Authors Posts by Ralph Stewart

Ralph Stewart

Ralph Stewart
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With Silas Berlin running in to help out, Jack Slayton (left) and Aksel Cooperrider have Nantucket's Dylan O'Connor caught in a rundown to close out the top of the second inning.

Martha’s Vineyard wrapped up the high school baseball season against island rival Nantucket on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon at Vineyard Baseball Park. The Vineyarders led, 4-3, after four innings, but the Whalers rallied with three runs in the fifth en route to a 7-5 win.

Nantucket jumped out to a 3-0 lead, courtesy of Ryan Holdgate’s three-run double in the top of the first inning, but the Vineyarders battled back with three of their own in the bottom half. Jack Slayton reached base on an error and Mike Mussell walked. Starting pitcher Tim Roberts stroked an RBI single to score Slayton. Andrew Wiley followed with a single down the left field line, scoring Mussell. Jacob Cardoza then grounded out but got the job done, scoring Roberts to tie the game.

The Vineyarders took a 4-3 lead in the second. With one out, Aksel Cooperrider smacked a double to left-center. Jack Slayton earned the RBI with a single to shallow right.

The Vineyard lead held up through four innings. Tucker McNeely came on to pitch for Tim Roberts to start the second and held the Whalers scoreless for three innings.

Nantucket grabbed the momentum in the fifth. Andrew Ray led off, ripping a single to left field. The Whalers loaded the bases on an error and a hit batter. Tucker McNeely left and Jacob Cardoza entered the game under most unenviable circumstances – with the bases juiced and nobody out.

The Whalers popped up to first, then scored the tying run on a squeeze play. Right fielder Nick Ciarmataro popped up his bunt. Tim Roberts, now playing first base, bolted toward home plate, dove to snag the ball but came up empty and Andrew Ray scored. Nantucket took the lead on a walk and made it 6-4 by beating out a throw to the plate. The Vineyarders avoided further damage on a force out at the plate and a fly out to Emerson Mahoney in center field.

The Whalers added some insurance with one more run in the seventh. Before they did, Jacob Cardoza struck out the side in the sixth and the first Whaler in the seventh — three batters looking and one watching.

Down to their final three outs, the Vineyarders (6-14) closed out the season fighting. With all on the Vineyard bench donning rally caps, Jack Slayton led off with a single to right and stole second base. Mike Mussell lined a single to right to give the Purple runners at the corners with one out. Slayton scored on an error, but the Vineyarders would get no closer.

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The Vineyard sailors will race next weekend at M.I.T. in the National Invitational Tournament.

Sailors from Martha's Vineyard (white and blue sails) and the Brunswick School (Greenwich, Conn.) come to the start during the NESSA Team Racing Championship for the Mark Trophy at Wianno Yacht Club in Osterville. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School sailors made their mark at The Mark. The Vineyarders competed in their first ever New England Scholastic Sailing Association (NESSA) Team Racing Championship, Saturday at the Wianno Yacht Club in Osterville. The prize at stake was the Fritz Mark Trophy, which is why the event is often known as “The Mark Trophy” or simply “The Mark.”

The Vineyard fleet in action against the Brunswick School of Greenwich, Connecticut. From left: Eli Hanschka and Zana Van Rooyen (boat 28); Charlie Murano and Ellie Reagan (boat 30); Raz Sayre and Anna Flaherty (boat 29).
The Vineyard fleet in action against the Brunswick School of Greenwich, Connecticut. From left: Eli Hanschka and Zana Van Rooyen (boat 28); Charlie Morano and Ellie Reagan (boat 30); Raz Sayre and Anna Flaherty (boat 29).

A place at The Mark is reserved for the top eight teams in New England, with a NESSA committee making the final selections. The Vineyarders (19-3) came in ranked sixth. When all was said and done after a long day of sailing, they finished as they were ranked, sixth. The top four teams returned to Wianno on Sunday, with top ranked St. George’s of Newport, Rhode Island and the hosts Cape Cod Academy earning berths to the national championship (Baker Trophy) next weekend in Seabrook, Texas.

If not for some plain old bad luck and unforeseen obstacles, the Vineyarders might well have returned for a second day at The Mark.

Instead, luck smiled upon the Vineyarders afterwards. Sunday afternoon, the team learned that Hotchkiss, the fourth place school at the Mark Trophy, had a conflict with graduation, opening the door for the Vineyarders to receive a bid to the National Invitational Tournament May 24-25 at M.I.T.

