Sports 06-08-2017

WHS SPORTS roundup

WHS baseball team wins tourney opener

The Winthrop High baseball team won its opening round game in the Division 4 North Sectional of the MIAA state baseball tournament with a convincing 8-0 victory over Mystic Valley last Thursday in a contest played at the Malden Catholic field.

The triumph advanced the Vikings, who entered the tourney as the 11th seed in the D-4 North, to a quarterfinal matchup with third-seeded O’Bryant High School of Boston yesterday (Wednesday) as the Sun-Transcript was going to press.

That contest originally had been scheduled for Monday, but rain forced postponements on both Monday and Tuesday.

Viking pitcher Jack Wallace tossed five scoreless innings against MV, allowing just two hits and striking out five opponents.

Luigi Spinazzola came on for the final two frames, striking out one and allowing no hits.

The Viking offense accounted for its eight runs over three innings, with all the runs coming with two outs.

Jon Applebee gave Winthrop an early lead with a two-run triple, scoring Wallace and Mike Upton, who had walked.

In the fourth frame, Wallace helped his own cause with a blast for extra-bases that delivered Jake Adamson, who had singled, and Spinazzola, who had walked.

“That ball Jack hit was one of the longest I have seen by a high school player,” said WHS head coach Frank DeMarco. “The Malden Catholic coach who was watching the game said it traveled approximately 400 feet.”

Upton then delivered Jack across the plate with a single.

In the sixth — again with two outs — Wallace and Upton walked.  Applebee reached on an error and Chris Zuffanti knocked in Wallace.  Pat Stafford then drew a base-on-balls to force in the eighth run.

If DeMarco’s Vikings were successful against O’Bryant, they would advance to the D-4 North semifinals today (Thursday) against the winner of the #2 Lowell-Catholic vs. #10 St. Joseph Prep game (which also was played yesterday) at Trinity Stadium in Haverhill.

On the other side of the D-4 North bracket, top-seeded Manchester-Essex was set to take on #5 Rockport yesterday in a semifinal encounter, with the winner advancing to the final against the survivor among Winthrop/O’Bryant/Lowell Catholic/St. Joseph’s Prep.


WHS softball teamousted from tourney

The Winthrop High softball team fell in the first round of the North Sectional of the MIAA Division 3 state tourney with a 12-2 loss at Amesbury last Wednesday. The Lady Vikings were the No. 21 seed in the D-4 North with a 6-14 record, while Amesbury was the No. 12 seed with a 14-6 mark.

Despite the final score, the contest was a tight one through five innings.

Lady Viking captain Maddie Fainga’a swatted the first pitch of the game for a monstrous home run for a quick-as-a-flash 1-0 Winthrop lead. The Lady Vikings threatened to add to their margin when Jess Martin doubled, but was left stranded  after a deep fly-out to right field by Emily Creador that ended the inning.

Amesbury came back to put up four runs in the bottom of the first, but Winthrop scored another run in the fourth to close the gap to 4-2. Bella Perrotti walked, Martin singled, and an error on a ball hit by Stephanie Strangie allowed Perrotti to score.

However, the Winthrop rally ended when Martin was thrown out at home trying to score on the error.

The Lady Vikings threatened again in the fifth on base hits by Creador and Strangie, but could not come up with the timely hit to produce a run.

Amesbury then put the game away with a big rally for eight runs in its half of the fifth.

“This group achieved more than our expectation,” said WHS head coach Dave Guffey. “We lost eight girls to graduation from last year and with our lack of experience, we knew it was going to be a challenging year.  But the kids played well and won six games to equal last year’s total.”

Guffey noted that the junior varsity squad also worked hard and contributed to the success of the varsity, most notably with Emily Creador most moving up to the varsity to take on the designated hitter role in the tournament.

The WHS freshman squad, coached by Elaine Lanza, performed well, achieving a 10-2 record, lending a bright future to the WHS softball program.

Fainga’a led the Lady Vikings in almost every offensive category, including hitting with a .437 average and an on-base percentage of .524. Martin was next with a .424 batting average (and led the team with nine extra base hits), followed by Perrotti at .375 and Strangie at .333.


Boys lacrosse team drops tourney contest


The Winthrop High boys lacrosse team came out on the short end of a 13-5 decision at Triton last Wednesday in the opening round of the North Sectional of the MIAA Division 3 state lacrosse tournament.

