EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 7, 2008

Letizio is Simmons' golden arm

Our College Stars

Mike McMahon

Five starts, and four complete games. It might sound like a lot of pitches, but it doesn't faze Simmons' Sammi Letizio in the least.

The former Salem star hurler has been nearly untouchable since the start of her sophomore year. In five starts and one relief appearance this spring, Letizio is a perfect 6-0 (Simmons' record is 8-3), and she boasts a only a 0.64 ERA.

Coming into the season, Letizio had no choice but to change her training routine. With pitcher Joanna Donato having graduated, she knew her workload would increase.

"I did a lot more cardio to help build up my endurance," said the 5-foot-4 physical therapy major from Windham. "I knew that they would need me to pitch more innings this year, so I wanted to be prepared for that."

The workload hasn't taken a toll on her power. Letizio has whiffed 35 hitters, and opponents are batting just .186 against her. In fact, only 26 of the 136 batters she has faced have even reached base.

"Last year, I got tired as the year went along," she admitted. "Going into this year, I knew that I needed to get stronger so I could throw more.

"My coach is going to hate me for saying this," she continued with a laugh, "but I really don't do a lot of lifting. I did some rotator cuff work last year, but not much this year. My shoulder muscles get a pretty good workout just from pitching."

Heading into a tough stretch this week with double-headers against Rivier, Emerson, and Pine Manor, Letizio is prepared to throw even more.

Letizio has been honored as the conference Player of the Week two of the last three weeks.

Joining Letizio on Sharks' roster are Meredith Burr (Londonderry) and Stephanie Murray (Groveland). Burr has been stellar defensively as a catcher and outfielder, and is still looking to make an impact at the plate. Murray, a freshman, is batting .273, and more impressively, has crossed the plate all seven times she's reached base this season.

Santa Fe is coming to town

Derry's Tony Santa Fe rallied undefeated Keene State to a 10-8 win over Little East rival UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. Santa Fe scored four times, including the game-tying and go-ahead goals in the fourth quarter. Santa Fe tied the game at the 9:25 mark of the fourth quarter, and rifled the game-winner three minutes later.

"Tony did a nice job of beating his man from behind the net and getting to the opposite side for the goal," said Keene State head coach Mark Theriault. "That's why he was selected as a preseason All-America."

Sanata Fe's four goals give him a team-leading 11 on the season, he also had two assists in the game. Derry's Casey Brodersen and Chris Jenkins also scored for KSC. For Jenkins, a defensive midfielder, it was his first collegiate goal.

Derry's Matt Johnson, the goaltender, made nine saves in the game.

Mr. Wright leads Rivier to title

Salem's Scott Wright led Rivier College to the 2008 GNAC Volleyball Championship with eight of his team's 12 blocks in a sweep of Emmanuel College in the final. Rivier didn't drop a set all day, and swept the Saints for the championship. Wright also had a team-high 12 kills with only one error for a .500 hitting percentage.

At Endicott, Haverhill's Tim Lyons helped the Gulls make quick work of New Haven, dispatching the Chargers 30-21, 30-28, and 30-20. Lyons put the exclamation point on the first game with a huge assisted block with teammate James Silva to cap the win. In the second game, the serving of Londonderry's B.J. Worth gave the Gulls an early 9-7 lead.

With the win, Endicott closed its season 18-14, and will head to the NECVA Playoffs.

Ball, Lee honored by NE-10

Salem's Mike Ball was named the Northeast-10 Player of the Week last week. Ball leads Southern New Hampshire with 26 goals and also has four assists. Last week, he had 12 goals and three assists in two games, both wins. On Tuesday, Ball had six goals and an assist in a 13-7 win over Assumption, and his brother, Sean Ball, also added a goal.

Women's lacrosse player Carole Lee of Derry found herself on the NE-10 Honor Roll last week after netting 11 goals and adding two assists in four games. At top-ranked C.W. Post, Lee tied a SNHU record by sniping six goals in a game. She sits third on the team in scoring with 20 goals and three assists in nine games.

Row, row, row you're boat

Franklin Pierce's rowing squad downed Amherst by over a minute in a head-to-head race on the Connecticut River. Franklin Pierce finished the course in 8:42, which blew the Lord Jeffs (9:57) out of the water, no pun intended. Derry's Michael Parthum, a Pinkerton grad, was at the three seat for the Ravens.

Selig riding high for Endicott

Endicott sophomore rider Kate Selig continues to get the job done. Last weekend, the sophomore from Groveland finished second in the IHSA Regional finals in Boxford. Her regional included Tufts, Boston College, Boston University, Stonehill and Wellesley College among others. Her finish qualifies her for the zone finals at Mount Holyoke this weekend.

Smyth shines for Nichols

Bradford's Peter Smyth scored back-to-back goals late in the second half to give Nichols a 4-2 lead, but the Bison fell to New England College 7-5. He followed that up with an assist in a 12-6 loss to Plymouth State. ... North Andover's Tyler Moore had an assist for Bates in a 12-7 loss to Williams. Londonderry's Nick Cosco fired five goals and two assists as Endicott whipped Nichols.

Stewart on a roll

Londonderry's Tara Stewart potted five goals and added five assists as Colby-Sawyer trounced Salve Regina 17-8. Lisa Giordano, also of Londonderry, added a goal and an assist. ... West Newbury's Kim Vail had a goal in Worcester State's 10-1 win over Becker. ... Andover's Briana Gross netted a goal in Trinity's 19-13 win over Bates. ... Babson is on a six-game winning streak with much thanks going to freshman Nicole Giuliano of North Reading. She had three hits and three RBI in an 11-3 win over Southern Maine. On the year, she's started 14 games, batting .297, slugging a team-high .541, and is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts.

Munroe nears century mark

Bentley's Meaghan Munroe, a senior trackster from Haverhill, finished 15th (out of 29 throwers) in the javelin at the Adidas Raleigh Relays at North Carolina State. Munroe's throw was 99-6. ... Methuen's Jen Marino won the triple jump for Bates with a leap of 35-53/4 at the Tufts Snowflake Classic. Marino also finished seventh in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.76. ... UMass Lowell's Cory Murray of Methuen finished second in the shot put at the Trinity College Bantam Classic with a 47-41/4 throw. Lawrence freshman Johan Rafael shined in two events for the River Hawks, winning the 100 meter dash in 11.08 seconds and placing second in the 200 meters in 22.52 seconds. ... Freshman Andrew Zappala of Merrimac is 2-1 in doubles for UMass Dartmouth.

The Plymouth Five

Five locals grace the roster at Plymouth State, which has won 14 straight games. Juniors Heather Bartolo (Derry), Courtney MacFarland (Hampstead) and Leanne Barry (Auburn), all Pinkerton grads, are joined by sophomores Alyssa Marini (Kingston) and Sammi Romano (Kingston), both Sanborn grads.

In a sweep of Salem State, MacFarland hurled six shutout innings, Romano had two hits in the opener and Barry cracked an RBI double in the nightcap.

Mike McMahon is an Eagle-Tribune sports writer. If you have information on local college athletes, e-mail him at sports@eagletribune.com.