“Go figure,” Vineyard head coach Andrew Burr wrote in a text to The Times Sunday afternoon, adding in a second text Monday morning, “I’m really psyched that we got in.”

Raz Sayre and Anna Flaherty (left) come to the finish against Milton Academy.
Raz Sayre and Anna Flaherty (left) come to the finish against Milton Academy.

At The Mark on Saturday, the three Vineyard skipper/crew combinations: Raz Sayre/Anna Flaherty; Eli Hanschka/Zana van Rooyen; and Charlie Morano/Ellie Reagan all gave outstanding efforts. Maddy Moore and Lucas Dutton also saw action in various combinations. “Lucas and Maddy did a amazing job,” Coach Burr said. “One of the highlights for me was that Lucas said to Maggie [coach Maggie Lumkes] that being at the Mark Trophy was one of the coolest competitions he ever saw.”

Through 14 races and multiple twists and turns in the plot, the Vineyarders won six and lost eight. Cape Cod Academy (CCA), was first on the day, followed by St. George’s, Portsmouth Abbey (Portsmouth, R.I.), and Hotchkiss (Lakeville, Connecticut). Manchester-Essex, the other public school in the competition, also was 6-8 and finished fifth.

How things could’ve been different. In the first of two round robin sessions against the seven other schools, the Vineyarders opened against CCA. With M.V. in front, a funny thing happened on the way to the finish — a gudgeon on one of the CCA boats broke off and the race had to be re-sailed. A pity, that. CCA won the re-sail. In the second race, the Vineyarders defeated St. George’s but the race was re-sailed after St. George’s filed for a redress over the placement of a mark on the course. The race committee granted the redress and St. George’s won the re-sail. After losing narrowly to Portsmouth Abbey, the Vineyarders met the Brunswick School from Greenwich, Connecticut and lost a victory due to protest. On a positive note, they won a protest after losing to Milton Academy. After a wild and wooly first round robin, the Vineyarders stood at 1-6.

They began the second round with losses to Cape Cod Academy and St. George’s. With their backs against the wall and a top four spot slipping away, the Vineyarders rose up and proudly took their place among the region’s elite programs, defeating Portsmouth Abbey and reeling off four more wins to close out the day.

“The third race in the second round robin [against Portsmouth Abbey] turned the day around for them,” Coach Burr said. “It couldn’t have been a sweeter race. It put the fire back in them. We sailed so well. They made all of the plays they had to make to win the race — right up the line, clean, and in control. From that race on they were undefeated.”

Coach Burr, who is assisted by Maggie Lumkes and Jesse Thomas, gave the lion’s share of the credit to his sailors.

“It’s not about me, it’s their accomplishment,” he said. “Martha’s Vineyard is an incredibly good sailing team. There’s an incredible respect between the Vineyard and the other teams [at The Mark]. Teams like Cape Cod Academy want to practice with us.”

The Vineyarders are not quite finished with their best season to date. In addition to sailing in the N.I.T. next weekend, they will vie for the Cape and Islands League championship May 31-June 1.

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Vineyard midfielder Aubrey Ashmun fires a shot at the Bishop Stang goalie. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Vineyard varsity girls lacrosse team gave everything it had in a 10-8 loss to powerful Bishop Stang Tuesday on senior day at Dan McCarthy Field. The Vineyarders (4-9) are out of playoff contention, but according to Coach Betsy Dripps they saved their best performance of the season for the final home game.

Charlotte McCarron looks up field for a teammate.
Charlotte McCarron looks up field for a teammate.

“They played the best game of the season,” she said. “We were in it from the get-go. I was so proud of them. It was senior day and everybody there played so well. I was hoping that they would pull it out. They didn’t, but they played from the first whistle to the last.”

The Vineyarders suffered a 17-3 defeat to the Spartans earlier this season, but Tuesday’s game was a different story. The teams were tied, 6-6, at halftime. Stang scored early in the second half, but Lee Hayman tied the game with 13:07 remaining and Emily deBettencourt put the Purple in front, 8-,7 with 8:50 left. The visitors countered with two goals of their own and took a 9-8 lead into the final minutes. The Spartans got their insurance goal with only four-tenths of a second left on the clock.

Issy Smith led the Vineyard attack with four goals and one assist. Lee Hayman finished with a brace of both. Emily deBettencourt totaled two goals and an assist and Charlotte McCarron had two assists. Coach Dripps cited the strong play of midfielder Aubrey Ashmun, defenders Alex Clark, Emma Yuen, Olivia Ogden, and K.C. Wallace, along with goalie Sam Hargy who had 10 saves and kept the Vineyarders in the game with several big stops in the first half.

