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Roberts names Little East Conference Pitcher of the Week

GORHAM, Maine – Junior Whitney Roberts (Chocorua/Kennett) earned her eighth and ninth wins of the season Monday afternoon, pitching back-to-back games to lead the Plymouth State University Panthers to a Little East Conference softball doubleheader sweep of the University of Southern Maine Huskies, 4-3 and 11-2, at Towers Field. Roberts was named Little East Conference Pitcher of the Week.

With the pair of wins, Plymouth State extends its winning streak to six games and improves its record to 13-9 overall and 5-3 in the Little East. The pair of losses stopped a three-game win streak for the Huskies who fall to 12-15 and 2-6 in the conference.

Roberts fired 14 full innings over two game, yielding four earned runs on 14 hits and just three walks. She struck out eight to improve her record to 9-3 on the season.

PSU senior Bekah Jackson (Nashua) blasted a three-run home run In the first game to put the Panthers ahead of the Huskies 4-3. Jackson drove in freshman Nadia Wasuta (Jefferson) and senior Taylor Mancini (Gansevoort, N.Y.). Mancini struck out but reached first on a passed ball, while Wasuta laced a single to left field.

The Panthers trailed Southern Maine 3-1 heading into the inning. USM struck for the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the third when freshman Samantha Crosman (South Berwick, Maine) stroked her team-leading 11th double of the season. Crosman collected her 16th RBI of the season driving in junior Lily Cooper (Lamoine, Maine). Cooper led off the inning with a walk.

Plymouth State made it 2-1 in favor of the Huskies in the top of the fourth. Senior Sam Hebert (Manchester/Memorial) hit her first home run of the season over the right field fence for the Panthers' first run of the game. Hebert's home run could have tied the score, but USM rookie catcher Samantha DiBiase (South Portland, Maine) cut down her second attempted base stealer of the game to save a run. In the home half of the fourth, DiBiase followed up her strong defensive play driving in the Huskies' third run of the game with an RBI single through the left side for a 3-1 USM advantage.

After Jackson's three-run blast in the top of the fifth, but Roberts retired the Huskies' next six batters in order. A quite top of the seventh, left USM trailing PSU 4-3 heading to its final at bats. DiBiase had a one-out single to start the USM offense. The Huskies' runner advanced to third on a ground out, but Roberts got the final Huskies' batter with a ground out to secure her eighth win of the season.

In the second game, Plymouth State broke open a close game in the top of the seventh, plating eight runs en route to the 11-2 win. The Panthers held a modest 3-2 lead heading into their final at bats before ringing up eight runs on nine hits. PSU pounded out 17 hits in the second game of the doubleheader. Sophomore Nicole Abreu (Hudson/Alvirne) and junior Cynthia Barata (New Faifield, Conn.) each had three hits and two RBI.

Southern Maine senior Stefanie Stockwell (Buxton, Maine/Bonny Eagle) took the loss in the circle for both games. The game one and game two starter, Stockwell pitched seven inning and allowed one earned run on five hits and two walks in the opener while striking out five. In the second game, Stockwell pitched 6.1 inning allowing 11 earned runs on 15 hits. She is now 8-8.

Southern Maine travels to Bates College on Wednesday (3:30 p.m.) for a non-conference doubleheader. Plymouth State hosts Castleton State on Thursday (3:30 p.m.) in a non-conference doubleheader, the home opener at D&M Park.


Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 04:16

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Home, at the Other House That Ruth Built

By Peter Kerasotis
NY Times

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The woman pressed her eyes shut to see what only she can see. Macular degeneration has left her legally blind. Still, her vision of a bygone era, and of baseball's most famous figure, remains focused.

"Daddy loved it here," she said, sitting in a wheelchair in the restaurant of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, once known as the Vinoy Park Hotel, where her father ate and drank and often stayed.

She is 97, yet she still calls that famous sports figure Daddy.

Daddy is Babe Ruth.

Julia Ruth Stevens did not need a wheelchair five years ago when she threw out the first pitch at the last game at the old Yankee Stadium, fondly referred to as the house that her daddy built. It had been her last public appearance.

But when organizers here asked her to help commemorate the city's 100th anniversary as the birthplace of spring training in Florida, as well as Ruth's history there — the Yankees called St. Petersburg their spring home from 1925 to 1961 — she made the trip from her Las Vegas home.

