McAloon’s Hit Helps Cement Legacy For Taunton’s “Big Three”

Taunton softball Hanna Aldrich McKenzie McAloon Kelsey White
Taunton’s “Big Three” of Hanna Aldrich, McKenzie McAloon, and Kelsey White pose with the state championship trophy after beating Wachusett. (Ryan Lanigan/
 TAUNTON, Mass. – With one swing of the bat, Taunton senior McKenzie McAloon not only etched her name into the historic lore of Tiger softball, but she also cemented the legacy of a veteran trio aptly named “The Big Three.”

Joined by pitcher Kelsey White and shortstop Hanna Aldrich, McAloon helped Taunton’s “Big Three” put an exclamation point on their storied careers in a Tiger uniform with their second state title, the program’s sixth overall.

And fittingly, that trio proved to be the catalysts in the biggest game of the year.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

White, who is committed to play at Villanova, capped one of the best individual seasons in state history by firing a complete game shutout with 13 strikeouts, allowing just two hits in the process.

Aldrich, a Lehigh University-commit, set a new program record this spring, launching 15 home runs, five more than the previous record. Her two-out double was Taunton’s first extra-base hit of the game.

But the most important hit of the season, one that will define this state championship win, came off the bat of McAloon, who is headed to Bryant University to play softball. On the first pitch of her third at-bat, McAloon laced a ground ball up the middle and Aldrich came scampering home from second to score the lone run of the game.

“She sometimes can get lost in the mix among the three of them but what she does behind that plate is so underrated, and what she gives to this team as far as leadership and taking the younger kids under her wing, she’s always so positive,” said first-year Taunton coach Carrie Consalvi. “She’s the whole package, she’s that kid you’re going to see really blossom in college, I really feel that.

In her first two at-bats of the game, which took place back on Wednesday, she popped up to the catcher and to short.

The lengthy break gave McAloon and the Tigers some time to adjust to the pitching of Wachusett ace Riley Quirk, who had allowed just three base hits through the first five innings.

McKenzie McAloon Hanna Aldrich Kelsey White

“She definitely threw faster than most girls we’ve seen this year and then she has that rise ball,” McAloon said. “Over our little break that we had, we were hitting off the pitching machine, I was going to the field with my dad working on not swinging on something above my eyes and just really looking down and seeing something under my hands.”

It didn’t take long for McAloon to get a pitch she liked, connecting on the first pitch from Quirk to give the Tigers the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs.

“She comes with a lot of first pitch strikes and I’m a first pitch strike hitter, I like to go after that and attack it, it’s usually the best pitch I’m going to get especially as the four batter,” McAloon said. “I knew once it was coming over the plate that I was going to go for it. If it was a strike, I was going to swing.

“I went up to the plate with confidence. Hanna got into scoring position for us so it was perfect timing, I knew I just had to put the ball in play for my team.”

White came back out and retired the side in order for the fourth time, getting her 13th strikeout of the game to clinch the championship. On the other end of the strikeout was McAloon, who caught 116 innings this season after playing second base during her first three seasons with the Tigers.

McAloon, White, and Aldrich were all in the starting lineup when Taunton knocked off Wachusett for the 2018 State Championship as well.

“I was so hyped up for her,” White said of McAloon, who drove in her 25th run of the season for the game-winning run. “She just deserves every single second of this. It’s great that we’re ending our last season on a great note. We really wanted this, this was our goal to leave high school with the title.”

McAloon finished the season hitting 0.443 with 27 hits, launching six home runs of her own. She also only allowed just two passed balls in the 116 innings that she caught with only two players able to steal a base.

Aldrich kept the inning alive with her double, the Tigers had two quick outs on a pop fly to the first baseman in foul territory and a strikeout. The shortstop fell behind in the count but patiently worked her way back to a full count before lacing a double into the gap in right-center.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

McKenzie McAloon Hanna Aldrich Kelsey White

“Kenz is so deserving of that,” Aldrich said of McAloon. “She’s probably one of the people that works the hardest on the team and she totally deserved that today.”

Aldrich closes the season with 40 hits for a whopping 0.625 batting average, and of course, the program’s new home run record (15). White went over 200 strikeouts for the season during the game with under 100 innings pitched, adding 11 home runs (which also broke the old program record) and 28 RBI.

“This is awesome,” McAloon said. “We lost our season last year, but coming out here and winning, this is what we’ve wanted all season long. We’ve worked hard for this. Every practice, every pitch, we’ve all worked for this. It’s just a dream to finish with a state championship.”

