Player of the Week: Sam Nugent, Mansfield Baseball

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Sam Nugent
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Mansfield senior Sam Nugent has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for May 26 through June 1. Nugent is the 32nd player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year and the ninth player in the spring season.

Nugent was a major factor in the Hornets bouncing back with a pair of wins this week and securing a return to the prestigious Super 8 tournament for the second straight season. Mansfield (17-5) beat Bishop Feehan and fellow Super 8 hopeful St. Peter Marian to earn the seventh seed and will travel to second-seeded St. John’s Prep on Wednesday afternoon.

“Sam had an incredible week during a time we needed it the most,” said Mansfield coach Joe Breen. “He’s a senior captain that’s leading by example at the most important time of year. We are looking forward to more of this in the postseason.”

Nugent had a pair of hits, including a double, drove in a run, and scored once in a win over Bishop Feehan that got the Hornets back on track after a brief, two-game losing streak. In the regular season finale on Saturday, Nugent went 3-for-3 with a walk against the Guardians, as the Hornets put the finishing touch on their Super 8 resume. Nugent scored smashed a three-run home run to help spark the Hornets’ offense. He twice, stole a base, and drove in three runs to help Mansfield leave Worcester with the victory.

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.

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Rocketeers Run Past Rival Bombardiers In Finale

By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Contributor

ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Thanks to some aggressive baserunning and a fantastic pitching performance from Russell Dunlap, the North Attleboro baseball team avenged their loss earlier in the season to Attleboro with an 11-3 win at Hayward Field in Attleboro.

Despite the game being played in Attleboro, it was a home game for North as the game was previously scheduled to be played at Community Field before a time change necessitated the location be switched.

The Red Rocketeers got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first, as Jared Penta singled and stole second and then advanced to third on a Nick Raneri groundout. A wild pitch then brought Penta home to give North a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Todd Robinson singled and then stole second and came around to score on a throwing error by the catcher trying to nab him stealing third.

After Robinson scored, Jake Palmer singled and was brought home by Shawn Watters’ double to left to give North a 3-0 lead after an inning of play.

North’s aggressiveness on the basepaths paid dividends, as it tallied five steals in the game.

“We were just trying to put the pressure on, that’s the kind of team we are, that’s what we need to be, aggressive, and I know the kids really like to be,” North Attleboro manager Mike Hart said about his team’s strategy on the bases.

Attleboro picked up a run of its own in the top of the second, as Lorenzo Wilson singled and stole second and then advanced to third on a single by Ryan Morry. Wilson scored on a balk when North attempted to pick off Morry, who left early for second. Back-to-back strikeouts by Dunlap (CG, three hits, six strikeouts), stranded Morry at second.

 

“That was his first varsity start, not his first time pitching varsity this year, but his first start, he did a great job mixing it up and showed a lot of poise in his first time out there,” Hart said about his starter.

In the bottom of the second, the North bats got back to work, as Kyle Briere singled, stole second, and then came around to score on a hard-hit grounder to short by Brendan McHugh that Attleboro committed an error on. However, Eoin Kelleher (4.2 innings pitched, nine hits, four strikeouts) would strike out the next batter and strand McHugh on first.

Attleboro battled back from there, picking up a run in the top of the fourth, as Camden Fitzpatrick walked, stole second, Wilson walked, and on Fitzpatrick’s attempt to steal third, the throw hit the batter’s helmet and went out of play, which allowed Fitzpatrick score and moved Wilson to third. Wilson would then score on a double by Mason Houle, but Houle was stranded at second after Dunlap struck out the next batter to end the inning and leave North with a one-run lead.

The Rocketeers would get both runs back in the bottom of the fourth, as McHugh doubled home Nate MacKinnon from first after MacKinnon walked, and McHugh would come home on a sac fly from Penta. North Attleboro added another insurance run in the bottom of the fifth, as Robinson singled and stole second and Jake Palmer singled him home.

