Latham Leads Oliver Ames Past King Philip

Oliver Ames baseball Reid Latham
Oliver Ames senior Reid Latham delivers a pitch in the first inning against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Entering Monday’s showdown with King Philip, the Oliver Ames baseball team needed a win to keep its postseason hopes alive.

The Tigers had senior ace Reid Latham on the mound but the weather didn’t cooperate, forcing the cancellation of the game and the teams had to restart on Tuesday. While it would have been a wasted start for most starters, it wasn’t for Latham.

Despite pitching three innings on Monday, the senior right-hander was back on the mound on Tuesday and delivered a stellar performance. Latham held the visiting Warriors to just one hit through six scoreless innings, helping Oliver Ames pull out a 4-0 win in a must-win game.

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Latham held the Warriors without a hit into the sixth inning before KP junior Chris Sawyer got a single to fall in shallow left field with two outs. But two pitches later, Latham got a ground ball and completed a strong six inning performance.

“He’s been pretty bionic for us,” said Oliver Ames head coach Joe Abarr. “He had a no-hitter going for us into the sixth inning. It was exactly what we needed. He was getting ahead of guys, he only had a couple of walks. He told me he wasn’t tired. We know these games are high stakes, we had a lot of adrenaline yesterday and then came out today and pitched even better so I have to give him a lot of credit.”

After Latham worked around a one-out walk in the top of the first, the Tigers struck for a pair of two unearned runs in the bottom half to put the home team ahead early.

With out one, junior Kyle O’Connor singled up the middle and senior Jake Erlcih followed with a single through the left side. KP starter Robbie Jarest (6IP, 3H, 0BB 2HBO, 4R, 2ER, 4K) got a ground ball that could have turned into a double play but the original throw was off the mark, allowing O’Connor to score.

Junior Jacob Levine followed up with a grounder to short, scoring Erlich from third to make it 2-0.

“That’s something, as a team, we’ve been fighting all year,” Abarr said. “We’ve been coming from behind for the most part. We have some wins to show for it but it’s nice to just jump out there and put a couple runs up early. Even yesterday, we were chasing. We put the ball in play, they made a couple of mistakes, and we were in the right spot at the right time.”

Latham retired the side in order in both the second and third innings before running into some trouble in the fourth. Tim Crowley and Sawyer drew back-to-back walks with one out, and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. A stolen base from Tom Weir put two in scoring position but Latham got a grounder to first for the final out.

Jarest also settled in for the Warriors, setting the Tigers down in order in the second and third innings, and canceling out the leadoff hitter that was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.

Oliver Ames added two more runs in the fifth inning to give Latham even more breathing room. Sophomore pinch hitter Jadon Ricci was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved to second on a single from Matt McCormack. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and Ricci came racing home and slid under the tag on a fielder’s choice up the first base line.

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McCormack came home to score on a groundout by Erlich to push the lead to 4-0.

OA senior Tyler Avery allowed a leadoff single to David Morganelli in the top of the seventh inning, but induced a ground ball that Chris Pearsons and Jared Spillane turned into a double play two pitches later, and got the third out on a ground ball to close the game out.

Oliver Ames baseball (6-9 Hockomock, 7-11 overall) can qualify for the state tournament if it wins its next three games against Dighton-Rehoboth, Foxboro, and New Bedford. Both games against Brockton this season are exclusion games. King Philip (5-9, 5-11) hosts Bishop Feehan on Tuesday.

Stoughton Tops Milford To Clinch Share Of Davenport

Stoughton baseball Jacob Kaplan
Stoughton’s Jacob Kaplan celebrates after sliding in safely with a leadoff triple in the fourth inning. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Both Milford and Stoughton had chances in Friday afternoon’s contest, but only one team took full advantage.

The Scarlet Hawks had ample chances early but the Black Knights were able to prevent serious damage, and the home team went on to cash in during the later innings to earn a 6-3 victory.

With the win, Stoughton clinches at least a share of the Davenport title, the program’s third division championship in the last four years.

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Milford put nine runners in scoring position in the first three innings, but could only turn that into three runs. The Hawks scored once on one hit in the first inning and then turned a bases-loaded situation with no outs into just a pair of runs in the second inning.

Zak [Paquette] didn’t really have it early on but him being who he is, he had a little more leeway,” said Stoughton coach Mike Armour. “Not to take anything away from Milford, it kind of felt like we gave them three runs with the walks. Walks are tough but it was nice to see Zak settle down. The ump was consistent, wasn’t giving the belt strike so he had to adjust a little bit. We wanted to make them string some hits together so it was nice to see him make them earn it over the last couple of innings.

“We talked about having the chance to put a new banner up in the new school and now 2019 will be on it. I’m proud of the guys.”

Milford senior Matt Shaver drew a leadoff walk to open the game, moved to second on a single from sophomore Carter Scudo, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Paquette got a ground out to third and then a strikeout.

After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Shaver sprinted home and scored on a wild pitch. But Paquette got another strikeout to strand runs at second and third.

Stoughton responded with two runs in the bottom half, both with two outs. Junior Ryan Currier drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on an RBI single from junior Jacob Kaplan. Junior Michael Nazzaro, who drew a walk in the prior at-bat, came home on a double steal when Kaplan was able to avoid the tag long enough for him to race home.

The Black Knights’ lead didn’t last long. The Hawks were patient at the plate and drew three straight walks to begin the top of the second inning. Junior Luke Rosa, senior Nick Marcolini, and senior Justin Applebee all reached on balls, loading the bases with no outs.

