2018 HockomockSports.com Baseball Awards

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DeMattio Caps Career With MVP Performance

Zach DeMattio
North Attleboro’s Zach DeMattio looks to throw a runner at first against Beverly. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
LOWELL, Mass. – Zach DeMattio gave the Rocketeers the lead with his bat, and he made sure they didn’t relinquish it with his arm.

The North Attleboro senior captain put an exclamation point on a terrific senior season and impressive career with an MVP performance in the Division 2 State Championship, a 4-3 win for his Rocketeers over Beverly.

Offensively, DeMattio drove in all four of the Rocketeers’ runs. And on the defensive end, the senior catcher played a big role in erasing the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“He is an unbelievable player,” said North Attleboro starting pitcher and fellow captain Nick Sinacola. “I think he’s the team MVP, the best player, and it shows. He drove in probably half our runs all season and he’s a beast behind the plate. He’s an incredible player and incredible leader, I give him all the credit. He works hard for everything.”

DeMattio and Sinacola worked to keep the Panthers off balance for the majority of the game. The latter allowing just five hits — three coming in the fifth inning resulting in three runs. Outside of that, the pair worked together as well as they usually do with Sinacola striking out nine batters and allowing just four base runners in the other six innings.

“We’ve been on their backs pretty much the whole season,” said North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart of DeMattio and Sinacola. “They are our leaders and there are a lot of guys that have stepped up big time. But tonight, stick with your strengths and those two guys are our strength right there.

North wasted little time to take a lead in the game and unsurprisingly, it was off of the bat of DeMattio. Sinacola singled with one out and stole second. On a full count, DeMattio hit a hard groaner through the right side to bring Sinacola home for a quick 1-0 lead.

“I trust my guys day in and day out,” DeMattio said. “I just did what I could do, I just looked for the pitches I could get. This is just insane right now.”

The senior was back at it again just two innings later, helping the Rocketeers extend their lead. Junior Brendan McHugh was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the third, stole second, and went to third on an infield single from Sinacola.


Despite falling behind 0-2, DeMattio roped the third pitch he saw into the gap in left-center field to bring both runs in and give the Rocketeers a 3-0 lead in the top of the third.

“They deserve all the credit,” DeMattio said of the two players before him in the order. “I get all my RBIs because of them, they are such pure hitters. McHugh gets on and uses his speed, Sinacola is always getting base hits. It’s just a snowball effect from there.”

The next time DeMattio came to bat was the top of the fifth inning where he delivered his fourth, and what turned out to be, his most important RBI of the day.

McHugh was the catalyst again, opening the frame with a leadoff walk. He once again stole second, one of six stolen bases for the Big Red, and alertly tagged up on Sinacola’s deep hit to left to get to third with one out.

Although DeMattio didn’t come up with a hit, he drove the ball deep enough in shallow right field that McHugh had enough time to race home for the sacrifice fly and a 4-0 lead.

“He tells me before every game ‘Just get on and we’ll get you in’ and it almost always come true, he finds a way to get me in,” McHugh said.

“Going up to the plate I knew that anything outside of the infield in the air, [McHugh] had the speed to get home,” DeMattio said. “I was just looking to get a ball and drive it up. I got the right pitch and put it to right field. You have to give him all the credit, he hustled home.”

The fourth run driven in by DeMattio proved huge as the Panthers rallied for three runs in the bottom half. Sinacola stranded the tying run at third by getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Although DeMattio drove in all four of the Rocketeers’ runs, and the South champs led by just one run, the senior was saving his best play for last.

Sinacola breezed through the bottom of the sixth inning, needing to just pitches and a nice play from right fielder Jeff Gale to set the Panthers down. But Sinacola’s counterpart, Beverly starting pitcher Spencer Brown tried to get the momentum back for his side by retiring North Attleboro in order in the top of the seventh.

Beverly’s No. 8 hitter Ryan Munzing battled his way to a full count and eventually ball four, giving the North champions some hope with the tying run aboard with no outs.

The Panthers sent a pinch hitter to the plate with the idea of moving Munzing over with a bunt. The Rocketeers, however, were ready. Sinacola fired a curveball and the sac bunt missed.

DeMattio, alert to the situation, quickly threw a bullet down the first base line to Aidan Harding. Munzing was caught between bases and the Rocketeers got the out, getting the momentum back. Three batters later and Sincola induced a ground ball up the middle where Ryan Warren flipped to Shawn Watters at second, clinching the win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Me and Aidan always work on those after practice,” DeMattio said. “Being able to throw it down, especially in that situation where he’s looking to bunt and the runner is looking to go when it’s on the ground. We work on those all the time and give Aidan credit, he was ready for it and made the play.”

