Selfless Captain: Melo Delivers For Tigers In Tourney

Evan Melo
Taunton captain Evan Melo raises the trophy following the Tigers’ win in the D1 State Final. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
LOWELL, Mass. – Every championship team has a strong pitching staff with at least one ace, a handful of dangerous hitters, and a couple of defensive wizards in the field that will grab all of the headlines.

But every championship team needs a player like Evan Melo.

The Taunton senior captain wasn’t one of the team’s leaders offensively during the regular season and he doesn’t make any appearances on the mound, but the intangibles and leadership he brings to the table are irreplaceable.

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Those traits were on full display as Melo played a major role in Taunton winning six postseason games, the final one a 5-3 win over Shrewsbury at LeLacheur Park to win the MIAA D1 State Championship.

“We never give up, we went three and a half innings without a hit and then all of a sudden we just explode because we keep grinding,” Melo said. “We never give up one any pitch, any at-bat, any inning. This just brings to fruition everything we worked for. It’s unbelievable.

“I really can’t put it into words, it still hasn’t hit me that we’re state champions. I can’t believe it, especially after last year losing in the first round. That’s really where it started. We’ve been grinding since that day to make sure it didn’t happen.”

There were times when Taunton coach Blair Bourque toyed with the idea of replacing Melo in the lineup as the senior’s offensive numbers dipped throughout the year. But as a reliable center fielder and a true leader, Bourque couldn’t replace Melo.

“Evan is a great leader and he does whatever it takes for the team to win,” said fellow captain Jack Moynihan. “When it comes to sacrificing to move a guy over or get a guy in, everyone on the team can do it but Evan is 100% the type of guy you want there, he’s really important for us.”

Melo, who also captained the Tigers’ boys soccer team in the fall, rewarded his coach’s faith with a remarkable postseason. Not only did he provide the leadership as a captain, he delivered in the biggest moments on the field. He looked like a different player at the plate, hitting a team-best .429 in the postseason.

“Evan Melo, who struggled for most of the season offensively, has been phenomenal this postseason,” Bourque said. “The kid has been on fire, has been huge with bunting, base hits, stealing bases, great catches in the outfield. He almost lost his spot in the season but he worked his way back into the lineup and we’re really fortunate he did because he was big for us.

“He seemed to come up when guys are on and he knows what to do, he came up clutch,” Bourque said. “He battles, he fouls off a lot of tough pitches so he’s a tough out even though his batting average isn’t great. The little things, the intangibles that he brings to the table is off the charts. He plays a great center field, he’s usually the first one here and last one to leave, I’m extremely proud of here. This postseason he’s been nothing but phenomenal.”

He hit safely in five of the six playoff games and knocked in a run in five of the six tournament games as well. He scored five runs and walked three times, putting up a .529 on-base percentage.

When it mattered the most, under the bright lights on the biggest stage, Melo knocked in the game-winning run in the state final.

An inning after Shrewsbury scored three straight runs to tie the game, Melo came up and brought home the go-ahead score for the Tigers. Junior Jared Roderick reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on an error that allowed Andrew Gomes to reach.

With a runner at third and Melo at the plate, Bourque didn’t need to give any instructions to Melo. In fact, he didn’t even need to send a sign. Even as the team’s leading hitter in the tournament, Melo was ready to sacrifice his at-bat for a run.

Melo laid down a squeeze bunt up the first base line that ended up going for a single that brought in Roderick to put the Tigers ahead 4-3.

“I just want to get that run in,” Melo said. “A lot of times [Bourque] doesn’t call it, I just give him a nod and we both know. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a single, as long as we get the win, that’s what matters.

“Our main goal this year was to keep everyone connected. We really do love each other like brothers. We just had to make sure that we took everything one step at a time…win a pitch, win an at-bat, win an inning. If you take it one step at a time, great things are going to happen like this.”

It was the second straight game that Melo brought in a run from third with a bunt. In the state semifinals with the Tigers trailing 5-4, Melo stepped up to the plate with runners on the corners with no outs.

While most players would want a chance to hit the ball and drive in the run, Melo said all that matters is that the team gets the run. Fellow senior captain Josh Lajoie said there’s no one better for that spot.

“We have all the faith in the world in him,” Lajoie said. “He’s the definition of a team player and he’s helped us out throughout the entire season, it was great to see him succeed in a big game.”

Of course, Evan Melo delivered in the semifinals as well, dropping down the sac bunt that also scored Roderick to tie the game. Taunton went on to win in nine innings to advance to the state final.

“That’s something we practice a lot on,” Bourque said of the bunting. Taunton scored another run on a squeeze earlier in the state final when Roderick brought in Nolan Melo. “We work on first and thirds, we work on our bunt defensively. We’re working on it offensively and defensively. We knew going into the postseason, if we had a chance to generate some offense, we would take advantage of it.”

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Melo was also responsible for another run earlier in the game. He led off the top of the fifth with a double and scored on the next at-bat on a single from Ty Cali that put Taunton up 3-0 at the time.

“Evan’s hard work and leadership that he’s exuded all year long has kept him in the lineup,” Bourque said. “He bought himself four or five extra starts, and he struggled at times, but he was a guy we looked to for leadership.”

And that’s why every championship team needs an Evan Melo.

Walk-Off Win Over L-S Sends Taunton To State Final

Taunton baseball Nic Notarangelo
Taunton’s Nic Notarangelo (left) celebrates with Danny MacDougall and other teammates after his game-winning hit. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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LOWELL, Mass. – With the winning run standing at second base, Taunton juniors Logan Lawrence and Nolan Melo approached classmate Nic Notarangelo in the on-deck circle with a simple message.

“There’s no one better.”

Notarangelo, who has been the Tigers’ hottest hitter down the stretch, was 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, so Lawrence and Melo decided to deliver a vote of confidence right before he headed to the plate.

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Notarangelo delivered, smacking a hard hit double to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Ty Cali from second and the Tigers walked off with a 6-5 win in over Lincoln-Sudbury in a D1 State Semifinal, sending Taunton to its first ever state championship.

“Nic came into the lineup about midway through the season and since then, he hasn’t stopped,” Lawrence said. “He knew he had a rough couple of at-bats, but we just wanted to let him know that we believe in him. He didn’t need us to do that but we wanted to show him support.”

It was Taunton’s only lead of the game as the Tigers trailed 3-0 after just a half inning and had to erase a two-run deficit in the sixth inning.

“They were telling me there was no one better,” Notarangelo said of the on-deck conversation. “The fact that they have confidence in me gave me confidence in the box. It’s a team game and we’re the most passionate team that I know. Whenever we’re down, you can’t count us out. We fight to the last out, the last pitch, you can’t count us out.

