Rachel Calnan

Rain dampens Agganis girls soccer game

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
The South’s Olivia Valente, left, of Saugus, gets tangled up with the North’s Daria Bakhtiari from Central Catholic.

By KATIE MORRISON 

LYNN — The 22nd Agganis girls soccer game was going strong Tuesday evening at Manning Field, with the North team taking a 1-0 lead over the South all-stars midway through the first half.

But Mother Nature had other plans for the all-star game.

After two lightning delays and a downpour, the girls soccer game was called, with the North claiming a 1-0 win. The girls only got about 22 minutes of action in on the field.

The boys all-star game, scheduled to be played after the conclusion of the girls game, was postponed. They’ll play this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Manning Field.

The girls game, originally scheduled for 5:30, was just about to get started on time. The girls took the field, but that’s when lightning struck in the distance. The referees had no choice but to delay the start for 30 minutes, barring any more lightning strikes.

Not a drop of rain fell during delay no. 1, and the girls hit the field for take two around 6. The North dominated the majority of the 20-plus minutes that were played, with Central Catholic’s Daria Bakhtiari scoring the abbreviated game’s only goal.

A few minutes into the game, Hamilton-Wenham’s Elizabeth Kirschner controlled a pass in front of the net and launched an open shot that just sailed over the crossbar. For the next couple of minutes, the South team struggled to clear the ball out of its defensive end. But the South defense, composed of players like St. Mary’s Nicki Bendicksen and English’s Rachel Calnan as well as Bulldogs goalie Kerry Robles, held steady until it could work the ball up the field.

Ten minutes into play, Swampscott’s Jaymie Caponigro found her South squad teammate Elizabeth Reed (Lynnfield) with a nice cross in front of the net. Reed’s shot was just off the mark and bounced out of bounds.

Soon after, North goalkeeper Megan Langlois (Methuen) made a nice diving stop to keep it a scoreless game. Her sister, Nicole Langlois, tried to capitalize a minute later, but her shot went just over the crossbar down in the South’s defensive end.

With 17:32 to play, Bakhtiari lofted a shot from about the 30 yard-line that arced just over Robles’ head. The English goalie got a piece of it, but it wasn’t enough.

The North was threatening for more when lightning lit up the sky in the distance. Another delay was in store, although before the mandatory 30 minutes was up, the skies opened and the fans, players and coaches huddled for cover underneath the Manning Field bleachers.

Executive director of the Agganis Games Paul Halloran announced that the boys game would be pushed back a day, and will now take place prior to the girls and boys lacrosse games, scheduled to begin at 5:30 and 7, respectively. Tickets bought last night for the boys game will be honored this afternoon.

The remainder of the girls game will not be rescheduled.

Agganis softball teams play to a tie

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Lynn Tech’s Coral Gonzalez gets set to throw to first from her knees after making a play on the pitcher’s mound during the Agganis All-Star Softball game. 

By SCOT COOPER

LYNN —  If you’re going to hold an all-star game in Lynn for the area’s top high school softball players, you might as well have great performances by the girls from the city’s four high schools.

That’s what happened Sunday afternoon at Fraser Field as the North stars rallied to tie the South stars, 4-4.

The South got on the board in the top of the first off of Danvers’ Dara Papamichael. St. Mary’s battery mates, Mia Nowicki and Emily Stephenson got on base to start things off. Nowicki, a pitcher, drew a walk, and Stephenson followed with a single. Classical’s Alaina Gridley scored Nowicki with a sacrifice, and Stephenson strolled home on a single by Malden’s Caitlin Leonard.

The game stayed at 2-0 through the first three innings, Papamichael didn’t allow another South run in her three innings, and Nowicki whiffed eight of the first 12 batters she saw, allowing only a single to Triton’s Kendall Mitchell in the bottom of the second. Papamichael was helped by English infielder Emma Trahant, who made several great plays at second base, taking sure base hits away from the South team.

The South pushed another run across in the top of the fourth to make it 3-0. Once again it was the Lynn connection coming through, Stephenson reached on a single and came home on a groundout by Gridley, her second RBI of the game.

South coach Paige Licata of St. Mary’s usually sends a runner in for Stephenson, but her catcher told her before the game that she would be doing her own running Sunday if she got on.

“Emily told me before the game that she was running today and she certainly got some running in, scoring two runs and stealing a couple of bases,” Licata said. “We usually have a courtesy runner for her, but she wanted to run today, it’s a fun game and she certainly was having fun on the bases.”

Down by three, the North got in the board when Georgetown’s Kylie Hayward and Swampscott’s Kasey Kennedy scored a pair of unearned runs to make it 3-2 with the South up after four innings.

Stephenson gave the South a two run lead, driving in Everett’s Samantha Uga with her second hit of the ballgame, this one off of Lindsey Lannon of English. Lannon got that run back for the North in their half of the fifth, knocking in her Bulldog teammate Sarah Tobin to make it 4-3.

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Lawrence’s Brianna Rivera scored on a South error, and the game ended tied at four.  And that’s how it ended.

At the conclusion of the 20th Agganis softball game, Trahant was named the game MVP for the North team and Nowicki took the honors for the South. Trahant, who will play soccer at Curry next fall, said it was really great to play with so many good players.

“It was a lot of fun to be out there with this group of girls, it means a lot, being a Lynn player and playing in this game,” Trahant said. “It was an honor to be picked to play in this game.”

Nowicki, who will play at Assumption, said it was great fun to play in the Agganis game.

“If it looked like I was having fun out there, it’s because I was, I always have fun playing softball,” Nowicki said.

Swampscott’s Gary Moran, the coach of the North team, said he had the easiest job Sunday.

“I just roll them out there, all these girls can play, and play well, no signs, no nothing just send them out and let them play,” Moran said.

“A lot of these girls had a loss in their last high school game, so to wrap up their career’s in a fun game like this one today is great,” Licata added.

Tech’s Coral Gonzalez, St. Mary’s Victoria DiCenso, Casey Fraher, and Classical’s Emma Dejoie were also on the South squad, and Rachel Calnan, from English, was picked for the North squad.

MVP Nowicki, St. Mary’s defend Holland Title

ITEM PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
St.Mary’s Mia Nowicki was overpowering to the Swampscott batters in the John Holland championship game. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

LYNN — It was a very good case of deja vu at the John Holland Memorial Softball Tournament at Breed over the weekend.

St. Mary’s successfully defended its title with a 3-0 victory over Swampscott, and Mia Nowicki won MVP for the second straight year.

“We love this tournament,” said St. Mary’s coach Paige Licata. “All four teams are good, and it gives you a real good idea of what you’re going to face coming into the state tournament.”

It was very important for the Spartans to win the game for other reasons. There’s a logjam of 18-2 teams in Division 3 North, and a loss would have put St. Mary’s below them in seedings.

“There are going to be a lot of coins being flipped,” said Licata, referring to the MIAA’s method of breaking ties in the seeding process.

In Sunday’s final, Nowicki and Hannah Leahy went toe-to-toe for 5½ scoreless innings — just as Leahy and Classical’s Tori Adams went at it hammer and tong Saturday night in the preliminary (won by the Big Blue, 2-0, in nine innings).

“Hannah knows we go as far as she goes, both on the mound and at the plate,” said Swampscott coach Gary Moran. “She brings it every time she goes onto the field.

“Just a couple of bloop hits beat her today.”

One of those hits was Tori DiCenso’s well-placed double to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Emily Stephenson followed with another base hit, but DiCenso could only get to third. After Stephenson made it down to second, Ashley Sullivan came in to pinch run.

One out later, Fraher went the other way with a double that hugged the foul line in right, allowing both runners to score. She took third on the throw back into the infield, and scored on an error.

“The pitch was outside, and I went with it,” said Fraher, who was also on the all-tournament team, and one of the scholarship winners (as was Leahy).

“It was getting a little late,” said Licata. “I wanted us to score early so that I can breathe. My kids don’t seem to have the same sense of urgency that I do. I don’t want it to get that late before we score.”

Nowicki, who struck out 16 batters, got the last three Ks to finish the game.

“I think,” said Licata, “that, this being her last year, she wanted to make a statement and go out with a bang.”

Classical won the consolation game, defeating English 7-1 thanks to Adams’ pitching and Becca Walker’s three-run triple in a five-run second inning. However, the Rams fell victim to Leahy in the opener Saturday night. She held Classical hitless into the fifth inning and finished by allowing the Rams only six hits. Adams matched her pitch-for-pitch, before the dam broke in the top of the ninth, and even then it was wild pitches, more than hits, that did the Rams in. Swampscott got two runners on, and both came home via the wild pitch. The first one caused a considerable amount of controversy and the home-plate umpire ruled that Sarah Ryan was out on a tag play. After Moran began arguing the call, the umpire reverse himself and called her safe.

The split weekend leaves Classical at 15-3 heading into the tournament and Swampscott 11-9.

St. Mary’s defeated English in their preliminary, 15-1, in five innings.

Scholarships, which were restored this season, went to Leahy, Fraher, Rachel Calnan of English and Alaina Gridley of Classical.

The all-tournament team consisted of Adams and Walker from Classical; Sarah Tobin and Emma Trahant, English; Leahy and Sydney Cresta, Swampscott; and Fraher, Nowicki and Stephenson, St. Mary’s.

 

Adams, Calder lead Classical through English

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Johnna Calder went 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI in Classical’s win. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN — When you’re up against Lynn Classical pitcher Tori Adams, it’s best not to give her any second chances. The English softball team learned that the hard way on a steamy Wednesday, as the Rams rolled to a 13-1 win in five innings over the Bulldogs at Breed Middle School.

English put runners on base in the early innings but the Bulldogs failed to come up with the big hits they needed. After Adams worked herself out of jams in the first two innings, she found her rhythm and her teammates followed.

“Going in, we talked about how the top of English’s order can really hit,” Classical coach Erica Richard said. “But we had to make them hit. We didn’t want to give them free bases and we did that today.”

Emma Trahant singled for English to start the top of the first and stole second. Sarah Tobin followed with another single, moving Trahant to third. Tobin stole second and English was looking at a golden opportunity.

Adams buckled down and fanned the next three Bulldogs batters to escape the jam.

“I think Tori likes the hot weather because she had some fire on her pitches today,” Richard said. “She did a great job of staying ahead in the count.”

An RBI-double to left field from Meghan Leavitt gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Kayla Morrill kept the rally alive with an RBI single, also to left, to bump the lead to 2-0 for Classical.

English worked into another scoring opportunity in the top of the second, but again the Bulldogs failed to get the key hit. Lindsey Lannon, who got the start in the circle, singled to start the inning. Julia Lozzi reached on an infield error and Trahant drew a walk two batters later.

Adams notched a strikeout for the final out, escaping the inning unscathed.

“We couldn’t put anything together,” English coach Cara Crowley said. “We’d get the first batters on and then nothing after that. That definitely hurt us, and it kind of hurt any momentum we had in the first few innings.”

A 2-RBI double off the bat of Johnna Calder, who went 4-for-4 at the plate, padded Classical’s lead to 4-0 through two innings.

