This week, in the second part of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School spring sports preview, The Times spotlights the softball, baseball, and sailing teams.
Expectations are high this year for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School softball team, which qualified for the MIAA state tournament last year and returns with almost the same team from last year.
Coach Donald Herman said the team lost only Sarah Williston, an outfielder who also did some catching. Otherwise, the roster is the same, except for the addition of freshman Emily Turney, who is projected to play shortstop.
Back this year will be pitchers Hailee McCarthy and Emily Cimeno and catcher Miranda Tokarz. “We feel good about our battery: it’s one of our strengths,” the coach said.
Senior Micheli Lynn is back to play first base, Sarah Strem is back at second, and Mariah Duarte is back at third. When not pitching, Cimeno will play left field and Kendall Robinson, a conference all-star last year, will play center.
Senior Megan Buchanan is expected to play right field.
Coach Herman said he is still tinkering with the batting lineup, although Robinson will likely leadoff and Cimeno will bat second, and Turney could bat third. After that, the coach said, things could change over the course of the season.
Although the coach said this team has potential, things will not be easy this season. The team plays in the Eastern Athletic Conference, stacked with powerful softball teams, which essentially forces the Vineyarders to win all their non-conference games.
The Vineyarders are 1-31 in conference play since joining the EAC several years ago. But the team has a lot of experience and should complete for a spot in the state tournament, the coach said.
“I think we are a little bit stronger than last year, hopefully smarter and wiser…. We have experience and that should make for a steady team and maybe even better team than last year,” the coach said.
It will be trial by fire early for the Vineyarders who play six games in only eight days to start the season. The Vineyarders played Bourne at home on Wednesday and play Falmouth at home on Friday at 3:15 p.m.
It was an exciting run to the postseason last year for the baseball team, which qualified for a spot in the MIAA tournament for the first time in ten years.
The team lost 10 players to graduation, but returns with an exciting mix of veterans and younger players. There are only four players on the roster who played varsity last year, as well as two seniors who didn’t play baseball at all last year.
Coach Gary Simmons said this is a team with a great upside that he expects to compete for a spot in the MIAA tournament. “I think we can do well,” he said. “The younger kids just to have to acclimate to this level of competition.
“There is some talent on this roster; we have some guys who can run and some guys who can really swing the bat. Right now they are getting better and learning to play together as a team.”
Senior captain Jack Roberts returns and will play shortstop and come in late in games as a relief pitcher. Brendan Maseda returns to play outfield, as does Mike Mussell who will play middle infield, and Andrew Wiley who will start at catcher.
Sophomore Tim Roberts, younger brother of Jack, is projected to play first base. Mussell will likely play second, Mike Piland will play third, and Maseda will anchor the outfield in center.
Sophomore Jack Slayton is projected to play left field and Austin Stevenson, a senior who has never played high school baseball, is expected to play right field.
Oscar Hansen is projected as one of the top pitchers in the rotation, followed by freshman Tucker McNeeley and Emerson Mahoney and possibly Tim Roberts. The coach said he wasn’t sure if he was going to use a three- or four-man rotation.
“[Our pitchers] are coming along,” the coach said. “They are building up their arm strength. In the opener [against Bourne Wednesday] we’ll probably have to use more than one pitcher because I don’t think I have one guy yet to go seven innings.”
But the pitching will improve over the season, the coach said. “Were a young team, but I think a talented team. We haven’t set goals for the season, but I think this is a team that can get back [to the tournament]. I think there’s a lot of potential there.”
The Vineyarders bring back nearly everyone from a team that finished 15th in New England last season.
Coach Andrew Burr has a young, talented team made up predominantly of sophomores and freshman. His goal is to be ranked in the top 10 and have a shot at a first ever bid to the Mark Trophy New England Team Sailing Championships.
Competition for spots on the varsity squad will be very competitive. Of 20 sailors, only four are seniors; co-captains Katie Johnson and James Ulyatt, along with Doug Andrade and Tyler Shapiro. Ben Lukowitz is the lone junior.
Three Vineyard skippers are sophomores; Raz Sayre, the first to sail as a varsity skipper as a freshman, Charlie Morano, and Eli Hanschka.
Coach Burr has two standout crew, Anna Flaherty and Doug Andrade, in a deep lineup. The Vineyarders could realistically fill ten boats with solid skippers and crew.
“To have that kind of depth in a public school is awesome,” Coach Burr said. “They are highly competitive and they’re gunning for it. You have to go be aggressive. You have to be thinking on your toes. If they want to go to New England [the Mark Trophy], to go to the nationals, they have to earn it.”
Two likely pairings will have skipper Raz Sayre with Anna Flaherty and Charlie Morano with Ellie Reagan. Zana van Rooyen is a possible alternate crew. “Zana is a talented skipper in her own right but makes up a good varsity crew pairing with Raz,” Coach Burr said.
The young Vineyarders should benefit from an expanded schedule that includes races against 20 different teams. “We’re sailing against a wider range of schools,” the coach said. “It’s good to push a young team to have a lot of competition.”
The team has 12 boats this season and can now host quad meets. The Vineyarders get off to a busy start this week, hosting Dartmouth on April 4 and travelling to Nauset (boys only) on Saturday for races against the Warriors, Nantucket, and Chatham/Monomoy.
The Vineyard girls will sail in Herreshoff qualifiers on Saturday. Maggie Lumpkes, Sail MV Waterfront Director, will host the event which gets under way at 10 am at the Sailing Camp on Lagoon Pond. The Vineyard pairs will be Katie Johnson and Maddy Moore (A), along with Zana van Rooyen and Ellie Reagan (B).