The Everett High baseball team dropped its first round contest in the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA state baseball tournament by a score of 6-2 to Westford Academy last Saturday at Morelli Field in Melrose.
Everett came into the contest as the sixth seed in the D-1 North on the strength of a 15-5 record, while Westford was the 11th seed with a 13-7 mark. Everett earned the right to have the game played on its home field, but inasmuch as the Crimson Tide did not have a place to call home this season because of the renovation project at Glendale Park, Melrose’s Morelli Field served as Everett’s home away from home.
For the overachieving Crimson Tide, who attained greater heights than many had predicted at the start of the season by earning a share of the Greater Boston League title with Medford and compiling a fine 15-5 overall record despite a strong schedule, the loss was a tough one to take. The Everett squad did not display the sort of pluck that had been their trademark all season-long.
“Maybe it was the eight day layoff between the end of the season and the tourney game, but we did not seem to be as sharp at the plate as we typically have been,” said EHS head coach Joe Lento. “But give the Westford pitcher credit, because he had excellent control and kept the ball on the corners all game.”
Indeed, the Crimson Tide bats were silent to the tune of a no-hitter through the first seven frames before Everett finally made some noise in the eighth to get on the board. Steven Faia and Mike Vitukevich bounced base hits to open the stanza. Tommy Woodward then laid down a perfect bunt, but was nipped at first on a nice play by the pitcher. After Shawn Doyle drew a base on balls to load the bases, Jamel Vilmont brought across Faia with a sacrifice fly. An error on a grounder hit by Mac Singleton to the Westford first baseman allowed Kevin DeLorey (who had come in to pinch run for Vitukevich) to score, but that would prove to the extent of the Everett offense.
Indeed, the two runs proved too little, too late. Westford by that time had built a 6-0 lead, pushing across two markers in the first, one in the second, and another in the sixth off EHS starter Zerif Pajazetovic.
“Zerif did not have his best stuff, but he battled hard all the way,” said Lento of his ace hurler of the past season. “He gave us six solid innings, but we simply were not providing him with any offense.”
Singleton came on to pitch in the seventh and did a nice job in the final three frames, though he was touched up for a pair of markers in the eighth.
“It was just one of those days,” said Lento afterwards. “We had to be at our best and needed a few bounces to go our way against an excellent pitcher, but we didn’t have either.
“A loss in the tourney always is tough to take because it ends your season, but it does not diminish from what this team accomplished this year,” added Lento. “We exceeded everyone’s expectations and won a GBL title for the fourth year in a row. We didn’t have a home field, but used that as a motivating factor throughout the season. This team has a lot to be proud of.”
EHS softball team wins tourney opener
The Everett High softball team turned in a fine all-around team performance to post a 7-2 victory over Masconomet last Thursday at Lafayette Park in the preliminary round of the Division I North Sectional of the MIAA state softball tournament. Everett came into the contest as the seventh seed in the D-1 North thanks ta 13-7 regular season record, while Masco entered the fray as the 21st seed with a 10-10 mark.
The Lady Crimson Tide parlayed the strong pitching of Franki Perreault, timely hitting, and fine defense to come away with the triumph. Perreault went all seven innings on the rubber (there is no pitcher’s mound in softball), allowing just three hits while fanning six and walking only one.
Everett took a 1-0 lead in the second frame when Talia Riccioli singled with two outs. After Talia stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch, she scurried home on a base hit by Kylie Jepson.
Masco tied things up with a marker in the third, but the Lady Crimson Tide broke the game open with five tallies in their portion of the third. Mariana Miranda reached on a bunt and Alea Martinelli singled to place runners at the corners. After Martinelli swiped second, Samantha Batres singled into outfield to bring in Miranda and move Martinelli to third.
Another base hit by Janyne Sierra rescued Martinelli. Talia Mirra then laid down a perfect suicide bunt that squeezed home Batres to make it a 4-1 affair. Riccioli then came through with a double that brought around both Sierra and Mirra to increase the Everett lead to 6-1.
Masconomet pushed across a run in the fifth, but Everett got it back in their half of the fifth when Riccioli singled (for her third hit of the game), moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jepson. An error on a ball hit by Jess Wade brought Talia home to accounted for the 7-2 finale.
“The girls played great in this game,” said EHS head coach Stacy Poste, “although I wish we had been more consistent with the hits throughout the entire game, instead of the one inning. If the first few batters start to hit, the entire lineup hits. It’s a chain reaction.
“Freshman Talia Riccioli had the best game of her season,” added Poste. “She went 3-for-3 and made some great plays in the outfield. Franki pitched a great game in the heat which is tough to do and kept the ball away from the batters. Defensively, the girls did outstandingly when the ball was hit to them, they made the correct plays.”
The victory over Masco earned the Lady Crimson Tide the right to advance to the next round against Boston Latin, the fifth seed in the North with a 16-4 record. The contest was played Saturday at the Boston University softball field in Saturday’s extreme heat.
Boston Latin scored three runs (of which only two were earned) in the second inning. The rally was fueled by an error that allowed the lead-off girl to get on was followed by two bloopers behind second base just beyond the reach of the Everett fielders.
“We also made some mistakes by holding the ball too long in the outfield,” noted Poste. “Not getting the ball out of our hands can hurt us and that’s what happened in that inning.”
However, even if the Lady Crimson Tide had played flawlessly in the field, a victory would not have been in the cards thanks to a Boston Latin pitcher who was ringing up goose eggs on the scoreboard.
“We didn’t swing the bats to our usual abilities,” said Poste. “We had an opportunity to score in the fourth inning, but made some errors base running and hit the ball directly to Latin players.”
Despite the defeat, Poste said her team had much to be proud of as they looked back on their 2013 campaign.
“The last game is always an emotional ending,” said the coach. “Some of these girls have been playing for Coach Nuzzolo and myself for all four years and we have built strong relationships. At the beginning of this season, we knew of only three positions that were definite. I can say that the girls proved themselves and did the best at the positions they were placed in. Their hard work and dedication showed throughout the season.”
Poste also took the opportunity to thank the administration, parents, and newspapers for the continuous support of the softball program. “I also want to thank the coaching staff for their dedication throughout the season. We wish the best of luck to our seniors in their future endeavors.”
Four Lady Crimson Tide named GBL all-stars
Four members of the Everett High softball team have been named to the 2013 Greater Boston League all-star team, led by Alea Martinelli, an all-star pick for the second year in a row who also was chosen as the GBL’s co-MVP.
Martinelli was joined on the squad by shortstop Janyne Sierra (Janyne’s second straight all-star selection), pitcher Francesca Perreault, and catcher Samantha Batres.