Shaver brought in a run with an infield single but Paquette got another ground ball that resulted in a fielder’s choice with sophomore third baseman Brady Conlin firing home to get the lead runner.

Another fielder’s choice allowed a run to come in, but the Black Knights got the runner at third. Paquette got another grounder, this one to short, for the final out to limit the damage to just two runs and a 3-2 deficit.

“That’s been the story this week for us, just missed opportunities,” Dion said. “Our guys have battled, and we know what we’re going to get every time we play [Stoughton], we know it’s going to be a tough game. First time we had them at our place it was a competitive game and we came out on the right side of things. We come down here, another competitive game and we came out on the wrong side. All three games this week, three days in a row, we just haven’t taken advantage of opportunities we’ve had, especially early in the game.”

Stoughton couldn’t take advantage of James Genest’s leadoff double in the bottom of the second as Rosa, Milford’s starter, got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. Milford once again put a runner in scoring position in the top of the third when junior Nick Wemette doubled and moved to third on a two-out single from Marcolini, but Nazzaro was able to gun the latter down at second on a steal attempt to strand the runner at third.

After allowing nine batters in scoring position in the first three innings, Paquette limited the Hawks to three total base runners over the next three innings. A bunt single was erased by Nazzaro on a steal attempt, and a leadoff single by senior Danny Corsini was wasted when Paquette got three straight fly ball.

While Stoughton didn’t have a lot of chances, it did take advantage when the opportunity presented itself. Kaplan ripped an opposite field triple deep to right field tolled off the bottom of the fourth and scored on a sacrifice fly from Genest to make it 3-3.

In the sixth inning, Nazzaro and Kaplan had back-to-back doubles to deep left against Milford’s bullpen, the latter scoring the former. Paquette drew a one out walk and Kaplan stole third to put runners on the corners. Junior pinch runner Cam Dirosa stole second before a pop up to get two outs.

“His days in the leadoff spot are over,” Armour said of Kaplan, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, and was a home run shy of the cycle. “We’ve been mixing up the order trying to get the offense going but leadoff didn’t work, and with his performance today, I think he cemented his spot in the middle of the order. He’s been huge, talk about a catalyst and getting us going. He had the leadoff triple and then him and [Nazzaro] had two bombs to really set the tone. We weren’t looking for walks today, we went to put a charge on the baseball so it was nice to put it together in the sixth.

Armour called on junior Noah Johnson, a recent call up from the JV team, to pinch hit in the nine spot. In his first varsity at-bat, Johnson roped the second pitch he saw into the gap in left center field for a two-out, two-run triple to give the Knights insurance runs and a 6-3 lead.

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“Kevin Cronin does a great job with the JV squad, he’s been with us for a while and I have so much respect for him, our success over the years…he’s been getting the guys ready for this level,” Armour said. “[Johnson] had been his guy this year. We haven’t exactly been smashing the ball towards the bottom of the order. I thought it was just perfect timing and to see him come through was awesome.”

Scudo led off the top of the seventh with a triple to try and start a rally, but the rest of the inning summed up the week for the Hawks. Paquette got a strikeout and then senior Robbie Seaman and Currier made back-to-back web gems at shortstop and second, respectively, to strand the run and clinch the win.

Stoughton baseball (9-6 Hockomock, 11-6 overall) will try and clinch the division title outright when it travels to Sharon on Monday. Milford (6-8, 8-9) will try to snap a three-game skid when it hosts Canton at Fino Field on Tuesday.

Taunton Uses Small Ball To Get Past Panthers

Taunton softball Kelsey White
Taunton’s Kelsey White delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – The Taunton softball team has been one of the most lethal and dangerous offenses in the state over the past couple of seasons, and with 165 runs scored this year, they are among the best again this year.

While the Tigers can certainly mash and string together hit after hit, one thing that Taunton is focusing on as the state tournament approaches is cashing in when the opportunity arises.

Taunton turned to small ball on Wednesday night at Jack Tripp Field, scoring the first three runs of the game via squeeze plays, earning a 5-0 win over Franklin in a battle of top teams in the Kelley-Rex.

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The win avenges the Tigers’ lone loss, which was to the Panthers back in April, a loss that snapped the defending D1 State Champions’ 28-game win streak.

“It’s something that we’ve used in the past and it depends on the situation and the batters,” said Taunton coach Dave Lewry of the small ball approach. “We haven’t been great at bunting this year but we’ve hit so well its kind of been hidden. But tournament time, you have to be able to bunt.”

Taunton scored once in the third inning on a squeeze play and then used back-to-back bunts in the fourth inning to bring in two more runs. Sophomore Kelsey White, who threw a complete game shutout with four hits allowed and eight strikeouts, smashed a two-run home run in the fifth inning for insurance runs.

“Tonight and the other night game against Feehan, a night game between two good teams, a playoff-like atmosphere,” Lewry said. “That’s why we try to have these games towards the end of the year because it helps come tournament time.

“That was a huge win, I thought both teams played very, very well. We have a tough schedule coming up so It’s a lot nicer to have a two-game lead gap than it is to be in a tie, that’s for sure.”

With first place in the Kelley-Rex division up for grabs, both teams had a bit of a nervous start. Franklin’s Ally Shea smacked a single to lead off and Anna Balkus dropped a bunt down to put the first two Panthers on base with no outs. White answered with back-to-back strikeouts and induced a grounder back to the circle for the third out and no damage done.

