King Philip has hired Greg Kessler as its new varsity baseball coach, athletic director Gary Brown announced last month. Kessler is no stranger to the Hockomock League, having served as freshman coach, JV coach and a varsity assistant at Franklin High over the past four years.
“I am excited to be a part of the KP baseball tradition,” Kessler said in a release. “I plan to give everything I have to ensure success on and off the field. I have been so impressed by the administration, the grounds crew and the community of KP that makes me really excited to a part of it.”
The Warriors are coming off a 10-11 season, earning a postseason berth with a win in its final game before falling to Marshfield in the opening round of the state tournament. Former coach Pat Weir, a former KP standout player that took over as head coach in 2014, stepped down after the season. During his final season, Weir helped the baseball field at KP be dedicated to former coach Gary Lombard.
Kessler graduated from Athol High School as a two-sport athlete in baseball and football. He pitched one season of collegiate baseball at Norwich University before his career was cut short by injury. He is currently an eighth-grade English teacher at Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin, and holds a Master’s Degree in Education.
He also coaches for Franklin’s football program, and has previous coaching stops at Athol Middle School and Mohawk Trail Regional Middle School.
“KP has such an amazing tradition of excellence from the music department to the academics to the athletics,” Kessler said. “There is no reason why this program shouldn’t be competitive and a source of pride every season. As a program, we need to commit ourselves to becoming relentless and resilient student-athletes. I want players who will be enthusiastic and involved in every aspect of the program.
“We are going to focus on building a program at all levels at the high school and within the community. It will take time and effort in the weight room, classroom and on the field. I learned so much from Coach Zach Brown in Franklin, from building a program to in-game decisions. I plan on using those tools as I start to build a powerful winning tradition here at KP.”
Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Baseball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Will Weir, King Philip
Hockomock League All Stars
Matt Callahan, Attleboro
Colin Thoener, Foxboro
Jake Noviello, Franklin
Ryan Hodgkins, Franklin
Alex Haba, Franklin
Jason Ulrickson, Franklin
Will Weir, King Philip
Matthew Farragher, Mansfield
Nolan Dousa, Mansfield
Aidan Wilde, Milford
Zack Tamagni, Milford
Zach DeMattio, North Attleboro
Nick Sinacola, North Attleboro
Sam Burr, Oliver Ames
Kyle Gagliardi, Oliver Ames
Max Tarlin, Sharon
Justin Hutchinson, Stoughton
Jack Connelly, Stoughton
Ruben Gonzalez, Stoughton
Ryan Sullivan, Stoughton
Eoin Kelleher, Attleboro
Dan Hartnett, Canton
Anthony Mollica, Foxboro
Jake Lyons, Franklin
Chris Wing, King Philip
Aidan Cahill, Mansfield
Alex Macek, Milford
Nate Pearce, North Attleboro
Alden Newman, Oliver Ames
Aiden Arnold, Sharon
Luke Johnson, Stoughton
Tyler Medeiros, Taunton
For a history of recent Hockomock League Baseball All Stars, check out our history section. You can also see all stars from other sports in our history section. Attleboro Canton Foxboro Franklin King Philip Mansfield Milford North Attleboro Oliver Ames Sharon Stoughton Taunton Attleboro Canton Foxboro Franklin King Philip Mansfield Milford North Attleboro Oliver Ames Sharon Stoughton Taunton Attleboro Canton Foxboro Franklin King Philip Mansfield Milford North Attleboro Oliver Ames Sharon Stoughton Taunton Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Attleboro Canton Foxboro Franklin King Philip Mansfield Milford North Attleboro Oliver Ames Sharon Stoughton Taunton Attleboro Canton Foxboro Franklin King Philip Mansfield Milford North Attleboro Oliver Ames Sharon Stoughton Taunton Attleboro Canton Foxboro Franklin King Philip Mansfield Milford North Attleboro Oliver Ames Sharon Stoughton Taunton Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League Hockomock League
Former Oliver Ames standout and HockomockSports.com Player of the Year David MacKinnon was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday evening. MacKinnon was selected in the 32nd round of the MLB Draft.
MacKinnon had an impressive four years at Oliver Ames, staring in both baseball and soccer. MacKinnon was named the Hockomock League MVP for both sports as well as the inaugural HockomockSports.com Player of the Year in both sports.
