Katie Helfand, East Hampton High School’s boys tennis coach, has her sights set on a third straight league championship, a second straight in League VII, though Westhampton Beach, a perennial power in the sport, might have something to say about that.
The Bonackers, who went undefeated in league play the past two years, have lost only two to graduation — Julian MacGurn, the former number-one, and Ben Karlin, who played first doubles.
East Hampton wound up in the county’s top eight last year, owing to the fact that it made it to the quarterfinal round of the county tourney.
Kathy Amicucci, the softball coach, whose squad includes some very good players, is also looking forward to the season, though her prospects might not be quite as promising as Helfand’s.
“The girls want to make it to the playoffs, and I see no reason why they can’t,” Amicucci said Sunday.
Last year the team went 0-12, so there’s nowhere to go but up, and, judging from early practice sessions, it will go up.
Ella Gurney, a sophomore who’s been on the varsity team since eighth grade, is on first.
Fran Denaro, a senior, and Alexis Vargas, a junior, will share second, Amicucci said. She has three to choose from at short — Bela Swanson, a junior who played the position last year, Olivia Brauer, up from the junior varsity, and Rebecca Kuperschmid, a sophomore who was last year’s center fielder.
Zoe Daunt, a senior, and Sophia Foglia will probably share third base. Maddie Schenck, a junior, returns behind the plate, as does Sam Merritt, also a junior, on the mound. The battery mates practiced all winter in Schenck Fuels’ large garage. Sophia Swanson will probably alternate as a pitcher for the jayvee and varsity, the coach said.
There was a lot to choose from when it comes to the outfield — Sophia Ledda, a junior up from the jayvee, Kuperschmid, Raven Biondo (the sophomore backup catcher), Vargas, Alex Rutkowski, a senior, and Emma Silvera, a ninth grader up from the junior varsity, all being in the mix, the coach said.
As for hitting, “we have to work on it. . . . Saturday was the first time we hit off a machine. I want to begin doing that soon every day.”
The team is scheduled to take part in a three-way scrimmage at Riverhead’s Stotsky Park Saturday, but given the weather forecast, Amicucci said she didn’t see that happening. East Hampton’s first league game, at Shoreham-Wading River, is to be played Friday, March 24. The first home game is to be played March 30 with Miller Place, which went 8-4 in league play last year.
Back to boys tennis, Helfand said that the elder MacGurn’s graduation means that last year’s second, third, and fourth singles players — Jack Louchheim, a freshman, Ravi MacGurn, a sophomore, and Jonny de Groot, a sophomore — are moving up. Luke Louchheim, Jack’s younger brother, a seventh grader, is to play four.
Helfand is hoping to strengthen her doubles entries this season. As of the moment, Jaedon Glasstein, a sophomore, and Alex Weseley, also a sophomore, are the top pair.
George Naula, a first-year senior, and Hunter Medler, a junior, and James Fairchild and Bradley Drubych, both sophomores, will be the other teams, though, at the moment, Helfand doesn’t know which pairing will be at second doubles and which at third.
The singles players have been practicing at the Ross School this winter.
East Hampton’s first match, a nonleaguer with Bay Shore, was to have been played here yesterday, but Helfand said during a conversation Monday that the match, because of the weather forecast, would be a scratch, as could tomorrow’s scheduled match at West Islip.