Franklin Scores Late To Claim First Ever Super 8 Title

Franklin baseball
Franklin poses with its MIAA D1A State Championship trophy after beating Central Catholic. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

BROCKTON, Mass. – Throughout Franklin’s run in the 2018 MIAA Super 8 Tournament, every game has come down to the late innings.

That held true on Monday night, as Franklin scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning to beat Central Catholic, 3-2, and win the 2018 Super 8 title, the program’s first state title since 1986.

“This is the most resilient team I’ve ever seen”, said Franklin starter Bryan Woelfel. “Somebody punches us, we go down a couple of runs, it’s happened every game we’ve had, then people just step up in big spots and just get us right back to where we need to be.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

One of those spots came in the bottom of the eighth, as after a superb performance from Woelfel (7 IP, 7 H, 7 K), Jake Noviello entered the game in relief with runners on second and third, no outs, and the game tied up at 2-2.

Noviello struck out Sean Thompson looking and followed by punching out Mike Lefebvre. Joey Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Noviello bounced back and struck out Dante Pistone looking to strand the runners and give Franklin a chance to take the lead n the top of the ninth.

“I pitched against them the other day and got hit around one inning, so I knew to just come out and come after them,” Noviello said. “I just tried to give them my best stuff, and tried to gas them up.”

“There’s no other guy in the state that’s going to go into that situation and strike out three straight batters like Jake Noviello did, that’s unbelievable,” Woelfel said about his teammate.

Franklin (21-5) took advantage of the momentum a half inning late in the top of the ninth when Steve Luttazi led off with a single.

With Noviello at the dish, Central Catholic tried to backpick Luttazi, but the throw ended up in right field and Luttazi was able to advance to third. After a groundout, the stage was set for Evan Wendell.


Wendell laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt that allowed Luttazi to sprint home and score and give Franklin a 3-2 lead.

“Coach told me to bunt when I first got up there, he gave me the sign for the squeeze, and then they met at the mound and conferenced, so he called me over he said ‘you know what, they’re probably talking about this exact situation, so we’re gonna call it off for the first one,’ we did that,” Wendell said.

“They definitely thought it was a squeeze, he threw me a dirt ball, so then we did it the next pitch, and it worked. We practice that every day, so big kudos to coach right there, that was great coaching to call it off on the first pitch and then do it the second one.”

“He’s tough as nails, and I just had a feeling he was going to find a way, find a way for us, senior veteran, and I just wanted to give him an opportunity to knock it in a run, and to his credit, he executed the play to perfection,” said Franklin coach Zach Brown on Wendell.

In the bottom of the ninth, Noviello had to face the heart of the Central Catholic order, with Dominic Keegan, Steve Hajjar, and Mike Borrelli due up.

Keegan gave the Franklin faithful a scare with a bomb down the right field line, but it was a couple yards to the right of the foul pole. He ended up walking to lead off the inning, but Noviello got Hajjar to fly out to center and struck out Borrelli.

Mike Pierro hit a single into right to put the winning run on first, but Noviello struck out Noah Lucier to end the game and give Franklin their first baseball state championship in 32 years.

Franklin’s seniors were the ones came through in the late innings, with Woelfel, Noviello, Luttazi, and Wendell all playing huge parts in the win.

“It’s just a really special class, a really special group of kids, I love them, they know I love them, we talk about a lot more than just baseball,” Brown said about his seniors. “The thing I’m most happy with this group is now they’re going to be forever connected because of this state championship, and years from now when they see each other they’ll always have this moment together.”

Franklin’s offense got started in the top of the first when Colby Fitzgibbons singled on the first pitch of the game and was hit home when juniorJake Macchi homered to left field to give Franklin a 2-0 lead, a lead they held until the fourth inning.

Macchi almost had extra bases again in the top of the third, but a spectacular catch by Central Catholic left fielder Sean Thompson robbed Macchi of at least a double.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the top of the fourth, Franklin loaded the bases, but Aidan Abernathy, who came on in relief of starter Noah Lucier after a Luttazi double, was able to get out of the jam.

In the bottom of the fourth, Pierro led off with a walk and came around to score on a double by Thompson. Thompson advanced to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Joey Sanchez to tie the game at 2-2.

