WHS Sports Roundup

Boys Lacrosse Tops Gloucester

The Winthrop High boys lacrosse team turned in a solid performance to post a 12-4 victory over Gloucester last Friday.

“We had a great team win against Gloucester that allowed us to give a lot of our guys different looks,” said WHS head coach Brian Donnelly. “We had Nick Romano in net for this game and he played excellently, only letting in four goals. Sean Dolan, Dan Thomai, and Donivan Cassidy did a great job of limiting Gloucester’s looks.

“Robert Rich did a great job running our offense and ended up with two goals,” continued Donnelly. “He is excellent at getting other guys looks and had five assists on the day.

“Colin O’Leary was all over the field playing long stick midfield and was great on our clears,” said Donnelly. “Ace Daignault once again played amazingly with the hat trick. Mike Holgerson and Seth Sacco have been playing really confidently and continued to impress.

“It was excellent to get out to a commanding lead and get some of the newer guys looks as well,” Donnelly added. “Freshman Charlie Ferrara and Paul Ferrara have been getting in some solid minutes at the varsity level and junior Luke Githinji has been putting in some solid work during practice and we hope that he will continue to see more minutes as we head into the bulk of our season.”

Donnelly and his Viking crew, who stand at 3-2 on the season, are scheduled to travel to Danvers today (Thursday) and to Saugus next Tuesday. They will host Peabody next Thursday on the Miller Field turf at 4:00.

Vikings Top Danvers, Drop Heartbreaker in 16

The Winthrop High baseball team split its two games this past week, defeating Danvers, 9-4 last Wednesday, and then dropping a heartbreaking, 6-5 decision in a 16-inning marathon with Swampscott on Saturday.

Matthew Reardon started the Danvers contest and turned in a superb, complete-game performance against the Falcons.

“Matthew went up against a very good NEC team in Danvers,” said WHS head coach Mark DeGregorio. “I watched Matthew warm up before the game and knew he had his good stuff.  His fastball looked better than it had in his two previous appearances and his changeup was great.  After the first batter, the coaches knew he was going to beat them. Turns out that we were correct, as he not only was dominant, but pitched the entire game.”

Reardon allowed five hits and walked only one over his seven-inning, route-going masterpiece. In addition, Matthew made three defensive plays on the mound and picked off two Danvers baserunners. “This is the type of pitching performance that a coach dreams of,” noted DeGregorio.

Danvers started the game with two runs over the first three innings, but those runs were scored on some errors. “After the third we pulled the team in and told them to settle down,” said DeGregorio. “We knew we were going to be okay and get guys on base.  Our approach at the plate was solid in the first few innings, so we knew it was only a matter of time before we got something going offensively.”

The Vikings responded to their coach’s words immediately, erupting for six runs in the top of the fourth, thanks to some stellar base running and some timely hitting from Will Murphy, Mathew Noonan, and Petey Silverman. The offensive show of support would prove to be all that Reardon would need.

Winthrop added to its lead in the later innings with some nice hitting from Phil Boncore (2-for-3 on the day) and Michael Donahue (2-for-4). Billy Hayes and Jay Fotiades also delivered some timely hits. The Vikings pushed across their ninth run in the seventh when, with runners at first and third, they executed a play that they had been working on for a while. With Fotiades on first, DeGregorio called for a delayed steal.

“We told Jay that if the catcher throws through, to stop and get in a rundown so the guy at third can score,” said DeGregorio. “Jay executed it perfectly.”

Going into the last inning up 9-2,  DeGregorio said he asked Reardon if he wanted to finish. “There wasn’t even a doubt in his mind that he wanted to finish,” said the coach. “We could tell he was a little tired, but we knew he deserved the opportunity to finish the game.  He battled through the last inning, but ended the game in style by striking out Mike Maroney, who is probably one of the best hitters in the conference.  It was a great way to finish a win and get the complete game.”

Afterwards, DeGregorio said the coaches were trying to think of the last time a Viking pitcher had tossed a complete, seven-inning game. “We know it is a first since I took over coaching, but are not sure when the last time was,” noted DeGregorio.

