All posts by Dillon Meehan

Guilmette’s Walk Off in Extra Innings Stuns Binghamton

Blue Devils celebrating Mitch Guilmette’s walk-off

by Dillon Meehan

With the score tied 1-1 against Binghamton in the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs and runners on first and second, Central Connecticut State University brought on junior Mitch Guilmette to pinch-hit for freshman TT Bowens.

Guilmette hit a line drive into center field and Franklin Jennings rounded third and beat the throw home to score the game-winning run.

The Blue Devils (12-11, 4-2 NEC) 2-1 win saw them split the Sunday doubleheader against Binghamton (9-5, 1-0 AEC) after losing the first game 3-0.

“We’ve struggled again offensively to be productive, but at the end of the day, if you get a split then we’re treading water. We’re still waiting for some guys to get healthy on pitching side and we have to continue to be creative offensively,” said Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey after the game.

The Blue Devils only scored two runs, despite getting 10 hits on the day. Not being able to capitalize with runners in scoring position has become a trend for CCSU this season.

“When you score two runs and you’re able to walk away with a win, you’re fortunate,” Hickey said of his team’s hard-fought victory.

Despite the win, Hickey made sure to mention that his team still can improve if they hope to have post-season success.

“Obviously when you get a pinch-hit single to win the ballgame, everybody feels better about themselves. But we’ve got to remember the deficiencies that we have to continue to improve on,” said Hickey.

After having consecutive losing seasons, a first for the Blue Devils under Hickey, it appears as though the team full of seasoned players is beginning to mature.

“Now we’ve got some guys who’ve been playing this game for a couple of years at this level so they have to be mature. This is going to happen in our conference where we’re going to have to play the doubleheaders. So you get stuffed a little in that first game and you have to find a way to rip and claw to win,” said Hickey of his team’s ability to respond.

Doubleheaders are common in conference play so if the Blue Devils can show that they are able to hold their own in early April, it is a promising sign for the rest of their 2017 campaign.

“We’re gonna face this some more and a win like today helps, and that’s where our experience and confidence continues to grow,” said Hickey of his team’s improvement.

Cody Brown Expected to Be Out For Season With Elbow Injury

by Dillon Meehan

Central Connecticut Sate University’s starting pitcher Cody Brown, is expected to miss the remainder of the season with an elbow injury.

It is currently unconfirmed if it is a torn UCL, which would require a second Tommy John surgery in as many years for Brown. But, it has been confirmed that he visited a doctor, yet an MRI has not yet been scheduled.

Despite the Blue Devils injury problems to their pitching staff, they have a 12-11 record and a 4-2 record.

The injury happened in the bottom of the 8th inning, during the Blue Devils 2-1 win against Sacred Heart on March 26. Brown threw an errant pitch, and immediately walked off the mound towards the dugout and dropped his right arm. A telltale sign of an elbow injury.

“Usually when you throw a pitch like that and come off the mound, It usually isn’t good news,” said Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey. “For a kid who’s been through a lot, it’s tough. You get glimpses of him and realize how special he has been, and you hope that you can allow him a chance to feel that again.”

Following the game against Sacred Heart, Hickey was cautiously optimistic about Brown being able to return. However, that optimism has since dissipated.

“He’s still the same kid, and he’s still gonna be part of this team and a leader on this team. He’s at every practice and he does what he can do to help his teammates. That’ll be something I always will remember from coaching him.” Hickey said. “Unfortunately, the injury is a part of baseball and having it down twice, there isn’t really a success rate for that.”

The injury will likely end Brown’s career as a Blue Devil, as it has been a rough couple of years. After a promising start to his career as a Blue Devil, Brown missed all of the 2014 season due to a battle with cancer. After making a return in 2015, Brown then tore his UCL in his fifth appearance of the season, and was forced to miss the rest of the 2015 and all of the 2016 season to recover from surgery.

After consecutive losing seasons for the first time under Charlie Hickey, the Blue Devils appear to be having a bounce-back year.

“He’s a great kid, with a positive attitude towards baseball and life. You feel for him, for all the work and time that he’s put in to get back out here and compete,” Hickey said of Brown’s commitment to return.

During Brown’s freshman year back in 2012, Brown started in all 11 games he appeared in, with a record of six wins and four loses. Brown also led the team with two complete games.

The following year, Brown started in all 12 games he made an appearance in, with a record of six wins and five loses. He was second on the team with four complete games and led the team with 44 strikeouts.

In his brief 2015 season, he had a record of two wins and zero loses in five appearances. It was capped off by earning the NEC Pitcher of the Week honors after a seven inning, 15 strikeout performance against Virginia Military Institute.

