Sports 07-28-2011

Help keep me in the loop

If a parent has any info/photo of their child participating in a sports or recreational activity (elementary school, high school, college, or otherwise), please E-Mail me at [email protected] and I will be sure to include the info/photo in a column.  I’d also love to hear about any honor roll students or scholar athletes, or just about any story which would recognize the accomplishments of past and present “Townies.”

Honor Roll call

Harvard University announced that John Caldwell, an upcoming sophomore defenseman on the varsity hockey team, received ECAC All-American honors.

Thailand Bound

Former “city worker,” youth coach, high school teacher, writer extraordinaire and above average point guard Brian Wadman will be moving to Thailand with his family next month.  Having previously worked in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer, where he met his wife, Brian will leave behind a legacy as having made a difference in the lives of multitudes of teenagers and young adults.  I hope his son Aaron doesn’t score too many goals against the United States in the 2024 World Cup.

Little League news

It was a good run, for sure.  The District 9 champion Charlestown Little League All Stars were eliminated from the Massachusetts Section 3 round-robin tournament, but still managed to post a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind victory over District 11 champion Medfield.  Though mathematically alive, the “Townies” backs were against the wall after suffering a 9-5 defeat to North Medford and an 11-0 loss to an extremely talented Wellesley South team.

Charlestown, however, went out with a bang.  Trailing 3-0 in their last at bat, the “Townies” exploded for four runs to take the lead.  Slugger Jake Scanlon doubled to drive home Cameron DelValle, who reached base with one of his patented bunt singles, and star-of-the-game Colin Sullivan delivered a clutch game-tying RBI single to knock in Nolan Doherty, who had also singled.  Hughie O’Donnell completed the comeback with a laser-beam ground rule RBI double.  Fireballer Sahdat Arroyo came on in relief and struck out the side to notch the save.  The spotlight, however, belonged to Sullivan.  The unheralded right-hander picked the perfect time to pitch the game of his life, pounding the strike zone for five innings with a lethal fastball; posting 10 strikeouts.

The “Townie” Little Leaguers acquitted themselves quite well both as exceptional athletes and “goodwill ambassadors” for our town.  The team can now look forward to competing in the highly competitive Medford Invitational Tournament, as well as the Dorchester Pacitti Cup tourney.  Check out the Charlestown Little League website at for the schedule and results of all of the program’s summer tournament games.

Favorite sports moments (Volume 5)

DANNY CASTRO’S OVERTIME:  One of the most surprising overtime performances in the annals of the Boys & Girls Club Alumni League was Danny’s eight-point outburst to help the Kelly Club topple the favored O’Halloran Club by a score of 82-80.  More importantly, it granted me life-long “Yep, we beat the O’Halloran Club” bragging rights to which Kevin O’Halloran correctly notes, “Geez Kel, that’s great you beat us that ONE time!”  Sour grapes are never a pretty sight.

The stage was set when prolific-shooting forward John Garceau buried a buzzer-beating jump shot from the top of the key to tie the game.  During the overtime, Castro – an unheralded, hard-working “mucker” in the mold of M.L. Carr and Paul Silas – was loosely guarded and able to position himself under the basket for quality shots.  With defensive emphasis placed on higher-scoring teammates, Danny gathered stray rebounds for uncontested “put-backs” enabling his team to jump out to an insurmountable OT lead.

JIMMY VESEY’S IRON WILL:  Though well-known for his hockey exploits, as a teenager Jimmy pitched the gutsiest game of his baseball career during the Eastern Massachusetts CYO semi-finals.  The underdog but talented Charlestown team featured Vesey, the Settipani brothers (John and Don), Dave Galvin, Eric Johnson, Timmy Donovan, Carl Jaena, Pat Sullivan and Joe Upton.  The “Townies” pulled off the unlikely 6-5 upset of Somerville; then went on to defeat Medford in the championship game.

