Collegiate Baseball Playoffs: Valley Blue Sox playing for NECBL Title

7 Aug

Valley Blue Sox Fighting for Title

After winning the play-in game and then the Northern Division, the Valley Blue Sox are playing for the NECBL Title.  They will face off against the Ocean State Waves in a three-game series from August 7-9.  The game schedule is as follows:

2017 NECBL Championships: Valley Blue Sox (29-18) vs. Ocean State Waves (33-13)

August 7: Blue Sox @ Waves, 6:30, South Kingston, RI

August 8: Waves @ Blue Sox, 6:35, Mackenzie Stadium, 500 Beech Street, Holyoke, TICKETS

August 9: Blue Sox @ Waves, 6:30, South Kingston, RI (If Necessary)

Cape Cod Baseball League Playoffs Heat Up

The CCBL’s playoffs kicked off on August 5, with the top eight teams in the league battling it out in best-of-three series against division rivals.  The West Division and East Division both will kick off their division championships on August 8.  In the West,  Wareham Gatemen and Bourne Braves to advanced to the Division Championship, while in the East it was the Brewster Whitecaps and Orleans Firebirds advancing.  The winners of the East and West Division’s will face off against each other for the championship.  Each matchup will be a best two out of three series.  A schedule of games is as follows:

Division Championships

August 8

6:00- Wareham @ Bourne

7:00- Brewster @ Orleans

August 9

4:00- Orleans @ Brewster

6:30- Bourne @ Wareham

August 10 (If Necessary)

6:00- Wareham @ Bourne

7:00- Brewster @ Orleans

League Championship

The three days following the completion of the Division Championships (likely August 11-13)

Future’s League Playoffs Set to Begin

Massachusetts team will take up four of the six spots in the FCBL playoffs.  The regular season ended on August 6, and the playoffs are set to begin on August 8.  The two division winners will get a first-round bye while the next four highest finishers will face off in play-in games on Tuesday, August 8th.  Below is the playoff seeds and schedule as we know it:

1. Brockton Rox

2. Bristol Blues

3. Wachusett Dirt Dawgs

4. Pittsfield Suns

5. Nashua Silver Knights

6. Worcester Bravehearts

Schedule

August 8: First Round

Worcester Bravehearts @ Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, 6:35, Doyle Field Leominster

Nashua Silver Knights @ Pittsfield Suns, 6:35, Wahconah Park, Pittsfield

August 9-11: Semifinals, Best-of-Three

Brockton Rox & Bristol Blues will host two of the three games in each series.

 

Pilgrims and Blue Sox Earn NECBL Playoff Spots, Holyoke to Host

2 Aug

With the conclusion of the NECBL on August 1, fans finally learned who will be battling it out in the playoffs.  The Ocean State Waves and Upper Valley Nighthawks won the Southern and Northern Division’s, respectively, and will get a bye to the division finals.  The Wild Card Round will see some strong Massachusetts flavor, with the Plymouth Pilgrims grabbing the #3 seed in the Southern and the Valley Blue Sox getting the #2 seed in the Northern.  Both teams will play in the single-game Wild Card Round, for the right to face the #1 seed in their respective divisions.  The Pilgrims will travel to Groton, Connecticut to face off against the Mystic Schooners, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 on Thursday, August 3rd.  The Valley Blue Sox will host the Keene Swamp Bats on Thursday, August 3rd as well, with a 6:35 first pitch.  Below is information about the Blue Sox playoff game in Holyoke:

Northern Division Wild Card Round

Keene Swamp Bats (20-24) @ Valley Blue Sox (26-18)

August 3rd, 6:35

Mackenzie Stadium

500 Beech Street

Holyoke, MA 01040

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors.

All playoff games can be seen on the NECBL Broadcast Network.

LeLacheur Park Named Best Ballpark in the Country by Ballpark Digest

31 Jul

LELACHEUR PARK NAMED BEST BALLPARK IN THE COUNTRY

Lowell Spinners home honored by Ballpark Digest

 

The Lowell Spinners, short season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, earned a prestigious honor over the weekend. Edward A. LeLacheur Park, home of the Spinners since 1998, has been named 2017’s Best Short Season Ballpark in the country by Ballpark Digest, the most read news publication in Minor League Baseball. The winner was determined via a fan vote with the Spinners defeating Avista Stadium, home of the Spokane Indians, in the final round.

 

“Winning awards for our beautiful ballpark is always nice, but when it comes from the readers of Ballpark Digest, the industry’s gold standard, it is especially meaningful,” said Spinners owner Dave Heller. “This is a special award, not merely for our team but also for the New York-Penn League and the City of Lowell, which has so many exciting and award-winning things going on right now. We are proud to be an integral part of Lowell’s revival.”