With a 7-3 lead in hand, North wasn’t done yet, as it tacked on four runs in the bottom of the sixth. After back-to-back singled by MacKinnon and McHugh to lead off the inning, Nick Raneri was hit by a pitch with one out and Robinson then singled home Joe Barrows (who ran for MacKinnon) and McHugh to extend the lead to 9-3.

Raneri scored on a passed ball, while Robinson scored on a throw to second to try to catch Watters stealing, who reached on a walk earlier in the inning. Kyle Bolger followed with a single, but Morry, in a relief appearance, was able to strike out the next batter to end the inning. Dunlap would get the first two batters he faced out in the top of the seventh, but Nick McMahon reached on an error but Dunlap was able to retire the next batter to give North an 11-3 win and finish the complete game.

Tuesday’s game was the final regular season game for both teams before playoff’s start.

“We got guys feeling good about themselves at the right time, and I’m interested to see what we can do,” Hart said about North Attleboro heading into the playoffs.

With the win, North finishes the regular season at 11-9. Attleboro closes out the regular season with an identical 11-9 record.

Latham Leads Oliver Ames Past King Philip

Oliver Ames baseball Reid Latham
Oliver Ames senior Reid Latham delivers a pitch in the first inning against King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Entering Monday’s showdown with King Philip, the Oliver Ames baseball team needed a win to keep its postseason hopes alive.

The Tigers had senior ace Reid Latham on the mound but the weather didn’t cooperate, forcing the cancellation of the game and the teams had to restart on Tuesday. While it would have been a wasted start for most starters, it wasn’t for Latham.

Despite pitching three innings on Monday, the senior right-hander was back on the mound on Tuesday and delivered a stellar performance. Latham held the visiting Warriors to just one hit through six scoreless innings, helping Oliver Ames pull out a 4-0 win in a must-win game.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Latham held the Warriors without a hit into the sixth inning before KP junior Chris Sawyer got a single to fall in shallow left field with two outs. But two pitches later, Latham got a ground ball and completed a strong six inning performance.

“He’s been pretty bionic for us,” said Oliver Ames head coach Joe Abarr. “He had a no-hitter going for us into the sixth inning. It was exactly what we needed. He was getting ahead of guys, he only had a couple of walks. He told me he wasn’t tired. We know these games are high stakes, we had a lot of adrenaline yesterday and then came out today and pitched even better so I have to give him a lot of credit.”

After Latham worked around a one-out walk in the top of the first, the Tigers struck for a pair of two unearned runs in the bottom half to put the home team ahead early.

With out one, junior Kyle O’Connor singled up the middle and senior Jake Erlcih followed with a single through the left side. KP starter Robbie Jarest (6IP, 3H, 0BB 2HBO, 4R, 2ER, 4K) got a ground ball that could have turned into a double play but the original throw was off the mark, allowing O’Connor to score.

 

Junior Jacob Levine followed up with a grounder to short, scoring Erlich from third to make it 2-0.

“That’s something, as a team, we’ve been fighting all year,” Abarr said. “We’ve been coming from behind for the most part. We have some wins to show for it but it’s nice to just jump out there and put a couple runs up early. Even yesterday, we were chasing. We put the ball in play, they made a couple of mistakes, and we were in the right spot at the right time.”

Latham retired the side in order in both the second and third innings before running into some trouble in the fourth. Tim Crowley and Sawyer drew back-to-back walks with one out, and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. A stolen base from Tom Weir put two in scoring position but Latham got a grounder to first for the final out.

Jarest also settled in for the Warriors, setting the Tigers down in order in the second and third innings, and canceling out the leadoff hitter that was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning.

Oliver Ames added two more runs in the fifth inning to give Latham even more breathing room. Sophomore pinch hitter Jadon Ricci was hit by a pitch to lead off and moved to second on a single from Matt McCormack. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch, and Ricci came racing home and slid under the tag on a fielder’s choice up the first base line.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

McCormack came home to score on a groundout by Erlich to push the lead to 4-0.