“We missed our opportunities against an outstanding team, they are a great team without a doubt,” said Franklin coach Kate Fallon-Comeau. We missed our chances, we had a good chance in the first inning getting the first two on, and you can’t do that against a team like that.”

Jaime Brown singled to open for the Tigers and moved to second on a wild pitch but Franklin starter Jackie Cherry (6IP, 7H, 3BB, 5K, 5ER) fanned the next two batters and got a fly ball to center to escape the first.

After a scoreless second, Brown led off the bottom of the third with a walk. Alexa White dropped down a sac bunt and Brown used heads’ up base running to scamper all the way to third. With an emphasis on bringing in the first run, Lewry elected to have sophomore Hanna Aldrich — who leads the league in home runs — drop down a bunt for a squeeze play and Brown sprinted home to make it 1-0.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had Hanna bunt, certainly not this year, I can’t remember before that,” Lewry said. “But you have to get that first run. Hanna is a good bunter too. Payton Cegarlski bunted a few games ago for us. It doesn’t matter who’s at the plate, you have a runner at third with one out or no outs, you have to get in that run.”

Ceglarski drilled a deep single to lead of the fourth and pinch runner Kylie Thorpe moved up to second on a sac bunt from Kelsey White. A wild pitch third strike put runners on the corners and Lewry again called for the squeeze. Eighth-grader Ava Venturelli laid the bunt down and Thorpe was able to score when the ball was mishandled at home.

On the next pitch, Abbie McDonough dropped another bunt and Paige Silvia came sprinting home to make it 3-0. The Tigers loaded the bases but Cherry got a fly ball to center and Balkus gunned a runner at home for a double play to prevent any more runs.

White retired eight straight before Franklin’s Maggie Hobby singled through the left side with two outs in the fifth. After Shea was hit by a pitch, the Panthers had runners on first and second but white got a ground ball to Brown at third for the third out.

In the bottom of the fifth, Aldrich had a leadoff single before Cherry retired the next two batters. After bunting in her previous at-bat, Kelsey White got a hold of a pitch this time and sent it over the center field fence for a two-run home run.

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A two-base error was erased by Kelsey White on a fielder’s choice in the sixth, and then she retired the side in order in the seventh, getting the final two outs on strikes.

“Kelsey was amazing tonight, huh?” Lewry said. “She had everything going, the changeup was probably the best she’s had all year and she got a lot of kids with that nice change. She’s been struggling a little at the plate, I told her yesterday I was thinking about flexing for her and she told me she was ready. She got into that pitch though and hit it pretty darn good.”

Taunton softball (10-1 Hockomock, 14-1) takes sole possession of first place with a game in hand. The Tigers return to action on Saturday night against Attleboro at 7:00. Franklin (9-3, 10-4) returns home for a game against Oliver Ames on Friday afternoon.

King Philip Knocks Off Attleboro For Fifth Straight Win

King Philip softball Meghan Gorman
King Philip’s Meghan Gorman hits a solo home run in the third inning against Attleboro. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With the calendar turned to May and the state tournament right around the corner, the King Philip softball team is ready to put the rest of the South sectional on notice.

After stumbling out of the gates with a 4-5 start, the Warriors have won five straight by outscoring opponents 68-3 and looked to be primed for another playoff push after a 13-3 win on the road over Attleboro.

“The thing is, we figured it out about two weeks ago,” said King Philip coach Norm Beauchemin, who in his seventh year at the helm of the Warriors. “As far as the defense, the lineup…we’ve brought some kids up that can help the team. Everybody wants in right now, it’s a commitment.

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“Most of our losses are in the first half of the season. In the second half of the season, over the past five years, we probably only have a handful of losses.”

Recent history certainly supports Beauchemin’s claim. The Warriors won 11 of their final 12 regular season games in 2016 and went on to win the D1 State Title. The following year, KP had nine wins in its final 13 games and just a year ago, the Warriors won 12 of its final 13 games and made it to the sectional semifinals.

So far this year, the Warriors are 5-1 in May and have five games to go.

Maybe the most noticeable difference for KP is its offense. The Warriors have scored in double figures in four of the last five and needed to use a rally in its first meeting with Attleboro to claim a 6-3 victory.

This time around, the Warriors belted out 17 hits, scoring four runs in each the fourth and fifth innings to turn what was a one-run game into a comfortable win.

“King Philip] played well today, they swung the bats, had a good amount of hits, they made the plays in the field, the pitcher was consistent and made us swing the bats,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “And we didn’t do that, especially in that one inning.

“Going down the road, we have a tough schedule, but once the pitching, hitting, and defense comes together, I know we can win some games. Because I know what they are capable of. 

King Philip had an ideal start, tacking on two runs in the top of the first inning. Paige Berdos led off with a single and Meghan Gorman drew a one-out walk. A sac bunt from Liliana Rolfe moved the runners into scoring position and Faith Turinese helped her own cause with a two-run, two-out single to put the visitors ahead.

“It’s all about getting people in the right positions, getting them comfortable in those spots,” Beauchemin said. “And then getting the lineup so we’re getting runs. It doesn’t matter how many hits you get, it matters when you get them”

After walking in her first at-bat, Gorman was quick to put the bat on the ball in her next chance in the third inning. After hitting two hard foul balls, Gorman got a hold of the third pitch she saw and sent it flying over the center field fence for a 3-0 lead through 2.5 innings.

Attleboro answered in the bottom half to make it a one-run game. Meghan Gordon doubled into the right-center gap and McKenzie Bergdoll ripped a two-out home run into center field to make it 3-2 after three innings.