“I still haven’t processed what happened,” MacKinnon said shortly after being selected. “It’s unbelievable. I have worked tirelessly for the last 18 years dreaming about this day and it finally came. I have to thank my parents who have brought me around the country to play baseball. I have to thank my fiancé who has been there through a lot of the heartache of last year’s draft. I have to thank my brother for always being there for an encouraging word and to throw batting practice whenever I needed.
“Finally I have to thank my coaches and teammates from Hartford to the Cape league and back to high school…everyone had a role to play in this. And most importantly I have to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play professional baseball, I feel beyond blessed.”
MacKinnon continued his athletic career at Hartford University, playing both soccer and baseball all four years. For baseball, he finished his career as Hartford’s all-time leader in hits (269), runs (155) and putouts (1,508). He ranks second in program history in games played (196), at-bats (750), doubles (51) and fielding percentages (.990) and ranks among the all-time top-five in total bases (343; third), walks (82; fifth) and batting average (.359; fifth).
After being named the America East Baseball Player of the Year and Male Athlete of the Year in 2016, MacKinnon was named to the 2017 America East All Conference First Team. He is also the only America East baseball player to ever earn CoSIDA Academic All-America Division I Baseball First Team honors – something he did two years in a row.
DIGHTON, Mass. – When the state tournament rolls around, it’s not records or seeds that matter anymore — it’s execution.
Despite being forced inside for practice the past two days, and a five-day break in-between games, 10th-seeded Oliver Ames showed no rust in a 5-2 win over second-seeded Dighton-Rehoboth, the defending Division 2 State Champions.
The Tigers connected for 10 hits — all singles —and had runners on base in all innings but two. Dighton-Rehoboth registered seven hits — also all singles — and put a runner on base in all but the final inning.
After pitching just 14 innings during the regular season, sophomore Matt McCormack earned the win for Oliver Ames. He allowed two runs in 5.1 innings of work, scattering seven hits with one strikeout.
Despite starting the season on JV, McCormack impressed in his appearances for the varsity squad and earned the trust of head coach Joe Abarr to get the start on the road against the defending state champs.
“I had a lot of faith in him after how he’s handled himself in big games against some good teams,” Abarr said. “He threw a great game against New Bedford late in the season so that gave us a lot of confidence in him.
“He’s only a sophomore and he started starting for us about halfway through the season. He shows a lot of good baseball IQ. He doesn’t have a lot of ego attached were he wants to blow it by everyone. He will strike guys out but he wants to get ground balls, he wants to get out of the inning. And our catcher [Alden Newman] is a very mature, smart guy that knows how to work counts and pick up tendencies so they worked well together.”
Cam Johnson and Sam Burr connected for back-to-back one out singles in the top of the first inning, with Johnson reaching third but Falcons’ starter Thomas Roache got the third out before any damage.
D-R’s offense got going early two with consecutive singles to start the game but McCormack got a key strikeout, a line drive out to center and an infield ground out to escape unscathed.
OA’s offense continued its aggressive ways in the second inning and it paid off. Matt Muir’s speed forced an errant throw, allowing the junior to take second with one out. A single from Chris Pearsons put runners on the corner, and Pearsons stole second to put two on. Newman laced one to center, forcing a diving catch, which allocated Muir enough time to tag up for a sac fly.
Kyle Gagliardi (2-for-4, RBI) ripped one into the right field to bring Pearsons home from second and give OA a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers had a lead off single in there third inning, but couldn’t do anything with it. The Falcons put a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the third but a shallow pop up to center and a grounder to short with Muir flipping to Mitch Goulet at second for a close force out got OA out of the jam.
Newman led off the top of the fourth with a walk and Gagliardi record his second hit of the day to put runners on first and second. Johnson laid down a perfect bunt to sacrifice the runners over but instead, the throw from the catcher eluded the first baseman. The ball stayed in play in foul territory, allowing both pinch runner Will Hogan and Gagliardi to score and Johnson to advance all the way to third.
Two batters later, Goulet delivered a one-out single to bring Johnson in and put Oliver Ames up 5-0.
“When we got that sac bunt down…when you do the fundamental things right, if you force their hand, mistakes can happen, it’s high school baseball,” Abarr said. “I thought our guys did a nice job of handling it.