Blue Devil Comeback Halted by Uconn

by Dillon Meehan

In the bottom of the eight inning, Central Connecticut was trailing the Uconn Huskies 5-2, as Chandler Debrosse and Dean Lockery were sitting on first and second.  Ryan Costello stepped up to the plate and blasted a homerun into deep right-center field, tying the game up at 5-5.

However, in the following inning Uconn would retake the lead, after Isaac Feldstein singled in two runs with the bases loaded to make it 7-5.  In the bottom of the ninth, the Blue Devils simply couldn’t respond.

“We give them an extra out and got caught in the middle of the order and we payed for it,” said CCSU head coach Charlie Hickey after the game.

The close loss to their in-state rival snapped the Blue Devils (10-10, 4-2 NEC) three game winning streak.

Patrick Mitchell started the game for the Blue Devils. The sophomore pitcher played well, allowing only one hit before being pulled after two innings.

“With some injuries in our pitching staff at the front end, it makes us protect the pictures in the middle of the week a little bit more,” said Hickey on his decision to pull Mitchell early.

Austin Salnitis came in for relief in the top of the third. However, the junior struggled in his lone appearance this season, giving up three hits and allowing two runs before being pulled without recording an out.

Arik Sypher came on in relief of Salnitis but struggled at first, walking the first batter he faced in four pitches.

Ron Jackson was the next at bat, making a diving catch at first base and fired over to Dean Lockery at second for the force out.  Lockery then threw home and beat the runner at the plate, but Nick Garland dropped the ball when attempting to tag the runner who scored safely. Instead of completing a rare triple play, the Blue Devils were now down 3-0.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Devils had bases loaded with Lockery up to bat. Lockery swung on the second pitch he saw and drilled a line drive into right field, scoring two.

With the Blue Devils down 3-2, they tried to get creative to bring home the game tying run.

Dean Lockery took off to steal second, hoping to force Uconn into making an error to score the runner from third. But it backfired; instead of getting in a run down at second, the Uconn infielder threw over to third and tagged out Tyler Coleman.

“It was a sign, it’s not one of my favorite plays. It works in little league, but it doesn’t work at this level. The batter has an 0-2 count, you’re hoping that with some young infielders that they have that they’re gonna throw the ball around a bit. More often than not, at this level it doesn’t work. It’s not something I’m a fan of. If you’re better at the plate you don’t try one of those plays,” Hickey said of his decision.

The Huskies grabbed some insurance runs in the top of the seventh when Wily Yahn hit a sacrifice fly ball into deep center field, expanding the lead to 4-2. A few plays later, Zac Susi hit a double down the right field line, scoring the runner from second base to make it 5-2.

CCSU had 11 hits, which was capped off by Garland getting three hits in five at-bats.  Costello had three RBIs, thanks to his homerun while Lockery added another pair.

The Blue Devils left 13 runners on base, which was the main reason for their offensive struggles.

Nick Landell Get’s a Shot at Summer Baseball

by Nella Lastrina

While sitting in his public relations class, Nick Landell felt his phone vibrate from his pants pocket. Immediately, he stood up and walked to the hallway as everyone including the professor watched. When he answered it was the call he had been waiting for.

“My coach helped me find a collegiate team in Arizona and I was expecting a call back from the general manager,” said Landell. “Even though I knew I was getting the phone call I was still a little nervous, and I would answer my phone to every number that called even if it was a telemarketer.”

That afternoon, Landell got the news he was waiting for; he was one of the 35 men accepted into the Arizona Collegiate Wood Bat League.

“Most college baseball players play in collegiate summer leagues,” said Landell. “It was such a great feeling knowing I was officially in the league”

In the summer, many college baseball players join collegiate summer baseball teams. These programs run throughout the summer beginning early June, and operating until early August. Landell’s league is known for using wooden baseball bats thus the name “Wood Bat League”.

The process of joining is rather effortless for the student athletes. In order to find a collegiate team, Landell was scouted by the general manager for the Gila Monsters. Typically, college coaches speak with potential teams’ general managers to set up a summer league for their players.

Being nearly 3,000 miles away from home, Landell was provided transportation to practice, road games and a place to stay free of cost, but was not given a stipend for food or groceries. Instead, the 22 year-old worked online for an SAT and ACT company to design smart documents.

“I created smart documents that are basically like electronic practice ACT or SAT tests for tutors to use overseas,” said Landell.

In fact, Landell held this job throughout his college career. He made his own schedule that worked for him so he could work around school, practices and games.