“I had seen the pitcher before and he wasn’t throwing anything funny so I was just waiting for one that was in my zone and luckily I got it.”


Sophomore Ty Cali legged out a one-out double and sophomore pinch hitter Alyjah Marshall earned a walk to bring Notarangelo to the plate. Three pitches later, Notarangelo delivered the game-winning hit to bring Cali in, sending the Tigers into a frenzy.

“They don’t quit,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “It’s something that from early on, we’ve played some really tough games and faced a lot of adversity. It’s tough to beat a team that doesn’t quit, and these guys don’t quit, they have each others backs. They work hard, they play hard, and I’m really proud to manage them. I can’t say enough about the camaraderie, hard work, and determination…you name it. It’s been there all year.

“Nic has been our guy, I was hoping he’d get a chance to swing the bat in the last inning. He had a difficult game so far so it was huge for him. It was only a matter of time until he broke out and put the barrel on the ball.”

While Notarangelo delivered the winning hit, the Tigers might not have been in position to do so without the work of Lawrence. Not only did Lawrence club a two-run home run in the first inning the stemmed the tide, he came on in relief and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and escaping a bases-loaded situation in the sixth to earn the win.

“He saved us, he’s been great throughout the whole tournament, the whole year,” Notarangelo said of Lawrence. “I couldn’t be more proud of what he’s done this year.”

Lawrence came on after five innings of work for Tiger ace Jack Moynihan, who struck out six and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and one walk.

“Jack [Moynihan] has picked us up all season long, he’s picked me up if I had a bad game,” Lawrence said. “You have to reciprocate that energy. He does good for me all the time so I’m going to do my best for him.”

L-S, who had lost just two games all season on its way to a North sectional title, jumped on the Tigers with three runs in the top of the first inning. Connor Lachman doubled, Jesse McCullough and James Dillon singled, and an RBI groundout from Andrew Cahill put the Warriors ahead 3-0.

But the lead was short lived as the Tigers offense answered immediately. Lucas Martins drew a one-out walk, stole second, and then scored after a single from Colby Lariviere. Lawrence smashed the fourth pitch he saw over the left field fence for a two-run home run, tying the game 3-3 after one.

“Our plan was to just chip away,” Obviously you don’t want to go down but we have faith in Jack being able to keep us in the game. [Lincoln-Sudbury] hit the ball really well, that’s a good team over there. We knew we were in for a dog fight and we were hoping to keep the damage to a minimum and Jack did a great job of doing that for us. Logan came in and pitched phenomenal, that was a gutsy effort from him. His home run got us back in the game and kind of took the edge off. That let us know we could compete with them.

Moynihan settled in, striking out the side in the second inning but the top half of L-S’ lineup struck again in the third inning. Lachman doubled again, advanced on a ground out, and Dillon walked to put runners on the corner. Dillon attempted to steal second, forcing a throw but it ended up in centerfield, allowing Lachman to score. But Taunton limited the damage as Dillon tried to go from second to home. Evan Melo fired to Martins and he fired to Andrew Gomes at home for the tag.

Lachman surprised the Tigers with a bunt to lead off the fifth, advanced to second on a passed ball, stole third, and scored when the throw from home on the pickoff attempt got past the third baseman.

Taunton had momentum in the third when Martins singled and advanced to second on an error. Lawrence walked and the Tigers executed a double steal but Martins was then called out for supposedly coming off the bag at third.

In the top of the sixth, Milind Lele reached on an error, advanced to second on a ground out, Matthew Ray was hit by a pitch, the Tigers intentionally walked Lachman to load the bases but Lawrence induced a grounder to first to prevent any damage.

Lawrence reached second on a two-base error to start the bottom of the sixth and took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball that was also ball four for Jared Roderick. Roderick stole second, Nolan Melo was hit by a pitch, Roderick stole third, and then scored on a squeeze bunt from Evan Melo up the first base line to make it 5-5.

“Execution has been huge for us all year, and those are the fundamentals we practice day in and day out. It’s one of those things, when it works its great because we spend a lot of time on it. For Evan to come through was huge, it’s still difficult to execute and he came through.

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“What’s happened before doesn’t faze these guys. They cheer for each other. Even when I told Gavin [Leahy], a senior, that’d he be pinch hit for [by Marshall in the ninth], he said OK. It’s fun to be able to coach a team that isn’t selfish and cheer for each other, even if they lose their spot. The bottom of the order has been different each game and it’s been someone different game.”

L-S had its lone hit against Lawrence to leadoff the seventh inning, but Gomes erased him at second on a steal attempt.

Taunton baseball (20-7) will play Central sectional champion Shrewsbury in the D1 State Final. Currently, there is no date or time listed on the MIAA website but it’s scheduled to be played at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.

“We’ve got one to go, might as well win it,” Notarangelo said.

Taunton Roars Past Attleboro For First Sectional Title

Taunton baseball Josh Lajoie Evan Melo Jack Moynihan
Taunton captains (L-R) Josh Lajoie, Evan Melo, and Jack Moynihan celebrate with the D1 South championship trophy. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BROCKTON, Mass. – Taunton junior Nic Notarangelo joined the Tigers’ starting lineup on his birthday on May 16th in the City Championship against rival Coyle & Cassidy.

After going a perfect 3-for-3 that day, Notarangelo stuck in the lineup and hasn’t stopped doing damage since.

Notarangelo, patrolling left field for the Tigers since that game, had two hits and drove in three runs on Saturday, including the game-winner in the second inning with a triple, to pace fourth-seeded Taunton to a 6-1 win over #11 Attleboro in the D1 South Sectional Final at Campanelli Stadium.

It’s the first sectional title in program history for the Tigers.

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“This feels great, it’s all my team, my team is always there to back me up, I always hear them cheering,” Notarangelo said. “It gives me adrenaline, it gives me confidence at the plate. We were great in the field, our pitching was outstanding but we had some trouble getting the hitting going at the beginning of the year. But it’s all about practice, we all feed off each other. Every day, we’ve been in the cages whether we’ve had practice or not and now it’s all paid off.”

Notarangelo, who has hit safely in all but two games since joining the lineup (with eight multi-hit games), smoked a two-out triple to deep left centerfield to bring in Sean Quinlan (single) and Evan Melo (single) and put Taunton up 3-0, a lead it never relinquished.

One game that Notarangelo didn’t have a hit was the Tigers’ playoff win over Xaverian. But instead of a hit, he had arguably the biggest play of the game with a diving catch in the first inning, stranding two Hawks on base. Taunton went on to win 2-0.