With the win, Franklin baseball becomes the fourth team to win a baseball Super Eight title (Newton North, Braintree twice, St. John’s Shrewsbury). Franklin was also the last team selected for the tournament this year, and as the #7 seed, is the lowest seed to ever win the tournament. Franklin did not lose a game in its tournament run.

Franklin Rallies To Punch Ticket To Super 8 Final

Franklin baseball
Franklin players celebrate after recording the final out to beat Central Catholic and advance to the Super 8 Final. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

BROCKTON, Mass. – Once Franklin scored the tying run in the top of the 9th inning during Thursday’s MIAA Super 8 semi-final against Central Catholic, and got two quick outs in the bottom of the inning, the game seemed primed for extra innings.

But Central Catholic’s next batter, Vanderbilt-commit Dom Keegan, had other ideas, as he sent a ball high off the wall in left-center field before coasting into third with a triple. Steve Hajjar was hit by a pitch, which set the stage for Mike Borrelli.

Borrelli grounded to shortstop, but the throw was wide and looked like it would get by Franklin first baseman Steve Luttazi and give Central a walk-off win. Instead, Luttazi made an incredible pick and held the bag, retiring Borrelli and keeping Franklin alive.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Panthers capitalized, scoring two runs in the top of the tenth, and winning 6-5, to advance to the Super Eight Final.

“Steve’s been a rock for us defensively over there all year,” said Franklin manager Zach Brown. “Honestly, I think he gives our infielders tremendous confidence to get the ball in the air and get it around him and he’s going to take care of the rest,”

“We had two outs, it was a tie game, looking good, then Keegan gets on third which was a little bit scary, then the play was just a grounder, simple pick, I’ve been doing it for awhile, it was just reactionary, I didn’t feel any pressure, just got the play done and I was excited we got the out,” Luttazi said.

In the top of the 10th, Jack Nally led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Luttazi. JB Floris was hit by a pitch, and Evan Wendell drew a walk which loaded the bases for Colby Fitzgibbons.

Fitzgibbons’ grounder to third was mishandled which allowed Nally to score to give Franklin a 5-4 lead. In their next at-bat, Franklin got a very important insurance run, as Scott Elliott’s sac fly scored Floris to put the Panthers up 6-4.

In the bottom of the 10th, Bryan Woelfel got two quick outs before walking Sean Thompson and then hitting Mike LeFebre to put the winning run at the plate in Joey Sanchez. Sanchez singled home Thompson from second, but Woelfel battled back to strike out Jake Delaney and give Franklin a 6-5 win.

“I love closing,” Woelfel said. “I was a closer my sophomore year and most of last year, I just started starting this year. I’m pretty used to that situation and I just love having the pressure in my hands going into the last outs of the game.”

Woelfel’s been one of Franklin’s best pitchers all year, and that was no different on Thursday night, as he went four innings to earn the win in relief, allowing just two hits and striking out three.

“He’s just a tremendous competitor. He’s a fiery, fiery kid, and when he has the ball in his hand, we feel really good,” Brown said about Woelfel

Franklin scored their first three runs of the game in the top of the second inning, with Nally and Luttazi both hitting singles, while Floris reached on a bunt single. With the bases loaded, Evan Wendell hit a two-run single to center, and Fitzgibbons’ sac fly scored Floris. Franklin had 16 hits in the game, all of which were singles.

The Panthers had the chance to break the game open in the top of the third, loading the bases with no outs. But a grounder allowed a throw home for the force out and then another infield grounder was turned into a double play.

“We were putting good swings on it, we were giving ourselves chances, and we just weren’t able to get that one big hit to kind of break it open for us, but to our guys’ credit, they just keep grinding, they keep believing, they’re really resilient,” Brown said.

Central Catholic had their offensive breakthrough in the bottom of the third with Sanchez leading off the inning with a double and later coming around to score on a two-out double by Hajjar. Borrelli singled home Hajjar, and a walk by Mike Pierro set up Central with runners on first and second. Noah Lucier and Sean Thompson hit back-to-back RBI singles to put Central up 4-3, a lead that would hold until the top of the ninth.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the top of the ninth, Fitzgibbons reached on an error, but a fly out and a strikeout brought Franklin down to their last out.

