Baseball: Ten Players to Watch for 2018

Hockomock Baseball Players to Watch
North Attleboro senior Nick Sinacola is one of the players to watch as another competitive Hockomock League baseball season gets underway. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

Players are listed alphabetically

Jacob Crawford, Senior- Taunton

Taunton senior Jacob Crawford made the switch to shortstop last season, but it did not slow him down as he continued to be one of the top defensive players in the league. Crawford also made a leap at the plate in 2017, leading the Tigers with a 0.350 batting average during the regular season to help Taunton reach the state tournament. He recorded 21 hits and scored 15 runs in the regular season and became one of the most consistent hitters in the Taunton lineup. His defensive prowess will help the Taunton rotation, but Crawford’s emergence as a dangerous hitter gives the Tigers another reason to think they can challenge for the Kelley-Rex title.

Tyler Dalton, Senior- Mansfield

The Hornets’ rotation gets a big boost this year as senior Tyler Dalton returns from injury to anchor the pitching staff. Dalton missed almost his entire junior season after suffering an injury but he’s back to full strength now and will likely be one of the top starters in the league. The Hock saw what Dalton was capable as a sophomore, tying for a league-high six wins and an impressive 1.74 ERA. He fanned 35 batters in 47.1 innings tossed in 2016. Dalton, who is committed to play baseball at UMass Amherst, will try to help the Hornets get back to the postseason for the second straight season.

Ruben Gonzalez, Senior – Stoughton

Stoughton senior Ruben Gonzalez jumped right in at shortstop last season and helped the Black Knights bring home a second straight Davenport division title. Head coach Mike Armour said of Gonzalez that he could be among the best players in the league this season after a spring in which he batted 0.382 and tied for the league lead with 28 hits in the regular season. Gonzalez also led Stoughton with 19 runs scored, 16 RBI and 13 stolen bases, turning his athleticism into a stellar season at the plate and in the field. With several key players graduating, Gonzalez will be counted on even more this year as Stoughton goes for the three-peat.

Eoin Kelleher, Junior – Attleboro

Attleboro junior pitcher Eoin Kelleher made his mark winning four games as a sophomore last year and could step up to be one of the top starters for the Bombardiers this spring. The reigning HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, Kelleher went 4-1 with a 1.00 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 35 innings of work in his first varsity campaign. He also tossed a no-hitter under the lights at Community Field against North Attleboro and his only loss was an eight-inning game in which he allowed only one run. Kelleher will be hoping to get the ball more for Attleboro this year as the Bombardiers look to make a return to the postseason.

Anthony Mollica, Junior- Foxboro

Foxboro junior Anthony Mollica had a terrific sophomore campaign, emerging as one of the top infielders defensively and also showing off his abilities at the plate. During the 2016 season, Mollica was a steady presence for the Warriors at the dish, belting 18 hits in 49 at-bats, posting a team-high 0.367 batting average. He is among the top five batters in terms of average returning this season, and the only junior in that group. He also had eight runs scored and seven RBI. Mollica’s hitting will be key for the Warriors in getting their offense going following a season in which they lost eight games by just one run. His rock-steady defense at shortstop will also give Foxboro a boost this season.

Matt Muir, Senior- Oliver Ames

Oliver Ames senior Matt Muir does it all on the diamond for the Tigers. Whether it’s at the plate, in the field, or on the mound, Muir has stepped up to make big plays for Oliver Ames. He burst onto the scene during his sophomore year, batting 0.351 with 19 runs scored to earn 2016 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year honors. Not only is Muir one of the most consistent hitters in the league with 42 hits over the past two seasons, he is one of the top defensive shortstops in the league. His partnership with Chris Pearsons on the left side of the infield gives the Tigers a big advantage on the defensive side. On top of that, Muir can give the Tigers solid innings on the mound when called upon.

Jake Noviello, Senior- Franklin

Franklin returns one of the best rotations in the league and the centerpiece for that staff is senior Jake Noviello, who is back after an outstanding season for the Kelley-Rex champions. The Fairfield University-commit threw 55.1 innings last season, second most in the league, and led the Hockomock with 61 strikeouts. One of the hardest throwers in the league, Noviello finished the season with a 6-2 record and also picked up the win in the Panthers’ playoff opener. Noviello and the rest of Franklin’s arms will be hoping for another league title and to put together a longer state tournament run this spring.

Nick Sinacola, Senior- North Attleboro

North Attleboro senior Nick Sinacola had a breakout season for the Rocketeers at second base and on the mound last spring and was the rare team MVP as a junior. This season, the University of Maine-commit will be hoping to do even better and get North back to the postseason after narrowly missing out in 2017. Sinacola was third in the league with a 0.415 batting average and finished with a team-high 15 runs scored last year. He was also fourth in the league with 49 strikeouts in 48.2 innings on the mound. He had a 2.01 ERA as a junior and was one of the leaders of a staff that had an ERA under three as a group.

Max Tarlin, Senior- Sharon

Sharon senior Max Tarlin was the ace of the Eagles staff last season as a junior and he will be counted on again this spring, as Sharon attempts to make a push up the league standings. Despite receiving only 22 runs of support in his nine decisions last season, Tarlin posted a 5-4 record (picking up five of Sharon’s six wins on the season) and he allowed only nine earned runs in 56.2 innings, good for an ERA of 1.11. He also struck out 46 batters. If the Eagles can get a few more runs home to support Tarlin this spring, they know that they can count on him to keep opponents off the board and could make a jump into the Davenport title race.

Aidan Wilde, Senior- Milford

Aidan Wilde has been a dominant force on the diamond for three seasons and the Milford senior returns for one more year to help the Hawks make a run at the league title and another playoff berth. Wilde showed off his versatility last year playing several positions for Milford – on the infield, behind the plate, and on the mound. He was second in the league with a 0.429 batting average, scored 15 runs, and drove in 14. He was also 3-1 on the hill, striking out 38 batters in 31.1 innings of work. His ability to win games in different ways gives Milford a major weapon heading into the spring.

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