“When we can get the top of the order going and everybody does what they need to do behind Johnna, good things happen,” Richard said.

Madison Dana hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third, and the Rams were beginning to mount a comfortable advantage at 5-0.

Adams struck out the side in the fourth, and Classical added three more runs on Leavitt’s 2-RBI double and a sacrifice bunt by Adams to make it a 8-0 game.

English’s offense finally pulled through in the top of the fifth. Tobin reached first base on an infield error and advanced to second after Rachel Calnan singled. Calnan and Tobin moved to second and third on a passed ball and Grace Gately’s groundout brought Tobin home.

The Rams plated five runs in the bottom half of the fifth to roll away with the 13-1 mercy-rule win.

“Everyone looked good today, one through nine,” Richard said. “Defensively, we did what we had to do and Tori was throwing strikes. You can’t ask for more than that.”

Classical battles Marblehead on Saturday while English visits Peabody on Friday.

“We just have to come out and play the whole game,” Crowley said. “We made a couple routine errors today, that should’ve been routine plays. If we play better softball all around we should be able to stay in it.”

Prior to Thursday’s game Classical held a pre-game ceremony to honor its four seniors.

Sixth-inning rally gets it done for the Rams

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Classical’s Johnna Calder slams a base hit into left field. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

LYNN — Classical softball coach Erica Richard is never wholly comfortable seeing English on the other side of the field, no matter what the occasion is.

“They always give us a hard time,” said Richard.

That was especially true Thursday. Richard will be the first person to tell you that the 20-5 win her team scored over the Bulldogs in the Coaches vs. Cancer game at Breed is deceptive.

“It doesn’t feel like that kind of a win,” said Richard, moments after her Rams scored 13 runs in the top of the sixth inning to invoke the mercy rule.

Going into the top of the fifth, English had a 5-2 lead and the Bulldogs were playing superbly.

“They were making the plays,” said Richard. “We were hitting the ball, but they were making some nice plays too.”

Bulldogs pitcher Destiny Delgado, after allowing two runs in the first inning, set down nine in a row and 10 of 11 before Classical finally solved her.

“She had us off-balance,” said Richard.

Meantime, English matched Classical’s two-spot in the first on RBIs by Sarah Tobin and Rachel Calnan. In the third, the Bulldogs went ahead 3-2 when Emma Trahant, who had singled, scored on a wild pitch; and made it 5-2 in the fourth on a single by Tobin and a bases-loaded walk to Lindsey Lannon.

And then, as English coach Cara Crowley said, Classical started hitting.

“They’re the best team in the league,” Crowley said. “They’re going to hit.”

The bell went off in the top of the sixth when, with one out, Rebecca Walker singled and Johnna Calder and Alaina Gridley drew back-to-back walks.

That brought up catcher Meghan Leavitt, who cleared the bases with a booming double to left that tied the game.

“That changed the whole game around,” said Richard. “In that situation, she’s the one I’d want up there. I thought for a minute it was gone. It hung up there for an awful long time.”

Lannon replaced Delgado and got the final two outs.

Crowley did not agree that Leavitt’s hit changed the game.

“Well, yes and no,” she said. “It was still a tie game … and a game that we had a very good chance of winning.”

Classical pitcher Tori Adams, who had trouble at times with her control over the first four innings, settled down after the new life her teammates gave her, retiring English without incident in the bottom of the fifth.

And in the top of the sixth Classical took that new life right to the bank. The Rams sent 19 batters to the plate (batting around twice), and scored 13 runs. Gridley was the main spark in the inning, knocking in four runs and scoring two. Also getting big hits were Maddie Dana (double, two RBI), and Walker (2 hits, 2 RBI).

The Rams, 11-1, don’t have a lot of time to rest on their laurels. Beverly comes to town today (4) at Breed, and the Panthers are the team that eliminated Classical from last year’s tournament.

“They always give us a hard time whenever we play them too,” said Richard.

School Roundup: Lynnfield’s O’Brien, Schumacher combine for no-hitter

FILE PHOTO
Hayley O’Brien (above) combine with Ashley Schumacher to toss a no-hitter in the win. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

Two Lynnfield softball pitchers combined for a no-hitter as the Pioneers shut down Georgetown, 12-0, at home Wednesday.

Junior captain Hayley O’Brien and sophomore Ashley Schumacher spun a gem, combining for a no-hitter as the Pioneers improved to 6-7 with the six-inning win. O’Brien started and went four innings, allowing just two base runners, both of whom reached on infield errors.  She struck out nine of the last 12 batters she faced, including seven in a row.

Schumacher, in only her second varsity appearance, pitched the final two two innings, retiring all six batters she faced with two strikeouts.

Sophomore catcher Ally Wing, freshman left fielder Breanna Serabian (2 runs) and senior third baseman Kelly Dillon (2 runs) had two hits each to pace the offense, while Alex Ross, Serabian, Wing and Taylor Tringali had two RBI each.  

The win was the third straight for the Pioneers, who travel to Triton tomorrow afternoon.

Lynn English 8, Salem 3

English’s Emma Trahant drove in two runs and went 1-for-3. Sarah Tobin went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Rachel Calnan went 2-for-4, Lindsey Lannon went 3-for-4 and Krista Bowden went 2-for-2.

Lynn Tech 7, Nashoba Tech 5

Sophomore pitcher Theresa Mastropietro got the win on the mound for the Tigers, tossing a complete game and striking out five batters. She also went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI at the plate. Coral Gonzalez was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, while Alondra Sanchez played a great defensive game at third base.

Tech (3-7) will take on Minuteman Tech this afternoon.

Saugus 11, Malden 1

Caitlyn Wood got the win on the mound for the Sachems, who improved to 6-6 on the year. Wood tossed a complete game and gave up just the one run on four hits with four strikeouts. On the offensive end, Emma Howard went 3-for-3 with three doubles and three RBI, while Catie Sheehan went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. Alex Almquist and Ashley Shaw each went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI, while Taylor Bogdanski went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.

The Sachems will take on Swampscott on Monday.

Swampscott 12, Somerville 0 (F/6)

Casey Kennedy went 3-for-5 and Hannah Leahy went 3-for-4 and pitched a complete-game shutout as the Big Blue improved to 9-4. Leahy allowed just one hit and one walk in six innings. Sarah Ryan went 3-for-4, and Ashley Bucklin made a few highlight-reel catches in right field.

Bishop Fenwick 14, Matignon 2 (F/6)

Tessa Palermo went 3-for-4 with six RBI and two runs scored, while Nicole Modica went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and RBI. Modica also made a number of nice defensive plays for Fenwick defensively at second base. Courtney Norton went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, also making a number of highlight defensive plays from right field.

Fenwick (4-7) visits Austin Prep on Monday.

“We hit the ball well later in the game,” said Fenwick coach Paul Lyman. “We were down 1-0 for three innings and left the bases loaded in two of those innings but we finally stretched the game open. We lost to them 15-10 so it was nice for us play a good defensive game and win. That was difference in the two games.”

Peabody 12, Winthrop 1

Kelsie Blake went 4-for-5 with an RBI. Delaney Corson went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Tianna Dawe fanned 12 batters and allowed seven hits in seven innings of work. Peabody (7-4) visits Austin Prep on Friday.

Marblehead 16, Everett 4

The Magicians qualify for the state tournament thanks in part to a strong start from pitcher Charlotte Plakans, who also went 3-for-5 with 5 RBI. Sammy Treff went 2-for-3, Olivia Fusegni went 3-for-4, Ashley Stiles went 2-for-4, Mercedes Pelletier went 2-for-4 and Sophie Vener was 2-for-5.

Beverly 6 Medford 5

Julia Pitman went 2-for-4 at the plate with a three-run home run. Cori Coults went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Maddy Jalbert went 2-for-3. Rona Scott got the win in the circle, with nine strikeouts and went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Panthers (8-3).

GIRLS LACROSSE

Williams 9, St. Mary’s 4

The Spartans played a strong game defensively, but couldn’t find their groove offensively. Codi Butt had a hat trick and Zoe Solomons added the other goal. Brittany McPherson played very well in net for St. Mary’s, which has a few days off before hosting Mystic Valley Saturday.

Peabody 10 Danvers 3
Peabody (9-2) had 5 different scorers: Colleen Crotty (three goals, one assist), Lauren Wolff (two goals, two assists), Chloe Gizzi (two goals, one assist), Kirsten Bradley (two goals) and Olivia Kiricoples (one goal). Kelly Crotty, Catherine Manning, Alyssa Shashaty and Carla Patania led the way on defense. Gianna Denisco made seven saves in the win.

Bishop Fenwick 16, Cardinal Spellman 4

Led by Colbi Flickinger’s four goals and one assist and Brigid Waldron’s three goals and three assists, the Crusaders notched another Catholic Central League win to improve to 9-6 overall. Hannah Durkin had two goals and two assists and Fran Carpinella had two goals, while Maddy Bethune, Ally Charette, Alex Butler, Cailyn Wesley and Sammi Gallant each scored one goal.

Fenwick will take on Peabody on Saturday.

GIRLS TRACK

Marblehead 106, Everett 28
For Marblehead, Olivia Cleary won the 400-meter hurdles, Erika Massaro won the 2-mile, Chase Davies won the 100, Lily Gillis won the mile, Clara Pollard won the 100 hurdles, Bella Corsini won the 400, Corinne Ahern won the 800, Gabriella Mark won the 200, Sarah Caufield won the triple jump and Hannah Flores won the discus.

Swampscott 96, Lynn English 40

Winners for Swampscott were Maisie Vasquez in the shotput, Isabel Denham in the long jump, Ella Parker in the high jump, Mackenzie Creighton in the discus, Rebecca Price in the javelin, Parker in the triple jump, Catie Cullinane in the 100, Caroline Kinne in the mile, Cullinane, Skye Bascon, Olivia Matela and Alex Gladstone in the 4×100 relay and the team of Julia Serino, Simone Nardizzi, Denham and Caroline Munnelly in the 4×400 relay. Bascon notched a win in the 200 and Leonie Flacke won the 800.

BOYS TRACK

Swampscott 87, English 49

For the Big Blue, Pat Doucette won the 2-mile, Will Fraser won the mile, Devin Denham won the 400, Zack Palmer won the long jump, Dymond Clark won the triple jump, Isaiah Bascone won the high jump, Mac Midland won the discus. Swampscott had a double winner in Alex Sheehan who won the shotput and the javelin.

The Big Blue (4-2) visit Medford on Monday.

“It was a great meet and the kids are peaking at the right time,” Swampscott coach Peter Bush said.

 

English girls basketball celebrates season at banquet

COURTESY PHOTO
Scholar-Athlete Awards winners Dorothy Ezemba, Vanessa Paul and Ravyn Rapley with coach Mackenzie Charles.

By HAROLD RIVERA

The Lynn English girls basketball team celebrated its 2016-2017 season at its annual banquet at Old Tyme Restaurant last Thursday. Under first-year coach Mackenzie Charles, the Bulldogs improved on the court from recent seasons and competed with some of the tougher teams in the Northeastern Conference.

