A few notable notes before the high school sports return
Here’s a few early August tids and bits as we are just a few days away from the start of high school football practices. Unbelievable:
— It’s time to start the thinking now to bring the state American Senior Legion Tournament back to Holman Stadium next year. It was supposed to be there this summer but a mix up in dates had the wrong period – the time when the Silver Knights were on the road after the All-Star break – reserved. OK, next year’s dates have already been posted on the Legion site, as the Senior Tourney will begin Friday July 26, 2019 and end Tuesday, July 30.
So, the request should be made to the city, the dates can be reserved and blocked off for when the Futures Collegiate League puts together its 2019 league/Silver Knights schedule. Pretty simple, right?
Gill Stadium’s hard, cement-like phony turf and pre-fab mound just aren’t conducive to good baseball. Let’s get things on the same page and bring the event back to Nashua.
— You’ve got to credit Merrimack’s Mike Henzley, the former longtime Daniel Webster College baseball assistant, with the job he did with the Merrimack Post 98 Senior Legion team. It got into the tournament in the final week and then reached the finals out of the losers bracket despite losing a couple of key players to injury and family vacations.
That’s the thing with summer ball as it’s tough to rely on players when the family says it’s time to leave.
“We have a get together next week to hand in uniforms and recognize some players,” Henzley said. “I’m bringing in two big signs with next year’s tournament dates on it.”
There were a few veterans, led by Jusitn Grassini and Alec Thornton who came out and stayed the course. That was key.
“Those guys put a great effort, they were here every game, every practice,” Henzley said. “I’m kind of a pain in the butt to play for and they bought in.”
—You would have thought the Rochester Post 7 roster would be filled with players, having won five of the last six state titles, and now four straight. But manager Steve Lambert said that wasn’t the case as he struggled to put together a roster this year.
“I had 14 kids come out this year,” he said. “And I had to piece together four more kids to get to 18. I had three kids play AAU. As far as how we’ve been successful over the last few years, I don’t understand the turnout. I don’t get it. But that’s the Legion program. I don’t know if they drink the Kool-Aid for this AAU stuff. I’m not an AAU guy, I’m a Legion guy. If they’re going to be seen, they’re going to be seen right here. High school and here. To pay all that money?….”
— It’s going to be interesting to see how the FCBL and Worcester Bravehearts handle next week’s conflict with the New England Senior Legion Regionals and FCBL playoffs both set for Holy Cross College’s Fitton Field. The regionals start there Wednesday, while the first Braveheart playoff home game would be Tuesday (no conflict), but a potential third and deciding semi game could create a conflict Thursday, and who knows about the FCBL finals. There are whispers that the Legion regionals will have an alternative site ready in the Worcester are if necessary.
—- Remember Eric Montanari? He was the slim but active center for Bishop Guertin back in the late 1980s-early 1990s before heading on to the University of New Hampshire. Sometimes you have to jog the memory to realize he was on that good UNH team in 1995 with fellow New Hampshire natives Scott Drapeau and Matt Alosa that went 19-9 and 11-5 in the North Atlantid Conference (now America East).
That team will be honored at the Gerry Friel Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Links at Outlook in South Berwick, Me.
Don’t discount what the former Cardinal did at UNH. He played in 82 consecutive games and that year averaged a stellar 11.9 points a game. That team also set a UNH attendance record, averaging 2,656 a game. Hard to believe it was 23-plus years ago, but Montanari really developed.
—- In recent years, Nashua Swim and Tennis Club has been low-keyed and not the premier facility it was some 20-30 years ago. That may change, as sources say the facility is close to being sold to a group headed by Laury Hammel, a Salt Lake City native, player and coach who also owns clubs known as the Longfellow Health Clubs, including one in Wayland, Mass. The deal, according to a source, just needs the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. The facility, judging from covering high school events there in the last couple of years – Hollis Brookline used the indoor courts as their home courts during this past spring season – needs a lot of work. But, this will likely be looked upon by the local tennis community as a huge boost if it becomes official.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org, or@Telegraph _TomK.