The W-H boys’ soccer team is holding a bottle/can drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, July 22 to raise funds in support of the soccer program. Please help by bringing your empty bottles and cans to the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School (front entrance on Franklin Street).
HANSON — The Board of Selectmen is seeking three Hanson residents to serve as at-large members of the Maquan School Transition Committee. Those interested in helping determine the future of the elementary school building, being closed as a school and returned to the town at the end of the 2017-18 school year should apply to the Selectmen’s office as soon as possible.
Town Administrator Michael McCue told the board on July 11 he has been in contact with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ruth Gilbert-Whitner as well as School Committee Chairman Bob Hayes to appoint a Hanson representative to the committee.
While the School Committee is not scheduled to meet in July, Hayes said he will reach out to Hanson members to determine who is willing to serve on the panel.
“They’ve also indicated that members of staff, as needed, will be made available to us as we go forward,” McCue said.
Selectmen Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett, who has been selected to represent the Hanson Board of Selectmen on the Maquan Committee, also noted that a “litany” of other residents have also been mentioned as possibly being asked to serve the committee in an advisory capacity.
FitzGerald-Kemmett said she wants to see the committee in place and ready to go to work by late August or early September at the latest.
“I don’t want to get dramatic about this, but it is a rather large-scale project and it’s a lot to look at in a fairly condensed timeline,” she said. “The number of people impacted [is large and there is] the anxiety level around it for a lot of people with little people that want to know what’s going on — the schools will obviously handle a lot of communication with folks around the physical transition of their little guys. But I would like to get our conversations going just about as soon as we hear from the school Committee on who they’ve got.”
McCue said he shared that concern and noted that the only difficulty would be in attracting the at-large members from town.
McCue is also aiming to convene a workshop meeting of some of the members of the Memorial Field Trustees, the Thomas Mill Committee, the Parks and Fields Committee and the Recreation Commission regarding committee consolidation as soon as he can arrange a date that works for all parties, preferably in early August.
“What we’re trying to do is look at efficient use of limited resources and take a fresh look at whether [some of] these committees are needed or whether they’re a little redundant and maybe another committee can pick up a few tasks without being unduly burdened,” FitzGerald-Kemmett said.
Selectmen also devoted more discussion to their goals for the year as Selectman James Hickey noted his wish to stress conclusion of the situation at the former Plymouth County Hospital site, perhaps citing a solar panel installation either there or at the transfer station as well as finding a location for a cell tower in town.
“Cell phone reception in Hanson is the worst,” he said.
FitzGerald-Kemmett and McGahan have already submitted lists to McCue.
“I want to make sure each member of the Board of Selectmen knows that I certainly want to welcome any items — any other input,” McCue said. “My hope is that, at the next meeting, I would have a formalized list I could present to the selectmen and we could all come to an agreement that this is what the board as a whole wishes to move forward on.”
McCue also noted that the state has given little guidance on the subject of marijuana bylaws, adding “we need to get in line so that we have some sort of bylaws on the books in October [when the special Town Meeting is the town’s next bite at the apple] in terms of regulating retail marijuana.”
He has already begun discussing the issue with the town planner and health agent, but noted Selectmen should also be involved and added that the current recommendation include with the present overlay district for medical marijuana — in a section of the industrial park toward East Bridgewater — a location for any retail establishment.
He cautioned, however, against bylaw that would contradict the state “once they get their act together.”
WHITMAN — A public hearing on the status of the alcoholic beverage license issued to O’Toole’s pub, already delayed by legal negotiations, has been again rescheduled — this time, officials say, for the final time. The matter will be on the agenda for the Tuesday, Aug. 15 selectmen’s meeting.
Whitman Selectmen were scheduled to conduct a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, July 18 about the license at the 24 Raynor Ave. business following police investigations of disturbances at the pub, but Town Administrator Frank Lynam noted that he communicated with town counsel last week to confirm the plan to move forward. On Monday afternoon, however, after an email had been forwarded to O’Toole’s lawyer to confirm that all legal hurdles were cleared, that attorney requested additional information from the town.
“We responded and are providing them with copies of a recording and other items that are being requested,” Lynam said. “That will go out [Wednesday, July 19]. The hearing will be scheduled for Aug. 15 and it will occur.”
