Monday, March 12, 2012

Brockton v. Charlestown at Boston Garden Tonight

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—When Brockton’s boys basketball team takes the floor at TD Boston Garden Monday night, topping the list of strategies to win is the team’s tenacious defense that has brought them to the Garden’s storied parquet floor and the Div. 1 South Sectional Championship. “Two more games,” said Brockton’s William Baker after the Boxer’s 57-48 win over Madison Parker Saturday at UMass.
“It’s not just to The Garden, it’s to the DCU Center,” Baker said.
The win earned the Boxers the Div. 1 South title and a game against Charlestown to potentially advance to the state final.
The team celebrated the sectional championship, but Baker said the team is focused on the next game and playing the team defense that forced Madison Park to turn over the ball a crucial 3 times in the waning minutes of Saturday’s match—turnovers that gave Brockton the ball and forced Madison Park to foul.
Brockton extended its lead to 9 by the time Blakely dribbled the ball to tick off the game’s final seconds and a celebration of the south Sectional final.
Blakely and Baker said the team’s all-around defense was the deciding factor in Saturday’s game and the pair intend to match or better Saturday’s performance.  
“We all played really good defense,” Baker said.
Blakely, a junior, and Baker, a senior, said they remember 2 years ago when Brockton lost at Boston Garden, one game short of the state final and ultimate glory.
“We just want to put our city back on the map,” Baker said.
Baker’s family has supported his basketball career since he was a little boy and this week’s tournament run has been no different.
Family members boasted T-shirts with his picture from when he was a little boy to today.
Lakisha Wilson, one of Baker’s relatives, said Brockton this year has been proving over and over they are an excellent team, and now they have 2 more games to finish.
“They were unranked at the start of the season—no one would give them their props,” Wilson said.
Brockton takes on Charlestown for the Div. 1 state semifinal, Monday, March 12.
Tipoff is at 7:45 p.m.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Boys B-ball Heads To South Sectional Final

BROCKTON--The number 1 seeded Brockton boys basketball team will play number 2 seeded Madison Park Saturday at 4 p.m. for the South Sectional Div. 1 final after narrowly beating Newton North Wednesday, 49-44.
Brockton's road to the south final included 10-plus point victories over West Roxbury and Catholic Memorial.
Madison Park earned its berth in Saturday's final by edging out a win over Natick 69-62 and just getting past Taunton 63-61 in the quarter final, and holding off Franklin 63-60 in Wednesday's semis.
Tip off is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The game will be played at UMass Boston.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BFD Raises $6,000+ In Lung Assoc. Stair Climb

BROCKTON—It was 789 steps up to the top of the Mellon Financial Center in Boston for hundreds of firefighters, including 16 from Brockton who raced up the 41 story building to raise money during the American Lung Association’s “Fight for Air Climb.”
While some competitors were passed along the way up, Brockton’s team kept going, not wanting to stop and knowing they  would enjoy an easier way down the stairway after the competition.
“Some guys had to stop, but everyone on Brockton’s team kept going,” said Bill Hill, one of Brockton’s competitors. “We definitely took the elevator down,” Hill said with a chuckle.
To put things in perspective, the Bunker Hill Monument has 294 steps and no elevator down.
Brockton joined the event for the first time this year and came in 7th, only about 1 minute behind first place team Portland, Maine.
More important, Hill said, is that the team raised more than $4,000 for the American Lung Association.
The Boston event took place Saturday, Feb. 4.
Thirty-nine teams ran up Boston’s Mellon Center last month.
Teams from all over the Northeast have participated in the event in various cities across the region including Springfield, New York City, New Haven, Conn., Bennington, Vermont, and Buffalo, N.Y.
Hill said Brockton plans on participating next year and are shooting for the first place spot.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Girls Softball Signups March 1.2

BrocktonPost BROCKTON--Brockton Youth Softball League for Girls will host 2012 spring registrations March 1 and March 2 at the Raymond Elementary School, 125 Oak St., from 6 to 8 p.m. For on line registration or more information check out BYSL's website at For other information call 508-941-5766.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lee, Noddle Leave 'Em Laughing Out Loud

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—After a no-holds barred, free-wheeling stand-up talk by former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee and Brockton Rox coach Ed Noddle about their days in pro and minor league baseball, organizers have nearly met its financial goals for a plaque in honor of Brockton’s Bill McGunnigle—a pioneer and innovater during the early years of baseball.
“I think it put us over the top,” said West Bridgewater resident John McGunnigle, great-grandson of McGunnigle, who as manager/player led the legendary Dodgers franchise, then known as the Brooklyn Bridgegrooms, to an at-the-time unprecedented back-to-back pennants in 1889 and 1890.
The Lee-Noddle inside-baseball discussion, held at Joe Angelo’s CafĂ© Sept. 22 and attended by nearly 100 people, featured the two-longtime ballplayers and friends sharing stories from their days in the baseball world, including Lee’s desire to punch out Bill Buckner when they were rising stars in California and Noddle’s memories of former Red Sox manager John McNamara, who beat out Noddle for skipper of the Pawtucket Sox and, who as Manager of the Year, went on to lead the Red Sox to the ill-fated World Series in 1986.

