The Manchester Essex boys tennis team picked up an impressive and important 3-2 win over North Reading Thursday. The win not only moves the Hornets to 9-5 on the season but it clinches a state tournament berth.
"It's nice to get in with four matches to go," head coach Rob Bilsbury said. "We have Pentucket, Lynnfield, Marblehead and North Andover remaining on the schedule, all four are very tough teams so it was nice to take the pressure off today. We knew it was going to be a battle because North Reading is a good team but we were able to play well and come out on top."
Leading the way for the Hornets was Calvin Lamothe at No. 2 singles picking up a win in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 and becoming the first player to defeat North Reading's Ryan Burroughs at No. 2 singles this season.
"Calvin was definitely psyched to play (Burroughs) and he was absolutely awesome," Bilsbury said. "Just a heck of a day. Calvin is one of the best No. 2 singles players in the Cape Ann League and he made a big statement today."
No. 1 singles Mike Fuca (6-1, 6-2) and the No. 2 doubles tandem of Kevin Celucci and Emmett Ryan (6-0, 6-1) also picked up wins for the Hornets.
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The Fishermen move to 10-6 on the year and more importantly clinch a berth in the state tournament for the ninth straight season, eighth straight under head coach Joe Orlando. The baseball team also becomes the first Gloucester boys team to qualify for the postseason this school year.
Ben Favazza picked up the win in his first varsity start going five innings. Mike Muniz led the offense with three hits, Jason Vizena had two while Alex Webb had a hit and two RBIs.
"It was an ugly game but it's nice to get back into the tournament," Orlando said. "Now we are looking to get a few more wins and pick up a higher seed."
The win also takes an immense amount of pressure off of Gloucester, as it finishes off the regular season on a brutal four game stretch against St. John's Prep (today, Nate Ross Field, 4:00 p.m.), Danvers, Swampscott and Beverly, all tournament teams.
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The Vikings (6-8) put up a fight against a strong Pentucket team but came up just shy in extra innings. Tucker Meredith went all eight innings for Rockport scattering five hits and allowing just one earned run but he was the tough luck loser on the afternoon. Conor Douglass and Adam Balzarini powered the Vikings offense with two hits each.
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Rockport (2-9) fell just short in a match that was suspended due to Monday's rain. Abby Hood at No. 1 singles (6-4, 6-4) and Eva Weinstein at No. 2 singles (6-2, 6-4) picked up wins for the Vikings.
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The Fishermen fall to 4-11 with the loss. Andrew Lufkin, Jason Lattof and Winslow Lewis were the Fishermen goal scorers.