This time last year, we were uncertain what 2021 would bring in the local sports scene. But not only did area sports teams and seasons get back to a somewhat normal schedule, many fared well in the process. The following are The Hull Times Top 10 sports stories of 2021:
Number 10: Another tourney journey
The Hull High School girls’ varsity soccer team qualified for the state tournament again under the new MIAA post-season playoff format. Hull earned the 16th seed and hosted 17th-seeded Drury High School, which made the three-hour trip to Hull from North Adams. The trip home may have seemed longer after Hull routed the visitors 6-1 in the first- round contest. Hull lost in the next round 8-0, to central Massachusetts power Monson High School. The Lady Pirates placed three players on the South Shore League All-Star team: Nina Tiani, Bridget Fleming, and Elsie Harper.
Number 9: Boys of summer
It was a memorable summer for the Hull Youth Baseball and Hull-Hingham Babe Ruth teams. The U12 travel team rallied for a five-run fifth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeat Bridgewater, 5-2, to win the South River League Championship. The U10 team also entered the playoffs undefeated before bowing out in a semifinal loss to Marshfield. The team ended the season with an impressive 9-1 record. The Hull-Hingham 15-year-old Babe Ruth team also had a deep run in the tournament. The team went 5-2 in the league double-elimination tournament, losing 2-1 to Braintree in the title tilt. And in a contest for one of the most coveted prizes in Hull sports, the Hull Youth Baseball Little League World Series was won by Richardson Insurance, which put out Hull Fire in a two-game sweep.
Number 8: Cheers!
Both the Hull High School and Hull Youth Football cheerleaders reached successful milestones this past season. The high school team scored an impressive 73.3 points at the South Shore League competition, which earned the girls a berth in the regional competition in Marshfield, where they scored a 77.6. A week later, they placed in the Top 10 with a 74.4 mark at the MASA State Finals at Worcester State University. The Hull Youth Football C Team cheerleaders took first place at the Old Colony Youth Cheerleading Association championship. They also placed second at the East Coast Showdown Beginners/Large Division competition.
Number 7: The iceman cometh
Hull’s Ryan Healey was invited to play for the USA National Development U17 hockey team in Plymouth, Michigan. He was selected from among the top U17 and U18 teams nationwide. Over the summer, Healey played for Team USA U17 in the Hinka-Gretzky Cup tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The defenseman had two assists in his team’s 10-0 win over Germany. The Hull High senior has committed to play collegiate hockey at Harvard University.
Number 6: Oval achievers
Delaying the winter sports season was worth the wait for the Hull High School boys’ indoor track team. The season was postponed and took place outdoors during the Fall-2 season. Hull finished the season with a 4-2 record and earned a share of the South Shore League championship. Matt McCluskey led the way for the team, taking top honors in most of the meets in the high jump, long jump, 55-meter hurdles, and 55-meter run. Tony Alibrandi (300 meters) and Robert Hunter (2-mile) were also solid contributors to the successful season.
Number 5: Hull of Fame
Another class of the Hull High School Athletic Hall of Fame was inducted In November. The new members are: student athlete – Matt Littlefield, David Orpen, and Lisa Rogers Canavan; coach – Liz Londergan and Chris Weber; team – 2011 Girls’ Basketball State Champions; and contributor – the Struzziery family (in memory of Danielle Struzziery). The inductees were introduced at halftime during the Thanksgiving Day football game.
Number 4: New captain of the ship
In a sudden and surprising development, Hull High School’s athletic director, Scott Paine, abandoned ship to accept the same position at Scituate High School. Hull appointed 2010 HHS graduate and former standout football player Connor Duhaime as the new athletic director. Duhaime is also a graduate of the University of New England, where he served as a linebackers’ coach. He more recently worked as an intern under former Hull High School athletic director and current Hingham High School athletic director Jim Quatromoni.
Number 3: Virus in, sports out
Despite a go-ahead from the MIAA, the Hull School Department opted to cancel the winter sports season due to concerns over the coronavirus. Thus, the high school basketball and hockey seasons were cancelled. The indoor track season was moved to the newly created Fall-2 season. A few weeks later, on the recommendation of the MIAA, Hull schools allowed the Pirates teams to participate in the Fall-2 season, permitting the indoor track and football teams to compete.
Number 2: Diamond dandies
The Hull High School varsity baseball team qualified for the post-season for the first time in more than a decade. And the Pirates made the most of the long-awaited playoff opportunity. Coming in as the 22nd seed in a field of 24, Hull upset two higher-seeded teams before finally striking out. In the first round, Hull blanked host Case High School in Swansea, 3-0. Hull’s defense turned three double plays in the game. Next up was South Shore Christian, which had already defeated Hull twice during the season. It looked like it would be another loss as the host Warriors took an early 6-0 lead. But Hull came back with a six-run third inning and pulled away for a 12-8 win. The season ended in the next round with a 6-1 loss to third-seeded St. John Paul II in Hyannis.
Number 1: Almost paradise
The Hull High School football team was oh so close! The Division 8 state championship fell a few yards short as Hull (9-4) watched Randolph hoist the Super Bowl trophy at Gillette Stadium. But they say that reaching the summit isn’t as rewarding as the climb. The Super Bowl run to Gillette captured the community. And with several key players back next year, a return trip will be an achievable goal for the Pirates. After a 6-2 regular season record, Hull entered the Division 8 playoffs as the 4th seed and routed Millis at home 28-7 in the first round. Hull hosted and defeated Kipp Academy (Lynn), 27-20, in the next round, setting up a semifinal game against top-seeded Hoosac Valley at a neutral site, Shepherd Hill High School in Dudley. In front of hundreds of Hull fans, the Pirates blew past the Hurricanes, 39-22, and it was on to Gillette. The Pirates lost the title game, 20-14, but not before a dramatic final drive, again in front of Pirate nation, which ended with a Randolph interception. Five players were selected to the South Shore League All-Star team, all juniors: Johnny Gianibas, Tyler Sordillo, Luke Richardson, Aidan Murphy, and Austin Bongo. Murphy was also honored as a first- team Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic, and Gianibas and Sordillo were named to the Patriot Ledger second team.
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