John McGunnigle said he and other supporters are close to having raised the estimated $4,000 toward installing a plaque in Bill McGunnigle’s honor at Campanelli Stadium—home of the Brockton Rox.
About $2,000 of the plaque’s cost was donated by MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce and Brockton 21st Century Corp.
The plaque is estimated to cost about $4,000 to manufacture and install.
John McGunnigle said he will not know the total cost of the plaque until he contacts Rox management to find out the actual cost to install the plaque, but either way, the Sept. 22 event made a large dent in fundraising efforts.
“It was a really fun and great night,” McGunnigle said.

Along with city officials, residents and baseball lovers from near and far, the crowd included Ronald G. Shafer, a 38-year reporter-editor for the Wall Street Journal, who has written a recently published book, “When the Dodgers were Bridgegrooms: Gunner McGunnigle and Brooklyn’s Back-to-Back Pennants of 1889 and 1890.”
Shafer, a resident of Williamsburg, Virginia, is married to Stoughton High School graduate Mary Lynch Rogers, the great-granddaughter of McGunnigle, whose connection to McGunnigle helped turn him on to the pioneering ideas McGunnigle implemented, and tried to implement, into baseball during the game’s formative years. “He really was ahead of his time,” Shafer said. (Pictured below signing book and with wife Mary at Cooperstown-Correction: Dodger Stadium)
Among Gunner McGunnigle’s (pictured, right) many accolades include being the first manager to win back-to-back pennants in 1889 and 1890. Not only did McGunnigle win the two championships, he did it in two different leagues. The Bridgegrooms were in the American Association in 1889 and then moved to the National League for the 1890 pennant.
It is still a feat that has not been repeated, Shafer said.
Shafer said McGunnigle was also the first manager to use hand, bat and other signals to direct players on base to steal or send messages to players identifying pitches the opposing hurler might throw—an advancement that is as much a part of today’s games as those more than 100 years ago.
Shafer said McGunnigle believed alerting his players to opponents pitches was so important he wanted to run electrical lines from the dugout to the batters box to essentially “wire” his players for signals from the bench.
Shafer said while the idea was ahead of its time, it was nixed by an electrician who said there was a chance players could be electrocuted.
McGunnigle is also a disputed inventor of the catcher’s mitt.
Shafer has unearthed a copy of Reach’s Official Baseball Guide from 1875 (below) that cites McGunnigle as using the first catcher’s mitt as a player for the Fall River team.
The guide states McGunnigle cut off the fingers of a brick layer’s gloves and used the glove to protect his hand in a game against a team from Harvard.
One of the Harvard players followed McGunnigle’s example and the catcher’s mitt caught on everywhere except in baseball’s hallowed Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y. where Joe Gunson is credited with wearing the first catcher’s mitt in 1888—13 years after McGunnigle—while playing for a Kansas City team.
Part of the problem surrounding who invented the catcher's mitt is a distinction between the so-called "pillow mitt" and McGunnigle's innovation.
"Gunson claimed to have invented what is the modern big 'pillow' mitt, and some at the Hall of Fame agree. Other experts say it was Brooklyn Bridegrooms catcher Albert "Doc" Bushong," Shafer said in an email.
"My book shows that Bushong was already using such a glove when Gunson claimed to have invented his. Doc had a degree in dentistry and wanted to protect his hands for a future career as a dentist, which he became in Brooklyn after retiring," Shafer said.
Either way, McGunnigle used a glove in 1875--padded or not--to protect his hand from the steam of a pitcher's velocity.
Shafer said it is too bad McGunnigle doesn’t get the credit he deserves and should have a place at Cooperstown highlighting his innovations because he did so much for the game.
“It was such a long time ago, and the game was changing so quickly and the Hall of Fame came so much later,” Shafer said. “McGunnigle should really have his own place,” Shafer said.
(Top photo, Lee, Joe and Sheila Angelo; McGunnigle photo courtesy Shafer and Hall of Fame; Reach's Guide page courtesy Shafer)
Click here to visit Shafer's website or here to purchase his book on Amazon...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grit, Determination Power U.S Women's Soccer