Jack Macchi singled to put runners on first and second for Cooper Ross, who hit a blooper into left field that hung in the air long enough to allow pinch runner Joe Lizotte to score from second. Macchi went to advance to third on the throw home, but the throw to third was wide and went into left field which gave Macchi the opportunity to head towards the plate, but he was cut down on the relay from Central Catholic and tagged out at home.

With the win, Franklin baseball moves to the Super 8 final, where they will play the winner of Central Catholic and BC High. Whoever wins that game will have to beat Franklin twice to win the Super 8, as Franklin is the only unbeaten team remaining in the tournament. The date and time for Franklin’s next game has yet to be announced.

“We’re fired up, we’re ready to go for the next one,” Woelfel said about Franklin’s mentality. “It feels nice to get there, but we’re not satisfied.”

Franklin Ousted By Concord-Carlisle in D1 East Semis

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – A year ago, Franklin beat Concord-Carlisle in the D1 East Final. This year the teams met a round earlier, in the semi-final, and not only were the stakes different, but the result was as well, as Concord-Carlisle pulled off a 14-10 win in a back and forth game that featured four ties and five lead changes.

“They knocked us on our butts last year, they physically took it to us, but I think it was a learning experience for us, we really had something to prove today and I think we did an outstanding job,” said Concord-Carlisle coach Paul Morrison.

Franklin started out the game strong, with two good goal opportunities early, but two great saves by Natalie Slade turned the Panthers away. They were eventually able to capitalize, with goals from Kelsey MacCallum and Katie Jones giving Franklin a 2-0 advantage early on.

But, when C-C switched to Fallon Vaughn on the draw, the Patriots went on a huge run of draw controls, taking a 9-3 advantage in that category at the end of the first half. After MacCallum put Franklin up 3-1, Concord-Carlisle went on a four-goal run from 9:08 to 7:22 in the first half.

“Offensively, we were patient, especially when they went up by a couple in the first half, we didn’t rush it down there, we were patient, and we got good looks,” Morrison added

Franklin was able to cut the lead to 5-4 after Annie Walsh found Katie Jones, but a play that might have been the turning point occurred with just over three minutes to go in the first half when, after a Gianna Cameron save, Payton Vaughn read the clear pass perfectly, picked it off, and cashed in to put C-C up 6-4.

Franklin was able to get one back, however, as Jones scored her third of the game with 1:13 left in the half to cut the halftime lead to 6-5.

Erin Walsh came out ready to play for Franklin the second half, scoring back-to-back goals and assisting on a Jones goal that put Franklin up 8-6.

Payton Vaughn and Evelyn Karl scored for C-C to tie the game up, but MacCallum helped Franklin regain the lead at 9-8 with her second goal of the game. C-C got right back in it though, as Karl scored her second goal of the game and Payton Vaughn went on a three-goal run by herself to put Concord-Carlisle up 12-9 with 7:50 to play.

“We’ve talked about focus for about a week and just doing the little things,” Morrison said about his team’s energy. “Just doing the little things, go to the game and let it come to you.”

With the game at 12-9, Erin Walsh scored her third of the game to cut the lead, but back-to-back goals by Evelyn Karl finished off Franklin and gave the Patriots a 14-10 win and a bid to their second straight sectional final.

Concord-Carlisle will face Walpole in the D1 East Final after the Rebels Lincoln-Sudbury on Monday night. Franklin ends its season with a 14-6 record, but the future is promising for the Panthers with multiple underclassmen on their roster.

“We’re definitely going to miss our seniors, we thank them for everything we’ve done, but we do have a young team but hopefully a loss like this motivates us to work harder in the offseason and come back and get back here and win this game,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino about the Panthers’ youth going forward.

Klim Powers King Philip Past Sharon In Tourney Opener

King Philip girls lacrosse
King Philip’s Jessica Sullivan takes a shot in the first half against Sharon. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Throughout the 2018 season, King Philip junior Caroline Klim has emerged as one of the Warriors’ go-to goal scorers.

That was the case once again on Tuesday afternoon, as Klim scored nine goals, including the 100th of her career, to lead #5 King Philip past #12 Sharon, 16-8, in the first round of the MIAA D1 East Tournament.