But King Philip didn’t let Attleboro’s momentum last very long, pushing across four in the fourth. Ryann Stagg had a bunt single, Berdos followed with a single (and advanced on the throw) to put runners on second and third.

Raegan Simeone dropped down a squeeze bunt to bring the first run in, Gorman legged out an RBI double, Rolfe plated a run with an infield ground out, and Turinese added another RBI with a two-out single to push the lead to 7-2.

Lora Woyton led off with a single in the bottom half for Attleboro but Turinese (7IP, 7H, 2BB, 3K, 3ER) got a line drive to shortstop and Gorman alertly fired back to fire for a double play.

Abby Carey got things going to KP in the top of the fifth with a single and pinch runner Kara McWhinnie took third on a two-base error when Destiny Goyco put the ball in play. After Stagg walked, McWhinnie sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 8-2.

Berdos followed with an RBI single and Simeone dropped in a single to push two more across for an 11-2 advantage.

In the sixth, Goyco doubled, Stagg walked, and Madison Kelley drove in pinch runner Heather Nix. Gorman added a hard hit single up the third base line for an RBI for a 13-2 advantage.

“We’ve got a team where we can create,” Beauchemin said. “Everybody is in right now. If someone hits a home run, they don’t mind bunting next time up if they have to. It’s a very selfless team. 

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“Our offense is a lot better, and we’re hitting at the right spots. That’s a nice team [Attleboro]. Our pitching has improved a lot too. Our pitching coming together has helped our offense too because we can relax a little bit.”

Woyton smacked a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the sixth for Attleboro’s third run.

King Philip softball (9-4 Hockomock, 9-5 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts Mansfield. The Hornets earned a 10-3 win in the first meeting at the end of April. Attleboro (7-4, 7-6) will look to get back on track on Thursday when it visits Oliver Ames at 3:30.

Panthers Pass Test, Beat King Philip For Division Title

Franklin boys lacrosse
Franklin junior Owen Palmieri tries to get past the defense of King Philip’s Aidan Bender in the second half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Franklin boys lacrosse team knew it was going to get its toughest test from a league opponent when King Philip visited Pisini Field on Monday afternoon.

But it was even tougher than they anticipated.

The Panthers had cruised through its league schedule to this point, racking up seven wins and outscoring Hockomock foes 140-14. On the other side, King Philip raced out to a 10-0 record overall before suffering back-to-back losses to Canton and Grafton — both by one goal — before the clash against the Panthers.

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King Philip came out strong, taking the first lead of the game and going in front again in the second quarter. The Warriors limited Franklin to just four goals in the first half, trailing by two at the break.

But Franklin found its footing in the second half, using timely goals in both the third and fourth quarters, and dominated possession en route to an 11-5 victory. The win clinches at least a share of a seventh straight Kelley-Rex division title for the Panthers.

“[King Philip] played well, I didn’t anticipate that they were going to be as good as they are and they surprised me, and they surprised us,” said Franklin coach Lou Verrochi. “We didn’t anticipate them to give us the game they did. They were very aggressive, they did a nice job. They are a quality team for sure.”

A slashing call — just one of two penalties called in the game — on the Panthers gave King Philip an early man-up opportunity and the Warriors cashed in. Junior Kevin Riggs found himself in some space and ripped a shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

But the lead lasted just a minute as the Panthers responded on its next possession. Senior Nitin Chaudhury gained some space and fired a right-handed shot into the back of the net to make it 1-1. KP’s defensive group of Wes Bishop, Luke D’Amico, and Garrett Maxwell did a nice job of preventing the Panthers from getting any other chances in the first half, limiting Franklin to three shots in the first.

Franklin had a couple of looks on goal in the opening minutes but couldn’t solve KP goalie Andrew McKinney (11 saves), who made back-to-back stops on good shots from Owen Palmieri.

Sophomore Sam Mattson took advantage of McKinney’s stops, using a rocket of a shot to put the Warriors up 2-1 with 7:35 left in the second quarter.

Franklin senior Jacob Alexander gave the Panthers a boost, winning the ensuing faceoff and racing down and bouncing in a shot that made it 2-2. Alexander won the next draw as well, leading to a goal from sophomore Owen Kielty on a nice feed from Ben Greco.

King Philip nearly tied it when Chris Longobardi won the face off, sprinted into the offensive zone and got off an open shot but Franklin goalie Will Davis (five saves) got just enough on it to keep the lead.

Palmieri converted a low shot while being pressured to put the Panthers up 4-2 heading into the half.

A faceoff win from Alexander led to a goal from Will Harvey (from Greco) to extend Franklin’s lead a minute into the second half. Mattson answered with a blast to make it a two-goal game but Franklin scored the final two goals of the third quarter.

First, senior Ben Kolb battled his way through traffic and finished in close to make it 6-3. A minute after Andrew Sajdak had his shot clank off the crossbar, Franklin tacked on another when Jake Davis snuck a tough angle shot under the bar to put the Panthers ahead 7-3 heading into the fourth.

“We started to move the ball a little bit more,” Verrochi said of second half adjustments. “We looked at certain matchups and found ones we felt we could go to goal on. I think we started doing that better and our off ball movement was better in the second half.

“If you’re beating your man, and you draw a slide, whoever’s man slid you gotta follow the slide with the stick lock and loaded, and I think we did a good job with that.”

King Philip was limited to just the one shot from Mattson in the quarter. McKinney made seven saves in the frame but the Panthers made it difficult for the Warriors to clear the zone.

