Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: Looking back on some things we may have forgotten - but shouldn't have
But here are a few things that some of us might have forgotten about, but shouldn't.
In the 18 seasons that the North Adams SteepleCats have called Joe Wolfe Field home, there have been a number of outstanding college players who have come through the gates. But none had a summer like Jackson Coutts did last summer.
Coutts, who plays at the University of Rhode Island, hit safely in his first 19 games as a SteepleCat. Coutts wasn't just a singles hitter. He hit in the run-producing middle of the North Adams lineup.
"I knew [Coutts] was a good hitter, but I never in my life have the kind of season he's having," said North Adams outfielder Greg Cavaliere, a URI teammate of Coutts'. "It's unbelievable."
Cavaliere, by the way set an NECBL record by going 15-for-15 in stolen bases.
Coutts had multi-hit games in 14 of the 19 games and drove in 18 runs during that time.
"I try to stick with the same approach where I try to see the ball, and just try to get the barrel on it," Coutts said. "It's worked pretty well, so I'll keep sticking with that."
It isn't often that you get to catch up with an Olympic gold medalist. But that's what I did in May.
Kacey Bellamy, who grew up in nearby Westfield but played hockey at Berkshire School in Sheffield, was a member of the U.S. gold-medal winning hockey team.
Jocelyne Lamoureaux-Davidson beat Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados on a move that still has to be seen to be believed. Then U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney stopped Canada's Brianne Jenner and Meghan Acosta to win the gold.
"It felt like such a relief" to kick the door in and get the gold, Bellamy said. "I remember 10 seconds of euphoria going through my body when we figured out we won, when Maddie made that last save. It's so emotional. It's really hard to explain.
"It was 20 years since we won a gold medal, so it was something we were wanting to do for that long."
I remember her first Olympic experience when she played for Mark Johnson and former MCLA goalie Dave Flint. That team did not win a gold medal.
Chris Masdzer spent his first formative years living in Lanesborough before moving to Saranac Lake, N.Y.
Back in 2014, four years before he won a gold medal in luge, he talked to our Brian Sullivan about his goals.
"It may sound a bit selfish, but I'm in this sport for me," Mazdzer said. "I've been doing it for a long time. But yes, I understand I'm representing my country. And if I do medal, I'm sure someone will hand me an American flag and I will gladly wave it."
On a smaller but still important level, he will be waving that flag for his native Berkshire County.
"I was born in Pittsfield," he said, "and I learned how to walk and sled in Lanesborough. I think I've stayed pretty true to my roots."
Checking on our Division I basketball players as 2018 becomes 2019, Lenox's Bailey Patella is starting to see more playing time at the University of Vermont.
The 9-4 Catamounts are hosting Dartmouth on Wednesday.
Patella, a sophomore, did not score, but played 20 minutes in an overtime win against St. Bonaventure, and played 18 minutes in a loss at Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn.
UVM will be in Albany on Jan. 5, for a Saturday night tilt against UAlbany. If you miss that one, UVM will be at the University of Hartford on Feb. 16.
Bryce Daley, a freshman at UMass Lowell will be at Hartford on Jan. 19, and at Albany on Feb. 13. He has played in 12 of 14 games for the 7-7 River Hawks of Pat Duquette, and is averaging 3.2 points per game.
Sometimes, one play stands out among everything you see over the course of 12 months. For me, that one play happened during a Williams College football game.
It happened on Saturday, Sept. 29 in a 21-16 win over Trinity.
With under six minutes left in the third quarter of a game that the Ephs led 14-9, starting quarterback Bobby Maimaron got dinged up and had to come out. In came first-year QB Jackson Bischoping, and he played one — count 'em — one snap. But on that one snap, he threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Frank Stola.
"The first thing that went through my mind is we can take a time out and I can be back in there," Maimaron said that afternoon. "Coach was like, 'No, we're not taking a time out.'
"Then I look up and Frankie's in the end zone from an absolutely beautiful pass from Jackson."
Going into the game, Bischoping had completed 2-of-5 passes for only 25 yards.
"I was ready. I was excited," Bischoping said. "We've been practicing all week for it. I was hoping [Stola] was going to run under it, yes sir, just got to put it out there for him."
Here's hoping that 2019 will have more on, and off-the-radar things to make we in the sports business smile.
Howard Herman can be reached at email@example.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.
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