“The kid bit and Zach has a great arm and threw it down, and we played the pickle perfectly,” Sinacola said.

“I think that was just a good read by [Zach],” Hart said. “Zach has been catching for three years, he’s done it a lot, so he has a lot of confidence in his throwing ability. He’s an incredible player.”

It’s safe to say Wheaton College is getting a heck of a player next year.

North Attleboro Edges Beverly For First State Title

North Attleboro baseball
North Attleboro’s Nick Sinacola (left) and Aidan Harding celebrate after recording the final out to win the D2 State Championship. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Brian Hines, HockomockSports.com Contributor

LOWELL, Mass. – North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart knew he was going to get one ring this year.

Now he’ll get two.

Just days before the first-year head coach says ‘I do’ at his wedding, he celebrated a Division 2 State Championship after his Rocketeers prevailed over Beverly, 4-3, at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.

“It sounds great, it has a very nice ring to it,” Hart said.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the win, the Red Rocketeers followed the same formula that won them 20 regular season games: riding the right arm of pitcher Nick Sinacola, the bat of catcher Zach DeMattio, solid defense, and a relentless aggressive approach.

“We’ve been on their backs pretty much the whole season,” Hart said of Sinacola and DeMattio. “They’re our leaders, there are a lot of guys that contribute and have stepped up big time, but tonight, stick with your strengths and those two guys are our strengths right there.”

The Rocketeers jumped out to an early start, as they have done all postseason. After Sinacola singled and stole second, DeMattio gave North a 1-0 lead in the first after hard hit ground ball took a crazy hop through the right side and plated Sinacola.

After Sinacola (7 IP, 0 ER, 9 K, 5 H, 2 BB) and Beverly pitcher Spencer Brown (7 IP, 4 ER, 10 K, 6 H, 1 BB) exchanged scoreless second innings, DeMattio and North struck again.

Leadoff hitter Brendan McHugh started the rally, getting hit by a pitch then stealing second. Sinacola then followed with an infield single to the left side to put runners on the corners. DeMattio laced a double into the left field gap scoring both runners and increasing North’s lead to 3-0.

“The first thing is getting [McHugh and Sinacola] on base, and that’s more important, but when they get on base, Brendan’s got great speed, Nick is a contact hitter and then you got Zach,” Hart said.

“I trust my guys every day, day in day out and I just did what I can do,” DeMattio said. “I looked for a pitch that I can get.

“They get all the credit. All my RBI’s come from [McHugh and Sinacola], there are just such pure hitters. McHugh gets on, speed, Sinacola always is getting base hits then it’s just a snowball effect.”

North followed a similar pattern just two innings later. After a McHugh leadoff walk and steal, he was then pushed to third on Sinacola’s fly out. DeMattio recorded his fourth RBI of the night on a shallow sacrifice fly into right field. McHugh raced home to beat the throw.


“We’re just going play aggressive and that’s what it comes down to,” Hart said. “I think it was a point in the game where if we could get extra one, go for it. Brendan is extremely fast, so that makes us feel more comfortable about it too.”

“Going up to the plate I knew that anything outside of the infield in the air, [McHugh] had the speed to get home,” DeMattio said. “I was just looking to get a ball and drive it up. I got the right pitch and put it to right field. You have to give him all the credit, he hustled home.”

Even with a 4-0 lead, North knew Beverly was more than capable of making a comeback, and that’s exactly what the Panthers did.

“We were expecting Beverly to make some sort of comeback,” Hart said. “They’re an incredibly great team and we’d expect nothing less in this game. Our guys, they’ve been through things like this before.”

The Panthers rally started with Ryan Munzing’s double, which was just Beverly’s second hit. An infield single by Tim McCarthy (on a close play at first) and walk by Matt Collins loaded the bases for Brown, who helped his own cause with a bases-clearing triple off the wall in left field.

But the Beverly rally didn’t seem to rattle the Rocketeers or Sinacola, who bounced back by striking out the next batter and stranding a runner at third. He continued that momentum with strong sixth and seventh innings.

“I picked up my pace a little bit more, worked a bit little quicker,” Sinacola said. “I thought that was my best inning, the sixth inning, coming after that tough inning which shut them down with their momentum and picked us back up where we had to be.”

“We have had a couple tight wins and some losses but I think all of that just builds and builds,” Hart said. “We just still stay confident with it through thick and thin we’re still going to keep pushing it… we’re still going to play our game despite what the score is.

