Blogs | Eric Benevides

Talkin' baseball, from college to Little League

On a weekend where the state's Little League and American Legion champions are going to be crowned, here's a quick baseball-only blogpost ...

• Five local collegiate players are enjoying excellent summers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England, with the best of the bunch being Lincoln’s Mason Palmieri, who is having a superb summer with the FCBL’s Brockton Rox. In nine appearances, eight of them starts, the 2015 Lincoln High graduate and Bryant University pitcher is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA, and in 37 innings, he’s struck out 35 batters, allowed 37 hits and 10 walks, and has a 1.27 WHIP. He’s second in the FCBL is victories and ERA.

Woonsocket catcher Kyle Beaulieu, who wrapped up his freshman year at the University of Rhode Island, is playing for the FCBL’s Pittsfield Suns and was recently named to the West Division’s all-star team. In 22 games, the 2016 Woonsocket High graduate is batting .286 (18-for-63) with 11 runs scored and a team-high 17 walks and .444 on-base percentage and he’s been getting high grades for his play behind the plate.

Cumberland’s Chris Wright, who completed an excellent freshman season as an outfielder/pitcher for Bryant University, has picked up where he left off with the Bulldogs on the NECBL’s Ocean State Waves down in South County. In 32 games, the 2016 Cumberland High graduate is batting .306 (34-for-111) with three homers, 14 RBIs, and 20 runs scored. On the hill, Wright hasn’t seen much time, but in 10 2/3 innings, he has a 1.68 ERA, 13 strikeouts, seven walks, and a WHIP that’s an eyelash over 1.00.

Scituate’s Jack Owens, another local Bryant product who is pitching for the FCBL’s Worcester Bravehearts, just saw a rough relief appearance last weekend against the Worcester Bravehearts balloon his ERA to 4.50, but in his seven appearances before then, the former Scituate High standout sported a .257 ERA with a 1-0 record, 15 strikeouts, and five hits allowed in just seven innings of work.

Cumberland native and Boston College sophomore-to-be Dante Baldelli is playing for the NECBL’s New Bedford Bay Sox. The former Bishop Hendricken star got off to a slow start with the Sox, but he’s collected hits in his last four starts and is currently batting .220 in 28 games (18-for-82) and flashing the leather in the outfield.

• A quick look at the Cumberland American Little League’s Major Division all-star team’s roster and you’ll notice some unusually high numbers on it, such as 24, 26, 27, 34, 42, and 45. The reason? Those are the retired numbers of the Boston Red Sox, and according to the CYBSL’s Eddie Rigano, every all-star team that took the field for Cumberland had players wearing those numbers. In the picture above, that’s George Sukatos wearing David Ortiz’s recently retired 34 and Jack LaRose sporting Jackie Robinson’s 42 that’s been retired throughout baseball. I should have asked the reason why there’s a 24 – Dwight Evans maybe? That would be nice …

• Great to see the American Legion state playoffs back at McCarthy Field in West Warwick after spending a year at Johnson & Wales University. There were quite a few complaints about the games being held on the Providence campus, from outfielders watching the breeze off the river behind the first-base line play tricks with high flyballs to the lack of restrooms and concessions for the fans.

• Looks like Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is five hits away from becoming the latest member of baseball's 3,000-hit club. It seems like yesterday when he manned the hot corner for the Boston Red Sox, but it was 2010 when he spent his lone season with the Sox and led the American League in doubles (49), hit 28 home runs, drove in 102 runs, and batted .321. After that season, the Red Sox chose not to sign him to a long-term deal, so he inked a five-year, $80 million contract with the Rangers (and has made $18 million in each of the last two years) and has been in the top 15 in the A.L. MVP voting in each of the last six years.

As for the Red Sox, they haven't had a third baseman come close to matching Beltre's production in Texas, and don't get me started about Pablo Sandoval and the $17.6 million a season the ballclub has to pay him until 2019. Hopefully, Rafael Devers is indeed the team's third baseman of the future.

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