“They were able to keep themselves composed. They looked very mature in a big situation. Since I’ve been apart of the program, the second round of the playoffs has kind of been our stumbling point. So it felt good to get it out of the way, especially after practicing inside the gym the last two days.”
The Falcons had an immediate response in the bottom half of the fourth inning. A lead off single from Dallas Noons, a one-out single from John Chrystie and a walk to Joseph Reed loaded the bases for D-R. OA tried to get the force out at home on a chopper up the first base line but the throw was off the mark and the run was safe.
Steven Silvia lifted one to center for a sacrifice fly but McCormack got a line out to center for the final out to limit the damage to two runs.
“Those guys [D-R] can play a heck of a game of baseball,” Abarr said. “I came and saw them Saturday and I knew they were a good team. If we showed up today and played the way I know we could, I knew we’d have a chance. And things went our way some today.”
Muir reached second in the fifth inning with one out but OA couldn’t cause any further damage. D-R earned a two-out walk in the bottom half but that was all.
D-R retired OA in order for the only time in the sixth inning and the Falcons nearly capitalized on that momentum in the bottom half of the inning,
Chrystie led off with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. A single put runners on the corners and forced Abarr to his bullpen, bringing in junior Michael Mulrean in relief.
Pearsons fielded a grounder to third cleanly and he fired home and Newman got the tag for the force out. Mulrean then induced a fly ball to left to get out of the inning.
Mulrean retired the Falcons in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to finish off the save.
“I was really proud of the way the guys handled themselves,” Abarr said. “Everyone had good at-bats, we didn’t try to do too much, I don’t think we had an extra base hit all day.”
Oliver Ames baseball (14-8) advances to the D2 South Semifinals and will take on 11th-seeded Westwood (13-8) on Thursday at 7:00 at Rockland High School.
In the bottom of the first, senior Ryan Hodgkins singled with one out and stole second, then advanced to third on a groundout. Josh Macchi singled into center and scored Hodgkins to give Franklin an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second inning, Marshfield had a runner on first with two outs when Jarred Pellegrino hit what looked to be at least a single into the gap in left center, but a fantastic diving catch by Jake Lyons ended the half inning.
Franklin took that momentum and used it at the playing, rattling off three straight singles to load the bases. Cam Lupien brought Tyler Gomes home on a fielder’s choice to put Franklin up 2-0.
With runners at the corners, Lupien took off for second, and when Marshfield threw down to second, sophomore Alex Haba broke for the plate from third. Instead of trying to get Lupien out, Marshfield threw home but Haba beat the throw and Franklin went up 3-0.
A Jake Noviello double then put runners on second and third, and after Lyons grounded to third, Marshfield tried to get Lupien out at the plate but the throw was late and Franklin went up 4-0 and Lyons reached safely. Hodgkins then grounded out to second, but Noviello scored from third on the play and Franklin extended its lead to 5-0.
Marshfield starter Eddie Kielty got out of the jam by striking out the next hitter, but a 1-2-3 top of the third from Noviello let the Franklin bats get back to work.
On the strength of three singles, Franklin loaded the bases with just one out, but Marshfield got a force out at the plate. With Noviello at the plate, Kielty’s pitch in the dirt bounced away from the Marshfield catcher and Haba scored from third to put Franklin up 6-0.
“We work hard on just trying to manufacture runs, I don’t think we have a tons of guys who are going to hit home runs, so we have to find some different ways to score runs, and today was just another example of guys with heads up base running,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown about Franklin’s work on the base paths.
From then on out, the star of the game was Noviello, who pitched six innings, allowing just one unearned run and only four hits — all singles — while also striking out six and earning the win. Noviello also went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored a run in addition to his work on the mound.
“Every time he has the ball in his hand, we feel really confident that he’s going to give us a great effort, and he did a great job for six innings,” added Brown about Noviello.
Marshfield put a run on the board in the top of the sixth when John Viola reached on an error to start the inning and then advanced on a single from Sam Crawford before scoring on a single by Kielty. It would end up being the only inning Marshfield had more than one hit.
With the win, Franklin baseball moves on to play eighth-seeded Durfee at home at 4:00 PM on Monday. It will be a rematch of last year’s first round matchup, when the Hilltoppers beat the Panthers in Fall River.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – The last time Milford senior Alex Macek toed the rubber on Anthony Noviello Field on the campus of Stoughton High School, things didn’t exactly go as planned as the Black Knights exploded for 15 runs.
