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Concord’s Dorcas Miller nets USTA New England Hall of Fame honor

Miller, Bearup enter tennis hall of fame

A fall from a horse led to Dorcas Miller’s rise on the tennis court.

The 72-year-old Concord resident, ranked No. 1 in New England in various age brackets 15 times, is among four area residents being inducted to the US Tennis Association New England Hall of Fame.

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Ceremonies will be held June 8 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

“My horse threw me and I dislocated my shoulder,’’ recalled Miller, a retired real estate broker. “I was in my 30s when it happened, and after the surgery, my doctor suggested either physical therapy or tennis to strengthen it.

“I thought tennis would be more interesting, so I joined the Thoreau Club in Concord and started out with their 3.0 women’s team. Eventually, I would enter any tournament that was nearby. It was like a series of inexpensive lessons and it got me started competitively,’’ said Miller, now a member of All Seasons Tennis Club in Acton and the Acton Indoor Tennis Association.

The Tennis Hall of Fame is familiar territory for Miller and her husband, Ken, who were honored there two years ago with the USTA/New England’s Edwin Goodman Family of the Year Award.

They were recognized for their creation of a series of showcase tournaments, the New England Senior Slams, for players ages 50 to 90.

Miller has twice been ranked second nationally in her age group in women’s doubles. She was ranked as high as seventh nationally in singles, and was third in singles play at the National Senior Women’s Grass Court 60-and-over bracket in 2003 at the Forest Hills tennis complex in Queens, N.Y.

Her husband is ranked in the top 10 in New England (70 and over) in both singles and doubles, and their son, Garry, a Newton resident, was ranked first regionally in 5.0 singles 13 years ago.

The recipient of one Silver Ball as runner-up last year in the 70-and-over doubles bracket on the grass at Forest Hills, and four Bronze Balls for national third-place finishes, Miller said attaining Hall of Fame status is “something you dream about and very humbling.

“I’d like nothing better than to add a Gold Ball,’’ signifying first place, “to my honors to make my selection complete.’’

The Millers will leave Saturday for La Jolla, Calif., where Dorcas will compete at the National Women’s Hard Court championships and Ken will play in the California sectional tournament.

A native of Hartland, Maine, where her father, Paul Briggs, was the quintessential country doctor, Miller worked on the family farm and helped out at her father’s 75-bed hospital

“He was the only doctor over a 50-mile radius, and a lot of times he was paid with a cow, a goat, a sheep, or a chicken,’’ said Miller, “and that’s where I learned to ride horses.

“I guess if I had never fallen off that horse many years ago, I’d probably be playing golf today.’’

The other inductees with ­area ties are Judith Alper Smith of Brookline, a former girls’ coach at Newton South High who won a national title in 75 doubles at the Senior Grass Court championships last year in Pennsylvania, and is ranked sixth in her age bracket; Jeff Bearup, cofounder of the New England Academy of Tennis in Natick; and the late Lawrence Rice of Wellesley, who once played at Wimbledon and defeated the legendary Bill Tilden at a tournament in Rhode Island. A scholarship in his name is given at Wellesley High.

Let the Goodtimers roll for a good cause

The Goodtimers Softball Club of Lexington will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a dinner, silent auction, and entertainment May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Montvale Plaza in Stoneham, and an exhibition game the following day at 1 p.m. against the Bill Lee All-Stars at Center Field on Worthen Road in Lexington.

Both events will benefit a foundation that supports the family of the late Tommy Cremens, a Red Sox clubhouse attendant who was close friends with Lee during his time with the team.

Cremens, a former lacrosse captain at the University of Massachusetts Boston, died at age 52 two years ago from injuries suffered in a fall at his home. He left his wife and two daughters.

Goodtimers cofounder Bob Burbidge batted against Lee in 1975 at Fenway Park as part of a sports fantasy contest. Goodtimers teammates Herb Cabral and Mario Massimilla also took their cuts that day.

“I never came close to hitting him,’’ said Burbidge, who, when the Goodtimers celebrated their 30th anniversary, arranged for Lee to appear in a celebrity game in Lexington that supported three charities.

“We felt for our 40th anniversary we wanted to help a family in need, and we had just seen Tommy’s obituary in the Globe and noticed his cousin, Ken Lakin, resided in Lexington,’’ said Burbidge.

Lee and former teammates Jim Rice and Rico Petrocelli are scheduled to appear at the dinner along with comedian Lenny Clarke.

Tickets to the gala are $85, or $800 for a table of 10; there is no charge to attend the game. For information, call Burbidge at 781-771-9913.

Here and there

In his 14th year as director of athletic communications at Babson College, Chris Buck was presented the Paul C. Staake Award for his commitment to the school at the Senior Athletic Awards last Friday. . .  Milford’s Caroline Atkinson, a sophomore shortstop for the Roger Williams University softball team, went 3 for 4 with three RBIs last Saturday to key a 6-3 win over top-seed Endicott in the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship game and secure a berth in the NCAA Division 3 tournament. She was named the conference’s Player of the Week.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.
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