EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 21, 2013

Memory Lane: “God was watching over him. And his coach was, too.”

Memory Lane
Chuck Frye

---- — While at practice five years ago, Pinkerton’s Matthew Statler tripped on a hurdle and fell to the track. What happened next had to be told to him later.

That was because Statler suffered a seizure and stopped breathing. Noticing Statler’s lips turning blue and unable to find a pulse, coach Walter Roberts immediately administered CPR and revived the freshman.

“Nobody’s leaving me on my watch,” Roberts said of the second heroic act of his life. Ten years earlier, he and father-in-law, David Ferry, saved Donna Fronduto when she drifted too far from shore on her Boogie Board at Salisbury Beach.

Doctors diagnosed Statler with a broken collarbone and a concussion. He had no memory of the seizure or immediate aftermath.

“We’re very grateful,” said his mother, Kim Statler. “God was watching over him. And his coach was, too.”

And even with a six-week recovery ahead from his injured collarbone, Statler was at practice the next day.

5 years ago: Three-homer days

It didn’t seem like Andover’s day five years ago when Chelmsford surged to an 8-1 lead after five innings.

Tricia Martin changed everything.

The senior capped a 5-for-5, 7-RBI afternoon with her third home run of the contest, a two-out, three-run blast that gave the Warriors a walk-off 11-9 victory.

“They were all bombs, way out there,” said Andover head coach Stephanie Ragucci. “I’ve had some good hitters, but I don’t think I’ve ever had someone have a day like this.”

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Greater Lowell came off the bus ready to hit, plating five runs in the first inning.

But not only did Austin Brodie get Whittier back in the game, he eventually turned the contest into a rout.

Brodie lashed a grand slam in the first, a two-run bomb in the third and another grand slam in the fourth. Brodie finished with 11 RBIs as the Wildcats humbled the Gryphons, 20-7.

15 years ago: Mo’s home run ball opens doors

It was just an ordinary trip to Fenway Park 15 years ago for Londonderry’s Will St. Jean, but he couldn’t have imagined how extraordinary his night would become.

St. Jean came up with the catch of the night as he corralled Mo Vaughn’s ninth-inning grand slam that capped a seven-run rally to victory.

But that was just the beginning.

After asking the field crew if Vaughn could sign the ball and failing, the group decided to wait by the players’ gate. A friend told a cameraman that St. Jean had the winning ball and five reporters descended on him for an interview. From there, Channel 4’s Ron Mitchell brought the Trinity College football captain into the clubhouse, found Vaughn and got his autograph.

Vaughn didn’t ask for the ball, but St. Jean was offered — and refused — $1,000 for the ball, and also had to turn down an offer of two free skybox seats for a weekend Sox game because he was attending a Celtics game that day.

At the FleetCenter, St. Jean came face-to-face with Chris Slade. The Patriots Pro Bowler saw him and said, “You’re the one that caught Mo’s homer.”

5 years ago: From JVs to varsity hero

Central freshman Meg Donegan stepped up from JVs to strike out 10 Billerica batters in a 2-1, eight-inning victory. … North Andover almost saw an 8-0 lead evaporate, but held off Wilmington’s seventh-inning, bases-loaded threat for a 13-12 win. Kristin O’Connor drove in five runs and Krissy Whitley added four hits, four runs and three RBIs. … With help from Caroline Gattuso (run, RBI), North Reading rallied from four runs down to beat Reading, 5-4. … Freshman Stephanie Cabral fired a one-hitter in Salem’s 12-0 shutout of Keene. … Amy Green had two hits, two RBIs and two runs as Timberlane beat Salem for what was believed the first time ever, 7-3. … Alicia Briggs outdueled Kristine Lozowski as Haverhill edged Lawrence, 1-0. … Britt Hart of North Andover fanned 13 as Brooks beat Phillips. …

