The Merrimack Valley Conference is doing itself proud when it comes to baseball. Of course, both North Andover and Lowell qualified for the Super 8 tournament — with the Knights having won their first two games — and in the Division 1 North bracket three of the four semifinal teams are Andover, Lawrence and Chelmsford.
Best league in the state?
“It’s a quality league,” said Andover coach Dan Grams. “It’s good baseball. The kids are only going to get better by playing the better teams.”
Some more Simourian
Andover’s Joe Simourian had a fine freshman season for the Navy baseball team, which went an impressive 39-17. The former Eagle-Tribune All-Star hit .294 with a home run, 12 RBIs, 19 runs scored and a .418 on-base percentage.
The MLB Draft always brings a myriad of ... we’ll just say interesting ... names. Some of the best from this year were Spencer Brickhouse (Diamondbacks), Ethan Goforth (Pirates), Octavio Carona (Blue Jays) and Utah Jones (Mariners).
Former Central Catholic baseball star Joe Sanchez finished his freshman year at Mass. Maritime strong, hitting .313 (5 for 16) over his final nine games. The former Eagle-Tribune All-Star also didn’t make an error in the outfield in 36 chances this spring.
A top-10 play
Jack Buccigross, son of popular ESPN personality John Buccigross, was named to the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference golf team after a stellar freshman season at Division 2 Indiana University of Pennsylvania. True to the family brand, he posted five top-10 finishes and was third on the team with a 77.23 stroke average.
Hard to have a better run to a state championship than what the Newmarket baseball team just pulled off. The recently-crowned NH Division 4 champs allowed just two runs over four playoff games, beating Pittsburg-Canaan 9-0, Wilton-Lyndeborough 6-0, top-seeded Woodsville 8-0 and then second-seeded Pittsfield 12-2 in the title game.
Don’t forget Machado
Yesterday, colleague Dave Dyer pointed out how Bryce Harper has hardly lived up to the monster contract the Phillies gave him this offseason, and may not have been worth it. Well, you can probably include the offseason’s other huge signing, Manny Machado, to that list.
After the Padres gave the 26-year-old Machado a 10-year, $300 million contract this winter, he’s repaid it by hitting .241 with just 10 home runs and 33 RBIs.