WHS sports roundup
Extra-inning victory vaults WHS softball team into state tourney
It may have taken until the bottom of the last inning (of extra innings) of the last game of the season, but the Winthrop High softball team finally punched their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney with an exciting and dramatic 4-3 victory in nine innings over Triton Thursday evening at Cellucci Field.
The Lady Vikings will open tourney play in the Division 3 North Sectional of the MIAA state softball tournament this afternoon (Thursday) when they take on Mystic Valley on the latter’s home field. The first pitch is set for 3:00.
“It was a great game,” said WHS head coach Dave Guffey of the Triton contest. “We’re looking forward to playing in the tourney.”
The Lady Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Ali Scarfo singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jaida Hightower. Alexis Joyce then delivered a base hit to bring in Ali.
In the Winthrop fifth, Nina Bartlette led off with a walk and Joyce reached on an error to short. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice fly, a ground out to second by Olivia Grillo brought in Bartlette and a subsequent wild pitch sent Joyce, who had taken third on the ground-out, scooting home.
That rally evened the contest at 3-3, Triton having scored once in the fourth and twice in its half of the fifth in which a Winthrop error allowed both Triton runs to score.
The Lady Vikings loaded the bases in the sixth and seventh frames, but could not push across the go-ahead tally. In the decisive ninth, Maddie Finga’a led off with a base hit and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Grillo. A single by Gabbie Kenniston moved Maddie to third, at which time Triton called a time-out to evaluate their predicament.
However, that also allowed the Lady Vikings to plan their strategy, with Guffey opting for a suicide squeeze by sophomore Jessy Martin. Jessy laid her bunt perfectly down the first base line and the fleet Finga’a steamed home from third, with Triton not even able to make a play at the plate.
Kenniston and Scarfo both had two hits to lead the Winthrop offense. Finga’a, Hightower, Joyce, and Nicole Puccillo also had hits for Winthrop.
Lady Viking hurler Taylor Thomas spun a brilliant game in a yeoman effort in which Taylor worked all nine frames, allowing only four hits, walking two, and yielding one earned run.
Kenniston finished the regular season as the team’s top hitter with a .453 average. Martin was next at .327 and Puccillo was close behind at .321.
Although Winthrop enters the tourney as the 24th and last seed of the D-3 North with a 6-14 record, the teams immediately in their bracket all are from the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, which is a much weaker league than Winthrop’s Northeastern Conference.
Winthrop and Mystic Valley did not have any common opponents, but a once-removed opponent was Georgetown, whom Mystic Valley defeated 15-14. Triton, whom Winthrop just defeated, easily beat Georgetown, 20-7.
If Winthrop wins today, they will play at Chelsea, the eighth seed (which has an opening round bye) Saturday afternoon at 4:00 on Chelsea’s home field. However, Chelsea lost to Mystic Valley, 12-4, which would indicate that the winner of the Winthrop-Mystic Valley tilt should be favored over Chelsea
Next up would be the D-3 North’s top seed, Whittier Tech, a team that has been bit of a Lady Viking nemesis in the recent past. Whittier and Winthrop played a common opponent, Saugus, twice and they both split their games with the Lady Sachems by similar scores, an indication that a Whittier-Winthrop matchup, on paper the #24 seed vs. the #1 seed, could be a close encounter.
So as the saying goes, anything can happen — and usually does — in the tourney, and Lady Viking softball fans no doubt will learn the truth of that axiom in the days ahead.
Boys lacrosse storms
into state tourney
The Winthrop High boys lacrosse team won three of its last four games of the season, including its final two contests, to qualify for the MIAA Boys State Lacrosse Tournament.
The Vikings defeated Everett, 9-4, and Malden, 10-4, to finish with a tourney-qualifying 9-9 record.
Winthrop was set to meet Manchester/Essex yesterday in the first round of the tourney. Winthrop is seeded 11th in the D-3 North and Manchester is seeded sixth with a 13-7 record. The winner will advance to play #2 seed Triton (15-3) at a date to be determined.
Two Vikings earned accolades at the recent Northeastern Conference coaches’ meeting. Junior captain Dave Barry and freshman goalie Andrew DiMento were named second team all-stars.
WHS head coach Brian Donnelly also praised the performance this year of junior captain Neville Nowak, senior captain Dan Dellanno, and freshmen Pat Sennott and Brian Chalmers, “all of whom had great seasons,” said Donnelly.
McGrail 3rd, Massa 6th
at Division 4 state meet
Winthrop High juniors Andrew McGrail and Gianna Massa came home with medals they earned at this past weekend’s Eastern Mass. Division 4 track and field meet.
Andrew’s discus toss of 125’-9” earned him a third place medal. Of the seven top discus throwers, all but McGrail were seniors.
Lady Viking Massa won a sixth place medal in the shotput with her toss of 32’-9.5”.
