Old Rochester Regional High School’s boys tennis was able to make yet another deep run into state tournament play. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it was once again cut short. This time, third-seeded ORR ran into No. 2 Martha’s Vineyard in the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional semifinals and lost 3-2 to the Vineyarders. Had the Bulldogs won, they would have gotten a shot at their longtime rival No. 1 Dover-Sherborn – who lost to Martha’s Vineyard by the same 3-2 score in the Div. 3 South Sectional Finals.
Although ORR would have liked another crack at Dover-Sherborn, the Bulldogs were far from disappointed with their loss to Martha’s Vineyard.
“Our goals from Day 1 were to win the [South Coast Conference] and lose to a team that was better than us,” ORR coach Mike Beson said. “For the third year in a row, we went undefeated in the SCC and I think the Vineyard was better than us. On our best day, we probably could have beaten them. But if we played them multiple times, they would have won more times.”
The Bulldogs had a win from first singles and second doubles. The doubles pair of Emmett McQuadeand Marc Pothierwas quick and efficient, winning their match 6-1, 6-0. Although ORR lost the match as a team in Ray Williams’final game of his high school career, the senior was able to pull off a win in the first singles matchup. After falling behind 1-0 once he lost the first set 6-2, Williams rallied to win the second 6-4 and the third 10-2.
“Ray played how you want to play your last varsity match,” Beson said.
The Bulldogs ended their season with an 18-2 record. ORR graduates five players from its roster: Williams, second singles Geoffrey Noonan, Sam Wiggin(half of the first double team), Ian Friedrichs, and Justin Smith.
Marion native and Tabor alum PJ Poulincontinues to grow within the Colorado Rockies organization. The soon-to-be 23-year-old right-hander has now made 29 appearances for the Class A Asheville Tourists and has a 2.62 ERA with 34 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 34 1/3 innings.
This is Poulin’s second year playing baseball professionally, though he played at the Class A Short Season level last year, joining the Rockies organization after his final season playing for the UConn Huskies. With the jump in levels comes a jump in opposing talent, but Poulin fully expected that to be the case.
“Every level you jump up the talent is going to get better,” Poulin said. “The players are always going to get better the more you climb and I got to get better myself. The biggest adjustment this year, for me, has been the slider, in terms of my pitch repertoire. I worked a lot on that in the off-season and that’s helped me a lot with getting hitters out this year.”
Part of Poulin’s plan to combat tougher opposing hitters was refining his breaking ball. The righty already had the 90-92 mile-per-hour fastball that he relied on, along with the splitter he has featured almost as long as he’s pitched.
“The biggest thing was in college I threw [the slider] a lot slower than I do now. So it wasn’t as effective because it was more readable out of the hand,” Poulin said. “It was a little loopier and not as hard and sharp. The reason for that was I was spiking in, almost like a spiked curveball. But because of my arm slot it (moved like) a slider. So I un-spiked it and from that, in itself, I’ve been able to throw it a lot harder – like three, four, five miles an hour harder. So it’s harder and sharper, so it’s a lot more effective against hitters off of my fastball.”
As the season continues to progress, Poulin continues to improve all-around. After posting a 3.75 ERA in April, he had a 1.88 in May and is currently sporting a 2.25 midway through June.
High School Sports Update
By Nick Friar