Prospects Bright for Bonac’s Spring Sports Teams

The numbers are good and the teams are expected to be competitive
Ryan Fowkes, center, signed Monday a letter of intent to attend George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He was flanked by his father, Bill, and his mother, Jennifer, with Bill Herzog, his middle school coach, and Kevin Barry, his varsity cross-country coach, behind him. Jack Graves

Monday being relatively balmy, it seemed like a good time to talk to Joe Vas, East Hampton’s athletic director, about the spring season that’s been underway for the past 10 days. 

Vas said the numbers were good and that he expected all the teams — baseball, softball, boys and girls track, boys tennis, and girls and boys lacrosse — to be very competitive. 

East Hampton High’s boys lacrosse players — 24 in all — will continue to commute to Southampton for practices and for most of the South Fork team’s league games, though three are to be played here.

Concerning girls lacrosse, “The big thing,” according to Vas, “is that we’ve got Jessica Sanna, who coached two years ago and who recently got a full-time job in the district, back. There had been way too much turnover in that program — it’s on its way back now.” 

Baseball too, with Vinny Alversa and Henry Meyer coaching the varsity, was turning the corner, said the A.D., who added that “having a new turf field has kind of changed the atmosphere, if you will. They’ve been outside from day one, they worked mostly inside all winter, and they’re playing in the off-season too. Hopefully, all this work will translate into success sooner rather than later.”

As for softball, which also has languished a bit lately, “We’re thrilled that Annemarie [Cangiolosi Brown] has taken over. We wanted her to when Lou [Reale] left, but she wasn’t able to do it then. Kathy Amicucci coached in the interim, and did a fine job, but having Annemarie, who played for Lou, and who is a longtime teacher here and is invested in the community, ought to really bring this program back. John King, a teacher at Springs, and Melanie Anderson will be Anne’s assistants, and Nicole Fierro will coach the jayvee. Mylan Eckardt will be a volunteer.”

Cangiolosi Brown, Anderson, Eckardt, and Fierro — protégées of Reale’s — played in the N.C.A.A. world series at one time or another, Cangiolosi Brown for the State University at Cortland (where she still holds pitching records), Anderson and Eckardt for Bloomsburg University, and Fierro for C.W. Post. 

“These kids are very fortunate to have them all as coaches,” said Vas. “There’s a lot of softball knowledge there. Over 40 have turned out.”

The softball field, he added, had been completely redone — new clay put down on the infield with new sod and a new irrigation system in the leveled outfield. “We added a huge tarp to cover the infield, and there’s a new windscreen in the back. That field has never looked better.”

“We were ready to put in a turf infield on the softball field too,” said Vas, “but the softball community didn’t want it. They felt they wanted to stay with a natural surface. With the bunting and slap-hitting and shorter basepaths, softball is a different game. . . . We ripped everything out and put in a whole new field, which is one of the best, if not the best, in the county.”

“Again,” the A.D. said, turning to track, “we’ve got four good coaches in Ben Turnbull, Mike Buquicchio, Yani Cuesta, and Diane O’Donnell, coaches who put in the time. The coaching Ryan has received,” he said of Ryan Fowkes, who signed a letter of intent Monday morning to attend George Washington University on a partial running scholarship, “from Kevin [Barry], Bill [Herzog], and Ben, has, I think he would agree, benefited him.”

Fowkes, by the way, who broke his own indoor 1,000-meter record this winter, in addition to breaking the 1,600-meter record Erik Engstrom, now at the University of Massachusetts, had set in 2016, will take aim at the school’s outdoor 800 record and a state meet berth this spring.

“He can run the 400 too,” Barry said at the signing. “Ryan’s got great range — he’s one of the best cross-country runners I’ve ever had.”

A prospective history major, Fowkes, who was accompanied to the signing by his parents, Jennifer and Bill, in addition to Barry, Herzog, his coach at the middle school, and his guidance counselor, Lynne Yardley Brown, and the high school’s principal, Adam Fine, sports a 94.5 grade point average.

East Hampton is combined with Pierson and Bridgehampton in girls lacrosse, boys tennis, and boys and girls track. Neither baseball, softball, nor boys and girls lacrosse made the playoffs last year.

Speaking of boys tennis, Kevin McConville, the head pro at the Hampton Racquet Club, thinks it too will do well this spring, what with singles players like Jonny De Groot, Luke Louchheim, and Max Astilean.

The boys, under McConville, the first teaching pro East Hampton’s ever had as a varsity coach, shared the league title with Westhampton Beach last spring, and reached the semifinal round of the county team tournament.

The girls lacrosse team was to have scrimmaged at Patchogue-Medford yesterday, boys tennis is to play a mandatory nonleague match at Half Hollow Hills West tomorrow, and also tomorrow the South Fork boys lacrosse team is to play a nonleague game with Port Jefferson on Southampton’s turf field, at 4:30 p.m.

The Hampton Bays baseball team is to scrimmage at East Hampton on Saturday at 10 a.m., and Southold is to scrimmage here on Monday at 4:30 p.m. The Bonackers are to scrimmage at Hampton Bays Tuesday at 3:45.

Bellport’s boys lacrosse team is to play a nonleague game with the South Fork team at Southampton High School on Tuesday at 4:30, the same day that Westhampton Beach’s boys tennis team is to play a league-opening match at East Hampton and Stony Brook is to play a nonleague girls lacrosse game here, at 4:30 p.m. in each case.

Next Wednesday, Hauppauge is to play a league-opening girls lacrosse game here at 4:30, and the boys tennis team is to play at Shoreham-Wading River, also at 4:30.