He said it was the third postponement of the hearing.
Lynam also noted that — after Assistant Town Administrator Lisa Green had announced last month that the town had received a $197,000 green communities grant for boiler replacement at the Fire Department and Library as well as an energy management system for the Library — the approved grant amounts were reduced by the calculation of expected energy savings from the new boilers.
That means funds will have to be used from the Fire Department revenue account for that boiler. At the Library, a $17,050 request to make up the difference in the $80,000 worth of improvements to the Library ran into a snag. Director Andrea Rounds has told Lynam she does not want to use available trust fund money for the work.
“Frankly, we don’t have the money available to make up the difference right now,” he said. “I guess we’ll be having a discussion in August and either the additional money will be available or we’re going to have to pass on that opportunity for the boiler and energy system.”
“That’s a lot of capital to pass over,” Selectmen Chairman Dr. Carl Kowalski said.
Lynam also noted the town, via the Library, had received $300,000 in a bequest from a patron for things other than library operating expenses.
The current boiler is original to the 1988 construction of the Library building.
“So, we’ll have a boiler that’s worth about $30,000 or $40,000 that we only have to pay $17,000 for — why wouldn’t we do that?” Selectman Dan Salvucci said.
“That’s a question we’ll have to ask,” Lynam said.
Salvucci also reminded motorists using side streets as detours during a DPW paving project on School Street to drive slowly.
“If you’re detoured on a secondary street, watch your speed, there’s lots of kids playing,” he said.
In other business, the board voted 3-0 to appoint Laura L. Howe to the post of primary animal control officer — on an on-call basis from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and Mary A. Drake as secondary animal control officer, pending both women’s completion of mandatory hiring processes. Selectmen Randy LaMattina and Scott Lambiase were absent.
“Laura has expressed great interest in serving the community in this capacity,” Lynam said.
Nita Sault was appointed to a vacancy on the Whitman Cultural Council. Both Howe and Sault had run for seats on the board of Selectmen in the May annual Town Elections and had expressed interest in further involvement in town activities after their campaigns fell short.
Selectmen approved a resolution to authorize the signing of a lease-purchase agreement for a sidewalk plow as supported by voters at the May 1 Town Meeting.
Lynam explained that, in order to complete the lease-purchase agreement, there are documents to be signed on behalf of the board.
Selectmen also approved a Class II auto dealer’s license for Ricardo Miranda Filho for his business RT Auto Sales & Repair at 288 Essex St.
The building inspector had no concerns about the application, provided the business removes all inoperable vehicles from the premises and that cars are displayed according to the site plan.
“I will try to make the place better,” Filho said in brief remarks to the board after their vote. “We’ll put nice signs there, better cars there, and keep it clean.”
Selectman Brian Bezanson lauded the Recreation Commission for the annual Fourth of July Family Field Day program.
“They do a great job and they’re giving up their holiday to do it,” he said. “I want to thank all the volunteers.”
HANOVER — Faced with the need for expansion to accommodate new educational standards and increasing enrollment — and having been passed over twice in recent years for MSBA funding — South Shore Regional Vocational Educational Technical High School is preparing to make the argument to go ahead with the work on its own.
“We want to serve the communities and the taxpayers who are sending their students here, certainly, but the status quo isn’t good enough anymore,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Thomas J. Hickey. “Knowing what we want and asking once is important.”
That means preparing information to present to member communities illustrating the need for expansion, as well as how it can be done, with or without borrowing funds, to accomplish all the goals.
On Thursday, July 13 members of the SSVT Regional School Committee’s Capital Projects Subcommittee met to discuss that work, with the issue slated to go before the full committee on Wednesday, July 19.
“The Capital Projects Subcommittee is a logical place to start in terms of determining what steps we might take,” Hickey said. “A well-documented plan is expected to address that across the board.”
The aim is development of a master facilities plan encompassing the relative health of the building, such as Tri-County Vocational in Wakefield produced last year. Hickey supplied copies to the subcommittee for reference.