Franklin Falls Short In South Final To Xaverian

Franklin baseball
Franklin junior reliever James Kuczmiec threw two perfect innings of relief for the Panthers. (Ryan Lanigan/
 FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Franklin baseball team came up just short in the D1 South Sectional Final against Xaverian, but it sure wasn’t for a lack of effort.

The Panthers rallied to get within one run twice and had the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t get over the hump, falling 5-4 to the visiting Hawks.

Franklin had a hit in five of the seven innings, putting a runner in scoring position in four of those frames. The Panthers pushed across three runs in the bottom of the fourth and made it a one-run game again with a run in the sixth, but Franklin also left the bases loaded in two innings and left a runner in scoring position in two other frames.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was a great game, both teams competed hard and both teams had opportunities…they just made a few more plays than we did today,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “We certainly applied pressure and had our chances, even right there to the end. But unfortunately, some walks, some miscues…and they had two big blows. I’m just really proud of this team, especially the seniors.

“Having that gap year, you wonder and worry about if the culture is going to change. When I say they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to, and they’ve done it with tremendous attention to detail, passion, and effort. It’s a great group and I’m really sad to see this season at times.”

Franklin sophomore Alfred Mucciarone worked around a pair of errors in the top of the first inning, getting a soft grounder back to the mound to strand a Xaverian runner at third. Franklin also put a runner in scoring position in the first on hits from Chris Goode and Nate Cooke, but the former was stranded at second.

The Hawks broke open the scoreless game in the top of the third inning on a one-out single from Liam Foley, who moved to second on a walk to Matt Brinker. Foley came around to score on an infield error as the ball got through on the left side to make it 1-0. On the next at-bat, Xaverian’s John Connolly launched a three-run blast over the fence to give the visitors a 4-0 lead.

Franklin junior lefty Ethan Voellmicke came on in relief and got back-to-back fly balls to get out of the inning without further damage.

Voellmicke gave up one hit in the top of the fourth but quickly bounced back to get out of the inning and Franklin’s offense got them back in the game with a big bottom of the fourth.

Jack Marino kept the inning alive with a two-out single, Eisig Chin followed with an infield hit, and CJ Jette walked to load the bases. Junior Jacob Jette, fresh off a 12 strikeout performance in the semifinals, came in and delivered a huge two-out RBI pinch-hit up the middle to get the hosts on the board.

Sophomore Ryan Gerety kept the momentum going by smacking a line drive to left to score both Chin and CJ Jette to get the Panthers within a run. Goode walked to load the bases again for Franklin but Xaverian starter Ryan Douglas got a pop-up in foul territory to the catcher to keep the lead.

Franklin got two quick outs to start the fifth inning but Connolly struck again, this time with a solo shot over the left field fence to give the Hawks a two-run cushion.

Junior righty James Kuczmiec took over on the mound for the Panthers and retired the Hawks in order to give the Panthers some momentum going to the bottom half.

“Those guys have been just nails for us all year out of the pen,” Brown said of Voellmicke and Kuczmiec, who combined to allow just two hits in 4.2 innings of work. “We do it a little bit differently, we pass the baton and trust those guys to do their job. And thankfully, they’ve really embraced that role. They aren’t questioning me about being a starter. Their role is equally as important and they are out there throwing those critical innings at the end of the game. And we have all the confidence in the world to go with them.

“Ethan did a great job settling it down and this team answers, they really do. We’ve talked a lot about being frontrunners or competitors, and frontrunners kind of go away when it gets tough and these guys don’t. They keep fighting, keep competing, keep clawing and keep applying pressure so I’m really proud of them.”

CJ Jette and freshman Henry Digiorgio earned back-to-back one-out walks and Gerety smacked a single into right field but Brinker fielded the throw from right fielder Justice Ciampa on the bounce and applied the tag at home to cut down a runner.

Goode had a two-out single to load the bases for Franklin and Digiorgio came in to score on a wild pitch. With first open, Xaverian elected to intentionally walk Jake Fitzgibbons to load the bases, and Connolly, who came on in relief, got a big strikeout to end the threat and the inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Marino came up with a big one-out hit in the bottom of the seventh, representing the tying run on base. Connolly got another strikeout for the second out but Marino stole second to get into scoring position. Franklin put the ball in play but it was a line drive right at the shortstop for the final out.

“A lot of times we try to use this game as a vehicle to try and teach those life lessons,” Brown said. “Sometimes it doesn’t go your way but I’m really proud of how they handled it. Some teams come unglued and there’s finger-pointing, but that’s not this group. They stay together, they fought to end because they really care.”

Franklin finishes the season at 16-2.

