Sports: Belmont Baseball Ran Off By Danvers in Playoffs

Photo: “Crossing the line” Cole Bartels.

Belmont High’s Senior Cole Bartels’ final pitch of his high school career was a fastball that overpowered the batter, forcing a lazy infield pop-up for the third out of the fifth inning.

It was appropriate that one of the most dominating pitchers in school history – and that includes the likes of major leaguer Wilbur Woods – would end his playing days on gutsy performance (coming just three days after throwing 100 pitches against Beverly) in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Division 2 North Sectionals against host and number-one seed Danvers High on Monday afternoon, June 6.

But while Bartels – who earlier in the day was named a Boston Globe Spring All-Scholastic for the second year – and reliever junior Cal Christofori would give up only four hits with Bartels striking out eight Falcons with his fastball, curve/slider combo, it was Danvers’ aggressive and opportunistic running on the base paths and the Marauders inability to put together hits in a timely manner that saw  Belmont fall, 4-1, to Danvers.

“Same old, same old, it’s deja vu,” said Head Coach Jim Brown, having lost to Danvers for the third time in five years in the quarterfinals.

“We outhit them, but they make the plays on the field, a couple of miscues on our part. They take the extra bases, and they love to bunt,” he said.

“It’s a tough way to lose, but that’s why they’re 18-2 every year and going to the semi-finals every year,” said Brown. 

For Bartels, the last game of this stellar high school career – two-time Middlesex League MVP and Boston Globe All-Scholastic – should have ended on a better note. 

“That was real tough. Nothing seemed to go our way here. We fought really hard and got a bunch of hits but they didn’t come in the right time,” said Bartels. “They’re a great team. I hate them, but they are a great team.”

“But I’m super proud of all my teammates. They fought really hard so I want to thank everyone and I’m very happy of what I’ve accomplished,” he said.

And Bartels will be missed.

“He’s the best I’ve ever had as a pitcher and player. He’s a hell of a competitor. Once in a generation,” said Brown. 


Danvers senior pitcher Andrew Olszak did not have the same outstanding control that he demonstrated in last year’s 3-1, one-hit victory over Belmont in the same quarterfinal round. But the two-time league MVP (7 hits, 3 strikeouts) did throw strikes which allowed Falcon’s to make some clutch fielding, including turning two double plays (in the first and fourth) to stuff out innings while not making an error behind Olszak.

It was when Danvers reach base that Belmont found itself flat-footed. In the second inning, Danvers runners twice moved from first to third on routine sacrifices which allowed two runs to score on the only solid hit against Bartels – a single up the middle – and a fielder’s choice.

In the third, Danvers’ right fielder Dan Lynch reached first on a walk, stole second when a Belmont infielder arrived late to take Christofori’s bullet that beat the runner, took third on a passed ball and walked home on catcher Matt Andreas’ routine grounder to first. Three runs on a single, a bunt, a steal, an error and a few fielder’s choices.

Belmont was making good contact at the plate – left fielder Connor Dacey solved Olszak going 3-3 (three singles) for the day, while second base Noah Riley sharp shot in the fourth went for naught – but could not put them together.

The Marauders got things rolling in the top of the sixth. After Christofori missed going yard by 10 feet in deepest dead center for the first out, Dacey collected his third single followed by a gap double from Bartels between left and center. Riley loaded the bases with a 3-2 walk and Paul Ramsey’s deep fly ball to left brought home pinch runner Matt Kerans.

But Danvers came back for its fourth in the sixth with a double and a two-out single from first base Zach Dillon for his second RBI.

Many Belmont players didn’t want to leave the field after a successful season (15-7), taking photos, reaching out to coaches and other players and remembering how good they were. 

Sports: Belmont Girls Hoops Upsets Marblehead, Heads to Newburyport Saturday [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont Girls’ Basketball team celebrates its victory at Marblehead.

The great American philosopher and pugilist Mike Tyson says that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

And for most of the opening quarter of its playoff game at 7th-seed Marblehead Thursday, March 3, Belmont High Girls’ Basketball took a good one on the chin as it was looking at a double-digit deficit and having yet to score a single point.

But a critical change in its game plan and contributions from nearly every player on the Marauders’ long bench – 18 players ready to play – turned the game on its head in Belmont’s favor as the visitors’ suffocating defense totally shut down the number  host Magicians for a convincing 43-28 victory in the MIAA Division 2 North sectional playoffs.

“Everyone stepped up tonight, they really did. If they were on the floor, they contributed something good for us,” said a happy Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart told the Belmontonian.

“We made mistakes, it wasn’t a perfect game. But the players came back from their mistakes which was a good step for us. We didn’t just get down and let it spiral down,” she said. 

And the game could have gotten out of hand as there could not have had an uglier start to a basketball game then Belmont’s first four minutes. From the tipoff, the Magicians were off and running, winning rebounds, forcing Belmont to take long range shots and finding lots of room against Belmont’s zone defense to make baskets seemingly at will.

By the time Hart called a timeout, Belmont was looking up at a 10-0 scoreboard. But there was no panic from the players or Hart on the sideline. 

“We have lots of time left in this game,” said Hart, as she told her starters to abandoned the zone they started the game in and revert to its time-tested man-to-man defense that has been the team’s bread and butter for the past two years.

“They came out and stunned us. We were a little nervous but Marblehead was ready to go and they took it to us,” said Hart. 

While the Magicians would score on a quick break to take a 12 point lead at the five-minute mark, Belmont’s “in your face” defense appeared to unnerve the Magicians as it committed a pair of turnovers including a 30-second violation.

Belmont found the scoreboard from sophomore guard Jenny Call (7 points) who bagged a couple of threes to help cut Marblehead’s lead to six, 14-8, entering the second quarter.

The second eight minutes was one of the best of the season from the Marauders as it outscored the Magicians 17-4 as a pair of freshmen made their mark in the game.

Guard Megan Tan had her statement game of the season, making life a misery for her counterpart, Nicole Freedo (8 points, all in the first quarter) while complementing All-Star sophomore point guard Carly Christofori on offense. Tan (a team-high 8 points) also brought her shooting game with her, scoring on the break before hitting a three at the five-minute mark to give the Marauders’ its first lead of the game, 15-14.

After Marblehead had retaken the lead, Christofori (7 points) drained her own trey to provide the Marauders a lead (18-16) they would not surrender until the final buzzer.

Coming in for senior starter Sarah Stewart who picked up two quick fouls, ninth grader center Jess Giorgio held her own against Marblehead’s big girl duo of juniors Lindsay Walker (3 points) and Abby Settlemeyer (4 points) , grabbing 9 rebounds, hitting 2 of 4 free throws and unofficially blocking five shots in a standout performance. 

Senior forward and co-captain Samri Winklaar (7 points) took advantage of the open space by hitting a pair of runners in the paint, the final hoop finishing off a 17-4 quarter to leave the court up 25-18 at the half.

Both teams came out of the break with an eye on playing defense with Belmont holding the edge with the return of Stewart. The senior would dominate under the glass, picking up phenomenal 14 rebounds, nearly all in the second half, to go with 6 points, most of those put backs from critical offensive rebounds.

The rebounding by [Giorgio] and Sarah Stewart was phenomenal. That was probably the biggest difference was the rebounding changed a lot and we were able to shot and miss and get something which wasn’t happening [early in the game],” said Hart. 

Marblehead would come within six points, 29-23, when Tan wrestled the ball away from the point guard and stuck the easy layup. A turnaround jumper from sophomore Greta Propp and a free throw from Call put Belmont up by nine, 34-25, with eight minutes to play,

By the final quarter, Marblehead had no answer for the relentless Marauder defense, scoring just a three-point basket for their only points in the quarter. By the final minute, Belmont’s reserve players were on the court, with seniors Sophia Cellucci draining a buzzer-beating three pointer and Meghan Ferraro putting in a driving shot and draining the free throw after being fouled. 

Next up for Belmont, 12-9, is a trip to Newburyport (which many of the players had no idea where it is located) on Saturday, March 5 to play the second-seed Newburyport High Clippers (17-3), with tipoff at 4 p.m. 

The Clippers, which has not played a regular game in two weeks, is led by its only senior player, Emily Pettigrew, who is supported by younger players such as sophomore Krysta Padellaro, freshmen Katie Hadden and Anna Hickman and junior Olivia Olson.

But on Thursday, the underdogs took their time leaving the court, wishing to celebrate the upset before making the one hour drive home. 

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Sports: Brams Ties Record with Third Middlesex League Meet Title

Photo: Powering home, Belmont senior Leah Brams wins third Middlesex League Meet title.

Just past the mile mark in the 2.5-mile course, as the runners crest the steepest hill on the course, doubt entered Leah Brams head.

Running from the front in the Middlesex League Meet in Woburn on Monday, Nov. 2, the two-time champion of the race was caught by Melrose senior Elizabeth Hirsh and a Lexington runner, who began pushing the pace. 

“For a while in the race, I didn’t think I could hold them off because they were right up with me,” Brams said afterwards. 

“There were a couple of times when I was like, ‘I’m gonna stop. I’m OK with third’,” Brams said with a laugh.

“Then I said ‘I don’t want what happened last year’ – referring to her second place finish to Woburn’s   ‘I can do it’,” she said. 

And she did, taking a five-meter lead after two miles and stretching it out to more than 50 as the Belmont senior sprinted home in a personal best for the race of 14 minutes and 56 seconds on the Woburn Country Club course, followed by Hirsh and junior Tarvis Hintlian of Winchester.

Brams joins a select group of runners who have won the championship three times including Lexington’s Natasha Roetter (who ran for Duke), Diane Connolly of Woburn (who became a miler and relay specialist at BC) and Stoneham’s Kristen Seabury (a two-time All-American at Alabama and twice US Olympic Trials participant). 

Brams three crowns is one better than Belmont’s Marian Bihrle, who won twice in 1997-8, although Bihrle still holds the best time by a Belmont runner at the meet with a 14:50. 

It is unknown if any of the other women with three victories had finished second in the year they didn’t win. If not, Brams appears to be the most successful runner in Middlesex League Meet history, having lost only once in four years of dual meets.

Brams led Belmont to a solid second place in the team competition (behind powerhouse Lexington with 37 points) as the Marauders finished with 59 points, its best showing in 15 years.

The surprise of the meet was Belmont junior Sara Naumann, who ran a hard solo run behind the lead pack and cruised into 4th in 15:31.1. Freshman Audrey Christo took 15th (16:11.3) followed closely by seniors Meredith Hughes (16:17.3) and Sophia Klimasmith (16:23.9) in 18th and 21st place. 


While not scoring, Belmont’s Camilla Carere (16:55.8) and Emma Chambers (17:05.2) ran impressive times, placing 30th and 38th.

“I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the girls this entire season and especially today. They really turned up today, all of them,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Dunn.

“This was great for the team because we haven’t been this good since the 1990s,” said Brams. 

The boys placed 9th with 245 points, led by sophomore Calvin Perkins in 31st, senior Mike Ferrante in 40th, sophomore Zack Tseng 44th, Ian Bowe 61st and junior Wilder Manion coming in 70th. 

Looking to the future, Belmont’s Eleanor Amer finished second in the girls’ freshman 1.75-mile race, and Kai Takayama finished 23rd among the boys’ freshmen.

For Brams and the girls, next up will by the Eastern Massachusetts meet next week and then the state championships a week later.

Then Brams will make a quick transition from the spikes to the skis as she heads for the US Senior Nationals in cross country skiing as an under-18 participant. 

“I love skiing, and I’ll see where it takes me,” she said. 

West Nile Virus Detected in Mosquito Collected in Belmont

Photo: Mosquito in Belmont.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced Thursday, Aug. 6, that the West Nile virus was detected in one mosquito collected from Belmont.

WNV is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages, those 50 and older are at higher risk for severe infection.

As always, there are a few precautions people can do to help to protect themselves and their families:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours – The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.

Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age. Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home 

Drain Standing Water – Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Make sure rain barrels are covered or screened. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2015 can be found on the MDPH website at