Homeowner Fights Batting Cage At Cole

The batting cage planned for Cole Middle School would sit on the west side of the school.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

It seemed like a nice idea – the EG Little League wanted to donate batting cages to the high school and Cole Middle School that could be used by school teams as well as Little League teams. The School Committee approved the offer last spring and equipment appeared at Cole to install the batting cage last Memorial Day weekend.

Except that placement of the proposed batting cage at Cole was on the west side of the school, the side closest to Sarah’s Trace, the street on which homeowners had sued the town over construction of the school in 2011 and which resulted in a settlement in 2015. When construction of the batting cage began, a Sarah’s Trace homeowner called police, citing a breach of the settlement. Police stopped the construction.

Now, nearly a year later, Little League representatives are hoping to get the construction back on track. The double batting cage at the high school was erected without incident after the failed attempt at Cole.

The challenge at Cole is there aren’t very many place to put the batting cages, Athletics Director Chris Cobain told the School Committee Tuesday night. He said there were only two sites at the school that don’t have anything to do with drainage, sewage, or electrical lines. One is near the tennis courts, close to houses on Wanton Shippee Road. The other is the side that abuts properties on Sarah’s Trace. Cobain said they chose the area closer to Sarah’s Trace because of the generous landscape buffer there. There is no such buffer on the Wanton Shippee side.

Cobain said he spoke with the homeowners who’d called the police.

“I talked to the family and heard, “We will fight, we will fight tooth and nail,” he said.

School Committee members said they needed to know just want was included in the settlement. If it was about equipment, could EGLL use hand tools to install the batting cage, they asked.

Committeeman Matt Plain said there was a difference between whether or not the settlement contained language about construction of something like a batting cage at Cole and the batting cage itself.

EGLL representative Russ Marcantonio agreed.

“If you let the threats of lawsuits dictate how you operate, that’s a bad precedent,” he said.

The School Committee decided to have their lawyer talk to the town about the issue, since it is the town that has the settlement with the homeowners.

School and Little League officials said they hoped the issue could be ironed out before spring baseball begins in earnest.


Avenger College Notes: September 2017 Edition

East Greenwich High School Athletic Director Chris Cobain is not only happy with the recent success of the athletic program at EGHS (he was named AD of the Year last year), but he is also happy with the fact that athletes from the school are going on to play in college.

Some of those who have gone on and are participating on the college playing fields are:

Lauren Swanson at Northeastern University, who has a personal best in the weight throw at 53’9.75″; in the hammer at 166’2″. She is 6th All Time at NU in the Hammer and 9th All Time in the Indoor Weight throw. She also notched the highest Freshman finish at the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Championships.

Summer Murray at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, who had an Indoor career best in the weight throw at the Mount Union Invitational with a toss of 13.72 meters. Ms. Murray also throws in the outdoor season shining in the shot put, hammer and discus.

Tommy Sommers, who runs three seasons at American University in D.C. In Cross Country he had a season’s best of 16:39.4 in the 5000 m at the DCYC Invitational. Indoors he ran a 4:13.33 at the Navy Invite, took a 5th in the mile at the Father Diamond Meet, and a 4th in the 3000 at the Last Chance Meet with a time of 8:44.37. Outdoors his top performance was a 4th at the Maryland Invitational.

Britt Estes enters his Senior year at Brown as a member of that school’s football team. He is a kicker and punter, who saw action last year and hopes to contribute this fall. He also led the JV gridders in scoring.

Matt Sylvia is a freshman wide receiver candidate for the potent Salve Regina Seahawks. Word is the former Avenger standout may garner some playing time in his initial year at the Newport school.

Katie Swanson is a member of the Union College lacrosse team. The former Avenger star is looking to make a contribution in her second year for the Dutchmen stickers.

Courtney McMullen is on the Field Hockey roster at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. The former Avenger star and Ucci Award winner is looking to duplicate the success of her sister Kaley.

Kaley McMullen, daughter of EGHS coach Deb McMullen, walked on at Fairfield University in Connecticut and appeared in all 21 games in 2016, starting 15. She scored three goals and had four assists.

Jackson Cronin, another Ucci Award winner, is starting his Freshman year at George Washington University in the D.C. area. Like Sommer he most likely will be running cross country, indoor and outdoor track.

Graham Chapski – Bentley University senior in cross country and track. Part of Falcon’s top five. Fifth among BU runners at NCAA Division II Regionals, with a 26.23.4 times. Personal best was a 26:20.7 for year. Helped set a record in 4×800 relay at 2016 New Englands as unit went 7:40. 52. Graham ran all three seasons for the Falcons, cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

John Hare – Haverford College fencing freshman, Hare had a best 19-3 record at the Vassar Invitational. Went 12-0 during the MACFA weekend tournament, and was 11-3 as the “Fords sabre squad won the MACFA title. He finished 2nd in the individual competition.

Eric Lauro – A senior, is a member of the Union College football team.

Margaret McCaffreyA sophomore at RIC is a member of both the cross country and track teams. She ran a 20:49.0 at the Pop Crowell Invitational and a 20:13.63 at the Little East X-C Championships.

Sarah Basler – Another EG runner on the Rhode Island College roster, Sarah, a freshman, clocked a best of 23:11.84 at the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational. Mr. Cobain encourages anyone who has a relative or friend performing at the next level to contact him at (401) 398-1562 or email thebrooker23@yahoo.com, and give the student’s name, college and sport being played.

Mr. Cobain encourages anyone who has a relative or friend performing at the next level to contact him at (401) 398-1562 or email thebrooker23@yahoo.com, and give the student’s name, college and sport being played.

– Bruce Mastracchio

EGHS Student Hospitalized After Collapse At Practice; Defibrillator Used


A junior at East Greenwich High School collapsed during volleyball practice Monday and had to be taken by rescue to the hospital. He remains in intensive care at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and has been diagnosed with a rare heart condition.

The high school’s athletic trainer, Tim Crandall, attended the student before rescue arrived and used a defibrillator when the student’s condition worsened. According to Athletic Director Chris Cobain, in this worst-case scenario, everyone from Crandall to the coaches to the athletes to police and fire were “as calm as possible, as focused as possible under the circumstances.”

Volleyball assistant coach Mike Penza first noticed the student did not appear to be well. He started talking to the student and was holding on to him when the student’s condition worsened, Cobain said. A student fetched Crandall, who was in his office  – a room at the back of the gym.

“At that time, he made the call that things needed to move at a very rapid pace,” Cobain said of Crandall. Rescue was called, the room was cleared, and a student was sent to retrieve the defibrillator (AED) in Crandall’s office. “Crandall immediately went into the protocols and procedures of what to do to take care of a person who’s down and is becoming unresponsive,” Cobain said. He said he does not know of any previous incident of an AED being used at the school. All public buildings in town are equipped with AED devices.

Crandall’s work day at the high school begins at 2 p.m. and he stays through the last practice or game of the day or evening. His office is located so he has fast access to the fields and the two gyms.

Cobain said Crandall, who has been the athletic trainer at EGHS for more than six years, has experience with crisis situations, having served as an EMT in Trumbull, Conn., during his teen years.

“His background and experience in athletic injuries is substantial. His experience around very stressful situations … he’s been in the thick of it. When the EG fire and rescue came running through the door he, at an earlier time of life, was one of them,” said Cobain. “We’re very fortunate, we’re very fortunate for that.”

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