The Winthrop High baseball team will open the 2009 season Friday, hosting Matignon, with the first pitch for Opening Day set for 4:00.
â€œWeâ€™re looking forward to an exciting season,â€ said WHS head coach Frank DeMarco, whose team compiled a fine 13-7 regular season record in 2008 to qualify for the state tourney.
Although DeMarco has welcomed a host of new faces to his club in the preseason scrimmages, he declined to term this a rebuilding year for the WHS baseball program.
â€œWe have some great seniors on this team whom we will be counting upon for their leadership,â€ said the coach. â€œWe may need to have some patience with our younger players in the first part of the season, but they are great athletes whom we feel confident will play key roles for us as the season progresses.”
The Vikingsâ€™ depth chart begins at the top with senior Captain Matt Moore, whose ability and versatility over his career rank him as one of the best ballplayers in Winthrop High annals.
Moore, a southpaw, was Winthropâ€™s most effective pitcher last season, while also batting a sterling .489. â€œMatt does so many things for us,â€ said DeMarco. â€œHeâ€™s an outstanding pitcher and hitter.â€
DeMarco also is looking to his three other seniors, first baseman Paul Finn and outfielders Dan Ramos and Dan Shannon, to complement Mooreâ€™s leadership skills both on and off the field.
Five juniors figure to play prominent roles for DeMarco, led by Will Milano, who will be stepping into the key shortstop spot that had been the province of NEC all-star Vin Eruzione for the past three seasons. â€œWill really is coming into his own,â€ noted DeMarco. â€œHeâ€™s looked very sharp in the preseason.â€
Brendan Ronan will fill the spot at third base, with Christian Howard and southpaw Rob Swanson expected to help out with the pitching chores. Jim Evans, whom DeMarco lauded for his exceptional defensive skills, will fit into the outfield scheme. Anthony Spinazzola, whom DeMarco praised for his natural ability, will see action at first base and as the designated hitter.
Four sophomores also comprise the 09 Viking edition, with Tyler Pettee expected to play a key role behind the plate at catcher. Joe Boudrow (third base), Nick McCarthy (second base, shortstop), and Pat Feeley (first base, pitcher) all will be counted upon to make their presence felt among the 14-player roster.
â€œThe team has a great attitude and a strong work ethic,â€ said DeMarco. â€œThe younger players are very eager to learn, and as a teacher, that is something you welcome.â€
The Vikings will open their NEC season Monday at home against Gloucester and then host non league Watertown next Friday.
Softball team opens Monday at Gloucester
The Winthrop High softball team will open its 2009 season on the road Monday when Coach Dave Guffey and his Lady Vikings travel north to Gloucester. The girls will play their home opener next Friday against Everett.
The Lady Vikings have all of their starters back from last season with the exception of their all-conference pitcher Kristen Finn. â€œWe obviously have a big loss with Kristenâ€™s departure,â€ said Guffey, who noted that Finn pitched every inning of every game last season. â€œBut we have some girls who will be stepping up to fill the void.â€
Freshman Alex Feri has been particularly impressive in the pre season, with teammates Angela Pettee and Elaine Lanza, both of whom are juniors, also performing well on the rubber.
Winthrop will field one of the strongest teams in the Northeastern Conference up the middle, with returning all star and Captain Courtney Finn at shortstop, junior Abby Belcher at catcher, and junior Lindsay Barker in centerfield. All three are strong hitters and experienced on defense.
Senior Captain Ashley Fiandaca will hold down first base; Pettee will be at second when not pitching; sophomore Kristen Lanza will man the hot corner at third; Elaine Lanza will play in left field when not pitching; Amanda Brogna will patrol right field; sophomores Haley Benson and Alyssa Moore will see action in the outfield; sophomore Andrea Martucci will swing the bat at DH and play in the outfield; and seniors Deanna Buonomo and Kristina Jones will fill a variety of roles in the infield.
Although his team compiled a stellar 15-7 mark last year and advanced to the second round of the state tourney (where they dropped a heartbreaker to Ipswich), Guffey feels his team should be able to make another run for a Journey to the Tourney.
â€œWeâ€™ve played well in our scrimmages,â€ said the coach, who noted that 40 girls turned out for tryouts for the WHS teams and another 25 for the middle school team, an indication of the strength of the Winthrop softball program.â€If our pitchers can do the job for us, we should be competitive with everybody we play.â€
After the girls travel to Gloucester Monday, they will host Everett next Friday.