 

Even with its current success the Spinners have already announced plans for major upgrades to LeLacheur Park in the near future. During the offseason, the Spinners will be adding a brand new two-tiered party deck area in right field, replacing the current field, drainage and irrigation system, and installing energy efficient LED field lights.

 

To celebrate the victory, the Spinners are giving the entire Merrimack Valley free entry to the ballpark on Tuesday, September 5th.

 

Baseball returns to LeLacheur Park on Wednesday, August 2nd when the Spinners take on the Hudson Valley Renegades. Every Wednesday this season has “9 Innings of Winning” and this week one lucky fan will win a smart watch every inning! First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

For more information contact Connor Sullivan, Lowell Spinners Creative Services Representative, at 978-805-5115.

Holden Wins Massachusetts State Little League Title, Advances to Regionals

31 Jul

Making their fourth trip to the state tournament in five years, Holden Little League finally broke through by winning the tournament and being crowned Massachusetts champions.  Holden defeated Gloucester on July 30 by a score of 13-9, avenging a loss to the coastal town earlier in the weekend.  Three days of pool play between Holden, Gloucester, Milton National and Melrose ensued from July 27-29, with Gloucester and Holden reaching the championship game with records of 3-0 and 2-1 respectively.  All games where played at Benvento Park in North Reading, with over 1,100 fans attending the championship game, according to the Boston Herald.

Holden now has advanced to the New England Regional Tournament in Bristol, Connecticut for the first time in their league history.  In Bristol, they will participate in a double-elimination tournament against the champions of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  They will look to become the first team from Massachusetts to make the Little League World Series since 2009.  The first game they will play will be on Monday, August 7 at 7:00 against the winner of the Rhode Island and New Hampshire game.  The game can be watched on ESPN3.  A full list of games at the New England Regional is as follows:

August 6

1:00- Vermont vs. Maine (ESPN3), Game 1

7:00- Rhode Island vs. New Hampshire (ESPN3), Game 2

August 7

1:00- Connecticut vs. Game 1 Winner (ESPN3), Game 3

7:00- Massachusetts vs. Game 2 Winner (ESPN3), Game 4

August 8

1:00- Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 4 (ESPN3), Game 5

7:00- Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3 (ESPN3), Game 6

August 9

4:00- Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (ESPN3), Game 7

August 10

1:00- Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 (ESPN), Game 8

August 11

1:00- Loser Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (ESPN), Game 9

August 12 Championship

1:00- Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9 (ESPN), Game 10

Summer Baseball Playoffs Set to Kick Off This Week

31 Jul

Cape Cod Baseball League

On August 5th, the CCBL will begin their three-round playoffs and their journey to crown another champion.  In the East Division, we already know the four team’s who will be battling it out, as the Orleans Firebirds, Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, Brewster Whitecaps and Chatham Anglers have all clinched playoff berths, although we do not know who will be facing off in the first round until the last few games are finished.  In the West Division, the Falmouth Commodores have clinched a playoff spot, while the rest of the division is up for grabs.  The Bourne Braves (40 points), Cotuit Keetlers (39), Wareham Gateman (35) and Hyannis Harbor Hawks (33) will be battling it out during the last few days of the season for the final three playoff spots in the West.  Regular season games will continue through August 3rd, with August 4th set as an off-day for potential games that are rained out to be played before the playoffs begin.Kris Bubic

Tomorrow future baseball stars have continued to put up impressive numbers this season, impressing scouts who converge on the Cape every summer.  It has tough to find a pitcher better than Kris Bubic (Stanford), who leads the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned-run average pitching for Yarmouth-Dennis.  In 32.2 innings pitched, Bubic has compiled a 4-1 record with a 1.65 ERA while striking out 41 and only walking 7 batters.  In the All-Star Game, Bubic had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.  At the dish, Orleans slugger Stephen Scott (Vanderbilt) won the home run derby and soon after took the league in RBI’s with 32 too this point in the season.  Scott is batting .316 with 7 home runs and the 32 RBI in 35 games played for Orleans this summer.  Wareham hitter Tanner Dodson (Cal) leads the league in batting average at .361, while Brewster slugger Chandler Taylor (Alabama) leads the league with 9 home runs.Chandler Taylor

Every game will continue to be broadcast online through the Internet Broadcasting Network through each of the team’s who play in the games.  Fox College Sports series of broadcasting games has finished, and WEEI 96.3 Cape Cod Sports Radio will broadcast various playoff games over the airwaves, to be determined at a later date when the playoff schedule in determined.