It was her first visit to St. Petersburg since 1943, but she was able to recall addresses and landmarks, all while mining anecdotes rich in detail.

St. Petersburg is where Ruth hit a legendary home run. It came on March 25, 1934, in a game between the Yankees and the Boston Braves at Waterfront Park. According to a Boston Herald report, Ruth sent a pitch from Hucks Betts "10,000 leagues to right field," carrying "far over the canvas and almost into the West Coast Inn."

Those who have researched and studied the blast have suggested the ball traveled upward of 600 feet in the air, hard as it might be to believe, before bouncing once and hitting the hotel.

In the spring of 1948, when Ruth was dying, he came to St. Petersburg on what was clearly a farewell visit. Red Smith wrote about that visit in a 1973 New York Times Magazine article. Chronicling an exchange between Ruth and the Washington Star sportswriter Francis Stann — as Ruth stood at Al Lang Field, which had replaced Waterfront Park and came to be known as The Other House That Ruth Built — Smith wrote:

"What do you remember best about this place?"

Babe gestured toward the West Coast Inn, an old frame building a city block beyond the right-field fence. "The day I hit that adjectival ball against that adjectival hotel." The voice was a hoarse stage whisper; the adjective was one often printed these days; but not here.

"Wow!" Francis Stann said. "Pretty good belt."

"But don't forget," Babe said, "the adjectival park was a block back this way then."

Ruth was not noted for his good memory. In fact, the inability to remember names is part of his legend. Yet he needed no record books to remind him of his own special feats.

But Stevens said a profound sadness overtook Ruth in his later years, particularly after his retirement in 1935, as one element of the game had eluded him.

"Daddy really wanted to manage," she said.

She has a theory different from the commonly held belief as to why her father never had that opportunity. It was believed that Ruth's once-unrestrained lifestyle scared owners. But, after his marriage to Claire seemed to calm him, the Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert said: "I think Ruth will make a splendid manager. He's settled down and he's very serious about his future."

Stevens said that what truly prevented Ruth from a shot at managing was the fear that he would have brought in black players, years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.

"Daddy would have had blacks on his team, definitely," Stevens said.

Ruth also was known to frequent New York City's Cotton Club and befriended black athletes and celebrities. He once brought Bill Robinson, a tap-dancer and actor known as Bojangles, into the Yankees' clubhouse. Robinson also was with Ruth during the 1932 World Series in Chicago, and at the game when Ruth was said to have called his home run. When Ruth died in August 1948, Robinson was an honorary pallbearer.

Stevens never talked to her father about whether or not he called that home run — "But I do recall him once being asked what would have happened had he not hit that home run, and he replied, 'I would've looked like a fool' " — but she is firm in saying that racism kept him from managing.

"I remember him talking about Satchel Paige," Stevens said of the Hall of Fame pitcher who was not allowed to play in the major leagues until he was 42. "Daddy thought Satchel Paige was great."

She added: "He really thought he deserved to manage. Daddy knew baseball. He always felt he would be a better manager than Joe McCarthy. He always talked about that."

It pains Stevens when she reads that her father was unintelligent, or that he was an unrestrained carouser. She said her father was smart, had settled down, and was concerned about social issues. She said he was someone who befriended blacks and Jews when it was not popular. On Christmas in 1942, Ruth joined 49 other prominent Americans of German descent in publicly denouncing Adolf Hitler. Their "Christmas Declaration" appeared in a full-page New York Times advertisement, and in nine other newspapers.

Ruth particularly felt betrayed a year earlier, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Stevens had accompanied her mother and father on a baseball tour of Japan in 1934. Ruth loved Japan, Stevens said, but he was disturbed by what happened on Dec. 7, 1941.

"To say he was upset would be putting it mildly," she said. "He was furious. Mother and Daddy had brought back mementos from Japan. But Daddy started throwing them out of the window of our apartment at 110 Riverside Drive. Mother was so concerned that he was going to get arrested for throwing objects out the window that she began to grab things before Daddy could get to them."

Years later, Stevens was a young wife and a hostess at a ski lodge that her first husband owned in New Hampshire. One day, she picked up a newspaper and "I saw a picture of Daddy, and he looked just terrible. I called Mother and asked, 'What on earth is wrong with Daddy?' She told me, 'Nobody knows, but he has these terrible, terrible headaches.' "

Stevens was with Ruth when he checked into the New York Cancer Hospital, now the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Outside Ruth's hospital window, children held a vigil.

