each city or town along the Boston Marathon course.
“That was rough,” said Groleau, who also won the race as a sophomore. “Coming into it I knew it was going to be a hard field, I knew I was going to have to take it out early, but man I didn’t know I had [that kind of kick] in me. I’m excited. I guess experience paid off a lot.”
Groleau said he was surprised to win by such a large margin. Justin Keefe from Newton North (4:39.7) finished second and Tim Bolick of Hopkinton (4:40.4) was third.
“You can’t get caught up behind anyone right off the bat,” Groleau said when asked about what he’s learned from running the race in the past. “On a course with this many turns, you get boxed in way too much on the corners so you have to take it out. I knew that going in, so I jumped in front at the beginning of the race and I figured I’d let those guys figure it out.”
In the girls’ race, Newton North sophomore, Evelyn Heffernan, won with a time of 5:23.1. Shelby Aarden (5:24) of Hopkinton was second and Melissa Lodge (5:24.8), also of Hopkinton, third.
“It was great,” Heffernan said. “The crowd is incredible and they are really helpful. There are people all around and they just push you through the whole thing and it’s great.”
A freshman, Aarden was running the race for the first time.
“I was trying to keep up with the leaders,” Aarden said. “At the end I had some more energy so I went ahead, I passed one or two in the final 100 yards.”
The morning also featured a boys’ and girls’ middle school 1-kilometer race. Zachary O'Leary of Ashland won the boys’ race in 2:54.5, ahead of John Lara of Boston (3:00) and Thomas D’Anieri of Wellesley. Leah Metzger of Newton won the girls' race in 3:35.9, ahead of Piper Higgins of Wellesley (3:43.3) and Nicole Anselmo of Natick (3:44.5).
“I was really nervous so I just decided to go out and have fun,” Metzger said.
O’Leary said, “John Lara caught me at the end of the first lap; I had to pump through it. I couldn’t feel my legs. The first lap I had to pump it. Then I said to myself ‘I have to kick it in.’
"I can't feel my legs right now but it was worth it."
In the high school boys’ race, Newton North’s Keefe didn’t have enough kick to eclipse Groleau. Keefe was running the race for the first time.
“I was hoping for the win but what can I say, he has the most experience,” Keefe said of Groleau. “He’s a strong kid. I’ll get him later in the season.”
The six Boston Marathon runners raising money for the Boston Scholar Athlete Program have received words of encouragement from friends, family and colleagues during training.
But they never expected a pep talk from Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
“This weekend is marathon weekend, I want to congratulate the runners who are running the Boston Marathon for the Boston Scholar Athlete Program, I’ll be watching you,” Menino said during the first-ever Boston Scholar Athlete Zone Party on the floor of the TD Garden on Tuesday night.
The gala raised $1.9 million for the program which has established a dedicated, staffed learning center for athletes inside each of Boston’s 19 public high schools. The program was co-founded by Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and Chairman, John Fish.
“That was great, I didn’t expect that at all," BSA Academic Associate Colin Campbell said. "To have him recognize us meant a lot to us. Even though it was at such a big event, where people are putting a lot more into it than we are to fund raise, and [for him to] recognize us along with everyone there to support our program overall was great.”
Besides Campbell, Nicole Reither of Swampscott, Michelle Nielsen of Falls Church, Va., Kate Hensley of Quincy, Joseph Cappellano of South Boston and Liz Collins of Boston are the other BSA or Suffolk Construction employees running.
So far they have raised about $23,000 for the BSA.
“Every one of the runners for our team has a connection to BSA which is unique,” Campbell said. “I think that’s something you don’t see in a lot of other charity teams. They don’t have that connection. So for us explaining BSA [to donors] has been great."
Each runner has a month after the marathon to raise a minimum $5,000 or the difference comes out of their pocket. And in these tough times many charity runners have had a hard time finding donors to reach their goals.
Joseph Cappellano, a senior facilitator for BSA who works with athletes at Boston Latin School, said it can be tough to raise money since they all know each other and are all raising money for the same cause. But he also said they’ve come up with creative ways to raise money such as conducting a March Madness bracket.
“Most of us have reached [$5,000] or are close but obviously our goal is not to stop at $20,000 but go beyond it,” Cappellano said.
