Viking Baseball Team Opens at Home Monday

The Winthrop High baseball team will open its 2013 season Monday afternoon when the Vikings host the Fenway Charter School on the high school field. The first pitch of opening day for the local boys of spring is set for 4:00.

Enthusiasm and depth have been the hallmarks thus far in the pre-season for veteran WHS head coach Frank DeMarco and his squad. “We have a young team, with only two seniors, but we have a solid group of baseball players who are returning from last year and who played a lot of baseball in the off-season,” said DeMarco. “Everybody is a bit bigger, stronger, and more experienced. The improvement in their individual level of performance is noticeable compared to where they left off last season.

“This has been one of the most competitive pre-seasons in a few years here,” continued DeMarco. “There has been a lot of competition just to make the varsity and then more competition to earn a starting position. Even after we make the final determination of the varsity team, we’ll have a group of JV players who still could earn their way up to the varsity as the season progresses.”

The Vikings will be led by senior captain Michael Ferrino, who will be patrolling in the outfield. The other senior is Robert Diaz, who chose not to play in 2012, but who has returned and who has been impressive in the pre-season, including a two-home run effort in a scrimmage with East Boston last week. Diaz can play in the outfield and at first base.

James Baxter is back behind the plate to handle the all-important catching chores. Ben Spinazzola, who saw a lot of action last season, and freshman Jeff Collignon are vying for the first base post. Mike Rich and Bobby Fisher are contending at second base and Brendan Van Dalinda, a transfer from Bishop Fenwick, and Chris Fucillo are seeking the spot at the hot corner.

Junior Steven Goddard, last year’s top pitcher, will return to the mound and will see a lot of time at shortstop. Dylan Driscoll likewise will play at short and pitch. Zack Mills, who tossed a lot of innings in 2012, is back for another season and also will play in the outfield. Daniel Kirby, Cody Wasson, and Tyler Gillis also will join the outfield corps.

“It’s a lot of fun to come to practice every day as a coach because we have a group of players who are committed to working hard and becoming better baseball players,” said DeMarco. “We’re excited to get the season underway.”

After Monday’s season-opener, DeMarco and his crew will host Gloucester next Wednesday and then travel to Danvers next Friday. The Vikings have three scrimmages on tap this week to prep for the real thing. They were set to travel to Belmont yesterday (Wednesday), to Woburn today, and to Newburyport Saturday.

WHS softball team opens Wednesday

The Winthrop High girls softball team will open its 2013 season Wednesday at Gloucester. Although the numbers are thin for the Lady Viking softball program with only 13 high school girls coming out for the team (augmented by 10 Middle Schoolers to create a JV roster), Coach Dave Guffey has some talented returning players who will provide some experience for this year’s squad.

Jen Adamson will handle the all-important catching duties, Michelle LaSala will hold down the fort at shortstop, and senior Liana Ferullo will patrol centerfield to give the Lady Vikings a strong defensive presence up the middle.

The pitching duties will be shared by sophomore Maura Lanza, who tossed some innings last season, and freshman Taylor Thomas, who has impressed in the pre-season.

Sophomore Christine Haskell is set at first base, freshman Olivia Grillo will take second, and junior Kelly Swanson will stake out left field with junior Amanda Pelletier in right. Freshmen Alexis Joyce and  Ally Scarfo will play both infield and outfield positions.

Pitchers Thomas and Lanza will take the hot corner at third when not pitching.

The Lady Vikings have split their five pre-season games to date, with Ferullo and Swanson wielding the big bats. Guffey and his crew will  play in a Jamboree this Saturday at Winchester, playing against Lynn English, Lexington, and Winchester.

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