Vineyarders beat Nantucket as veterans step up for MVRHS baseball
The Vineyarders played three games this week, losing to Sandwich 7-1 away, beating Falmouth 4-2 at home, and finally beating their rivals Nantucket 6-0 away.
Versus Sandwich last Wednesday, the Vineyarders lost their fifth straight, as they conceded seven walks and two errors in the loss. The Vineyarders actually outhit the Blue Knights six to five, but couldn’t string enough plays together to overcome a five-run third inning from Sandwich. Senior Liam Marek tallied two hits, including a double, and junior Sam Zack spun three scoreless innings of relief.
On Friday, it seemed as if the Vineyarders were headed for their sixth straight loss when senior ace Cam Napior called in sick. So senior co-captain Tobey Roberts stepped up to the task, “determined to right the ship.” Taking the ball for the first time all season, Roberts pitched six and two-thirds innings of two-run ball, also scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.
“Tobey has been an excellent leader for us … He wanted the ball in his hands in a big game, and did a great job,” stated Coach Kyle Crossland. In their sixth-inning rally, sophomore Hunter Johnson, senior Micah Simmons, and sophomore Wyatt Loughman each hit RBI singles for the Vineyarders.
On Saturday, it was fellow senior co-captain Liam Marek’s turn to step up for the Vineyarders, and he even outdid Roberts. Typically MVRHS’ catcher, Marek pitched a “gem”: a two-hit complete game shutout, with 13 strikeouts. “Liam has been an excellent catcher for us, and when we needed him to play outfield he volunteered, and when we needed him to pitch, he was happy to do it. Liam is a selfless player and a steady force who will do anything he can to help the team,” Crossland stated.
On offense, the Vineyarders picked up where they left off against Falmouth the day before, dropping seven runs on the Whalers. At the heart of the lineup, Johnson, Simmons, and Marek led the way, each collecting RBIs and scoring runs. Johnson got on base three times. “[Johnson] consistently has good at-bats and is never overmatched. He is our 3 hitter because of the trust and confidence we have in his ability,” Crossland said.
Moving forward, the Vineyarders have three games on three consecutive days this week: Wednesday against Nauset away, after our paper deadline, Thursday against English HS (Boston) at home at 3:15 pm, and Friday against Barnstable away. MVRHS is now 4-6 on the season, with a 4-3 record against Cape & Islands opposition.
“The schedule is going to continue to get harder, and each team we play will be better than the last … I have a lot of confidence in this group, they have shown grit. If they hope to make the playoffs, they have to play with a sense of urgency, the way they did these last few games.”
Girls’ lacrosse season temporarily put on hold
This week, the Vineyarders faced a series of unfortunate events, losing two highly anticipated games to Nantucket and then Monomoy, before a girls’ lacrosse refereeing shortage put a hold on any further Cape & Islands League play.
On Saturday, the Vineyarders played host to the rival Whalers, falling 16-4. According to Coach Lacey Dinning, Nantucket had some “really strong players, and we just [couldn’t] get the ball in the net.” Then on Sunday, MVRHS and Monomoy braved the elements, culminating in a tight 10-7 loss for the Vineyarders.
“We knew it was going to be a pretty even battle, so we knew we had to come out strong, but we just weren’t connecting on our passes. We made a lot of turnovers where we shouldn’t have, which made us lose by [three],” said Dinning. In the loss, sophomore midfielder Charlotte Scott and junior attacker Ali Dyke each scored three times, and senior midfielder Lily Moran added on a goal of her own.
On Tuesday, MVRHS was scheduled to play St. John Paul II, but the game was canceled due to a shortage of referees. Their home game against Sturgis West scheduled for tomorrow has also been nixed.
First-year Coach Dinning explained that it has been an ongoing issue for the region. “It is all of the Cape & Islands [that is impacted]! I talked to the Nantucket coach, and she said this was an issue last year as well.” She added, “I think [the girls] are feeling a bit discouraged. They have put a lot of work in this season, and to have it just not be taken as serious as other sports is really unmotivating for them!”
