Cape golf team shows improvement

Cape junior Maddie Baptiste connects with a short shot from the first-hole fairway. Baptiste's 42 tied for the Vikings' best score of the match against Sussex Tech April 14. BY NICK ROTH
April 18, 2014

The Cape Henlopen Vikings golf team showed a little bounce-back in the three matches they faced after the April 8 loss to the Caesar Rodney Riders.

Cape hosted Delmar April 9 at Rehoboth Beach Country Club and eked out a 181-187 victory. Mason Jones took medalist honors with a fine three-over 39, his first below-40 score of the early season.

Maddie Baptiste scored second best for the Vikings with her 45, while Luke Branner contributed with a 47. Darren Branner’s 49 completed the team scoring.

Head golf coach Claudio Smarrelli was pleased with the win, but knew his players had to improve their play: “The players need to shave [their] numbers from high 40s and 50s.”

The Vikings traveled April 10 to The Peninsula near Millsboro to play a four-member team from Delmarva Christian High School. Smarrelli said the match began at 4 p.m. and took almost four hours to complete.

Cape sophomore Jack Ashby won medalist honors in his first varsity match for 2014 with a 45. Junior Rachel Hagen’s 47 was her best score of the season, and freshman Matt Zehner posted a 52, his first varsity score ever. Baptiste finished the Vikings scoring with her 54.

Smarrelli said, “In spite of long play, they enjoyed playing together in a breezy evening. Both groups were exhausted walking the long course.”

Nick Roth of this newspaper also sent a note that The Peninsula impressed the parents who came to watch the match, offering a cart and drinks during the event.

Cape put up its best performance thus far April 14, and only lost to Sussex Tech by two strokes, 172-174 at Rehoboth Beach CC. The Ravens’ score was also their best total for the season.

Smarrelli said he and assistant coach Samantha Purple were proud of the Vikings' tremendous effort, especially because of treacherous winds with gusts up to 35 miles per hour.

The match included the difficult par-3 19th hole, nestled hard by Rehoboth Bay. Smarrelli said the hole had everyone confused in clubbing.

Jones and Baptiste tied for best score among the Vikings with a pair of 42s. Darren Branner finished a stroke behind with his 43. Mike DiStasio, back from a break for a class trip, finished fourth for the team with his 47.

Smarrelli said, “All the chipping, putting practice, and watching the Masters improved their game today.”

The April 15 away match against Dover was postponed due to heavy rains. The Vikings' final game before spring break was scheduled for a home contest against Indian River High.

Transitions sunglasses earn high marks

During the PGA Merchandise Show, the folks at Transitions offered attending media a free pair of sunglasses, with the only expectation a fair review in a subsequent article.

Unfortunately, they don’t make prescription lenses strong enough for me. They agreed to provide a non-prescription pair, and I agreed to have a couple avid golfers I know try them out for me.

I ordered the Nike version, whose lenses go from violet to dark purple depending on the intensity of the sunlight.

Jim and Lisa Hutchins were the experimenters, and the glasses earned unexpectedly high praise.

Jim said, “There is a substantial upgrade in visual acuity. The world appears in high def. It’s kind of like putting on reading glasses to see the world.

“I can follow my ball a lot better. Last year, I used neon-green balls because they were easier for me to follow. Now, I can go back to being a happy member of the status quo and use the tried-and-true white golf balls.”

He also warned that they’re not much help with finding golf balls in the water, but then, there’s a way to avoid that problem.

Lisa was also impressed, but thought she would have enjoyed even better perception if the lens tint had been different.

Fortunately for Transitions, they offer several color and design options, which you can read all about at