“Andrew McKinney in goal was phenomenal, he really saw the ball well,” said KP head coach Hal Bean. “Those guys were shooting fast and he was on the ball, he was tracking well.

“[Franklin] slides very quickly, probably the fastest we’ve seen. So once our guy broke free from his man, there was someone else on us right away. And to try and get that third guy open was difficult.”

KP had the first possession of the fourth but Pat Morrison and Liam Arsenault combined to force a turnover and Franklin cashed in in transition as sophomore Matt Lazzaro found Greco open in front for an easy finish.

The Warriors pulled one back at the midway point of the fourth as Mattson drew multiple defenders before finding senior Colin DeVellis cutting in front for a close-range finish.

Davis answered less than a minute later on a feed from Greco but Longobardi scored nine seconds later, winning the faceoff and going straight to goal to make it 9-5.

Davis tallied twice more in the final four minutes to make it 11-5.

“[McKinney] played well, he made some nice saves,” Verrochi said. “We have some excellent shooters, some kids that can really shoot the ball.

We rode really tough, and we’ve been doing that all year long. The kids have really bought into that and they are making it tough [for opponents].”

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While Franklin clinches another league title, King Philip dropped its third straight contest. But with all three coming against top competition and the Warriors playing well in all three, Bean believes these games will pay off down the road.

“We’re very positive right now,” Bean said. “We are enjoying how we’re playing, they are a tight-knit group. We got pizza after the loss at Grafton. They are upbeat right now. They understand they are playing good lacrosse. They are playing as a team, they work hard, so I expect a lot more wins coming up.”

Franklin boys lacrosse (8-0 Hockomock, 12-1) is back in action on Wednesday when it host Foxboro. King Philip (7-2, 10-3) is at Milford on the same day.

Foxboro Dominates In Win Over King Philip

Foxboro girls lacrosse
King Philip’s Ava Tormey defends Foxboro’s Sophia DiCenso in the first half. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – The Foxboro girls lacrosse team might not have one of the best records in the state, but the hope is that facing top competition throughout the season will have the Warriors primed for the postseason.

The battle-tested Warriors showcased their talents in a battle of league unbeatens on Monday afternoon, earning a 19-6 win over visiting King Philip in dominating fashion.

“Our record isn’t great, not what it usually is but we’ve played so many of the top teams in the state that we’re so mentally prepared for the games now,” said Foxboro head coach Brittany Sherry. “The end result hasn’t always been what we want but we’re competing for the most part with those teams. We knew this was a big league game and we wanted to prove ourselves, the games leading up to this have prepared us for this.”

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Foxboro entered the contest at 7-6 overall, but four of those losses were to four of the top seven teams in Eastern Mass — Notre Dame Academy (1), Walpole (2), Norwell (5), and Wellesley (7) — another to Western Mass powerhouse Longmeadow, and the sixth to Natick, who is ranked in the top 20.

After trading a pair of goals each to start the game, Foxboro’s offense went into high gear and rattled off eight straight goals to turn a close game into a comfortable lead for the host Warriors.

King Philip closed the first half strong to give themselves a shot in the second half, but Foxboro once again had eight straight goals and pull away for the win.

“We had a long talk after the Walpole game about what we can do to better prepare for games, and we haven’t put together two halves yet,” Sherry said. “Just because we say to be here at 3:00, doesn’t mean you can’t come early and get some shots up. It was the first time it hasn’t rained and they came early today and got ready for the game.”

Foxboro junior Julia Kelley scored a pair of goals inside the first four minutes to give the hosts the lead, the first off a feed from junior Jaime Notarangelo and the second assisted by sophomore Lilly Vey.

King Philip responded with a pair of goals to tie it 2-2 six minutes into the contest. First, freshman Julia Marsden carried possession from her own half and sliced through the Foxboro defense, finishing with a shot in close. Caroline Klim followed with a goal off a feed from Victoria Tormey to tie the score.

But from that point on, Foxboro owned the first half. The host Warriors dominated on draws, winning 11 of 16 in the first half, and won eight of the first nine which directly led to a big lead.

Senior Sophia DiCenso scored back-to-back goals, the first off a free position and the second off a feed from Vey. Vey then took a pass from Kelley and scored to make it 5-2. Senior Molly Murphy netted her first of three goals with a bounce shot with 12:31 left to make it 6-2 and force a KP timeout.

Foxboro didn’t take its foot off the gas though with Notarangelo tucking in a low shot for a 7-2 lead. King Philip goalie Caroline Watson (12 saves) was strong in net and turned away a Warrior chance with just under 10 minutes to go but Foxboro was first to the rebound and Abby Hassman connected with DiCenso to make it 8-2.

Vey scored back-to-back goals, the latter with four minutes to play in the first half.

King Philip put together a mini-run to end the first half and stay within striking distance. Buoyed by some draw controls, Klim scored off a nice individual effort, senior Allie Wilson found the back of the net off a free position chance, and junior Jessica Sullivan buried a nice shot with a minute to go to make it 10-5.

But Foxboro was relentless in the second half, holding King Philip to just one offensive possession through the first eight minutes. Watson made some stellar stops in close to keep Foxboro off the board but the host Warriors’ continual pressure paid off.

Vey found DiCenso in transition and just 17 seconds later, Notarangelo scored after controlling the draw. Hassman, Notaragenlo, and Murphy scored over the next five minutes to push Foxboro’s lead to 15-5.