The Vikings  entered the D-3 North as the 13th seed with a 10-8 record. Triton was the fourth seed with a 12-6 mark.

“We lost to a good Triton team,” said WHS head coach Brian Donnelly. “But despite the loss, overall it was a good season, anchored by some great leadership in Dave Barry and Steve Rodgers.

“We have eight graduating seniors who were a massive part of building the program to where it is right now,” added Donnelly. “But we have a lot of hope in the future with returning players like Mike Lane, Pat Sennot, Christian Lyons, and Brian Chalmers. We wish the graduating seniors the best of luck in the future and I will be the first to say we are excited for what lies ahead for Winthrop High School lacrosse.”


Benson, Norris named NEC All-Stars; MacPhail name Coach of the Year


Post-season accolades were accorded to the Winthrop High girls outdoor track team this week with the announcement of the selections of Heidy Benson and Micayla Norris to the Northeastern Conference All-Star team and Coach Warren MacPhail as the Coach of the Year.

Benson, the Lady Vikings’ senior captain, completed a superb 2017 season, going undefeated in her specialty, the 800 meter race, in the dual meet season against NEC South opponents and capturing third place at the NEC League Meet. Heidy then brought home a sixth-place medal at the Division 4 State Meet with a personal record (PR) time of 2:22.65.

Bernson, who formally will be named the Lady Vikings’  MVP at the team’s award banquet, plans to run track at UNH next season.

Junior Micayla Norris leapt into track stardom in her first season by blasting away the competition in the sprinting events. Micayla finished third at the NEC League Meet in the 100 meter dash and just missed scoring at the D-4 State Meet with a ninth place finish. Micayla, who also is a star performer for the WHS Lady Bulldog hockey team, will be named the Winthrop captain for the 2018 outdoor season, leading the way on a brand new track.

She also will share the team MVP award with Heidy for her outstanding season.

Lady Viking head coach MacPhail earned the NEC Coaches’ Award for guiding his squad to its best record in many seasons, 6-1, good for second place in the NEC South and coming within 10 points of an undefeated dual-meet season.

MaPhail’s fellow coaches, who voted for the award, noted that it was an impressive team accomplishment considering that the team did not have the use of a track facility this season.

“I want to thank his team for their amazing commitment and support this season,” said MacPhail.


From the Press Box

Vikings Blank Mystic Valley

By: Jim Lederman

The Vikings opened the MIAA Division 4 North playoffs with an impressive (8-0) victory over Mystic Valley. The Vikings qualified for the tourney on the last day of eligibility and with a (8-12) record, coach Frank Demarco’s squad was the 11th seed.

The Vikings turned to the ‘best pitcher’ in the NEC – senior right-hander captain Jack Wallace. The Franklin Pierce College recruit spun a two-hitter, blanking the home team (playing at their home diamond) 8-0 with ‘The G’ Luigi Spinazolla closing out ‘The Valley.’ The victory for ‘number 14’ was his second in a row, after a huge victory over Essex Tech at Veterans Field.

The sun was bright and a large contingent of Viking fans were local and loud, cheering the Vikings to a quarterfinal game with O’Bryant – (scheduled for Monday, rain in the forecast). The Vikings scored three runs in the third inning. Soph Jon Applebee knocked in two runs and Chris Zuffante added one. Jack Wallace helped his ‘pitching gem’ with a monstrous (410-foot triple to bring home two runs – (5-0) Vikings – Mike Upton’s single drove in another after four innings, Winthrop led (6-0). Zuffante drove home another Viking for a (7-0) lead.

The ‘Big G’ – Luigi Spinazzola, replaced Jack Wallace and shut out Mystic Valley. The Vikings played a solid game on defense and offense and look to upset O’Bryant in Boston and advance in Division 4 North. The Viking faithful were loud and boisterous – the ‘chant’ “Let’s Go Vikings” could be heard in Malden Square!



Playoff Update

The Vikings victory over Mystic Valley advanced Frank DeMarco’s squad to a quarterfinal date with O’Bryant.

The game was postponed on Monday due to the rain and poor field conditions at the Boston field, home of O’Bryant.

The Vikings (9-12) and O’Bryant (12-6) the number two seed in Division 4, was scheduled for Wednesday (press time).