The South Boston native said his friends and family are receptive to helping Boston Public School athletes.
“As soon as I tell them we’re trying to revamp high school sports in Boston they are kind of like ‘I wish they had that when I was there,’ ” he said. “So people are very, very receptive.”
Another challenge is the fact that while the group trains together, Hensley is the only one with marathon experience.
“It’s interesting, we were all athletes in high school and college and we all have old injuries and they start to come back to haunt you,” Cappellano said.
On Monday, the group plans to start the race together and then branch off as the race progresses. They hope to all run under four hours.
“It’s a little up in the air,” Cappellano said when asked what time he is shooting for. “Before Tuesday would be nice.”
For more information on the BSA runners, go to their fundraising website.
Justin A. Rice for Boston.com
The first-ever Boston Scholar Athlete Zone Party was held on the floor of the TD Garden Tuesday night. The gala benefited the two-year-old program that has established learning centers for athletes at each of Boston’s 19 public high schools.
“The Boston Scholar athlete program believes there is a link, a proven link, between athletics and academic achievement,” said BSA founder and Suffolk Construction CEO and chairman John Fish.
Fish and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino collaborated to create the BSA after the Globe ran a seven-part series on the sad state of the district's athletic program called Failing our athletes.
“The mayor called me about two and a half years ago and said, ‘John we have some challenges with the Boston Public Schools athletic program, I think we can make a difference by putting some additional resources and putting some advice and guidance into it,’” Fish said. “That’s all our team needed to hear was [that we had] an opportunity to work with Boston Public Schools and [Superintendent] Carol Johnson.
“As a result of that phone call we are sitting here tonight and we’re impacting over 4,000 high school athletes in the city of Boston.”
The program — which also provides uniforms for more than 157 teams, skill clinics, all-star games and banquets for 13 sports — has kept 92 percent of its participants eligible to play their sports and has increased SAT scores by an average of 150 points, according to Menino.
“We know it’s working, so let’s come together to reach even more of the young people in our city,” Menino said.
Menino said while Fish defers credit he actually deserves most of it.
“I can remember the day he came to my office after it was reported [in the Globe] about the athletic programs in the Boston Public Schools, he came with the idea and he said ‘I’m going to make sure we have a program in Boston that works both scholastically and athletically for the young people in our city,’” Menino said during the event. “John worked at it, he put his resources behind it and built a great team.
“We wouldn’t be here without the foundation John set up, the Suffolk Red and Blue foundation. … enough can’t be said about this great program. This is a true public private program that is helping the Boston Public School students excel in the classroom, on the field and after graduation.”
West Roxbury High senior football and basketball player Muller Mirville said his GPA increased from a 2.0 to a 2.6 after attending the Zone.
“As of right now it’s getting higher and higher,” he said. “The Zone is a place where people that were in your footsteps help motivate you to become in a position that they are in, which is successful. The experience tonight went well; I see the people that are helping me out and are funding what’s helping me become a successful person.”
BSA Executive Director Rebekah Splaine Salwasser said some of the students in the program have increased their GPA from 1.0 to 4.0.
“And all have improved their chances of graduating from high school by 28 percent as members of our program,” she said. “Tonight we are here to honor the commitment that all these young people have made to improving their opportunities for success.
“All of us in this room contributed to that opportunity. We must continue to work together to provide structured, enriching, sustainable academic and athletic support for our youth."
She said the program is beginning to change the culture of athletics in the district.
“Together with our partners we are starting to see an increase in school and community pride and a renewed sense of confidence," she said, "particularly with our young female athletes.”
West Roxbury rallied from a two-run, fourth-inning deficit to take a 10-8 victory over Madison Park in a rematch of last year’s Boston City League baseball championship game.
“We just talked about the character of the team and I told them, I said, ‘I didn’t know the character of our team yet’,” said West Roxbury coach Clifton Wilson.
“We kept plugging, we never gave up.”
Senior pitcher Jonathan Bohilla-Delon pitched a complete game and also went 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Two of Bohilla-Delon’s RBIs came from a two-run home run to give West Roxbury its ninth and 10th runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Bohilla-Delon, a righthander, allowed five hits and five earned runs while walking six batters and striking out nine in seven innings.