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Yannick Gonsalves (right) put his all into a header late in the second half against Dartmouth. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Archrivals MV United and Dartmouth met on the pitch Sunday at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven with first place at stake in a boys Under-18 South Coast Soccer League travel soccer clash.

Kane Araujo heads the ball out of trouble as Tim Roberts backs up the play.
Kane Araujo heads the ball out of trouble as Tim Roberts backs up the play.

Though the contest did not always resemble the beautiful game, the match crackled with intensity from start to finish, with the teams playing to a 1-1 draw.

With the result, the Vineyard remained at the top of the table, unbeaten with four wins and a draw. Dartmouth fell to fourth place at 3-1-1.

MV United came into the match with 25 goals scored and just one conceded after a string of lopsided victories over lesser opponents, but Dartmouth provided a rude awakening for coach Esteban Aranzabe’s side.

The visitors struck early, ten minutes into the match, scoring on a rebound into the bottom left corner, putting United in the unfamiliar position of playing from behind. The Vineyard dominated possession for the remainder of the first half but failed to equalize. The favored form of attack in the first half was the long ball sent down the right flank.

MVU had three good chances, two coming from Jason Lages crosses into the box and another following Alex GordonBeck’s pitch-length run. Dartmouth threatened twice more on set pieces but Vineyard keeper Matt Stone was up to the task.

Dartmouth carried a 1-0 lead to the halftime break.

With a strong wind at their backs to start the second half, the Purple and Black stormed out of the gate, putting four shots on target in the opening 15 minutes. The long passes of the first half were limited in favor of more effective short passes. Kane Araujo and Lee Faraca created the first attempt but the Dartmouth keeper tipped the ball over the crossbar. Ten minutes in, the Vineyard drew level. Jason Lages ran down the left flank, put on a burst of speed through two defenders and slid the ball to Yannick Gonsalves, who split two more defenders and slotted the ball through the goalie’s legs from the penalty spot. Minutes later, Gonsalves nearly put United in front with a deft chip shot that looped over the goal.

Dartmouth weathered the storm and stiffened their defense for the remainder of the match. Each side had their share of set pieces down the stretch, but the points would be shared on the day.

Jason Lages hurdles the Dartmouth keeper after attempting a shot.
Jason Lages hurdles the Dartmouth keeper after attempting a shot.

“This is the kind of game that we were looking for all season,” Coach Aranzabe said after the match. “We were looking forward to this game. The goalies work hard, the coaches work hard, and the wind was so strong. [In the first half] We brought our play to their play, which was kick and run. The pressure was a lot, but that happens when you play weaker teams and then you play a good team.”

Around the SCSL

The big Under-18 match headlined a busy weekend in SCSL play. The boys U-12B Hammers traveled to play Swansea Somerset on a hot and muggy Saturday afternoon. The Hammers were slow to start but benefited from an own goal in the 17th minute. Josh Dix doubled the Vineyard lead six minutes from halftime with a well-struck shot from outside the box.

The hosts pulled one back in the second half but Hammers keeper Adam Knight made several outstanding saves to preserve the win.

The U-14 girls rebounded from their only defeat this season May 3 at Oceana with a 4-1 win Saturday at Norton. Evelyn Medeiros started the scoring and finished the match with two goals. Olivia Pouliot scored the second goal and dished out two assists. Sasha Lakis chalked up a goal and an assist.

The MV United U-14 boys improved to 5-1 on Saturday by blanking Freetown-Lakeville, 6-0. Lukah Vieira scored the hat trick and Nahuel Aranzabe earned the shutout.

The U-16 girls dominated Dartmouth, 4-0. The teams were deadlocked 0-0 at halftime but M.V. dominated the second half. Natalija Lakis notched a hat trick and Madison McBride scored the other Vineyard goal from a stellar Lakis cross. Cana Courtney earned the clean sheet in net.

In other action, the U-15 boys traveled to Norton and won, 4-2; the U-12 MV United Blues lost to visiting Dighton-Rehoboth, 4-0; and the U-11 girls lost to Norton, 4-2, at Veterans Park.

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For the first time in the high school program’s history, the Vineyarders are in the elite field of eight schools sailing for a New England championship.