“She’s one of those players that always has a chip on her shoulder, she’s confident that when she shoots that it’s going to go in and I’m glad we had some other girls play like that today as well,” said King Philip head coach Kourtnie Wilder about Klim.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Klim got off to a quick start, as just thirty seconds into the game she scored her first goal to put KP up 1-0, and a few minutes later Jessica Sullivan (four goals, assist) put the Warriors up to 2-0.

Rose Wald came up huge for Sharon throughout the first half with six saves, including three point-blank stops early in the first half. Sharon took advantage of their solid defensive play early, as Emma Eberhardt scored back-to-back goals just minutes apart to tie the score at two.

Klim scored her second goal of the game with 14:28 to play, and from their KP never looked back, scoring another seven unanswered goals and jumping out to a 10-2 lead early in the second half.

“We talked about getting off to a fast start today,” Wilder said .“We wanted this one for our seniors and didn’t want it to be their last game, and we played like it.”

With the game at 5-2, Klim scored her third goal of the game off a free-position, and minutes later scored again to give KP a 7-2 lead heading into the half. Just under a minute into the second half, Dana Truini scored off a free-position to extend the Warriors’ lead, and with 21:59 left to play Olivia Tormey scored to make the game 9-2. Sullivan scored her fourth goal of the game a few seconds later to put the finishing touches on the eight-goal KP run.

Sharon broke the drought with just over 18 minutes to go in the game when Eberhardt scored the third of her six goals on the game. A few minutes later, Sharon capitalized on a free position, as Maeve Barbera took advantage of the open space to find Lydia Chase wide open in front of the net to cut the lead to 10-4.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Klim scored her fifth goal of the game a few seconds later, and four minutes after that Sullivan found Alli Meehan for a goal to put the Warriors up 12-4.

Back-to-back goals by Klim, the second of which was the 100th of her career, would extend the KP lead to 14-4 with 4:41 left to play, but three straight Sharon goals, including two by Eberhardt, would give them some life with the score 14-7, but Klim’s eighth and ninth goals of the day ended any hope of a comeback.

With the win, King Philip moves on to play Lincoln-Sudbury at L-S on Thursday afternoon. L-S advanced with a 15-2 win over Mansfield on Tuesday afternoon. The winner of that game moves onto the D1 East semi-finals where they will play the winner of Natick-Walpole.

Late Run Helps B-R Edge Franklin In Season Finale

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – On Monday afternoon, Franklin’s late-game heroics earned them their ninth win of the season and a chance to earn a playoff bid on Wednesday night against Bridgewater-Raynham.

But on Wednesday night, the script was flipped, as B-R scored a run in the top of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead, and despite Franklin threatening with runners on first and second, finished off the Panthers in the bottom half of the inning to earn their 15th win of the season and eliminate Franklin from postseason eligibility.

Things didn’t get going for either side offensively until the third inning, as Jackie Cherry (CG, nine strikeouts) and Julia Ferry (CG, 11 strikeouts) matched each other almost pitch for pitch.

In the bottom of the third, with two outs in the inning, Allie Shea reached on a walk, and Anna Balkus reached on a bunt single, putting runners on first and second for Franklin. A single from Maddy White loaded the bases, and Cherry helped herself with a bloop single into center that cleared the bases and put Franklin up 3-0.

“I think the inning we gave up the three runs was a couple of popups that fell in, I told my outfielders they were playing too deep, they went up three runs, scored the three runs on us, luckily the following inning we came right back,” said Bridgewater-Raynham coach Michael Carozza of Franklin’s offense in the third.

In the top of the fourth, B-R struck back, as with one out, Hannah Rideout and Summer Sheerin hit back-to-back singles, and then a throwing error on Jill Johnson’s groundball allowed Rideout to score. Ferry helped herself out with a bloop single that fell just inside the first base line which scored Sheerin and Johnson to tie the game at three apiece.

B-R almost struck again in the fifth, as Alexis Silva led off with a single, and after Cherry struck out Cecelia Barton and got Kylee Piche to pop out, Rideout and Sheerin were both hit by pitches to load the bases. Franklin was able to get out of it, as Emily Newcomb popped out to short to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, with the game still tied, Silva came through with another leadoff single and then stole second. After Barton popped out, Franklin’s throwing error allowed Silva to score and put B-R up 4-3.

