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Spring Ahead: Saugus Sachems get ready to take the fields

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By Dom Nicastro


Spring is in the air. Well, if spring means 30s and 40s like it’s been most of the week here in Saugus. It’s par for the course for early spring season for Saugus High School and the rest of the North Shore.

This week marks Week 2 for the high school spring season, with most teams still gearing up for their first games. Saugus High School girls lacrosse actually opens up its season with two games this week: at Swampscott on Thursday, March 28 at 4:30 p.m. and at home against Mystic Valley the next day (4 p.m.).

We caught up with some of those spring teams gearing up for the final high school athletic season.


Softball: numbers up for Sachems

  Saugus had 24 in the program last year and has been averaging around 26. This year it had 34 players try out which is the most it’s had since 2019.

“This is due largely in part to the outstanding job Saugus Youth Softball has been doing helping to instill the love of the game to these kids and getting them prepared for the high school level,” ninth-year Saugus softball coach Steve Almquist said. “They have been a tremendous feeder program for us, and I am confident that these numbers will continue to grow.”

Saugus will have two teams again this year: JV and varsity. There were no cuts made. Saugus is carrying 17 players on the varsity roster, including two eighth-graders. Almquist plans to rotate players back and forth between the two teams to maximize playing time.

Last year, Saugus finished 11-9 and qualified for the state tournament once again. It lost to Bristol-Plymouth in the preliminary round. Last season marked seven consecutive state tournament appearances and seven consecutive winning seasons.

The Sachems were crowned Northeastern Conference (NEC) Lynch Division Champions for the second time in three years (2021 & 2023) all while posting a three-year divisional record of 22-2. “This is quite an accomplishment and is a testament to all of the hard work from players and coaches both past and present and to say that I was pleased with how things turned out is an understatement,” Almquist said.

Last year, Saugus did not have any seniors and everyone is returning this spring so experience should be one of its strengths. “However, experience alone doesn’t necessarily equate to success so we are going to have to play sound fundamental softball in order to be competitive,” Almquist said. “I think we should be able to put up some runs and if our pitchers can continue to throw strikes and our defense can support them by making the routine plays, which we have struggled with at times, then we should have a fighting chance.”

Saugus returns three NEC all-stars: senior left fielder Kaitlyn Pugh, senior shortstop Devany Millerick and senior third baseman Ava Rogers. It also returns an NEC All-Conference player: junior catcher Lily Ventre.

Almquist broke down the values of each of his captains:

  • Rogers: She is a returning captain, three-year varsity starter and an NEC all-star. A cannon for an arm, she has played for Almquist since she was 10 years old back in the youth league and is someone that always gives 110% every time she steps out on the field. She is a perfectionist who takes pride in doing things right and it certainly shows as she has improved immensely over the years. Last season she toughed it out with a bad throwing shoulder which required off-season surgery but she is fully healed and will once again be back at the hot corner ready for another big season.
  • Millerick: She is a returning captain, three-year varsity starter, NEC all-star and reigning team co-MVP. She has worked extremely hard to make herself into one of the better shortstops in the conference. She is a slick-fielding shortstop with excellent range and an outstanding arm. Without question, she is a true leader on the field and in the dugout. Devany is the first person you hear taking charge out on the field or leading the cheers from inside the dugout and is someone that I can always rely on to get the job done no matter what is asked of her. A true leader in every sense of the word.
  • Ventre: Lily is a returning captain, four-year varsity starter (started as an eighth-grader), two-time NEC all-star and reigning team co-MVP. With Lily, it’s like having another coach out on the field, and even at an early age you could tell this kid was going to be a special talent. She takes a beating every game but is as tough as they come and continues to produce both behind the dish and at the plate. Unfortunately, she has been snake-bitten with injuries these past couple of years cutting her seasons short but still managed to lead our team in just about every offensive category. Lily was born to be a softball player and, in my opinion, when healthy, is one of the best catchers in the area.
  • Junior captain Taylor Deleidi: Taylor is a two-year varsity starter and former team Rookie of the Year as well as an outstanding multi-sport athlete who also excelled in soccer and basketball. This player is a coach’s dream. Her positive attitude, infectious smile, work ethic and versatility make her so valuable to our team. Thrust into the starting pitcher’s role as a sophomore, she had an outstanding year, piling up 10 wins with an ERA of 3.79; not too bad for someone who only had one varsity start as a freshman. Taylor will be our No. 1 again this year looking to build off of the success of last season. She is extremely accurate – throws strikes while pitching to contact – so if our defense can give her the support that she deserves she will be poised for another fine season this year.


Girls lacrosse healthy on participation

  Barbara Guarente leads the Sachems girls lacrosse team for the second season. The Sachems had 37 girls trying out with more than half of them being first-time lacrosse players. The Sachems will have a junior varsity and varsity team this year.

“We improved last year and expect to improve on last year’s record,” said Guarente, who also coaches field hockey at Saugus.

Saugus has three senior captains: returning captain Nina Penachio, Violet Hawley and Juliana Scalisi.

“We are improving daily with their knowledge of the sport,” Guarente said.

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