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Jaywalking

Opening bell

When the Greenfield Minor League needed someone to sing the national anthem on Opening Day, an unexpected person answered the call.

On Sunday morning, roughly 200 young baseball players paraded down Federal Street in Greenfield to Lunt Field, where the GML held its Opening-Day ceremonies and honored Greenfield High School music director Paul Calcari. Ironically, many of the band students thought their day was over and left before the Calcari salute. Only problem was, their day was not scheduled to end until after playing the national anthem.

So when it came time to play the anthem, GML president Bobby Campbell was left scratching his head. It may in fact be the first time in a long time the boisterous radio personality was left speechless, although that has not been confirmed.

Campbell turned to the players and half-jokingly asked if anyone wanted to sing the anthem. Little did he know that one of the AAA Division players would heed Campbell’s call. Eight-year-old Trevor Kuchieski immediately shot his hand up, ran over to Campbell, took the mic and went to work.

“I just wanted to sing it because I like to sing,” the young ballplayer said on the phone Monday.

Kuchieski, who had never sung in front of a crowd, delivered a flawless performance that would make Boston Bruins anthem singer Rene Rancourt proud. Kuchieski said that he enjoys watching Rancourt sing the anthem before Bruins’ games, and between watching him, attending his father (Greenfield athletic director and football coach) Mike Kuchieski’s football games and attending a bunch of other high school sporting events, the young singer has the anthem down pat. But thinking you know the lyrics and being able to perform it on the spot in front of a large crowd are two very different things.

“It take practice to know a lot of it,” he said. “I look up the lyrics online and I hear it at a lot of Bruins games and my dad’s games.”

Was he nervous?

“No, I just like to sing,” he said.

Let this serve as your warning Mr. Rancourt, because Greenfield has an up-and-coming anthem singer with his eye on your job. I’ll be the first to chip in and buy Trevor a gold bow tie and vest. And just in case you think your job is safe because of the Canadian national anthem, Trevor’s got a message for you.

“I know ‘O Canada,’ too,” he said.

And while his Sunday-best did not end with Trevor saluting the crowd and giving a fist pump, I’m guessing talented Trevor has that in his arsenal as well.

Anyone interested in hearing Trevor’s performance can find it on YouTube. Just type in Trevor Kuchieski.

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Saturday’s Greenfield Girls’ Softball League opening day was a success for all the players, but for one coach the day was a bit more special.

The Hawlemont softball team came down to participate in opening day for the GGSL. Hawlemont is one of two teams that will play independent games on the GGSL schedule. The Hawlemont team, made up of players from Hawley, Charlemont, Rowe and Heath, competes in the Hilltown Softball League, but because the GGSL has five teams in the Ponytail Division, the league invited Hawlemont and the Montague Diamond Dusters (Tri-County Softball League) to play an independent schedule so that the GGSL teams would have a full slate of games.

That set up a special game for Hawlemont coach Jen Sinistore and daughters Shelby and Abby. Sitting in the opposing dugout that day was Franklin Orthopaedic, a team coached by Bob Wallner, who just so happens to be Sinistore’s brother, Shelby and Abby’s uncle. The game was the first meeting between brother and sister as coaches, but it was far from the first time the two had gone head-to-head, something younger sister Jen recalled Sunday night. In what can best be described as sweet revenge, Jen’s Hawlemont team took a 17-7 victory over older brother.

“It was great,” laughed Sinistore. “My daughter, Shelby, was the winning pitcher and her and Abby said it was payback for all the times that Bob used to beat me at games. It was a fun and rewarding way for my team to start the season.”

It sounds to me like the Hawlemont team had a great opening day. The girls apparently referred to themselves as the Hilltown Hicks and invaded Murphy Park Saturday wearing tie-died T-shirts as part of their uniforms. The Hicks had plenty of fun, extending to Franklin Ortho assistant coach and daughter of Bob Wallner, one Leah Wallner.

“Leah said our girls were harassing her all game,” Sinistore said.

The harassment was of course all in good fun, as was the scene when Jen walked onto the field during the game with a hot dog. Bob recognized his opportunity.

“Hey, get that hot dog off the field,” he yelled.

All this while Marge Wallner and Bob Wallner Sr. (the parents) sat behind home plate and looked on.

“They were trying to be neutral but I knew they were rooting for me,” Jen joked.

And I’m guessing if you walked into Bob’s home right now, you would likely see a bright red circle around May 18. That just happens to be the date of the rematch.

Jason Butynski is a Greenfield native and Recorder sportswriter. His email address is jbutynski@recorder.com.

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