“This job was perfect for me because I practice for about 2-3 hours every day, have classes for about 3-5 hours Monday through Thursday, and during the season I have baseball games,” said Landell. “Since there isn’t a set time for baseball games, they can last a long time, and not all employers can work with that kind of schedule.”

Before working for the SAT and ACT company, Landell worked at Baseball City in Hartford training people of all ages in an indoor facility.

Raised in Higganum, Connecticut with his brother Steve, Landell grew up in a sports oriented family.

“My brother and I were always playing sports growing up, and eventually both of us ended up focusing on baseball,” said Landell.

At 5 years-old, Landell began playing t-ball with his brother and quickly found his passion.

“I loved the game and just kept playing it,” said Landell.

Almost every day he would grab his bat and head outside (and sometimes even inside) to play ball. Since Landell’s brother was four years older, he began playing on a team leaving Landell to want to be like his older brother.

“Besides practicing in our backyard and at the playground, my brother and I never got to play together because we were in different age groups,” said Landell.

Growing up, Landell attended Haddam-Killingworth High school, University of Connecticut Avery Point, and now he is currently finishing up his senior year at Central Connecticut State University.

“I wanted to play Division I baseball, and CCSU provided me with a good opportunity to do that,” said Landell when asked why he chose Central.

At Haddam-Killingworth High School, Landell was named All-Conference in his senior year and at UConn of Avery Point, the then sophomore was named Defensive Player of the Year.

With dreams of one day playing profession baseball in the Major League Baseball (MLB), Landell pushes his limits to fulfill his dreams, but he understands that sometimes things do not work out the way people want. He is pursuing a major in communication, with an emphasis in public relations and marketing and a minor in business.

“If I don’t get to play in the MLB, my second best option is working in marketing for a professional sports organization,” said Landell. “That way I will still be working in a field I’m passionate about, and I don’t think I can ever get sick of that.”

 

Blue Devils Beat Sacred Heart to Grab Top Spot in Conference

by Dillon Meehan

Central Connecticut beat Sacred Heart 2-1 on Sunday to grab a share of the top spot in the Northeast Conference.

The Blue Devils (10-10, 4-2 NEC) racked up nine hits led by freshman Chris Kanios who had three hits in his four at-bats.

CCSU did end up stranding seven runners on base however, which is starting to become a trend.

“We still have a ways to go, we don’t play extremely smart right now,” said head coach Charlie Hickey after the game. “Kids are trying to do what they can do to help us win, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good baseball.”

Sacred Heart started the scoring in the bottom of the fourth. After consecutive singles, a few plays later Jake Friar would single to left field past a diving Ryan Costello at third base to give Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead.

The Blue Devils would answer back in the following inning. Back-to-back singles from Kanios and Dean Lockery would put runners on first and second. Costello would earn a walk on the at bat to load the bases.

Freshman baseball player, Chris Kanios, up at bat during the game against Sacred Heart.

With the bases loaded, Dylan Maher would hit a dribbler to the pitcher, who fumbled the ball and was unable to throw home to stop the tying run and instead had to settle to get Maher out.

In the bottom of the fifth, Sacred Heart had runners on third and had an opportunity but a heads up play by Maher coupled with poor base-running from Sacred Heart allowed a runner to be tagged out while attempting to score.

In the seventh, the Blue Devils were able to grab the lead for good. Franklin Jennings started the inning off with a single to right field. On the following at bat Kanios would reach first safety with an infield single where Jennings was able to advance to third base.

Up next was Dean Lockery who hit a sacrifice fly ball into deep left center field to score the game-winning run.

It was the only win in the three-game series for the Blue Devils against Sacred Heart who, before Sunday’s loss, had been first place in the NEC standings.

“The fact that we only got one win and still reap the benefits of being 4-2 and above .500 in the conference allows us to continue to get better,” said Hickey on the outlook of his team.

The Blue Devils lost 6-2 on Friday and dropped a close one 4-3 on Saturday that went into extra innings.

“We swung at poor pitches and didn’t take advantage of situations. First game this weekend we had the leadoff batter in the first three innings and didn’t maximize, and don’t put good swings in when we have runners on base,” said Hickey of his team’s mistakes. “We had a couple chances where we had bases stolen and guys swung and fouled pitches off that sort of get overlooked in the long-run, but it’s things that against good teams are going to make you pay the price.”

The Blue Devils will play UMass-Lowell on Tuesday, and have a three-game series against Binghamton at home this weekend.

Canisius and Western Michigan Both Top Softball in Doubleheader

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University lost two games on March 10, in the Under Armor Series Tournament in Tampa, Florida. The First game was against Canisius, and the second was against Western Michigan. Canisius Golden Griffins beat CCSU, 3-1, while Western Michigan beat the Blue Devils 2-0.