“Credit to Foxboro, they came out strong with high energy and really wanted to play today from start to finish,” said King Philip coach Kourtnie Wilder. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to play that full 50 minutes. We had a few good sparks but not a full game of lacrosse and it showed, and they were able to pile it on.

“Having that short term memory is something we need to work on. Even if they score a couple of goals, we have to move on and focus on the next play. Credit to our goalie Caroline Watson, she had a lot of saves and kept us in it for most of the game.”

Even when King Philip was able to get a stop, Foxboro’s pressure made it tough for the visiting Warriors’ to clear the ball cleanly.

“We haven’t been that strong [pressuring defenses] but we did a nice job today,” Sherry said. “We wanted to put pressure on the goalie, the girls did very well with their ride today.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I think we had the edge [on 50/50 balls]. We haven’t had that every game so far but today we did and that’s been one of our biggest things. We’re either really strong or really weak, and today we were on the strong end of things.”

Meghan Curran added two goals, Murphy scored once more, and senior Kristin Whalen found the back of the net once to cap the Foxboro scoring. Klim scored King Philip’s lone goal of the second half with 2:30 to play.

Foxboro girls lacrosse (6-0 Hockomock, 8-6 overall) is back in action on the road at Attleboro on Wednesday. King Philip (5-1, 8-3) is on the road at Canton on the same day.

Moran, Mansfield Prevail in Extras Against Taunton

Mansfield baseball Kyle Moran
Mansfield’s Kyle Moran pitched all 10 innings and allowed just one unearned run to lead the Hornets to a win. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – It didn’t take long for those in attendance at Taunton High School to realize runs would be hard to come by in Saturday’s matinee game between the host Tigers and the visiting Mansfield Hornets.

Right from the start, both Hornet senior starter Kyle Moran and Taunton right-handed junior hurler Logan Lawrence were on the money.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise when the teams headed into extra innings knotted at 1-1.

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Mansfield finally broke the stalemate in the top of the 10th inning, getting a pair of runs against the Tiger’s bullpen to emerge with a 3-1 victory in a division clash.

Moran pitched all 10 innings, allowing just three hits, one walk, one hit batter, and struck out eight to earn the win. Lawrence was not involved in the decision, tossing nine innings with seven strikeouts, three hits, and two walks. Both starters allowed an unearned run.

“Kyle Moran was how we found a way to win that one,” said Mansfield skipper Joe Breen. “Obviously he pitched the whole game, he’s been a senior leader for us, he’s battled against some really good teams, including [Taunton]. We knew it was going to be a close, long game…I think Taunton only plays extra-inning games.

“We talked to Kyle about attacking hitters and keeping his pitch count down, which hasn’t been a strong suit of his but it definitely was today. He attacked guys and that allowed him to go the whole distance.”

After two scoreless extra innings pitched by Lawrence, the Tigers turned to the bullpen. Mansfield senior Mike Hargadon got things going with a hard ground ball through the left side for a one-out single. Senior Aidan Angland sliced a blooper that fell just fair down the right field line to put runners on the corners.

Breen elected to put the pressure on the defense with a suicide squeeze and Nick Dumouchel put the ball down perfectly. Taunton pitcher Justin Rollo tried to make a play at home but the throw was high and the Hargadon came in and both base runners moved up.

“Pushing one across with the safety squeeze, we had the perfect personnel out there at the time for that play,” Breen said. “We had Hargadon at third, and he’s a great baserunner…and Nick Dumouchel is a smart hitter and smart baseball player. It was the two perfect guys for that situation to put a little pressure on the defense and they executed.

“We’ve talked a lot in the last two weeks about mental toughness and how to be strong in tight games. We’re getting better with it but with a game like this, you have to be mentally engaged at all times because one play slip of focus can cost you the game. We have a lot of seniors on the field that have been here before and are battle tested and they are showing it.”

After an intentional walk, Taunton turned to sophomore Danny MacDougall on the mound. After hitting Sam Nugent to bring in one run, MacDougall got a strikeout and a fly ball to limit the bases loaded situation to just one run.

Moran closed the door with a 1-2-3 inning, the sixth time he retired the side in order in the game, to pick up the win.

“Logan pitched a great game, [Moran] pitched a great game too,” said Taunton coach Blair Bourque. “They gave us [a run] and we gave them one right back, and I think it was a matter of who was going to be able to execute at the end and they were able to do a better job than we were. We just have to make sure we continue to practice hard now and hopefully, the adversity we’re facing now will help us in the long run.”

Taunton took the lead without getting a hit in the fifth inning. Junior Jared Roderick was hit by a pitch and used head’s up base running to sprint all the way to third on a sac bunt down the third base line from Joe Crawford. Moran got a strikeout for the second out but Roderick came home a couple of pitches later on a passed ball.

Mansfield tied the game in the next half inning, also pushing a run across without a hit. Dumouchel reached on an error and took second on the same throwing error. Pinch runner Michael DeBolt took third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly from Nugent to make it 1-1.

Lawrence had a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning but the Tigers didn’t get another hit until the seventh inning. Moran got a fly ball to center in the first for the third out to erase that threat. Roderick had the second hit of the game with a one-out infield hit but Moran induced a line drive to left and got a strikeout looking for the third out.

Lawrence had his second hit of the day, a one-out bloop single to right but Morgan got back-to-back grounders with second baseman Connor Smith (four assists) and Hargadon (one put out, three assists), the shortstop, making the plays. Mansfield did not commit an error in the game while the Tigers had three.