MIAA All State Outdoor Track Meet – Hock Results

Below are the Hockomock results from the MIAA MIAA All State Outdoor Track Championships, held on Saturday at Norwell High School.

Boys Team Results

1. Lowell – 47
2. Stoughton – 37
17. Sharon – 12
24. Mansfield – 10
38. Oliver Ames – 6
T46. King Philip – 5
T46. Taunton – 5
73. Canton – 1

1. Jonas Clarke, South Hadley – 10.67
8. Joanthan Chery, Canton – 11.21

1. Jacob Kao, Acton-Boxboro – 21.43
11. Adam Connolly, Foxboro – 23.06
12. Jonathan Chery, Canton – 23.06

1. Jarrett Young, Saint John’s – 48.90
4. Jovan Joseph, King Philip – 49.68
11. Cashmere Mathurin, Stoughton – 51.08

2 Mile
1. Nathan Lopez, Saint John’s – 9:06.14
3. Kyle Sarney, Oliver Ames – 9:11.57

110M Hurdles
1. Jordany Volquez, Lawrence – 14.10
2. Jordan Emile, Stoughton – 14.59

400M Hurdles
1. Gabe Thyne, Concord-Carlisle – 54.69
18. Deyontai Dennis, Canton – 1:00.92

4×100 Relay
1. Framingham – 42.96
4. Taunton (Nathan Candido, Almonroe Leaman, GJ Mualis, Gavin Weldon) – 43.83
12. Stoughton (Jalen Castillo, Omari Welch-Guytan, Nivon Domoulin, Shawn Howze) – 44.41

4×400 Relay
1. Newton North – 3:20.96
12. Taunton (Edward Paiva, Conal Scully, Aidden Fitting, Steven Westgate) – 3:30.44

High Jump
1. Elisha Teneus-Claude, Stoughton – J6-08.00

Long Jump
1. Jake Wall, Mansfield – 23-07.50
3. Elisa Teneus-Claude, Stoughton – 22-07.00
4. Cashmere Mathurin, Stoughton – 22-03.00
5. PJ McManus, Sharon – 22-00.50
9. Adam Connolly, Foxboro – 21-07.25
14. Deyontai Dennis, Canton – 20-07.25

Triple Jump
1. Alexander Dacruz, Greater New Bedford – 44-11.25
2. Omari Welch-Guytan, Stoughton – 44-03.75
10. Cashmere Mathurin, Stoughton – 42-04.00
11. Deyontai Dennis, Canton – 42-01.75

1. Joseph Duggan, Lincoln-Sudbury – 180-05
12. Ike Ogbonnanze, Sharon – 126-10

Shot Put
1. Max Klein, Newton North – 61-06.25
11. Ike Ogbonnanze, Sharon – 48-05.00

1. Liam Bourassa, Ayer Shirley – 187-05
15. Ethan Gattoni, Attleboro – 137-03

1. Izaiah Strum, Lowell – 3289
2. PJ McManus, Sharon – 3196

Girls Team Results

1. Westford Academy – 40.5
6. Milford – 25
14. Taunton – 16
16. Foxboro – 14
22. Mansfield – 13
28. Franklin – 8.5
61. Canton – 3
81. Stoughton – 0.5

1. Elliana Tweedie, Westford Academy – 12.19
2. Jordyn Collins, Foxboro – 12.34
5. Kiyanni Simas, Milford – 12.51
7. Wendy Wooden, Sharon – 12.69
8. Abigail Scott, Mansfield – 12.87

1. Rachel Arthur, Lincoln-Sudbury – 24.79
3. Jordyn Collins, Foxboro – 25.49
8. Wendy Wooden, Sharon – 26.07
18. Kiley Hanlon, Canton – 26.65
20. Shayla Ford, Stoughton – 26.81
21. Sofia Delvecchio, King Philip – 27.12

1. Aleia Gisolfi-McCready, Lexington – 55.25
10. Jillian Fenerty, Franklin – 58.65
16. Nia Mainer-Smith, Taunton – 59.84
21. Anna Darlington, Mansfield – 1:01.01

1. Makyala Paige, Tewksbury – 2:10.66
7. Emma Lawrence, Milford – 2:17.56
15. Jenna Gilman, Oliver Ames – 2:19.93

1 Mile
Amelia Everett, Newton South – 4:55.89
9. Katie Sobieraj, Oliver Ames – 5:09.06

400M Hurdles
1. Megan Webb, Wellesley – 1:02.10
2. Kerry O’Connor, Milford – 1:03.56
5. Caitlin Dumouchel, Mansfield – 1:05.62