Sarah Oglivie hit a double to left center in the second inning, then later scored on an Emily Cronin single. That was the only run for CCSU Blue Devils against Canisus.

Canisius would go on to tie the game in the third, until the bottom of the sixth inning. The Blue Devils went on to give up two scores in the sixth inning.

Alex Casanas got her first start of the year, only allowing three hits, one run and walk though four innings before being pulled.

Oglivie took over pitching and struggled to finish the game. In her two innings, she gave up five hits and two runs.

Canisius pitcher Madi Weathers threw for all seven innings. She only allowed two hits, one run and two walks.  She also struck out five different players.

Western Michigan started the game well, going three for three and grabbed one run right in the first inning. Emily Sargent would start the second game for CCSU, but they were shut out by Western Michigan.

Sargent pitched the entire game and allowed only five hits and two runs. She gave up two walks and had one strike out.

Western Michigan pitcher Jordan Kurth played close to a perfect game, after pitching the entire thing and allowing three hits and no runs. She struck out three players and never allowed a base on balls. Kurth faced a total of 25 batters and had a pitch strike ratio of 106-68.

CCSU had one final opportunity in the top of the seventh inning, when Oglivie and Brittany Camara were out to third and second base. Emily Cronin tried to make a comeback with an opportunity to bring both girls home. She went on to bunt the ball to get to first base, but it was snuffed out and the inning was over.

It’s Arsène Wenger Time to Leave

by Dillon Meehan

In the fall of 1996 Arsenal dismissed their manager Bruce Rioch after a series of disputes with board members. Following his departure the board decided to bring in Arsène Wenger, a figure who was relatively unknown by the English media.

It was a rough start, he came in with a focus on sports science and nutrition. Before his tenure, it was standard procedure for players to often drink in the locker room and go out on their off days. Yet Wenger changed all of that.  He banned his players from drinking and junk food, he encouraged them to avoid red meat and replace it with chicken. Apart from diet, he had his players injected with vitamins and use Creatine to recover from games and training.

A year later, he became the first foreign-born manager in the English Premier League to win the “double,” by capturing both Premier League title and the F.A. Cup.

Four seasons later, in 2002 he would repeat history by leading Arsenal to another double. But he wasn’t done; in 2004 Arsenal became the first team since Preston North End 115 years prior to go undefeated throughout an entire season, and the first to do so in a 38-game season.

He had revolutionized the game in eight years; but he had also plateaued.

In 2006 the club finished fourth in the Premier League, a first for Wenger. On top of that, the club blew a lead late in the second half against Barcelona in the Champions League final. At the start of the summer, the club built a new stadium which was supposed to cement Arsenal as one of premier destinations for the top players in the sport, but in reality it was the opposite.

The owner and board elected to choose prioritize financial success over improving the team.  Instead of bringing in players, they began to lose some of their best.  It started with Sol Campbell, Lauren and Rober Pirès in 2006.  A year later Thierry Henry, the clubs best player, left for Barcelona.

That was only the beginning, in 2009 the club started a trend of sending their best players to Manchester City, first with  both Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure in July 2009. Two years later the club sold another two as Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri both left.

The following year in 2012, Robin Van Persie would also leave for Manchester, this time going to United.

Over the past decade, Arsenal have become a shadow of the club they once were around the turn of the century. The club has now lost in Champions League Round of 16 in seven straight seasons. They have repeatedly blown chances to win the Premier League title. The only silverware they have to show are two F.A. Cup titles in 2014 and 2015. But that competition is essentially worthless now, with the majority of clubs using their B-teams to compete in it.

This season has been particularly awful for Wenger and his squad. Earlier in the month, they suffered an embarrassing lost 10-2 on aggregate against Bayern Munich. While fans thought it couldn’t get worse Arsenal managed another embarrassing 3-1 against West Brom.

The former perennial title contenders now sit in sixth place tied with Everton.  With Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all looking to have rebounded from their slow starts it is unlikely that Arsenal will even be able to contend for a Champions League spot, and even worse, finish below their London rivals Tottenham for the first time since the inception of the Premier League.

Arsène Wenger has a choice; either tarnish his legacy as one of the games greatest coaches, or resign. If he stays he will likely see the clubs two best platers Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil leave this summer, further plummeting his squad.

If he reigns he can either take a spot as the club’s Sporting Director, or take a job elsewhere. Following PSG’s embarrassing defeat to Barcelona and their performance in Ligue 1, there is a chance that Unai Emery could be fired or resigned. This would open the door for Wenger to finish his career in an easier league with a much better squad.