“He was awful early, but showed tremendous mental toughness and really kept us in the game, and then he hit the two-run home run to win the game,” said Wilson.FULL ENTRY
The Boston Scholar Athlete Program announced the official girls and boys basketball rosters for the second annual Dr. Joseph D. Warren Memorial Boston City League Basketball All-Star Game.
The All-Star game, which will be held Saturday, March 31 at Northeastern University's Cabot Center, will feature 61 student-athletes from Boston Public Schools split by the North and South.
The girls' game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Saturday. Here is the rosters:
Boston Latin Academy: Virginia McCaughney, Julia Rosario; Charlestown: Sara Centeio, Shannon Simpson; East Boston: Maria Delvecchio, Marta Chacon; Fenway: Tajanay Veiga Lee, Kayla Cox, Julissa Ross; Madison Park: Krystal Edwards, Khiyana Isaac, Amber Edward; Snowden: Jovanna Sandifer, Tania Ortiz; South Boston: Elaina Wright McCarthy, Daitannah Smith.
Brighton: Amy Bernardez, Shantal Solomon; Dorchester: Shyla Fitzpatrick, Kymesha Kelley; English: Trayana Mair, Timilia Lattimore; O'Bryant: Araion Bradshaw, Raven Kelsey, Kiana Daley; Burke: Briana Hooks; New Mission: Tianna Johnson, Jazala Laracuente, Tiffany Williams; West Roxbury: Marissa Sarette, Makayla Williams.
The boys' game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Saturday. Here are the rosters:
Boston Latin Academy: DeVaughn Riley; Charlestown: Tyrese Hoxter, Rony Fernandes, Omar Orriols; East Boston: Travon Moore, Kyle Jimenez Fox, Zack Gattereau; Kenny Ramos Fenway: Jonathon Roman; Madison Park: Rayshaw Matthews, David Stewart, Dakim Murray, O'Shea Joy; Snowden: Paul Maurice; South Boston: Alexander Brown.
Brighton: Jerard Mayes, Decorsie James, Tre Downman, Malik James; Dorchester: Jedaun Langston; English: Kwame Townshend, Bryanne Toney; Community Academy of Science & Health: Josh Baptista, Anthony Ware; Burke: Charles Slayden; New Mission: Leroy Hamilton, Isshiah Coleman; West Roxbury: Sterling Brown, Freddie Oliveira; O'Bryant: Wesley Ogebeveon.
Boston Public high school student-athletes were chosen by their coaches.
The event is sponsored by Boston Scholar Athletes and the Boston Center for Youth and Families.
After months of speculation, Catholic Memorial senior Camren Williams announced on Twitter he was backing out of his verbal commitment to attend Penn State and instead would heading to Columbus to play for Urban Meyer and Ohio State.
Saying, "It's offical, I'm a Buckeye," Williams followed up a Twitter post last night in which he said, "Chillin out at dinner with Urban Meyer."
The 6-2, 220-pound Williams was a Globe All-Scholastic linebacker this past fall. He had 119 tackles in nine games and was called the state's No. 1 recruit by Rivals.com. He committed to Penn State last March but allegations that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted or had inappropriate contact with underage boys, led to coach Joe Paterno being fired. And that led to questions about what Williams would do, along with teammate and fellow Penn State commit, Armani Reeves.
Williams answered that question Friday. Reeves has not made his decision yet. The National signing date is Feb. 1.
In the latest episode of High School Weekly, field reporter Brooke Knowlton profiles Catholic Memorial's Matt Droney, the second two-time captain for the Knights' program.
High School Sports Weekly profiles the student-athletes from around the region who make high school athletics so compelling. Check out High School Weekly on Facebook.
Catholic Memorial football coach Alex Campea knows his school will be hosting a signing event Feb. 1. Donovan Henry will sign to attend and play football at Boston College. AJ Doyle is headed to UMass-Amherst. And Armani Reeves and Camren Williams? Stayed tuned for that decision.
