By Cary Shuman
The Winthrop High softball team made its deepest run in the State Tournament since the days when Lisa Monteleone-Ferrara and Lisa Gill Howard led the team to a state championship in 1983.
Coach Dave Guffey and his 2011 Lady Vikings won state tournament games against Notre Dame Academy, Whittier Tech, North Shore Tech, and Matignon before falling to two-time defending state champion St. Mary by a 2-1 score in the Division 3 North sectional championship game Monday in Lowell.
A big reason for the Vikingsâ€™ postseason success was the emergence of junior pitcher Alex Ferri, who struck out close to 60 batters in five games and tossed a no-hitter versus North Shore Tech.
Ferro only allowed two hits against the potent St. Maryâ€™s lineup.Â However, one of the hits was a two-run home run and interestingly it came off the bat of a player with Winthrop connections, Genevieve Benoit, niece ofÂ Robert â€œBubbaâ€ Jaworski, a Winthrop Police officer and former WHS sports star.
Haley Benson, Liana Ferullo, Taylor Brown, Jen Adamson, Alyssa Moore (RBI), Michelle Lasala, and Rachel Delsolio each had basehits in the North final.
Benson was the offensive star of the Matignon game, going 2-for-3 with a single, a double, three RBIs, and a stolen base.
Guffeyâ€™s team entered the State Tournament with a 9-11 record. â€œThe Northeastern Conference tested us well in the regular season. We played well versus the strongest teams in our conference.â€
Winthrop loses six players to graduation: shortstop Haley Benson, centerfielder Andrea Martucci, second baseman Taylor Brown, leftfielder Alyssa Moore, third baseman Kristen Lanza, and pitcher Jackie Hetherton.
Ferri could be one of the top pitchers on the North Shore next season and her continuing improvement bodes well for the 2012 Lady Vikings.
â€œAlex demolished the single season record for strikeouts this season,â€ said Guffey. â€œShe had 239 strikeouts. She has a fastball that sneaks by you. I think she should be the best pitcher in the conference next year.â€
Other returning players are NEC All-Star Liana Ferullo, catcher Jen Adamson, designated hitter Rachel Delsolio, outfielder Michelle Lasala, infielder Brittany Lento, outfielder Kelly Swanson, and eighth grade pitching prospect Maura Lanza.
â€œThe future looks great,â€ said Guffey, whose teams have made 11 consecutive appearances in the State Tournament.
Guffey lauded varsity assistant Jayna Kulas, junior varsity coach Holly Baker, and freshman coach Paul Thomas for their dedication to the program this season. He also thanked the Viking Pride Foundation for providing sandwiches for the team at the Matignon game.