“Nic had that diving catch against Xaverian that really changed the momentum even it was the first inning,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “And then he came up huge again this game. Those were huge runs for us to get. He’s a kid that is quiet, does the right things, works hard, stays after. I’m really proud of him, he’s come a long way this year. He started to get some at-bats later in the season and was doing some damage and hasn’t looked back since.”

Three runs was plenty for right-handed pitchers Logan Lawrence and Josh Lajoie. Lawrence, a junior, earned the win by allowing one unearned run in four innings of work, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six.

Lajoie, a senior, allowed just three bases runners (one hit, two walks) in three innings of work while recording four strikeouts. None of the three Bombardiers advanced past first against Lajoie.

“Logan was great, he came up big and executed pitches when he needed to, which was important,” Bourque said. “He was scrapping and thew the ball well, his location was a little off today that got him in some trouble. Then Josh did a phenomenal job coming in and shutting the door, making sure they didn’t get too many guys on.

“Last year we lost to Durfee in a playoff game after beating them twice in the regular season. We knew it’d be tough coming in today, especially the second game against Attleboro when we were able to hit the ball pretty good but they had played five games in five days so we kind of threw that game away. We knew they are a good team, they are here for a reason. We knew the challenge that was ahead of us and we met that challenge and I’m really proud of these guys.”

Taunton’s Jared Roderick, Andrew Gomes, Quinlan, and Melo all clubbed consecutive singles to lead off the second inning, with Melo’s hit bringing Gomes home (Roderick was picked off at second by Attleboro starter Ryan Morry [5IP, 8H, 2BB, 6ER, 2K). After Morry got a ground out, Notarangelo smacked his third triple of the season to bring in two more runs.

“I think early on, we might have been pressing, I’m not sure what it was exactly,” Bourque said the offensive turnaround this season. “But as the weather warmed up, so did our bats. I think there were some games we needed the offense when the pitching wasn’t there and it came through. It’s a team game and I think we’ve proven that.”

Attleboro had a chance to respond right away as they loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third. Both Troy Gamache and Nick McMahon singled and Tim Callahan reached on an error after a bunt. It looked like the Bombardiers would bring at least one run in on a bloop single to shallow left, but Taunton sophomore shortstop Ty Cali, who joined the starting lineup for the playoffs after the Tigers lost Danny MacDougall to injury, sprinted and made the catch on the run to hold the runners in place.

“That was the play of the day there,” Bourque said. “He played in the New Bedford game when Danny pitched so he had a couple of innings of varsity experience but not much. We were just asking for him to make the routine plays and he’s done a great job stepping in for us.”

After the first out, Lawrence came back with back-to-back strikeouts against the heart of the Bombardiers’ lineup to escape without any damage done.

Lawrence’s momentum carried to the plate as he clubbed a one-out triple in the bottom of the inning, and beat the throw on Roderick’s squeeze bunt to make it 4-0.

The Bombardiers had another chance to cut into the lead in the top of the fourth but only managed to put a dent into it. Troy Van Vliet reached on a one-out error, Gamache singled with two outs, and McMahon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Van Vliet to score but Lawrence induced a ground ball up the middle that Cali fielded and fired to first for the third out.

“They were definitely lacking,” Attleboro head coach Steve Dunlea said of timely hits. “Part of that is on us, part of it you tip your cap because they made some good pitches.

“That’s a talented pitching staff [Taunton] has, really talented. I was just saying to the kids how this is the farthest an Attleboro team has been in quite some time. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished this year, this senior group. None of them had played in a tournament game before and made it all the way to here, that takes leadership. We started 0-2, kind of a tough 0-2, but we pulled together as a family and that’s how they played the rest of the season.”

Taunton canceled that run with one of its own in the bottom half. Evan Melo drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a chopper to second, and Lucas Martins brought the run in, slicing a single to right field just fair to make it 5-1.

The Tigers tacked on another insurance run in the sixth inning as Gomes led off with a walk, ending Morry’s day. Eoin Kelleher, the Bombardiers’ ace, came on in relief on just two days rest. Kelleher got a fly out to left before Evan Melo’s single put two on. A fielder’s choice advanced Gomes to third and Notarangelo singled to bring in pinch runner Nolan Melo in to make it 6-1.

Cali erased a leadoff single in the top of the seventh by turning a double play and Lajoie got the last out on called strikes to send the Tigers into a big celebration.

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“I don’t think its hit home yet but it’s something I’m really proud of the kids and what they’ve accomplished so far,” Bourque said. “You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys, of hard workers. The camaraderie they’ve had all season. The offseason weight room, the captain’s practices, you name it. They deserve everything they get.”

Attleboro finishes the season at 14-10, concluding a terrific postseason run that saw the Bombardiers knock off Barnstable on the road, Bridgewater-Raynham, and second-seeded Durfee.

“I think they are starting to figure what they’ve accomplished and obviously it hurts right now,” Dunlea said. “You want to continue on but for me, it was just a great experience with an unbelievable group of seniors. They really cared about the program, they had goals for this team, and it was just really fun to be a part of that.”

Taunton baseball (19-7) advances to the D1 State Semifinal and will take on North sectional champion Lincoln-Sudbury (21-2), the top seed in that bracket. The Tigers will take on the Warriors on Tuesday at Alumni Field in Lowell at 7:00.

Tigers Can’t Cash In Against Feehan In South Semifinal

Taunton softball Kelsey White
Taunton sophomore Kelsey White delivers a pitch in the first inning against Bishop Feehan. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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TAUNTON, Mass. – Sophomore Kelsey White and the Taunton softball team didn’t give third-seeded Bishop Feehan many chances, but the Shamrocks took advantage of the little opportunities they had.

Meanwhile, the Tigers had a handful of opportunities, putting at least one runner in scoring position in five innings, and a runner on base in six of the seven innings, but an uncharacteristic performance from second-seeded Taunton put an end to its season.

Bishop Feehan scored single runs in the first, sixth, and seventh innings while Taunton was limited to just one run, leaving six runners on base in scoring position as the Shamrocks earned a 3-1 win a D1 South Semifinal contest.

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“We had many chances,” said Taunton head coach Dave Lewry. “It comes down to a game of execution. You have to execute at the plate, in the field, and on the bases, and we picked the wrong game not to execute. It wasn’t a good game for us all around. We didn’t execute. We took too many called strike threes. We played well all year, but the wrong game to play poorly.”

The Shamrocks got off to an ideal start with leadoff hitter Jessica Levesque clubbing a triple to right center field. White (7IP, 6H, 1BB, 3R, 1ER, 3K) induced a ground ball to shortstop and the runner originally held, but after a brief bobble a throwing error allowed Levesque to score and the Feehan runner to get to second.