“We all know the motivation for the discussion — increased enrollment, increased demand — the building is not getting any younger,” Hickey said. “We know we need more space, what’s inside the space we have needs to be modernized, and there’s no guarantee that we’re going to get any support from the [Mass. School Building Authority] MSBA.”
The state funding agency has limited funds and an increasing number of applicants, some with more acute need. SSVT’s stabilization fund allows the school to plan and present an adequate argument to the member towns.
Possible out-buildings in which to place shops to free up space for other purposed in the main building are an option. Such self-contained buildings that are affordable within a budget year, are about 6,000 square feet are the type of project that the school can fund on its own in a single budget year. That size is considered helpful, but is not likely to be a lot in “the world of vocational shop space,” Hickey said.
The school, surrounded by wetlands does not have a lot of buildable space available and it uses a septic system because sewerage is not available.
Larger projects, perhaps a larger one that can be funded through borrowing or through a “deeper part of the stabilization fund, something that we could not have our kids in their shops do” are also possible.
“There’s not a whole lot that our kids can’t do,” said committee member Robert Mahoney of Rockland. He noted that the panel is not looking for the funding for a $100,000 feasibility study or a $6 million building. “We’re coming [to towns] for X-amount of dollars to buy eight out-buildings that’s going to be very minimal to bring us up to where we need to be.”
Septic capacity should also be included in any feasibility study in case an expansion project triggers the need for adding a wastewater treatment facility for the school, Hickey advised. Septic capacity hinges on the demand and number of fixtures in the building.
When the new wing was completed in 1993 there were 460 students at SSVT with 650 expected as of the 2017-18 school year.
Hickey said that, while enrollment in sending towns is trending down, SSVT’s enrollment for those towns is holding steady — with out-of-disctrict enrollments increasing.
“We’ve got to stop what we’re doing,” Cohasset member Kenneth Thayer said “We’ve got to expand the building, get the building up to snuff. Students should be able to come in and go to school here. We want to add to it.”
He forecast that the new horticulture/landscaping and plumbing programs will be very popular, necessitating new space. He advocated that, if five out-buildings can be constructed, it may be cheaper to do now than “down the road.”
Hickey said, given present space constraints, the horticulture program may have to limit its first class to about 12 students. Building toward 50 by the time those freshmen graduate.
“Other then metal fabrication-welding, every shop has a footprint that is smaller than the Department of Education’s recommended square footage,” he said. Metal fabrication used to share space with industrial technology, which was discontinued 15 years ago.
The autobody shop is also being required to expand with another, enclosed, bay for welding aluminum. Certification for the program will hinge on that.
“It’s not a crisis right now, but NATEF [National Automotive Technician’s Education Foundation] has told us that, when we come back in 2020 or 2021, we won’t be able to certify the program if the existing footprint does not contain a segregated area for aluminum work,” Hickey said. “It’s that the industry is doing more aluminum work, and if you do regular collision repair work, and aluminum work, it could contaminate equipment.”
There was some good news on the feasibility study front, however.
Hickey said the school has an advantage in that it has local people who know construction and know the building well. Engineering firms would spend time obtaining that information.
“If you ask me what programs are most limiting with their space, I’m going to tell you it’s the ones that are over-subscribed and it is not safe to have the ratios,” he said. “We’re going to talk about the heavy-equipment programs.”
Mahoney wants to see out-buildings used to accommodate present students, rather than using them to attract more at this point. Weight, ceiling height requirements and MSBA time limitations following previous roof projects limit options for adding another floor to the school.
“The good news is we have the capacity to look into this,” Hickey said.
If it’s true that once you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door, then Whitman and Hanson students taking part in the summer 3-D Printer Camp at WHRSD should perhaps start preparing to greet their global partners.
Any successful product starts with a solid design.
“There’s so many things we can do with this,” W-H Business and Technology Education teacher Julie Giglia said July 10 on the first day of the second camp session. “Why are we starting with a smaller project? Before we can print anything, we’ve got to know how to design and baby steps lead to bigger steps and practice makes potential.”
The three four-day camps taught by Giglia — and assisted this summer by 2017 graduate Conor Keane of Hanson — began June 26 and conclude with a session from July 31 to Aug. 4.
