hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


September 26, 2013

Remembering a tough coach who taught valuable lessons


It took one game for us to do it.

Playing at Timberlane, and down a run, I was on first base when my teammate Sean scorched one to the right-center gap. I was the slowest guy on the team. I took off for second, headed into third and got the wave to head home. I glanced back and saw this was going to be a close, real close, play at the plate. If I was fast or anybody else was running, this would have been an easy score.

The relay sailed in, the catcher caught the ball, crouched down and remained motionless for a split second. He was unprotected, no longer wearing a mask. I was chugging as hard as I could. If I slid, it was going to be an easy out. The only other choice (the fun option) was to try and run the catcher over. The kid expected a slide, but it never came. The collision was intense and the impact was perfect — the detonation of one body slamming into another. The catcher’s head snapped back, he flew three feet and landed on his side. As I stepped on home plate and started jogging to the bench I saw our coach jumping, screaming, thoroughly elated. I turned back and saw the ball had popped out of the catcher’s mitt. The umpire, Bill Pike, gave the safe sign. My teammates must have been happy, but I didn’t see what they were doing. Coach was hugging me and slapping my back.

That was his favorite kind of run — intense, risky.

We won a lot of games that hot summer. Coach screamed and we laughed inside. He never stopped battling. It was a good lesson for a 14-year-old: Don’t give up, keep hustling and stay focused. You’re never truly out of any game.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

    Senior captain Samie Al-Ziab bench presses 315 pounds during his workout.

    Weighing in on plans for a successful season Posted 5 days ago 4 Photos
  • 140731_HG_HAND_ALLSTARS_3

    Competing at the event were, from left, Chloe Simard, 9, Kendal Kelley, 11, and Zoe Voulgaris, 13.

    In the national spotlight Posted 12 days ago 6 Photos
  • 140710_HG_CRU_HAVHOOP_1

    Navin Cruz of the Raptors drives to the hoop, with Elias Sanchez of the LA Clippers defending from behind.

    Popular summer tourney draws players, fans to club Posted 19 days ago 5 Photos
  • Send us your sports photos/news Updated 1051 days ago
  • 140709_hg_tje_ymcacamp_01

    Jack Simas, 10, takes aim at the target in the archery area of the camp.

    Escaping summer in the city Posted 26 days ago 5 Photos
  • Thursday, July 17, 2014
  • 140701_hg_tje_camptasker_04

    Walker Deschenes, 11, casts his line out while fishing off the docks.

    The summer sporting life Posted 33 days ago 6 Photos
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014
  • 140630_HG_ASW_TENNIS_5

    AMY SWEENEY/Staff photos oMadeline Scovotti, an instructor with the Recreation Department, teaches tennis technique to, from left, Liam Hudson, 11, Luke Hudson, 9, Patrick Lavanga, 6, and Bryan Lindsay, 10, all of Haverhill. June 30, 2014

    Getting into the summer swing of things Posted 40 days ago 6 Photos
  • Noah teze

    Courtesy photo/Indiana University, Mike DickberndNoah Vonleh led the Big Ten in rebounding while he played at Indiana University.

    Ready for the BIG time Posted 40 days ago 6 Photos
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014
  • 140628_hg_tje_jamboree_06

    Katelyn Cornacchio, 8, gets ready to throw a baseball at the dunk tank target.

    Celebrating a great season Posted 47 days ago 7 Photos
  • Thursday, June 26, 2014
  • 140620_HG_CRU_RACE_6

    First-place female finisher Ashley Bock of Haverhill and her boyfriend, Patrick Lawlor of Haverhill who took third place overall, spend time together at the finish line.

    Helping make his dream come true Posted 54 days ago 6 Photos

Sports News
Photos of the Week