OA senior Tyler Avery allowed a leadoff single to David Morganelli in the top of the seventh inning, but induced a ground ball that Chris Pearsons and Jared Spillane turned into a double play two pitches later, and got the third out on a ground ball to close the game out.

Oliver Ames baseball (6-9 Hockomock, 7-11 overall) can qualify for the state tournament if it wins its next three games against Dighton-Rehoboth, Foxboro, and New Bedford. Both games against Brockton this season are exclusion games. King Philip (5-9, 5-11) hosts Bishop Feehan on Tuesday.

Stoughton Tops Milford To Clinch Share Of Davenport

Stoughton baseball Jacob Kaplan
Stoughton’s Jacob Kaplan celebrates after sliding in safely with a leadoff triple in the fourth inning. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Both Milford and Stoughton had chances in Friday afternoon’s contest, but only one team took full advantage.

The Scarlet Hawks had ample chances early but the Black Knights were able to prevent serious damage, and the home team went on to cash in during the later innings to earn a 6-3 victory.

With the win, Stoughton clinches at least a share of the Davenport title, the program’s third division championship in the last four years.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Milford put nine runners in scoring position in the first three innings, but could only turn that into three runs. The Hawks scored once on one hit in the first inning and then turned a bases-loaded situation with no outs into just a pair of runs in the second inning.

Zak [Paquette] didn’t really have it early on but him being who he is, he had a little more leeway,” said Stoughton coach Mike Armour. “Not to take anything away from Milford, it kind of felt like we gave them three runs with the walks. Walks are tough but it was nice to see Zak settle down. The ump was consistent, wasn’t giving the belt strike so he had to adjust a little bit. We wanted to make them string some hits together so it was nice to see him make them earn it over the last couple of innings.

“We talked about having the chance to put a new banner up in the new school and now 2019 will be on it. I’m proud of the guys.”

Milford senior Matt Shaver drew a leadoff walk to open the game, moved to second on a single from sophomore Carter Scudo, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Paquette got a ground out to third and then a strikeout.

 

After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Shaver sprinted home and scored on a wild pitch. But Paquette got another strikeout to strand runs at second and third.

Stoughton responded with two runs in the bottom half, both with two outs. Junior Ryan Currier drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on an RBI single from junior Jacob Kaplan. Junior Michael Nazzaro, who drew a walk in the prior at-bat, came home on a double steal when Kaplan was able to avoid the tag long enough for him to race home.

The Black Knights’ lead didn’t last long. The Hawks were patient at the plate and drew three straight walks to begin the top of the second inning. Junior Luke Rosa, senior Nick Marcolini, and senior Justin Applebee all reached on balls, loading the bases with no outs.

Shaver brought in a run with an infield single but Paquette got another ground ball that resulted in a fielder’s choice with sophomore third baseman Brady Conlin firing home to get the lead runner.

Another fielder’s choice allowed a run to come in, but the Black Knights got the runner at third. Paquette got another grounder, this one to short, for the final out to limit the damage to just two runs and a 3-2 deficit.

“That’s been the story this week for us, just missed opportunities,” Dion said. “Our guys have battled, and we know what we’re going to get every time we play [Stoughton], we know it’s going to be a tough game. First time we had them at our place it was a competitive game and we came out on the right side of things. We come down here, another competitive game and we came out on the wrong side. All three games this week, three days in a row, we just haven’t taken advantage of opportunities we’ve had, especially early in the game.”

Stoughton couldn’t take advantage of James Genest’s leadoff double in the bottom of the second as Rosa, Milford’s starter, got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. Milford once again put a runner in scoring position in the top of the third when junior Nick Wemette doubled and moved to third on a two-out single from Marcolini, but Nazzaro was able to gun the latter down at second on a steal attempt to strand the runner at third.

