WHS softball team advances to semifinal
The Winthrop High softball team has steamrollered past its first three opponents in the Division 3 North Sectional of the MIAA State Softball Tournament to advance to the sectional semifinals.
The Lady Vikings were set to meet Amesbury yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon at Martin Field in Lowell. If Winthrop were to be victorious, they would return to Martin Field Sunday at noon to face the winner of the other semifinal matchup, St. Mary’s of Lynn vs. Austin Prep, for the D-3 North title and the right to advance to the state semifinals.
Coach Dave Guffey’s Lady Vikings, who entered the tourney with an 8-10 regular season record and were the 21st seed of the 23 teams in the D-3 North, pounded their three, higher-seeded rivals by a combined score of 34-6, while banging out 55 hits, in their remarkable tourney run.
Winthrop opened its Journey to the Tourney last Thursday at Notre Dame of Tyngsboro, which was the 12th seed in the D-3 North.
The Lady Vikings took a lead of 2-0 in the second inning and never looked back, expanding their margin to 4-0 after two frames and then holding a 7-4 advantage after five stanzas before adding two additional insurance markers in the seventh.
Taylor Thomas started for Winthrop and went the first five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. Maura Lanza came on in the sixth and allowed just one baserunner via a walk over the final two frames.
Gabby Kenniston, who in Guffey’s words, “has been tearing the cover off the ball,” keyed the Lady Viking rally in the second with a two-run double. Other key contributors in Winthrop’s 18-hit attack were Maddy Finga’a (whose return to the lineup from a concussion has been huge), who went 3-for-5 with a run scored; Thomas, who was 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored; and Christine Haskell, who was 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Two days later Winthrop traveled to Ross Field in Hyde Park to take on fifth-seeded New Mission High. The Lady Vikings wasted little time in laying waste to the Boston school, scoring three runs in the top of the first, a solo marker in the second, and then five more in the third. Another run in the fourth and three more in the sixth brought about an end to the game after six innings thanks to the mercy rule with a final score of 13-1.
Lanza started and went the whole way, yielding just six hits and fanning seven. Maura’s teammates played flawlessly behind her, committing no errors in the contest.
Finga’a was a one-girl wrecking crew at the plate, pacing the 17-hit Winthrop onslaught by hitting for the cycle and accounting for five RBI with two runs scored. “Maddie had been out for quite a while and had been sorely missed,” noted Guffey. “But she’s stepped back in and has played as if she never missed a game. Her cycle is the first in my tenure as head coach.”
Kenniston, Winthrop’s lead-off hitter, also was a force with the bat with three hits, including two doubles, and reaching on an error. Gabby drove in four teammates and scored four times herself. Nicole Pucillo had two hits; Jesse Martin banged two doubles; and Regina Garufo added a homer and a single.
The Lady Vikings’ next foe, third seeded Mt. Alvernia, likewise put up little resistance in a contest played on the Boston College field that had real grass that looked more groomed than artificial turf. After taking a 4-0 lead through four frames, the Lady Vikings batted around in the fifth, exploding for eight runs to put the game away. Pucillo delivered a powerful performance at the plate with four hits (in four at-bats), including two doubles two stolen bases, two RBI, and two runs scored.
Kenniston also bashed a pair of two-baggers and had three RBI. Garufo was 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored, and an RBI. Martin had two hits, scored thrice, and knocked in one teammate.
Thomas meanwhile, was brilliant in the pitching circle, going the entire seven inning distance and fanning 13 Mt. Alvernians. Taylor yielded an unearned run in the fifth and took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh, with the lone Mt. Alvernia safety coming with two outs.
“We had a layoff of 14 days between the last game of the season and the start of the tournament, so we had been concerned about what effect that might have had on our hitting,” said Guffey. “So it’s been nice to see us swing the bats so well. Taylor and Maura have been immense for us and they’ve received great support in the field from their teammates.”
Top seeded Amesbury presumably would have presented a stronger challenge yesterday. However, Amesbury’s two tourney victories, 14-5 over 16th seed Lynnfield and 6-4 over ninth seed Rockport, have not been as impressive as one might expect from the top seed in the sectional. A Winthrop win would set up a contest for the D-3 North title most likely with St. Mary’s of Lynn, the school that always seems to stand in the way of a Viking quest for a state title.
