Sports 03-15-2016

March 17, 2016
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Lynn Jr./Sr. Little League softball to begin this spring

By Joyce Erekson

Softball season is knocking at the door and with it comes the debut of a new league for 13-16 year-old girls.

Registration is still being accepted for the new Lynn Junior/Senior Little League softball program that will be run out of Wyoma Little League but will be open to girls from throughout the city as well as those who live in neighboring Lynnfield. The new league will provide a place to play for girls who in the past would have moved up to Babe Ruth softball after aging out of Little League.

Greater Lynn Babe Ruth, faced with declining softball numbers in recent years, decided to end its softball program after Wyoma expressed interest in starting up a junior/senior division that would be open to all the girls in the city plus those from Lynnfield. The Babe Ruth program was run in-house at Breed’s Grace Rogato Field for many years, but a steadily declining number of Babe Ruth softball programs in the state meant the league did not have the option of interleague play when its numbers dropped.

Wyoma Little League president Tony Luciano said he’s hoping to have enough players to field three teams. The Lynn teams (which will include players from Lynnfield) will play against teams from Saugus, Swampscott, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem, Woburn and Wakefield. The overall division should have 15 teams, Luciano said.

The new arrangement does not apply to the younger girls who will continue to play for either Wyoma or the combined East Lynn/West Lynn/Pine Hill programs, depending on where they live. Luciano said the Little Leagues in the city have been great about providing contact information for the girls who graduated from their programs last year. Luciano said most of the girls have indicated they plan to play in the new league. He said Greater Lynn Babe Ruth has also reached out to the girls it had in its program last year, but the response has somewhat slower.

“The challenge is getting the word out about signups,” Luciano said, adding he’s hopeful that now that people are starting to turn their attention toward baseball and softball, the registration will pick up.

Tryouts for the new league (to determine how the teams will be split up) are being held this Saturday at Lynn Tech from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Registration will be accepted at that time or between 9 a.m. and noon that day at Tech.. More information can be found on Wyoma’s Facebook page (just search Wyoma Little League) or on its website at wyomalittleleague.com. Those interested can also email ([email protected]).

Luciano said he’s also still trying to get parents of players from outside Wyoma Little League to get involved in running the new league.

Joseph Fama carves out his legacy with ‘The Perfect Pass”

By Cary Shuman

Joseph Fama had come a long way to be holding the basketball with 4.5 seconds left at the TD Garden, his team trailing by one point, and an appearance in the state championship game hanging in the balance.

Fama broke his tibia and fibula in the fifth game of the 2014-15 season versus Lynn English. He missed the remainder of the year and following a lengthy rehabilitation process, he started playing basketball late in the summer.

But there was St. Mary’s 6-foot-2-inch senior ready to start the final, crucial play after getting instructions from head coach Dave Brown. Fama read the defense perfectly and delivered a perfect pass to eighth grader Matthew Cross, who banked in a layup to give the Spartans a 65-64 lead with two seconds left in the game. The Fama-to-Cross connection was brilliant from every vantage point.

“Coach [Brown] drew up the play,” said Fama. “I’ll give him credit. He’s good at that and it was one of the best plays. Like the coach said, Cross would be open. I hit him with the pass and he hit the shot and it was just unbelievable.”

For the record, it was a chest pass, something Cross learned as a young player from his father, Leo Fama, the former Arlington Catholic and Suffolk University basketball star.

“My whole life, he’s taught me, my brother, [St. Mary’s sophomore Stephen Fama], my sisters how to play – he was a great player so everything I know I learned from him,” said Joseph.

Joseph Fama said it was a long road to recovery and a his return to the basketball court.

“It’s been a tough year because everyone knows that I’m not the player I once was,” said Joseph. “It’s tough coming back from an injury but my coaches and my teammates kept me inspired and coach [Brown] told me in the offseason that you’re going to come back stronger and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

Fama has one more game remaining in his career. The player who made “The Perfect Pass” will be trying to help his team write the perfect final chapter: a state championship.

St. Mary’s boys hockey takes North title; plays for state title Sunday at the Garden

By Cary Shuman

St, Mary’s hockey coach Mark Lee has won 400 games, is a surefire future Hall of Famer and has been an ambassador for everything that is good about high school sports.

The only achievement that has eluded Lee has been a state championship and following a scintillating 3-1 victory over Arlington Catholic in the Division 1 North championship game Monday night at Tsongas Center, the Spartans are heading to the state final versus Franklin at the TD Garden.

Dante Maribito scored the go-ahead goal in the second period after Tom Frati had tied the game at 1-1. Conor Foley provided the insurance goal in the third period. Andrew LoRusso made 16 saves behind the unsung St. Mary’s defensemen.

“My goal was all about teamwork on that one,” said Maribito. “My linemate took the puck hard to the net and the puck was just sitting there for me and all I did was hit it in. Everyone on this team did a good job doing what they were supposed to do. And our goalie has been awesome. ”

Mark Lee spoke about Maribito’s goal that stood up as the game-winner.

“He’s the league MVP for a reason,” said Lee. “We rely on him for an awful lot and in these big games, he’s been coming through for us and tonight was no exception.”

Lee was asked what has brought this team to the brink of a Division 1 state championship.

“It’s hard to say but chemistry just comes to mind,” said Lee. “This is a very talented team but we’re just making things happen. It’s hard to explain. The chemistry in the locker room carries on to the ice. There’s never panic. They stay true to their role and believe they’re going to win. To be down a goal against a team like AC and to come back and take control of the game speaks volumes for them.”

Arlington Catholic coach Dan Shine credited the Spartans who beat his team for the third time this season.

“That’s a terrific team – there were a lot of people who thought that they should have been in the Super 8,” said Shine. “I think they proved tonight that they are certainly worthy of the recognition they have received all year long. They have good, skilled players. They play hard and they play with grit.”

Looking ahead to the state championship game, Maribito, a junior from Georgetown, summed up the thoughts of his teammates and St. Mary’s alumni everywhere.

“We’re hoping to bring back a title for coach Lee who has been here for a long time and it’s a huge honor,” said Maribito.

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