EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 23, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Tisbert lauded

Andover softball coach Steve Tisbert hasn’t enjoyed much luck this spring, what with his pitcher having transferred to Phillips Academy and key injuries crippling his lineup.

But it hasn’t changed his personality, which veteran North Reading coach Rusty Russell praised after the two teams met recently.

“I had never met him, but what a classy guy,” said Russell. “My shortstop (Merri Moise) made two outstanding defensive plays and he made a point after the game of going up to her and telling her they were two of the best plays he’d seen.

“He’s just a really positive guy. We need more coaches like him.”

Marathon proposal

Because of the bomb explosions at the finish line, it wasn’t quite like her fiance expected, but Rachel Dowd of Windham got quite a surprise after the Boston Marathon last week.

Boy friend Steven Polizzotti of Dracut had planned to propose to her shortly after she finished her first marathon. But a throbbing knee slowed down her pace and she was halted, along with thousands of others, less than a mile from the finish line.

After Polizzotti and Dowd’s older brother, John, managed to find Rachel, a new plan was laid out. They drove away from the scene and the proposal — and acceptance — was made on a loading dock.

It was Dowd’s first marathon and one that will undoubtedly never be forgotten.

Peterson OK

Until the terror struck, Page School of West Newbury teacher John Peterson enjoyed running his second-best marathon time last week at Boston, running a 3:47. With so many students, teachers and friends tracking him, word got out quickly that he was okay and had escaped the horrific mayhem.

Tisbert lauded

Andover softball coach Steve Tisbert hasn’t enjoyed much luck this spring, what with his pitcher having transferred to Phillips Academy and key injuries crippling his lineup.

But it hasn’t changed his personality, which veteran North Reading coach Rusty Russell praised after the two teams met recently.

“I had never met him, but what a classy guy,” said Russell. “My shortstop (Merri Moise) made two outstanding defensive plays and he made a point after the game of going up to her and telling her they were two of the best plays he’d seen.

“He’s just a really positive guy. We need more coaches like him.”

Methuen winners

Local runners were the winners Saturday at the Dan Ford Memorial Road Race. Kevin Alliette of Methuen was the winner in the 5K race, finishing in 15:52 while Methuen’s Jose Ortiz was a runaway winner in the 5-Mile race in 26:14. Lawrence’s Zachary Lankow was runner-up in 27:12. There were 268 finishers in the 5K race and 122 finishers in the 5-miler.

The numbers may have been limited by Saturday’s Stonyfield 5K in Londonderry which drew an impressive 1,830 finishers. Jim Johnson, formerly of Salem, N.H., was the overall winner there in 16:35.

Busy Francescone

Haverhill youth baseball coach Dan Francescone is at it again this spring. In addition to helping run Haverhill Senior Baseball, he’s coaching two teams and helping Larry O’Brien prepare for the summer American Legion team. From April 22 until well into the summer, there will be very few evenings off for the popular coach.

This Saturday, he’ll coach a Little League at 2 p.m. and a 14-15 year-old team at 5 p.m.

Ready for NBA?

Everett’s Nerlens Noel decided to follow the lead of recent Kentucky freshmen and declared for the NBA draft last week. Despite missing the final nine games of the season with a torn ACL, Noel is expected to be among the top picks in the upcoming NBA draft.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I wonder if it’s a smart decision. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, and led the nation in blocked shots with 4.4 a game. But his offense is spotty at best and I’ve seen many a big men fail in the NBA when they can’t put the ball in the basket.

BIG GAME ALERT

First place in the Cape Ann League Large division and North Reading’s current 13-game win streak, dating back to last May, will be on the line this afternoon as the Hornet baseballers host Masconomet Regional at 3:45.

A first-rate showdown features a mega-pitching matchup as 3-0 Chieftain Speros Varinos faces off with Hornet Ryan McAuliffe.

The North Reading senior righty is 2-0 on the year and has struck out 24 in 14 innings of work to date.

North Reading is 5-0 this year. Masconomet is 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the league.