LYNNFIELD — After winning its first Cape Ann League title in three years, the Lynnfield golf team is looking to make it two in a row.
Last year, the Pioneers placed sixth at the Division 3 North championship at Far Corner Golf Club, but came up short of advancing to the Division 3 state championship.
The Pioneers have some pretty big shoes to fill, having graduated CAL Kinney Division Co-Player of the Year George DeRoche along with CAL Second Team all-star Aidan Kelly.
The good news is the return of CAL Second Team all-star Jack Lacoste and fellow senior captain Cole Giannasca. Both captains are four-year varsity veterans and are confident that the Pioneers have the depth they need to repeat.
“Obviously, George and Aidan were very big players with George winning the CAL Player of the Year and Aidan had a great year, so it’s a lot to replace,” Giannasca said. “But if everyone does their part on the team, we can get around a big loss. We definitely have more balance this year. Everyone we had last year is so much improved and better this year. So I think we have really built a lot.”
“We have just as much a chance as any other team in the Cape Ann League with six strong seniors,” said LaCoste. “Each of us is capable of putting up 30 or more points in every match and we believe we have a chance to go undefeated this year despite losing some big pieces. I think we have a very good chance to repeat.”
Second-year coach Mike Moresco said as the seniors go, so goes the team.
“Those six seniors (Giannasca, LaCoste, Danny Mack, Bryan Mallett, Tommy Sciaudone, Matt Stephens) are our Clydesdales,” he said. “They pull the wagon. We preach all the time to treat each shot as an individual match. It’s just hit the cruller and move on to the next one. If they can do that, we’ll be okay.”
The Pioneers open the season Tuesday against Amesbury at their home course, Sagamore Springs GC. They have only 11 matches and are scheduled to play each league team once with no non-league matches.
Lynnfield wraps up the regular season at the Cape Ann League Open Oct. 10 at Far Corner GC. The field consists of 24 players, two from each of the 12 CAL teams.
The Division 3 North Sectional tournament is scheduled to be played at Sandy Burr GC in Wayland, Oct. 21. A minimum of two teams (depending on the number of participating teams) will advance to the Division 3 state championship at Cranberry Valley CV in Harwich on Oct. 28.
Effective this year, the MIAA Golf Committee has thrown the USGA rule book out the window with the enactment of a new Maximum Score rule for sectionals and states. The rule, which runs afoul of the official Rules of Golf, allows players to pick up one they have reached double par on any hole, e.g. 6 on a par 3, 8 on a par 4 and 10 on a par 5 with the double-par “score” being recorded as the score for that hole despite failing to hole out.
Giannasca said he hopes the team’s off-season preparations will pay off.
“Jack and I held captains’ practices here at Sagamore this summer to get ready for the season,” he said. “We just kept texting everyone on the team what time to meet and said just come out and play with us and we had good participation which I hope will have us ready to compete right from the start.”
Both captains agreed that Baker Division defending champion Hamilton-Wenham, which was undefeated last year (14-0), and Masconomet will be strong despite having lost key players.
“Those teams are always tough, but Hamilton-Wenham lost a ton of kids, maybe their top four or five,” LaCoste said. “Still, with our depth, I feel good about our chances again.”