Keane will attend the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester this fall, where he will study architecture. In between helping Giglia answer campers’ questions, Keane also did some work on a design for the dream house he plans to build one day.
“Practice makes potential,” is Giglia’s, teaching mantra. “Nothing’s perfect, unless your name is Perfect.”
The camp was first offered last year following the school’s being awarded a $1,600 Innovation Station grant from representatives of Otter Products on behalf of its Otter Cares Foundation in September 2015. The grant made the school’s 3-D printer purchase possible and that technology upgrade led to the idea for the camp.
“I think a lot of people are excited with new technology,” Giglia said July 10. “It’s an opportunity for kids to design and make things from scratch — from inception all the way to a prototype.”
Like any summer camp, the 3-D Printer Camp begins with an ice-breaking session so the half-dozen or so participants can get to know each other. Then they watched a video on how the computer-aided drafting software works before starting off with a practice session on drafting dog house with a design by Google SketchUp via 3DVinci.net.
The week culminates on a Thursday afternoon with an open house for the campers’ families from 2 to 3 p.m.
“Sometimes videos put us all to sleep,” Giglia said, interrupting the program to start some practical work on a simple doghouse design to familiarize the students with the software. “We’re starting easy because we build on our knowledge.We can’t just go out and print before we learn how to design. … We learn best when we see things.”
“Before you can be independent, you’ve got to learn to be non-independent,” Keane added.
This writer will admit that the campers, ages 10 to 15, left me in the dust as they mastered the basics before adding extras, such as windows, colors, roofing materials and exterior fencing, while I was struggling with the initial dimensions.
Campers learned the need to follow three axis points to arrive at a three-dimensional drawing. As Giglia offered instructions at the white board, Keane offered individual help where needed.
“This is ‘camping is fun’” Giglia said. “Some people learn at different levels. Don’t compare yourself to Conor, he’s much more advanced.”
One or two campers had made the mistake of recording their doghouse dimensions as inches instead of feet, but their errors paled in relation to their creativity. They also learned about the software’s version of the Cloud storage system — called the Warehouse —as well as how to file their work in folders, the value of the undo key and of saving their work frequently lest computer crashes cost them a lot of work. Work in the Warehouse may be downloaded for incorporation in new projects, including landscape features.
Keane also offered a couple shortcuts to ensure straight lines and angles, too.
By the end of the camp, participants would be able to create items such as rings and key chains from biodegradable plastic filament specifically manufactured for use in 3-D printers, and from which student designs can be reproduced in plastic models. The filament, which can be made from recycled plastic bottle caps, is fed into the printer in order to create prototypes.
“Anything you can use to recycle is a positive thing” she said. “I think kids come away pretty happy.”
The campers can also use virtual reality visors for fun as well as design challenges at the camp sessions.
Giglia, who has taught CAD for seven years at WHRHS, said the camp also fosters an interest in that subject.
HANSON — The Recreation Commission heard updates on more than two dozen issues and upcoming projects from Director Marybeth MacKay two weeks after she narrowly avoided being dismissed from her job over alleged performance concerns. The commission also heard a presentation from an ADT Security Services representative on improving alarm and camera coverage at Camp Kiwanee.
A 3-3 vote on June 26 — one member was unable to attend — taken during an open session, provided MacKay with the opportunity to meet in the days since with Town Administrator Michael McCue and commission members from both sides of the vote to discuss concerns aired at that meeting.
“I plan to continue to assist the Recreation Commission and staff in every appropriate way to ensure the continued and future success of Camp Kiwanee,” McCue said in a statement Tuesday morning.
MacKay had reportedly requested the open session in order to defend herself publicly against any statements that might be made about her. A second vote to re-evaluate MacKay’s performance in September also failed by the same tie vote, according to a Facebook post about the meeting.
Minutes of the meeting have not yet been posted on the town website. There was no mention of that meeting’s business at the July 10 session in which MacKay was asked for progress reports on — among other items — caretaker job descriptions, computer software updates, employee packet and key dispersal updates as well as reports on the status of the Gatehouse and alarm procedures. She also presented information on upcoming wildlife programs for children that were approved by the commission.
ADT Territory Manager Suzy McPherson, whose job includes sales of systems to small businesses, gave a presentation on the alarm system upgrades the commission is seeking.
