Courtney Finn added yet another laurel to her already legendary athletic career at Winthrop High School (WHS) by being named the Most Valuable Player in softball of the South Division of the Northeastern Conference.
Courtney is leading the entire NEC (both North and South Divisions) in hitting with a .672 average, with six home runs, two triples, six doubles, 31 RBI, and 35 runs scored through the 19 games played by Winthrop thus far this season.
â€œCourtney has had an amazing season and a stellar career,â€ lauded WHS head coach Dave Guffey. This marks the second year in a row that the MVP Award has been won by a Finn, as Courtneyâ€™s sister Kristen, a pitcher, won the title last season.
Joining Finn (who plays shortstop) on the South Division All-Star team are three teammates: junior centerfielder Lindsey Barker, who is hitting .361 with 15 RBI; senior first baseman Ashley Fiandaca, who is hitting .424; and junior catcher Abby Belcher, who is hitting .371 with 13 RBI and 23 runs scored.
The announcement of the MVP and all-star selections were the main highlight for a tough week for the Lady Vikings in which they went up against the top teams in the NEC.
Winthrop fell to Swampscott 4-3, in which Swampscott scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh; dropped a tight 5-3 decision to undefeated Danvers; and then lost twice to Marblehead by scores of 7-5 and 8-7.
In the first Marblehead game, the Lady Vikings scored four runs in the seventh and had a runner on second, but were unable to make it all the way back. In the return encounter, the teams battled to a 3-3 tie through the seven innings of regulation before Marblehead exploded for five runs in the eighth. Winthrop responded with four tallies of its own in the bottom of the eighth, but the rally again just fell short.
Guffey and his crew, who now stand at 9-10 on the season, were set to play their final regular season contest yesterday (Wednesday) at Saugus in hopes of finishing with a .500 record.
However, the Lady Vikings already have punched their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney, thanks to a win against Mt. St. Joseph, which was the only Division 3 school on their schedule.
Swanson hurls Vikings to 2-0 win over Danvers
Rob Swanson turned in the best pitching effort this season for the Winthrop High baseball team with a five hit, 2-0 shutout over Danvers last Friday.
â€œRob was sensational,â€ WHS head coach Frank DeMarco said about his junior southpaw, who struck out seven and issued only two bases on balls. â€œHeâ€™s always had a good curve and knuckleball, but heâ€™s really improved his fastball in the past few weeks.â€
Swanson was in full control all the way and dug deep when Danvers had men on base. On one occasion he fanned the Danvers cleanup hitter with two Falcons on board and in the sixth he Kâ€™d the Danvers sixth hitter with a runner on second.
Winthrop scored what would prove to be the winning run in the opening inning when Nick McCarthy singled, worked his way to second, and scored on a base hit by Tyler Pettee. The Vikings added an insurance run in the sixth when Jim Evans reached on a bunt, moved into scoring position on a hit by Pat Feeley, and came home on a double by Dan Ramos.
Freshman Joe Dâ€™Amore followed Swansonâ€™s superb pitching effort with one of his own the following day against Marblehead. Dâ€™Amore yielded just three runs, all of which were unearned, while fanning seven and walking only two. However, a lack of run support resulted in a 3-1 loss for the Vikings.
â€œJoe pitched a great game. He truly deserved a better fate,â€ noted DeMarco.
Winthropâ€™s bats were silent again on Monday in the return match with Marblehead in a 4-0 loss. Paul Finn and Pat Feeley split the pitching chores with three strong innings each, with Feeley allowing just one run in his three frame stint.
â€œOur pitching has really come around and the defense has been solid,â€ said DeMarco, who noted that shortstop Joe Boudrow has been â€œsuperbâ€ in the field, with just one throwing error in 50 chances. â€œNow, we just need our bats to come around,â€ he added.
The Vikings have two games left on their schedule, both of which are against Division 3 opponents. Winthrop took on Saugus yesterday (Wednesday) and will face Watertown today at Bentley College. The Vikings are 3-3 vs. D-3 schools this season and thus need one victory in the final two games to achieve a .500 mark against D-3 schools in order to qualify for the state tourney.
Viking long jumpers take third at state relays
The long jumping trio of Charlie Asquith, Chris Beranger, and Jake Connors combined their best jumps for a total distance of 58 feet and 1/4 of an inch to take second place in the Division 4 State Relay Meet held Saturday in Abington.
â€œThey did very well,â€ said coach Pat McGee, who noted that the third member of the trio, Connors, has been long jumping for only a week after taking some training sessions with Asquith.
The Viking threesome finished 14 inches (one foot, two inches) behind the winning team from Carver.
The duo of Asquith and Beranger helped to earn some more glory for the Winthrop colors as part of the 4×100 relay team that earned a ribbon for their fourth place effort. They joined fellow Vikings Frank Ambrosino and Robert Deeb in speeding around the track in 45.65 seconds. The winning time in that event was Dover Sherborn in 44.29 and second and third were 45.53 and 45.55 respectively.
