The Winthrop High baseball team already has a signature moment in the 2022 season, a rousing 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Danvers, handing the Falcons their first NEC defeat of the season.
Joe Ferullo singled in the bottom of the seventh to lift Winthrop over the Falcons, who have been a perennial nemesis to Winthrop in the Northeastern Conference. Zack Bogusz pitched six strong innings while freshman Jay Fotiades hurled a scoreless seventh inning to earn the victory.
But first-year head Mark DeGregorio and his hungry band of Vikings aren’t looking back at one of the more memorable victories in WHS baseball annals. No, they’re looking ahead and after another stirring victory this past week – a come-from-way-behind 8-7 decision over Lowell Catholic – the future is bright with a 6-4 record and a state tournament berth in sight. Freshman Phil Boncore was the batting star, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs, including a clutch hit in the bottom of the seventh.
“From the very beginning, the one thing that I’ve been trying to stress with this team is just one word, and that’s ‘compete’,” said DeGregorio. “All I’ve tried to get these kids to do is understand that they have the ability to believe in themselves to compete – just play as hard as you can and play for each other, and we’re doing that. The fact we were able to come from behind and beat a strong Danvers team and score five runs against one of the better pitchers in the NEC – it showed that we’re able to battle and win in the conference.”
One of DeGregorio’s new installations has been the players wearing Winthrop practice uniforms with “Practice With Pride” on the back of the uniforms.
“We want them to look like a team, so they have to wear the same hats, same practice jerseys, and same practice pants,” said DeGregorio. “The JV team is the same way, too.”
Colin Kinsella has Been a Force
DeGregorio, who played college baseball at Merrimack for former Winthrop High Coach Barry Rosen, has always been a team-first, stats-second player, but even he says it’s hard to not talk about junior catcher Colin Kinsella’s marvelous performance through the mid-point of the season.
Kinsella, a team captain, is hitting a robust .458 with 10 RBIs. He is also the team’s leading base stealer and has drawn a league-high 12 walks from opposing pitchers.
“He’s the leaders in nearly all of our offensive categories,” said DeGregorio. “I do believe that Colin is a Division 1 college-caliber player and he’s on theradar.”
Phil Boncore, a freshman who also excelled in his first season with the WHS hockey team, is batting .481 with 7 RBIs. He is also among the team leaders in stolen bases.
“We’re a team that has to generate runs by stealing bases, being aggressive, and doing all the little things,” said DeGregorio. “And Phil has been a great example of that.”
Pete Silverman, an exceptional hockey player, is making a strong contribution in the leadoff spot, setting the table with a .310 average and five walks.
Junior lefthander Zack Bogusz has been a standout on the mound.
“He throws strikes and generates groundballs,” said DeGregrorio. “He allows our infielders to make plays and he’s done a really good job for is.”
Matt DeCarney has demonstrated a very good fastball and tricky curveball. Senior captain Cam Martin, who is heading to Colby-Sawyer College for baseball, is the starting centerfielder and one of the team’s pitchers.
Three-sport athlete and shortstop Joe Hayes is hitting .348 and making the plays on defense.
“Joe is one of our captains and he’s having a phenomenal season at shortstop,” said DeGregorio.
DeGregorio, who is being by assisted by coaches Mike Vatalaro, Anthony Sorrentino, Joe Murphy, and Eric Mathieu, and Neil Cacciola, believes the sky’s the limit for his resurgent baseball program.
“The idea is to always compete for the state championship,” said DeGregorio. “Our goal this year is to get in the playoffs, make a good playoff run, and see where that takes us. I just want these kids to get better every single day. But I think they really saw after the Danvers game that we’re a team that’s capable of competing with everybody. We play for the names on the front of our shirts, and it doesn’t matter what the front of their shirts say.”
Athletic Director Matt Serino, whose brother, Nicky, was drafted by the Washington Nationals as a lefthanded pitcher out of UMass/Amherst, is pleased with the baseball team’s ascension in the NEC.
“Coach DeGregorio and his staff are really getting a lot out of all of their players and getting everyone involved,” said Serino. “There’s a lot of multi-sport athletes like Joe Hayes, Pete Silverman, Cam Martin, Anthony Indrisano, and Phil Boncore on the team and that’s great to have.”