“And Nick trusts his stuff, he’s a very, very skilled pitcher and we believe in him… he doesn’t let things bother him. I can’t say enough about him… He’s one of the top pitchers in this entire state, we had absolute confidence in him to finish it out.”

Drama was still to be found, however, as Beverly had the tying run on base in both the sixth and seventh innings. A strong pair of defensive plays from the Rocketeers allowed Sinacola to avoid any more damage.

Senior outfielder Jeff Gale fielded a Beverly single in right field with two outs in the sixth inning and gunned down the runner trying for second base to end the inning. Then in the seventh after a leadoff walk, DeMattio fired a relay to first baseman Aidan Harding, who caught Beverly’s runner in a pickle.

“That’s huge,” Hart said. “That was an incredible play and in these games, in this spot in the tournament, that’s where you win or lose.

“It was a good read by Zach, he’s been catching for three years, he’s done it a lot. He has a lot of confidence in his throwing ability. He’s an incredible player.”

“Me and Aidan, after practice, we always work on those because being able to throw it down,” DeMattio said. “Especially in that situation where they bunt and he’s looking to go when it’s on the ground. We work on those all the time and he was ready for it, got to give [Aidan] credit for it, he made the play.”

Sinacola got the second out with a strikeout, and after a two-out single, the senior induced a ground ball up middle and second baseman Ryan Warren flipped it to shortstop Shawn Watters for the force out at second, clinching the win.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The win marks North Attleboro’s first-ever baseball state championship. The Rocketeers (22-2) came into the South Section as the No. 1 seed and outscored their opponents 46-7 on their way to a title.

“It’s just insane, insane,” DeMattio said.

“This means everything,” Hart said. “These kids will remember this for the rest of their life’s. It’s such a great opportunity that they’re able to be here in the first place and then able to take home the win. It means a lot.”

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.

Noviello and Woelfel Pair Up to Fire Franklin to Title

Franklin baseball
Franklin’s Bryan Woelfel (left) and Jake Noviello combined to pitch the Panthers past Central Catholic. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
Josh PerryFollowJoshPerry


BROCKTON, Mass. – In the bottom of the eighth inning in Monday night’s Super 8 final at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium, it looked like Central Catholic had finally figured out Franklin starter Bryan Woelfel. A single and a double put two runners in scoring position with nobody out in a tie game.

Franklin coach Zach Brown decided that he needed to make a change and called in third baseman Jake Noviello. The Fairfield University-commit had been warming up during the Panthers at-bats just in case and was now called on to try and get out of the ultimate high-leverage situation.

“We had a shot,” said Brown about how he felt bringing in his ace in that situation. “I felt like it was a spot in the order and just knowing Jake and knowing his competitiveness I thought we had a shot.”

Noviello explained, “I pitched against them the other day and I got hit around in one inning, so I knew to just come at them tonight and just try to gas them up.” He added with a shake of his head, as the accomplishment settled in, “It’s unbelievable, unbelievable.”

He struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth. He hit the third batter to load the bases but then closed out the inning with another strikeout in an impressive relief appearance. The first player out of the dugout to greet Noviello as he stalked off the field was Woelfel, his best friend since kindergarten.

“It’s happened a couple of times in big games and big spots,” Woelfel said about Noviello coming in to close out games for him. “There’s nobody we else we want on the mound for those final outs than Jake.”

Noviello said of Woelfel, “I owe him. I owe him big time. He’s been freaking nails all year. I love him like my brother, we’ve been friends forever and I’m just so freaking proud that we’re going out this way…as champions.”

A squeeze bunt put the Panthers ahead in the top of the ninth and Noviello was back on the mound to try and seal the win. A lead-off walk gave the Raiders hope and Central Catholic would put two on in the ninth but Noviello closed the door with another strikeout.

Franklin, the last team chosen for the Super 8 field and the No. 7 seed overall, was the champion and had done it without losing a game in the tournament. The Panthers leaned on their senior pitchers throughout the tournament with Noviello and Woelfel appearing in all four games and managing to shut down some of the top lineups in the state.


“I knew that a lot was going to be called on Bryan and I and I was just really focused on taking care of my arm, icing it every night,” Noviello said. “Just trying to do everything I could to help these guys. They’ve given everything they had all year. This is just the best possible ending I can think of.”

Despite having thrown a few innings of relief against Central Catholic in the winner’s bracket final, Woelfel never doubted that he would be ready to go against the Raiders again on Monday.

“I told coach yesterday, he was toeing the line between me and Jason [Ulrickson] who was going to pitch, and I told him I want the ball, my arm feels great,” Woelfel said. “Honestly, if my arm didn’t feel great I was going to say the same thing. I wanted the ball.”

