Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 17, 2013

Merinder leading way for Andover in fall league

Bill Burt
The Andover Townsman

---- — Andover High junior Connor Merinder was named North Andover Fall Ball League Player of the Week last week in helping lead Andover to a 73-37 win over Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in Haverhill

Merinder led Andover, which is 4-1, with 21 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two dunks.

Andover expands travel basketball league to girls

The Andover Department of Community Services has announced it is expanding its girls travel basketball program this winter to include fifth- and sixth-grade teams, in addition to the traditional seventh- and eighth-grade teams.

The teams will compete in the River Valley League, along with more than 20 other local towns.

Tryouts for all Andover travel teams will be held this month at West Middle School.

Fifth- and sixth-graders will try out Thursday, Oct. 17, and Tuesday, Oct. 22, with the fifth-graders going first from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by the sixth-graders from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The seventh- and eighth-grade tryouts will be Wednesday, Oct. 23, and Thursday, Oct. 24, with the seventh-graders going first from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by the eighth-graders from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Candidates are asked to be present 15 minutes prior to tryouts to register. Registration forms should be completed online and brought to the tryouts. Forms and additional information can be found at the DCS website, www.andoverdcs.com/basketball/girlstravel.

The player fee for the season is $350 for girls who make a team, but there is no fee to try out. Aid is available for families in need. For more information, contact Kim Stamas at 978-623-8276.

McCarthy back with Sharks

Former St. John’s Prep star John McCarthy of Andover has returned to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks a week after being demoted.

It marks the fourth season in which he has played at least one game in the NHL. His career-best is 37 games two years ago.

A’s pitcher was Mike Yaz’s ex-teammate at Vanderbilt

Andover’s Mike Yastrzemski, also a St. John’s Prep alum, was a college teammate of Oakland A’s rookie sensation Sonny Gray at Vanderbilt University. The 23-year-old A’s starter, who took the loss in Game 5 last week to Detroit (he allowed three runs over five-plus innings), pitched eight scoreless innings in the A’s 1-0 victory over Detroit the previous week in Game 2 of their American League Division Series.

Gray was a first-round pick, 18th overall, in the 2011 draft. He went 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 12 games, 10 starts for Oakland during the regular season. Gray received a shaving cream pie in the face from teammates.

Selling themselves short?

That’s apparently what happened when Andover High swimming coach Marilyn Fitzgerald called in her score to The Eagle-Tribune, The Townsman’s sister paper, the other day, saying the squad’s streak ran to 43 straight league meet wins.

Well, upon further review, Fitzgerald sent a note to the ET sports staff saying the streak really is 55.

Their last loss was to Chelmsford in 2008.

Unsung hero, John Oteri

While the guys with the stats get most of the credit in sports, particularly high school sports, we have to go out of our way to make sure some of the guys in the trenches get credit, and this week we give that honor to Andover High’s 6-foot-4 lineman, John Oteri.

Here’s what coach E.J. Perry had to say about Oteri recently:

“John has been the mainstay of the defense the last two years. He has been the highest-graded defensive player in each game since his junior year. He has the difficult task of stopping anything that will be run to the outside. His frame makes him a great outside linebacker/defensive end. This year, John has also stepped up to become a two-way player, playing the H-back position.”

Perry noted that Oteri had 12 tackles and batted down two passes against Chelmsford recently. According to Perry, Oteri has many New England-10 schools after him for both his football and his lacrosse prowess. Oteri has been a starter on the lacrosse team for three years.

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Bill Burt is executive sports editor of The Eagle-Tribune and a regular contributing columnist for the Andover Townsman. If you have any sports tidbits you’d like to share, email him at bburt@andovertownsman.com.