“Going into today, we knew it’d be a close one…with all of our pieces back, we had what we felt was our best defensive line up out there and then we were able to bring some bats off the bench to do some things,” Breen said. “The guys up the middle, Hargadon and Smith, are stellar and Dumouchel is one of the best high school defensive first basemen I’ve ever coached. Just having those guys in the infield gives a pitcher confidence to go out there and throw strikes and not feel like they have to strike everyone out.”

Mansfield’s Eric Longley had a two-out single in the second but was erased trying to steal second on a nice throw from Taunton catcher Andrew Gomes. Dumouchel had a two-out single in the third but Lawrence induced a fly ball to center, and after John Carney walked with two outs in the fourth, the Taunton junior got an infield grounder to get out of the inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets threatened when Hargadon walked in the fifth but MacDougall turned a double play to cancel that threat.

“We’ve faced some adversity so far this year,” Bourque said. “I wouldn’t say we’re comfortable playing in this type of game but we’re used to it. Any mishandle, any errors can cost you the game. We’re battle-tested, it’s just a matter of putting some hits together and helping our pitchers a little bit.”

Mansfield baseball (8-2 Hockomock, 9-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts North Attleboro. Taunton (5-4, 7-5) will host Stoughton on the same day.

Freshmen Boost Rocketeers Past Sharon In Overtime

North Attleboro boys lacrosse Connor Ruppert
North Attleboro’s Daniel Conroy (20) and Ryan Rajotte (12) celebrate with Andy DeMattio and Connor Ruppert following the overtime game-winning goal. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – With the Sharon defense focusing in on junior Andy DeMattio and senior Damien Curtis out due to a first quarter injury, the North Attleboro boys lacrosse team needed someone else to step up.

Enter members of the Class of 2022.

Freshman Matt Antonetti scored a hat trick, including the game-tying goal with just over a minute to go, freshman Jared Vasher was solid at the face-off X, and freshman Connor Rupert scored the game-winning goal, his second, just over two minutes into the overtime period to give North Attleboro a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Sharon on Ray Beaupre Field.

North Attleboro trailed 6-4 entering the fourth quarter but pitched a shutout for the final 12 minutes of regulation, getting within one with 8:02 left in the game on Rupert’s first goal. The Rocketeers forced a turnover with 90 seconds to go and Antonetti used a nice individual effort to net the tying goal with 1:03 to go.

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In overtime, Sharon freshman Ben Shocket won the opening face-off but North Attleboro coach Kevin Young elected to have pole Brett Labonte on the wing, and the junior defenseman came up with a big play by knocking the ball free and giving North Attleboro possession.

DeMattio (two goals) had his first shot saved by Sharon freshman goalie Adam Rabb (eight saves) but the rebound fell to North to keep possession. Rupert unleashed a shot from distance that was wide but DeMattio raced to get his stick in front to keep the ball.

Senior Nick Ward started behind the net and found Ruppert to his left. In one motion, the freshman caught the ball and continuously spun to his right, unleashing a tough sidearm shot that found its way in at the near post for the winner.

“We’re playing five freshmen right now, quite a bit,” Young said. “Early on, they were a little intimated but they are starting to come into their own. That #3 [Antonetti], that went around the net and scored, he’s a freshman. The faceoff kid [Vasher], just came up from JV, he’s a freshman. They are getting used to this level.

“The freshmen looked lights out in our scrimmages. But then they kind of got thrown off a little bit. It’s almost impossible for a 14-year-old to play an 18-year-old. When they get comfortable, and they start to get to the right places, they are getting better. I would have never thought that shot was going in but we’ll take it.”

Though Ruppert didn’t factor into the scoring on North Attleboro’s first goal of the fourth, he was the catalyst for it. He forced a turnover near midfield, raced up the field and found Ward, who found DeMattio for a low bounce shot to make it 6-5.

Sharon had its best chance of the quarter with just over four minutes to go. The Eagles came flying up in transition and senior Brandon Buckman ended up with a wide open bid right in front but North junior goalie Jake McNeany (eight saves) read it perfectly and blocked the low shot, robbing the Eagles of a goal.

The Eagles had possession with a one goal cushion with three minutes to go, and looked to play keep away but North Attleboro was able to force a turnover to get it back. Antonetti set up shop behind the net, eventually going to his right, backing down, spinning out left for a right-handed blast that made it 6-6 with 1:03 to play.

Sharon had strong starts to each half. The Eagles had a handful fo chances in the opening five minutes, with McNeany making a pair of strong saves on chances from senior Mitchell Director, and then turning away Buckman from in close. Senior Daniel Lillenfeld intercepted an attempted clear from the Rocketeers and sprinted up field, finding freshman Zack Waxman all alone and he made no mistake and buried his chance for a 1-0 lead, an advantage that lasted the entire quarter.

Antonetti pickpocketed Rabb and bounced an open shot into the net to tie the game 92 seconds into the second quarter, and DeMattio scored his first of the game just over the midway point on a tough angle shot to put North Attleboro ahead 2-1.

Buckman answered for the Eagles with a nice low shot from in close but North Attleboro sophomore Tyler Sarro, who had a very strong game defensively, made a terrific read, finding Antonetti with a long pass and the latter buried it to make it 3-2.

Sharon answered with a man-up goal with under a minute to go when Brady Daylor skipped one in to tie the game 3-3 heading into half.

The Eagles came out strong in the third quarter, using face-off wins from Shocket to ignite the offense. Sophomore Drew Litner connected with Buckman in front to put the Eagles ahead 16 seconds into the third.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Less than a minute later, on a man-up chance, Director ripped a bounce shot in the back of the net to put Sharon ahead 5-3.