Bouche is fourth in D-4,
advances to All-State Meet
Winthrop High senior Marc Bouche turned in a triple jump of 41’-8.5” at last week’s Division 4 State Meet in Norwell to earn a fourth place medal and advance to Saturday’s All-State Meet that was held Saturday at Fitchburg State University. At that meet, which features the top competitors from all of the divisions, Marc came through with a performance of 41’-2”, which was good for 16th position.
The talented Bouche also had qualified for the D-4 Meet in the 400 meter hurdles and turned in a time of 63.46 seconds.
“The last time a boy made all-states from Winthrop was Charlie Asquith in the long jump back in 2008 in indoor track,” said WHS boys track head coach Mark D’Amico. “It has been even longer in spring track.”
compete in D-4 Meet
Lady Viking track stars Heidy Benson and Christa Vaccaro both competed in the recent Division 4 State Meet held in Norwell, for which both had qualified during the season.
Benson, sophomore, placed 23rd in the 400 meter dash with a time of 64.57. Vaccaro, also a sophomore, competed in the long jump with a leap of 15’-7” and in the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 71.69.
Baseball team falls
in state tournament
The Winthrop High baseball team dropped a 2-1 decision to O’Bryant High of Boston last week in a Division 4 North state tournament contest. The Vikings were the 11th seed in the D-4 Sectional and O’Bryant was seeded sixth. The teams had split their contests during the regular season.
WHS boys laxers
drop contest with MV
The WHS boys lacrosse team, which qualified for the state tournament for the first time in the history of the boys lacrosse program, played well in a 10-7 loss to Mystic Valley last Monday. The Vikings were seeded 13th in the Division 3 North Sectional with a 10-7 regular season record and MV was seeded fourth with a 15-3 mark.
WHS baseball team
drops 2-1 tourney contest
Sophomore Jack Wallace turned in a sparkling pitching performance, but a lack of offense and costly fielding miscues resulted in a 2-1 loss for the Winthrop High baseball team last week in a Division 3 North state tournament game played at O’Bryant High in Boston.
Wallace went the distance for the Vikings, yielding just two hits and two unearned runs while fanning 11 enemy batters.
“Jack became one of the better pitchers in the NEC over the course of the season and we expect big things from him next year,” said WHS head coach Frank DeMarco.
Fellow sophomore Cris Zufante doubled and scored the lone Winthrop run. “Cris was our hottest hitter in the last third of the season,” noted DeMarco. “Both Jack and Cris are sophomores and will play a big part in the future of our program.”
The contest was the final game in a WHS uniform for five seniors, all of whom were four-year members of the baseball program: NEC all-stars Dylan Driscoll and David Kirby; Little League award winner Bobby Fisher; and classmates Mike Rich and Tommy DiBenedetto.
“They were true Vikings,” said DeMarco. “They will be missed.”
Viking laxers play
well in tourney loss
The WHS boys lacrosse team, which qualified for the state tournament for the first time in the history of the boys lacrosse program, played well in a 15-8 loss to Mystic Valley last Monday. The Vikings were seeded 13th in the Division 3 North Sectional with a 10-7 regular season record and MV was seeded fourth with a 15-3 mark.
The Vikings appeared to have a case of the jitters in the early going in the first tournament game in program history, allowing Mystic to jump out to an 8-2 lead. However, Winthrop rallied in the second half and played evenly with Mystic Valley after the intermission.
Senior captain Jon Griffiths led Winthrop with four goals and two assists and fellow senior captain Dan Brogan added a pair of goals with three assists.
“The team battled the entire time and embodied our saying of ‘attitude and effort’ throughout the full course of the game,” said WHS coach Matt Serino.
U-14 Lady Vikings win MYCGL League Championship
The U-14 Lady Vikings had a storybook season that was capped off with their winning the Middlesex Yankee Conference Girls League Mid East II Championship on Saturday Night (April 4th) at Ed Burns Arena in Arlington, MA.
The team, lead by Coaches Sean Carleton, Steve Rogers and Chris Ford, finished in 6th place for the regular season with a 9-9-5 record. These girls battled hard all year against teams and were in good shape heading into the playoffs. The U-14 Lady Vikings were missing one of their top players, Alex Santostefano, who had a knee injury that prevented her from playing in the playoffs.
On Sunday, March 22nd the U-14 Lady Vikings squared off against #3 seed Concord (NH) Capitals. These 2 teams had faced each twice during the regular season and Winthrop was on the wrong end of both games. However, there would be a different ending to this Quarterfinal playoff game between the two teams!
