NECC baseball defends in Worcester

The seven-time defending Region 21 champion Northern Essex Community College baseball team opened its quest for an eighth straight title last night, beating host Quinsigamond Community College, 9-0, as the No. 2 seed.

NECC will be playing Saturday, and hopefully Sunday for the championships on the Quinsigamond C.C. campus in Worcester. They entered the tourney winners of nine straight games after sweeping a pair of weekend doubleheaders against Quinsigamond and UConn-Avery Point.

Community College of Rhode Island is the top seed entering the postseason with just one conference loss and Massasoit rounds out the field of four in the double-elimination tournament.

NECC currently leads the nation in batting average at .391. At the top of the offense is freshman Spencer Brown, of Beverly, who leads the country in home runs (17) and slugging percentage (1.076) and is second in batting average (.508).

Leo Romero of Lawrence is also among the offensive stars. He leads the region in RBIs (53) and is fifth in batting average (.450).

UNH in NHL playoffs

Five former University of New Hampshire men’s hockey players are seeing lots of success in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins-Hurricanes series features four former Wildcats. Brett Pesce, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Warren Foegele have all seen action with the Hurricanes, while Kevin Dean is an assistant coach with the Bruins.

In the Western Conference finals, San Jose Sharks assistant GM Tim Burke is a former Wildcat. The Sharks and St. Louis Blues start on Saturday.

McGillivray returns home

Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray, of North Andover, is returning to his old stomping grounds, Medford High, to give the commencement.

McGillivray (class of 1972) gave the valedictory address, as the No. 1-ranked student, when he was a senior.

“What a thrill,” said McGillivray, who has given four commencement speeches previously — Newbury College, Merrimack College, Tabor Academy and Nashoba Valley Tech.

“Merrimack was very special as it also is my alma mater and I gave the valedictory address there, too,” he said. “But Medford High will be really, really special. So very exciting for me.”

Pats pick in Foxboro

The Patriots first round pick N’Keal Harry made a stop to visit the media yesterday at Gillette Stadium, introduced by Patriots owner Robert Kraft and son, Jonathan.

Neal, who played at Arizona State, said he noticed something different on his visits to Foxboro before the draft.

“The way they did things. Like I said earlier, it’s a great organization,” he said. “They’ve obviously won a lot of Super Bowls and there’s a reason for that. So when I came here for the visit, I just felt like there was something different. There was a different approach and a different mentality.

“I just feel like we’re all held to a higher standard, everybody in the building. That’s what I need, that’s what everybody needs to progress and to advance. So I’m looking forward to it.”