Are Happy Days Here Again for East Hampton Lacrosse?

The boys’ first real test was to have come Tuesday, here in the league opener with Harborfields
Jack Schleicher (9) and his Bonac teammates easily disposed of two nonleague opponents, Longwood and North Babylon, this past week. Craig Macnaughton Photos

    East Hampton High’s boys lacrosse team was pretty dazzling in its first two outings last week, with Longwood and North Babylon, but those teams, said Bonac’s coach, Mike Vitulli, were rather weak ones and did not a season make.

    The boys’ first real test was to have come Tuesday, here in the league opener with Harborfields. Nevertheless, at first view, the attack, led by the two senior midfielders, Drew Harvey and Cort Heneveld, was impressive, and the defense, with Sean Toole in the goal, was better than Vitulli had expected.

    Asked during Monday’s practice session what the difference was between this year and last — a rather sad campaign during which the team went 6-10 — the coach, who was an all-American goalie at Southampton College, back when it was a Division II power, said, “Experience. The kids are a year older, and the seniors, Drew and Cort, are playing like seniors.”

    The boys beat North Babylon 15-9, with Harvey, a Pierson student, scoring four goals and assisting on five, and bested Longwood 12-7, again with Harvey’s pinpoint passing to open teammates at the edges of the crease much in evidence.

    In those first two nonleague encounters, Jack Lesser and Colton Kalbacher acquitted themselves when it came to the face-offs, winning most.
Vitulli has 34 on the squad (once again there is no junior varsity) — 21 from East Hampton, nine from Pierson, and four from Bridgehampton.
East Hampton’s girls, who also boast a potent attack, defeated Riverhead 18-11 in a nonleaguer. That team’s first-year coach, Ryan Mahoney, said that the Seekamp sisters, Amanda and Carley, each had five goals, that Jenna Budd had six assists, and that Maggie Pizzo had two and two. Maddie Aldrich, the goalie, made 15 saves, “some of them really good.”

    “We looked solid at Riverhead,” said Mahoney, “offensively and defensively.” East Hampton’s chief defenders, all juniors, are Katie Brierley, Lydia Budd, and Bronte Marino. Pizzo, Amanda Seekamp, and Cassidy Walsh constitute a strong midfield trio. Jenna Budd, Carley Seekamp, and Jacqui Thorsen, a versatile ninth grader, spearhead the attack.

    East Hampton was to have played Southampton here yesterday.

    The softball team was to have opened its league season at Sayville Tuesday. “It’s so cold — it’s not fun — but we’ll be going unless it snows or the wind chill is 11 below,” said the coach, Lou Reale.

    In the week past, the very young team (Reale’s starting five freshmen) scrimmaged with Pierson, which has its eyes on a Class C state championship, acquitting itself rather well behind the pitching of one of its freshmen, Dylan Schleider.

    When asked for Tuesday’s starting lineup, Reale said that Ilsa Brzezinski, a senior, would be at first base, that Avery Balnis, a ninth grader, would play second, that Schleider would be at short (given the continued absence of Ali Harned, who suffered a concussion during basketball season), and Sophia Foglia, also a ninth grader, would be at third.

    The outfield, from left to right, was to have comprised Shannen McCaffrey, a senior, Alex Rutkowski, a freshman, and Isabella Swanson, an eighth grader. Reale’s pitcher was to have been Casey Waleko, a senior; Cecilia Fioriello, also a senior, was to have caught.

    Bonac’s baseball team scrimmaged twice this past week, here with Hampton Bays last Thursday, and at Hampton Bays Saturday.

    Mike Ritsi, who assists R.J. Etzel in coaching the team, said, “We lost both, 11-6 and 10-7, but they were close. There are some things we need to tie up — we’ve got to be more consistent . . . all around.”

    Of the half-dozen pitchers East Hampton used, Ritsi said Peter Shilowich proved to be the sharpest.

    East Hampton was to have played a nonleague game here with Greenport yesterday, weather permitting, and is to play a nonleaguer here with Pierson, which is said to be pretty strong, tomorrow.

    “The hope is,” Ritsi said when questioned, “that we’ll get better every day. Our league is strong, what with Bayport, the defending state champs, Shoreham, Miller Place, Westhampton, and Mount Sinai. If we can be competitive, that will be good.”

    The boys tennis team, which lost seven starters to graduation last June, opened its league season here Monday, losing 7-0 to Westhampton Beach. Michelle Kennedy, the coach, said, “It was freezing, really cold — it probably should have been canceled — but we played. Westhampton’s pretty strong. It should be at the top of our league. Julian [McGurn, East Hampton’s number-one] was up 3-0 in the first set, but wound up losing it 6-4, and then he lost the second 6-2. Our third doubles team was up 5-3 in its first set, but lost in a tiebreaker, and dropped the second set as well. . . . It was so cold.”

Sean Toole, a junior from Pierson, has been tending the Bonackers’ goal.