Future’s Collegiate Baseball League

The FCBL regular season is set to finish up on August 6th, and the six-team playoffs will begin shortly afterwards.  The top three teams in each division with participate in the postseason, and the races are tight into the last week of the season.  In the West Division, the race is as tight as it can be, with any of the four teams with the opportunity to make the playoffs.  The Pittsfield Suns (53 points) currently lead the division and are closely followed by the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs (50), Bristol Blues (46) and Worcester Bravehearts (45).  If the Bravehearts are able to pass the Blues, it is likely we will see three Massachusetts teams battle for the West Division crown.  In the East, the Brockton Rox (56 points) have pulled ahead in first place and are close to clinching a playoff berth.  State rivals Martha’s Vineyard Sharks (45) and North Shore Navigators (41) are trying to make a late season comeback and join the Rox in the postseason, chasing Nashua and Seacoast in hopes of making an appearance in the postseason.Zack Tower

FCBL players have continued to put up impressive numbers this summer, in hopes of impressing scouts across the country.  Dirt Dawgs slugger Zack Tower (Franklin Pierce) has continued his torrid pace, and now leads the league with 16 home runs while maintaining a .323 average with 41 RBI.  His 16 home runs leads all collegiate players in Massachusetts this summer.  Tower is also tied for the league lead with 41 RBI with Navigators hitter Alex Brickman (St. Petersburg’s Junior College).  Brickman’s teammate Austen Michel leads the league in ERA, with a 1.55 ERA in 46.1 innings with 50 strikeouts. Braveheart’s pitcher Cody Laweryson (Maine) leads the FCBL with 56 strikeouts and only a 2.17 ERA in only 29 innings pitched.  Lawyerson’s teammate Sean Mellen (Northeastern) is in second place in the league in strikeouts with 55 on the season.Cody Lawyerson

The team’s have about one week left in the regular season before the playoffs will begin.  The top three teams from each division with make the playoffs, with the #3 and #2 seeds each playing in winner-take-all play-in games for the right to play the #1 seed.  A three-game series will take place to determine each division champion, and the championship series will also be a best-of-three series.

New England Collegiate Baseball League

The NECBL regular season will finish up on August 1 and the playoffs will begin shortly after.  In the Northern Division, the Valley Blue Sox of Holyoke have locked up a playoff spot and seemed destined to host the first round playoff game, likely hosting the Keene Swamp Bats.  If they can win that game, they will move onto the Northern Division championship series against the Upper Valley Nighthawks.  In the Southern Division, the Plymouth Pilgrims have secured a playoff spot and will participate in the first round playoff game as well.  The Pilgrims will likely head to Groton, Connecticut to face off against the Mystic Schooners, and with a win will be able to face off with the first-place Ocean State Waves.Blake Whitney

Massachusetts teams have seen their players have put up impressive numbers this summer.  North Adams pitcher Blake Whitney (South Carolina Upstate) has continued to absolutely dominate hitters, leading pitchers in all three league’s in the states with 80 strikeouts.  Whitney started the All-Star Game on July 30 and had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.  Pilgrims pitchers Cameron Junker (Notre Dame), Jonathan Bermudez (St. Leo College) and Garrett Acton (St. Louis University) with 48, 45 and 44 strikeouts on the season respectively.  Bay Sox pitcher Brent Teller (Sacred Heart) has also had an impressive season on the mound, with a 1.92 ERA with 37.1 innings pitched on the season.Colby Maiola

On July 30, North Adams hosted the NECBL All-Star Game, when some of best baseball brightest future stars ascended on The Berkshires.  The exciting day concluded with a 5-5 tie between the North and South All-Stars in front of 2,316 fans.  Pilgrims slugger Hernan Sardines (Maine) blasted a solo home run in the 9th inning to tie the game for the South when the home North team was looking to close out the game in the final inning.  Sanford Mainer and North Reading native Colby Maiola (UMass-Lowell) went 3-3 in the All-Star Game with a home run, RBI and two runs scored.

Lowell Spinners

The Spinners have rebounded after a tough stretch by winning four of their last six games to improve their outlook at the New York-Penn League playoffs.  The Spinners sit at 16-22 on the season and 5.5 games behind the first place Vermont Lake Monsters in the Stedler Division.  In the Wild Card race, the Spinners find themselves 7.0 games behind the West Virginia Black Bears.  The Spinners are in Connecticut for a three-game series with the Tigers, before returning home to face off against the Hudson Valley Renegades for three games and then head to Brooklyn for a three-game bout with the Cyclones.  The team will be hosting some great promotions during their series against Hudson Valley.  On August 2nd will be “9 Innings of Winning” where prizes including a 32-inch TV.  On August 3 the game will include an appearance by WWE legend Ted Dibiase, a “Kids Happy Hour” where kids will receive a half-price combo meal and half-price wrist bands to the Foul Ball Fun Zone.  After the game, the team will invite 30 fans onto the field for when they drop $1,000 in cash on the field.  The August 4 game will include a Princess Night, a Girl Scout Sleepover and Fireworks following the game.Print

State Little League Finals Set to Begin on July 27

25 Jul

It has been nearly eight years since Massachusetts has sent a Little League team to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the Little League World Series.  In 2009, Peabody Western Little League made it to the international stage after Matt Hosman (who now plays at UMass) hit a walk-off grand slam in the New England Regional to send them to Williamsport.  Now, the state will look to once again send another squad to the Little League World Series when they crown a state champion on Sunday, July 30.