Brown said of Woelfel, “He’s been an animal. He’s really been this way his whole career. He’s really selfless. I used to say that he’s the most underrated player in the Hock, I think I can kind of put that one to bed. He’s just nails.”

If there was any sign of tiring, Woelfel overcame it as he gutted out seven-plus innings before handing the ball over to his best friend. “It’s time to return the favor,” Brown joked about Noviello coming into get Woelfel out of a jam.

“Jake’s unbelievable and deserves everything he gets in terms of accolades,” Brown added, “Bryan has done a lot of dirty work over the years for him and it was just fitting to watch those two guys today.”

The two friends combined to throw 35-1/3 innings (all but 1-2/3 innings) over the course of four games. Woelfel won two, beating St. John’s Prep and Central Catholic (in relief), and Noviello won the others, including the opener against Wachusett and Monday’s final (in relief).

“We’re definitely going to celebrate this one,” said Noviello. “It’s something we had talked about as captains. Obviously you have goals and some of them you think might be unattainable but for some reason this team just never gave up and kept fighting to the end.

2018 Hockomock League Baseball All Stars

Below are the official 2018 Hockomock League Baseball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Tyler Dalton, Mansfield

Hockomock League All Stars

Jon Candiales, Attleboro
Matthew Casamento, Canton
Chad Bearce, Foxboro
Alex Haba, Franklin
Jake Macchi, Franklin
Jake Noviello, Franklin
Bryan Woelfel, Franklin
Jeremy Rhines, King Philip
Tyler Dalton, Mansfield
Kevin Dow, Mansfield
Daniel Saraceno, Mansfield
Aidan Wilde, Milford
Zach DeMattio, North Attleboro
Brendan McHugh, North Attleboro
Nathan Pearce, North Attleboro
Nick Sinacola, North Attleboro
Mitch Goulet, Oliver Ames
Matthew Muir, Oliver Ames
Chris Pearsons, Oliver Ames
Ruben Gonzales, Stoughton
Robert Seaman, Stoughton
Tyler DaSilva Medeiros, Taunton
Jack Moynihan, Taunton

Honorable Mentions:
Alvaro Espinal, Attleboro
Matthew Pigeon, Canton
Joseph Freitas, Foxboro
Colby Fitzgibbons, Franklin
David Morganelli, King Philip
Justin Pena, Mansfield
Matthew Shaver, Milford
Peter Cohen, North Attleboro
Michael Mulrean, Oliver Ames
Max Tarlin, Sharon
Evan Gibb, Stoughton
Josh Lajoie, Taunton

Player of the Week – Nick Sinacola, North Baseball

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Nick Sinacola
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

North Attleboro senior Nick Sinacola has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for June 10 through June 16. Sinacola is the 33rd player selected for the 2017-18 school year and the 10th player chosen during the spring season.

Sinacola had another big week for the Davenport division champions, allowing no earned runs over two starts and helping North Attleboro’s offense rack up 42 runs in three postseason games to clinch the Div. 2 South title in convincing fashion and advance to the state title game on Thursday night. In the playoffs, North has outscored opponents 42-4 and Sinacola has been a factor both at the plate and on the mound.

“Nick has been a great leader for us this season,” said North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart. “When he is on the mound, it gives a lot of confidence to our hitters, allowing them to be patient, to keep grinding to get to the opposing team’s pitchers. His maturity and trust in his abilities has allowed him to be successful, to be able to pitch the way he wants to.”

North got its playoff run started with a 5-0 win against Somerset-Berkley. Sinacola, a University of Maine-commit, tossed a complete game shutout, striking out 12 batters and allowing only two hitters to reach base. In addition to throwing a one-hitter, Sinacola also had a hit and scored once for the Rocketeers. In the semifinal against Dartmouth, Sinacola was part of an offensive explosion, going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and three runs scored, as North cruised to a 20-2 victory.

In the South final against league rival Oliver Ames, Sinacola was back on the hill and allowed only two hits and no earned runs over six innings while striking out seven. He also went 2-for-5 at the plate, scoring three runs and driving in a pair for the Rocketeers in a 17-2 win that sends them to the state title game. Over three playoff games, the top four in the North lineup, including Sinacola in the second spot, batted nearly .600 with 25 runs scored and 21 RBI

The Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, is selected by the HockomockSports.com staff. Nominations can be submitted throughout the week up until Saturday night at midnight. There may be a poll posted on every Sunday with the nominations. The results of the poll influence the selection but do not strictly dictate the decision.