4×800 Relay
1. Concord-Carlisle – 9:25.88
10. Oliver Ames (Taegan Hodges, Emily Myeres, Katie Sobieraj, Jenna Gilman) – 9:55.85
13. Mansfield (Norah Puleo, Emma Lamson, Katherine Scott, Abby Greenberg) – 10:07.46

4×100 Relay
1. Framingham – 48.79
6. Canton (Kiley Hanlon, Talya Mendez-DeGraw, Katherine Oliver, Madison Rousseau) – 49.92
11. Mansfield (Abigail Scott, Meghan Driscoll, Erika Penney, Colleen Water) – 50.38
20. Franklin (Ava Fraulo, Sophia Cuneo, Barra Pfluke, Lindsey Morse) – 52.30

4×400 Relay
1. Lexington – 3:54.23
4. Milford (Dani Atherton, Julia Gonzalez, Emma Lawrence, Kerry O’Connor) – 3:58.20
11. Franklin (Jillian Fenerty, Anna Cliff, Sarah Dumas, Olivia Costa) – 4:07.16

High Jump
1. Sophie Albright, Framingham – J5-08.00
T3. Lindsey Morse, Franklin – J5-04.00
T8. Gabriella Julian, Stoughton – J5-02.00

Long Jump
1. Winnie Sekyaya, Burlington – J18-04.50
6. Kiyanni Simas, Milford – 17-09.00
8. Kerry O’Connor, Miflord – 17-06.50
9. Simone Dunbar, Sharon – 17-05.50
19. Anna Buckley, Mansfield – 16-01.50

Triple Jump
1. Rachel Bibiu, AMSA – 36-11.50
4. Simone Dunbar, Sharon – 36-01.50
9. Sydney O’Shea, King Philip – 35-02.75

1. Michael Denson, Sabis – 142-11
6. Katelynn Taylor, Franklin – 105-06

1. Hannah McEntee, Taunton – 125-11
3. Caitlin Dumouchel, Mansfield – 112-00

Shot Put
1. Michaela Denson, Sabis – 37-08.25
15. Katelynn Taylor, Franklin – 33-05.00

Goode Night: Panthers Walk Off With Win Over Eagles

Franklin baseball Ryan Gerety
Franklin sophomore Ryan Gerety slides safely into second with a stolen base in the first inning against BC High. (Ryan Lanigan/
 FRANKLIN, Mass. – It looked like Franklin and BC High were headed to extra innings when Panther junior Chris Goode flared a high fly ball into foul territory down the right field line with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Instead, the ball eluded the right fielder and dropped harmlessly in foul territory. Goode made the most out of his second chance.

Franklin baseball

With a runner on third, Goode hit a slow roller to the left side of the infield and raced down the first base line, beating the throw from the shortstop for a walk-off infield single as CJ Jette crossed the plate for the winning run, giving the top-seeded Panthers a 2-1 win over 13th-seeded Eagles.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Franklin will host Xaverian on Monday night in the D1 South Sectional Final.

“After I popped it up, and my approach for every at-bat, I just take a deep breath and erase everything that happened before and focus on the next pitch,” Goode said. “I worked the count to 3-2, saw the outside pitch and put it on the ground, put it in play and the second I saw it on the ground I was going to beat it out with the shortstop playing deep.”

Franklin baseball

CJ Jette was the catalyst behind the winning run, recording his third hit of the game out of the eighth spot in the lineup to lead off the bottom of the inning. Head coach Zach Brown went to his bench next, bringing in senior Jon Turner, who laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Jette over to second.

Sophomore Ryan Gerety grounded out to short but Jette advanced to third on the play. Goode overcame the foul ball early in the at-bat to work the count full before putting it in play for the game-winning hit.

“He’s been one of our best guys all year,” Brown said of Goode, who was without a hit to that point. “It felt like he had just missed a couple of pitches [in previous at-bats]. He was on time, just a little under. He made the adjustment after he hit the foul ball and got above it and it worked out for us.”

“It was exactly what we thought it was going to be. Just two really good two baseball teams locking together. We had a feeling it was going to come down who could execute in the late innings. I’m just proud of the guys. CJ Jette is an animal at the bottom of the lineup, and Jon Turner, a senior coming off the bench, hasn’t really played much this year and was in a big spot, and he had ice water in his veins. Just really proud of the guys.”

Franklin baseball

The Panthers were in position to win largely due to a stellar pitching outing from junior Jacob Jette, who tossed a complete game with 12 strikeouts for the win. In the final four innings, he allowed just one hit (a single in the fourth but stranded the runner at second) and one walk (stranded the runner at second after a stolen base). He retired the side in order in the fifth and seventh, giving the Panthers some momentum heading into the home half of the final inning.