WHS baseball team
wraps up season
Although the Winthrop High baseball team ended the season with a 7-14 record and finished out of the state baseball tournament picture, the Vikings had many positive aspects to their 2016 campaign.
“Our seniors, captain Matt Feeley, Zack Fisher, Devon Periera, and Joe Fabiano, all had great years,” said WHS head coach Frank DeMarco. “They were in our program for four years and have been great to work with. We wish the best of luck to all of them.
“We had a young team going into this year and we have seen great improvement,” continued DeMarco. A prime example was the performance last week of sophomore Jaiden Brown, who pitched a complete game in a 4-3 win over Gloucester.
In his last three starts, all of which were complete games, Jaiden went 14 innings without a walk, while winning two of the three outings. He also ended the season hitting .393. “Jaiden had a terrific year,” noted DeMarco.
In the middle, freshman shortstop Dan Gillis and sophomore second baseman Jake Adamson got better and better as the season went on. “They will have a long career together at WHS,” said DeMarco.
Co-captain Chris Zuffante came on strong at the end, including a three-run homer in the Gloucester game, and concluded the season with a .297 batting average.
Jack Wallace and Matt Feeley were named conference all-stars. Jack hit .304 while posting a 3-6 record on the mound. Matt Feeley provided great leadership and ended the season hitting .324 with 19 runs scored.
Luigi Spinazolla was outstanding at first base, recording 157 put-outs with only three errors. He hit .279 for the season and led the team in RBI with 13.
Senior Zack Fisher proved again that he is one of the top defensive center fielders in the NEC with 52 put-outs and but one error.
Viking lead-off man Joe Fabiano had a great year offensively and defensively leading the team in on-base percentage, steals, and walks.
DeMarco also praised Pat Stafford, Rich Fucillo and Dean Paulson, whom he said “improved every day in practice and will come back next year and compete for starting positions.”
Winthrop also had one of its best junior varsity squads in many years, led by pitchers Ryan Skoczyla and Christian Natareno, along with outfielder Taylor St. George, outfielder Ryan Buccini, and catcher Miles Albert, all of whom should make an impact on the varsity next year.
“The future looks bright for WHS baseball,” added DeMarco.
From the Press Box
The playoff team
By: Jim Lederman
The Vikings boys Lacrosse program is only four years old. Coach Brian Donnelly’s “Laxmen” faced a final game scheduled with a chance to qualify for the MIAA playoffs.
“Raise the Sticks” the Vikings defeated Saugus and Malden with two big victories. The (9-9) record gave coach Donnelly’s young squad a trip to the MIAA playoffs for the second year in a row.
“We had lost to Malden in our first game but we scored 11 goals to defeat the “Golden Tornadoes”. Two outstanding frosh (freshmen) Andrew DiMento and Brian Chalmers we prevailed.”
“Brian was like a Viking hockey star with three consecutive games with a “hat trick” – three goals, we have only four seniors so our program has great promise.”
“Senior captain Dan Dellano (Viking football co-captain and a great leader and junior captains David Barry (another Dale Dunbar hockey standout) and Neville Novack were outstanding”!
DiMento and Barry were named NECX all-stars. Barry was the Vikings scoring leader with 30 points.
Coach Donnelly played Lacrosse at Walpole high school and is a teacher at WHS in this fifth year.
“I am excited about the future of Lacrosse at Winthrop. I have to praise the youth Lacrosse program” lauded coach Donnelly. We need a new Miller Field with a turf field to get more players in the program,” said coach Donnelly.
“Raise the Sticks High,” Lacrosse is a solid Viking sport.
Vote Yes on June 21st for a new Miller Field Stadium and Track!
A trip to Marblehead brings back many memories. Last Thursday we drove by ‘Seaside Park,’ en route to the Landing restaurant for dinner.
Two of the top teams were playing at the legendary “Seaside Park,” the baseball home of the Marblehead Magicians. Two pitchers were center stage – Swampscott’s Gavin Sullivan and Garret Keough for the Magicians.
The two pitchers are sons of two ex-Viking athletes. Chuck Sullivan and Jamie Keough, won football titles for the Vikings. Marblehead won a thriller (2-1) with Garret scoring the winning run. Gavin pitched another outstanding game for Swampscott.
Marblehead will capture the ‘NEC title’ if they defeat Revere on Tuesday. The park is historic and it brought back memories.
Howie Conley pitching a WHS victory, Bobby DeFelice and Will Milano blasting home runs. My senior year we never lost a football, basketball or baseball game to Marblehead. The years have flown by, but the Swampscott and Marblehead rivalry was always number one. For athletes Ron Conn, George Blais, Dick Jauron, Mike Lynch and Tootie Cahoon, are legendary names in the rivalry. Playing at Blocksidge Field will always be a fond memory.