After a walk, McKenzie McAloon started a double play to get two outs and White got a fly ball to center to strand a runner at third and minimize the damage to just one run.

Taunton had a bevy of chances to tie the game and even take a lead, but couldn’t find the timely hit necessary.

“We had timely hitting,” said Feehan coach Bill Milot. “We did not play a flawless game but fortunately [Taunton] wasn’t able to capitalize on our mistakes and we were able to capitalize on theirs.”

In the bottom of the first, sophomore Hanna Aldrich ripped a two-out double but Feehan pitcher Brooke Scorzinski (7IP, 4H, 4BB, 1ER, 9K) got a pop up in foul territory behind the plate for the third out.

Heads up base running allowed White to get to second on an error in the second with one out, and quickly moved to third on a ground out. But the Tigers couldn’t get the run in as Scorzinski got one of her nine strikeouts to end the frame.

Jaime Brown doubled with one out in the third inning, Alexa White walked, and both advanced on a passed ball to put runners in scoring position with one out. But again Scorzinski got a big strikeout (looking) for the second out. McAloon was hit by the pitch to load the bases but Taunton couldn’t manufacture anything as Scorzinski got a soft line drive back to the circle.

A walk and an error put Kelsey White and Paige Silvia on first and second with no outs but neither runner would advance any further as the Tigers failed on a sac bunt attempt and had three straight fly ball outs.

“I would definitely say it was uncharacteristic,” Lewry said. “Defensively we had a couple of silly little plays, not being aware of the base runners…not being able to get down bunts, that was critical. We tried three or four times and we didn’t get one down. We talked about executing bunts all year, we’ve practiced it all year, we just didn’t do it tonight.

Meanwhile, Kelsey White was cruising on the mound. She retired the side in order in each the second and fourth innings and didn’t let a one-out single past first in the second. A two-out single from Sierra Basara went nowhere in the fifth went nowhere when White got a big strikeout.

“Kelsey had to really battle tonight,” Lewry said. “Some of her pitches weren’t working the way they normally do so we had to go a different way and I thought she did a heck of a job. We could have been out of there allowing one run if we made a couple of plays, it came down to execution and we didn’t get it done.”

The Shamrocks added to their lead with a run in the top of the sixth inning as Caroline Deem blooped a one-out single and took second on a ground ball. Scorzinski sliced a single to right field that Abbie McDonough fielded, firing a throw home but it wasn’t handled at the plate and the runner from second came across.

Taunton finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth but again left runners in scoring position. Silvia had a one-out single and moved to second on a two-out walk from Rylie Murphy. Brown sliced an RBI double to left field to bring a one run in and make it 2-1. With runners on second and third, Scorzinski got the third out with a strikeout.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Feehan tacked on a big insurance run in the top of the seventh inning. Haley Coupal had a one-out single and moved to third on a soft grounder in front of the plate. With two outs, Levesque was able to reach when her grounder was bobbled at first, and Coupal ran all the way from second to home before the Tigers could fire a throw home.

The Tigers brought the heart of their lineup for the seventh inning but Scorzinski retired the side in order for the first time all game.

Taunton softball finishes the season at 22-3 while Bishop Feehan will play Bridgewater-Raynham in the D1 South Final on Sunday.

Stoughton Takes Rubber Match With Hawks To Advance

Stoughton baseball George Currier Matt Shaver
Stoughton’s George Currier (right) slides in safely before Milford’s Matt Shaver applies the tag at second. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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STOUGHTON, Mass. – Over the closing stages of the regular season, Stoughton’s offense wasn’t tearing the cover off the ball, but the Black Knights were finding ways to win.

The same was the case in the opening round contest with Greater New Bedford as the Black Knights squeaked by with a 1-0 win.

But Stoughton’s offense could be heating up at the right time. In a rubber match with division rival Milford, the Black Knights doubled their hit production from the previous game and put a runner in scoring position in all but one inning.

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The result was a convincing 7-1 win for the Black Knights in an all-Hockomock D2 South quarterfinal game, earning a season series win over the Hawks.

“I feel like we came out a little flat, especially after having so much energy on Saturday,” said Stoughton coach Mike Armour. “But I felt like we got our mojo back a little in the second inning there. Milford manufactured a run and it was like here we go, but our guys were able to get the bat on the ball. The bats had cooled off as of late. So if we can get the bats going, I know what we’re capable of. But we’re happy to have the opportunity to play again.”

Stoughton had a total of 14 base runners: scattering eight hits, reaching twice via walk, had two players get hit by a pitch, one reached on an error, and another on a fielder’s choice.

The only inning Stoughton didn’t put a runner on base, and it might have been the defense that gave the Black Knights momentum at the plate.

After squandering a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the bottom of the second, Milford came out and loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third. Luke Rosa drew a leadoff walk and Nick Marcolini and Justin Applebee followed with bunt singles.

Matt Shaver drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly but Stoughton junior lefty James Genest (6IP, 3H, 1BB, 1ER, 4K) limited the damage by getting a foul ball pop up to first and a swinging strikeout for the third out.

Junior George Currier (3-for-4, three runs, stolen base) led off with a single and beat the throw to second to allow Robbie Seaman to reach on a fielder’s choice. Currier moved to third on a fly ball by Genest and came home to score when Mike Nazzaro’s grounder was misplayed in the infield.

Cian Swierzewski walked to load the bases and junior Jacob Kaplan smashed a deep triple to left field to clear the bases and put the hosts up 4-1.

“Those are hits that change games and Kap’s been doing it for us all year,” Armour said. “We’ve talked before about how many hits he’s had this season with the bases loaded but I mean a bases-clearing triple in a tournament game…that’s just big time.”

Currier got things started in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out single, stole second, and moved to third on a deep fly ball from Zak Paquette. After Seaman was hit by a pitch by Milford starter Colby Pires (4IP, 6H, 1BB, 6R, 2ER, 3K), Currier raced home on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.

Seaman moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Genest drilled a two-out single through the right side for a 6-1 advantage.

Stoughton tacked on another run in the sixth inning with Currier being the catalyst again. Currier and Paquette had back-to-back singles with the former moving up a bag on a fly ball from Genest. With runners on first and third, a balk was called and Currier scored.

“It’s a tribute to these guys,” Armour said. “We knew it was going to be a battle with Milford coming to town, it always is. We had a lot of the 2017 [Stoughton] team here, [Milford] kind of came here and did us in that year and I think that was fresh in their minds being just a couple years removed. Our guys made the plays, defensively really fantastic.”