The Massachusetts State Tournament will begin on July 27 in North Reading, after the district and sectional rounds cut the teams in the state down to only four.  Holden, Milton National, Melrose and Gloucester will face off at Benevento Park in North Reading to determine the champion.  The team’s will participate in pool play from July 27-29, with each team playing three games and the top two finishers facing off in the championship on July 30.  The full schedule of games is as follows:

July 27

Holden vs. Milton National, 3:30

Opening Ceremonies, 6:30

Melrose vs. Gloucester, 7:30

July 28

Milton National vs. Melrose, 4:00

Holden vs. Gloucester, 7:00

July 29

Holden vs. Melrose, 12:00

Red Sox Showcase, 1:00-4:00

Gloucester vs. Milton National, 3:00

July 30

Closing Ceremonies, 12:30

Championship Game, 1:00

On Thursday, Opening Ceremonies will include former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield throwing out the first pitch, while Saturday will feature a Red Sox showcase and Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies will honor the ten umpires who have umpired at the Little Little World Series, according to the Boston Herald.  Holden is making their fourth trip in the last five years to the state finals, but have yet to win the title.  This is unfamiliar territory for the other team’s, as Gloucester and Milton National are making their first appearance in the state finals ever, while this is the first time a Melrose team has made the finals since 1983, and the first time since the city moved from two Little League’s to only one.  The winner of the tournament will advance to the New England Regional in Bristol, Connecticut, which is set to begin on August 6th.

Checking in on Boston sports teams not named the Red Sox

24 Jul

Too often in Boston, the success of the team’s professional soccer and lacrosse teams gets overlooked throughout the summer as so many eyes are focused on the Boston Red Sox.  Here we will give you an update on the progress of the New England Revolution, Boston Breakers and Boston Cannons, all of which provide world-class competition in their respective sports to the fans of the Greater Boston Area.

New England Revolution

The Revolution recently passed the mid-way point of their season, and they currently sit in a tie for 9th place in the Eastern Conference through 20 games in the season.  The long-climb back into the playoff race got a huge boost back on July 22, when they defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy at Gillette Stadium by a score of 4-3.  The Revs are tied with the Philadelphia Union at 23 points on the season, 8 behind the Columbus Crew, who currently sit in 6th place.  The top 6 teams in the Eastern Conference will make the postseason, and although the Revs have a tough climb to make the postseason, they have plenty of time to do it with 14 matches left on the season.  Revs Logo

The Revs have been led by Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen to this point in the season.  Fagundez leads the team with 8 assists on the season to compliment his 4 goals scored, while Nguyen leads the team in goals with 8 and also added 7 assists to also put him in the team lead in points.  These two stars will look to help lead the Revs back into the playoff race and help coach Jay Heaps avoid missing the playoffs for the second season in a row, after making it all the way to the MLS Cup back in 2014.  The Revs have 14 matches left on the season including 7 at Gillette Stadium.  Be sure to look at ticket prices on-line, or you cannot make it to a game catch one on CSN-NE, who broadcasts all non-nationally televised games.

Boston Breakers

Playing their games at Jordan Field on the campus of Harvard, the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League continues to grow their fan base in the Boston area.  In the ten-team NWSL, the Breakers are committed to growing the game of soccer in both the Boston area and around the country.  During the 2017 season, the team has struggled with on-field success and find themselves in a deep hole if they hope to make the postseason come October.  At 3-7-5 on the season, the Breakers are in 8th place in the league and find themselves 10 points behind the 4th place Seattle Reign FC, who currently holds the final playoff spot.  With nine matches remaining on the season, the Breakers face an uphill climb if they hope to clinch a spot in the postseason.Boston Breakers Logo

In order to crack the postseason this season, the Breakers will need to finish extremely strong in the final portion of their schedule.  Fortunately for local fans, five of those games will take place at home and tickets are still available for every game.  On top of that, on Saturday, August 12 the Breakers trip to Boyds, Maryland to face off against the Washington Spirit will be televised live on Lifetime as part of the NWSL’s TV partnership with the network to broadcast one league game per week on the network.  The team has to make a lot of noise in order to make the playoffs, but with the support of those around Boston, they have the chance to do just that.