“I met with Marybeth and we had an extensive conversation,” McPherson said. “I understand you have an alarm and camera system here and that you want to have the ability to change the code.”
The commission is concerned with controlling access to Needles Lodge as well as exterior building security, an issue with both the key dispersal and alarm system protocols.
“I kind of think it’s a user issue and something easy, that you don’t need to spend money on,” McPherson said, noting that statement might seem counter to her job as a sales representative.
She said the problem is that anytime the alarm access code needs to be changed —as most businesses do anytime an employee leaves, voluntarily or by dismissal — the alarm company or Police Chief Michael Miksch must be contacted because they are the only ones with the master code.
The master code allows home or business owners to delete and add user codes, McPherson said, adding that even ADT doesn’t want to know the master code because of the liability. Instead, they walk clients through the process of accessing it or send a technician out if a home or business owner forgets it.
“I don’t understand how, because I deal with some municipalities, why don’t you want to know who’s coming and going,” she said of what is known as a pulse system. “If [an employee] wants to hang out with his buddies, if he comes in at 9 p.m. and puts in his code, there can be a record established.”
She said the universal use of one code presents a big liability for the town, but did not “want to throw a price at you if you don’t need it.”
Former Selectman Bill Scott, who attended the meeting, said he is also concerned about the police chief being the one in possession of the master code.
“Personally, I don’t want anyone’s code and I don’t know why our police chief has it,” said Scott, who is also a retired police chief. “He should not have it. Their job is to be objective and respond to any criminal violations.”
While stressing he was not criticizing Miksch in particular, Scott maintained that, “He should have no right to change any alarm in this building. Why that was done in the past, I don’t know.”
Miksch said Tuesday night he does not have, nor would he want, the master code to the alarm system. He said he has the codes for surveillance cameras, but doesn’t want that information, either.
If the commission decided to switch to ADT, McPherson said they would switch out the keypad, the cell communicator in case phone lines go down and the panel.
The process for issuing keys at Camp Kiwanee is also being changed, but there are more bugs to be worked out.
Keys have been issued with engraved IDs in sets numbered 1 to 10 for each of the staff members and letters on the reverse to identify what they are used for at the Camp, MacKay said.
“I’ve got a list of what key everybody has,” she said. “So, if people find a set of keys sitting out in the campground, I can say, ‘Number 7 are Bill’s keys and are there any missing? He signed out for seven keys and here they all are.’”
Chairman Annmarie Bouzan asked how copies are controlled. The new job description covers that issue under the heading “unauthorized use,” which are grounds for dismissal.
HANSON — Police Chief Michael Miksch is preparing to offer an assessment center for sergeants in his department as part of the search for a new lieutenant — a position that has been vacant for about a year and a half.
“I would like to fill that position again,” Miksch said. “It’s needed. The way I would like to fill it is through an assessment center.”
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, July 11 voted to approve Town Administrator Michael McCue’s recommendation to contract with Integrity Testing to administer the assessment center. Selectmen also approved the qualifications Miksch had drawn up for consideration for promotion to lieutenant.
McCue made the recommendation based on their program and as the low-bidder for the testing.
Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett asked if McCue and/or Miksch had “kicked the tires” on Integrity.
“They have quite a lengthy resume,” McCue said. “We’ve done that sort of search.” Miksch said he had no objections to that firm.
Miksch himself was hired through the town’s work with BadgeQuest on an assessment center. Evaluators would be captain level or above, and likely would include chiefs or deputy chiefs.
Miksch said he was partial to BadgeQuest, which was the assessment center he went through, but had no objection to Integrity Testing as he had placed it close behind BadgeQuest in his ranking of the five bidding assessment companies. Hanson Police Department also used a BadgeQuest assessment center for its last sergeant’s exam, promoting three off that list.
“It’s not your typical, multiple-choice Civil Service exam, although Civil Service does recognize assessment centers now,” Miksch said. “Being non-Civil Service, we can determine how we want to do promotions.”
The process combines a written portion, often as a report, following a practical exercise. No dates have been set for the assessment center yet.