A Winthrop victory could advance the Vikings to the semi-final round in Division 4 – North.



A Basketball Legend

Winthrop had the reputation as ‘The Basketball Capitol of the North Shore’ in the 1970’s. Four NEC basketball championships – A (35-3) in (1972-1973) record that led to 37-NEC hoop titles over the past 50-plus years.

The 1972-1973 NEC champions played ‘back to back’ in the legendary Boston Garden. The captain of the 1973 NEC champions will be honored for his achievements in WHS sports. Chris will have his night on Thursday, June 22, at the new WHS gym. The dedication of the Chris Tsiotos basketball court will be held at 7 p.m.

Chris established many records over his career – 53 points in a single game (without 3-pointers) 1,000 points to establish the ‘1,000 point club’ at WHS. Chris averaged (28.5) per game.

When the Vikings reached the final of the Tech Tourney (now the State Tourney) the Vikings played Rindge Tech for the championship. Chris contacted mononucleosis and could not play in the title game. The Vikings lost by 2 points. Yes, with 29 points sitting on the bench.

We will honor Chris with the dedication of the new court at the new gym at WHS. I will give you more details next week.

Two points for Tsiotos!

Let the Games Begin!




Vikings to Play in National Tourney

Winthrop will send a talented group of ex-Viking athletes to play in the National Senior ‘three on three’ Basketball Tourney in Birmingham, Alabama.

‘The City’ – a legendary team that played in the 1976 Winthrop summer basketball league, qualified for the exciting senior three on three. The dates are June 13-15th.

‘The City’ has Chris Tsiotos, Nick Tsiotos, Adam Hubley, Lou Hinckley, Billy Schmidt, John Earl, Joe Frank and Steve Mahoney. In 2016 ‘The City ‘qualified for the National ‘Senior Games.’ The men’s senior (60 years and over) ‘The City’ is one of 19 (nineteen) teams from across the country.

In 2017, ‘The City’ won games played in Boston, New Britain, Connecticut. The City hopes to bring another ‘hoop title’ back to Boston. Let’s call it the Senior Olympics!

Let’s Go The City!

Let the Games Begin!



50 Years

The Red Sox are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the ‘Impossible Dream Team’ – the 1967 Boston Red Sox.

Yes, you remember “Captain Carl,” Yaz – Lonnie – Jim Lonborg – Tony C – Tony Conigliaro and many m ore legendary members of that team.

Did you know that a legend of the 1967 Boston Red Sox lived in Winthrop? The colorful Kenny the Hawk Harrelson lived in town.

Kenny is presently a radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox. HE announced his retirement for next year, after 34-seasons behind the mike next year. Kenny played nine seasons in the major league. He played for the Red Sox, Kansas City, Washington and Cleveland.

Do you remember ‘The Hawk’ Sub shops – One on the Lynnway? His partners – the late John Thomas and the Winthrop legend – the Condo King George Costonis. George is living in Florida. I watched the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, sitting with George, center ice in the Boston Garden.

Who built the first ‘Condo’ building in Winthrop? George Costonis – the Nautilus Condos.’ Another Winthrop story from the past – 45 years ago! George had two so ns – outstanding Vikings skaters – Chris (3-goals in 29 second) 1972 and Kevin on the 1974 championship Vikings!

Let the Games Begin!



Extra Points

I will take a ‘yellow flag,’ for omitting Pat Sennot off the NEC all-star lacrosse team. The sophomore had an outstanding season for coach Brian Donnelly’s team. He dad Pat was on the 1981 Vikings undefeated super bowl championship team.

The number of strong lacrosse teams on the North Shore continues to increase. Revere had a (17-2) record but lost their first game in the MIAA playoffs to Central Catholic (14-11). Speaking of the arch rival Patriots, overtime I drive by Harry Della Russo Stadium, I think of the Vikings thrilling (15-12) comeback victory on “Turkey Day” (2015) when the Patriots opened their new stadium.

I spoke with one of the Vikings super stars on the holiday in 2015. Jon Gonzalez led the Vikings to victory. Jon will travel to Florida to play at South Florida. Remember it’s not the size of the player – but “the determination of the Vikings.”