“It was a great group of hard working young ladies,” Charles said of his team. “We’re starting to create a culture of caring. Caring about each other, about becoming better students and about becoming better athletes.”

Last Thursday’s banquet was also an opportunity for the Bulldogs to honor, and say farewell to, senior captain Rachel Calnan. A three-sport captain who’s currently in her final go-round with the school’s softball team, Calnan was the lone senior on a young Bulldogs roster. She’ll attend the University of New Hampshire in the fall.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better senior captain than Rachel,” Charles said. “She’ll leave a long lasting impact on this team and our community.”

The award winners honored at Thursday’s banquet were: Dorothy Ezemba, Vanessa Paul and Ravyn Rapley, Scholar-Athlete Awards; Calnan and Pamela Rosales, Leadership Awards; Sheyla Manon and Jessica Ruiz, Most Improved Players; Ezemba, NEC All-Star and Calnan, Senior/Student Athlete.

As a team the Bulldogs accumulated a 3.3 GPA, a distinction that was recognized by the MIAA with the Academic Excellence Team Award.

“We have a great group of student-athletes,” Charles said. “I’m so impressed with the hard work they put in on the court and especially the classroom.”

 

Sachems offense is red-hot against English

FILE PHOTO
Sadie DiCenso went 3-for-5 for the Sachems. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — For one night, at least, the Saugus High softball team became the high school equivalent of the old Murderers’ Row New York Yankees.

The Sachems got off the bus Monday night at Breed swinging the bats from their heels and kept at it until it was time to go home, collecting 17 hits en route to a 17-8 thrashing of Lynn English.

When it was over, Bulldogs coach Cara Crowley couldn’t really point to any other reason her team was beaten other than one:

“They can hit,” she said. “You score eight runs, you think you have a pretty good chance to win. We only made two errors tonight. We didn’t play badly at all. But they just hit the ball, and they especially hit them where we weren’t. A lot of balls went into the gaps where we weren’t playing.”

Sachem coach Steve Almquist was certainly happy about all that.

“Wow,” he said. “We could probably have used some of those runs for games we have later on in the week. But it was nice to see.”

The two main members of the Sachem wrecking crew Monday were first baseman Sadie DiCenso and third baseman Catie Sheehan. DiCenso was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI while Sheehan was 4-for-6 with three RBI.

“For Sadie, this was kind of a breakout game for her,” said Almquist. “She’s really started to sting the ball.”

Saugus evened it record at 4-4, with freshman pitcher Caitlyn Wood having factored into every decision thus far. Wood struggled at times Monday as the Bulldogs refused to roll over after the Sachems broke out to a 9-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings. To its credit, English (1-5) fought to the last out.

The big gun for the Bulldogs was Tommi Hill, who knocked in four runs while Julia Lozzi batted in two more.

After neither team scored in the first inning, Saugus scored six runs in the top of the second. With one out, Alex Almquist was hit by a pitch and Wood walked. DiCenso got an infield hit, which ended up driving in Almquist. Katie Italiano’s base hit scored Wood, but when Nystasia Rowe’s fielder’s choice grounder resulted in an out at the plate, English looked as if it would dodge a big inning.

But Taylor Bogdanski reached on an error, with Italiano scoring, and both Rowe and Bogdanski came across on Emma Howard’s double. Sheehan’s base hit scored the sixth run. In all, Saugus sent 10 batters to the plate in the second.

Saugus scored three more runs in the third on hits by DiCenso and Rowe before English scored three in the bottom of the third, all with two outs.

Emma Trahant singled, and Sarah Tobin followed suit. Hill brought them both home with a booming double, and she scored on Rachel Calnan’s single (Calnan made several impressive plays at shortstop as well).

Saugus kept it going, scoring two in the fourth to make it 11-3, but English scored three more in the fifth to pull within five runs. And the way both teams were hitting the ball, all of a sudden Saugus’ 5-run lead did not look safe.

As in the third, English started its rally with two out. Calnan doubled, Grace Gately’s infield hit got her home, and Lindsay Lannon walked. Lozzi knocked them both in with a base hit.

However, before English could get designs on pulling closer, Saugus put the game away with 3-spots in both the sixth and seventh innings. English scored a run each in the bottom of the sixth and seventh.

 

Roundup: English’s Crowley logs first win as head coach

ITEM FILE PHOTO
English softball coach Cara Crowley earned her first win as head coach in a 14-2 rout of Somerville.

By MIKE ALONGI

English softball coach Cara Crowley earned her first win at the helm of the Bulldogs as they took down Somerville, 14-2, at Grace Rogato Field Tuesday.

Emma Trahant had a big day for English, going 3-for-3 with a walk, four runs scored and an RBI. Caitlin Geaney went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI. Tommi Hill went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Rachel Calnan drove in four runs on two hits, Grace Gately went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, and Julia Lozzi went 1-for-1 with a walk and two runs scored.

Destiny Delgado got the start in the circle, going five innings, striking out three and allowing just the two runs.

BASEBALL

St. Mary’s 7, Cardinal Spellman 1

The Spartans are now 3-0 after a solid Catholic Central League win on Tuesday afternoon. Bobby Alcock got the win on the mound, giving up two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in five innings of work. John Mulready went 2-for-4 with two RBI, Josh Mateo went 1-for-3 with two RBI and Kyle Bernardini went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win.

It will be a quick turnaround for St. Mary’s with another CCL game this afternoon against Bishop Fenwick.

St. John’s Prep 10, Chelmsford 0

Tyler MacGregor and Dan Frye each had two hits and three RBI to help lift the Eagles to a non-league win on Tuesday. Jake Sanderson got the win on the mound, going four shutout innings and giving up just two hits with five strikeouts. Lynn native Max Gieg pitched two hitless innings of relief.

St. John’s (6-1) will go up against Walpole on Saturday at BC High as part of the Bay State/Catholic Conference challenge.

GIRLS TENNIS

Somerville 3, English 2

The doubles teams earned wins for English, with Diana Bui and Raymi Ramirez winning 6-1, 6-0 at first doubles and Michelle Sencabaugh and Sandy Espinola sweeping 6-0, 6-0 at second.

It came down to third singles to decide the match, and English’s Victoria Say battled, but fell 1-6, 6-3, 3-6.

The Bulldogs (1-1) host Gloucester today.

Gloucester 3, Swampscott 2

The Big Blue won one singles and one doubles match on Tuesday afternoon. Lily Sanphy took the win in second singles, 6-0, 2-6, 6-0, and the team of Molly Frauenholz and Hannah Kotz Oladewski won their doubles match.

BOYS TENNIS

Lynn Classical 3, Swampscott 2

Classical got one singles win and one doubles win on the day, with another singles match forfeited in their favor. Calvin Cheung got the win in first singles, 7-5, 6-1, and the team of Gerry Ennis and Stephen Ong won the first doubles match, 6-4, 7-6.

The Rams (1-1) will take on Beverly at home on Thursday.

BOYS TRACK

Lynn Classical 95, Medford 39

The Rams (2-1) had two double winners on the day in Samson Srey and Elie Kalambayi. Srey won the 110-meter hurdles (18.1 seconds) and the javelin (143 feet, 3 inches), while Kalambayi won the triple jump (38-3) and the long jump (19-6 1/2). Other winners for Classical were Marcus Rivera in the 100 (11.7), Emmanuel Kalambayi in the 200 (23.7), Dajon Wilson in the 400 (57.6), Ivan Mejia in the 800 (2:26), Junior Mejia in the two-mile (12:15) and Ishmael Johnson in the high jump (5-4).

GIRLS TRACK

Lynn Classical 105, Medford 29

Devyn Astuccio and Jayla Blevins were both double winners for Classical (1-2) on Tuesday, with Astuccio winning the 200 (30.0) and the triple jump (30-6) and Blevins winning the 400 hurdles (1:31) and the high jump (4-10). Other winners in running events were Maysie Jean-Louis won the 110 hurdles (18.9), Sydney Spiess won the 800 (3:04), Rachel Brennan won the one-mile (6:13) and Katheryne Rubio Lazo won the two-mile (15:11). There were also several winners in the field events, with Ashley Calixte winning the discus (73-3) and Rachel Jordan winning the javelin (71-9).

Lynn English 99, Salem 24

English notched its second win of the season on Tuesday behind a great effort from triple-winner Kaylee Smith, who won the shot put, the javelin and the 100. Elizabeth Rozon won the high jump and the 100 hurdles, while Lauren Moorehouse won the 200, Deyjah Nash won the 800, Kylie Moorehouse won the triple jump, Jackie Ramirez won the one-mile and Taylor Sullivan won the two-mile.

English will run against Somerville on Tuesday.

GIRLS LACROSSE

Marblehead 16, Austin Prep 6

The Magicians held the Cougars to just one goal in the second half as they cruised to their fourth victory.

Hadley Carlton was the star in this one, scoring fives times and picking up two grounds balls. Lydia Bongiorno (three goals, one assist, one ground ball, one draw control) and Grace Arthur (three goals, two assists, one ground ball, three draw controls, one interception) also had great games for Marblehead.

Also playing well for the Magicians were Amanda Gregory (one goal), Niamh Healy (one goal, two ground balls), Caroline Driscoll (one goal, one assist, three ground balls, seven draw controls), Lucie Poulin (two goals, one assist, one ground ball, two draw controls), Carolyn Arthur (three ground balls, one interception), Emma Bushman, Ellie Ronan and Annie Ronan (two ground balls each). Maeve Caldwell made 11 saves in net.

Peabody 13, Quincy 1

The Tanners had eight different players score, but Lauren Wolff (four goals) and Chloe Gizzi (three goals, one assist) were the standouts as Peabody routed Quincy.

Sarah Buckley scored twice, Kirsten Bradley had a goal and an assist, and Carla Patania, Alex Houlden and Hayley Carter each scored a goal. Abigail Ryder had one assist. Alyssa Shashaty, Ali Demeo and Kelly Crotty played strong defensively, and Gianna Denisco logged seven saves.

BOYS LACROSSE

St. John’s Prep 10, Marblehead 7

The Eagles beat the Magicians in the first round of the Creators Crosse tournament. Tied at 4-4 at the half, St. John’s Prep pulled away in the third quarter, scoring four unanswered goals.

Defensively, The Prep was led by senior goalie Mitch Carpenter, who made 16 saves. Andrew Ponsetto, Drew Leahy, Robert Dinsmore and John Churchwell played strong defense in front of Carpenter.

On offense, the Eagles were led by Pat Keefe (three goals, one assist) and Tim Tyrrell (one goal, three assists). Ethan Barnard and Craig Yannone excelled on faceoffs for St. John’s. Zach Harde and Jack Rickards scored two goals apiece, and KJ Sarni and PJ Lombara each scored one.

The Eagles face off against defending tournament champion Beverly Thursday in Westford.