With the news that Bill O’Brien has been named head football coach at Penn State, Catholic Memorial seniors Armani Reeves and Camren Williams now have a decision to make. Do they honor their verbal commitments to play for Penn State or do they look elsewhere? That decision must come before the Feb. 1 NCAA signing date.
Campea stressed Friday the two remain committed to the Nittany Lions, and not just for football reasons. Both selected Penn State for its academic programs and majors, not just what happened on a football field, said Campea, also the West Roxbury school’s athletic director.
O’Brien takes over from legendary coach Joe Paterno, who was forced to resign in the wake of child molestation charges and allegations against his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. O’Brien will stay on with the Patriots until the season ends.
Whatever school(s) gets Reeves and Williams will get two talented players.
Reeves stared on both sides of the ball for CM. He ran for 1,103 yards on 52 carries with 16 touchdowns. He also caught 21 passes for 328 yards. On defense he had 51 tackles and an interception. Williams played linebacker and tight end. He finished with 119 tackles this fall as CM went 7-2. Williams was a member of the National Honor Society.
Soon after Charlie Molnar was named the head football coach of the University of Massachusetts Minutemen Dec. 8, his first phone call was to Catholic Memorial quarterback A.J. Doyle – who recently de-committed from North Carolina State.
Molnar told Doyle UMass’s offer from last summer was still on the table, and the 6-foot-2-inch right-handed quarterback accepted the offer Thursday.
“I couldn’t be happier for him,” CM coach Alex Campea said. “[Doyle] feels real good, and he looks forward to the opportunity and challenges that lie ahead.”
UMass’s offer last summer was for Doyle to play quarterback, but he wanted to keep his options open and committed to NC State. Coach Tom O’Brien had plans for Doyle to play linebacker, but Doyle set his sights on continuing his career as a quarterback and de-committed.
Molnar, who was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Notre Dame last season, remembered when Doyle visited the summer camp in South Bend and he liked what he saw, according to Campea.
As soon as Molnar arrived in Amherst, he was committed to getting Doyle on board with Minutemen. Molnar visited CM yesterday and talked to Doyle, and then met with his parents later that night.
“He certainly has the ability to play at next level, and he felt as [the CM] season started he wanted to play quarterback [in college],” Campea said. “He has the opportunity to play quarterback and that’s vital. It’s a great fit because they want him. There’s a new coach and a new system, and A.J. fits their profile.”
Williams and Reeves still committed
According to Campea, linebacker Camren Williams and running back Armani Reeves still intend on playing at Penn State.
Their decision to go elsewhere hinges on what unfolds with the coaching situation after the Sandusky Scandal is settled, Campea said.
“Until there is a decision made with the coaching situation there, they are basically going to continue their path to go,” he said. “[Reeves and Williams] are waiting to see what transpires, and if that’s a place they still want to go.”
Last season, Reeves had 1,103 yards and 16 touchdowns on 52 carries and 328 yards on 21 catches, while Williams racked up 119 tackles in nine games at middle linebacker.
Catholic Memorial quarterback A.J. Doyle will not attend North Carolina State after verbally committing because the Wolfpack wanted him to play linebacker.
‘‘A.J. really wants an opportunity to be a college quarterback,’’ said Catholic Memorial coach Alex Campea. ‘‘He certainly can compete at that level. N.C. State offered him a tremendous opportunity, he has great respect for their school and their program, but the reality is he wants a shot to be a quarterback for a Division 1 school.’’
The three-year starter and all conference player will consider all his options.
‘‘He’s not making the decision today or tomorrow,’’ Campea said.
Catholic Memorial has announced that four of its top football players will be playing this fall at Division 1 colleges.
LB Camren Williams committed to play at Penn State last spring while quarterback A.J. Doyle committed to play at North Carolina State in June. On Tuesday, defensive back Donovan Henry committed to Boston College while fellow defensive back Armanie Reeves is boiling down his decision to Penn State or Notre Dame, according to a release by the school.
"We are proud of these four top student-athletes, who have distinguished themselves and earned the attention of some of the best football programs in the country," Coach Alexa Campea said in the release, noting that others on his team may make their choices known soon.
According to the school, 20 Catholic Memorial football players have gone on to play at the collegiate level in the last five years.
