EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 25, 2013

Sports in a Minute

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Asar continues on

Haverhill’s Kamal Asar, formerly of North Andover, continues to amaze people in the North Shore Baseball League. Asar, 47, is in his 16th year with the Kingston Night Owls and 29th year in the Northeast/North Shore League. Despite being twice the age of many of the players, he still has decent speed and is a more than competitive player.

Mollica opts for WPI

Former Salem High and UMass Amherst softball standout Whitney (Mollica) Goldstein, who was the interim coach at Amherst College this year, has been hired by WPI as its fulltime coach. She will also be a physical education teacher.

At Amherst, she guided the Lord Jeffs to a 24-12 record. Her batting prowess rubbed off as the team batted .344.

A former All-American at UMass, Goldstein was an assistant at Amherst for two years before taking over last year.

Hanging it up

In case you didn’t hear, St. John’s Prep coach Pat Yanchus is retiring after 33 years and 491 wins. This year’s team set a school record in total wins and finished 22-2. His teams in 1999 and 2000 won back-to-back state titles.

The best bet as his successor is Dan Letarte. He played for Yanchus and has been an assistant for the Eagles the last 18 years.

Busy Buxton

North Andover’s Jeff Buxton, who is also a fine umpire, is getting well deserved praise for directing the North Andover spring league through the rain-plagued playoffs and immediately organizing the “Big Diamond Summer League.”

The league includes North Andover, Andover, Methuen, Salem, N.H., and other towns and is geared primarily for players not quite good enough to make the original Legion and Babe Ruth teams. It was scheduled to begin today.

Bradley on Spike TV

Former Timberlane and Penn State wrestling star Eric Bradley of Plaistow will be competing in the Fightmaster Bellator elimination round on Spike TV tomorrow at 10 p.m.

A former club national boxing champion while in college in addition to being an All-American in wrestling, Bradley has been competing in MMA for over six years and was 7-1 in fights in the last year before signing with Bellator.

Two-sport Connors

Tommy Connors is playing in both the Agganis all-star baseball and football game this week. The son of head coach Thom Connors, who previously coached at Whittier, he is thought to be the first Amesbury athlete to play in both.

Connors rushed for more than 400 yards and had 400 receiving yards for the Indians last year and will play football at Endicott College next year.

Legion games to watch

There are several intriguing American Legion baseball games on the schedule this week involving local teams. Haverhill hosts Lawrence at 6 p.m. today and Methuen at the same time tomorrow while Methuen hosts Andover at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The slow game

An interesting story in a Boston newspaper recently detailed how the games in the major leagues keep getting longer. The average length of a game in 1963 was 2:25 while the average Red Sox game this year is 3:11. The Sox, by the way, have the longest games in the majors.

A big reason for the length of the game is the time spent between pitches. It takes, for instance, David Ortiz nearly 28 seconds between pitches. Johnny Gomes and Daniel Nava both spend more than 24 seconds between pitches including 11 seconds out of the batters box.

School closing down

The New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, which built up a strong boys basketball program and won state titles in 2004 and 2010, is closing because of struggling academics.

In addition to some fine teams, New Leadership produced some outstanding individuals, including 2009 graduate Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who holds the state’s all-time basketball scoring record for boys and girls with 3,070 points.