Boston Cannons

The Cannons are one of the original six teams in Major League Lacrosse, which is the highest level of professional lacrosse found in the world.  The MLL currently houses nine teams and hosts a four team playoff at season’s end that concludes with the MLL Championship Game, which will this season be held in Frisco, Texas.  The Cannons are struggling this season and without a major turnaround will likely find themselves missing the playoffs once again.  At 3-8 on the season, the Cannons find themselves in last place and needing to win the final three games of the season for a chance at a 4th place finish.  The team will host two more home games, on July 29 and August 5, both at Harvard Stadium and both streamed live on Twitter.  Be sure to catch a game and purchase tickets or stream it on Twitter if you cannot make it to the game in-person.Boston-Cannons-Logo

Summer Baseball Playoffs Right Around the Corner

24 Jul

Cape Cod Baseball League

In the ever-exciting Cape Cod Baseball League, the All-Star Game is the event which shines brightest for the baseball’s future stars.  Played this year at Spillane Field in Wareham, the game was a thriller, with the East team coming back to pick up a 5-3 win over the West team.  Trailing 3-2 in the 7th inning, Orleans’ Jimmy Herron (Duke) hit a two-run double to give the East a lead that they would hold for the rest of the game.  For his performance, Herron won All-Star East Division MVP, while fellow Duke teammate and Cotuit player Griffin Conine won All-Star West Division MVP honors.  Conine hit a two-run home run to give the West a 3-0 lead before the East came roaring back.  Before the game took place, the annual Home Run Contest took place, with Orleans Stephen Scott being crowned champion, beating Chandler Taylor of Brewster in the final round.CCBL All-Star MVP

With less than two weeks left in the CCBL regular season, the playoff races are starting to shape up and teams are starting to lock up berth’s in the postseason.  In the East Division, it looks as though Orleans (48 points), Yarmouth-Dennis (45), Chatham (34) and Brewster (32) appeared to headed to the playoffs to battle it out among the four of them for a spot in the championship series.  The Harwich Mariners find themselves well behind with only 21 points on the season and will need a significant comeback in the last few games in order to make the playoffs.  The West Division race is much less clear, with all five teams separated by only nine points, and team’s 1-4 separated by only three points.  Bourne narrowly leads the division with 36 points, followed very closely behind by Cotuit (35), Falmouth (35), Wareham (33) and Hyannis (27).  Each team in the West has at least nine games left on the season, and the race for the top four spots in the West Division could go any which way at this point. Clem Spillane Field

Games are scheduled to last through August 3rd (weather permitting) and playoffs are scheduled to start on Saturday, August 5th.  Every game is streamed online through the Cape Baseball Broadcasting Network, as each team has their own broadcasters who you will hear calling the games.  Fox College Sports has two games left on their 2017 broadcasting schedule, each of which will air this week.  On July 25, Bourne will visit Falmouth at 6:00 and on July 26, Orleans will visit Bourne at 6:00 before FOX packs up their bags and heads back home from the Cape for the summer.  As allows, Cape Cod League Sunday Night Baseball can be heard this Sunday night on 96.3 FM WEEI on the Cape & Islands.  July 30th’s match-up has a first pitch scheduled for 5:30, with the match-up of Wareham at Orleans.

Future’s Collegiate Baseball League

The long and grinding FCBL season chugs along as league team’s enjoyed a two-day break for All-Star festivities in Connecticut, before returning to their team’s to continue fighting for a berth in the 2017 FCBL Playoffs.  Three teams from each division will make the playoffs, which makes the final two weeks before the season ends on August 6th vitally important to nearly every league team.  In the West Division, three Massachusetts team trail the Bristol Blues, who sit in first place at 21-17 on the season.  Behind the Blues are the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs (22-18), the Pittsfield Suns (22-20) and Worcester Bravehearts (18-22).  Each team still has at least 14 games left in the season, which should make for an exciting finish to the regular season.  In the East Division, the Brockton Rox are the only team over .500 and seem to have a comfortable lead with a 22-17 record.  The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are close behind with a 20-22 and would make the playoffs if the season ended today, while the North Shore Navigators have fallen to last place with a record 17-23.Zack Tower

As the one of the newest summer collegiate baseball league’s continues to grow, so do the impressive numbers put up both at the plate and on the mound.  Dirt Dawg’s slugger Zach Tower (Franklin Pierce) continues to wow fans at the plate, leading the league with 13 home runs with maintaining a .316 average and 33 RBI.  Navigator’s hitter Alex Brickman (St. Petersburg Junior College) leads the league in RBI with 41 on the season while also hitting .302.  Rox pitcher Mason Palmieri (Bryant) has dominated so far on the mound, leading the league with a 1.09 ERA through 33 innings pitched and eight games started thus far.  Navigators pitcher Austin Michel (Dartmouth College) currently leads the league in strikeouts, with 50 through 46.1 innings pitched in nine appearances and a 1.55 ERA, which is good for second in the league behind Palmieri.Joe Silva

The FCBL All-Star took place on July 18 at Muzzy Field in Bristol, Connecticut.  The teams where divided by their respective divisions and represented the East and the West teams.  The East pulled out a 2-0 victory behind a two-run home run from Joe Silva (Concordia U-Chicago) of the Brockton Rox in the 4th inning.  Silva’s home run was the only offense provided all game, and that was all the East All-Star’s needed to beat the home West All-Star’s.  Be sure to check out the league’s schedule online and catch a game close by as the season winds down and the playoffs are ready to gear into action.