Bridgewater-Raynham put runners on second and third and Sheerin bunted, but Franklin didn’t make a throw, and Cherry retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.

“Bottom line is, I told the kids, stay short on the ball, put the ball in play, and good things will happen. A lot of times you have to start the inning off by getting some of my small-ball players on base, and then from that point try to advance, and if we advance properly good things happen,” Carozza said about his team’s timely hitting

In the bottom half of the inning, Ferry struck out the first two Franklin hitters, but Gabby Golace got on with a single to right. After Shea singled, Franklin had runners on first and second, but couldn’t manage to bring them home, as they took the 4-3 loss.

With the loss, Franklin’s season ends with a record of 9-11. With only one senior on the roster, the Panthers will look to build on their success and improve next year as they’ll bring back largely the same team.

“As long as we work hard in the offseason and do everything we can between now and next season to get better, I see us being a pretty decent contender for next year, but it will all depend on how much work we put in from now until then,” said Franklin coach Kate Fallon-Comeau about Franklin’s prospects next year.

Noviello’s Pitching, Offensive Explosion Lifts Franklin


By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – When Franklin and Oliver Ames met on April 11th, Fmacranklin needed some late game heroics to come out of Easton with an extra innings win. On Monday night in Franklin, the Panthers needed no such heroics, as they walked away with a convincing 10-1 win over the Tigers.

It didn’t look like things would be easy for Franklin in the top of the first, as OA’s Michael Friel led off the game with a triple, and then later came home to score on a wild pitch from Jake Noviello. After a strikeout, OA came through with three straight singles from Mitch Goulet, Chris Pearsons, and Matt Muir to load the bases with just one out.

Noviello came through though, striking out the next two OA batters to end the top half of the inning with limited damage.

In the bottom of the second, Cooper Ross and JB Floris (2-for-2, two runs) hit back-to-back singles, and then Steve Luttazi, in his first game back in the lineup following a pulled hamstring, singled home Ross to tie the game up at 1-1. Floris came home on a passed ball, and Jack Nally (3-for-3, two RBI, run) brought in Luttazi with a single to put Franklin up 3-1.

In the top of the fourth, OA’s CJ Deveau singled, but that was the last time a Tiger batter would reach base, as Noviello retired the last 11 batters he faced, including five via strikeout as he finished with nine punchouts in a complete-game effort.

“In the first inning, the ball was coming out of his hand great and he feels great, but location-wise, he’s throwing strikes, but he’s mid-thigh, so what I had said to him was ‘Hey, let’s get to the knees, and let’s get away from the eyes a little bit, and make sure you get out in front,’ and he’s just such a poised kid, a lot of kids can’t do that, and he’s able to make that quick adjustment, and honestly he got into a really good rhythm from there,” said Franklin coach Zach Brown about his ace. “He’s a special kid, he’s a special competitor, and we feel good when we have him on the hill.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Franklin’s offense came through again, as Floris drew a walk and then Luttazi doubled which set up Nally, who singled home Floris. A sacrifice bunt by Evan Wendell left Franklin with runners on second and third. A safety squeeze by Colby Fitzgibbons brought home Luttazi and extended the Franklin lead to 5-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, Franklin’s Alex Haba and Jake Macchi singled and Floris got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, but OA was able to turn a 1-2-3 double play to escape the inning.

Franklin broke things up with five runs in the bottom of the sixth as Nally singled and stole second before being singled home by Wendell. Wendell scored on a throwing error which allowed Colby Fitzgibbons to reach second, where he was hit home by Scott Elliott.

Macchi delivered with a ball out to center that missed leaving the park by mere feet, and he was able to leg out a triple and score Elliott. Ross singled home Macchi to give Franklin a 10-1 lead. Noviello shut the door in the top of the 7th and the Panthers were able to get the win.

Monday’s game marked Franklin’s third straight game in which they scored double digit runs, as they scored 14 runs and 11 runs in wins over Stoughton and Sharon, respectively, before their 10 run outing vs Oliver Ames. In Franklin’s last five games, they’ve totaled 53 runs.

“It’s been different guys which has been great, we’ve really had some good balance, good productivity from a lot of different guys,” Brown said on Franklin’s offensive output. “[Tonight] was a balanced approach, guys were trying to win each inning, and it worked out.”

