EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 13, 2013

Sports in a Minute


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HOOKED ON ‘THE FIGHTER’

Spent this week for some reason married to the DVD of “The Fighter,” known in these parts as the story of Lowell boxing legend Micky Ward and his brother, Dick Eklund.

I had seen the film before, but to me, it’s one of those you appreciate more watching it the fifth time than the first time.

Did you know that Micky’s first pro fight came at the Roll on America Skating Rink in South Lawrence in 1985? The Valley Forum is now where Roll on America was and before that, it was the Frost Arena ice rink.

MARLEY MIXES IT UP

The mention of Ward fighting at Roll on America struck a memory with me. Not that I had ever attended a fight there, but I remembered someone in the fight game telling me the story of him fighting at the old Frost Arena.

That someone is journalist/lawyer Michael Marley, who once wrote for the N.Y. Post.

I caught up electronically with Marley this week to confirm it, and yes, he fought a fella named Nick Apostolakis in Lawrence.

He “repped ‘Bridgewater State’ and I don’t mean the college,” joked Marley about his foe on that night.

Marley noted his best win was over Bob Townsend, who later went on to become a sports columnist in Brockton.

Townsend never got along too well with one “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, and Marley recounted one time he met the champ.

“Hagler asked me (I was at NY Post) if I did beat Townsend and when I said it was true, he warmly shook my hand,” said Marley.

BIG SEY FOR ME

Interesting this week that Comcast Sports ranked Tim Tebow ahead of ex-Patriots’ receiver Brandon Lloyd in the current list of available NFL free agents. I guess you now might understand why Lloyd, who caught 74 balls for 911 yards for New England last year, has been with 6 different teams in 10 seasons.

By the way, the guy on that short list that I’d love to see the Patriots go after?

How about Richard Seymour? At 33, the Pats best defensive lineman of the previous decade has to have a little something left in the tank.

BASEBALL FEVER

Headed for the stretch run in high school baseball, we look at the state tourney chances for the local contingent.

Merrimack Valley Conference – Large co-leader Central at 10-5 is qualified. Andover, a game behind in the league race, is 9-4 with qualifying a mere formality. Lawrence is in at 10-6. Haverhill (7-7) is taking things to the wire. Friday’s win over the Lancers was a huge boost. North Andover, at 4-9, still has a solid chance via the Sullivan rule, needing two wins in four remaining Division 2 games (Tewksbury twice, Pentucket, Reading). Methuen, now 4-9, will need a heck of a run.

CAL – North Reading (14-0) clinched the CAL large and a trip to the tourney about seven months ago. Defending D4 champ Georgetown (9-5) is in, but buckle up for a huge final three games in the CAL small. Sweep Rockport, Lynnfield and Amesbury, and the small title is the Royals’ all by themselves. Pentucket’s pitching staff will be tested in the stretch drive as the 5-7 Sachems need a 5-3 finish in the last two weeks.

CAC – Whittier, at 10-4 overall and 9-0 in the CAC, is in. The Cats need a win in one of the last three to lock up a share of the large division title. Now 9-4, Greater Lawrence Tech is in and controls its own destiny in the CAC small race with four conference games remaining.

NH Division 1 – Unless 10-3 Londonderry stumbles badly down the stretch, the Lancers are in line for home field in the first two rounds of playoffs. At 5-8 with five left, Timberlane can’t relax. Of course, the race is so muddled, that a 5-0 finish might land the Owls an opening round home game. Salem (4-11) and Pinkerton (3-11) are among six teams with 3-4 wins, vying for the last three playoff spots.

NH Division 2 – At 8-3, Windham has to be considered a lock for a home playoff opener. Sanborn needs a solid finish to hold its current ground at 5-7. The Indians will be looking to slide up a notch or two to avoid the likes of Portsmouth, Goffstown or the Jags in Round 1.

NH Division 3 – At 6-5, Pelham’s work is by no means done. It looks like a .500 record will be needed (at least) in this division to make the final 16. Basically holding serve (beating 4-7 Mascenic and 2-9 Brady, while falling to 9-2 Bow, 8-3 Raymond and 8-4 Farmington) might not get it done. Pythons living on the edge.