A recent photo of the Vineyard sailing team returning home on the ferry following a big win over St. George's. The team will proceed for the first time to the New England championships. — Courtesy Andrew Burr

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School sailing team has been selected to compete with seven other schools for the prestigious Mark Trophy New England Team Racing Championships for the first time in the program’s history, the New England Scholastic Sailing Association (NESSA) announced Tuesday evening.

The top eight team racing squads in New England are selected to compete in the event, scheduled for Saturday, May 17 at Wianno Yacht Club in Osterville. The Vineyarders are currently ranked sixth in New England with a 19-3 record.

“It’s a huge, huge deal for the guys to qualify for this,” Vineyard coach Andrew Burr said. “It’s absolutely unbelieveable to make it into Mark. They’re pretty damn good. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

The Vineyarders will join the St. George’s School (Newport, Rhode Island); Portsmouth Abbey (Portsmouth, R.I.); Cape Cod Academy (Osterville), Manchester-Essex; Milton Academy; Hotchkiss (Lakeville, Connecticut); and the Brunswick School (Greenwich, Conn.). The Vineyarders handed St. George’s and Brunswick their only defeats this season and lost to Cape Cod Academy and Manchester-Essex.

At stake in the Mark is qualification for the Baker Trophy, the high school nationals, which will be in contested May 24-25 at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas, near Houston.

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The River Cats led the way as the annual Little League parade got underway on Saturday. — Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Little League officially celebrated opening day on a sun-splashed Saturday morning with the annual parade in Oak Bluffs.

The teams lined up around the diamond at Veira Park, making for a colorful opening ceremony.
The teams lined up around the diamond at Veira Park, making for a colorful opening ceremony.

Players, coaches, and parents from every team in Majors, Minors, Farm League, and T-ball made their way in a colorful procession from the Oak Bluffs police station down Circuit Avenue, arriving at Veira Park for the opening ceremonies. Head umpire Larry Johnson threw out the first pitch. Following the parade, nearly every team in the four leagues took to diamonds around the Island to play ball.

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Jake Howell (fourth from left) is mobbed by his Red Sox teammates after crushing a home run in the third inning against the Tigers. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The official opening day for Martha’s Vineyard Little League baseball is Saturday, May 3, but the 2014 schedule got underway Monday at Veira Park with a rematch between last year’s finalists, the Red Sox and Tigers.

The Tigers roared first, but the defending champion Sox got the win by a 13-3 count.

Finn-Lewis_Richard-Barlett.JPGRichie Barlett swatted a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Tigers an early lead. The Red Sox answered with four in the bottom half, thanks to Finn Lewis, who stroked a bases-loaded, two-out single.

Barlett doubled in the third to score another Tigers run, but the Sox had taken control of the game with nine in the second. Joe Serpa doubled, Jacob Maccaferri tripled, and Jake Howell crushed a monster home run.

Nick Cranston of the Sox pitched a scoreless fourth inning in his Major League debut. Kenny Hatt also made his pitching debut for the Tigers and helped his cause with a double to left.

Tuesday afternoon at a frigid Veira, the Cubs beat the Pirates, 7-4. Summer Cardoza was the hero for the Cubbies, blasting a grand slam in the top of the fifth, after pitching the first three innings, allowing one base runner and striking out six. Andrew Marchand and Pete Gillis added two hits apiece.

For the Bucs, starting pitcher Harold Lawry threw three scoreless innings with seven K’s. He also carried a big stick, ripping three hits.

Both sets of teams will meet again on Saturday.

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Vineyarders Eli Hanschka and Lucas Dutton (right) in action against Barnstable Tuesday. — Andrew Burr

The Vineyard varsity sailors saw their ten-match winning streak snapped but finished the week with three wins in five tries.

Saturday, the Vineyarders traveled to Tabor Academy in Marion to race against three tough schools. Each best of five series went the distance. The Purple lost the opener, 3-2, to Manchester-Essex, defeated Duxbury, 3-2, and lost to Tabor, 3-2, in a series that came down to the final race.

“It’s a mental grind,” Vineyard coach Andrew Burr said of the long day. “They held it together pretty well right up through the Tabor race. We didn’t sail well and we didn’t sail poorly.”

The winds were northerly at 5 knots in the morning, with gusts up to 15 knots. By afternoon, the winds were more stable, coming from the southwest.

The Vineyarders employed the usual combinations of Raz Sayre (skipper) paired with Adam Bilodeau (crew); Charlie Morano with Anna Flaherty; and Eli Hanschka with Zana van Rooyen. Morano also paired with Maddy Moore.