“I like the assessment centers because they test the individual’s abilities, knowledge and skills,” Miksch said. “You either know something or you don’t. There’s no guessing if it’s A, B, C or D — you have to put out and produce.”
While all five Hanson Police Department sergeants will be welcome to take the assessment, only two meet the criteria required for advancement to lieutenant right now. For the others, it is a chance to go on the list at their three-year mark and to enable them to move on if they wish to take another opportunity.
To qualify for consideration for the lieutenant’s position, applicants must have three years of employment as a full-time Hanson Police sergeant. Tie scores will be broken by seniority and the score list will be active for two years and points will be given for advanced degrees, seniority and veteran’s status. A one-year probationary period is also included.
“Who would know more about the position you wanted to fill than you?” Selectman Jim Hickey said. “I think it’s a formality that we’re doing this.”
Credit where due
Miksch also took the opportunity Tuesday night to credit the officers and detectives who worked two recent theft cases, as well as those who are working to control the opioid overdose problem in town.
Hanson officers working the case of an armed robbery attempt at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Liberty Street June 14 were Sgt. Eugene Andrews and officers Marc Vigneau, Dan Godwin, Jared Meegan and Brent Peterson.
“This was the third time we’ve had a robbery or an armed robbery in the area,” Miksch said noting past incidents at Mutual Federal and Rockland Trust banks. “These [officers] have it down to a science. They go in, do a very good job of working together — knowing who has what cameras — they know the town, they know the businesses and the people, and they wrap up some of these things fairly quickly.”
Meegan was singled out for his observations of the would-be robbery suspect’s behavior and description earlier in the evening at Shaw’s supermarket, which proved invaluable to making an arrest, Miksch said. Meegan was a member of the Wellfleet Police Department before coming to Hanson three years ago.
“The officers did an outstanding job,” Miksch said. “The most notable one would be officer Meegan. … On his normal patrol earlier in the evening, he saw a vehicle with a male and a female in it that just didn’t sit right with him.”
Meegan then remained at the Shaw’s lot and ran the vehicle’s license plate, which came back to some Quincy residents. Other officers investigating the Dunkin Donuts incident — gathering surveillance camera footage from area businesses — noticing that one suspect was wearing the same pair of distinctive shorts Meegan had described as worn by the male at the Shaw’s incident.
“That was a big key for this,” Miksch said. “For us, a lot of things — one might say — is dumb luck, but I think sometimes you make your luck. In this case, they did.”
Detective Paul O’Brien worked to secure arrest warrants, two of which were from Norfolk County for Quincy evidence, which also helped Quincy Police clear three armed robberies, Miksch said. Abington is now looking at two others.
While the officers were in Quincy on June 16, Officer Elisha Sullivan and Sgt. Michael Bearce took a call for the breaking and entering of a vehicle at Shaw’s.
“They got some great information from a witness,” Miksch said. “The dispatcher David Munn did some great work putting a broadcast out very quickly. The Whitman Police stopped them at the CVS on Bedford Street.”
The Hanson victim’s property, as well as property from a number of other thefts, was recovered. Sgt. Peter Calogero also became involved in the case, working to obtain search warrants based on forensic evidence from cell phones and is working to return property.
“There was some great stuff in a two-day period that these guys did,” Miksch said.
In addition to carrying Narcan to deal with opioid overdoses, Hanson officers have also been working within the limitations of legal restrictions imposed on narcotic evidence at overdose calls to arrest drug dealers.
Miksch said funding from Plymouth County DA Timothy Cruz’s office and the Sheriff’s Department have established a database to track incidents of overdoses as well as providing information to officers to “work our way up the supply chain” and make arrests of dealers.
Hanson officers are also working with groups such as East Bridewater HOPE and the Outreach Program in Carver and surrounding communities — which have since merged their efforts. The goal is to have an officer and a counselor show up at an overdose victim’s home within 24 hours to provide treatment information and a bed at a rehab facility.
Over the past 10 years, an average of two people a year reporting Hanson as their last address, died from opioid overdoses, based on statistics from Whitman-Hanson WILL. Since then, the number of reversals — people that have been saved — have increased thanks to the counseling programs.