The 4×200 quartet of Deeb, Asquith, Connors, and Beranger almost made it three ribbons for Winthrop (ribbons are awarded to the top six finishers), but fell short in the 4×200 with a time of 1:35.32, which was just .31 of a second behind the sixth place entrant. The winning time in that event was 1:33.76.
McGee and her team concluded their dual meet season at Saugus on Monday. Beranger and Asquith finished 1-2 in both the long jump and 100 dash, while Connors took first in the high jump with a leap of 6-2. Jake also took a second in the mile, as did Ben Sena in the 100 hurdles.
Steven Keough took first place in the shot put with a throw of 43-9.
Grabbing third places for the Vikings were Nick Doonan in the 300 hurdles and the discus, Anthony Hatzisavas with a personal record throw of 37-6 in the shot put, and freshman Alejandro Miranda in the two mile in 12:02.
The Winthrop boys will compete in the Northeastern Conference Meet on Saturday. The Vikings who have qualified then will set their sights on the State Meet next Saturday.
Vikings play well but can’t net any wins
The Winthrop High boys tennis team dropped three matches in the past two weeks against Northeastern Conference rivals, falling to Peabody, Gloucester, and Swampscott.
The contest with Peabody started off wrong for the Vikings from the beginning of the day. The match originally was scheduled to be played in Winthrop. When it rained that morning, the match was canceled, but then it was moved to Peabody, which resulted in some of the Winthrop team members being unable to make the trip, forcing coach Barbara Hoffmann to make adjustments to her lineup.
Ken Hodgkins lost at first singles, 3-6, 0-6; Alex Hamilton fell at second singles, 2-6, 2-6 (which was only the second loss of the season for Alex); and Brendan Fitzpatrick, who typically plays in a doubles slot, came out on the short end of a 1-6, 2-6 decision.
â€œBrendan turned in a valiant effort for his first time playing singles,â€ noted Hoffmann.
In the doubles matches, Ryan McKinnon and Connor Brugman lost at first doubles, 1-6, 1-6, and Kevin Cash and Stephen Ruggiero lost at second doubles, 5-7, 2-6, in a long match
Last Monday the Vikings dropped a return match with Gloucester by a 1-4 score, which was disappointing because Winthrop had come out on top in their first meeting by an identical 4-1 margin.
Still, the Vikings played well as all of the matches were close, with three going to three sets and many sets going to tie breaks. Hodgkins lost at first singles, 6-7 (5-7), 2-6; Hamilton won at second singles, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3; and Jake Rand fell at third singles, 6-4, 3-6, 1-6.
In the doubles matches, McKinnon and Brugman dropped their match, 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 3-6 and Cash and Fitzpatrick also lost in three sets, 6-1, 4-6, 3-6.
Last Wednesday, Winthrop lost a 1-4 decision to Swampscott, one of the top teams in the NEC. Once again Hamilton was the lone Viking victor, winning his match over his Swampscott counterpart, 6-1, 6-2.
Though Hodgkins lost 5-7, 0-6 at first singles, Hoffmann had words of praise for her No. 1 player. â€œKenâ€™s effort was pretty amazing, especially in that first set,â€ said the coach. â€œThe first time Ken played against the Swampscott player, he lost 1-6, 0-6. Kenâ€™s first set was so close it lasted longer than any other set in the match.â€
Rand came up short at No. 3, 1-6, 2-6, while the first doubles duo of Fitzpatrick and Connor Brugman lost 4-6, 2-6, as did Cash and McKinnon at second doubles, 0-6, 5-7.
â€œKevin and Ryan made quite a comeback in their second set, but it was just not quite enough,â€ noted Hoffmann.
Winthrop needed to win three of its final four matches this past week in order to achieve a .500 record and qualify for the state tourney.
Fucillo takes three firsts in Saugus meet
Although the Winthrop High girls track team came out on the short end of a 65-41 decision to Saugus, a number of coach Warren MacPhailâ€™s Lady Vikings turned in stellar performances.
Jenny Fucillo was a triple winner, taking firsts in the 300 low hurdles in 48.4, the 100 high hurdles in 16.4, and the long jump with a leap of 15-2.
Other first place finishers for Winthrop were Cortney Nolan in the 200 meter dash in 28.5, Christina Russo with a high jump of 4-4, and Lauren LoPresti with toss of 72-0 in the discus.
Second place efforts were turned in by Nolan in the 100 dash in 13.8, Vanessa Caruccio in the 400 in 66.0, Kaitlyn Hersey in the mile in 6:12, and Erica Mazzone in the 800 in 3:01.
Adding single points to the WHS score sheet for third place finishes were Mary Anderson in the shot put with a throw of 24-5 and Stephanie Christopher in the 100 hurdles in 20.1.