Malden softball slips past English

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
English third baseman Tommi Hill makes a throw to first base. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — It was a case of new beginnings all the way around at Breed Middle School’s Grace Rogato Field Monday.

Two new coaches got to experience their first game as the Malden softball team traveled to Breed to face English, and while it would have been nice if they both could have won, only one of them was allowed. And it was Malden, 5-4.

“It looked like a typical first game of the season,” said Malden coach Julie Fox. “If this was the last game of the season, and we were heading into the tournament with a game like this, I’d be feeling a lot less happy.

“But to tell you the truth,” she said, “I didn’t know a whole lot about what we had, so I found a few things out today.”

Cara Crowley of English knew what she had. She was an assistant on last year’s team that didn’t win a game — something that amazed Fox.

“They certainly didn’t play like a team that hadn’t won a game last year,” Fox said.

The Bulldogs, who had only been outside once this year, felt their way around a little. And that went double for pitcher Lindsey Lannon, who walked eight batters. However, the Bulldogs played some good defense to keep the damage from those walks to a minimum save for one inning. Meanwhile, Malden’s Madison Figueiredo walked seven and hit a batter. She also didn’t allow a hit until Krista Bowden tapped one in front of the plate in the fifth.

It was actually two games in one. The first half belonged to Malden as the Golden Tornadoes built up a 5-0 lead, thanks mainly to a four-run fourth. Then it was English’s turn. The Bulldogs scored two in the fifth and another two in the sixth before Figueiredo got the side out in order in the seventh.

“I liked a lot of what I saw out there,” said Crowley. “We didn’t quit. The kids didn’t lose focus. Our pitcher looked stronger later in the game. We made plays in the infield and outfield. We didn’t win, but it was a good day for us.”

Both teams squandered first-inning opportunities before Malden took a 1-0 lead in the second. It could have been more, but the Tornadoes ran themselves into an out. They scored on a double-steal, with Taylor Bozzi crossing the plate with the first run.

It stayed that way until the fourth. Julia Parker and Bozzi led off with walks, and one out later, Olivia Simmons-Normil reached on an error to load the bases. Lannon struck Haylie Scaparotti out looking for the second out, but Mackenzie Furlong singled up the middle with two runs scoring. Furlong took second on an overthrow.

Caitlyn Leonard followed with a double to center that brought the other two runs across and gave Malden a 5-0 lead.

English struck for two runs in the fifth. Bowden singled with one out, and Rachel Calnan poked a single to right field. Bowden came home on Tommi Hill’s groundout, and Calnan scored on a wild pitch.

Walks were mainly responsible for English’s other runs. Caitlyn Geaney walked and eventually came around on Sarah Tobin’s infield hit. Lannon walked later in the inning and her courtesy runner, Brittany Barrows, scored on a double steal, with Tobin going to second.

 

Bulldogs bring back an experienced cast

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Caitlin Geaney takes batting practice in a makeshift cage in English’s gym.

By HAROLD RIVERA

Last spring, the Lynn English softball team endured a tougher season than it was hoping for. The Bulldogs were unable to notch a win in 2016 and will now look to bounce back with a new, albeit familiar, face at the helm.

Cara Crowley, a 2010 English alum and former Bulldogs catcher, takes over for Jack Bartlett as the team’s new coach. Crowley served under Bartlett as an assistant for two seasons and is optimistic that her familiarity with the team will aid her in the new role.

“I think knowing all the players will help a great amount,” Crowley said. “They’re all very excited and working hard. We didn’t lose anybody from last year so we have a lot of talent coming back. The seniors have shown leadership by helping out the younger girls. It’s been a good atmosphere these past couple days.”

Captaining the Bulldogs this season will be a pair of athletic and experienced seniors in shortstop Rachel Calnan and second baseman Emma Trahant. Both captains have earned full confidence from their new coach.

“Rachel has been a captain since (she was) a sophomore and she’s done a great job,” Crowley said. “She takes it very intensely, which we need at times. They’re both great girls. They’ve stepped up the past few days. With them and the other seniors being role models for the younger girls, I think our team will run very smoothly this year.”

Other key returners for the Bulldogs include seniors Lindsey Lannon and Sarah Tobin, and junior Tommi Hill. Lannon and Tobin will look to form a strong pitcher-catcher duo, while Hill aims to hold down the fort at third base. Hill will also be relied on for offensive production.

“She’s (Hill) one of our better hitters,” Crowley said.

With a strong nucleus of experienced returners, leadership will be one of English’s strong areas this upcoming season.

“I think our leadership will help a lot, having a lot of returners,” Crowley said. “We have pretty much the same team coming back plus a few new girls that are trying out. They’re all working hard and that’ll help a lot. They’re taking this very seriously and that’ll show when the season starts.”

An area for improvement from last season’s struggles will be the correcting errors on the mental side of the game. Mental mistakes often hurt English last spring and Crowley’s looking for her team to be stronger in that sense this year.

“I think we were afraid to make errors and they let that get into their heads and they got scared,” Crowley said. “This year we want them not to worry about that stuff and just play. I think that will help them a lot.”

With two preseason practices under their belts, the Bulldogs are taking a day by day approach as they prepare for the start of the new season. Crowley likes what she sees from her team thus far, especially given that English has produced a strong showing in numbers.

“We had about 40-75 girls which is good,” Crowley said. “This year we’ll be able to have a JV team. A lot of the girls that play other sports are encouraging their friends to try softball. We have a lot of good athletes trying out. There’s a lot of potential so we’re very optimistic about this year.”

Crowley, who split her college career between St. Anselm and Salem State as an outfielder, added, “We really want to build up our JV program. I think we can do that with the numbers this year. We really want to improve and think we’ll have a better record. Once the girls get their rhythm, it’ll progress throughout the season.”

English opens the season on April 6 against Gloucester.

“Everyone’s been working hard and staying focused,” Crowley said. “It’ll show. I think we’ll be a lot better than we were last year.”  

Calnan exemplifies leadership at English

FILE PHOTO
Rachel Calnan, a forward/center, is the lone senior on the English girls basketball team this season. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

When the Lynn English girls basketball team hosts its senior night on Tuesday, only one player will be honored. That’s because the Bulldogs have just one senior on their roster this season, forward/center Rachel Calnan.

A team captain for the Bulldogs, Calnan is the seasoned veteran among a group of talented underclassmen who have a promising future at English. Calnan, a four-year varsity player, has led the Bulldogs this season under first-year head coach Mackenzie Charles.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better captain in my first year,” Charles said. “We have regular

meetings and we always communicate about the team. She’s a great leader and has a 3.3 GPA as a student. She’s a girl that I want to surround my players around so they can see what it’s like to lead.”

As a freshman in 2014, Calnan was part of the Bulldogs group that went 25-1 and fell to Braintree in the Eastern Mass. Division 1 Final under former coach Fred Hogan. Since then, Calnan has emerged as a team leader.

“Going from an unbelievable team that played at the TD Garden my freshman season to the team we have now teaches me about leadership,” Calnan said. “I’ve played for different coaches and with different players. It’s been a learning experience.”

After Hogan stepped down, Rachael Bradley took over the program for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.

“She (Bradley) was a great coach and did a lot for the program,” Calnan said. “She helped me through a lot.”

Bradley then gave way to Charles, the third head coach Calnan has played for in her basketball career at English.

“He’s (Charles) tough but he’s an awesome person,” Calnan said. “He knows how to push you as an individual. He knows what everyone does before they do it. He’s awesome, I love playing for him.”

Charles has similar admiration for his senior captain.

“She forces the other girls around to be more mature but that’s great,” Charles said. “She sets the tone in practice. She leads with her voice and with actions and that’s rare. It’s hard to find a leader who can lead both ways.”

Charles added, “We get our fight from Rachel. We don’t quit and we fight. She’s our leader and a great example of a student-athlete.”

During her sophomore year, Calnan faced a difficult hardship after losing her father, John, who died in 2015. Like his daughters, John was a star hoops player at English.

“I lost my dad my sophomore year,” Calnan said. “He was a star at English, he was amazing.  

Basketball has been an escape for me. He was my best friend and my coach. It helped me become a better person and it helped me build character. Basketball helped me improve as a person because I play for him.”

Calnan, a three-sport captain who also provides leadership on the English soccer and softball teams, comes from a family of athletes. Aside from her late father, Calnan’s older siblings were also stellar athletes. Her older brother, Patrick, played hoops at St. Mary’s. Shannon, her older sister, also captained the English girls basketball team before graduating in 2013. The youngest sibling, Jack, hopes to join the football team at Classical next fall.

Throughout the countless games and practices, Calnan has also had full support from her mother, Kerry.

“She’s my backbone,” Calnan said of her mother. “My entire family has been so supportive. My mom, to have raised four kids, she’s really amazing.”

With her high school basketball career coming to a close, Calnan sees the Bulldogs moving forward in the coming seasons. The combination of Charles’ direction and a group of skilled underclassmen makes Calnan believe she’s leaving the team in good hands.

“They’re going to be perfectly fine,” Calnan said. “They’ll improve even more, without a doubt. Everyone has heart on this team and the drive to win.”

What Calnan will miss most about the team is the family feeling that she’s been a part of for the past four seasons.

“I’ll miss that family atmosphere,” Calnan said. “Everyone has your back and you have everyone’s back. The team’s so supportive. It goes beyond basketball for me.”

Added Calnan, “These girls are my best friends. Even though we didn’t win all our games, we improved so much from last season.”

Although Calnan’s high school basketball days are numbered, she still has one more season left in her athletic career with the softball team. Calnan, a shortstop, feels the Bulldogs are primed for a big season under new coach Cara Crowley.

“The coaches are very optimistic,” Calnan said. “The coaches are willing to work hard. I’ve been working with our pitcher, Lindsey Lannon. She’s working hard and looking good. It just comes down to execution. People need to step up to the plate.”

In her next endeavors, Calnan hopes to study criminology and sociology in college. She hasn’t decided what school she’ll attend, but said the education she’s received at English has prepared her for the next step.

“English is tough in some classes but from what I’ve heard from friends who are already in college it has prepared them,” Calnan said. “The education I’ve received at English is really beneficial.”

 

School Roundup: Guity, Bulldogs bounce back

FILE PHOTO
Ely Guity scored 20 points and dished eight assists in Monday’s win. 

By KATIE MORRISON

The Lynn English girls basketball team’s offense was hot Monday night, as the Bulldogs put up 70 points in a 70-52 victory over Medford at home.

Ely Guity led the way for English with 20 points, eight assists and three steals. Rachel Calnan added 10 points and eight rebounds. Coach Mackenzie Charles credited his defense with a great overall team effort as the Bulldogs improved to 5-7.

Saugus 52, Somerville 26

The Sachems (11-4) rolled past Somerville on the road as Alessia Salzillo put up 13 points. Krissy Italiano scored 10 points and Olivia Valente chipped in with eight.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Peabody 64, Essex Tech 49

The Tanners clinched a spot in the tournament with their 10th win. Moisse Irizarry was the high-scorer with 17 points, adding seven rebounds. Jake Irvine and Chris Canela added 13 points apiece.

