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Globe West Sports Notebook

Needham's Whalen named top coach

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Marvin Pave
June 8, 2008

Needham native Bob Whalen, head coach at Dartmouth College for 19 seasons, was named coach of the year by the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association. Whalen led Dartmouth to a 25-17 record (15-5 in the Ivy League) and the No. 1 ranking in the region. The Big Green also won its fourth Red Rolfe Division title since 2000 and was runner-up to Columbia for the Ivy League championship.

"You only get these honors when you have a really good team, and I had really good players," said Whalen, a three-sport athlete at Needham High, where he was baseball captain, before playing infield for the University of Maine.

His father, the late Chick Whalen, was the scouting director for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I have great friends in Needham, and my mother, Marian, still lives there," said Whalen, who was also an assistant coach and associate head coach at the University of Maine, a member of the USA Baseball staff, and manager of Chatham's Cape Cod League team.

Framingham grads fuel Curry lacrosse
Framingham High graduates Danielle Denham, Marisa Kenney, and Nikki MacKay (inset) were mainstays on the Curry College women's lacrosse team that finished 11-6 overall this spring. Kenney, a senior defender, was named to the Commonwealth Coast Conference first team and honored as the Colonels' defensive player of the year. She led the conference in draw controls per game.

MacKay, a junior attack, was the team's MVP and a first-team conference selection. She led the Colonels with 63 goals and 43 assists and was tops in the conference in points per game. Denham, a senior defender, was a conference honorable mention selection and received the team's most improved player award. She was also an All-New England goalkeeper for the Curry women's soccer team last fall.

Ash starts strong at St. Michael's
Westborough High grad Marybeth Ash had a strong first season for the women's tennis team at St. Michael's College. Ash compiled a 13-1 record in singles competition this spring, and was named to the Northeast-10 All-Conference second team for sixth singles. She was 14-6 in doubles. Ash's performance helped power St. Michael's to a program-record 15-7 season and the team's first appearance in the NCAA Division 2 tournament. She also had the opportunity to watch her brother Gabe complete his college career for the men's tennis team, which posted the program's first winning season (9-8) in seven years.

"Marybeth had a tremendous first season at St. Michael's," said coach Greg Cluff.

Middlesex gets lift from Sudbury trio
A trio of Sudbury residents, senior left fielder Sam Plunkett, junior right fielder Chris Barry, and junior pitcher Peter Given, helped the Middlesex School's baseball team post its first winning season (9-6) since 2005, and record the most victories by the Concord private school's squad since 2001. Plunkett and Barry started every game for the Zebras, while Given had a win and three saves as closer while averaging a strikeout per inning.

"We were 2-13 last season," said Middlesex coach John Morrissey, "and all three players contributed to our equaling the biggest turnaround in the history of the Independent School League."

Ex-Ashland captain pitches in for Rox
Former Ashland High baseball captain Rich Babb, a 2007 graduate of Emory University, is a rookie with the Brockton Rox of the independent Can-Am League. Babb, who set a school record for wins by a relief pitcher at Emory, has appeared in nine of the team's 13 games, covering 9 2/3 innings, fanning five with three walks. He has compiled a 4.66 earned-run average while limiting hitters to a .200 average. He pitched two scoreless innings in his professional debut May 26 against the visiting Sussex Skyhawks.

"I liked the fact he had been a successful closer in college and that he throws three pitches for strikes," Rox manager Chris Miyake said of his lefty setup man. "He preserved a one-run lead with the wind blowing out in his first game, and that was impressive."

Mount Ida captures fifth straight title
The Mount Ida College men's lacrosse team won its fifth consecutive North Atlantic Conference title and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division 3 tournament, where it played well in an 11-5 loss to nationally ranked Bowdoin.

The Mustangs, coached by Andrew Fink, are unbeaten (37-0) since the Newton school joined the conference.

Diamond-Lenow powers Skidmore
Skidmore College two-year softball captain Sasha Diamond-Lenow, a graduate of Wayland High, finished her collegiate career ranked in the top 10 in several offensive categories for the Thoroughbreds, including second in RBIs (74), total bases (168), doubles (25), and games played (128).

A catcher and first baseman who batted .360 over four seasons, Diamond-Lenow was a multiple Liberty League All-Academic and All-Star selection.

Marvin Pave can be reached at 508-820-4223 or marvin.pave@ rcn.com.

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