The weather was perfect and competition was fierce as Winthrop Girls Softball hosted the fourth annual Battle at the Beach Softball Tournament. Winthrop’s Battle at the Beach saw its largest number of teams (20) roll into town to compete in a softball tournament that also saw the best weather of its four year run with no rain and temperatures in the mid 80’s, perfect for softball. Winthrop’s tournament has gained a reputation as one of the best tournaments in the Northeast, featuring teams that travel from NY, VT, NH, NJ, and all over MA.
The tournament is divided into two divisions: 12 and under and 14 and under. The champions of the 12U division were the Saratoga Thunder from Saratoga, NY in a comeback win over the Waves from Westford, MA, 7- 5. The Waves were the 14U champions, winning a nail biter over the Northeast Hurricanes from Salem, NH 6-5.
Winthrop had representatives in both divisions. The 12U team’s first taste of tournament play consisted of three games in the preliminary round. Once all teams have played three games, the teams are ranked according to their runs scored. The 12U team was ranked 9 out of 10, but with some good defense and strong pitching by Taylor Thomas and some key hits from clean-up hitter Christine Haskell, the young Vikings surprised the eight seed and moved on to play the Westford Waves. Winthrop battled, but ended up bowing out to the eventual runners up in the 12U division.
The 14U division had some great play. The Winthrop squad (a young team with all but two members able to play 14U again next season) played some great ball. Winthrop ended up being knocked out by the eventual runners-up, the Northeast Hurricanes, a club team from Salem NH. Winthrop showed its grit, staying with the Hurricanes through the sixth inning with the score 4-2 before the Canes tacked on some insurance runs and won, 7-2. “This was our best year of running the tournament,” said tourney director and WHS softball coach David Guffey. “With the help of Sean Driscoll we have redone the B and C field helping to keep the teams happy.” Guffey added that the the softball program is lucky to have great support from the businesses and volunteers in town who make this possible.
“I love to run the tournament not just as a fund raiser for the team, but to show off our town,” said Guffey. “The tournament brought in over 1,000 people for the weekend and the participants rented 179 rooms in local hotels. I love to hear the feedback about Winthrop. One visitor commented: ‘I have lived in Massachusetts my whole life, just up Route 1, and never realized what a great place Winthrop is’.”