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TERRY DOYLE

IN NEWS not related to the Super Bowl …

Former Salem High School pitcher Terry Doyle was elevated to head coach of the New England College baseball team last week.

Doyle was an assistant coach for NEC last season, but became the program’s head coach when Chris Shank resigned last Monday, less than a month before NEC is scheduled to open the 2019 season against Framingham State.

“It really came out of nowhere,” Doyle explained. “On Monday our AD (Lou Izzi) said Chris has resigned and asked if I would like to take over. It was a quick ‘yes’ but it was kind of unexpected.”

Doyle, a 33-year-old Manchester resident, pitched for Boston College and spent time in the minor leagues with five MLB organizations: the White Sox, Twins, Red Sox, Orioles and Diamondbacks. He reached Triple-A with the International League’s Norfolk Tides (Baltimore).

Doyle, who led Salem to the Class L championship in his junior season, was selected to the Eastern League All-Star Game in 2015, when he pitched for the Bowie Baysox, Baltimore’s Double-A affiliate. He also pitched professionally in Japan, Mexico and Venezuela

Doyle was drafted by the Dodgers (21st round in 2007) and the White Sox (37th round in 2008).

NEC began practice for the 2019 season last Monday, the day Shank resigned.

“I think it will be a smooth transition because I’ve already been in the program,” Doyle said. “Some of it will be trial by fire, but I think I’m ready to be a head coach and prepared to handle all the (on-field) baseball stuff.

“When I went to college I knew I wanted to coach. I figured I’d be a high school coach and a math teacher. I’m lucky enough to be a head coach now. This is a great opportunity for me.”

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Manchester Central is a team opponents will want to avoid when the NHIAA Division I boys’ basketball tournament arrives. The Little Green (6-5) extended their winning streak to three games by beating Manchester Memorial 68-55 on Friday night. Central lost five of its first eight games, but began the season with only two players who had varsity experience. Central also has a coach in his first year at the school, Sudi Lett, so some early struggles shouldn’t have come as a surprise, especially since the first half of Central’s schedule included games against Spaulding (7-3), Winnacunnet (8-2), Portsmouth (7-4) and Exeter (10-0).

Although it isn’t the most efficient team from the perimeter, Central does rebound and defend, and Lett typically gets his team to play hard for a full 32 minutes. Central also has one of the most underrated players in the state in senior guard Jesus Milan. Central will be a much better team in March than it was in December and January.

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The University of New Hampshire football program is expected to have at least four players sign a national letter of intent Wednesday during National Signing Day: athlete/defensive back Tyrell Wiggins (Roxbury, Mass./Dexter Southfield School), defensive back Jonathan Collins (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown High School), defensive back Zedane Williams (Springfield, Mass./Suffield Academy) and quarterback Burke Griffin (Gig Harbor, Wash./Peninsula High School).

Collins originally committed to UMass, Wiggins had an offer from Maine, Williams also returned kicks for Suffield, and Griffin is a dual-threat QB who led Peninsula in rushing (1,203 yards on 149 carries) and passing (110 of 172 for 1,526 yards) last season. Nine players signed with UNH during the early-signing period in December.

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St. Thomas Aquinas and Dover, teams sitting in the top two spots in the NHIAA Division II boys’ hockey standings, will tangle twice this week (today and Saturday) and both games will be at the Dover Ice Arena.

The Saints (10-1) have won 10 games in a row since opening the season with a 4-3 loss to Keene.

The Green Wave (10-2) won their first nine games before stumbling on the road against Keene (4-3) and Oyster River (4-2), but ended that two-game losing streak by beating Lebanon/Stevens/Mount Royal 4-0 Saturday.

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The Plymouth State University softball team will open its 40-game regular-season schedule in Florida, where it will play 12 games in seven days (March 8-14). The Panthers, who have a roster heavy with New Hampshire residents, have won the last two Little East Conference championships, but have lost in the LEC tournament championship game in 2017 and 2018.

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Registration for the 2019 New England Golf Association championship events and qualifiers will open Thursday. A qualifier for the New England Amateur will be held at Lake Sunapee Country Club in New London on June 18. This year’s New England Amateur will be held July 23-25 at The Quechee (Vt.) Club.