The Vikings boy’s tennis team coached by Marie Finn, had a great season, before traveling to play the Ipswich ‘Tigers.’ The home of the Clam Box is only a mile from Ipswich High School.

If you are looking for the best seafood in Ipswich – try the legendary Clam Box in Gloucester; try the Causeway Restaurant on Route 133 – the best in the city!

Congrats to Mike Triant, named assistant coach on David Sacco’s (2017-2018) Vikings hoop team.

I drove by the legendary Blocksidge Field, home of the ‘Big Blue’ of Swampscott. They have a new turf field. The Vikings will play the ‘Big Blue’ this season. A Saturday date with Swampscott.

Sean Stellato and Ryan Allen visited the Cummings School last month. Sean will hold his ‘All-American’ Fundamental Football Showcase Camp on Sunday, July 23rd. Patriots players and many coaches will beat Manning Field 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for players ages (6-18) contact coach Sean Driscoll or Sean Stellato at (978-210-3195). Football is one month away.

Let the Games Begin!

See you at Manning Field!



The Lacrosse Popularity

The Vikings lacrosse program continues to grow. The Vikings had another team qualified for the MIA playoffs. The Vikings fourth year with a varsity team.

A glance at some of the successful programs begin with Ipswich, Beverly and Marblehead. The Ipswich ‘Tigers’ opened with a (22-6) victory over Lowell Catholic.

The Vikings lost a (11-5) decision to the Triton ‘Vikings’ at Newbury. Viking goals were scored by David Barry and Pat Sennott (2 each) both Barry and Sennott were NEC All-Stars.

Marblehead defeated Northeast (19-3). The strength of the Magicians Sports Programs began, with the new turf stadium (Piper Field). Marblehead has won four consecutive NEC large football titles in a row. Last team to have that title was the (1981-1983) Vikings undefeated streak – 33 in a row! I predict with a new Miller Field – the Vikings enrollment will increase and look for more championship track teams for Vikings athletes.



Thirty Love

Kudos to coach Kenny Hodgkins and his Lady Vikings tennis team that set a new WHS record for victories.

The Lady Vikings defeated Gloucester (5-0) to win their 11th yes – eleven victories to establish that new record.

The Vikings lost a tough (3-2) decision to Notre Dame Academy at the McClean Courts on Friday in the MIAA playoffs.

The match – an early 12 o’clock date on Friday (graduation on Friday night). It was a fabulous season for coach Hodgkins and his young tennis players. We salute captain Haley Holden (Notre Dame University bound) and her teammates.

They won 11-gtames and with the help of 1,000 supporters they kept the 65-year tennis courts alive – NO Parking Lot!

Just great for the future of Winthrop tennis!

Raise the Racquets!

We Salute the Lady Vikings!



Apropos of Nothing

Seven straight NBA finals for Lebron James. Let’s compare him to six Boston Celtics – Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Sam Jones, KC Jones, Frank Ramsey and Tom Heinsohn are members off the seven straight ‘Finals Club.’ Only difference – Heinsohn and Russell have 11- rings each! Sorry Lebron James! I like Golden State in six! Go Warriors!

The Boston Red Sox payroll – this year David Price $31 million – Pablo Sandoval $19 – $50 million – two players – are you serious?



Skimming the Sidelines

I am looking ahead to the football season. The New England Patriots open practice next month; the defending ‘Super bowl’ champions look very strong.

The Winthrop Vikings have a very challenging season this fall. Ten games on the road! They will be the ‘Road Warriors’ in 2017.

The schedule opens on the road at Danvers on September 8th. It certainly hurt to lose to the Danvers Falcons at Larsen Rink – the NEC hockey title. Danvers has only ‘one’ NEC football title in 65 years! Yes – only one NEC football title.

The Vikings travel to Stackpole Field in Saugus on Saturday, October 14th to battle Saugus. How many NEC football titles has Saugus captured in 45-years? Yes, only one! Combined the two NEC rivals Danvers and Saugus have won ‘two NEC titles’ in football.

Let the Games Begin!



Pancake Breakfast

The Winthrop Vikings annual Father’s Day Family Pancake Breakfast will be held on Sunday, June 18th at the new WHS. The ‘tradition’ was started by coach Bob DeFelice in the 1970’s. Donation is $7.00 – plenty to eat – hold the syrup!

See you on Father’s Day!

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