Zak Adamopoulos scattered seven hits in an 11-3 Central Catholic triumph over Methuen. … Rick Christos drove in four runs and Zach Hastings added a three-run homer as North Reading clobbered Hamilton-Wenham, 18-1. … Steve DiChiara drove in five runs as Sanborn smacked Raymond, 23-7. …

Behind four goals from Meredith Bilodeau and three from Kelsey Richards, Central Catholic won its first-ever girls lacrosse match, beating Dracut, 11-7. … Devon Lamoureux scored with 17 seconds left in the third overtime to send Pelham past Derryfield, 6-5. … Justin Sproul scored 11 goals in Londonderry’s 13-6 win over Salem. …

Jeffrey Matos crushed 23 kills to lead Lawrence to a thrilling five-game volleyball victory over Ludlow. … The Lancers won the first two games against Central Catholic before Adrian Gonzalez took over, getting six of his 18 kills in a crucial fourth game as the Raiders won out in five. …

Alex Burbine and Evan Walsh combined for three victories as Londonderry tennis rolled past Timberlane, 8-1. … Katie Phelan rebounded from a first-set shutout to win the final two, the deciding point in North Reading’s 3-2 win over Amesbury. … Maggie Carter took a straight-set victory in her first varsity competition to help Andover defeat Chelmsford. …

Methuen wrestling star Kevin Sughrue suffered a broken back from a snowboarding accident at Waterville Valley. … Citing increased expenses, the athletic department cut Haverhill’s softball schedule from 20 to 18 games. ..

Salem’s Whitney Mollica was named Atlantic-10 softball Player of the Week.

15 years ago: Salem ends 3-year streak

Clutch victories from Bob Johnson (800) and Kevin Moschella (400) lifted Salem to a 76-64 victory over Londonderry, the first meet the Lancers had lost in three years. … John O’Neil won the 300 hurdles and 800 to lead North Reading past North Andover. …

Scott Maxwell threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and freshman Josh Verrill laced a second-inning RBI single as Sanborn beat defending state champ Goffstown 1-0. ... Tom Klemm spun a two-hitter in Salem’s opener, an 8-0 win over Exeter. … Pedro Pena’s three-run homer helped Brian Goddard (two-hitter) and Haverhill beat Acton-Boxboro, 5-0. Standout pitcher Al Mottram and Central Catholic were the next victim as Alex Hakesley’s three-hitter earned the Hillies a 2-0 win. … With a two-run homer and four RBIs, Bob Carey led Pentucket past Manchester, 15-7. …

A throwing error in the seventh plated Lauren Merritt with the game-winner as Haverhill beat Andover 8-7. … Jen Solomon’s third hit of the day and a Central Catholic error lifted Methuen to a 4-3 win. … Krista Tsoukalis scattered seven hits and Sara Rousseau added five hits and five runs as Pelham battered Pittsfield, 18-2. … Freshman Laura Stone (five-hitter, four RBIs) paced Andover in a 7-3 triumph over Tewksbury. …

Caitlin Masys won a three-set barnburner to help Haverhill tennis top Methuen. …

Methuen coach Larry Klimas was inducted into the Mass. High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

25 years ago: Simonds, Hillies rall

Haverhill squandered a four-run lead but scored in the seventh without a ball leaving the infield to down Timberlane, 5-4. Chris Simonds reached on a dropped third strike, stole second and sprinted all the way home when Dan Paolino beat out a slow roller to third base. Against Central Catholic, Hillie righthander Chris Cesati threw 10 innings of five-hit, shutout ball in a 1-0 win. …

Kerry Horgan came within an out of a six-inning, mercy-rule no-hitter as Haverhill beat up on Lowell, 17-1. Horgan followed that with a two-hitter vs. Chelmsford. … Tanya Kropoff and Sue Cheek drove in three runs each as Timberlane beat St. Mary’s 9-6. …

Felix DeLaRosa led Central Catholic track over Haverhill, 85-59. … Brett Buatti tied the Haverhill Invitational meet record of 6-5 in the high jump, leading Salem to the team title.