Baseball Team Tops Swampscott

It was a mixed bag for the Winthrop High baseball team, as the Vikings dropped contests to Marblehead and Danvers, but topped Swampscott this past week.

In the 8-3 victory over Swampscott last Friday, senior captain Brendan Van Dalinda  was called upon to take over the pitching chores from the outset when Viking starter David Kirby was forced to leave the game with a sore arm  after getting the first batter out.

Van Dalinda proceeded to turn in a gem, allowing just two runs and fanning six. “Brendan was outstanding,” lauded WHS head coach Frank DeMarco. “He came through for us when we really needed him.”

Brendan also was a force at the plate, banging out three hits and scoring two runs to help his own cause. Ben Spinazzola had two hits (including a two run single in the sixth), three RBI, and scored a run; Cody Wasson smashed a bases-loaded triple in the third; captain James Baxter had three hits and scored twice; and Bobby Fisher had an RBI single and scored a run.

In the contest with Marblehead last Wednesday, an 8-3 loss for the Vikings, Winthrop scored three runs and held a 3-0 lead going into the fourth. However, the Vikings did not manage a hit throughout the contest (despite scoring three runs), fanning 13 times  against a strong Marblehead pitcher, while Marblehead mounted a comeback that overtook the Viking lead.

Monday at Danvers saw the Vikings play what DeMarco termed, “A very disappointing game for us. We prepared for a lot of the things that Danvers does, but we still committed mistakes that cost us. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, but we seemed to lose our heads,” said the coach, who noted that his team yielded 10 walks, committed five errors, and was picked off a base.

Freshman Chris Zuffante pitched well in the fifth and sixth frames, but was the victim of some poor Viking fielding.

DeMarco and his crew were set to take on Gloucester yesterday (Wednesday), but that contest might be moved to today given the weather conditions. The Vikings will play a non-league encounter at Everett Monday morning and then travel to Peabody Wednesday morning.

Softball team opens with win over Marblehead

The Winthrop High softball team opened its 2014 season last Wednesday on a positive note with a 5-2 victory over Marblehead.

Sophomore Taylor Thomas started and went the entire distance, carrying a shutout until there were two outs in the seventh inning, when Marblehead finally broke through for their only two runs of the contest with a two-RBI base hit. Taylor then got the next Marblehead hitter for the last out of the contest.

“Taylor pitched an excellent game,” said WHS head coach Dave Guffey of his sophomore, who has been thrust into the role of being the Lady Vikings’  top moundsman with the status of ace Maura Lanza up in the air because of a rotator cuff strain. Thomas ended up allowing just six hits and no earned runs, while striking out eight and walking only two.

The Lady Vikings displayed some fine defense behind Thomas, highlighted by center fielder Olivia Grillo (who was playing her first game at that position) making three superb catches, and right fielder Ally Scarfo making a running catch of a line drive down the line and then doubling up a Marblehead runner at first with a throw to second basemen Christine Haskell, who made the relay to first baseman Lanza.

The Lady Vikings, who had nine hits on the day, grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning  when Jen Adamson singled with two outs, moved to second on a passed ball, and scooted home on a hit by Lanza.

Winthrop made it 2-0 in the fifth on a pair of doubles by Michele LaSala and Maddy Finga’a. The Lady Vikings then put the game away with a three-run rally in the  sixth in which Lanza and Haskell had base hits.

“All in all, it was a nice start to the season, especially against a team that had beaten us twice last year,” said Gufffey.

The next two contests proved to be not as successful for Winthrop, as they came out on the short end of decisions to Swampscott last Friday, 9-6, and Danvers this past Monday, 15-2.

In the Swampscott encounter, the Winthrop bats once again were alive, as the Lady Vikings accounted for 11 hits, of which five were doubles. Among the chief rainmakers for Winthrop were Adamson, who had a two-RBI double; Lanza, who went 2-for-4 with a double and scored a run; Haskell, who had a double and an RBI; Kelly Swanson, who doubled home a run; and Thomas, who had a double.

In the game with perennial NEC power Danvers, the Lady Vikings fell behind 5-1 in the opening inning and never were in it. The visiting Lady Falcons scored four more in the second frame and added to their margin thereafter until the game was called after five innings.

Guffey and his crew were set to make the long trek to Gloucester yesterday (Wednesday). They will have a busy stretch next week. They will play in a tournament in the North End, meeting Woburn Tuesday morning and then facing either Boston Latin or O’Bryant Wednesday morning. On Thursday the Lady Vikings will host Georgetown for a doubleheader starting at 10:00.

WHS boys tennis team playing well

Although the Winthrop High boys tennis team has come up short in its first four matches this season, head coach Marie Finn said her squad has been playing well.

“We’ve been competitive in all of our matches and we’re hopeful as the season progresses, we’ll be turning those defeats into victories,” said Finn, who has had to juggle her lineup in the early part of the season.

The Vikings dropped their contests with Gloucester, Malden Catholic, and Swampscott by close scores of 3-2 and to Danvers by a 4-1 margin.

In the Gloucester contest, sophomore Matthew Sennott at second singles and sophomore Jake LaFratta at third singles were victorious over their Fishermen counterparts. LaFratta was a winner in the Swampscott match, as were the second doubles duo of sophomore James Foster and senior Mike Gennaco.

The Viking doubles tandems of sophomore Brian Perrin/senior Nick Miller and Gennaco/Kyle Dalton earned the two Winthrop points in the Malden Catholic match. In the Danvers contest, Ryan Duyon/Gennaco prevailed for the Winthrop point.

Sophomore Robbie Miles, who has been thrust into the first singles spot in all of the early-season matches, has been impressive. “Robbie has done a fine job for us,” lauded Finn.

The Vikings were scheduled to be back in action yesterday (Wednesday) against Marblehead and will travel to Peabody next Thursday. They will host Lynn English next Friday, April 25; Lynn Classical on Monday, April 28; Malden Catholic on Tuesday, April 29; and Beverly on Wednesday, April 30.

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