“Unbelievable performance by Jette,” Goode said of his classmate. “We couldn’t pick him up with the run support but it ended up working out. He pitched his ass, he was having more kids swinging swords than I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

Franklin didn’t waste much time grabbing the lead, pushing across a run in the bottom of the first. Jacob Jette worked around two walks in the top half, getting back-to-back strikeouts and a pop-up to center to give the Panthers energy heading into the bottom half.

Gerety was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on a fielder’s choice by Nate Cooke, and came home to score on a wild pitch as Franklin seized a 1-0 lead.

CJ Jette reached on a two-out bunt in the bottom of the third and Jake Fitzgibbons drew a two-out walk in the third, but neither advanced past first. BC High scored a run in the top of the third to tie the game. Tim Wagner smashed a two-out double off the fence in right-center field to bring Chris Capozzi (leadoff single) home to make it 1-1.

After being retired in order in the fourth by BC High starter Josh Sunderland (CG, 2ER, 5H, 3BB, 8K), Franklin’s offense had a big opportunity to take the lead back in the bottom of the fifth. CJ Jette singled, freshman Henry Digiorgio was hit by a pitch, and Gerety was intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs.

Sunderland got a big out with a strikeout and then got a huge assist from his defense as first baseman Andrew Manning made a diving catch on a hard-hit line drive from Fitzgibbons and quickly got back to his feet to tag first for a double play to escape the inning without any damage.

Wagner walked to open the top of the sixth but Jacob Jette got back-to-back strikeouts (both looking) and a grounder to first to halt any momentum the Eagles possibly picked up.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“They’ve just been really resilient all year,” Brown said. “They’re a confident group and they believe in each other, and that’s been on display. You can’t fake that stuff. You feel the emotion swing and then you feel the resolve. A lot of that had to do with Jacob. He went out and had a good inning and gave us another chance to come back and execute.”

It marks Franklin’s first appearance in the D1 South final since 2011, when they also beat BC High in the semis and played Xaverian in the finals, earning a 6-5 win that year.

First pitch between the Panthers and Hawks is scheduled for Monday at 7:00 PM at Franklin High.

Franklin baseball

King Philip Rallies Again, Cruises Past Plymouth North

King Philip softball Jordan Bennett
King Philip freshman Jordan Bennett tosses a pitch in the fourth inning against Plymouth North. (Ryan Lanigan/
 PLAINVILLE, Mass. – The King Philip softball team played the majority of the regular season with a lead.

The Warriors are using the postseason to prove that they can come from behind too.

For the second straight tournament game, fourth-seeded King Philip overcame an early three-run deficit to land a win, this time a 9-3 decision over fifth-seeded Plymouth North in a Division 1 South quarterfinal matchup at the Plainville Athletic League complex.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the playoff opener, the Warriors found themselves in a 3-0 hole against visiting Milton before even coming to bat but rallied to tie the game and eventually take a 6-3 win.

In the top of the third inning on Wednesday evening, the Eagles of Plymouth South turned their first hit of the game into the first runs of the game. A walk to No. 9 hitter Marissa Durette proceeded back-to-back hits from Emily Jenkins and Megan Banzi, the latter pushing across the first run of the game. An RBI ground out from Kylee Carafoli made it 2-0, and a wild pitch brought one more run for a 3-0 advantage.

King Philip softball

King Philip freshman Jordan Bennett got a big strikeout swinging to end the inning, which seemed to give the Warriors an extra boost of momentum heading into the bottom half.

“She got that strikeout and we wanted to pick her up and score some runs,” said King Philip head coach Kate Fallon-Comeau. “We started to get the outs [in a row] and we’d feed off that coming up to hit. They did really well. They chipped away at the deficit and just got the bats going.”

Sophomore Ava Lanza got things started with a one-out single, stole second, and took third on a base hit from sophomore Charlotte Raymond, who took second on the throw. After a walk to sophomore Sarah Cullen, junior Mia Bennett smacked a hard hit ball through the right side to bring a run in.

Despite leaving the bases loaded, the Warriors got on the board with a run and from the offense scored in every in after.

After surrendering the three runs in the third, Jordan Bennett settled in to allow just two baserunners over the course of the final four innings. One was a leadoff single in the top of the fourth but that run was quickly erased by KP’s second double play of the game on a pop-up to Maddie Paschke at third and a quick throw to first to Anna Bradley to double the runner up. Bennett ended the inning with one of her five strikeouts.