By Lisa E. Crowley
Anybody catch that goal by Abby Wambach???!!!
You know what I mean.
The Women’s World Cup. U.S.A. vs. Brazil played Sunday morning.
Time seemed to stand still as the pass from Megan Rapinoe made its way from the left wing across the goal mouth, past the outstretched hands of Brazil's goalkeeper Andreia to Wambach’s forehead on the far post.
Time was ticking off the clock.
U.S.A. was down to its last 30 seconds in extra time behind Brazil 2-1 in a topsy-turvy game marred by a controversial red card and the subsequent first penalty kick that U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo saved, but Brazil was given a successful second chance on another questionable call.
Rapinoe’s soaring cross had to go in.
It just had to. You could feel the U.S. was going to tie the score.
It was a perfect pass, in the perfect spot, to the right player at the right time and Wambach-known in soccer circles as the Queen of the Midair--made no mistake. (Wambach pictured at top)
It was textbook.
A header just like your coach tells you to do. Attack the ball—which means keep your eyes open--and drive it hard to a corner.
And DID Wambach drive it.
The springs holding the back of the net in place could clearly be heard on ESPN’s broadcast as Wambach’s goal plowed into the net and bounced back out with effect as Team U.S.A. overcame numerous hurdles at the last second to tie the score, send the match into overtime and eventually win on penalty kicks.
Wow Wambach!
Thank you for slamming that baby home.
What a pass by Rapinoe. Sometimes getting an assist is almost as good as getting the goal.
Team U.S.A.’s miraculous win wipes away the controversy surrounding the ref’s questionable red card and ejection of Boston Breakers’ Rachel Buehler—a stalwart on defense at the 64-minute mark.
Forget about the Hope Solo save on the first penalty kick for Buehler’s red card and then having to face another when the officials indicated some kind of encroachment on the save. (Solo pictured second from top)
Forget about Brazil evening the score on the rekick of the penalty shot.
Who cares now.
With everything against them, the U.S. women’s team showed what they were made of: grit and determination.
Never say die--even with 30 seconds left.
They played a man down for nearly 60 minutes—a regulation soccer match is 90 minutes—and they took the play to the Brazilians, who even a man-up mustered little offense, except a stealth attack from superstar Marta’s big toe that put Brazil in the lead 2-1 just 2 minutes into overtime.
Another controversy. The player who passed Marta the ball to go ahead probably should have been called for being offside.
Oh well. Doesn’t matter now.
At the professional level it’s not often a team playing with a man down looks like the one in the driver’s seat, but that’s the way the U.S. played it.
They attacked.
Not only in the overtime, but from the moment Buehler was sent off.
They seemed to get the fact the deck was stacked against them, except in the minds of viewers and fans.
Thousands of German fans who packed the stadium in Dresden, Germany joined in chants of “U.S.A.” and the momentum was in Team U.S.A.’s court.
Down 2-1, the U.S. controlled the ball for much of the overtime and you just knew they were going to score, but when?
Time was REALLY running out. The game should have been over at the 120-minute mark, but 3 minutes of extra time was added for a number of Brazilian stalling tactics, most notably by Erika, who clearly faked an injury to chew up time.
Didn’t matter.
Looks like the Brazilians learned that sometimes doing everything you can to win isn’t a good idea.
Marta—what a great player. She may end up the Don Mattingly of women’s soccer. Sorry girl. You’re still young. At 25, you’ve got a few more World Cups to play. This isn’t your time.
Not sure if it’s this Team U.S.A.’s time. Today will tell.
Today’s game against France (11:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, ESPN) will be a tough one.
The French have never made it this far and they might think, just like the U.S., they have destiny on their side.
Don’t think so since the U.S. has beaten the French 11 of 13 matches, but you never know. Never underestimate an opponent. That’s why we play the game.
This American women’s team needed a defining moment and on Sunday they got it.
To draw attention to the women’s World Cup I joked with friends the best thing that could happen in the tournament would be for one of the women on the North Korean roster to defect.
I was wrong.
There is nothing better than a last-second, man-down, all-against-you win capped by a pass and a shot for world-wide headlines and highlight reels.
Go U.S.A.!!!
(Top two photos courtesy of Getty Images. All others courtesy ESPN)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rox Set Home Hit Record Sunday Against Colonials

BROCKTON--Ed Nottle, who led the Brockton Rox to the franchise’s only championship as field manager in 2003, was hired as the club’s coach Sunday, according to a statement from Rox officials.
Nottle was suited up for his first game back on the bench Sunday, July 11 when the Rox walloped the Pittsfield Colonials 13-6 and the team set a new record for the number of hits on its home turf with 22.
“We’re thrilled to have Ed’s positive energy and enthusiasm back in the clubhouse,” said Rox CEO Chris Carminucci.
“We feel that Ed’s spark will be contagious and will help the team reach its expectations.”
Nottle replaces Bob Didier, who resigned from the club for personal reasons.
With Sunday's win the Rox's record stands at 22-19, just one game behind the Can-Am leading Colonials who will be at Campanelli Stadium tonight for the second of a three game series.
The 22-hit game fell short of the Rox's 24-hit all-time record which was set in July 2006 when the Rox were on the road against Nashua.