THE SPORTS WIRE
By Steve Freker
The “C” still looks good of the guy with three of them in his last name.
Most people who follow Saugus High School (SHS) sports call him the best overall athlete to wear a Sachem uniform this decade and they are right.
Dan Cacciola was a throwback student-athlete if there ever was one in his years at SHS, a three-sport standout from 2011, his first football season as a Sachem, to June 2015, his final baseball season. In-between there were, count ’em, 11 seasons where he played varsity sports: three seasons in baseball and four each in football and basketball.
Cacciola was also a top student in all those four years at SHS as well as being a captain of all three sports: football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. He also was the rare choice as captain of the basketball and baseball teams as a junior. Cacciola could have played at least two sports at the collegiate level, but his path led him to baseball for Endicott College.
A reserve for two years, the accounting major had a breakout year as a junior for the Gulls, one of the top Division 3 baseball programs in the Northeast. Appearing in nearly every game, Cacciola was fifth on the team in batting average (.268), second in runs scored (27) and led the team in stolen bases (22). He also hit a home run and knocked in 11 runs for head coach Bryan Haley.
“He [Cacciola] had an excellent season and was a dependable, hardworking sparkplug for us all season,” coach Haley said of Cacciola.
The “C” seems to still fit very well for Cacciola, who was named team captain before the fall season began and will lead the Gulls into the 2018-19 campaign, his senior season. “Dan [Cacciola] is a great choice as a leader for this team; he’s really grown into that role.”
Having coached Cacciola at Saugus High his junior and senior years, it was easy to see his potential to play baseball at the next level. His speed has long been his biggest strength, but having diligently worked to add size in the weight room he has gone from a 5’9″, 155 lbs. freshman to a 5’10”, 185 lbs. senior with greatly enhanced bat speed and power.
Congratulations, Dan Cacciola, on being named captain and best of luck this season for Endicott Gulls Baseball!
Two stars from what could be considered their “primary” sports are suiting up and competing for the Malden High varsity boys’ basketball team for the first time this winter for head coach Don Nally’s Tornados, who are off to a 1-2 season start. Raushad Moore, a 6’2″, 210 lbs. forward, and Billy Stickney, a 6’2″, 175 lbs. shooting guard/forward, both earned spots on the team in tryouts as first-year seniors on coach Nally’s squad; Moore has worked his way into the starting lineup, and Stickney, who is adept at the basketball “long ball,” has provided some quality “instant offense” from beyond the three-point line.
Moore captained the Malden High football team the past two seasons and led the team to an inspiring 28-24 win over Medford on Thanksgiving three weeks ago. Moore was named First-Team NEC All-Conference Team as a defensive back.
Stickney was Malden High baseball’s ace pitcher last season, registered four wins on the mound for the 7-12 Tornadoes and was both Most Valuable Player of the Strike Out Cancer Tournament in East Boston and NEC All-Star selectee last season.
Ironically, both players are best friends and both played together for the Lakers in the Malden Neighborhood Basketball League (MNBL) for the past two seasons. Word is, MNLB Lakers coach Terlonzo “Beany” Amos had visions of titles dancing in his head this winter before the news hit of his top two returnees’ changed fortunes as Tornados.
“Both [Moore and Stickney] have been good additions to the team,” said coach Nally. “They listen, they learn fast and they compete. That’s what we’re looking for on this team.”
“Business” is booming with youth basketball in the city of Malden these days with two jam-packed boys’ leagues set to start after the first of the year under the direction of Malden Recreation.
Two years ago, Malden Recreation took over the longtime Al Locke Basketball League for boys in grades 7, 8 and 9 when the league featured six teams and about 50 players. Fast forward to today: EIGHT teams and NEARLY 100 Players! Great job, Coordinator Joe Levine and assistant Laura Perez, for all of their work!
New this year: A 5th and 6th grade boys’ league run by Malden Recreation: ALSO overflowing … six teams, over 60 boys. Both of these leagues run starting Saturday mornings at the Salemwood Fieldhouse, 529 Salem St., Malden.