With the two defeats, Vineyard hopes for a first-ever appearance in the Mark Trophy races (top eight in New England) took a slight hit, but the close margins lessened the damage.

The Purple rebounded Tuesday with a pair of solid wins at the Hyannis Yacht Club, where they defeated Barnstable, 3-1, and swept Sharon, 3-0. Winds were southerly at 12 knots. The Vineyard lineup remained largely unchanged from Saturday, save for the addition of jayvee skipper Lucas Dutton, who shifted to crew for the varsity match.

Next up for the varsity is a return visit to Tabor Academy Saturday for the fleet racing O’Day qualifiers. The Vineyarders (13-3) will try to reach the finals for the first time in six years. The finals will be held Sunday at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut.

The jayvee sailors will host Tabor Academy Saturday in Oak Bluffs.

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Forms grand champ Aileen Mahoney executes a jab. — Photo by Kristofer Rabasca

The fifth annual Blitz Fitness Island karate tournament was held Saturday in front of a large crowd at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown. Thirty-seven competitors showcased their skills in three disciplines: Weapons, Forms, and Sparring.

Orange belt Aileen Mahoney finished as the grand champion in forms and won a free month membership. White belts Brayden BenDavid and Isaac Pereira took first and second at the five-year-old and under level in both Forms and Sparring.

At attention.
The Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown was the scene of Blitz Fitness Island Tournament on Saturday morning.

The morning began with a demonstration by Team Blitz, a highlight of which was a group of five young students taking down Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake. The Weapons competition followed with Ben Nadelstein taking top honors, Braedyn Clark placing second, and Cord Bailey finishing third.

In Forms (Kata), at the advanced level, blue belt Klara Reimann placed first. Red belts Gabe and Ben Nadelstein were second and third. Zach Smith was first among the green belts (intermediate). Braedyn Clark was second and Amelia Simmons placed third. At the beginner level, Matthew Coggins was runner-up to grand champ Aileen Mahoney among yellow/orange belts. Thomas Correno was third. Jocelyn Baliunas topped the white belts aged six and up, with Carly and Grace Coggins finishing second and third respectively.

The Sparring competition closed out the event. Black belt Cord Bailey was the champion of the advanced students. As they were in Forms, Gabe and Ben Nadelstein were second and third. Julia Crocker earned the win for the blue/green belts. Klara Reimann placed second and Jackson Crocker was third. Izzy Blake topped the yellow/orange belts, with Matteus Prata in second and Aileen Mahoney in third. M.J. Magaraci was champion of the six year old and up white belts. Jocelyn Baliunas finished in second place and Tatum Thomas placed third.

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The Vineyard boats finished 1-2 in the decisive fifth race.

A recent photo of the Vineyard sailing team returning home on the ferry following a big win over St. George's. The team will proceed for the first time to the New England championships. — Courtesy Andrew Burr

The Vineyard sailors achieved an historic victory Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island, by defeating the host St. George’s School for the first time ever.

Vineyard coach Andrew Burr has high expectations for his team this season, with a goal of competing for the Mark Trophy as one of New England’s top eight teams. After a rough start against Cape Cod Academy in the season opener, the Vineyarders have reeled off five consecutive victories, punctuated with the 3-2 win in Newport.

The Vineyard sailors raced against Pope John Paul II on Lagoon Pond Wednesday afternoon.
The Vineyard sailors beat Pope John Paul II 3-0 on Lagoon Pond Wednesday afternoon.

The Vineyarders took the best of five series with some superb seamanship in the decisive fifth race. With a St. George’s boat out front, skipper Eli Hanschka and crew Zana van Rooyen out-jibed the leaders, taking out the St. George’s boat and allowing teammates Raz Sayre and Adam Bilodeau to move into first place. The Vineyarders claimed the top two spots.

“The final race was competitive down to the wire,” Coach Burr said. “Eli Hanschka and Zana van Rooyen were the standouts. They sailed their butts off.”

Skipper Charlie Morano and crew Ellie Reagan were the third Island combo to race in Newport. Team veterans Anna Flaherty and Russell Shapiro also made the trip.

Coach Andrew Burr was justifiably proud of his team after the big win. “It wasn’t just the win, it was what they accomplished — to beat this team for the first time.”

The Vineyarders also defeated Dartmouth, 3-0, on April 3.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Purple continued their winning streak by triumphing 3-0  over Pope John Paul II of Hyannis.

The sailors travel to Greenwich, Connecticut, Saturday for an 8X (eight schools) race.