“This is a goal for the program, so we’re excited,” Peabody coach Thad Broughton said. “I hope we continue to play good basketball.”

 

Gray propels Peabody over English

FILE PHOTO
Melissa Gray led all scorers with 21 points in Peabody’s win over English. 

By HAROLD RIVERA 

LYNN– With five wins in its last six games coming into Friday night’s matchup with English, the Peabody girls basketball team was looking to keep things moving in the right direction against a gritty Bulldogs group. Thanks to a strong performance from Melissa Gray, the Tanners stayed hot with a 67-28 win over English at Peabody High.

“When she (Gray) gets open and her shot starts to fall, she’s on,” Peabody coach Stan McKeen said. “She didn’t play in the last quarter, but our defense was the difference in the game. It’s been the difference in the last five games.”

Gray, a senior guard and team captain, led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Tanners raced out to a first-quarter lead as Gray scored five points and Alyssa Alperen flashed an early hot-hand with six points in the period. Tommi Hill knocked in a three and a floater in the paint to keep the Bulldogs close at 18-9.

“Early in the season, we were getting behind and struggled to get back in games,” McKeen said. “We’ve abandoned the zone on defense, we’re strictly playing man to man now and it has worked.”

Gray took center stage in the second quarter and English had no answer when the ball was in her hands. Peabody staged a 16-0 rally and Gray accounted for 15 of those points. With their senior guard on fire, the Tanners built a 22-point advantage and led 40-18 at the half.

“She’s (Gray) a great shooter,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said. “She shot the ball well and we didn’t bump her. We didn’t play that physical Lynn English girls basketball.”

McKeen added, “Our defense was the turning point in the game tonight. It was a great effort.”

With a 22-point lead, the Peabody offense continued to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the third quarter. This time, it was Nene Onwuogu who carried Peabody with seven points in the period. The Tanners led 59-27 after three.

By the time the fourth quarter started, the deficit was too steep for English to climb back in. Peabody (7-4) rolled to the 67-28 victory.

“I give my team credit for fighting,” Charles said. “We got to give some young girls minutes in the game. It wasn’t the way we’d like to, but we have to find some positives in the tough loss.”

Charles added, “Every night’s a tough, competitive game in the NEC. Tonight wasn’t all that competitive but we’ll learn and get better.”

Nine different players scored for the Peabody side. Onwuogu logged a double-doubled at 14 points and 11 rebounds. Alperen scored eight points, while Katie Wallace and Hannah Pellizzaro each added six.

For English, Rachel Calnan scored eight points. Hill and Dorathy Ezemba each added seven.

Both teams play again on Tuesday as English visits Danvers and Peabody travels to Classical. The Rams defeated Peabody when the two teams met earlier this season.


Harold Rivera can be reached at hrivera@itemlive.com. 

Magicians sneak past Bulldogs in closing minutes

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Marblehead’s Virginia Linzitto drives for a layup between Shayla Manon and Julianna Perry of English. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

MARBLEHEAD — If the Lynn English girls basketball could play with the type of drive and passion at the end of games the way it does at the beginning, things might be a lot different.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Bulldogs got off to a blistering start, but limped home in the fourth quarter. As a result, Marblehead dropped English to 2-7 with a 38-35 win.

“We certainly didn’t have the energy at the end of the game that we had in the beginning,” said English coach Mackenzie Charles. “We had too many turnovers and we gave them too many points in the paint.”

Actually turnovers plagued both teams. However, once Marblehead found its rhythm, early in the second half, the Magicians kept it up while English faltered on a number of occasions.

“I think they just got tired,” said Marblehead’s Wayne Hanscom. “I think we were tired too. They don’t have much depth and neither do we.”

The 5-4 Magicians started out colder than a polar vortex. English came out of the gate running, and built up a 9-0 lead before the Magicians could get a bucket. Ely Guity and Dorathy Ezemba, who scored nine first-quarter points between them, gave English a 13-6 lead after one.

It didn’t get much better for Marblehead at the beginning of the second quarter either. Rachel Calnan and Sheyla Manon scored back-to-back hoops to open the period, and it was 17-6, English. That’s where the Bulldogs started to cool off.

Marblehead co-captains Lindsay Walker (game-high 17 points) and Ashley Stiles (10) began to take over. They made it a point to go to the basket. If they could not hit their shots from the floor, they hit them from the line. Walker sunk four free throws and Stiles one more to close the gap to 18-11 by the break.

It may have been only a 7-point lead, but Marblehead couldn’t do much from the floor in the third quarter either. The Magicians did just enough to keep the game under control. It took a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the period by English’s Tommi Hill to get the lead up to five (27-22) with eight minutes to go.

The fourth quarter turned into a good battle. Walker hit two baskets right away to whittle English’s lead down to a point, but Calnan hit one to get it back up to three (29-26). Both teams went through large stretches of missed baskets and turnovers before Walker brought Marblehead to within a point again (29-28) before Hannah Garthe hit a trey with 3:54 to go to give the Magicians their first lead of the game (31-29). Guity tied it back up right Walker and Stiles hit back-to-back baskets to make it 35-31.

Guity sunk a basket in to make it a two-point game, and Marblehead’s Montana Joyce hit one free throw after that, but it was still a one-possession game with 30 seconds to go.

English was angling for a 3-pointer in hopes of tying the game and sending into overtime, but Marblehead guarded the perimeter effectively and Ezemba settled on a two-pointer, which forced English to foul. Stiles hit two free throws to put the game out of reach as time ran out.


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com. 

GIRLS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: English defense steps up

FILE PHOTO
Ely Guity and the Bulldogs closed out a win over Gloucester on Tuesday. 

By HAROLD RIVERA AND MIKE ALONGI 

The Lynn English girls basketball team has struggled to close out games this season. Tuesday night, they finally finished a game the way they’d hope to. Behind a number of key stops down the stretch, English downed Gloucester, 52-46.

“They played together and they played hard,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said of his players. “We played really good defense with key stops at the end of the game. We haven’t finished a game all season, we’ve been having problems with that. We’ve been struggling with rebounds so I think the combination of those things equalled a win.”

Dorathy Ezemba led the winning efforts with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

“She (Ezemba) rebounded well,” Charles said. “She pushes the ball well and she’s very physical.”

Ely Guity scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished five assists.

“She (Guity) had a great game, five of her rebounds were on the offensive glass,” Charles said. Charles also credited Rachel Calnan and Shelya Manon for their performances in the win. English is back in action on Friday when the Bulldogs visit Marblehead. “We’ll get back to practice tomorrow and work hard,” Charles said. “We understand this in a win but Friday’s another game.”

Lynn Tech 44, Greater Lawrence 28

Alondra Sanchez had the hot hand offensively for the Tigers, putting up 17 points. Annmarie Texiera added eight and Jamila Constantine scored six. Malvelis Hernandez was solid on defense.

The Tigers (3-5) had to climb back from an early 8-0 deficit, but coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said that after a few timeouts and conversations with her team, something clicked.

“We turned up the pressure and worked very well together,” Wechsler said. “It was like a switch flipped and we started to figure it out. It was an overall great team win.”

Revere 65, Swampscott 56

A tied game after a quarter, the Patriots outscored the Big Blue 21-6 in the second quarter to pull away. Despite putting up 24 points in the third, Swampscott couldn’t claw all the way back into this one.

Valentina Pepic led Revere with 24 points, Pamela Gonzalez added 18 and Meghan Gotham chipped in with 10.

Archbishop Williams 77, Bishop Fenwick 44

Sam Mancinelli logged 15 points for the Crusaders, five assists and four steals, while Fredi DeGuglielmo added 14 points and Jaxson Nadeau had eight points and four steals.

Peabody 53, Salem 32

The Tanners (3-3) got 13 points from Melissa Gray and nine points and 14 rebounds from Nene Onwuogu. Katie Wallace had eight points.

Peabody will take on Winthrop on Friday night.

Swampscott’s defense stands strong in win over English

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Swampscott’s Hannah Leahy reaches out to try and deflect a rebound pulled down by English’s Rachel Calnan.

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN — The Swampscott girls basketball team prides itself on defense. Tuesday evening, the Big Blue brought their defensive showcase to the Boverini Tournament at Lynn English as they topped the Bulldogs, 44-32.

English started the game off on the right foot as Dorathy Ezemba scored six points in a first quarter that ended in a 10-10 tie. From there on out, the Bulldogs struggled to find rhythm on offense.

“I thought we took a step back in the communication phase today,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said. “Some of the girls were a bit overwhelmed with the tension of that game, so that was new to them. We have to play with a better effort, consistently.”

On the flip side, the Big Blue could hang their hats on another strong defensive performance as they held a talented Bulldogs team, that suits plenty of scoring weapons on its roster, to just 32 points.

“For us it’s defense first,” Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard said. “We know if we can limit teams in scoring, we can win the game.”

The Big Blue built their first stable lead of the game in the second quarter when they came out of the gates with a 5-0 run. Rachel Calnan stopped the bleeding for English when she knocked down a free throw to get the Bulldogs back on the board. Swampscott led 22-15 at the half.

In the third quarter, Swampscott opened with a pair of buckets from Hannah Leahy and Ella Parker. English’s Shelya Manyon sunk a hook shot seeking to get the Bulldogs back in the game, but Swampscott’s Maggie DiGrande hit a three-pointer in retaliation. The Big Blue led 35-23 after the third quarter.

In the fourth, English began to find life again. Tommi Hill hit a three pointer and Ely Guity knocked in a jump shot to cut Swampscott’s lead down to seven points.

“In the late third quarter and early fourth, it seemed like they played a little better,” Charles said. “We just can’t dig a hole like that and expect us to get out of it.”

Unfortunately for English, Swampscott buckled down on defense in the final minutes of the game and walked away with a 44-32 win. The Big Blue advance to the championship game of the tournament today at 5 p.m., where they’ll clash against St. Mary’s.

“I know they’re really tough,” Leonard said of the Spartans. “It’s good to play good teams. They can only make us better. We’re going to go right at them and give them the best game we can.”

Ezemba led the Bulldogs with 11 points. English will face Classical in the consolation game today at 2 p.m.


Harold Rivera can be reached at hrivera@itemlive.com. 

Girls test mettle in Duchane girls basketball jamboree

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Fenwick’s Sam Mancinelli gets a step on Revere’s Tatianna Iacoviello in the Duchane Jamboree Saturday at the Classical gym.

By SCOT COOPER

LYNN — The Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree is one of the first tests area teams get as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Held every year at the Classical gym, in memory of the man who taught and coached throughout the Lynn school system, the 24th annual jamboree Saturday saw English, Swampscott, Marblehead, Malden, Somerville, Medford, Saugus, Danvers, Hamilton-Wenham, Reading, Peabody, Revere, Bishop Fenwick, Georgetown and Masconomet take part.

The 16 teams each played two quarters, and the stands were filled with fans, and also quite a few area coaches, scouting and filming teams they’ll face somewhere down the line this season.

