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Baseball can always be a learning experience in July

It’s sad that we’re at the halfway mark for July, but the calendar never works backward, right? Here are some mid-summer tids and bits to take with you to the beach:

— Local umpire Steve Drescher is one of the classiest guys around, and he showed that this past Tuesday at the end of the Nashua-Portsmouth Senior Legion game at Bishop Guertin’s Elliott Field.

There was a lot of discussion when Nashua’s Brett Anderson couldn’t get around Portsmouth catcher Jacob Grant, finally did and touched the plate for a run in the team’s decisive five-run sixth inning. Anderson was ruled safe even though Grant at the time had the ball, because he had straddled the plate, Drescher said, without the ball just when Anderson was about to get there. That’s that new Major League rule from a year ago that the Legion has also adopted.

But what Drescher did after the game was over was this: He called all the players from both teams together and explained the rule to them. It was a great, great teaching moment, usually unseen at these games when umpires try to escape games as quickly as possible to avoid any controversial confrontations.

“It’s a rule change that occurred at the pros in terms of access to home plate and all that sort of stuff,” Nashua manager Tim Lunn said. “Often times it’s misinterpreted. It’s good for him and the players to hear how the rule’s explained so there’s not that misconception and misinformation out there.”

Lunn has been coaching for eight years and has never seen an umpire do that.

“It goes a long way,” he said, “that an umpire cares to teach and not just officiate the game. Every umpire interprets a rule differently, and it’s nice to hear that’s what it’s supposed to be, and know.”

— Major League Baseball’s use of our old friends in the independent Atlantic League continues, but get this rule: Stealing first. The way it works is that any pitch on any count not caught in flight by the catcher – like a wild pitch or passed ball – the batter can take off and run to first. It’s an expansion of the dropped third strike rule.

But this can take place even if first base is occupied, which it likely wouldn’t be anyway as if it’s a wild pitch the runner at first would be taking off for second anyway.

This is all part of a three-year deal MLB has with Frank Boulton & Co. in the Atlantic League. This current rule will take place in the ALPB’s second half of its season. See what we’ve missed out on not having the Nashua Pride around?

— Congratulations to Nashua’s Aaron Dufoe, the former Nashua High School and Rivier University basektball and soccer standout. He’ll be inducted into the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn Boston Logan.

Many forget that for soccer in 1995, Dufoe, in the GNAC’s first year, was the nation’s Division III scoring leader with 25 goals and nine assists. During his career he totaled 70 goals and 28 assists, and led the Raiders to their one and only men’s soccer conference title in 1997.

In basketball, Dufoe – always a shooter from anywhere on the floor – finished with 1,004 career points for the Raiders.

Hard to believe all that was over 20 years ago.

—- Still on the GNAC, of which our own Rivier University is a charter member, is fast becoming a major New England Division III league as it doesn’t get hurt by any schools leaving it.

In the last couple of years, Regis and Colby Sawyer were added, and now the league announced that beginning in 2020-21 Dean College will be joining the league, replacing Suffolk University.

It’s another defection from the NECC, as Regis made the move a couple of years ago. Dean, located in Franklin, Mass., will have 14 of its 15 sports competing in the GNAC. It owns two NECC crowns, men’s lacrosse in spring of 2018 and men’s cross country that following fall. It’s got very good facilities, including a 1,500 seat stadium. Why? Dean has something most other GNAC schools don’t – football. It competes in the Eastern College Football Conference (ECFC).

Suffolk is leaving the conference that same year to join the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

—– Nashua Silver Knights fans, take note: The Silver Knights sent out an email last Wednesday promoting its weekend events, and erroneously stated that this past Friday’s postgame fireworks would be the last for the regular season.

Nope. The team has one more Friday night regular season fireworks game, this Friday night vs. Westfield.

But it’s tough to know that that will be the last Friday. The state American Senior Legion tourney is at Holman the following weekend and the team is on the road at Worcester on Friday, Aug. 2, the next-to-last regular season game.

It goes by quick, doesn’t it?

—- Couple New England Patriots things: One, at least we won’t have to have all that foolish White House debate/discussion as it really looks like the time for the Super Bowl champions to attend has passed. We’d say the reason there was no push to go there during the spring OTA’s was owner Robert Kraft’s legal issues. Had to be.

Second, you have to feel like personnel guru Nick Caserio has more than one foot out the door. The Houston Texans more or less made it official this week (leaking it to ESPN’s Adam Schefter) that they won’t hire a general manager to replace the fired Brian Cain, instead divvying up the duties among a handful of people. That’s so they can hire Caserio once his Patriots deal is up after next April’s draft.

— Speaking of Rivier, congrats to former Nashua Silver Knights shortstop Cody Morissette, who was named to the Cape Cod League West All-Star team as a reserve, with the game set for July 21. Morissette, a standout for Nashua last summer, plays for Bourne and will be entering his sophomore year at Boston College. He’s certainly got great things ahead of him. Morissette, of course, is the son of former longtime Riv men’s basketball coach Dave Morissette.

Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,tking@nashuatelegraph.com, or@Telegraph _TomK.