A bend-but-don’t-break defense, which included a spectacular bases-loaded shoestring catch of a screaming line drive by center-fielder Don Settipani – who quickly converted it into an inning-ending double play – as well as key extra-base-hits by Donovan and Sullivan, helped Vesey notch the complete game victory.  Jimmy danced in and out of trouble every inning but consistently came up with the clutch pitch when he needed it most; never once asking to be replaced on the mound.  In an era before “pitch counts” and relief specialists, he easily exceeded 150 pitches thrown; with his last pitch having as much velocity as his first.

STEVE TRYDER’S BRAVADO:  Catholic Memorial faced bitter rival B.C. High in a typically grueling Catholic Conference hockey matchup at the Boston Arena.  CM’s feisty center Steve “Smucky” Tryder, one of the many “Townie” high school stars of the 1970’s, and teammates Phil Coleman and Matty O’Neil nearly pulled off the upset; which concluded with the B.C High bench emptied and in pursuit of “Smucky’s” hide.

Steve was a whirling dervish with an uncanny knack for getting under an opponent’s skin.  Though double-teamed and relentlessly harassed during the game, he still managed to factor in all of CM’s goals; handing out as much punishment as he took.  In addition, rugged defenseman Coleman dished out a plethora of crunching checks while O’Neil was rock solid in the net.  In the waning minutes of the game, Steve stood just a few feet from the B.C. High bench and defiantly challenged each player to a “throw down.”

ISRAEL VEGA’S RUNNING:  Charlestown Youth Football (CYF) continues to thrive under the tutelage of sophomore directors Kelleigh Harrington and Scott Moses.  Some players, most notably Richard “CoCo” Duran and Colin Sullivan, have dazzled us with their athletic ability giving promise that, once again, “Townies” can make an impact on the gridiron.  No star has shined brighter for CYF, however, than running back Israel “Izzy” Vega.  Currently displaying his talents for the District 9 champion Charlestown Little League All Star team, “Izzy” posted back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons and is the leading scorer in CYF history.  A punishing north-south runner with deceptive speed, “Izzy” doubles as an extremely physical middle linebacker in the mold of Ray Lewis.

Whether rounding third base for a bang-bang slide at the plate, or barreling through would-be defenders two and three at-a-time, “Izzy” exudes a confidence and determination not often seen in someone his age.  For him, the “sky” truly is the limit.

TIMMY McLAUGHLIN’S PILE MOVING:  Timmy is a natural in any sport, probably even tiddly-winks.  An adept passer and floor leader on the basketball court, a line-drive hitter and RBI machine on the baseball field, and a short-yardage “go-to” fullback on the football field, he always plays up to the level of his competition.

It was evident in his early teenage years that Timmy possessed incredible leg strength.  While running with the football during pick-up games on the Monument grounds, he would be swarmed by an avalanche of defenders, yet still continue to move forward; lugging tacklers along with a dogged determination.  If there was a category in the World’s Strongest Man competition for moving piles, I’m convinced Timmy would win.  I’ve seen him move a similar pile of bodies across “The Channel” dance floor, but that is another story altogether.

PAUL WILKINS’ INSTINCTS:  Another player who must be included in the group of dominant “Townie” hockey players of the 1970’s is Charlestown High School puck-carrying defenseman Paul Wilkins.  With a bazooka slap-shot, sensational ice awareness, and power-skating instincts, Paul was the “Ray Borque” of his era.

The high-scoring slugfests his talented team engaged in against perennial power South Boston remain legend.  During one particular back-and-forth donnybrook, a 9-7 loss in the City of Boston championship game, Paul was a one-man wrecking crew, piling up points on laser-beam blasts and no-look, thread-the-needle passes to open teammates.  His skating balance and anticipation would inevitably lead to a breakout toward the opponent’s goal.

MARK CHISHOLM’S GLOVE:  Yet another in the long line of outstanding “Townie” multi-sport athletes, Mark (God rest his soul) was without question the best center-fielder I ever played with or against.  He had the ability to make a spectacular catch look routine; utilizing his blazing speed to track down would-be extra base hits and, more often than not, throwing out anyone daring to test his cannon arm.

On numerous occasions Mark would turn a double play because the base-runner, and anyone else watching for that matter, was convinced the batted ball would result in a hit.  He always hustled, never complained about a teammate, and played his best baseball when the stakes were the highest.

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