Sophomore Taylor Regan (4-for-4, three runs) led off with one of her four singles on the night, senior Paige Berdos followed with a single, and Ava Lanza reached on an infield hit after timely base running from Regan on the left side of the infield as KP loaded the bases with one out for this second straight inning.

A pop-up to center made it two outs but Cullen, who hit the go-ahead home run in KP’s win over Milton, came up with another clutch hit with a hard-hit double down the left field line to bring in two runs to make it 3-3 after four innings.

“If they don’t get hits early on, it doesn’t really faze them,” Fallon-Comeau said. “They take each at-bat as a new, fresh start. Who cares if I grounded out last time? They put it past them and focus on the current at-bat.”

Bennett needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order in the top of the fifth and King Philip’s offense had its best showing in the bottom half, despite going against new pitcher Kylee Hefner, who replaced Caroline Collins.

King Philip softball

Ava Kelley led off with a walk and senior Libby Curran dropped down a perfect sac bunt to advance the runner. Regan singled to put runners on the corners and Jordan Bennett was hit by a pitch to load them up.

Berdos came about a foot away from a grand slam but the Warriors got a run out of it as a sacrifice fly and then Lanza doubled down the left-field line for two more runs. Two batters later, Cullen brought in a run with a two-out single, and KP’s lead improved to 7-3 after five innings.

“I knew they’d get the timing down eventually off of [Collins] and then they switched and [Hefner’s] speed was more in their wheelhouse,” Fallon-Comeau said. “And they were hungry up there and ready to hit by the fifth inning.”

Banzi led off the top of the sixth with a double, the only other batter to reach for the Eagles after the third inning, but she didn’t get any further. Bennett got a grounder back to the circle and back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

The Warriors tacked on some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, the fourth straight inning KP pushed across a run. Kelley led off with a single and alertly took second after a pop-up and throwing error. Regan singled again to put runners on the corners and Bennett loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch.

Berdos smashed another deep ball, this one finding space in left field for a two-run double to extend the Warriors’ lead to 9-3.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Bennett needed just eight pitches to sit the Eagles down in order in the top of the seventh to get the win.

“She’s not fazed by too many things, not much gets to her,” Fallon-Comeau said of Bennett settling down after giving up three runs in the third. In the playoff opener, Bennett allowed just one baserunner over the final four innings after giving up three runs in the first. “I think her older sister [Mia] kind of prepared her for this level. She wasn’t thrown off by any of their screaming. She just wants the ball and she’s ready to go, she’s a scrappy kid.”

With the win, King Philip earns a third date with division rival and top-seed Taunton, who handed the Warriors their only two losses of the season. First pitch between King Philip and Taunton is scheduled for 7:00 PM on Thursday at Jack Tripp Field on the campus of Taunton High.

King Philip softball

King Philip Sweeps Attleboro Behind Stellar Defense

King Philip softball Mia Bennett
King Philip junior Mia Bennett applies the tag at second after an outfield assist from Charlotte Raymond. (Ryan Lanigan/
PLAINVILLE, Mass. – With the playoffs right around the corner, the King Philip softball team is clicking on all gears.

The Warriors have boasted solid pitching and a punishing offense all season long, but for the second straight game, the defense stole the show. Aided by terrific effort plays and pinpoint accurate throws in almost every inning, King Philip scored a 7-5 win over visiting Attleboro.

Charlotte Raymond cut a runner down at second base in the early stages to set the tone, senior Anna Bradley made a pair of momentum-swinging plays at first, and Paige Berdos’ alert double play in the final inning helped put an end to Attleboro’s comeback attempt.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“They made the plays they had to, that’s what you have to do against good teams. [King Philip] can really play in all aspects and we were right there with them,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Homer. “We’re disappointed with the loss but there are positives, we were competitive tonight, we were one swing away, we were only one swing away in the first game too.”

Both defenses played mistake-free ball, the second straight contest that saw both sides make big plays on offense and defense with no errors recorded. King Philip held a 1-0 lead, a 5-2 advantage, and a 7-5 edge; the final lead the only one to hold.

Attleboro took its first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the third inning, and just a half-inning after letting that lead slip away, the Bombardiers battled back with three runs to tie the game.

King Philip softball Attleboro softball

“That was a battle,” said King Philip head coach Kate Fallon-Comeau. “It was an all-around great game again, back and forth between two good games. Our defense has been really solid, and it’s been great these last two games. The assists we’ve gotten from the outfield in both games have changed the game.”

