The Winthrop High softball team will open up state tournament play today (Thursday) afternoon, hosting Northeast Regional Vocational School at Cellucci Field in a preliminary round contest. The opening pitch is set for 3:30.
The Lady Vikings, who finished with a 13-8 regular season record, are the 12th seed in the Division 3 North bracket that consists of 25 teams. Northeast is the 21st seed with its 9-9 mark.
The winner will play at No. 5 seed Matignon Saturday evening at 5:00. Further games and locations after that have yet to be announced.
"We haven’t seen Northeast play, so we don’t know too much about them," said WHS head coach Dave Guffey. "But the tourney always comes down to pitching, so we’ll see what happens and take it one game at a time ."
Winthrop concluded its regular season with a contest last week against Saugus at which the seniors were honored. Captain Abby Belcher Captain, the MVP of the Northeastern Conference South Division; Captain Elaine Lanza, an NEC All Star; and Amanda Brogna, all of whom Guffey described as "great senior leaders," were honored for their contributions to the softball program.
Winthrop came out on the short end of a 4-1 decision that was called in the fifth frame because of lightning. Saugus scored two in the first on a couple of bloop singles, but Winthrop came back with three hits to start the bottom of the inning. However, a questionable call on a sacrifice fly by the umpire, who ruled that the Winthrop girl left third before the catch, ended the threat.
The Lady Vikings scored on an error later in the game, but Saugus pushed across two more markers in the fifth. Winthrop came up with the top of its order in the fifth, but the lightning silenced the bats.
On Monday, the Lady Vikings prepped for their tourney appearance with a contest against a team of 14 alumni that featured 11 former NEC all stars, 10 who played in the Agganis game, and five college athletes. Indeed, the alums showed that they still have it, as they prevailed by a 6-1 score. Among the former Lady Vikings who played were Kristen Finn, Courtney Finn, Alex Montone, Bri Kneeland, Ashley Ferullo, Kathryn Monahan, Jen Ryan, Sarah Carroll, Suzanne Martucci, Val Hughes, Kristen Jones, Ashley Fiandaca, Marie Trainor, and Stephanie Mussen.
The players on both sides had a great time and played before the second biggest crowd of the season. "I love to see the teams of the past and the teams of the future come together," said Guffey. "I have had the honor of coaching all the kids."