“We’ve been doing a lot,” Miksch said. “You don’t see it … but detective O’Brien and officer Sullivan are my two outreach people right now. Every city and town in Plymouth County is involved in adding information to this database.”
Who doesn’t love baseball?
From the state tournament qualifying high school team in the spring to the American Legion squads battling for a spot in the postseason right now, Whitman is filled with action on the diamond all year. However, many forget about the other boys of the summer. That is the Whitman Nationals.
Led by general manager Conor McDonough, the Nationals are located smack in the middle of a Cranberry League that features eight teams ranging from Bourne to Quincy.
Founded in 1960, the Cranberry League features some of the top talent in the Massachusetts from college athletes to former collegiate standouts.
For the Nationals (0-17), who kicked off their season May 21 with a doubleheader against the Canton A’s, it has been a rough few months as they sit in search of their first win of the year.
However, there have been a handful of solid performances on the field for Whitman.
On the mound, Jared Silva leads the Nationals with 16.1 innings pitched, in which he has gone 0-2 with a 2.14 ERA. He has struck out 15 batters and surrendered just six walks and 21 hits.
At the plate, Jose Collazo boasts a team-best .423 on base percentage and is slugging .500. Ben Carney leads the club in hits with nine in 17 games.
Whitman will hope to get on track Sunday, July 9, as it travels to Quincy for a doubleheader with the Phillies. Game times are set for 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
WHITMAN — After the final out was recorded and the handshakes finished, the Whitman Post 22 Senior Legion team gathered in left field as per usual. There was one man who was the center of head coach Todd DeCouto’s congratulatory speech over a 5-4 win against Brockton Post 35 Sunday, and that was John Murphy, and rightfully so.
The right-hander hurled a complete game and simply dazzled the Brockton bats all evening – recording 10 strikeouts and surrendering four hits en route to the victory.
“We came out to play today,” DeCouto said. “Johnny has been our go-to guy on the mound, so I was expecting a good game from him, which we got. When the curveball is working, he is really almost unhittable.”
Thanks to a pair of two-run innings, Post 22 was able to go up 4-0 early and they never looked back in a pivotal bout with playoff implications on the line.
After Murphy was able to strand two Brockton runners on base in the top of the first, Whitman gave him some support. A quick Nick Spyropoulos single that cracked the hole between shortstop and third base got the inning going and he was sent home two batters later when James Dolan reached on an error to put Post 22 up 1-0.
After a Brett Spano double play pushed Tim DeCouto, who was on base via a hit by pitch, over to third base, Ryan Sawtelle knocked him in to make it 2-0.
James Dolan would begin the bottom half third inning with a rocket to left field for a double. Spano then would reach second courtesy of an error to knock in Dolan and make it 3-0.
The next batter, Sawtelle, would continue his monster game with a double to plate Spano and extend the Post 22 lead to 4-0.
After a scoreless fourth inning from both squads, Murphy would get Post 35 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth, in what was the quickest half inning of the game.
In the bottom half of the frame, Spano got the action going with a line-drive single to right field, and he was sent home on a Sawtelle poke to left field, pushing Post 22 up 5-0.
“He’s been huge for us,” DeCouto said of Sawtelle. “He’s had a lot of big hits for us this year.”
However, Brockton would not go easy as Post 35 was finally able to get to Murphy with four runs, on three hits, in the top of the sixth inning to slice its deficit to 5-4.
Murphy would return to the hill for the top of the seventh, after Post 22 was unable to get anything cooking in the bottom of the sixth, and he was able to work around a two-out single to close out a 5-4 Whitman win.
Sawtelle led Post 22 on offense with three hits and two runs batted in as Caleb Burke chipped in two hits.
“He’s been huge for us,” DeCouto said. “He’s had a lot of big hits for us all year.”
The victory moved Whitman to 6-9-1 and Brockton fell to 5-12.
Post 22 sits in the ninth spot, one point behind Rockland Post 147 (7-8), in the Senior Legion standings in a league that the top eight make the playoffs.
Whitman will be back on the field at home against Pembroke Post 143 (12-4) Friday, July 7, at 5:45 p.m.
“That should be a good game,” DeCouto said. “We beat them the first time around, and there at the top of the standings, so it’ll be good to see them here.”