Life isn’t easy for a baseball team in the Catholic Conference. Both top-ranked Catholic Memorial and third-ranked Xaverian experienced that fact firsthand last week, as each team entered yesterday's showdown coming off a loss.
Yesterday afternoon was Xaverian’s turn to right the ship as it traveled to West Roxbury. The Hawks prevailed, 2-0 in what was a pitchers' duel right to the end.
The Hawks got all the offense they’d need in the first inning. The tandem of Tim Duggan and Austin DeCarr punched out nine and scattered four hits en route to shutting out one of the more potent offenses in Division 1.
Junior Chris Hoyt chopped an infield single that wouldn’t quite roll foul to lead off the first inning. Derek Reddy promptly laced a single to right field that skipped by the right fielder and rolled to the wall, scoring Hoyt and leaving Reddy at third with no outs after the two-base error.
However, Knights' co-ace Matt Goreham promptly shut the door on Xaverian, not allowing a ball out of the infield to strand Reddy at third.
Both teams had their chances throughout the middle innings, but Goreham and Duggan continued to make key pitches when it counted most.
In the fifth inning the Knights used a walk, an error, and an infield single to load the bases with one out. CM then hit a fly ball to right fielder Derek Reddy that Todd McDonald tried to tag-up on.
Reddy launched a laser on the fly to catcher Gerard Florentino, who tagged McDonald out with five feet to spare.
“It was easily our defensive play of the year,” said Hawks coach Jerry Lambert.
CM threatened again in the sixth, loading the bases once again, this time against sophomore fire-baller DeCarr. The young right-hander, whose fastball tops out in the high 80s, recovered to strike out the side and finished off the seventh inning by fanning two more.
“It not as easy spot for a sophomore to be in a Catholic Conference game,” said Lambert. “But he ended up striking out the side, with a few walks sprinkled in. We have a lot of confidence in the kid.”
Hoyt -- 2 for 4, two runs scored -- capped off his stellar game with a monster shot over the high fence in left in the top of the seventh.
The win snapped a two-game skid for Xaverian and gave the Knights their second consecutive loss after they fell to BC High this Monday in extra innings.
Things don’t get any easier for the Hawks, who face eighth-ranked BC High on Monday and No. 2 St. John’s Prep on Wednesday.
East Boston topped New Mission 64-59 and Charlestown beat West Roxbury 79-65 in the Boston City League semifinals at Madison Park high school. Check out the highlights in this video recap.
With nine seconds remaining in the game and his team down by one, Brighton senior Bernadin St. Vil stepped to the free throw line with a chance to give his Bengals the lead.
But there was one problem. The 6-foot-5 center isn’t exactly known for his skills at the charity stripe, coach Hugh Coleman said. And he had yet to hit any of his six free throws that day.
Shrugging off his previous failed attempts, St. Vil stepped to the line, netted both free throws, and Brighton (11-2) held on for a 60-59 win over its Boston City South rival Dorchester.
“Our seniors really stepped up tonight,” Coleman said. “All year it’s been our young guys who have led us, but tonight it was our seniors."
Senior center Mitchell Jean-Louis had 17 points and 20 rebounds for Brighton, while sophomore point guard Malik James scored the first triple-double of his career, notching 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.
But picking up the team’s 11th victory didn’t look very promising before the start of the game.
Just hours before tip off, Coleman discovered he would be without three of his starters – one because of injury, the other two because of disciplinary actions within the school.
“Once we found that out, we became very uneasy with the situation because it all happened so quickly,” Coleman said. “We called up a few players from JV and asked a lot from our seniors.”
The win ties Brighton with West Roxbury for the second best record in the league behind New Mission, who beat the Bengals twice in the regular season.
Because of weather postponements, Brighton and West Roxbury have yet to play each other this season, but will settle things in a pair of games next week. On Monday (Feb. 14), the Bengals host the Raiders, and Wednesday (Feb. 16) they play at Dorchester.
