Sports Slants - May, 1951
Sometimes it's a pleasure to take our minds off the major league clubs, especially after a week end like the one just endured by the Red Sox and Braves, and look at a high school club. There where the kids play just for the love of playing and a youngster will hustle until his legs fall off even if he doesn't have much natural ability.
Usually a high school club is a contender because it has an outstanding pitcher or a couple of youngsters in the lineup who can knock the cover off the ball. It's rarely you find a schoolboy club that is "loaded" all the way down the line such as the one put out by St. Raphael this season. If the club has one weak spot it hasn't shown up.
Even Coach Barney Garrity thinks it's a "good club" and when you get a coach who's high on his boys during a hot campaign, the club really has something. Barney sums it up this way, "If we can beat Colt, I think we can go all the way." The "if" part could have been omitted, inasmuch as St. Raphael has already beaten Colt twice decisively.
BARNEY SEES STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
By "all the way," Barney meant winning the state championship. Right now St. Raphael is an odds on favorite to the Eastern DIvision flag and is one of the two unbeaten teams in the state, having racked up a string of nine in a row. La Salle is unbeaten in the CEntral Division with seven straight. It may be poor policy to look ahead to the play-offs, but it doesn't appear too risky with this ball club. Garrity isn't bothered about La Salle, either, but he figures Westerly might be a club to watch.
Barney rates this club as the best he's had in the three years be has been at St. Raphael. The first year he won the Eastern Division and last year just missed. Oddly enough, he lost six players from last year's club. He gives the Twi-High Summer League the credit for taking up the slack, especially for the development of Pitcher Bill Parenteau and Leftfielder Johnny Higgins.
"Higgins didn't get much chance to play before the Twi-High League. He was an understudy to George Lovett at first for two years, but we moved him into the outfield when we lost everybody out there."
SCOUTS INTERESTED IN FOUR PLAYERS
So, because of the Twi-High League Higgins is one of four members of the squad who major league scouts have been looking at the past few weeks. The others are Catcher Chet Hanewich, Second Baseman Bill Kennedy and Lovett. All four are good prospects for organized ball, so much so that Scouts Freddy Maguire of the Red Sox and Frankie Seyboth of the Pirates have shown unusual interest in St. Raphael games.
Higgins doesn't hit the ball as far as Hanewich, Kennedy and Lovett, but he still has plenty of class. Kennedy and Lovett both are topping the .400 mark, while Hanewich, a big strapping lad and the kind of catcher major league clubs like, and Higgins are not far off that mark.
Paul Fiore, a pitcher, also would be in that group but for the fact that he's only a sophomore. That's hard to believe becuse the lad has such tremendous poise on the mound. Garrity started him out in relief and then started him against Colt last week in the "big game" and the youngster promptly shackled Colt with three hits. He should be quite a flinger by the time his senior year rolls around.
There are a few other lads on the ball club, too, all of whom have had a share in breaking up one game or another, George Agostini at short, Ray Killeen at third, Ralph D'Ambra in center, Roy Guarino in right, and Dick McCaughey, a pitcher. Garrity considers Killeen one of the most under-rated third basemen in the Interscholastic League.
Garrity's immediate concern, however, is not the play-offs, which don't get under way until June 11, but the five league games still confronting the team. It may be they will give him a few sleepless nights, but if they do it'll be because he's an extremely light sleeper.
- Headlines and story from unidentified newspaper clipping, May 1951