Milford didn’t have a hit after the third inning but did have a couple of chances to cut into the deficit. Rosa reached on an error to lead off the fifth inning, moved to second on a ground out but was tagged out on a ground ball. Applebee, who reached on the fielder’s choice, stole second but was stranded there.

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The Hawks got to the Knights’ bullpen in the top of the seventh, adding a bit of drama to the game in the final frame. Rosa and Applebee both walked, sandwiched around Marcolini getting hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. But Stoughton senior Evan Jackman induced a ground ball to Currier at second. Currier finished with four putouts and four assists.

“Give a lot of credit to [Stoughton], Mike always has them ready to go and they are a good team, It’s always competitive,” said Milford coach Alex Dion. “The 2017 [Stoughton] team is here, and that was a similar story then when it was split in the regular season but we came out on top in the postseason, this year they come out on top. It’s always going to be a tough game but we didn’t take advantage of any opportunities we had and they got that big hit and I think after that, we were a bit deflated and couldn’t find a way to get it going again.”

Stoughton baseball (14-8) will host top-seeded Hopkinton (14-5), who knocked off Milton in the quarterfinal round, on Wednesday at 4:00. Milford finishes the season at 11-11.

Warriors Walk Off With Win Over Visiting Whalers

King Philip softball Ryann Stagg
King Philip junior Ryan Stagg smiles as she’s greeted by teammates after driving in the game-winning run. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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PLAINVILLE, Mass. – The 15th-seeded King Philip softball team was just one out away from a hard fought victory over #18 New Bedford when the task at hand became a bit more difficult.

The Whalers, limited to just three hits through six innings by KP senior pitcher Faith Turinese, suddenly had an offensive surge. Down to the final out and trailing 3-1, New Bedford smacked three consecutive doubles leading to two runs to knot the score and extend the game

But the game didn’t last much longer. The Warriors, seemingly unfazed by the rally from the visitors, had an immediate response in the bottom of the seventh. Destiny Goyco was hit by a pitch to put the winning run on base. Ryann Stagg, the nine hitter, fell behind 0-2 but drilled the third pitch she saw into the gap in left field, and with the outfield playing in, courtesy runner Heather Nix sprinted around the bases and all the way home to give King Philip a 4-3 walk-off win.

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“It’s never easy,” quipped KP skipper Norm Beauchemin as the Warriors notched a tournament win for the fifth straight season. “[New Bedford] plays some good competition, they play a lot of people in the South Coast [Conference]. They usually try to play a pretty good schedule.

“They are tough kids, they have a great attitude. They work hard and they play hard, we’re no different than King Philip teams of the past in terms of attitude.”

Of the Whalers’ three hits prior to the seventh inning, two came in the opening frame. After Turinese (7IP, 6H, 1BB, 2ER, 7K) fanned the first batter of the game, New Bedford strung together back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Turinese got another strikeout, this one on a dropped third strike. With first occupied, the runner was automatically out but the Whalers were aggressive on the bases and the runner on second took off to third.

The throw from home was high, allowing the run to scamper home and just beat out a great throw from left fielder Liliana Rolfe and put the visitors up 1-0 early on.

From that point on, Turinese allowed just two bases runners between the second and sixth innings. After a leadoff walk in the second, Turinese retired eight straight before the Whalers had a pair of runners reach in the fifth on errors.

Meanwhile, senior Meghan Gorman was the catalyst on the offensive side of the ball. She was hit by a pitch in the first and stole both second and third with two outs but was stranded there. She was back at in the fourth inning, lacing a double to drive in Raegan Simeone, who had doubled in the at-bat before.

Rolfe wasn’t credited for an RBI on the next play but was certainly responsible for giving KP the lead. She reached on a bunt single, moving Gorman to third, With the infield in focusing on the bunt, Rolfe took off for second. Although the Whalers made the play at second, the throw allowed Gorman to sprint home for the go-ahead run.

“Two really smart players. You’re not going to find many players more heads up than Meg but Lil is not far behind at all. If you blink, they are taking a base. That’s a decision she made, and we’ve been an aggressive base-running team through the years. If they make the play and you’re out, but it was the right play, I’m good with it. “

An inning after taking the lead, a pair of errors threatened to give it back to New Bedford. Back-to-back mistakes put runners on first and second, and both runners advanced on a ground out to Turinese in the circle. Turinese got a ground ball and the Warriors were able to catch the runner on third off of the bag as Paige Berdos fired to Gorman for the tag. A fly ball to first baseman Anna Bradley ended the inning.

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KP tacked on another run just a half inning later, with Gorman coming through again. Berdos got things going with a two-out double and stole third before pinch hitter Madison Kelley drew a walk. Gorman smoked the first pitch she saw off the center field fence for an RBI double, putting the hosts up 3-1.

New Bedford got its first hit of the game since the first inning with a leadoff single in the sixth but the runner didn’t go any further as Turinese got three straight infield fly balls.

King Philip softball (13-9) advances to play at #2 Taunton (20-2) in the First Round of the MIAA D1 South tournament on Monday at 7:00. The Tigers won both regular season games, taking a 7-0 decision at PAL in early April and a 12-0 win at Jack Tripp Field in the regular season finale.

Paquette, Black Knights Blank Bears In Close Contest

Stoughton baseball Brady Conlin
Stoughton’s Brady Conlin (right) tags our Greater New Bedford’s Cam Barton for the final out of the game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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STOUGHTON, Mass. – The visiting Greater New Bedford Bears came knocking on the door twice, including with the game on the line, and both times, the Black Knights slammed the door shut.

The visitors, seeded 12th in the MIAA D2 South tournament, tried on a pair of occasions to score on aggressive base running moves, but on each occasion, Stoughton junior catcher Mike Nazzaro and senior pitcher Zak Paqeutte denied the Bears, including on the last play of the game to secure a 1-0 win in a First Round matchup on Anthony Novello Field.

The fifth-seeded Black Knights took the lead into the final inning, putting the pressure on the visitors. Paquette (7IP, 3H, 2BB, 2HBP, 5K) hit the first batter he faced before getting a fly ball to center for the first out. A passed ball allowed pinch runner Cam Barton to take second, and a ground out advanced the runner to third. Evan Mello drew the first walk of the day against Paquette to put runners on the corners.

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GNBVT’s Payton Leandre battled to draw a second straight walk that would have loaded the bases. But ball four was bobbled at the plate and Barton took off for home. Nazzaro quickly recovered and scooped the ball to Paquette and Barton retreated and tried to head back to third. But the Black Knights had the runner caught in a pickle and Paquette tossed to third baseman Brady Conlin and the sophomore applied the tag to end the game.