Girls basketball is off to a somewhat predictable start with Andover (11-0,6-0) holding strong in the No. 1 position this season in the Globe Top 20, coming on the heels of a Division 1 State Championship last year. Central Catholic (7-2, 5-1) lost its hold on the No. 2 position and fell to the No. 3 slot after losing its second game to Andover last week. The two met for the first time in December during the first round of the Greater Lawrence Girls Basketball Christmas Tournament, where Andover took down the Raiders, 53-43. The most recent meeting of the two teams counted in the Merrimack Valley Conference and was much closer, with Andover taking home a 53-52 win. Golden Warriors sophomore guard Devon Caveney contributed 22 points in the Jan. 7 win.
Mansfield (10-0, 6-0), our No. 2 team, moved up one spot after pushing its win streak to 10 games on Friday in a 36-26 win over Oliver Ames. The Hornets average 52.1 points per game and allow just 39.5 points per game. No. 11 Franklin, which moved up two spots, travels to Mansfield on Friday for a battle of the top ranked Hockomock (Kelley-Rex) competitors.
Wellelsey (7-1, 5-1) remains in the No. 4 spot after rebounding from its only loss of the season on January 4 to Needham, 37-27. The Raiders, who were without top scorers Blake Dietrick and Tierra Allen during the Needham game, have outscored the past three opponents by at least 18 points, including a 73-24 rout of Norwood on Friday. No. 5 Reading (10-0, 8-0), No. 6 Scituate (9-0, 6-0) and No. 7 Newton South (9-0, 7-0) remain steady in the same position after each winning a pair of games last week.
New Bedford (10-0, 0-0), our No. 8 team, moved up one spot after taking down Taunton, 65-41 and Fairhaven, 64-42, last week. Revere jumped two spots from No. 11 to No. 9 after toppling Northeastern Conference opponents Saugus on Tuesday, 50-31, and Marblehead Friday, 60-32. Formerly No. 8, Coyle & Cassidy fell to the No. 12 spot after losing to Cardinal Spellman (5-1, 3-1) 36-29 on January 9.
St. Mary's (10-1, 4-1) still owns the No. 10 slot, but the bottom 10 is a different story in terms of changes. Cohasset dropped five slots from No. 11 to No. 16 after losing to previously unranked No. 15 Norwell (10-1, 6-0) on Tuesday, 45-43. No. 17 Natick (8-1, 7-0), No. 18 Acton-Boxboro (7-0, 2-0) and No. 19 Braintree (8-0, 7-0) break into the Top 20 for the first time this season. No. 20 Stoneham (9-1, 7-1) hangs on to the No. 20 slot after losing to Middlesex League competitor Woburn (6-1, 5-1) on Friday, 58-53.
It’s no secret that, after graduating a monstrous senior class last summer, No. 3 Catholic Memorial’s talent crop is a bit younger than usual.
Inexperience wasn’t an issue yesterday, though, as the Knights rolled by No. 7 Needham, 4-1, in a battle of returning Super 8 squads.
Sophomore Liam Coughlin –– a transfer from the Walpole Express junior squad –– picked up a hat trick for CM. The center scored at even strength, on the power play, and scored a short-handed empty-netter to assure the Knights a victory late in the third.
“He’s an extremely talented kid,” CM coach Bill Hanson said. “He has an awful lot of skill and confidence in what he does.”
“He looks like an old-school type of player,” Needham coach Bill Guisti said. “He’s big, tall, lanky, and shields the puck exceptionally well.”
Senior Dan O’Hear (1 goal, 2 assists) kicked off the scoring for the Knights in the first period, with an assist from defenseman Marc Hetnik –– the first of three helpers from the senior captain.
Needham’s DJ Walsh squared the score at 1-1 about five minutes later, tipping a low slapper by Corey Hood over CM goalie Tommy Knox (24 saves).
The Rockets came our soaring to start the second period, but failed to convert on an early power-play opportunity and came away empty-handed despite a strong five-minutes of play.
With 8:45 left in the second, Coughlin netted his first goal, fighting through a Needham stick lift to one-time home a centering pass from O’Hear just above the crease.
Two minutes later, Coughlin again one-timed a pass from O’Hear into the cage –– this time from just above the left hashes –– to stretch the lead to 3-1.
“That game was big in a sense for young kids, they need to have confidence as well as being able to play,” Hanson said. “We’re going to have to be very hard to play against, which I thought we were today –– being in their face the whole time.”
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.