Congrats to senior Matt Feeley and junior Jack Wallace, named to the NEC all-star team.
Matt was Viking catcher and finished his Viking athletic career as an all-star. Matt was captain of the 2015 football team. He missed the first three games with an injury. He returned to score three touchdowns, but suffered a separated shoulder at Swampscott. He would have been an NEC all-star football player.
Jack had an outstanding season on the mound for the Vikings. The junior had his best game in a (2-1) victory over archrival Swampscott.
In a battle of ‘two aces’ Jack out dueled ‘Big Blue’ junior Gavin Sullivan at Swampscott.
Jack is a standout golfer and he will pitch AAU baseball this summer.
The Vikings spring season produced three teams that will play in the MIAA playoffs (Division 3 North).
First year Vikings boys Lacrosse coach Brian Donnelly sends his (9-9) team to Manchester to battle the Manchester-Essex Hornets (13-7) out of the strong Cape Ann league. The game was played yesterday (Wednesday) at the new turf stadium. (Why does Winthrop not have a turf stadium?) in Manchester.
Lynnfield (12-4), Manchester and Ipswich (15-1) have strong Lacrosse programs, playing on new turf stadiums.
The Vikings play in Division 3 North, Swampscott (11-9) and Marblehead (9-9) are two archrivals with very strong established Lacrosse programs.
The Memorial Auditorium
Last Friday was the start of “Memorial Day Weekend.” I had the thrill of returning to the Memorial auditorium. The magnificent building and Memorial gym was built in 1955. I remember watching my first WHS basketball game in 1955.
I had the chance to speak before Winthrop high school students, introducing pro player agent Sean Stellato and New England Patriots player Brandon King.
Sean is the author of “No Backing Down” a story of the Salem high school undefeated football team that had a thrilling undefeated football season, despite big challenges and comebacks, leading to the high school “Super Bowl”.
The 2014 book was Sports Book of the Year and non-fiction Book of the Year. Sean Stellato represents 7 members of the New England Patriots.
Brandon King is a Patriots defensive player who finished third in the NFL in kickoff tackles.
Principal Matt Crombie and sponsor Gus Martucci combined to bring the assembly a memorable event at the “old auditorium.”
I had great memories of the old town meetings (I was a 32-year member) and my high school years.
We all look forward to the new Winthrop High/middle School opening this summer and a “new Miller Field.” Please vote yes on June 21st.
Let the Games Begin!
A Football Family
Condolence to the DeBonis family on the loss of their mother Jacqueline. The family had four football players.
The late dad Robert, Robert Jr., Michael and Matthew, sister Laurie lives in Swampscott. Bobby played for the Vikings and UMass and is in the WHS Hall of Fame. Michael played in 1979; Matt was a guard in the 1983 Super Bowl champions.
May Jackie rest in peace.
A Golden Statement
I salute the Golden State Warriors for the amazing comeback victory over the OKC-Thunder (96-88).
The defending NBA champions won three straight to capture the NBA West Title four games to three.
The ‘Splash Brothers’ – League MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 57-points (72 in the sixth game).
The Warriors will play the Cleveland Cavaliers for the NBA championship. Cleveland has ‘King’ LeBron James. He calls himself “the greatest player in the world.”
I will cheer extra hard for the Warriors! Take it to the rim Golden State!
WHS sports years
10 years ago
June 1, 2006
The WHS baseball team defeated Watertown, 8-3, in the season finale to qualify for the Dvision 3 state baseball tournament. The Vikings finished at 8-12 overall, but were 5-4 against D-3 opponents. Winthrop is seeded 23rd of the 24 teams in the D-3 North bracket and will face 10th seeded Trinity Catholic in a preliminary round contest. In the Watertown victory, senior southpaw Jarrett Herdt pitched all seven innings, allowing just six hits and fanning six. WHS captain Paul Eruzione led the Vikings offensively with three hits, two doubles, and two RBI. Cory Collins scored three runs.
The WHS softball team, 8-12 overall but 2-1 against its Division 3 opponents, will meet Mt. Alvernia in a D-3 North preliminary game. The Lady Vikings lost nine games by one run this season.
Coach Pat McGee’s WHS boys track team and coach Warren MacPhail’s WHS girls track team captured NEC South Division championships.
Andrea Bruno turned in a personal record time of 2:23 in the 800 meter run to bring home a fourth place medal at the Division 4 State Meet Saturday. Bruno also ran a leg of the 4 x 400 relay team with teammates Julie Dowson, Meredith Soper, and Meghan Doherty to win a sixth place medal.
20 years ago
May 30, 1996
The 13-7 WHS baseball team that finished in second place in the NEC will meet Wayland in the opening round of the MIAA Division 3 North state baseball tournament. The Vikings are seeded sixth in the D-3 North. Winthrop concluded the regular season with a 3-1 win over Salem behind the pitching of sophomore John Dowd.