“That game was one play away from maybe going another direction so it was nice for the boys to hold on,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “Zak was obviously huge for us today, set the tone early. He was hitting the zone, challenging those guys. We talked about really challenging them and making them earn everything, I’m not sure how many walks he ended up with but not many.

“Hats off to Greater New Bedford, their guy pitched a good game. But we need to do a better job offensively, I felt like we had guys on base early just couldn’t get them in and that could have changed the game early. We let them hang around and anything can happen, and it almost did.”

Nazzaro and Paquette combined to deny the Bears of another run with a play at home. Leandre singled in the bottom of the fifth with his side trailing 1-0 and moved to second on a sac bunt from Jack Gifford. With leadoff man Ethan Almeida at the plate, a wild pitch got back Nazzaro and went to the backstop. Leandre sprinted to third but didn’t slide in, instead rounding the base and taking off for home without hesitation.

Paquette, who was halfway between the mound and plate, noticed and quickly sprinted home and Nazzaro fielded the loose ball and hit Paquette, who applied the tag for the third out of the inning.

“Fantastic plays,” Armour said. “And even Zak looking like he wasn’t covering the plate. He was locked in from the second he got here today so I don’t think he thought he was going to go and when he did, it was like OK, thanks for coming. I think it affected them on the bases going forward too.”

The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the third inning. Paquette clubbed a one-out single and it looked like the Black Knights would have runners on first and second when Robbie Seaman was hit on the back by the pitch. But halfway down the line, the home ump ruled Seaman didn’t make an attempt to get out of the way of the pitch and the at-bat continued.

Instead of first and second, the Knights had runners on the corners as Seaman smacked a single through the right side. Junior James Genest hit a fly ball deep enough to left field to allow Paquette to scamper home for a run on a sacrifice fly.

“In my eyes, he was hit between the 2 and the 1 so I’m not sure how he’s supposed to get out of the way,” Armour said. “But we took advantage of the situation. Umps are doing the best they can, it’s not easy. We don’t want to make excuses, we’re not shrugging our shoulders, we’re not complaining…you have to overcome.

“I’m proud of the guys, gutting it out. Those tight games can go either way, tournament games can go either way. We’ve been on both sides. I think the first one is the hardest so we’re excited to move on.”

Stoughton had someone reach base in four other innings, and get into scoring position each time, but couldn’t cash in any further against GNBVT starter Angel Quinones Gonzalez. Paquette walked in the first and stole second but back-to-back strikeouts stranded the runner there.

Nazzaro was hit by a pitch to lead off the second and an error on a hard hit ground ball from Jacob Kaplan moved him to second with one out, but Stoughton could only manage a pair of fly balls and no further damage.

Cian Swierzewski put the pressure on the Bears’ defense, beating out an infield dribbler and taking second on a throwing error but three straight soft line drives stranded the run there.

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And in the fifth, Seaman had a two-out single, stole second, but was caught at third trying to swipe another bag.

“I didn’t think we hit the ball the way we are capable of hitting, but that’s baseball that’s going to happen. And you’re going to have some physical mistakes, that’s part of the game. But I think we did have some mental mistakes.”

Stoughton advances to the D2 South Quarterfinals and will host a familiar foe in division rival Milford, the 13th seed. The Scarlet Hawks knocked off #4 Southeastern in their opening contest. Milford beat Stoughton, 3-2, at Fino Field at the end of April but the Black Knights clinched the division title with a 6-3 win in mid-May at Novello Field. Stoughton will host Milford on Monday at 4:00.

Attleboro Edges Mansfield In Back-And-Forth Battle

Attleboro softball Meghan Gordon
Attleboro freshman Meghan Gordon swings at a pitch in the third inning against Mansfield. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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MANSFIELD, Mass. – When the Mansfield and Attleboro softball teams meet, it doesn’t matter where the teams are in the standings, you know you’re in for a good game.

Even more so was the case when the 16th-seeded Hornets hosted the 17th-seeded Bombardiers in an MIAA Division 1 South Preliminary Round game, with each team’s season hanging in the balance.

And with seven of the last 10 meetings dating back to 2015 having been decided by two or fewer runs, its no surprise that Thursday’s contest came down to the final inning.

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In a see-saw battle that saw Mansfield take its second lead of the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, Attleboro responded with two runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead for the third time and junior Emily Gittle (7IP, 11H, 2BB, 5ER, 13K) struck out the side in the bottom half to give the Bombardiers a 7-6 win.

“It doesn’t matter what the records are, it’s just one of those games,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “It’s a really good rivalry, it was a great game today. You have to be able to come back from things like errors and that’s what good teams do because you can’t play a perfect game. And our big players came through when we needed them.

“The kids persevered. We had the same type of game against Franklin, so we’ve been there before. We’re never out of it, especially when it’s one run. [Mansfield] is a good team, they battle, they find ways to get runs too. Those Bendanillo’s are two really tough outs. Emily Gittle was strong in the circle, a quiet 13 strikeouts tonight. We had some errors but I thought we got some big outs today at the right time.”

The Bombardiers had the first lead in the game after scoring in the first inning, the Hornets seized the advantage with three runs in the fourth, Attleboro jumped back in front with four runs in the fifth before setting up a frantic finish.

“This is how it’s been every time we play them,” said Mansfield head coach Lori Letendre. “I think if you play two more innings, it could have gone the other way. It’s that type of game every time we play Attleboro, unfortunately, they got us all three times this season.

“We hit the ball well today just not when we needed it most. That’s been the story of our season, leaving runners on base and having runners in scoring position and not getting the hit we needed. We had the bases loaded twice, runners on second and third at least once, we had our chances…just couldn’t get it done.”

Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, the Hornets struck for three runs to go back in front for the second time. Senior Sydney Woods clubbed a leadoff double and moved to third on a single from sophomore Ella Verheggen. Verheggen stole second but Gittle got a strikeout and a groundout to get the first two outs.

Kara Bendanillo battled to a walk to load the bases and all runners moved up a base with Woods coming in to score to bring the Hornets within one. Senior Megan Letendre drew another walk to load the bases again, bringing the Hornets’ top offensive player in Mady Bendanillo.

The senior delivered, lacing a single through the left side to bring in two runs to put Mansfield up 6-5 and the pressure on the Bombardiers with just three outs left.

Attleboro came up with a big response as freshman Hailey Perry drew a leadoff walk and classmate Meghan Gordon advanced the run into scoring position after Mansfield starter Sarah Cahill (7IP, 7H, 3BB, 6ER, 4K) induced a ground ball out. Freshman Lindsey Perry singled to put runners on the corners with the Bombardiers’ top offensive threat McKenzie Bergdoll coming to the dish.

