Sports 04-07-2016

CHS Roundup

Weather permitting, Chelsea High baseball team ready for opener

Just when we thought that Mother Nature’s mild spring this year was a make-up call for last year’s horrible winter that wiped out the first two weeks of the 2015 spring sports season, she tossed a wicked curve ball this week with a snowstorm that has wreaked havoc with the start of the 2016 spring sports schedule.

The anticipated debut for Chelsea High coach Alan Beausoleil and his Red Devil baseball team was set for today (Thursday) at Lynn Tech, but with icy, snow-covered fields and a forecast for a 100 percent chance of rain, the chances that the Red Devils will be able to hear the umpire yell, “Play ball!” are about zero.  And ditto for tomorrow’s home opener against Pope John, although the weatherman’s forecast offers some relief from April’s wintry weather.

“We have not had the opportunity to play any scrimmages so far,” said Beausoleil. “Last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we played intra-squad scrimmages because we knew the weather was going to get worse again this week.”

The 2016 Red Devils will be led by a quartet of  senior captains, George Hernandez, Jason Mendez, Andony Turcios, and Estarlin Martinez. All are returning lettermen and figure to be major contributors in 2016. Hernandez was a starter who pitched and played in the outfield and infield; Turcios will return to his starting outfield spot; and Mendez once again will hold down the hot corner at third as well as pitch.

Other returning starters from last year’s squad are senior outfielder Gregory Cespedes, junior shortstop Luis Jimenez, junior second baseman Eduardo Nunez, junior first baseman Tom Melanson, and junior catcher Manny Ortiz. Seniors Adrian Paulo and Alexis Hernandez, who similarly return from last year’s team, also figure to be factors for the Red Devils.

“We are returning a lot of positional players from last year, but lost our top two pitchers,” noted Beausoleil. “We will look to George Hernandez, Manny Ortiz, Luis Jimenez, Eduardo Nunez, Jason Mendez, and junior Rafael Otero, a first year varsity player, to pick up a lot of the innings that are available.”

If the Red Devils are unable to open their season this week, they hopefully will do so next week when they are scheduled to host Mystic Valley on Tuesday and Northeast Regional on Thursday.

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins at playoffs ‘Crossroads’

If the number of scoring chances were the determining factor in a game, then the Bruins would have been winners over Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. But, since it isn’t, the Bruins find themselves with their backs against the wall as they head into the final two games of the regular season. Boston was able to get 36 shots through to Carolina goaltender Cam Ward in the contest, and he was in position to fend off 35 of them. The frustrating scenario is that many of those Bruins’ chances were prime scoring efforts that they should have been able to finish with a tally.

While this may all sound very familiar, it has now come to the point that their inability to ‘finish,’ has now put forth the question – are the Bs once again in the – are their playoff chances ‘finished?’ When Coach Claude Julien was asked that question, he responded with, “I can answer 20 questions here or I can give you one thing – it’s an inability to finish and that’s the main thing here for tonight. Nothing more.” A repeat of the 2014-15 season’s missed playoffs still fresh in the minds of Bruins fans, coming right at the end of the regular season is not acceptable, neither to Boston fans, or management. Déjà vu will surely not be accepted by owners, and could again result in multiple changes of personnel.

By picking up just a single point on Tuesday night, the Bruins have taken themselves out of the ‘we control our own destiny’ – as they await the outcome of the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers game (Wednesday night as the Record went to press), to determine the importance of tonight’s (Thursday) game against the Red Wings. The ideal situation would have the Flyers winning in regulation time, thus allowing the Bruins to remain tied with Detroit in points. Then, a Boston win in regulation over Detroit on Thursday, would have the Bruins moving into third place in the Atlantic Division, and a playoff spot. With the Flyers only being able to make the playoffs through the wild-card slot, Boston and Detroit each have a shot at the second and final wild-card slot.

In the event that Boston and Detroit end the season tied, the first tiebreaker would be regulation overtime wins, and the Red Wings would take it if it ended today, as they have 38 to Boston’s 37. While the pressure is definitely on the Bruins, the parity in the NHL means that a lot of things could happen before Boston plays their final regular season game, Saturday, 12:30pm at the Garden versus the Ottawa Senators.

SHIRTS OFF OUR BACKS EVENT AND FOUNDATION RAFFLE: In an effort to thank fans for their continued support throughout the 2015-2016 season, the Boston Bruins will host “Fan Appreciation Day” on Saturday, April 9 when the Bruins take on the Senators at 12:30 p.m. Immediately following the Bruins/Senators match-up, Bruins players will remain on the ice and hand the “Shirts off their Backs” to fans that were chosen at random throughout the game. Each of these lucky fans will receive a sealed envelope containing the name of a current Bruins player they will receive the game-worn jersey from. Additionally, fans can enter a raffle on the Bruins website for a chance to receive two tickets to the game and take part in the “Shirts Off Our Backs” on-ice ceremony. All proceeds from the raffle, which will conclude on Thursday, April 7 at 10 p.m., will benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation.

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