"All these children looking up, just to see if they could get a glimpse of Daddy," she said. "He'd ask us to get slips of paper, write his name on them and ask that they be taken to the kids."

Weeks before his death, Ruth made his last public appearance.

"It was that horrible picture with Bill Bendix," Stevens said, referring to the movie "The Babe Ruth Story." "They dragged him out of bed and took him to the theater." It was at the old Astor Theatre, where the Marriott Marquis now sits in Times Square. Ruth was frail at 150 pounds. "He didn't stay to watch the picture, and I'm so glad he didn't. He would've been horrified."

Stevens said she and her mother received a call in the middle of the night on Aug. 16, 1948, telling them, "You better get over here." Rushing to the hospital, they ran into a friend, who told them, "It's all over."

Ruth, who was 53 when he died, lay in state two days in an open coffin at Yankee Stadium, that nearly 100,000 people filed past.

It's another one of those scenes Stevens still sees vividly, even though she wishes she could erase it from her memory.

"The whole idea was to give people a last chance to see him, even if he was dead," she said. "But I could barely look at him, to see him that way. He looked so sad. But Yankee Stadium belonged to him, and he belonged to the people."


Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 05:16

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Jacovino soaring academically and in fencing

FRYEBURG — Jonathan Jacovino, of Brownfield, was named to the Fall 2013 Dean's list at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. He is a graduate of New Life Christian Academy of Fryeburg, and is studying Computer Science.

Jacovino is also currently a member and starter on Sacred Heart's NCAA Division 1 men's fencing team, in Epee. Following the last Conference meet, held earlier last month at UNH, he was named to the Northeast Fencing Conference's All Star Team in Epee. Jacovino has been fencing for 11 years.

Jacovino has achieved a major goal for himself — to qualify to compete in the NCAA Fencing Championships. He achieved that, in his junior year, qualifying for the event at Ohio State.  

"This year Jonathan focused solely on epee fencing," hometown coach Cathy McClellan said. "His overall dual meet record for the 2013/14 season was strong and he cemented his qualification to the NCAA's by winning the Regional Championship in Epee which was held at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. on March 9.  As Jonathan's coach at home in the Mount Washington Valley, I always knew Jonathan had the talent and the ability to achieve great things in fencing.  I felt that fencing in college would be the proving ground that would pull out what Jonathan was truly capable of .  I feel a great sense of happiness and fulfillment for Jonathan now that he has achieved a major milestone in his fencing career."

In addition to taking first place in this year's NCAA Northeast Regional, he is the first Sacred Heart University fencer, in any weapon category, to ever win this event and in doing so beat some of the best epee fencers in the country, including last year’s winner by a score of 5-0.  

Jacovino was seeded 10th, out of 43, coming into the event, moved up to ninth after the first round, then fifth after the second round.  In the third round he had a record of 9-2 and a key victory, squeaking past this year’s New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference (NEIFC) champion 5-4, after finishing second to him in that event two weeks ago. Going into the last three bouts there was a three-way tie for first place, Jonathan won his match but the other two fencers lost theirs, leaving Jonathan in sole possession of first place and eliminating the need for a fence off, with MIT in second and Columbia third.

The Northeast Fencing Conference comprises 10 Colleges and Universities in the Greater New England Area. Jacovino's overall regular season record for the NFC conference was 25-4. This is the fifth consecutive year that Sacred Heart University has won the overall conference title, this year sharing it with Brown University after a tied season.

On Friday Feb 21,with SHU traveling to New York, Jacovino went undefeated against the NCAA number 1 ranked Columbia Lions to help Sacred heart pull a big upset win. Then, the next day after little sleep, he again placed in a medal position, taking Silver in the individual Epee at the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championship Tournament (NEIFC) held at Mount Holyoke College in Hadley, Mass.

The NEIFC tournament has been held since the early 1950s and is a one-day fencing championship tournament, where the team and individual champions are decided from 14 northeastern universities and colleges.

