By Hector Longo
END OF AN ERA TONIGHT
A matchup that brought instant respect to Pinkerton Academy football ends tonight in Brockton as the Astros and Boxers collide for the 17th and what could be the final time.
“I’m not happy with this,” said Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly, noting this game is a victim of the Granite State’s new football realignment for 2013. “We will play anyone, but we have zero open dates next year. So it ends, at least for now.”
Brockton owns a 12-4 advantage in the series, having won the last five meetings. The last four have been tight till late, with Pinkerton falling by 7, 7, 14 and one point.
“From a won-loss point of view, the series hasn’t been great, but from a competitive point of view, it’s been fine,” said O’Reilly. “I can remember twice they clocked us and we got them once. Beyond that, they’ve been back and forth games.”
The final collision should be a good one. Pinkerton is 5-1, the second-rated team in New Hampshire. Brockton is 3-2, No. 15 in EMass.
“It’s been a great series for us, an honor to play them,” said O’Reilly.
THAT’S A WRAP
I’ll put the blame solely on Reds manager Dusty Baker for Cincinnati’s five-game exit in the National League Division Series to San Francisco.
Up 2-0, the Reds lost three straight at home, the 2-1 extra-innings loss in Game 3 being the series changer.
In the pivotal 10th, San Francisco had two on and two out with first base open. Baker chose to pitch to Joaquin Arias instead of walking the speedy infielder and pitching to closer Sergio Romo or a pinch-hitter.
At worst, a pinch-hitter forces San Francisco deeper into the bullpen. Instead, Arias beat out a grounder to third that Scott Rolen dropped, driving in the game-winner.
Shame on Baker.
Andover’s Ryan Hanigan struggled offensively in the series, like most of the Reds, going 3 for 15. He did produce three runs scored and three RBIs, though.
EX-B’S GOALIE GILBERT SIGNING SUNDAY
Former Boston Bruins star goalie Gilles Gilbert will be in the area this weekend, signing autographs at the Gaythorne Knights of Columbus Hall in Methuen on Broadway (near the Salem, N.H. state line) on Sunday.
Gilbert, a fan favorite, will be signing at the monthly Sports Cards and Memorabilia Show from 10 a.m. until noon. The autographs cost $15 each.
Gilbert played parts of 14 seasons in the NHL, including seven seasons with the Bruins from 1973-74 to 1979-80.
The card show hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with 40 dealer tables offering sports cards and memorabilia for purchase. For more information contact Vic Andreoli at 508-265-4440 or check out www.sportscards.net.
WREAKING FLAG HAVOC
October 28 is the last day of drills and practice for NFL Flag Football at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill.
Players who advance through tryouts, will go to the Regional Tournament with winning teams.
The Regional Tournament will take place on Nov. 4 in the New York Jets Region, Jersey City, N.J. The National Tournament of NFL Flag Football Championships, dates to be announced. Age Divisions are 9-11 co-ed and 12-14 for boys.
Give it up to Greg Herenda at UMass Lowell, actively recruiting the area hoop talent. He may or may not get them, but it’s not for the fact that Herenda isn’t aggressive.
Lowell’s offer to Central junior Tyler Nelson this week comes only a couple months after the River Hawks offered North Andover big man Isaiah Nelsen.
On the subject of Central’s Nelson, his recruitment will most likely depend on how he grows. Get to 6-foot-3, and he could really open some eyes.
Right now, Nelson is around 6-foot-1. By the way, AAU sources say that Nelson has caught the eye of the coaches at University of Maryland already, which could really make his recruitment quite interesting.
Follow Eagle-Tribune Sports Reporter Hector Longo on Twitter under the screen name @MVcreature.