Franklin (11-2) will travel to Taunton on Wednesday for a rematch with the Tigers. Taunton bested Franklin 2-0 in their first matchup on April 20th.

Oliver Ames (7-4) will head to King Philip on Wednesday. It will be the first meeting between the two this year.

North Attleboro’s Wanless Wins In Season Debut


By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Making his first appearance of the season on Friday afternoon at King Philip High School, North Attleboro junior Matt Wanless didn’t appear to be the least bit nervous. Wanless, a junior, threw a complete game, scattering hits, leading his North Attleboro baseball team to a 5-1 win over King Philip.

“He was in command of all his pitches, he felt really good about all of them, I think it was a lot of confidence, he got himself in a couple jams but I think he had a lot of confidence in his fielders and in his ability to pitch,” said North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart about Wanless.

North Attleboro was able to give Wanless some run support right from the get go, as after Nick Sinacola (1-for-3, two runs, RBI) was hit by a pitch, he advanced to second on a groundout. and then was singled home by Zach DeMattio (1-for-3, two RBI).

In the bottom half of the inning, Wanless allowed a leadoff single to Robbie Jarest, and after getting Tim Nault to fly out, he hit Pat Limerick with a pitch. After a Jeremy Rhines groundout, KP threatened with runners on first and third, but a flyout ended the inning for the Warriors. Wanless worked out of another jam in the bottom of the second, as with two outs, Jackson Shiebler and Ian Zimmerman hit back-to-back singles before Jarest drew a walk, but Wanless forced a fly ball to end the inning and preserve the 1-0 North Attleboro lead.

North Attleboro went back to work in the top of the third, showing off their patience at the plate as Kyle Bolger (1-for-2, triple, walk, run) and Ryan Warren drew back-to-back walks to open up the inning. Sinacola then delivered an RBI single to score Bolger, and Jeff Gale was hit by a pitch to load the bases. DeMattio then got hit on the elbow, which brought in Warren. After a popup, Brendan McHugh walked which brought home Sinacola, and Nick Raneri followed that up with an RBI groundout to plate the fifth North Attleboro run and fourth of the third inning.

“[Our patience] is just kind of part of our approach, we’re looking for certain pitches to hit, and we didn’t get them, so we just kept battling and we were able to get a couple off some walks with the bases loaded,” Hart said about NA’s patience at the plate

In the top of the fourth, North threatened again, as Bolger hit a rocket over the left fielder’s head for a leadoff triple, but Jarest was able to retire the next three hitters. In the bottom of the fifth, King Phillip pushed their only run of the game across, as Tim Nault walked, Limerick got by a pitch, and a single by Rhines scored Nault from second and left KP with runners on first and second with one out. Wanless was able to work out of it again though, as he struck out the next two KP batters to get out of the inning.

With the win, North Attleboro improves to 7-1 on the year. They’ll head to Canton on Monday to face off with the Bulldogs.

“We’ve had great senior leadership, and that’s carried over to our juniors, we’ve got a couple juniors that are really contributing,” Hart said about North’s hot start to the year.

King Philip (4-5) will look to rebound on Monday in Attleboro against the Bombadiers.

Franklin Rides Strong Offense Against Stoughton


By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – Coming off of a 12-6 win over Canton, the Franklin softball team knew it would have to continue its success at the plate to get a win over Stoughton. The Panthers did that as its offense started fast and came away with a 12-2 win over the visiting Black Knights on Wednesday afternoon.

After Emily Valentino (complete game, seven hits, 11 strikeouts) set Stoughton down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Franklin got right to work in the bottom half of the inning as Tara Hartnett (1-for-1, two walks, two RBI) hit an RBI triple to bring home Anna Balkus (2-for-4, two RBI), who reached on a bunt single earlier in the inning.

After a scoreless top of the second, Franklin got back at it in the bottom half of the inning, sending every batter to the plate as Meg Caron led off the inning with a single, and after a lineout, Gabby Colace singled. A force out at third left Franklin with runners on first and second and two outs, but Balkus singled home Colace to put Franklin up 2-0. Kylie Bouzan followed that up with an RBI single, and following a walk by Hartnett, Jackie Cherry scored two on another RBI single. Maddy White then singled home Hartnett to extend Franklin’s lead to 7-0.