Concord struck first at 7:03 of the 1st period. Winthrop battled hard all period but were unable to score the equalizer. That would all change with 1:07 left in the second period, As a result of some strong play along the defensive zone boards by Katie Honan, the puck was chipped out and corralled by Emma Carleton, who was flying out of the zone. Emma fired the puck deep into the Concord zone. Gabby Ford, Ariana Sarro and Carleton were quick to attack the Concord defenseman and force her to cough up the puck. The puck squirted back to Katie Honan at the blue line who fired a shot on net. The Concord goalie made the initial save but the rebound found its way onto Gabby Ford’s stick. Ford calmly slid the puck to Emma Carleton who buried the puck into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The third period was a back and forth battle that saw some fantastic saves by Winthrop’s Madisyn Peterson. Her acrobatic saves and the defensive play of Bella Perrotti, Katie Honan, Kirsten Griffiths and Olivia Holmes, helped keep the game knotted at 1-1. The game would remain tied until the 3:34 mark of the 3rd period. Emma Carleton, as she has done all year, won the faceoff between the center’s legs and broke in on Concord’s defense. With a quick move to the right, she fired the puck top shelf on the Concord goalie who was unable to make the save! Winthrop was now leading 2-1 with only 3 minutes left in the game. Both teams battled hard for the final minutes and would not give an inch. Concord then pulled their goalie with 1:00 left in the game. The final minute was a frenzy of players diving at loose pucks, blocking shots and helping the Winthrop Goalie, Madisyn Peterson, keep the puck out of the net. Concord continued to pepper the Winthrop net with shots and eventually scored a goal with 18 seconds left to go in the game to tie the game at 2-2. Neither team was able to score in the remaining seconds so the game would go into overtime.
The teams then squared off for a five minute overtime period. It was a frantic overtime period as both teams had numerous shots on net. Winthrop’s goalie, Madisyn Peterson, was sensational in net and made several saves that kept Winthrop’s hope alive.
Winthrop was swarming around the Reading net for the last 2 minutes of overtime and were close on several occasions but couldn’t push the puck past the goalie. The score remained tied at the end of the 1st overtime and at the end of the 2nd overtime and at the end of the 3rd overtime.
By now, both teams were exhausted and playing all out to win the game. The game was now entering its 4th overtime tied at 2-2. MYCGL league rules mandate that the teams play 4 on 4 during overtime periods. Players were reaching down deep for that extra effort to propel their team to victory. The Concord Capitals took a costly slashing penalty with 4:30 left in the 4th overtime and this was all Winthrop needed to capitalize. Oliva Driscoll, who had won multiple important face offs all game, drew the puck back to her defenseman, Olivia Holmes. Sensing that the Capital players were tired and not in position, Holmes made a beeline for the Concord net. As she was approaching the faceoff circle, a Concord defenseman attempted to knock the puck away from Holmes but lost that battle! Olivia Holmes reached back and fired a laser over the goalies shoulder! Winthrop wins the game in the 4th Overtime by a score of 3-2!
With their win over Concord, the U-14 Lady Vikings were propelled into the Semi Final game against the #2 ranked Medford Mustangs. It was only fitting that their opponent was Medford as these teams were evenly matched. Winthrop was the victor in their first game this year by a score of 2-1 and Medford won the last meeting by a score of 2-1. This game had all the makings of a classic.
The Semi Final game between the U-14 Lady Vikings and the U-14 Medford Mustang girls teams took place on Monday, March 30th at Ed Burns Arena. The Winthrop girls came to play and answered the bell with 5 minutes remaining in the 1st period. A loose puck squirted out of the Winthrop end and was sliding towards center ice. Emma Carleton, sensing a potential breakaway, scooped the puck up and headed to the Medford net. The Medford defenseman made a great play but Carleton was able to put a shot on the goalie . The Medford goalie made the initial save but Syndey Mignosa slammed home a rebound and put Winthrop ahead 1-0.
The Winthrop forwards were relentless in their pursuit of the puck and gave the Medford players fits with their aggressive play. Jenn Rogers, Sara Fucillo, Devon Barry and Emily Creador had huge defensive plays to prevent Medford from having scoring opportunities. Winthrop would remain ahead as the period was nearing an end. However, that would change with a simple chip out of the Winthrop zone. Bella Perrotti, sensing that there was little time on the clock, chipped it out past 2 Medford players. Emma Carleton corralled the puck outside the Winthrop blue line and began skating towards the Medford zone. As the clock wound it’s way down, teammates and coaches could be heard yelling “Shoot” as time was close to expiring. Carleton ripped a laser shot over the Medford goalie’s shoulder with 1/10 of a second left on the clock! Winthrop was now ahead 2-0 at the end of the first period!
