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.”
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.
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.