New England Collegiate Baseball League

The NECBL’s regular season is set to end next week, with the final games scheduled for August 1st.  The playoffs will begin shortly after, with the top three teams in each division (Northern and Southern), appearing in the playoffs after the conclusion of the 42-game regular season.  In the Northern Division, the Valley Blue Sox have maintained their spot in second place in the division with a 19-17 record, five games behind the division leader Upper Valley Nighthawks.  The Blue Sox look poised for a playoff run and their Western Massachusetts rival in the North Adams SteepleCats hope to join them.  At 16-20, the SteepleCats sit in a tie for 4th place and two games behind Keene for third place in the division.  In the Southern Division, the Plymouth Pilgrims are sitting pretty in second place in the division with a 22-16 on the season.  They seem to have almost locked up a playoff berth barring a crazy finish, while the New Bedford Bay Sox will likely see their season end with their final scheduled game on July 29.Blake Whitney

Fans throughout Massachusetts have been able to see some brilliant performances throughout the season, especially on the mound.  North Adam’s pitcher Blake Whitney (South Carolina Upstate) continues to fan hitters left and right, leading the league with 76 strikeouts on the season, 32 more than second place, held by Plymouth pitcher Jonathan Bermudez (St. Leo College).  The Pilgrims have seen other phenomenal pitching seasons, as Garrett Acton (St. Louis University) and Cameron Junker (Notre Dame) are each in the top five in the league with over 40 strikeouts on the season.  Bay Sox pitcher Brent Teller in currently third in the league with a 1.67 ERA on the season, while his teammate Luke Bakula is leading the league with 46 hits on the season.2017 NECBL All Star Game

On Sunday, July 30, North Adams will host the NECBL All-Star Game as the league’s best players will come together in hopes of impressing scouts and taking the next step towards the big league’s.  The day will begin with a talent showcase at 9:45, where pitching, hitting, catching and throwing rounds will take place for all prospects to show off their skills to the scouts in attendance.  The team’s will participate in a brunch afterwards before they each take batting and fielding practice.  Competitions will then ensue which includes a 60-yard dash and Home Run Derby, before the field will be prepped for the All-Star Game.

Lowell Spinners

As the Lowell Spinners nears the half-way point, the team has struggled and find themselves in last place in the Stedler Division of the New York-Penn League.  At 12-20 on the season, the Spinners have dropped 9 of their last 11 games and face an up-hill climb if they hope to match last season’s division title and playoff appearance.  The Spinners are in the midst of a series in Staten Island, but will return to Lowell to face Brooklyn from July 27-29.  During the season with Brooklyn, the team will host great promotion’s, including a giveaway of a Jackie Bradley Jr. bobble-head to the first 1,000 fans through the gates.  Be sure to check the Spinners website for all promotions that they run, as well as their full schedule and information on how to purchase tickets.JBJ Bobblehead

Summer Baseball Update

17 Jul

Lowell Spinners

The Red Sox short-season Single A affiliate Lowell Spinners are in the dog days of the New York-Penn League, and looking to gain ground in the Stedler Division.  At 10-14 on the season, the Spinners find themselves six games behind the Vermont Lake Monsters while sitting at third place in the division.  The Wild-Card race is as tight as fans will ever see it, with four teams tied at the top and the Spinners sitting four games behind.  The team is entering in a vitality important stretch of the season, as they will host 7 games over the course of 6 days from July 17 through July 22.  First up is a four-game series against the Aberdeen Ironbirds from July 17-19, followed by a three-game series against the Tri-City ValleyCats.

Statistical performances continue to show the promise of the Red Sox farm system and hope that the success of the big league team in town will not slow down.  Dakota Smith has started out very nicely for the Spinners and has likely been their best pitcher to this point in the season.  In five starts for the team, Smith has a 2-1 record with a 2.08 ERA with 20 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.08.  The team’s best relief pitcher has been Joan Martinez, who has made seven appearances for the team and continues to impress with an ERA of 1.46 and a WHIP of 0.97.  Raiwinson Lameda has led the team at the plate so far this season, leading the Spinners in total bases (35), RBI (12), hits (23), doubles (5) and at-bats (89).  Right behind Lameda is Yoan Aybar who is tied with 12 RBI and has 33 total bases while compiling an average of .269.