This time around, things couldn’t have gone much better.
Macek pitched 8.2 innings, allowing just two innings in the first inning, and struck out seven, leading the Scarlet Hawks to a 3-2 win over Stoughton in nine innings.
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth, Macek hit a grounder to the left side of the infield and the throw to first was short, allowing sophomore Alex Coady to cross for the go-ahead run.
Stoughton’s Ryan Sullivan drew a two-out walk and Jack Connelly singled to put runners on the corners with two outs. Milford’s Aidan Wilde relieved Macek on the mound and got the final out, a grounder to third.
“We made plays, we had very good pitching so it gave us an opportunity,” said Milford head coach Paul Pellegrini. “We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities early but we stuck with it and that showed there. That was a complete team effort. I know Macek didn’t want me to take him out there, but his pitch count was up there.”
Stoughton had a bright start as Ruben Gonzalez reached on an error to lead off and Sullivan sliced a an RBI triple down the right field line after a lengthy at-bat. Connelly took first after being hit but Macek induced a double play, allowing just the one run to score and recorded the third out to escape with just a 2-0 deficit.
Macek then tossed seven and two thirds scoreless, working around a one-out double in the second, a bases loaded situation one one out in the third inning, runners first and second with no outs in the fifth inning, runners on second and third with one out in the sixth and a lead off single in the seventh.
“He just kept them off balance,” Pellegrini said of Macek. “He threw a lot of strikes, he didn’t have too many walks. I know he hit the two guys but we ended up getting out of that inning. He really battled, it didn’t look like his velocity was all there but he was effective with his off speed stuff.”
“I had pitched well against them last year before the 15-0 game earlier this year, so I was confident and I knew it wouldn’t happen again, I wouldn’t let it happen,” Macek said. “The first pitch curve was working well for me and I was getting inside and jamming them.
“We’ve all been playing together since we were nine so we’re all in this together. We didn’t want today to be the last game. I just wanted to put the ball in play and see what happens.”
“No excuses from us, we don’t make excuses,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “We have to score more than two runs. We have to hit the ball more…there were a lot of runners stranded, for both teams. It seemed like we had guys on base every inning, as did they, and no one was getting it done. We had our chances, we just couldn’t get another run across the fish. Regardless of how it happened, they scored one more run than we did.”
Milford cut into the lead in the third inning, loading the bases for the first of three times in the contest. Tony Mobilia was hit by a pitch and Ryan Goncalves followed with a one-out single. Anthony Arcudi laced a single to load the bases and Wilde drew a walk to cut the deficit in half.
Stoughton starter Justin Hutchinson (6IP, 1R, 6H, 7K) bounced back and recorded two straight strikeouts to avoid any further damage.
“I miss him already,” Armour said of Hutchinson, who led the Hockomock in wins and was second in strikeouts. “To think that we’re done, it’s tough. He was very dedicated to the program and he just loves the game of baseball. I have full confidence he will excel at the next level. There won’t be another Hutch.”
Milford would send three more batters up to the plate with the bases loaded. The Hawks filled the bags with one out in the fourth but Connelly made a nice grab over the dugout fence in foul territory and Hutchinson got another strikeout. Milford loaded them once again with two outs in the sixth, but Stoughton’s Pat Hagerty made a charging catch in center for the third out.
It looked as though the Black Knights pushed across their third run of the game when sophomore Evan Gibb dove head first into first and appeared to beat the throw, allowing Sullivan to score, but the infield ump called the play out at first.
Wilde started the Hawks off on the right foot in the seventh inning, reaching first after being hit and taking second on a wild pitch. Coady then delivered a line drive base hit to bring Wilde around for the tying run with one out.
“He’s really our vocal leader believe it or not as a sophomore,” Pellegrini said of Coady. “He’s a good kid, he just gets it. His on-base percentage was around .550 this year and he batted around .400…he sees the ball very well. He’d been struggling a little bit at the plate so it was nice him come through at that point.”
Milford baseball (12-9) advances to the D2 South Quarterfinals and will play at fifth-seeded Greater New Bedford (15-6) on Monday at 4:00. Stoughton finishes the season 15-6.