Spring sports are in full swing at the regional high school, kicking off what promises to be a lively season of interscholastic athletics.
The boys’ tennis team is already off to a quick start under coach Ned Fennessy, while the girls’ lacrosse team looks to build on a stellar season last year in which they went undefeated. The boys’ lacrosse team is looking to put together another winning season under second-year coach Chris Greene, while the sailing team hopes for a strong campaign under coach Andrew Burr. Although the baseball team has lost their first three games, coach Gary Simmons believes he has a strong and talented team.
And the girls’ softball team is being coached by Donald Herman, the longtime coach of the football team. The girls have already responded to Coach Herman’s discipline, jumping out to an early 2-0 record.
It was a rough start with a loss to Falmouth last Friday, Dennis-Yarmouth on Saturday and Mashpee on Monday. But Coach Simmons is unfazed. “I have already told this team they are one of the best groups I have ever coached. They get along and play well together, and they have a very high baseball [aptitude],” he said.
In the opener against Falmouth, Will Stewart pitched well into the sixth inning, but the bats were silent and the Vineyarders lost 2-0. Conversely in a slug fest against Dennis-Yarmouth two days later, the Vineyard pitching could not get any outs when they needed them, and lost 13-10.
In that game starting pitcher Ben Ciciora was out by the third inning.
“I know it sounds strange, but I’ve been encouraged by our play — despite the losses. I have seen a lot of good things,” the coach said.
The lineup this year features a balanced mix of young and veteran players. Senior cocaptain Ciciora will pitch and play outfield, while cocaptain Lamar Moreis plays second base. Sophomore Ramon Espino play catcher, sophomore Delmont Araujo plays first, Anthony Piland starts at shortstop and Mike Montanile plays third.
In addition to Ciciora in the outfield, Ryan Fisher will play center and Cody Pachico will play left. Coach Simmons will use a three-man rotation of Stewart, Ciciora, and Evan Sosa; Ciciora is also expected to anchor the offense, batting in the clean-up position.
“Our main assets are we can hit and we can run,” the coach said. “We can play either a bunt game or a slug game.”
The Vineyarders play at home tomorrow against Dennis-Yarmouth at 11:30 a.m.
Track and Field
Joe Schroeder, coach of the perennial powerhouse track and field team, describes this season as a reloading year for his girls’ and boys’ teams. This should not be confused with a rebuilding year, a familiar sports euphemism for what will likely be a lackluster season, because he expects both his girls and boys to do well again this season.
“It’s a reloading year because we have young athletes on the boys’ and girls’ sides. For the boys we have some strong seniors in Micah Agnoli and Devon Belboni [on shot put and discus] and another strong senior, Will DeBettencourt is our top javelin guy,” he said.
On the girls’ side, the coach expects Megan Dreyer to excel in the mile run, in which she qualified for states last year. Maddie Penicaud should also do well in the low hurdles, jumping and sprinting events.
The Vineyarders start this year in the Eastern Athletic Conference, switching to the conference after 20 years competing in the Mayflower League.
“We’re in a tougher league, no question. The Eastern Athletic Conference has some of the best athletes in track and field events. But our kids welcome the challenge, they want to compete against the best,” Coach Schroeder said.
Both the boys’ and girls’ track teams host their first home meet of the season Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. against Bishop Stang.
The boys tennis team rolled over Mashpee on the road Monday, winning all their single and double matches in straight sets. Number one singles player Reid Yennie had no problems with opponent Devin Laferrier (6-1, 6-0), while Kent Leonard bested Brian Saroinha (6-0, 6-1) and Win Grimm defeated Jake Prescott (6-0, 6-0).
Doubles pairing Grant McCarthy and Justin Yennie defeated Dylan Terrill and Mike Peterson (6-0, 6-0) and Thomas Tilton-Heylin and Grant Meacham easily beat Dan Vachon and Mike Demanche (6-0, 6-2).
The Vineyarders host Bishop Stang tomorrow at 11 a.m.
After compiling the best record ever last year under coach Betsy Dripps, the team has had another strong start. Last Thursday they trounced Bridgewater-Raynham 22-5; seven different players had goals.
Molly Fischer scored the first two in the opening minutes, while Kate Cecilio scored a pair soon after to help the Vineyarders build an early lead. The defense was led by seniors Lonni Phillips, Olivia Gross, Taylor Chisholm and Brianna Davies, as well as juniors Genevieve Hammond, Angela DeBettencourt, Nikki Alexander and Becca Tilton.
“They all worked together and didn’t let their opponents inside near the goal . . . they were incredible,” Coach Dripps said.
The girls played Saturday against rival Nantucket, and came out on top 10-6. Fischer again started the scoring early, while Hayley Pierce and Cecilio also had first half goals to build an early 6-1 lead. The Whalers scored three unanswered goals in the second half to make things interesting, but Cecilio and freshman Alayna Hutchinson had late goals to seal the win.
On Wednesday they won their third game, beating New Bedford 15-4. Cecilio led the scoring with four goals and three assists, followed by Pierce, who had three goals and two assists. Hutchinson and Madison Hughes each pitched in with two goals and two assists each. “The entire coaching staff is extremely proud of their team’s performance. They all played well together and got the job done,” Coach Dripps said.
Coach Chris Greene said his team is stacked with senior talent.
“We have talented seniors in almost all our key positions. We have a lot of veteran leadership,” he said.
There are two senior attackers on offense — Erik Dolliver and Brooks Billingham — along with junior Chris Costello and seniors Shane Schofield and Max Conley working the midfield. Defense is strong this year, with seniors Patrick Hart, D.J. Kaeka and Mark Nickowal patrolling the backfield.
The team does not have as much size as in previous years and is not quite as speedy. But Coach Greene says watch out.
“I think we are going to outsmart a lot of people . . . for me personally I think this team can do great things,” he said.
The team already has a 3-0 record, easily beating Bridgewater-Raynham and New Bedford, while winning a close overtime game at Nantucket on Saturday. The final score was 9-8. “That was a battle,” the coach said. “They were fired up — both the team and the crowd.”
The Vineyarders next play at home on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. against Barnstable.