Jacovino is coached by Dr Tom Vrabel of Sacred Heart University and locally by Cathy McClellan (Barn Door Fencers Club This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and Jack Mullarkey (3MB Fencing Club, Beverly Mass This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 03:42

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Ballou is national indoor champion in the 800

CONWAY — Three local athletes competed in the prestigious USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships over the weekend at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston and one of them — Terry Livingston Ballou — can add national champion to her resume. Ballou won the women's 800 meters in the 45-49 age group.

Ballou, of Madison, Darin Brown, of Madison, and Donald Trimble, of North Conway, all competed at the championships and turned in stellar results.

Trimble, 77, the founder of the Kennet High track team and who the throwing areas at KHS are named after, competed in the 75 and older weight throw. He finished second overall with a throw of 11.04 meters or 36'2.6" (William Gramley, of North Carolina, won with a throw of 12.08 meters or 39'6.3") on Friday.

Brown, 47, had a busy weekend, competing in four events. He was fifth in the 45-49 age group 3,000 meter run in a time of 10:06.47 (Kristian Blaich, of Georgia, won in 9:07.67). He was 13th in the 800 meters in 2:14.65 (Micholas Berra, of Pennsylvania, win in 1:59.26 on Saturday.

Brown also ran a pair of relays as part of the Mass Velocity team. He ran the third leg on the 4X800 meter relay team that finished third overall in 9:12.12 (Eliot Track Club 'A' won in 8:38.10). Brown ran the second leg in Sunday's 4X400 meter relay in which the Velocity finished fifth in 3:57.11 (Southwest Sprinters Track Club 'B' won in 3:34.01),

Ballou, a former track and cross country standout at Kennett High and a member of the school's athletic hall of fame, started her championships on Friday in the women's 45-49 age group 400 meters where she finished third in 1:01.76, just over a second out of first (won by Charmaine Roberts, of Maryland, in 1:00.48).

"That's faster than anyone on our track teem has run," Bernie Livingston, head track coach at Kennett High and proud dad, said.

Ballou saved her best for Sunday when she had a rematch with Roberts in the 800 meter finals. This time, Ballou won the championship in a fast 2:25.61 while Roberts was second in 2:27.02.

"Terry ran a terrific race," Livingston said. "... It was absolutely awesome to be down there to see her run. It's incredible to see how week older athletes do when they keep up with their training. I can tell you it's very encouraging as a coach to go down there and watch the camaraderie among the athletes, it's very inspiring."

Ballou, who I runs for the Central Park Track Club, based out of New York City, said she targeted the 800 over the 400 meters for these championships.

"I was definitely gunning for the gold in the 800," she said. "This winter has made speed training really difficult, so I didn't feel fully prepared for the 400. I was also racing the current American indoor record holder in the 400 (for women 45-49, Lisa Mikelson of Boston) and the former World Champion in the indoor 400 (Roberts), so I knew that was going to be a tough race. I was pleased with third.

"I had done a good amount of training for the middle distances and I wanted to win the half," Ballou continued. "The time was slow for me (I'd run 2:23 about a month ago), but the race was totally tactical; slow from the start with a mad sprint at the end. Time was irrelevant, it really was just about racing and getting to the finish line first!"

Ballou, like Coach Livingston, marveled at the competition all weekend.

"It's fun to still be competitive at age 46...and the national championships really showcase some of the most talented 'old' runners out there," she said. "One of the most impressive performances came from an 80-year-old woman who smashed the world record (for her age group) in the 200 and 400. It's inspiring to watch."

Next up for Ballou are the Penn Relays on April 25. Her Central Park Team will be competing in the women's masters 4X400.

"The top eight masters team in the country will be racing there, so it is always exciting," she said.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 05:11

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Hannah Hill is Player of the Week

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine senior pitcher Hannah Hill (Fryeburg, Maine) has been named the America East Pitcher of the Week, as announced by the conference last Tuesday afternoon. Hill went 2-0 over the week while giving up just one run with 13 strikeouts.

Hill, who picked up a pair of complete game victories, started her week with a shutout victory over Long Island-Brooklyn. Maine's senior starter scattered six hits in the contest while striking out seven. Hill followed up her performance with a seven inning, seven strikeout performance against Seton Hall in which she gave up one run on three hits.

Hill, who led Fryeburg Academy to two state championships, completed the weekend with a 2-0 line after going 14.0 innings and giving up nine hits and one run with an ERA of 0.50.


Last Updated on Monday, 17 March 2014 05:46

Hits: 539


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