Andreoli impressing Cubs organization
It was not quite as dramatic as the climactic homer cracked by Roy Hobbs in “The Natural,’’ but lightning did indeed strike after John Andreoli delivered a walk-off base hit for the minor-league baseball Daytona Cubs against Palm Beach late last month.
“The rain was coming down harder by the minute,’’ recalled the former St. John’s High star, who has impressed Daytona manager Dave Keller with his hustle and versatility.
Although Andreoli did not realize it at the time, his two-out RBI single to the opposite field in the last of the eighth inning was the game-winner.
“The lightning just surrounded our field after my hit, they pulled out the tarp, and the game was called about 40 minutes later,’’ said Andreoli, who was hitting .288 through Monday with a team-high five triples.
Andreoli, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound right-handed-hitting outfielder, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs organization in the 17th round of the 2011 draft. He stole 55 bases last season for Daytona, Chicago’s Class A advanced entry in the Florida State League. He had swiped 13 bases in 16 attempts this season.
“Any manager would want a John Andreoli on their team,’’ Keller said.
“His work habits are off the chart and he plays with reckless abandon. He makes things happen when he gets on base, he’s batted in five different spots, including leadoff, and although he plays mainly in left field, John has also been in center and right.’’
A Florida State all-star last year after hitting .289 in 122 game with 17 doubles and eight triples, the 22-year-old Andreoli returned to the University of Connecticut last fall to complete his course work. He graduated with a degree in finance in December.
“Awesome,’’ said Keller. “That’s commitment.’’
Spring training was an exciting time for Andreoli, who traveled with the Chicago Cubs for six games and had two hits in three at-bats with the big club.
“I just wanted to be the best player I could be when I had my chance and then let the pieces fall into place,’’ said Andreoli. “As it turned out, if I had been promoted to Double A and was a spare outfielder, I wouldn’t have the playing time I’m getting here, which is much more beneficial.’’
Under the tutelage of hitting coach Mariano Duncan , a former big league infielder, Andreoli has worked hard to put more of his hands and lower body into his swing, he said, and he feels he has also been sharper defensively.
“I still have a long way to go. I’m striking out a bit more than I would want to,’’ he said, “but I’m working into good counts, bunting my way on more often, and most important I don’t worry about the players ahead of me in the organization.
“What I do day-to-day here is more important,’’ said Andreoli, who remembers, at age 5, sitting in the dugout at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology dugout to be with his grandfather, Fran O’Brien , who was the head coach at MIT.
Andreoli’s father, John, who played football at the College of the Holy Cross and briefly with the New England Patriots, coached his son on the gridiron at St. John’s.
His first cousins include Red Sox farmhand Daniel Bard and his brother, Luke, who is on the roster of the Minnesota Twins’ Advanced Rookie League team in Elizabethton, Tenn.
Levin, daughter taking USA squad to Israel
Sherry Levin, who coached the girls’ basketball team at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill to an undefeated season and the New England Class C private school championship this year, will take a sentimental journey to Israel this summer.
Levin, head coach of the USA junior girls’ team that will play in the World Maccabiah Games in July, starred for the silver medalist USA women’s team at the same event in 1981. Levin also earned silver on her own in 1981, competing in the 4x400 relay.
“It’s the thrill of a lifetime. To be coaching young women who will be sharing the experience is amazing,’’ said Levin, whose daughter, Marcia Zimmerman, a sophomore at Beaver Country Day, is the team manager.
Leah Lipschitz , women’s coach at Mount Ida College, will assist Levin, an inductee to the Newton North High, Holy Cross, and New England basketball halls of fame.
Levin owns the career women’s scoring record at Holy Cross with 2,253 points, accumulated from 1980 to 1984.
The Maccabiah Games, Levin said, “are more than an international competition. It’s an opportunity to enrich one’s heritage and experience Israel with Jewish athletes from more than 70 countries.’’ Her team’s tour of Israel will include stops at the Holocaust Memorial, Dead Sea, and the Ilan Center for the Disabled, she said.
“To be able to share this experience with my daughter, who will be in Israel for the first time, is special. Our goal in the competition is to win a gold medal, but the experience is priceless,’’ said Levin, who also coached the gold-medal-winning USA women’s team at the 2011 Pan American Maccabi Games in Brazil.
Carlisle’s Guttadauro boosts Penn squad
Carlisle’s Georgia Guttadauro sparked a great run by the women’s softball team at the University of Pennsylvania , which captured the second Ivy League title in program history and qualified for the NCAA Division 1 tourney for the first time.
Guttadauro, a Globe All-Scholastic and Dual County League MVP at Concord-Carlisle High School, was named to the Ivy League first team. She hit .290 for the Quakers with a team-best six homers, including a two-run shot Saturday during Penn’s 3-2 loss to Arizona in an NCAA elimination game in College Station, Texas.
The Ivy’s top fielder at her position, she made a diving catch in foul ground in that same game that wowed ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Pam Ward.