High school hosts first ‘Noepe’ softball tournament

The tournament honors members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).


The up-and-coming MVRHS softball team played host to Mashpee, Boston English, and O’Bryant high schools on Saturday, in the first ever rendition of the Noepe Invitational Tournament.

Named after the Wampanoag word for Martha’s Vineyard — Noepe — the tournament is dedicated to the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, with the winners receiving a plaque designed by tribal citizens attending MVRHS.

MVRHS Athletic Director Mark McCarthy proposed the idea to Wampanoag cultural director Bettina Washington earlier this year, and the tribal council proceeded to swiftly approve the name.

“Institutions do acknowledgements all the time, but for the high school to approach us first was a very respectful and kind gesture,” Washington said. “It’s nice to see the use of the traditional name for the Island. The tournament is an invitation to come to this place, and this is the name of it.”

McCarthy, the softball program, and Washington are planning on making the Noepe Invitational Tournament an annual tradition, gradually inviting more teams and expanding the scope of tribal involvement every year.

It is my intent to do this annually, and work out a plan with the tribe to have them more involved in the day’s activities,” McCarthy said. “This was the first year of the tournament, so we really didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great starting point.” 

In game one, the Vineyarders went toe-to-toe with eventual champions O’Bryant, exchanging offensive outbursts until the Tigers eventually broke away in the third inning, winning 13-7. In game two, the Vineyarders took on Mashpee — which has tribal citizens on its roster — as both sides got hot in the batter’s box, culminating in a 25-17 victory for MVRHS.

Freshman captain Kelly Pacheco and sophomore Bella Bollin each hit inside-the-park home runs on Saturday, junior Delilah Oliver collected five total hits, and everyone was aggressive on the basepaths.

The Vineyarders have two juniors, and 18 total sophomores, freshmen, and middle schoolers on their team.

“The girls were getting big hits, and making big plays — everyone got playing time,” MVRHS head softball Coach Tiffany McCarty said. “All four teams were so ready and excited to participate. It was a great time.”

On Monday, the Vineyarders returned to action, traveling to Harwich to face Cape Cod Tech. Sophomore Kylee Brasefield was stellar from the pitching circle, and freshman twin sisters Madis and Nala Pitman combined to go 8-for-8, with multiple stolen bases apiece en route to a 23-7 victory for MVRHS.

At 4-4, the Vineyarders have already matched their total number of wins from the past two seasons. Their next home game will be on May 8, versus St. John Paul II, at 4 pm.