Classical came out fairly strong against Masconomet in the day’s last game, racing out to a 4-1 lead on four points by Paris Wilkey. The Chieftains took their first lead at 8-6, but a bucket by Irianis Delgado tied the score at eight apiece.

Things went south for the Rams after that, Masconomet cruised to a 29-8 lead before Skyler Creighton swished one for Classical. The Chieftains scored at the buzzer for a 31-10 final.

Rams coach Tom Sawyer said the team has to practice much harder before Tuesday night’s season opener against Everett.  

“I thought we started the game well,” he said. “The kids competed hard all night, we just didn’t finish very well after that good start.

“We’ve got to make adjustments and turn up the intensity at practice before our game with Everett. We need to practice at a much higher intensity level, and carry that high intensity level into games this season,” he said.

English scored four seconds into its game with Georgetown, Ely Guity took the tip and she floored it to the basket for an easy layup. Bulldogs coach Mackenzie Charles was coaching in his first jamboree, a 21-10 win, and he liked the effort by his club Saturday evening.

“It was a really good scrimmage for our team,” he said “I thought we played well. We’re a young team, we have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I thought we did a good job tonight,” Charles said.

“It’s early and this is a long season, but what we want to do is come out and get better every time out, and I think we did a good job in this scrimmage.

“We have a lot of things that I want to see this team get better at as the season goes on, but I liked the effort tonight from our team,” Charles said. “As long as we improve and learn something every time we step on the court, that’s what I want to see happen with this team this year.”

English senior captain Rachel Calnan was the high scorer against the Royals (9 points), and she said that hard work and communication are going to be key issues that have to be addressed by her team this winter if the Bulldogs are going to be successful.

“I thought we communicated very well on the court, and we need to keep doing that this season,” Calnan said. “We were very aggressive on the boards, and I think that’s a very good thing for our team, we have to keep playing aggressively and communicating on the court every game this season.”

Marblehead was as cold from the floor as it was outside the Classical field house early in its game against Malden. The Magicians heated up very nicely in the second quarter and rolled over the Golden Tornado, 24-10.

The Magicians were led on offense by captains Lindsay Walker and Ashley Stiles, as well as Maddie Lowi and Darcy O’Sullivan. The winners were up 9-6 after one quarter and outscored Malden 15-4 in the second quarter.  

Marblehead coach Wayne Hanscom was pleased the team kept working and broke out of its shooting slump as the game wore on.

“You only play a half, we played everyone, but we did miss a lot of bunnies,” Hanscom said. “We kept working, the girls never got frustrated, and the ball started to drop for us.”

Swampscott zipped out to a 15-1 lead over Somerville after one quarter, and Blue coach Katelyn Leonard played everybody in a 24-18 win. Swampscott’s starting five, Hannah Leahy, Katie Watts, Maggie DiGrande, Nikki Rosa and Ella Parker all scored for Swampscott early, with freshman Olivia Matella knocking down some big threes in the first quarter.

Leonard said it’s always good to have a fast start.

“We looked really strong early on, we were working really well with and without the ball,” Leonard said. “It’s all about defense with us, and I think we played a very solid game today, defensively.”

Saugus took a 15-0 lead into the break against Medford, and cruised past the Mustangs, 29-6.

Sachems coach Mark Schruender liked the high-energy game his team played.

“We started great,” he said. “Too bad we can’t save some of those points. It was a great start for our team.

“The girls were very hungry out there, I thought. You practice for a couple of weeks and see the same faces, so tonight, against another team we came out really well, we played very hard, and I’m happy about that. Let’s hope it continues.”

Peabody had a tough time in its game against Reading. The Tanners had three starters watching the game from the bench with injuries and lost 28-8. Peabody got a bucket from Catherine Manning and free throws by Liz Zaiter, Hannah Pellizzaro Alyssa Alperin and Katie Wallace. Coach Stan McKeen said there is work to do for his team.

“It was tough with three starters on the bench, but we need to get better on defense, and certainly in offense,” McKeen said. “Hopefully everyone will be back on Friday night and we can go out and play better basketball.”

Last year’s Bishop Fenwick team took the state title, and this winter seven of those players are back for coach Adam Debaggis. The Crusaders were able to spoil Revere’s Lianne O’Hara’s Duchane head coaching debut with a 20-15 win. It wasn’t O’Hara’s first Duchane game; she was an assistant for many years with Fenwick.

Revere was coming off a hard-fought, emotional win Friday night at St. Mary’s.

Samantha Mancinelli, Sammi Gallant, Olivia DiPietro and Elizabeth Pica led the way on offense for Fenwick. Valentina Pepic, Elizabeth Lake, Pamela Gonzalez and Tatiana Iacoviello had buckets for the Patriots.

“Last year was last year, it was exciting, but this year is this year,” Debaggis said. “We miss Lianne a lot, but we’re focused on a big season, and we have a lot of work to do, as long as we all work hard, we will be a tough team to beat.”

“We kind of started off a little slow (down 8-0), a little messy, so we have to work on that, come out a little better to start games,” O’Hara said. “I love this tournament, I loved it when I was at Fenwick, I love it now that I’m with Revere. We just need to come out a little better in games and we’ll got from there.”

Danvers and Hamilton-Wenham played a thriller in their game. It looked like the Generals would have an easy ballgame, going up 16-3 early in the first. The Falcons hung around, fought back and trailed by a bucket after a steal and a swish by Tina Gigli with 11 seconds to play. Hamilton-Wenham was able to run out the clock and hold on for a 29-27 win.

 

Charles takes over girls hoops team at English

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Coach MacKenzie Charles keeps an eye on his team during English’s first basketball practice on Monday afternoon. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

Mackenzie Charles is no stranger to the sport of basketball. He’s also no stranger to coaching.  

Charles will look to put his basketball and coaching experience to use as he begins his newest endeavor as the head coach of the Lynn English girls basketball team.

Charles, a Lynn native, was a former standout football and basketball player at Lynn Tech. He was named coach of the English program in August by athletic director Dick Newton.

“It’s good to be in a new position and a new building,” Charles said. “I’ve also been a Lynn guy so I have relationships at English, Classical, Tech and St. Mary’s. I have a good network and I appreciate that. Newton and principal (Thomas) Strangie welcomed me with open arms and they trust that I’m going to do a good job. I want to keep that trust.”

After being forced to move on from his basketball career due to an ACL and MCL injury he suffered on the gridiron, Charles threw his hat into the coaching ring. He now has 12 years of coaching experience in both basketball and football.

His current duties at English also include another coaching role as an assistant on the staff of the Bulldogs football team.

“It’s been fun,” Charles said of his experiences in coaching. “It keeps me busy and with my community. It keeps me as a positive member of the community by leading by example.”

Charles noted that he’s built a familiarity with the program over the years, allowing for a smoother transition into his new role. A pair of his current players on the English roster played for him at the AAU level.

“A couple of the girls, Dorothy (Ezemba) and Ely (Guity), played AAU and I coached them a little during my years coaching there,” Charles recalled. “I’m meeting a lot of the other girls for the first time but I think they’ll embrace having a new coach and building off of what (former coach) Rachael Bradley has done.”

Joining Charles on the new coaching staff are former English girls standout Jeanette Anderson, Tod Burton, Mackenson Charles, Keith Lee and Rod Valerie.

“What’s special about this staff is that they each have a full-time job working with kids,” Charles shared. “I wanted to put together a coaching staff that was kids-first and not basketball-first. We want to care about the student first before the basketball player.”

Charles added, “I really like our coaching staff. I think there’s a good balance between us and we all have good voices that come with positive attitudes.”

The Bulldogs tipped off their preseason with the team’s first practice of the 2016-2017 campaign Monday afternoon, and Charles noted that he’s already seeing positives from both his players and coaches.

“We all have the same mission,” Charles said of his coaches. “We want to help these kids get better every day. When the coaching staff is on the same page, it’s easy to send that message.”

He added, “We’re doing a lot of conditioning (to the start the preseason.) To play the style of basketball that I want us to play, we’re going to have to be in shape. Today we did a lot of conditioning and I think the girls responded well to that.”

The Bulldogs will rely on a handful of returning starters this upcoming season in Ezemba and Guity, as well as Tommi Hill and team captain Rachel Calnan. The team will look to play an up-tempo style of basketball, backed by an aggressive defense.

“I preach hard work and defense,” Charles said. “We want to be aggressive, we want to be fast, we want to play great defense and we want to be great teammates.”


Harold Rivera can be reached at hrivera@itemlive.com. 

Classical gives English the doughnut in Powder Puff

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Devyn Astuccio runs toward the goalline chased by English’s Caitlin Geaney.

By Scot Cooper

LYNN — There were many adjectives that were tossed around during Sunday’s Powder Puff game between Classical and English.

Crisp, raw, windy, brutally cold and blustery were all used to describe the conditions. In the end, two touchdowns by two No. 2s paved the way for a 13-0 win by the Rams.

The score of last year’s game was also 13-0. However, this year it was quarterback Kaley Sirois wearing No. 2, and running back Devyn Astuccio, also sporting the deuce, who put the points on the board for the winners.

After being shut out in the first half, the Rams scored on their opening drive in the third quarter, with Sirois sneaking in from the one. Astuccio eliminated any hopes of a last-second Bulldog comeback by racing 74 yards with 1:18 left in the game to lock up the Ram win.

Bulldog coach Dick Newton said the conditions were tough on both teams, especially the passing game, and he said both teams did a nice job.

“It was tough to throw, and their defense did a nice job defending the run against us,” Newton said. “We had four weeks to work with the girls. It’s much easier to teach defense than it is offense, and I thought both teams were outstanding defensively.

“Credit to Classical, they were able to make a few plays on offense and we were not,” Newton said.

Both teams had drives deep into their opponents’ red zones in the first half, but could not seal the deal and get six points. Classical’s defensive backs covered Bulldog receivers very tight, and made it tough for quarterback Cynthia DeLeon to find an opening.

Two English drives in the first half were thwarted by picks from a very aggressive Ram secondary. Leyani Anderson and Amanda Thoeun both picked off English passes in the first half.

The English passing defense was perfect in the first half as the Rams did not complete a pass until the third quarter.

On the ground for the Bulldogs, DeLeon, Kosama Chhay, Beri Letts, Taylor Sullivan and Rachel Calnan all had big runs, but could not get the ball into the end zone in the first half. The Rams spread the ball around, with Sirois, Astuccio and Agnes Bangura getting the bulk of the carries.

Classical thought it had broken the shutout when Bangura ran right in front of the English bench into the end zone from 22 yards out, but the TD was called back because of a personal foul penalty on the Rams.

Classical got the ball to start the second half and went 65 yards in 10 plays to break the shutout. Sirois hit four straight passes for first downs, hooking up with Michelle Scuzzarella twice and twice with Rachel Jordan to get the ball down to the English one. Sirois kept it and dove in from the line of scrimmage, and the PAT kick by Astuccio was right down the middle, and the Rams were up by seven.