Dinning, however, is optimistic that the entire season won’t be cut short: “We have to play all those games because of the state tournament, but they are having a hard time figuring out when those games can be played.” The Vineyarders are currently 4-4 on the season.
Boys’ lacrosse regains winning record
This past week, the Vineyarders added two wins and a loss to their record, moving to 5-4 on the season. Previously, they had won three consecutive games to start their season before some tough spring break opposition pushed them back to .500.
First up was Monomoy on Thursday, April 27th, which MVRHS dispatched 5-3 in a hard-fought defensive battle on the road. Coach Chris Greene said that the Sharks have a “high-powered offense,” but were neutralized by some solid Vineyard defending. Sophomore goalkeeper Michael Perry held strong with 15 saves, and junior Liam Conley got some “key wins” during face-offs to help maintain possession.
On the other end, Liam’s twin brother Aiden scored three times, and sophomore Will Baliunas scored his first two varsity goals. Freshman John Hoff and junior Wyatt Nicholson each tallied an assist in the win.
Next was Nantucket away on Saturday at noon, which didn’t go as well as planned. Losing 10-0, the Vineyard “never got it going,” stated Coach Greene. “We had a terrible practice the night before, and it showed in the effort on the field. Saturday was a consequence of our effort.”
Finally, the Vineyarders moved over .500 with a 12-3 rout of St. John Paul II on Tuesday away. Solid defending was the key to MVRHS’ success once again, with Perry seeing only four shots in the first three quarters. Sophomore Frankie Paciello led the way with five takeaways and five ground balls, and Liam Conley also tacked on five ground balls and 13 face-off wins.
“We really put an emphasis on slide responsibility in practice the day before … [we had] good communication on slide techniques [against St. John Paul II],” Greene said.
Meanwhile, Aiden Conley keyed the offense with four goals and three assists, and Liam Conley (two goals), junior Phillip Oliviera (two goals), junior Wyatt Nicholson (one goal), senior Jack Walsh (one goal), and senior Trevor Gullotta (one goal) got on the board as well.
For Coach Greene at this point in the season, the names of the game are preparation and fundamentals. “Proficient fundamentals make the difference. Practice, no matter what the skill level, is always about fundamentals … There’s no special game plan. We focus on what we do, not what they do. If we can’t be good at what we do, it doesn’t matter what they’re up to.”
Moving forward, the Vineyarders will play two more road games, versus Cape Cod Academy on Thursday, and Dennis-Yarmouth on Tuesday.
Girls’ tennis moves to 3-1 in the Cape & Islands League
Since spring break, the season has really ramped up for MVRHS girls’ tennis players, who had three matches in five days this past week.
On Wednesday, April 26, the Vineyarders welcomed the Sandwich Blue Knights to the Fennessy Courts, handling them for a 4-1 victory. Vineyard singles’ players were especially dominant, with seniors Cali Giglio, Evelyn Brewer, and Andrea Morse dropping only a single set amongst themselves. On the doubles’ side, junior Sofia Balsas and sophomore Ellie Penningston slammed the door shut with a 6-1, 6-2 victory in first doubles.
On Friday, MVRHS suffered their first Cape and Islands League loss of the season when they played a solid Falmouth Clippers team away. Giglio and Morse won first and third singles, respectively, in only two sets apiece, but the Vineyarders ultimately couldn’t muster a third win. “Cali and Andrea were amazing versus a tough, experienced team coached very well by Karen Pease. We will be ready to challenge them when they come to our courts,” Coach Bill Rigali stated.
Finally, on Monday, the Vineyarders made the trek up to Sharon to face the 8-0 Eagles for their last match. Unfortunately, MVRHS lost 3-1, with one match suspended, but the bright spot of the trip was Giglio’s victory at first singles. The reigning Cape and Islands League MVP took it down in two sets, 6-2, 6-1.
This upcoming week, the Vineyarders will see more Cape and Islands action as they welcome Nauset and then Barnstable to the Fennessy Courts on Wednesday at 3 pm and Friday at 3 pm, respectively.