EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 16, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Drover’s injury

North Andover junior wrestler Brad Drover, who recently broke his wrist in the FloNationals in Pennsylvania, is expected to be out 6-8 weeks but hopes to be back for a major tournament over Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately, he’ll miss the Prep-Public School All-Star meet April 28, where he was scheduled to face local Brooks rival Andrew Konovalchik, who has since pulled out as well.

Drover was having a great tournament before the injury. He won his first three matches and took down the Pennsylvania state champ, ranked fourth in the country, before getting pinned and breaking his wrist.

Uproar in Walpole

In a situation reminiscent of North Andover football coach John Rafferty, players, parents and alumni are loudly protesting the dismissal of girls basketball coach Stacy Bilodeau, the Walpole High School girls’ basketball coach who was let go in late March after 11 years on the job.

“It’s been very nice to hear and I’m very pleased about the support from former players, and players and parents,” said Bilodeau, who said she was caught by surprise when she learned that school principal Stephen Imbusch was not renewing her one-year contract. “I’m just really sad right now about not being able to coach the girls.”

Her team went 13-8 this season and won the Bay State Conference Herget Division title. Her overall record was 175-78.

Bilodeau was not given a specific reason for the dismissal but it’s thought that parents who complained about their children’s lack of playing time or the competitiveness of the program might be behind the decision.

A really prefect game

Sussex (N.J.) High Point High pitcher Ally Frei was more than perfect in a game last week.

In a 5-0 victory over Vernon High, Frei faced the minimum 21 batters and struck them all out. Nearly as impressive, Vernon batters only had two foul balls. Thus, of Frei’s 63 strikes, 61 either came while looking or via swings and misses.

Coaching timetables

North Andover and Andover are in the early stages of looking for new basketball coaches for next year but both hope to have new coaches named by the end of the school year.

North Andover had its vacancy for a boys coach posted last week while Andover will post its girls vacancy soon. Andover AD Don Doucette is in the process of hiring a new golf coach for the fall and wants to complete that process first.

According to one source, there were 80 applicants for the North Andover job before it was even posted. Among the top names rumored to have applied are former Central Catholic star Scott Hazelton, who is currently the head girls coach at Bishop Guertin, and Whittier coach Tom Sipsey. One report was that Hazelton also is applying to the Andover job.

How many pitches?

We’ve all heard about how Japanese pitchers are more durable but the performance by 16-year-old Tomohiro Anraku in a high school game was truly amazing. He threw 232 pitches while going the distance in a 13-inning game. Three days later, he threw 159 pitches in a complete-game victory.

Did you know ...

An amazing stat about Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan is that not only did he have the most no-hitters in history (seven) but he also had the most no-hitters lost in the ninth (five).

Football excitement

Never underestimate the value of high school football, particularly with a successful team, on the overall sports program.

That’s the thinking at Blackstone-Millville Regional high school, which is starting a varsity program after just one year of JV action.

Athletic director Timothy Johnson is rather amazed at the support his football program received last season. There were as many as 800 people at JV games last year as B-M posted a surprising 5-4 record and the excitement for next year is already building.

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