Lady Vikings Fall in State Tourney Opener

The Winthrop High softball team went up against a tough Lowell Catholic pitcher and came out on the short end of a 5-1 decision in the first round of the MIAA Division 3 North State Tournament Saturday afternoon on the local field.

“Lowell was the better team on the day,” said WHS head coach Dave Guffey, whose squad was the seventh seed in the D-3 North with a 13-7 regular season record. Lowell Catholic was the 10th seed with a 12-8 mark.

The contest did not go well for Winthrop from the outset. Lowell Catholic took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when the LC leadoff hitter walked, moved to second on a fielder’s choice, and came home on an RBI base hit to right field.

Winthrop responded immediately in the bottom of the frame. Jen Adamson walked, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Pelletier, and scored on a passed ball to knot matters at 1-1.

However, the third inning proved decisive as LC scored three runs on the strength of an error, three base hits, and a sacrifice fly. Lowell tacked on some extra insurance in the seventh on a walk and a double.

The Lady Viking bats meanwhile, were silent throughout the contest, with only Adamson able to figure out the LC pitcher. Jenn was 2-for-2, accounting for Winthrop’s only hits on the day. Adamson also drew a walk and stole three bases. The only other Winthrop base runner in the contest was Michelle Lasala, who reached on an error.

WHS starting pitcher Maura Lanza tossed all seven frames, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and fanning 11 opponents.

Baseball team advances to quarterfinals

The Winthrop High baseball team won its opening round contest in the Division 4 North Sectional of the  MIAA state baseball tournament in convincing fashion last Thursday with a 14-0 triumph over New Mission High at Ross Field in Hyde Park.

The Vikings jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, scoring twice in the opening inning and thrice in the second. Winthrop continued to build its lead as the game progressed. All of the Vikings in the lineup contributed to the offensive output, led principally by Cody Wasson, who had three hits and six RBI, including a two-run triple, Cody’s sixth three-bagger of the season.

A trio of Viking hurlers, Chris Fucillo, Steve Goddard, and David Kirby, each tossed a pair of shutout innings.

Winthrop, the 10th seed in the 11-team D-4 North, then advanced to the quarterfinal round to take on second-seeded Boston International, a foe which had defeated the Vikings twice during the regular season. Fucillo earned the starting nod for Winthrop and turned in what WHS head coach Frank DeMarco termed “an outsanding performance” on the mound. Fucillo and his Boston International counterprt dueled through four scoreless innings until BI broke through for a pair of markers in the fifth, aided by a fly ball that was lost in the sun and fell in, allowing the BI rally to proceed.

However, the main element for Winthrop in the defeat was the Vikings’ lack of punch at the plate. Winthrop managed just three hits on the day and though the Vikings’ had some opportunities, they were unable to come through with the timely hit.

“Of our 21 outs, 16 were pop-ups or fly balls,” noted DeMarco. “Boston International made some good play in the field, but overall we made it easy for them.”

Although DeMarco and his crew were disappointed in the outcome, the veteran coach said there were a lot of positives in their season, especially in terms of the leadership displayed by the eight senior members of the team.

“I can’t say enough about what a pleasure it has been to coach these eight seniors, most of whom have been with the varsity for four years,” said DeMarco, noting that two of the group, captain James Baxter and Brendan Van Dalinda, are headed to Salem State where they will continue their baseball careers. “They were teammates and friends both on and off the field. Everybody got along and worked toward a common goal. They showed up to practice on time every day and as a group set a great tone and example for the underclassmen. They worked hard and deserved to be in the state tourney. They will be missed.”

Boys tennis team knocks off Swampscott in finale

The Winthrop High boys tennis team racked up an historic win in the annals of the boys tennis program at WHS with a 4-1 victory over Swampscott in the teams’ last match of the season. The triumph was the first-ever for a Viking boys team over their foe from up north. In addition,  Swampscott needed a victory in order to qualify for the post-season state tournament and thus the Winthrop win shattered Swampscott’s dreams in that regard.

“It was obvious from the outset that Swampscott thought they would have an easy victory,” said WHS head coach Marie Finn, whose Vikings had lost to Swampscott earlier in the season when Winthrop was missing a lot of its key players because of the suspension meted out to members of the hockey team in the wake of the beer-in-the-locker-room incident. “We had played them the first time without some of our starters, so when it became clear early on that this match was going to be a different story, the panic on the Swampscott side among their players and coaches became palpable.”

But as the Swampscott squad increasingly began yelling and arguing among themselves, the Winthrop players just kept winning the points. SophomoreNoah Hodgkins, playing at No. 1 singles for the Vikings, easily handled his Swampscott counterpart in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Captain Chris  Capone likewise was an easy, straight-set victor in the third singles slot, 6-2, 6-2.

The first doubles tandem of junior Sean Gillis/sophomore Robbie Miles triumphed in two hard-fought sets, 7-5, 7-6, and the second doubles duo of sophomores Jake LaFratta/Matthew Sennott dispatched their Swampscott foes with ease, 6-0, 6-0.

The lone setback for Winthrop, at second singles, saw Viking sophomore Mike Norris fall by a score of 0-6, 1-6, but it was a match about which Finn said, “That score was very deceiving. Mike fought hard for every point and the match took a while to finish.”

Although the Vikings had high hopes of qualifying for the state tourney in the pre-season before the suspensions were announced, Finn said her squad already is looking ahead to 2015. “We’re graduating only three of our players,” said Finn, mentioning captain Capone and fellow seniors Mike Gennaco and Nick Miller. “All three are great kids and we’ll miss them. But we have a lot of our younger players coming back. If they play and improve their game during the off-season, we should be among the elite teams in the Northeastern Conference next year.”

Finn also cited the invaluable contribution of assistant coach Ken Hodgkins, a recent Salem State grad. “Kenny was knowledgable and was great with the boys,” said Finn. “He was invaluable to the team this season.”

Finn announced that members of her squad were awarded post-season accolades at the league coaches meeting Monday night. Hodgkins and Capone were named to the NEC all-star team and the doubles squad of Gillis/Miles received Honorable Mention recognition.

Christa Vaccaro wins medal at state meet

Winthrop freshman Christa Vaccaro came home with a medal for her performance in the long jump in the Division 4 State Meet held this past weekend. Christa’s medal-winning leap of 15′-2.75″ placed her eighth among the field of 25 competitors. Medals are awarded in each event to the top eight finishers, who also receive points toward their team’s score.

Although Vaccaro was the only Lady Viking medalist, a number of her teammates turned in impressive performances at the meet. Junior Carly O’Keefe finished 12th in the 100 meter high hurdles in a  clocking of 16.93, which was less than 0.50 of a second off the eighth place time.

Eighth grader Isabella Kennedy came across the line in 16th position in a field of 27 in the 800 meter run in a time of 2:35.60, which was just six seconds off the eight-place finisher.

Other Lady Vikings who competed at the meet were senior Liz Anderson in the shotput with a toss of 28′-2″ and junior Amy Sena in the high jump.

Turransky is 10th  in 100M dash in D-4

Sophomore Reise Turransky turned in a highly-impressive performance at this past weekend’s Division 4 State Meet in the 100 meter dash. Reise sprinted the distance in a time of 11.45 seconds, good for 10th place among the large field of 35 boys, and was just 0.11 of a second from qualifying for the final round of eight runners.

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