, Newburyport, MA


January 9, 2014

Sports in a minute


Family Affair

A look at the banner in the Pentucket Regional High gym honoring the school’s 1,000-point scorers in basketball shows a fun fact. Of the five players that have reached the scoring milestone, there are two pairs of siblings — school all-time leading scorer Ashley Viselli (1,230) and younger sister Coley Viselli, along with Erin McNamara and boys all-time leader Corey McNamara.

The only exception is the first member of the club, Mike Iola, who reached the mark in 2005. He went on to star at St. Michael’s College. Who is most likely to be the next member of the group? Girls hoops star Kelsi McNamara, Erin and Corey’s little sister.

Betcha didn’t know

Professional wrestling superstar John Cena — from West Newbury — is just two WWE titles away from the all-time record, held by legend Ric Flair. Cena has won 14 world heavyweight titles. If there is any question how seriously wrestling fans take this honor, search for a column on Cena that appeared this week on “Yahoo Sports.”

Pettingell’s mentor

Any Newburyport resident who played baseball under longtime baseball coach Bill Pettingell has certainly heard stories about Walter Hriniak, a former professional baseball player turned hitting instructor who now resides in North Andover. Hriniak preceded Pettingell as a pitcher and shortstop at Natick High, and both players put together careers worthy of induction in the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. Later in life, Hriniak became a hitting coach in the major leagues, teaching the Charley Lau swing to his players. Pettingell then passed along the same offensive philosophy to his players in his 40 years as coach at Newburyport High.

Hriniak received a feather in his cap yesterday when one of his former players, Frank Thomas, received election into this year’s induction class for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thomas was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with Billerica native Tom Glavine and Glavine’s longtime teammate with the Atlanta Braves, Greg Maddux.

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