EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 26, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Missing Palladino

This summer, I wrote a column about how the departure of seasoned part-timer Chuck Frye was such a huge loss to the Eagle-Tribune sports department. We feel it every week.

But just as big a loss was the departure at about the same time of North Andover’s Steve Palladino, a part-timer of many years who was our maestro when it came to implementing our local schedule and updating it on a regular basis. It’s a thankless task, but Steve got it done with amazing efficiency and made our lives much easier because of it.

Sometimes, you never know how good someone is until they’re gone and, during the holiday season, with tournaments galore, we now realize Steve’s real value. Besides, he’s one of those sports fans who really likes the local scene and wants local teams to do well, and that makes all of our jobs more enjoyable.

By the way, if you ever want to find Steve, just go to a Merrimack College men’s basketball game and he’ll be there.

Niang on tear

Georges Niang is ending the season on a tear for Iowa State. The 6-foot-7 sophomore from Methuen had scored over 20 points in four straight games prior to last night’s late Hawaiian Airlines Classic championship game against Boise State.

Niang is averaging more than 16 points a game, is the team leader in blocks and is second in assists for surprising Iowa State, which was 10-0 and ranked 14th nationally prior to last night.

Zenevitch hot, too

Katie Zenevitch got off to a relatively slow start for Boston College this season, but she’s warming up as the weather gets colder. She had 21 points and 12 rebounds in the Eagles’ recent 77-60 win over Holy Cross and is a big reason why Boston College has won four straight games to improve to 7-5. Zenevitch, a senior, is now averaging 10.0 points per game and leads the Eagles in rebounds, blocked shots and free throw percentage (.833). Sophomore teammate Nicole Boudreau of Andover, meanwhile, is averaging 10.0 points, is second on the team in assists and tied for the lead in steals.

The Eagles are back in action Monday at Providence.

Collisions at plate

Preventing needless injuries is always a good idea, but banning collisions at home plate in major league baseball is going too far. Anticipating a close play at home as a runner charges down the third base line is one of the most exciting plays in baseball and shouldn’t be taken out of the game. Moreover, it doesn’t happen often and injuries from collisions at home are rare.

Catchers are more likely to be hurt from a pitch or foul ball that misses the equipment or by diving for a foul ball as Jason Varitek did a couple of years ago.