Saturday’s epic contest with Swampscott at Veterans Field, which had been postponed from Friday, turned out to be a contest that fortunately began at noon and fittingly was played on Boston Marathon weekend.

“We knew that Swampscott was going to be good,” said DeGregorio. “They have returned basically their entire team and had only lost one game this year, 1-0, to one of the better pitchers in the conference.”

Matthew DeCarney started the game for the Vikings and escaped an early jam thanks to a double play from Fotiades and Evan Rockefeller. Swampscott did score a run on the DP, but Winthrop was able to limit the damage.  

The Vikings responded in the bottom of the first with two runs. Silverman reached base and immediately stole second base. A base hit from Fotiades moved Petey to third, from where he scored on an RBI-base hit by Boncore.  Hayes then delivered an RBI-double to bring across Fotiades for a 2-1 lead.

“Billy has come up big this year with hits,” noted DeGregorio. “I believe that is his fourth double to start the year.”

 Swampscott was able to bring the contest back to level in the third inning and then took the lead in the top of the fifth. The Big Blue led off with back to back hits off DeCarney, which prompted DeGregorio to bring in Fotiades in relief. Jay was able to get back-to-back ground outs, but they produced two runs for a 4-2 Swampscott advantage.

Little did anyone suspect or imagine that Fotiades’s appearance in the fifth would be the start of a string of eight innings of scoreless baseball. “Jay was efficient and kept Swampscott off-balance,” said DeGregorio. “It was our second impressive pitching performance over the last two games, as he threw 93 pitches over eight scoreless innings.”

Trailing 4-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Silverman led off with a single. After Boncore drew a base on balls, Hayes smacked his second two-bagger of the day down the right field line to bring in Silverman. Donahue then came through with an RBI-single to score Boncore with the equalizer.

From there, the foes went scoreless over a remarkable stretch of the next nine innings, though both teams had multiple opportunities to score runs. However, both squads did a tremendous job of getting out of jams.  Swampscott had the bases loaded in one inning and runners on second and third in two others, but the Vikings got out of it on all three occasions, thanks to diving plays from Noonan, two heads-up pickoffs by Fotiades, and a few big strikeouts from Phil Boncore (who came on after Fotiades) to end innings.

Similarly, Swampscott evaded walk-off Winthrop wins on three occasions in which the Vikings left runners in scoring position, including a bases-loaded opportunity in the 13th.

After DeGregorio took out Fotiades in the 12th, he turned the ball over to Boncore, who has pitched superbly thus far this season “Phil pitches with confidence and attacks hitters,” said DeGregorio. “He was fantastic in extra innings.  Also equally impressive was Ryan Murphy, who had to catch four innings in extra innings as a freshman.  He held up great behind the plate.

“Unfortunately, someone has to lose in a game like this,” noted DeGregorio.  “Swampscott’s leadoff hitter in the 16th hit a ball that I think would have hit the plate, but it was a blooper right over the third baseman’s head.  We still are not sure how he hit that ball.”

The Big Blue then added two more hits that produced a 6-4 lead.  However, the Vikings were not going to throw in the towel. Boncore led off with a walk, followed by a single from Hayes.  That was followed up by a fielder’s choice for the first out.  Winthrop then decided to steal Donahue, who was on first from the fielder’s choice, which put two men in scoring position.  Pinch-hitter Tim Vargus did a good job of putting the ball in play with two strikes to drive in a run to make it 6-5. 

Unfortunately, that was as close as Winthrop was able to get, as Donahue was thrown out at home to end the game. 

“The coaches felt like he slid to avoid the tag, but ultimately he was called out,” said DeGregorio. “It was a tough way to lose.

“After the game, in speaking with the team, we talked about how proud we were of the young men on the field,” said DeGregorio. “They gave everything they had and played their hearts out for 16 innings.  It was the longest game I have ever been a part of and that includes my days of playing in college where we play nine innings.  We got some great performances from the young men on the field and it was a great game to be a part of.  Hats off to Swampscott.”