North Attleboro capitalized on a two-minute locked in penalty on the Eagles with Ruppert pouncing on a rebound and tucking in the loose ball to get within one but Director added another tally for the Eagles off an assist from Litner with 1:29 left in third, but that would be the last goal of the game for Sharon.

“We have a solid defense, it’s just about eliminating mental mistakes,” Young said. “We had times where we’d switch off guys and they’d score a goal. We’d drop the ball on a clear and it’d lead to a chance for them. You have eliminate those. But I think our defense is very strong, it’s all guys back from last year.”

Sharon (2-4, 4-5) is on the road at Shrewsbury on Friday.

North Attleboro Notches Road Win Over Canton

North Attleboro baseball
North Attleboro sophomore Jared Penta connects for a hit in the first inning against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Entering Monday’s contest with Canton, the North Attleboro baseball team had just two wins in its first eight games.

The defending D2 State Champions had just finished warmups when head coach Mike Hart gathered his team in, delivering a passionate pregame plea for his Rocketeers to play to the best of their abilities.

The speech seemed to light a fire under the Rocketeers, scoring three runs in the first inning to set the tone for a 7-4 win on the road over Canton.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We have to play the game the right way and we have a certain expectation to play a certain way,” Hart said of the pregame talk.

“I thought we’ve been playing really good baseball, just haven’t been making those winning plays. We’re starting to see that more and more as we’re going through. We played well today and got the win. Now we just have to continue to have those high expectations and put in the same effort each game.”

While North Attleboro’s big first inning was canceled by a three-run second from the Bulldogs, the tone had been set. The Rocketeers cashed in on bases-loaded situations in both the third and fifth innings and tacked on two more key insurance runs in the sixth inning for the win.

For the Bulldogs, it was a matter of missed chances to limit the Rocketeers. A trio of errors gave North second chances, while walks and wild pitches also hurt Canton’s chances.

North sophomore Jared Penta singled on the first pitch of the game, stole second, and came around to score when senior Jake Palmer singled, giving the Rocketeers a lead just five pitches into the contest. Senior Brendan McHugh reached when Canton couldn’t handle a potential double play ball up the middle, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch.

Sophomore Dennis Colleran brought a run home with a sacrifice fly and senior Todd Robinson smacked a single up the middle to bring McHugh in for a 3-0 lead. Canton starter junior Chris Rota escaped further damage, getting a fielder’s choice and a strikeout, stranding runners at second and third.

“I think, if anything, it just gives us confidence,” Hart said of the early runs. “It gives our pitcher confidence and everyone in the lineup. They see the guys in front of them are hitting so that carries over to them.”

In the bottom of the second, senior Max Macort earned a one-out walk and sophomore Sawyer Julier-Albert singled to put runners on first and second. North Attleboro senior starter Matt Wanless got a pop up to get to two outs but the Bulldogs were able to score three runs.

Senior Mike Konzal hit a line drive to bring Macort home and senior Matt Pigeon doubled to right field to bring in two more runs. North Attleboro limited the damage when senior Shawn Watters hit a relay throw to third, preventing a triple for Pigeon.

The Rocketeers quickly jumped back ahead, putting a run up in the top of the third. Colleran and senior Nick Raneri draw back-to-back walks and Robinson that could have potentially been a double play. Rota got back-to-back ground balls to third, and sophomore Steve Burbank got the lead runner both times with a throw home. With two outs, Robison came home on a wild pitch with senior Ryan Warren up at bat.

Rota issued another walk to load the bases again but got a fly ball to right for the third out.

“It comes down to mental mistakes,” said Canton head coach Ben Shuffain. “You can’t blame the kids for physical errors because they happen in baseball, especially high school baseball. But you have to be able to come back from it, let it go, and move on. Have to have a short memory.”

Canton had the winning run 90 feet away in the bottom half after senior Paul Corcoran doubled and moved to third, but Wanless induced a ground ball with Raneri making a nice scoop at first for the third out.

Robinson opened the fifth with a single and junior Russell Dunlap reached on a bunt. Senior pinch hitter Jake Carroll singled, giving the Rocketeers the bases loaded with no outs for the second time in the game. After getting an out with a shallow fly ball to left, Penta hit one deep enough for a sacrifice fly to score Robinson. Canton reliever senior Kevin McGonigle got a swinging strikeout for the third out.

“We left some runners on base but I’ll give Canton’s pitchers credit, they kept us off balance in certain at-bats and certain counts,” Hart said. “They made plays when they needed it.

“We’ve been grinding through some situations but we’re starting to finally come through with the plays we need. We’re trying to get guys more used to the varsity competition and meeting the expectations we have.”

North tacked on key insurance runs in the sixth inning. Back-to-back singles (from Colleran and Raneri) and then a fielder’s choice put pinch runner Joe Barrows and Robinson on the corners. After Robinson stole second, Dunlap slapped a deep rouble to right to bring both runners and a 7-3 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton got one back in the bottom half when Julier-Albert and pinch hitter junior Lucas Bryant both singled, the former coming in to score on an infield error from the Rocketeers to make it 7-4.

Rocketeer junior reliever Kyle Briere allowed just one base runner (walk) in 1.2 innings of relief, striking out one to get the save.

North Attleboro baseball (2-4 Hockomock, 3-6 overall) is scheduled to play at home on Wednesday against King Philip. Canton (3-5, 5-5) will try to snap a two-game skid when it hosts Taunton on the same day.