Offense was hard to come by in the first contest between the two teams, a 2-1 win for the Warriors. King Philip wasted little time to get things going on Wednesday night though, pushing across a run in the opening inning.

Berdos led off with a single and sophomore Ava Lanza (3-for-4) followed with a base hit of her own, but Attleboro catcher Lora Woyton caught the runner stealing at third. Two batters later, Raymond smacked a double off the fence in right-center field to plate Lanza and Sarah Cullen (HBP).

Woyton laced a shot to right field to lead off the second inning but Raymond was able to chase down the ball and fire to second where junior shortstop fMia Bennett applied the tag for the out.

Attleboro’s defense continued to make plays as well, as pitcher Lindsey Perry made a spectacular effort to snag a bunt for an out, quickly firing to first to double up the runner in the bottom of the second.

The Bombardiers carried that momentum into the top of the third where Meghan Gordon drove a solo shot over the center field fence to tie the game. Gabby Bosh drew a one-out walk and advanced to second during the next at-bat. Lindsey Perry smacked a hard-hit ground ball up the middle to bring in a run to put the visitors ahead 2-1 in the top of the third.

King Philip softball Attleboro softball

It looked like Attleboro would put a runner on with two outs in the top of the fourth but an incredible stretch at first by Bradley took away the infield hit. King Philip picked up a lot of momentum from the play and that translated to the offensive side of the ball.

Cullen was hit by a pitch again and two pitches later, Raymond drilled a home run over the fence and the Warriors were back ahead. On the next pitch, Meg Sherwood connected for a solo home run and KP’s lead grew to 4-2.

Freshman Maddie Paschke had a one-out single, freshman Jordan Bennett connected for a two-out single and took second on the throw, and Berdos drew a walk to load the bases. Lanza singled through the left side to bring in one run for a 5-2 advantage through four innings.

“I think those big plays on defense kind of carried us,” Fallon-Comeau said. “We got a lot of momentum from those plays, it just fired everybody up and we had the right bats coming to the plate at the right time. And we used that momentum to get some runs.”

Attleboro put two on to start the sixth with freshman Kayla Goldrick drawing a leadoff walk and Gordon followed with a single. Both runners advanced on a ground out to the pitcher, and Jordan Bennett (7IP, 7H, 2BB, 5ER, 5K) induced an infield pop up to get the second out.

Hailey Perry came through in the clutch, driving a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for a three-run home run as Attleboro quickly erased the deficit to knot the score at 5-5.

In the bottom of the sixth, junior DP Lauren Hooper got things started with a one-out single. Berdos worked a long at-bat into a single into right field, but KP’s courtesy runner was thrown out at third on the relay. Lanza came through with another clutch two-out hit, this time bringing in Berdos, who had advanced to second on the throw, to take a 6-5 lead.

“She’s really stepped up in a big way for us,” Fallon-Comeau said of Lanza, who was recently inserted into the lineup. “We had an injury, losing our starting shortstop (Libby Walsh). I had intentions of getting her bat in the lineup at some point but it just came at the right time. And she’s proven her bat belongs in the lineup and when you can do that, you’re going to keep playing.”

Cullen reached for the third time, this time on a walk, and Raymond drew a walk as well to load the bases with two outs. Sherwood’s patience at the plate resulted in a third walk and the Warriors brought in an insurance run.

King Philip had one more big defensive play left to make. Attleboro put the leadoff runner on a bloop single to right and the next batter made a lot of contact but the ball was driven hard right to Berdos in center field and without hesitation, the junior fired to first and Bradley was in position to double up the runner. Bennett induced a grounder to the circle for the final out.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While Attleboro softball came away from the series with a pair of losses, there were plenty of positives for the Bombardiers.

“Now we have to make it so we’re not staying with them, that teams are trying to stay with us. And it’s coming. We’re at the level where we go into these games against top teams knowing that we have a chance We feel like we’re peaking at the right time too. We’re not just doing it with one or two girls either, it’s a group effort. We’ve got a great mix of veterans and younger players. It’s a great team, they get along. And they have short memories, we’re already talking about Franklin for the next game.”

Attleboro softball (7-5) will travel to Franklin on Monday for the first of two games against the Panthers. Meanwhile, King Philip (12-0) sets up a Kelley-Rex division title showdown with Taunton, who is also undefeated. The winner of the first game will clinch at least a share of the crown. The Tigers host KP in the first game on Monday at 6:30.

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Franklin Rides Fourth Inning Rally Past Taunton

Franklin baseball Jacob Jette
Franklin junior left-handed pitcher Jacob Jette throws a pitch in the first inning against Taunton. (Ryan Lanigan/
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Through seven games this season, the Franklin baseball team hasn’t faced too much adversity, outscoring opponents 71-18 in dominating fashion.

