(written, shot, edited and narrated for Somerville Patch)
The best high school Ultimate players came together Sunday afternoon at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville for the Ultimate Showcase Series All-Star Games, but it was Lexington High School’s Zach Sabin and Oliver Ames High School’s Jeff Babbitt (Easton, Mass.) who towered above all others.
Sabin led his team to a 15-8 victory in the Division I game, and Babbitt led his to a 15-3 victory in Division II.
Sabin’s white-shirted team took half 8-4, and were up 9-5 before scores by Phillips Academy’s Thomas Armstrong and Acton-Boxborough Regional High School’s Zach Specht from the black team cut the lead to 9-7.
After Sharon’s Jonah Kurman-Faber from the black team pulled down a deep pass from teammate Aaron Langley to make it 10-8 white, the white team went on a 5-0 run to close out the game.
Sabin threw a long forehand pass to Lexington’s Keegan Go for a score, then scored the next two points himself – toeing the goal line for his first score and then out-jumping his defender for the second.
Nipmuc’s Charlie Marokhovsky hit Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School’s Matt Rogers (three goals) to end the game.
White-team coach Josh Seamon said those two consecutive black-team goals may have sharpened his team’s focus.
“One of the hardest things about one-day or one-weekend teams is building any sort of mental cohesiveness, and the one thing that does that faster than anything else is actually feeling pressured,” Seamon said. “When you’re up a lot, it’s really easy to keep that loose mental game.”
Sabin made his presence felt from the opening point of the Div. I game. After Lincoln-Sudbury’s Henry Frost knocked a pass down to give the white team the disc near the black team’s end zone, Sabin tracked down a floater from Milton’s William McSherry to take a 1-0 lead.
The two squads split the next six points, with Rogers sprinting every which way, leaping into the air to pull down deep passes on offense and diving to knock down passes on defense. Rogers finished the game with six blocks, but after preventing a goal with a layout, Rogers overthrew his receiver, and Armstrong intercepted it in the end zone for a Callahan point to make it 3-2 white.
Up 4-3, the white team went on a 3-0 run, led by two assists from Marokhovsky, who finished the game with five.
The Div. I All-Star Game was close until the final five points. The Div. II game was never close. Babbitt’s red team scored the first six points, with Babbitt scoring four of them and defensing a pass. Somerville High’s Brandon Hamilton threw two first-half goals, and teammate Rory Palmer threw another.
Babbitt’s team allowed just two first-half goals, but clamped down even further in the second half, limiting the blue team to just one goal, which came with the red team already up 14-2.
Somerville’s Sam-Badot Fisher out-ran everyone on a play in the second half to catch a huck from Palmer to make it 10-2, then on the next possession pulled off a play Ultimate players commonly call a “world’s greatest.”
Palmer, at midfield by the near sideline, tried to hit Badot-Fisher with a crossing pass to the far side of the end zone, but his pass sailed out of bounds. While toeing the far sideline, Badot-Fisher leaped out of bounds and caught the disc. While still airborne, Badot-Fisher threw the disc behind him and back towards the end zone.
Badot-Fisher put enough spin on the disc to make it float in the air long enough for Ashland High School’s Sumner Cushman to run under it and catch it for the goal.
“A little of it was about thinking about it, but part of it was just, you know, instincts,” Badot-Fisher said of the play. “I just kind of wanted to score, and I knew if I threw it back in I’d score.”
Abington High School’s Jared Sumner did his best to help the blue team, throwing two scores while playing smart, active defense. Unfortunately, his team may have simply been overmatched from the start.
“Maybe the people who coordinated the teams didn’t know how everyone actually can do,” Hamilton said. “Some people can probably throw better than they can catch, and vice versa. So, probably they didn’t know anybody, about anybody’s skills.”
Hamilton and Badot-Fisher, both playing in their first All-Star games, said the nicest change from their season was playing with players who are all experienced and knowledgeable.