Bergdoll delivered the clutch hit the visitors needed, blasting a double deep to left to bring in both runs and putting her team back ahead, a lead they’d hold onto for the win.

“It was the best [Bendanillo] against the best [Bergdoll] and we happened to be the last one standing,” Homer said. “That’s the way you want it to be. You come from behind like that, that’s great for the team, it’s good to persevere because we play a very good team on Saturday.”

Bergdoll put the visitors on the board in the top of the first inning. Gordon smacked a double to start the game and then stole third when Lindsey Perry took ball four and was walked. Bergdoll hit a fly ball deep enough to left for a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Mansfield’s offense came alive in the bottom of the fourth and used a combination of hits and Bombardier errors to jump in front. Kara Bendanillo led off with hard-hit single to left and took third when the ball was misplayed. An infield error allowed Letendre to reach and Bendanillo to score to tie the game. Senior Caty DeMassi followed with an RBI triple and scored herself when the throw home sailed high, putting the Hornets up 3-1.

The Bombardiers mounted a comeback just a half inning later with four runs on their own. Kayla Battisti led off with a single and Gittle reached on a throwing error, putting runners on the corner. Hailey Perry drove in a run with a single and Gordon followed with a triple to bring two more runs in. A single from Lindsey Perry brought in the fourth run of the inning to put Attleboro head 5-3.

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Freshman Hailey Perry, Lindsey Perry, and Meghan Gordon combined for five hits, five runs, and five RBI in the win.

“The bats came alive, and again at the end,” Homer said. “The Perry’s and Meghan Gordon…they are all freshmen. It was huge to get hits from all parts of the lineup.”

Attleboro softball (11-10) advances to the MIAA D1 South First Round and will travel to top-seeded Bridgewater-Raynham (19-1) on Saturday at 4:00. Mansfield finishes the season 12-9.

North Andover Knocks Off Franklin In Super 8 Opener

Franklin baseball Joe Lizotte
Franklin’s Joe Lizotte (3-for-4) connects for a hit in the fifth inning against North Andover. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FRANKLIN, Mass. – After getting three straight outs to leave the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning, Franklin came to bat in the bottom half with the momentum on its side.

Trailing 5-3 to eighth-seeded North Andover, the top-seeded Panthers found themselves with a chance to potentially tie or win the game in their last at-bats. Dan Markowski led off with a double and Joe Lizotte singled. After a strikeout and a fielder’s choice put runners at the corners, Franklin had senior captain Alex Haba, the Hockomock League’s batting champion and MVP, at the plate.

On a 1-1 count, Haba swung and missed for strike two and senior Scott Elliott, who reached on the fielder’s choice, sprinted and slid into second safely for a stolen base to put the tying run on second base. But before the Elliott could dust off the dirt, the home plate ump signaled for interference at the plate and called the third out, leaving the Panthers at a loss in an opening round matchup of the MIAA Super 8 tournament.

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“There’s never one pitch, one swing, one call, one play that defines a game,” said Franklin coach Zach Brown. “The Super 8 is nine innings, 27 outs, and there’s a million opportunities in that game for us to execute better and change the outcome. Yes, I would have liked to have seen that sequence play out with runners at second and third and the league MVP at the plate. I definitely would have liked to have see that play out but that’s not the reality of the situation.

“We’re going to continue to just keep grinding and I certainly feel like we have the ability to dig back in, play good baseball, get back on winning track, and make a run at it.”

While the questionable final call got the majority of the attention, Franklin’s miscues defensively hurt equally as much. The Panthers made two errors in the fifth inning and the Scarlet Knights scored three runs to take a lead that it never relinquished. The visitors tacked on an earned run in the sixth inning and took advantage of walks, steals, and a wild pitch in the seventh to score again.

Both starters had to work around trouble in the first. Franklin junior Brennan Rivera (6IP, 5R 2ER, 5H 3BB, 6K) worked around a two-out walk after striking out the first two batters of the game. North Andover’s Sebastian Keane (7.1IP, 3ER, 8H, 2BB, 1HBP), who was drafted earlier in the day by the Boston Red Sox, allowed hits to Elliott and Haba but got back-to-back outs to prevent any harm.

“Brennan has done a great job for us all year and we’re really proud of his effort today,” Brown said. “He certainly set a great tone and gave us a chance. When he’s on the hill, we’re a confident baseball team. I thought he did a great job getting us to that point in the game. If we make a play here or there for him, maybe the score is a little bit different but we need to move forward and can’t look back. We can learn from it and move forward.”

While Rivera settled into a groove — retiring 11 straight between the first and fifth innings — the Panthers’ offense got to Keane again in the third inning. Joe Lizotte singled from the nine-hole, Jack Nally walked, and Elliott reached on a bunt single up the third base line. Haba drove in the opening run but grounded into a double play and Keane got a strikeout to strand a runner at third.

“We tried to do a lot of things, like shortening the distance with everything and using Major League equivalencies to try and simulate the type of velocity,” Brown said of preparing for Keane. The Panthers had eight hits against him. “Sebastian is a special talent and he’s a great competitor. I’m really proud of our guys, that fought hard and scraped and clawed, and certainly didn’t make it easy on him.”

North Andover got its first hit of the day with one out in the fifth off the bat of Brett Dunham, a single into left. Rivera got a strikeout for the second out but an infield throwing error allowed Justin Connolly to reach and extend the inning. A walk loaded the bases and John McElroy roped a single into left field. The ball eluded the Panther fielder, allowing all three runs to come in and McElroy took third. Rivera stranded the runner there with a fly ball to right.

“We extended a couple of innings where they scored some runs but we never get upset about physical mistakes because our guys are playing hard and aggressive,” Brown said. “I’ll never be upset about a physical mistake, that’s part of the game, those will happen. As long as the mentality is aggressive and guys are playing the game the right way, I have no problems with it. A couple of balls found us in some weird spots but we’ve been pretty sound all year. But there were some times we shot ourselves in the foot.”

Keane reached with a one-out single in the top of the sixth and moved to third on a single from Trevor Crosby. Franklin got the second out with a shallow fly ball caught by Nally in center but Erik Whitehead delivered a two-out grounder up the middle to bring another run to make it 4-1.

A leadoff walk in the top of the seventh forced Brown to go to the bullpen. Tom Finn earned a walk against the bullpen and both runners advanced with stolen bases. A wild pitch allowed John McElroy to scamper home to push the lead to 5-1.

Franklin junior Will Pacheco (2IP, 0R, 0H, 0BB) entered the game in relief with runners on the corners and kept the Panthers’ chances to come back alive with a strong outing. Pacheco induced a fly ball to third, senior catcher Jake Macchi gunned a runner down at second trying to steal, and a grounder to Haba at short ended the threat.