The Spinners have many great promotions coming up this week that will make the games worthwhile to attend.  On July 20, Andrew Benintendi bobble-heads will be handed out at the gates to fans entering the game, while on July 22 New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell will be attending the game.

Cape Cod Baseball League

The CCBL has recently passed the mid-way point of their season, and finds almost all league teams in playoff races that have become jumbled and could finish in a number of different ways.  In the East Division, the Orleans Firebirds are currently out in front with a 19-10 record and 38 points on the season so far.  The 3X-defending champion Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox are just behind them with 35 points and a 17-11-1 record.  The Brewster Whitecaps (31 points), Chatham Anglers (30 points) and Harwich Mariners (21 points) are chasing their rivals at the top of the standings.  In the West Division, the Bourne Braves lead a super tight playoff race with 30 points and a 15-14 record.  Following closing behind are the Cotuit Keetlers (29 points), Falmouth Commodores (27 points), Wareham Gateman (27 points) and Hyannis Harbor Hawks (24 points).  The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs at the end of the 44-game regular season.

The future major league players in the Cape League have been putting on a show for the communities that support them.  Falmouth’s Alec Bohm (Wichita State) is second in the league in batting average with a mark .376, while also being second in the league in at-bats with 117.  Bohm is comfortably in the league with 44 hits.  Cotuit’s Griffin Conine (Duke) has also dominated at the plate, leading the league in home runs with 7 and second with 24 RBI while still maintaining a .324 batting average.  The pitching across the CCBL has been just as impressive, with pitchers across the Cape impressing the MLB scouts in attendance.  Kris Bubic (Stanford) leads the league with 32 strikeouts while compiling a 3-1 record and a 1.95 ERA for Yarmouth-Dennis.  The league leader in ERA is Miller Hogan (St. Louis University) of Wareham who has a 1.08 mark with a 3-0 through 25 innings pitched.  Hogan’s teammate Justin Montgomery (Cal Baptist) started the season with 21 straight scoreless innings and is second in the league with a 1.16 ERA.  Fellow Wareham pitcher Griffin Roberts (Wake Forest) is third in the league with a 1.73 ERA, giving the Gateman three of the top pitchers in the entire CCBL.

The busy schedule for team’s continues through the end of the scheduled regular season on August 3 (barring rain-outs) and the playoffs are scheduled to begin on August 5.  On July 22, the annual Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Game will take place at Spillane Field in Wareham, which will be preceded the night before by the first-ever Celebrity Softball Game to benefit Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.  The All-Star Game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports and WCAI National Public Radio.  Also Fox College Sports games include Yarmouth-Dennis at Harwich on July 18 at 6:30 and Wareham at Brewster on July 19 at 5:00.  Every Sunday night a CCBL game can be heard on WEEI 96.3 Cape Cod Sports Radio, including a July 23 match-up between Brewster and Hyannis.

Future’s Collegiate Baseball League

As the FCBL season chugs along, so do the playoff hopes for the six Massachusetts teams who call the league home.  In the West Division, the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs continue to hold onto a lead in the division despite losing 7 of their last 10 games.  At 20-15 and with 40 points on the season, they hold a one-point lead over the Pittsfield Suns, who are 19-19 with 39 points.  The Worcester Bravehearts are currently 16-20 with 33 points on the season, only three points behind third place, which is held by the Bristol Blues.  The East Division is also led by a Bay State squad in the Brockton Rox, who hold the best winning percentage (.611) and most points (44) on the season with a 22-14 record.  The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are trying to keep up with the Rox with a 17-19 record and 35 points on the season.  And after starting the season off with 7 loses in a row, the North Shore Navigators have stormed back are no longer in the basement of the standings, and are in prime position for a playoff berth with a 16-20 record and 33 points on the season.

Players continue to put up impressive numbers and wow the fans who are so loyal to the FCBL teams.  Alex Brickman (St. Petersburg Junior College) has been one of those players impressing fans and scouts alike for the North Shore Navigators.  Brickman leads the league in RBI (41) with a .306 batting average while also throwing 16 innings on the mound and picking up a save.  His teammate, Austen Michel (Dartmouth College) is second in the league with an ERA of 1.55, second only to Mason Palmieri (Bryant) of the Brockton Rox who has been impressive with a 1.09 ERA.  Palmieri’s teammate Zack Martin (Notre Dame) leads the league with 48 strikeouts on the season, giving the Greater Boston area two of the better rotations in the FCBL.  Two of the best power hitters in the league play in Central Massachusetts, in Zack Tower (Franklin Pierce) of the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs and Joseph Caico (University of New Haven) of the Worcester Bravehearts.  Tower leads the league with 10 home runs and has a batting average of .306, while Caico is right behind his rival with 9 home runs and is also second in the league in runs scored with 31.

