EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 8, 2013

Sports in a minute

By David Willis
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Westmoreland says goodbye

It was sad, if inevitable, news Wednesday that Ryan Westmoreland announced his retirement from baseball after attempting a comeback from a second major brain surgery.

Despite a big-money contract out of Portsmouth (R.I.) High School — he earned a $2 million signing bonus — Westmoreland could not have been a classier, more friendly and helpful athlete during my time covering him with the Lowell Spinners. He was also the picture of strength during an interview five months after his first brain surgery.

With his life-threatening battle, it’s easy to forget just how good Westmoreland was. He was rated the top prospect in the entire Red Sox organization by Baseball America going into the 2010 season, after hitting .296 with seven homers and 35 RBIs with Lowell. Sadly, that was his only minor league season.

His season was cut short due to a broken collarbone he suffered running into the left field fence, an impact Lowell Spinners personnel swears left a large dent in the LeLacheur Park wall.

Fazio off with a bang

Former Andover High two-sport star Ally Fazio’s college lacrosse career is off to an impressive start.

The University of Connecticut freshman has started all four games for the Huskies this season as a midfielder, and has three goals and one assist. UConn currently sits at 4-0.

This time of year always has been a good one for Fazio. Last March she celebrated her third straight Division 1 state title as a member of the Andover High basketball team.

Cardarelli shines on

Haverhill singer Jillian Cardarelli continues to wow sports fans. Yesterday, she sang the national anthem before the Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays spring training game in Sarasota, Fla. She will be back in Boston to sing for the Bruins in April.

Really JFK?

There was a frightening moment in Wednesday’s New Hampshire hockey semifinal between Londonderry and Manchester Central when a shot sailed over the glass and into a packed section of fans.

After a scary few moments, it appeared everyone was OK. But it prompted a very good question.

Why in the world doesn’t the JFK Memorial Coliseum have nets around the ice?

Unlike virtually every other rink in New England, JFK only has netting behind the goal areas. Also, the glass is only around 7 feet tall, much shorter than other rinks in the region, and that leaves many spectators exposed to errant pucks.

Wake up JFK. As annoying as it can be to watch a game through a net, it sure beats getting hit by a puck.

Snider battling back

Former Toronto Blue Jays prospect Travis Snider, who once hit a homer into the lights at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Stadium, is now looking to resurrect his career as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A 235-pounder with prodigious power, he entered the majors with lots of hype. He was the No. 7-ranked prospect in all of baseball, ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury. But in 242 games with the Blue Jays, he hit just 31 homers and struck out 239 times. The former Fisher Cats star was traded to the Pirates last July.

Snider’s personal struggles also drew lots of interest. A few years back, over four years he had lost his mother, two grandparents, his best friend and a coach who he considered one of his greatest mentors.

agateText bold to dash: