The latest Wellesley, Mass., sports news:
Little League’s Williamsport baseball team in state Final 4
Update: The Wellesley team made it to the finals of the states, but fell 10-4 to Middleboro. The local team gave it a good go. They lost their first game in the tourney, won two, then dropped the final to a powerful Middleboro team. Congrats to all.
For the first time since 2016, Wellesley’s Williamsport Little League baseball team has made the state finals, with a chance to advance to regionals and eventually Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series.
But seriously, first things first. This team of 11- and 12-year-olds starts the Massachusetts final four with a game on Friday, July 29 in Braintree at 7:15pm vs. Middleboro. This is a double-elimination tournament that the winner advances from to play in a regional competition.
The Wellesley team has advanced this far with balanced play, and a couple of big come-from-behind wins, including a 7-inning, 3-2 win over Melrose to clinch its Section 3 title.
Coach Greg Ciongoli, who says he is coaching his fourth son among the 12-player roster, says every member of the team has played an important role. “We don’t have that one 6-foot guy who throws 70 MPH, we have a lot of good players and we’ve worked our way through all phases of the game,” he said.
The tournament so far as been “a lot of fun, but super stressful” considering the comebacks. “It’s been great for the families and kids,” he says. “No one wants this to end.”
Last year’s Wellesley Williamsport team won its District title but that’s where the tournament ended due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Fleming signed by NHL’s Golden Knights
Wellesley’s Joe Fleming has signed an entry-level contract with the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights, now led by former Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy.
Fleming played at Wellesley High School before moving on to Proctor Academy.
He has been playing in junior hockey’s US Hockey League for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, and is known as a tough and smart defenseman. Fleming comes from an athletic family, with his sister Erin playing college hockey following a strong career with the Wellesley High School Raiders, and his dad, also named Joe, having played in the Canadian Football League. Fleming had been planning to attend Northeastern University and play hockey there.
🎥 Fleming on Vegas: Being a guy from Boston, you don’t usually go into the rinks in flip-flops. I think it’s pretty cool. pic.twitter.com/Gk358URoDz
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) July 16, 2022
New Wellesley High coaches
Jen Dutton, who led the Wellesley High School Swim & Dive team to multiple state titles, has stepped down as head coach and moved to Florida. Outside of coaching, Dutton has been a force in open water swimming.
Doug Curtin takes over as coach.
Separately, Marc Davis has been named the boys’ cross country coach, replacing Colin Corkery. Davis brings Olympic pedigree to the job, having participated in steeplechase in the 1996 Summer Games. Former WHS boys’ cross country coach Tim Broe, who led the team to its first state title in 2016, took part in the 2004 Olympic games.
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