Blue Devils Grab Second Win Against La Salle

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State’s softball team beat La Salle, 3-0 on March 11. Emily Sargent pitched her second consecutive complete game, recording her first shutout of the season. She allowed one hit in seven innings, while walking three batters and striking out two. Sargent improved her record to 2-4 this season.

Alexis Debrosse tripled on a hit to left field on the first at bat of the game for CCSU.  Emily Cronin reached first, on an error allowing Debrosse to score and take a 1-0 lead. Brittany McNulla then doubled to left center, scoring Cronin to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Sarah Oglivie would single to right field and eventually score as Tori Constantin doubled to left field, giving the Blue Devils their third and final run.

Debrosse went up to bat four times. She was an offensive weapon for the Blue Devils again. She scored a run and a hit, striking out two times.

Emily Cronin had three at bats and one hit with one run scored and one RBI.

Oglivie went up to bat three times.  She also had one hit and one run.  Despite being a freshman, Oglivie has had a lot of impact as of late.

La Salle pitcher Reilly Gearhart threw a complete game with nine strike outs.  She allowed three runs on seven hits. Gearhart is now 1-3 when she starts for La Salle.

La Salle had no answer for CCSU, and weren’t able to score a single run the entire game.  La Salle’s lack of offense didn’t help their chances as they only had one hit, their only other offense came from three walks.

Softball Gets First Win Against UPenn

by Humera Gul

The Central Connecticut State University Softball team got their first win of the season, 6-3 against University of Pennsylvania on March 9. The game was at Eddie C. Moore Field in Clearwater, Florida. The game uplifted CCSU’s record to 1-5. UPenn dropped to 4-6.

Emily Sargent pitched a complete game for the Blue Devils. She struck out three and walked three, while giving up a total of nine hits and three runs, with only two earned.

Sargent stopped many attempts by the Quakers early in the game.  For the Blue Devils, Brittany McNulla and Brittany Camara played strong the entire game. McNulla had the team’s first hit and Camara began the rally in the sixth inning. Alexis Debrosse walked on four balls to first base in the sixth inning.

UPenn made two pitching changes to stop the rally from CCSU. However, it fell short as CCSU scored two more runs. Maddie Landry scored on a hit-by-pitch and Sarah Ogilvie brought in Camara with a single.

McNulla went up to bat four times and had one run and three hits and allowed a run. She went up to bat with a vengeance each time and hit three times in her four opportunities.

Kerri Dadalski went up to bat a total of three times. She had one run and one hit, and had 3 RBIs. Dadalski had a double play that sealed the game for the Blue Devils.

Debrosse went up to bat three times and had one run and no hits. She got the base on balls and could score for the Blue Devils and struck out once. Debrosse proved to be patient and took a base on balls delivered and scored off that base as the Blue Devils put together a good finish.

Blue Devils Fall Short In Conference Semi Finals

by Humera Gul

Central Connecticut State University’s women’s basketball team  fell to Robert Morris 70-62 in the NEC Semi-Final. It was a close game, but the Colonials of Robert Morris held on to beat CCSU, closing their year at 11-21 and 9-10 in the league.

CCSU shot 23 of 55 from the field. and were 13 of 16 from the foul line. They struggled beyond the arc and shot three of 14.

Giocelis Reynoso finished with a double-double. She was four of nine from the field and made both of her free throws, finishing with 10 points. She grabbed a career high 15-rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block.

Aleah Epps led the team in scoring with 15 points. She was four of eight from the field and made seven of her eight free throws. She was able to record one rebound, three assists and two steals.

Andi Lydon contributed 10 points and was four of 11 from the field, and two of six from the beyond the arc. She had four rebounds, one assist and two steals.

Robert Morris shot 24 of 56 from the field, five of 17 from the arc and was 17 of 24 from the foul line. Robert Morris also didn’t shoot well from the arc, however, the Colonials drew many fouls and took good advantage of those shots. The Colonials were 70.8 percent in foul shots.

Anna Niki Stamolamprou had played well for the Colonials, with five of 16 from the field, two of five from the arc and three of four from the foul line. She finished with five rebounds, four assists and two steals and scored many points for her team.

Rebeca Navarro also played well for the Colonials.  She was four of 11 from the field, two of seven from the arc and one of two on foul shots.  She also had five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.

CCSU went into the half being down by just four points, but in the third quarter they were outscored by nine points. CCSU started the fourth period being down by 13 points and outscored Robert Morris in the fourth quarter 22-17, but it was too late. Robert Morris eventually went on to win the NEC tournament against Bryant.