Classical stopped English on two fourth-down attempts, and were looking to run out the clock when Astuccio took a handoff at the Ram 24 and sprinted in front of her teammates to ice it. Astuccio said she was running with her purpose: her teammates made her a promise that they would take care of her if she scored a touchdown.

“They promised me doughnuts, seriously,” Astuccio said. “They were all pulling for me, and they said they would buy me donuts if I scored, so I scored. This was so much fun today, just an excellent time, just great, we’re so happy right now, this is great, now I get my doughnuts!”

Sirois said it was tough to throw but her team kept at it and were able to get into the end zone in the second half. It was too windy to make a good pass,” Sirois said. “We came out and did a great job in the second half and we were able to make the plays that won us the game. This was great, just so much fun.”

Classical coach Rob Smith said he was on Cloud 9 himself, just like his girls.

“The girls were awesome, I mean awesome, we had what 20 days to get ready and all of these girls were great, did I say they were awesome yet,” Smith asked. “These girls put it all together, offense and defense in about 20 days, they were great, I’m happy for them, and I‘m incredibly happy myself right now.”

Newton said it was a defensive struggle Sunday, like it is every year.

“We had a great effort on defense by Kylie Moorehouse, and Katrina Cox,” Newton said. “On offense Kosama Chhay, Rachel Calnan, Taylor Sullivan and our quarterback Cynthia DeLeon did a great job for us too.”

Danvers rolls over English

Danvers’ Abbi Clickstein keeps the ball away from Sydney Denham, right, and the rest of the English defense. Item Photo by Katie Morrison

By Katie Morrison

LYNN — English girls soccer coach Ed McNeil knows that his Bulldogs will have to take their lumps in a Northeastern Conference that is stocked with some of the most formidable teams in Eastern Mass.

It was one of those games Monday afternoon at Manning Field, as Danvers, a team that looks poised to make a run at the NEC title, blanked the Bulldogs, 9-0.

The Falcons scored early and often, and netted four goals in the first 10 minutes against English. Danvers got goals from Hannah Lejeune, Riley Baker, Lydia Runnals, Teagan Gilliss, Sarah McCarriston, Isabel McKenna, Hailey Chisholm and Lauren Clement, with Lejeune scoring twice.

McNeil said he knew it’d be a tough game coming in; it always is against Danvers. In fact, McNeil said that it’s been over 20 years since the Bulldogs have even scored against the Falcons.

To make the hill even steeper for English to climb, the Bulldogs were without five starters. Rachel Calnan, Caitlin Geaney and Alexa Zayas were all banged up, but McNeil hopes to have them back soon.

But even so, it’s tough to ignore the disparity in the NEC. Danvers is simply a stronger team than English, and last season, the Bulldogs were outscored, 57-0, by the strongest teams in the league.

“It’s the haves, and the have-nots,” McNeil said. “We’re one of the have-nots. They’re better than we are, there’s not much you can do.”

Still, the Bulldogs kept their heads in the game and did what they could to slow down a powerful Danvers offense. English held Danvers to one goal in the second half, but struggled to gain and maintain possession for any length of time.

On the other hand, ball possession is clearly a strength for a Danvers team that returns a lot of faces from last year’s team, which went 11-2-5 in the regular season before falling to eventual Division 2 North champion Masconomet in the first round of the tournament. The romp over English was definitely a good way for the Falcons to open their 2016 season.

“The girls have been itching to get on the field,” Danvers coach Jim Hinchion said. “We have a lot of girls back from last year. We’re a very experienced so we’re hoping we’re going to have a really successful year. They looked sharp today, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come down the road for us.”

Unfortunately for English, they’ll take on another team Wednesday that has the potential to be as good, if not better, than Danvers in the Peabody Tanners. But thankfully for McNeil, his team is very resilient.

“You take your beatings, but the thing is, these girls never quit,” McNeil said. “They worked hard. Emma Trahant, Taylor Sullivan, they never left the field. They never quit, never get down. They’ll be in as good a mood tomorrow as if they had won the game today.”

St. Mary’s captures Lynn Invitational title

St. Mary’s Codi Butt traps the ball with her foot while English defender Lauren Moorehouse stays close. Photo by Bob Roche

By Steve Krause

LYNN — At this time last year, Codi Butt was still recovering from a broken leg that she suffered during a summer soccer league game.

What a difference a year makes. Where she didn’t get on the field until late October 2015, she’s started off with a bang this season.

Butt scored two goals Saturday and St. Mary’s defeated Lynn English, 5-1, to win the Lynn Invitational Soccer Tournament girls championship at Manning Field.

Butt, a sophomore striker, is off to about as hot a start for a soccer player as possible. She has now scored nine goals in three games. And she gives her teammates all of the credit.

“It’s them, doing what they do,” she said. “They’re the ones who have set me up to score the goals. I couldn’t do any of this without them.”

St. Mary’s was never in trouble. The Spartans scored all their goals in the first half, beginning with a point-blank shot by Kayla Denen in the 13th minute. Butt scored the first of her two in the 26th minute, picking the ball from two English defenders, turning around, and put it into the net.

English put the ball in its own net for St. Mary’s third goal, with it being credited to Sherly Feliz, and Jocelyn Descences scored on another turn-around shot to make it 4-0, Spartans.

Butt put the fifth one in with less than two minutes to go in the half.

“It was a good first half,” said St. Mary’s coach Jim Foley. “We’re a little young, and I think that had something to do with a bit of a slow start. There were a lot of nerves out there … championship game and all. We had to settle down.”

But at the half, something happened that made English coach Ed McNeill happy.

“On one of their goals I thought there was someone out of bounds,” he said, “and we muffed one. So it wasn’t as bad as all that.

“I told the girls we could go out there and lose 10-0, or we could go out there and play to win the second half. I’m so happy we did that.”

English kept St. Mary’s off the board in the final 40 minutes while Rachel Calnan scored off a corner kick to keep the Bulldogs from being shut out.

“We didn’t quit,” said McNeill. “I liked that very much.”

He was very impressed with St. Mary’s.

“Boy,” he said. “I give them all the credit in the world. They are good. They may be young, but they are very fast.”

 

Senior-laden English squad sets sights on city tourney title

English’s Grace Gately shows off her skill of spinning the ball on her finger. Item Photo by Bob Roche

By Katie Morrison

With 14 seniors making up the majority of the Lynn English girls soccer squad, the Bulldogs know this is their chance to make some noise in the Northeastern Conference.

“This is probably the most seniors I’ve ever had,” said coach Ed McNeil, who enters his 12th year at the helm. “We’re very top-heavy.”

The Bulldogs lost only three players to graduation, and have a strong core of seniors, which includes captains Emma Trahant, Taylor Sullivan, Caitlin Geaney, Rachel Calnan and Krista Bowden.

“They’re all best friends,” McNeil said, “and they’ve all played together for four years at English.”

English finished 5-15 last season while competing in a conference that includes elite teams like Marblehead, Swampscott and Danvers. While the road doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs in 2016, McNeil knows this is one of their best chances in a long time to gain some ground in the conference.

“There’s a lot of tough competition in this league,” McNeil said. “We haven’t made it to the tournament in my time here, and our most wins in a season is seven. But I’ve never had a team work as hard as this one. These girls have really bought into the season.”

McNeil will look to Trahant, who he calls the team’s best all-around player, to step up this season. Sullivan and Geaney will hold down the defense in front of two goalies who will split time and compete for minutes, senior Kerry Robles and junior Tommi Hill.

The Bulldogs biggest challenge last year was finding the back of the net. English scored just 15 goals in its 20 games last season. its main offensive weapon will be junior Alexa Zayas, who scored 10 of the team’s 15 goals in 2015. But McNeil says he knows the team has to play to its strengths, and keep the score low.

“Our plan is to try and score early, then play defense and hold on,” he said.

The Bulldogs midfield is strong, with Sydney Denham and Lauren Moorehouse on the outside and Trahant in the middle. Senior forward/midfielder Cynthia DeLeon will also help out offensively.

The Bulldogs added a new assistant coach, Abby Driscoll, who was a captain at St. Mary’s.

While English has state tournament aspirations, the first hurdle to clear in this season is playing well in the Lynn City Tournament. The Bulldogs will take on Tech in the opening game Tuesday.

“We just want to get to the championship game, no matter who we’ll be playing,” McNeil said.

The Bulldogs could get the chance to play rival Classical in the finale, but even if it doesn’t shake out that way, McNeil knows his girls are looking forward to the first time the two teams meet.

“We have such a great rivalry,” he said. “All of the girls know each other, and they’re friends, but not once they get on the field.”

The Rams beat English three times last season, so the Bulldogs will look for payback. If they don’t meet in the Lynn City tournament, the two rivals will first face off on Sept. 26.

Swampscott’s Leahy named NEC Player of the Year in softball

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Swampscott pitcher Hannah Leahy was named the Northeastern Conference Player of the Year in softball on Friday.

Swampscott pitcher Hannah Leahy, who has helped the Big Blue get to the Division 2 North Final, is the player of the year in Northeastern Conference softball.

The selections, made by the league’s coaches, were announced Friday.

Beverly’s Megan Sudak was named the coach of the year and English received the sportsmanship award.

Danvers High was the NEC North champion this spring while Marblehead and Swampscott shared the south title.

Besides Leahy, pitchers on the all-conference team are Brooke Westmoreland, Saugus; and Karina Keenan, Gloucester; catchers are Allison Kapoll, Marblehead, Meaghan Leavitt, Classical and Juliana Cecere, Revere..

Infielders are Ally Hinojosa, Revere; Montana Joyce and Sara Bornstein, Marblehead; and Hannah Llewellyn, Danvers.

Outfielders are Ally Cabral and Marlee Hamor, Beverly; and Madison Mucci, Danvers.

North all-stars are Elizabeth Prentiss and Daria Papamechail, Danvers; Gia Santanello, Revere; Julia Pitman and Olivia George, Beverly; Tianna Dawe, Amanda Crawford and Ashley Jenkins, Peabody; Alaina Gridley and Kaitlin Marcinko, Classical; and Rachel Calnan and Sarah Tobin, English.

South stars are Sara Francis and Meagan Manning, Gloucester; Emily Promise and McKenzie Joyce, Marblehead; Katie Watts, Olivia Cooke and Riley Lord, Swampscott; Caity Sheehan and Alex Almquist, Saugus; Gabbie Kenniston, Winthrop; and Tayla O’Leary, Salem.

Nowicki dominant in Spartans’ Holland tourney win

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Holland tournament MVP Mia Nowicki and Katie Terban celebrate the win.

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — If there were any doubt that St. Mary’s Mia Nowicki is a special high school softball pitcher, the 2016 John Holland Memorial Softball Tournament may end up being her official coming-out party.

Nowicki, a junior, was tremendous Saturday and Sunday. The Chelsea resident struck out 23 batters over two days, leading the Spartans to the championship, and was named the tournament’s MVP. It took the Spartans nine innings to defeat Classical, 6-4, Sunday — a day after eking out a taut 1-0 thriller over Swampscott in the preliminary.