The league will take a two-day break from the normal game schedule for the All-Star Game, which will take place on July 18 in Bristol, Connecticut.  When the All-Star break is complete, the schedule has games will playoff implications across the state.  The Dirt Dawgs will head to Martha’s Vineyard to take on the Sharks on July 20, before heading to Worcester to take on their division rival Bravehearts on July 21.  The league season lasts 56 games, with most teams having around 20 games left in the regular season.  The top three teams in each division will make the postseason.

New England Collegiate Baseball League

With the NECBL season approaching the final chapter, Massachusetts teams have put themselves in a great position to make a postseason appearance.  The Valley Blue Sox are 16-13 on the season and find themselves in second place the Northern Division, needing a few more wins to lock up a spot in the playoffs and potentially make a championship run.  The other team in the Northern Division is the North Adams SteepleCats, who sit at 12-19 but are only 2.5 games behind third place, and a strong finish out in the Berkshires could also put them in the postseason.  In the Southern Division have gone on a nice run by winning 7 of 10 games and are currently in second place with a record of 18-14.  The New Bedford Bay Sox are 13-16 and despite sitting near the bottom of the Southern Division standings, are only 1.5 games behind third place.

Players in the Bay State continue to put up impressive numbers for the loyal fans who come out to watch games.  Blake Whitney (South Carolina Upstate) is absolutely dominating on the mound with 69 strikeouts for North Adams, which leads the league by a wide-margin and will almost certainly make him the strikeout leader at season’s end.  Teammate Robert Donnelly (SUNY-Owsego) is tied for the league lead in wins with a 5-2 record.  New Bedford pitcher Brent Teller (Sacred Heart), is near the top of the league’s ERA leaders with a 1.42 in 25.1 innings pitched.  Teller’s Bay Sox teammate Luke Bakula (Kansas), has continued his torrid pace at the plate, and is in third place in the NECBL with a batting averge of .351.

Incredibly important games for all Bay State teams are fast approaching.  On July 17 at 6:30 North Adams will host the Valley Blue Sox is an important rivalry game with playoff implications.  The Blue Sox will then host the Plymouth Pilgrims on July 22 at 6:35, in a match-up of the two teams currently in second place in each division.  Each team will host games during this upcoming week, with the full schedule being found on the league website.  The regular season lasts 42 games, with each team having about 10 games left in their regular season.  The top three teams in each division will advance to the postseason.   On July 30, North Adams will host the NECBL All-Star Game.

 

“60 Days of Summer” Promotion back at the Basketball Hall of Fame

12 Jul

BHOF LogoThe Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will once again be hosting its annual “60 Days of Summer Program“.  Run through the months of July and August, the program will offer 60 straight days of family orientated museum programming.  Throughout the program, the Hall of Fame will host various appearances from those in the basketball world and beyond, including autograph signings, magicians, trick dribblers, jugglers, mascot days and giveaway days.

All appearances at the Hall of Fame will be free to attend for guests and will begin promptly at 1:00 PM.  Almost every appearance will include an autograph session that day.  The list of appearances is located below:

July 1: Lynette Woodard

July 2: Contest Day

July 3: Skills Clinic

July 4: Independence Giveaway Day

July 5: Skills Clinic

July 6: Sheryl Swoopes

July 7: Shannon Brown

July 8: Tom Jernstedt

July 9: Contest Day

July 10: Sean Elliott

July 11: Dick Bavetta

July 12: Basketball Hall of Fame Staff Skills Clinic- All Ages

July 13: Denise Curry

July 14: Mark Eaton

July 15: Brandon Bass

July 16: Contest Day

July 17: Skills Clinic

July 18: Jim Calhoun

July 19: Rebecca Lobo

July 20: Magic Dave

July 21: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

July 22: Ed O’Bannon

July 23: Contest Day

July 24: TBD

July 25: TBD

July 26: George McGinnis

July 27: Dennis Scott

July 28: Tracy McGrady

July 29: TBD

July 30: Contest Day

July 31: TBD

August 1: Adriean Payne

August 2: UMass Men’s Basketball Clinic

August 3: Kevin “Showboat” Jackson

August 4: Tony Allen

August 5: Meet Your Favorite Star Wars Character

August 6: Contest Day

August 7: UMass Men’s Basketball Clinic

August 8: Donovan Mitchell

August 9: Dan Issel

August 10: Glenn Robinson III

August 11: TBD

August 12: TBD

August 13: Contest Day

August 14: TBD

August 15: TBD

August 16: Muffet McGraw

August 17: TBD

August 18: Mannie Jackson

August 19: TBD

August 20: Lucille O’Neal

August 21: TBD

August 22: TBD

August 23: TBD

August 24: Michael Beasley

August 25: Brad Stevens

August 26: TBD

August 27: Contest Day