After allowing nine batters in scoring position in the first three innings, Paquette limited the Hawks to three total base runners over the next three innings. A bunt single was erased by Nazzaro on a steal attempt, and a leadoff single by senior Danny Corsini was wasted when Paquette got three straight fly ball.

While Stoughton didn’t have a lot of chances, it did take advantage when the opportunity presented itself. Kaplan ripped an opposite field triple deep to right field tolled off the bottom of the fourth and scored on a sacrifice fly from Genest to make it 3-3.

In the sixth inning, Nazzaro and Kaplan had back-to-back doubles to deep left against Milford’s bullpen, the latter scoring the former. Paquette drew a one out walk and Kaplan stole third to put runners on the corners. Junior pinch runner Cam Dirosa stole second before a pop up to get two outs.

“His days in the leadoff spot are over,” Armour said of Kaplan, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, and was a home run shy of the cycle. “We’ve been mixing up the order trying to get the offense going but leadoff didn’t work, and with his performance today, I think he cemented his spot in the middle of the order. He’s been huge, talk about a catalyst and getting us going. He had the leadoff triple and then him and [Nazzaro] had two bombs to really set the tone. We weren’t looking for walks today, we went to put a charge on the baseball so it was nice to put it together in the sixth.

Armour called on junior Noah Johnson, a recent call up from the JV team, to pinch hit in the nine spot. In his first varsity at-bat, Johnson roped the second pitch he saw into the gap in left center field for a two-out, two-run triple to give the Knights insurance runs and a 6-3 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Kevin Cronin does a great job with the JV squad, he’s been with us for a while and I have so much respect for him, our success over the years…he’s been getting the guys ready for this level,” Armour said. “[Johnson] had been his guy this year. We haven’t exactly been smashing the ball towards the bottom of the order. I thought it was just perfect timing and to see him come through was awesome.”

Scudo led off the top of the seventh with a triple to try and start a rally, but the rest of the inning summed up the week for the Hawks. Paquette got a strikeout and then senior Robbie Seaman and Currier made back-to-back web gems at shortstop and second, respectively, to strand the run and clinch the win.

Stoughton baseball (9-6 Hockomock, 11-6 overall) will try and clinch the division title outright when it travels to Sharon on Monday. Milford (6-8, 8-9) will try to snap a three-game skid when it hosts Canton at Fino Field on Tuesday.

Player of the Week: Eoin Kelleher, Attleboro Baseball

Morse Insurance
 

Eoin Kelleher
 
By HockomockSports.com Staff

Attleboro senior Eoin Kelleher Eoin Kelleher has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for May 5 through May 11. Kelleher is the 29th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2018-19 school year and the sixth player in the spring season.

Kelleher earned a pair of wins on the mound for the Bombardiers last week, as Attleboro beat Milford and Mansfield to move within a victory of qualifying for the state tournament (which Attleboro got on Monday to book its place in the postseason). Kelleher didn’t allow a run in eight innings over two games, and Attleboro pulled out the wins by a combined three runs.

“Eoin has been outstanding for us all year,” said first-year Attleboro coach Steve Dunlea. “He is the type of pitcher that can carry a team. Last week was a perfect example of what he is capable of. Eoin is a hardworking, intelligent player and has tremendous leadership ability. Basically everything you could ask for in a player.”

Attleboro started the week against Milford on Monday and Kelleher came in to throw a perfect seventh inning, including one strikeout. The Bombardiers rallied for a run in the bottom of the frame to walk-off with the win. Two days later, Kelleher was at his efficient best to shut down a potent Mansfield offense. He needed only 72 pitches in a complete game, three-hit shutout of the Hornets. Kelleher escaped a jam in the third inning, getting a pair of ground balls with two runners on, and was dominant from that point forward.

Kelleher is tied for the league lead with five wins this season (5-2 overall) and has a 2.49 ERA over 33-2/3 innings pitched, which is the third most innings thrown in the Hock.

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.

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