The second period was scoreless due to the relentless work of the Winthrop U-14 girls. The defensive corps of Bella Perrotti, Kirsten Griffiths, Olivia Holmes and Katie Honan made it very difficult for the Medford forwards to pass or shoot the puck. While the defense was turning away pucks, the forward unit of Jenn Rogers, Sara Fucillo, Devon Barry and Emily Creador were buzzing around the puck and forcing Medford to play in their zone. They created a lot of confusion for the Medford forwards and were determined in creating scoring opportunities.
The 3rd period was a back and forth hockey game. Winthrop’s goalie, Madisyn Peterson, was a brick wall and would not let anything past her. Medford, never to be outdone, scored 2 goals in the 3rd period to tie the game at 2-2. Both teams battled for the remaining minute of the 3rd period but were not able to put in the game winner.
Incredibly, the Winthrop U-14 Girls were now playing in another overtime game. As both teams lined up for the 4 on 4 battle in overtime, you could sense that something was going to happen. Medford had numerous opportunities to score but Madisyn Peterson was unbeatable in net. With 2:25 left in overtime, one of Medford’s defenseman was assessed a roughing penalty for a hit in the corner. Winthrop would now be on a 4 on 3 power play. Winthrop dominated the power play but couldn’t put the puck home for the start of the power play. A neutral zone faceoff was won by Oliva Driscoll, who noticed Emma Carleton wide open and streaking towards the Medford zone. Driscoll hit Carleton in stride and it was now a question of whether the Medford defenseman could reach Carleton in time to block the shot. There was barely room to get the shot off but Carleton ripped off a shot that beat the Medford goalie! Winthrop wins 3-2!
Winthrop now advanced to the Championship Game against the U-14 Natick Comets on 4/4/15 at Ed Burns Arena. The U-14 Winthrop Lady Vikings knew that if they played like they had been in their past 2 victories, no one would stop them. U-14 Lady Viking Alex Santostefano gave a pregame speech to her teammates that lifted everyone spirits and had them ready to go to battle against Natick.
As both teams lined up for the National Anthem, there was a buzz in the air and a look of determination on the girls faces. The Lady Vikings, taking a cue from Coach Butch Martucci and his Lady DAWGS team, clasped hands in a sign of unity and sang the National Anthem together. They knew that 36 minutes of hard work would give them the goal that they had been working towards all year—League Champions!
The 1st period was a back and forth battle between both teams. Devon Barry, Jenn Rogers and Sara Fucillo all made huge plays to clear pucks out of the defensive zone while Emily Creador and Ariana Sarro had several scoring opportunities to keep the pressure on Natick. The score remained 0-0 at the end of the 1st period.
As the 2nd period started, the crowd got louder and was waiting for one of the teams to score. Bella Perrotti, Katie Honan, Kirsten Griffiths and Olivia Holmes made it very difficult for the Natick forwards to get any shots on net. Madisyn Peterson turned aside multiple shots and continued to give her team extra energy with her acrobatic saves. Natick started to get the upper hand in the midway through the period but that would all change on an incredible individual effort by U-14 Lady Viking Olivia Driscoll. The puck was loose along the boards and Driscoll stepped in to gain control of the puck. Sensing that she could beat the defenseman, Driscoll controlled the puck and made a mad dash towards the net. Her initial shot on net was saved by the Natick goalie but she was able to sweep the rebound under the goalies pads to put Winthrop up 1-0! The scored would remain 1-0 at the end of the 2nd period.
The 3rd period was a battle between gladiators and people were witness to some incredible playoff hockey. The U-14 Natick Comets were pelting the Winthrop net with shots but Madisyn Peterson continued to turn back every shot she faced. Winthrop was up to the challenge and did not back down during a frantic 3rd period.
As the clock ticked down, the large contingent of Winthrop parents, siblings and fans could be heard yelling, “WE DID IT!” The U-14 Lady Vikings made their coaches, parents, Winthrop Youth Hockey and the town of Winthrop proud with this Championship. Congratulations Girls!