“It’s nice to have her at the end of games, because other teams just can’t believe it when they see her,” said coach Paige Licata. “They know about her, but then when they see her it’s something else.”

Nowicki fanned 15 Swampscott hitters Saturday night, out-dueling the Big Blue’s Hannah Leahy, who struck out nine and was also named to the all-tournament team. The game’s only run game when Katie Terban, who was also named to the all-tournament team, doubled home Frankie Simon, who had walked, in the sixth inning. Nowicki finished the preliminary with a flourish, striking out the final two Big Blue batters, one swinging and one called, with a runner on second.

Sunday, St. Mary’s Michaela Hamill and Classical’s Tori Adams matched wits for the first part of the game. Nowicki took over for the Spartans in the fifth, but Adams pitched every inning of both games. It was 4-4 after seven innings, and Nowicki made sure it stayed that way. Adams, however, seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. She even breezed through the first two batters in the ninth before St. Mary’s finally got to her.

With two out, Simon doubled to left-center. Vanessa VanBuskirk followed by lacing a triple to right-center that brought home Simon with the go-ahead run. Terban’s single scored VanBuskirk to make it 6-4.

“I’m so glad,” said Licata, “that it was our seniors who carried the day. Frankie, Vanessa and Katie all had big two-out hits and Hamill did a great job on the mount. If we don’t have Michaela, we don’t have a fresh Mia to finish the game today.”

Classical, which had to hang on for dear life to beat English, 7-6, in Saturday’s preliminary, went down in order in the bottom of the ninth, with Nowicki fanning two.

“It’s hard to face (Nowicki) when you only see her once around the batting order,” said Classical coach Erica Richard.

Adams and catcher Meg Leavitt were Classical’s representatives on the all-tournament team.

“When (Tori) is on, and she gets ahead of the hitters, the way she was doing today, she’s tough,” Richard said. “If she pitches the way she did today, it bodes well for the post-season.”

Leavitt knocked in three of Classical’s four runs, including the game-tying run in the fifth inning on a bunt that just eluded the dive of her counterpart, Emily Stephenson.

“She has, at times, carried this team on her back this year,” said Richard, noting that two of the players she’d projected as starters — Shannon Magner and Ally Dunnigan — suffered knee injuries in the off-season. Dunnigan was able to come back as the team’s designated player, but Magner missed both the winter and the spring with her torn ACL.

“This is such an awesome tournament,” said Richard. “The kids put as much heart and soul into this tournament as they do the regular state tournament.”

For St. Mary’s, Hamill and Tori DiCenso knocked in two runs each, and Terban knocked in a run and scored one.

Saturday night, Classical led English 7-1 going into the seventh inning, but the Bulldogs would not go away quietly. They’d given the Rams all they could handle last Monday, and did it again.  English just kept pounding out hits in the seventh, with RBI from Sarah Tobin, Lindsay Lannon, Emma Trahant and two by Rachel Calnan.

Swampscott defeated the Bulldogs in the consolation game, 11-3, with the big blow coming off the  bat of Maisie Vazquez, who hit a towering three-run homer that cleared the bleachers outside the left-field fence.

The all-tournament team consisted of VanBuskirk and Terban from St. Mary’s, with Nowicki as the MVP: Adams and Leavitt from Classical; Tobin and Jill Bowden from English; and Leahy and Vazquez from Swampscott.

Classical softball overpowers English

PHOTO: JOYCE EREKSON
Classical pitcher Tori Adams got the win on the mound and added two hits at the plate on Friday morning.

By JOYCE EREKSON

 

LYNN — The Classical High softball team had it all working Friday in a 24-2 win over rival English at Grace Rogato Field.

The Rams (4-2) hit the trifecta. They had hot bats, led by sophomore catcher Meaghan Leavitt, with two doubles, a home run and six RBI; solid defense, and effective pitching by starter Tori Adams and reliever Johnna Calder. Classical pounded out 16 hits and took advantage of 11 walks.

The Bulldogs led 2-1 heading into the second inning. The Rams had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Calder scorched a double to the left field fence and then scored on a groundout by  Leavitt. English came back in the bottom half of the inning and tied the game on Rachel Calnan’s RBI double to left field. Emma Trahant, who had walked, beat out a throw to the plate by Rams’ centerfielder Madison Angelli. Third baseman Tommi Hill walked with the bases loaded to drive in the other run.

But it was all downhill the rest of the way for the Bulldogs. The Rams scored seven runs in the second inning, 12 in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth.

“I think we did a good job after a frustrating first inning,” said Classical coach Erica Richard. “We did a good job settling Tori down and everyone else down by getting seven runs in the second inning.  We were jumping out at good strikes in the beginning.”

The were plenty of offensive stars for the Rams, but none bigger than Leavitt. She drove in that first run in the first inning and as it turned out, she was just warming up. The sophomore, who moved into the catcher’s role this year, followed up with a three-run double to the left-center gap in the third inning that scored Michelle Scuzzarella, Calder and Alaina Gridley. Scuzzarella had reached on a single. The other two walked.

Leavitt’s crowning achievement came in that same inning when she hit a two-run moonshot over the left-field fence. Her first varsity homer, that scored Gridley. She had tripled down the left-field line a batter earlier to drive in Lindsey Tobin, Scuzzarella and Calder. Leavitt wrapped up a productive morning with a two-run double to centerfield in the fourth inning.

“She (Leavitt) has stepped up huge for us this year,” Richard said. “We had a difficult offseason losing a couple of really big kids. She’s been solid behind the plate and she’s a threat hitting in the three spot.”

Gridley finished with a single, triple and walk. Calder had three walks and a double and Madison Dana had a double and single. Adams not only picked up the win, but contributed two singles and a walk.

The Bulldogs (0-5) struggled at the plate and in the field, but there were some nice plays in the loss. Hill made a great catch on a foul ball that took her into the fence. Caitlin Geaney and Calnan provided the relief pitching for English.

“It’s a work in progress,” English coach Jack Bartlett said. “We’re at square one. We’ve got to teach the game. The walks, the hit batters, then the defense falls asleep and we start making errors.”

Revere explodes for 25 runs against English

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Cheyenne Fullen takes a cut at a pitch.

BY KATIE MORRISON

 

LYNN – The Revere offense exploded for 25 runs and took down English in five innings, winning 25-2, at Grace Rogato Field on Wednesday.

The Patriots improved to 5-0, and seem to be rolling along without star pitcher Sabrina Palmero, an All-Scholastic who graduated after last season.

Revere relies on Gia Santinello as its ace this season. Revere coach Joe Ciccarello knows the lineup must  perform if the Patriots want to keep winning.

The Pats did just that on Wednesday. English pitchers struggled to contain the deep lineup, and Revere put the game away early.

The first out of the game was sandwiched between three walks from starter Lindsey Lannon, who struggled with command. Gabby Cammarata came up with the bases loaded and made English pay for the walks, smacking a 2-RBI single. Alina Giuliano knocked in another run with a single. A bases-loaded walk to Cheyenne Fullen knocked in the fourth run of the frame for Revere. Another two walks and two singles later, the Bulldogs found their way out of the inning, but not before eight Patriots had crossed the plate.

While the Bulldogs were shaky on the mound, their lineup looked potent early on, especially the top four batters.

Sarah Tobin laced a double to deep center from the leadoff spot. Emma Trahant reached on a hit-by-pitch. That brought up veteran Rachel Calnan, who smoked a fastball to center to drive in two runs.

Unfortunately for English, Santinello settled down and changed speeds.

“They were attacking fastballs, so we had to get a little craftier at the plate and make sure we hit our spots a little better, and she got into a groove,” said Ciccarello. “Maybe she took them a little lightly at first, but she settled in.”

The Bulldogs would put just three more baserunners on the rest of the game, on a double from Tobin, a single from Tommi Hill and a walk from Trahant.

English coach Jack Bartlett couldn’t be reached for comment after the game.

Revere, on the other hand, never stopped hitting, and kept drawing walks.

Leadoff hitter Ally Hinojosa scored four times, drawing five walks and singling. Santinello doubled and walked four times. Victoria Correia had two hits, and Cammarata singled and walked twice. Guiliano singled twice and Fullen drew two walks and singled. Juliana Cecere had the best day of any Patriot by far, coming just a home run shy of the cycle with two singles, a double, a triple and a walk.

Ciccarello says that without a superstar pitcher, Revere has had to learn to win differently than they have for the past few years. A few runs may no longer be enough to sneak by some teams without Palmero’s arm.

“Our lineup is coming around,” he said. “Our goal this year is to win differently. When we had a 700-strikeout All-Scholastic kid in Sabrina, we won differently. We won on her arm.”

Now, the burden is on the lineup and the defense, which played a very clean game to keep English at bay.

“The ball’s going to be put in play more,” said Ciccarello. “We played Classical the other day and only had one strikeout, so we had to come up with 20 outs. Sabrina would average 10 strikeouts a game and make three plays herself, so we only had to make seven or eight. It’s a far cry from where we are. We’ve been talking about this from the get-go, but so far, so good.”

English softball looks to improve in 2016

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Kaitlin Geaney handles duties behind the plate during practice Friday.

By MATT FRASER

Whether it be a cliche, a humbled mindset or a mixture of both, the phrase “there is nowhere to go but up” rings true for the Lynn English softball team this spring after a one-win 2015 campaign.

“It was obviously a tough year for the program,” said coach Jack Bartlett, who is of firm belief that the Bulldogs will be far more competitive in his second year at the helm.

“Murphy’s Law really got the best of us last year. With a couple of good breaks here or there, we’re probably looking at seven wins or so, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Any team that can overcome such suffrage is most deserving of better karma, and should English solve its most daunting task of the preseason, it certainly figures to reap the benefits.  

With Northeastern Conference all-star battery-mates Shanna Zeramby and Sam Holey lost to graduation, the Bulldogs are seeking a successor to the role as ace in the pitcher’s circle.

Senior Emma Trahant, junior Rachel Calnan and sophomore Lindsey Lannon have engaged in a healthy competition for the right to start the season/home opener on April 11 against Danvers.

It remains entirely possible (and highly plausible) that English turns to a “committee approach,” as both Trahant and Calnan, the team’s most prominent offensive forces, are capable of playing leading roles from a defensive standpoint in the infield, as well.

Junior Sarah Tobin figures to play a vital role in the continued development of each of the three potential hurlers, as she will be called upon to take over behind the plate.

“I think we can surprise a lot of people (this year) if our pitching situation pans out,” said Bartlett, who noted that his team’s biggest strength lies in the depth of its infield, featuring sophomores Jill Bowden (first base), Grace Gately (second base) and Tommi Hill (third base).

Junior Caitlin Geaney and sophomore Brittany Barrows, both of whom figure to slot into the outfield, round out a returning group of nine, which has Bartlett and the Bulldogs really raring to go.

“Position by position, I think we are relatively strong but pitching is such an important aspect, especially in softball,” Bartlett said. “So we’re hoping to see production in the circle, which, in turn, will allow for the rest of our game to really focus on taking care of itself.”