DeGregorio and his crew have a busy week ahead with five games in eight days. They were scheduled to host Saugus yesterday (Wednesday) and will make the long treks to Gloucester tomorrow (Friday) and to Ipswich on Saturday. They will return home to entertain Peabody next Tuesday and then travel to Salem next Wednesday.

Narrow Loss for Lady Viking Tennis

A shorthanded Winthrop High girls tennis team came out on the short end of a closely-fought 3-2 decision to Saugus last Wednesday.

With senior captain Emily Barrera, who normally plays at second singles, out sick, WHS head coach Jeff Beck had to adjust his line-up and came up just three games short of victory.

Senior captain Mira Ivanis dominated her Lady Sachem counterpart at first singles with a victory in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0.

Senior captain Alesia Collaku, playing at second singles, summoned her inner Lady Viking and rallied from a set and two breaks in serve down to win the last two sets and claim a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.

Winthrop’s second doubles partners, Nadia Aldweib and Caitlin Fobert, won a come-from-behind tie-breaker in the first set, but their comeback in the deciding third set fell short and their Saugus counterparts claimed the match, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4.

At first doubles, the Winthrop tandem of Sophia d’Entremont and Kaelyn Foley fell by a score of 0-6, 4-6 and at third singles, Anila Gjinovci came up short by a score of 2-6, 4-6.

“Saugus is a well-coached team and has made great improvements from last year,” said Beck. “Their doubles teams were the difference-maker in the competition. They did a great job keeping the ball away from our net players by hitting crisp cross-court and timely down-the-line shots.”

Beck and his crew are scheduled to host Swampscott on Monday and will make the long trek to Salem next Wednesday.

Flag Football Wins Three of First Four

The first-ever Winthrop High flag football team made its debut this past week a successful one, winning three of its first four contests. Coach John Cross and his squad took on Needham and Cambridge last Tuesday evening (each team plays two, 45-minute games)  and cruised to victories of 28-6 over Needham and 35-0 vs. Cambridge.

The Lady Vikings had a combined six interceptions in the two games. In the Needham contest, the tone was set early with a pick-six from Reese Brodin. Sam Dimento managed both games very well at quarterback.

This past Tuesday, Winthrop beat Greater Lawrence, 38-0, in a game where Tori Bates and Tegan Pereira stepped up to fill in on offense. Both had multiple catches and touchdowns.

“Sam Dimento once again managed the game very well at quarterback and threw the ball on a dime,” noted Cross.

Winthrop then had a tough loss to St. Mary’s in the second game of the doubleheader, coming up just short by a score of 14-7. The Lady Viking defense stepped up big in the second half, keeping the Lady Spartans off the scoreboard.

“Senior Shannon Abbott turned in a huge performance, pulling off every flag that came her way,” noted Cross. “On offense, Hannah Parker couldn’t be stopped in the second half, repeatedly catching balls up the middle of the field.

“Ultimately, we came up five yards short and were unable to get the ball in the end zone for the tie,” Cross added. “Zoey Bogusz played great on defense, filling in for the injured Malak Chahloui, who went out with a head injury in the first half.”

Winthrop will be looking to continue its momentum when they play at home for the first time next Friday evening (April 26) under the lights at Miller Field at 6:30 vs. Salem and Cambridge.

WHS Softball to Host Eastie

The Winthrop High softball team will be looking to get on the winning track with a trio of home games in the coming week. Coach Erin Vercruysse’s Lady Vikings were scheduled to host Hamilton-Wenham this morning (Thursday) at 10:00 at the Little League field and then will entertain East Boston on Monday afternoon and Marblehead on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00. They will trek to Swampscott next Thursday.

In their contests this past week, the Lady Vikings came up short to Beverly last Wednesday. Hits by Izzy Cash, Sophia Gonzalez, and Amelia Spencer provided the highlights for Winthrop.

“Beverly is a tough team and played extremely well,” noted Vercruysse.

In a 16-4 loss at Saugus this past Tuesday, Zoe Bakos and Jenna Whitehead provided the offensive punch for the Lady Vikings. In the field, Sophia Gonzalez recorded two force-outs playing third base and Brianna Rizzotto made three great catches in left field.

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