“We did it all [offensively] with two outs, which really makes me happy,” said Franklin coach Kate Fallon-Comeau about Franklin’s offensive output.

In the bottom of the third, Colace reached on an error and was moved over to third after a double by Ally Shea. After a throwing error at first on a Balkus bunt, Colace and Shea both scored to give Franklin a 9-0 lead. They would threaten with runners on second and third but a flyout would end the inning.

In the top of the fourth, Stoughton started to come alive offensively, as Nikki Coppola led off the inning with a single, and after a groundout by Jordan Lyons, Gina Carafa hit a double that one-hopped the right field wall and allowed Coppola to score. Lexi Baptista then drew a walk, and following a single by Taylor Levine, Stoughton had the bases loaded. Another single by Stoughton catcher Bri Ferrandiz scored Carafa and cut the Franklin lead to 9-2. Valentino managed to get the last two outs via the strikeout, and that inning was the only minor hiccup she would have all day.

“She threw a nice game, mixed her locations, mixed her speeds, had a nice game with her command today,” Fallon-Comeau said about Valentino.

In the bottom of the fourth, Franklin hit the run column again, as a sacrifice fly from = Caron scored White after she tripled, and Franklin took a 10-2 lead. In the bottom of the fifth Franklin scored on another sac fly, this time from Hartnett which scored Shea. In the bottom of the sixth, Natalie Stott, pinch-hitting for Cherry, singled home Bouzan to score Franklin’s final run of the game as the walked away with a 12-2 victory.

Franklin (4-4) will look to keep their bats hot against Sharon (0-7) on Thursday afternoon at Sharon High School.

Stoughton (2-6) will look to rebound on Friday afternoon as they host a talented Taunton team (7-2).

Franklin’s Offense Breaks Through Against Feehan

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

FRANKLIN, Mass. – After scoring just over one minute into the game, the Franklin girls lacrosse team struggled to find the back of the net for much of the first half.

Despite eight shots on goal during the half, Bishop Feehan goalie Maggie Roberts came up with big save after big save to deny the Panthers, and with 1:06 left to go in the half, the Shamrocks led 2-1.

Kelsey McCallum scored off a shooting space penalty to tie the game at 2-2, and milliseconds before the buzzer sounded to end the half, Hailey Toolin found the back of the net to put Franklin up 3-2.

Those two goals proved to be the spark that Franklin needed, as in the second half their offense broke through with eight goals en route to an 11-4 victory over Bishop Feehan.

“I give credit to their goalie, she was really good, but we weren’t making the changes in our shots we needed to make, and those last two goals really gave us momentum going into the second half, and it kind of gave us an idea of where we need to shoot,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino.

To start the second half, Franklin scored four unanswered goals, including two from Erin Walsh, to put the Panthers up 7-2. With 16:23 left, Feehan scored to make it 7-3, but back-to-back goals by Annie Walsh and Elizabeth Wilson put the game pretty much out of reach at 9-3. Feehan would add another goal, but Franklin tacked on two more in the last 1:09 of the game to finish off the 11-4 win.

One of the keys for Franklin was their success with draw controls, as Franklin won fourteen out of sixteen draws, including ten out of eleven in the second half.

“Our draws have been pretty consistent all year, we’ve been beating teams in draws, we’ve been focused on our possessions on offense, and translating our draw wins into goals, and that’s been our struggle all year, and we were finally able to get more than eight goals this game,” Igoe-Guarino added.

In the first half, Erin Walsh started out the scoring early, netting Franklin’s first goal a minute and fourteen seconds into the game. For much of the first six minutes, Franklin controlled possession, and despite some good looks, they were turned away by Roberts.

With 17:28 left to go, Feehan tied the game up. They had another good opportunity with 10:13 left in the half, but a save by Gianna Cameron kept the game tied up at one with a nice save. Feehan took a 2-1 with 3:05 left to go, but that was the only lead they would hold for the rest of the game.

Franklin (4-3) will travel to Natick on Monday to take on the Redhawks in what will be a rematch of the 2017 MIAA D1 East Quarterfinals.

Bishop Feehan (5-2) will travel to Marshfield on Monday to take on the Rams.