So when head coach Zach Brown looked up at the scoreboard after 3.5 innings and saw a three-run deficit — the first time the Panthers had trailed by that much all season — he knew he was going to learn something new about his team.

Six straight singles and four runs later, the Panthers were back on top, an advantage they would hold the rest of the way in a 4-3 win over the Tigers.

Franklin baseball Taunton baseball

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We talk about it all the time, adding another tool to the toolbox,” Brown said after his team improved to 9-0 on the season. “So knowing that you can come back in a game against a good team is important. The message to the players was that we were going to learn a lot about us as a team. The game doesn’t go according to a script as much as we’d love it to. Taunton is a really good team, they’re the defending state champs so expect nothing less than a really good fight.”

Taunton took the lead with a run in the top of the third and added onto its advantage with two more in the top of the fourth.

Sophomore Ben Jarosz led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a single through the left side and junior Jack Marino followed with a base hit through the right side. Sophomore Eisig Chin joined the hit parade with a hit up the middle to bring Jarosz home to get the Panthers on the board.

CJ Jette battled back from an 0-2 count and hit one to the left side that was knocked down by the third baseman but without a play at first, there was no throw which loaded the bases. Freshman Henry DiGiorgio smacked a hard ground back to first that was knocked down but no play could be made and a run crossed to make it 3-2.

“I was a little disappointed yesterday because I felt like we struck out too much,” Brown said. “I felt like we needed to get back to shortening up a little bit, just finding a way with a better two-strike approach. I really do feel like that inning was a pretty good example of that. CJ Jette’s at-bat really stands out to me, he was down two strikes, shortened up, found a way, and hit a hard buy in the five-six hole to keep the inning alive for us. There were a lot of good at-bats there but that one stuck out to me.”

Franklin baseball Taunton baseball

Ryan Gerety then connected on Franklin’s sixth straight single, this one up the middle that plated both Chin and Jette to put the hosts ahead 4-3. Taunton starter Danny MacDougall (6IP, 9H, 1BB, 4ER, 4K) prevented any further damage by getting three straight pop-ups from the heart of Franklin’s lineup to strand runners at second and third.

Franklin turned to the bullpen to replace starter Jacob Jette (5IP, 6H, 2BB, 3ER, 3K), bringing in junior James Kuczmiec to close the door. Kuczmiec and classmate Ethan Voellmicke have been steady, reliable options for the Panthers so far this season.

Kuczmiec got the job done on Tuesday night, retiring the side in order in the top of the sixth. Taunton’s Ty Cali stroked a two-out single to put the tying run on base but Kuczmiec induced a grounder for the final out to get the two-inning save.

“The back end of our bullpen has been really, really good, it’s been a strength for us all year and those two guys (Kuczmiec and Voellmicke) have been really sharp,” Brown said. “They’ve given us great effort and I’m really proud of them both. We’re going to keep relying on them to do those things for us. Anytime they have the ball, we feel pretty good about our chances.”

There wasn’t much happening offensively for either side between the first two innings. Franklin junior Chris Goode drew a one-out walk in the first and made it to third after Nate Cooke reached on an error but MacDougall stranded the runner on third.

The Panthers put runners in scoring position again in the second on a single from Chin and a bunt single from CJ Jette but sophomore Ryan MacDougall got an unassisted out at first and Bretton Heggs made a nice catch in left to keep the game scoreless.

Taunton took the lead in the top of the third when Colby DaCouta ripped a ground-rule double over the field in left field. Cali had his first single of the day to move DaCouta to third and he scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. Jacob Jette prevented further damage by getting a strikeout and a ground to strand Cali at second.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the top of the fourth, junior Dawson Bryce led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on a fielder’s choice for the second out. Sophomore Shawn Cali connected for a double to bring Bryce home to double the lead and Jack Gobin followed with a base hit to bring Cali home for a 3-0 lead.

“It feels like we’re one play away, one inning away,” said Taunton coach Blair Bourque. “We need someone to step up and make a play or make a pitch in those situations. We’re right there we just have to eliminate those big innings, stop the bleeding somehow. We have a great team so we’ll figure it out but it’s a short season so we don’t have as much time. But we’re excited to get back at it again tomorrow and try to figure things out.”

Franklin baseball (6-0 Kelley-Rex, 9-0 overall) is in action on Thursday with another home game, this time against Sharon. Taunton (3-3, 5-4) returns to host North Attleboro on the same day.

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