Nifty 50 for ageless Mickey as Babe Ruth coach
MANCHESTER - After 50 years of coaching Babe Ruth baseball, Mickey Hanagan doesn't show any signs of slowing down.
Hanagan's Tom Woodlock All-Stars defeated Hampton in the late game of the New England Regional Babe Ruth Tournament at Gill Stadium Saturday night, 11-0. In earlier action Saturday, Bennington, Vt. beat Central Maine, 9-5, Plymouth, Mass. beat Cranston, R.I., 6-3, and Waterford, Conn. defeated Pittsfield, Mass., 8-3.
Action in the double elimination tourney continues today at 10 a.m. when Cranston plays Pittsfield. At 1 p.m., Central Maine faces Hampton. The 4 p.m. game pits Waterford against Plymouth and the 7 p.m. game features Bennington taking on the Woodlocks.
Hanagan said he likes the chances for his Woodlock team and that he's still having fun at age 74."I love what I do. I started in 1968 coaching CYO baseball, so it's actually 55 years," Hannigan said. "I still enjoy it. It's a lot of fun."
Hanagan said that it's become tougher to coach the players in this modern age because of the distractions of video games and social media as well as the competition from other sports pulling players away.
He still looks back fondly on all of his players, even if he can't remember their names right away.
"It's a lot of kids," Hannigan said. "They'll come up and say hi and I don't remember the names, but when they tell me I can tell them what position they played."
And he'll never forget the World Series championship team of 1976 with future MLB player Mike LaValliere and several other standouts.
"When we won it in 1976 with Mike LaValliere and Chris LaRose, Dave Roy, those were good players and a real good team," Hannigan said.
Hannigan's legacy in Manchester is secure, but his reach goes far beyond the Queen City.
"It's unbelievable. Even on the Seacoast, everyone knows his name around Babe Ruth circles. It's a pleasure and an honor to coach on the same field with Mickey," said Hampton head coach Larry Forsley. "He may be 50 years in the league, but he still does the same thing with these kids and the reason they're so successful is because of him."
Hanagan said retirement hasn't crossed his mind yet.
"I haven't even thought about it. I'm pretty healthy," He said. "I love it."Waterford 8, Pittsfield 3: Waterford scored two in the first inning and four more in the second to get out to an early lead that proved to be more than enough. Pitcher Jake Gannon gave up just one hit through five innings to earn the win.
Corey Condolerino singled and Dan Castelpoggi hit a home run into the left field bullpen to give Waterford a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Condolerino (RBI) and Chase Speller (two-run double) sparked the four runs in the second for Waterford. Condolerino went 3-for-4 on the day to lead Waterford, which added single runs in the fifth and sixth.
Pittsfield got a single run in the fifth and two more in the seventh, but could not complete the comeback. Ty Bramer led Pittsfield with an RBI double.
Plymouth 6, Cranston 3 (8 innings): Kyle Caraher had a sacrifice RBI in the top of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie for Plymouth. Nick Curran (double), Cam Drew (single) and Nick Lloyd (walk) all reached to open the eighth and an error allowed one run home.
The first four innings played out scoreless before Plymouth scored three in the top of the fifth only to have Cranston tie the game with three of its own in the bottom of the sixth. Drew went 4-for-4 with an RBI and run scored to lead Plymouth. Collin Geshkoff (RBI single) led Cranston.
Bennington 9, Central Maine 5: Bennington scored in bunches to out-slug Central Maine in the first game of the day. Bennington scored three runs in the third and five in the fifth, adding one more for good measure in the sixth.
Carter Bentley (2-for-3, run scored), Austin Condo (2-for-3, three runs, RBI) and Brian Grace (2-for-3, run, RBI) led the Bennington offense. Central Maine led 2-0 after two innings but could not keep up. Connor Garland (2-for-4, two RBIs) and Nathan Violette (2-for-3, run scored) paced Central Maine.