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A perfect top half from Pacheco set Franklin up for success in the bottom half. Nally was hit by a pitch to lead off and Elliott followed with a single. Macchi smacked a one-out single to right to bring both runners in to make it 5-3 and give Franklin some life, knocking Keane from the game. A two-out single from JB Floris put runners at first and second but a fly ball to left was caught for the third out.

Liam Dailey (1IP, 0R, 2H, 1BB, 2K) took over the mound for the Panthers and a pair of singles sandwiched around a walk loaded the bases with no outs for the Scarlet Hawks. But Dailey buckled down, getting back-to-back strikeouts before a fly ball to right field ended the threat.

Franklin baseball (21-2) drops in the Losers (1-Loss) Bracket of the Super 8 tournament and will play the loser of the BC High/Lowell game (Friday) on Saturday at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton with a time to be announced.

Oliver Ames Ousted By Scituate In Playoff Opener

Oliver Ames boys lacrosse Colin Bourne
Oliver Ames senior Colin Bourne unleashes a shot in the fourth quarter as Scituate’s Jack Thompson attempts to get his stick in the way. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – For stretches of Tuesday evening’s D2 South first-round contest, the fourth-seeded Oliver Ames boys lacrosse team dominated and looked like a team poised to make another run through the sectional.

But unfortunately for the hosts, there more even more moments when the Tigers switched off and a talented Scituate team — far better than their 8-10 record and deceiving 13 seed — took advantage and ended up with a 16-11 upset to put an end to Oliver Ames’ historic season.

There were times, like the majority of the second quarter, which OA controlled the game. The Tigers scored five times in the second frame and erased an early deficit to snatch the momentum. And again in the fourth quarter when Oliver Ames scored twice in less than 30 seconds to spark a comeback attempt.

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But there were also stretches in which the Tigers looked like a different team. Like the first quarter, in which Oliver Ames was held scoreless for 12 minutes and had just two shots on target as the visitors raced out to a multi-goal lead. And again to start the second half when Scituate scored three straight goals over the span of five minutes and kept Oliver Ames’ offensive possessions to a minimum.

“I think we had a lot of mental mistakes,” said Oliver Ames head coach Ben Devlin. “Going into the tournament, [Scituate] was one of the teams I didn’t want to see in the first round, I don’t know how they are a 13 seed. I knew we’d have a tough game. When we play well, we can beat anyone but we have moments with mental mistakes and we don’t play well enough. We make up for some of it with effort because they don’t quit, they keep battling. But it was just too many moments where we’d get momentum and give it right back.”

The Sailors certainly didn’t look like underdogs coming out of the gate. After Frankie Ireland caused a turnover on the visitors’ first offensive possession, Scituate was successful on its next three chances. Scituate scored with 9:54 to go to open the scoring, doubled the lead two minutes later, and added a third just over a minute after that to jump out to a 3-0 lead. The lead could have been more if not for a big save from junior goalie Nick Gillis (eight saves).

On the other end, the Tigers struggled to get things going and went into the first break down by three. That quickly changed in the second as Oliver Ames looked like a new team to begin the next quarter.

Scituate extended the lead to 4-0 early on but from there on out, it was all Tigers. Junior Shane Kilkelly, the program’s all-time leading scorer, added to his total with a heroic like effort, leaping across the face of goal to deposit a shot from in close to get OA on the board. The goal also drew a penalty and OA capitalized as Kilkelly scored again 18 seconds later to make it 4-2.

Senior defenseman Shane Murphy came up with a big interception to give the Tigers the ball back and that led to a goal from Sandro Masciarelli after a nice feed from Sam Stevens from behind the net. Kilkelly raced past a trio of defenders two minutes later and blasted a shot in to make it 4-4, his 100th career goal.

OA took its first and only lead of the game when Kilkelly was left open on the far side and rifled in a shot with 2:20 to go. Scituate responded less than a minute later to tie the game, 5-5, heading into half.

After dominating the second quarter, the Tigers had a slow start to the third. Scituate scored in transition with 10:24 left, added another a minute after winning the faceoff, and made it 8-5 on a nice leaping finish from Pat DeMatteo.

Ireland stopped the Sailors’ run, scoring himself right after winning the faceoff and the Tigers got possession back after the strike, but a turnover led to a goal in transition for Scituate, who scored two more to make it 11-6.

“We’ve had that problem a lot this year and we’ve tried a whole bunch of different things to try and address it,” Devlin said. “We’ve changed our pregame routine, we’ve changed our halftime routine…but there are times where they aren’t as focused to start games or to start a half. It’s definitely something to figure out because against a good team, it’s going to hurt you. You dig yourself a hole that’s tough to dig out of it.”

Kilkelly got the Tigers out of the funk, faking a spin to the right before coming back to his left and finishing. And a minute later, on a man-up chance, Kilkelly faked a shot that opened up some space and he blasted another shot into the back of the net to make it 11-8. But before the final buzzer, Ray O’Brien snuck a shot in to give Scituate a 12-8 advantage after 36 minutes.

Oliver Ames cut the deficit to three on two occasions, and got within two once in the final frame but couldn’t get it any closer than that. Masciarelli scored early after a nifty bounce pass from sophomore Remi Creighton and 27 seconds later, Stevens bounced his attempt in to make it 12-10.

Scituate’s Drew Rowe came back with a goal on the other end to push the lead to 13-10. The Tigers had three chances to cut into the lead but couldn’t get anything to go as the Sailors switched into a zone defense. First, Stevens had a rocket turned away from Scituate keeper Garrett McKinnon (10 saves). Colin Bourne whistled a shot just wide minutes later and McKinnon came up with a point-blank save on Hunter Costello in front.

“The zone is kind of meant to give up outside shots and that kid is a heck of a goalie,” Devlin said. “If you have a good goalie and force a lot of outside shots, you’re going to make a lot of saves. We didn’t use our zone, I thought we had a better matchup with man. We’ve seen the zone plenty of times, we’ve practiced against it but it usually takes us a couple of minutes and they put it in at the perfect time, late in the game to slow us down.”

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The teams traded goals with Bourne scoring on a feed from Ireland with 3:59 to go to make it 14-11. But with Scituate on offense, the Tigers’ defense was forced to be aggressive and the visitors tacked on two more to pull away with the win.

“We lose a couple really good seniors, Shane Murphy and Matt Saba on defense, Cullen Gallagher and Colin Bourne in the midfield, have all been huge contributors for us over the past four years,” Devlin said. “And there’s a lot of leadership there too. We do have a great group coming back too, I think we’re in good shape.”

Oliver Ames boys lacrosse finishes the season at 14-5.