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.

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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.

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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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Moran, Mansfield Prevail in Extras Against Taunton

Mansfield baseball Kyle Moran
Mansfield’s Kyle Moran pitched all 10 innings and allowed just one unearned run to lead the Hornets to a win. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – It didn’t take long for those in attendance at Taunton High School to realize runs would be hard to come by in Saturday’s matinee game between the host Tigers and the visiting Mansfield Hornets.

Right from the start, both Hornet senior starter Kyle Moran and Taunton right-handed junior hurler Logan Lawrence were on the money.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise when the teams headed into extra innings knotted at 1-1.

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Mansfield finally broke the stalemate in the top of the 10th inning, getting a pair of runs against the Tiger’s bullpen to emerge with a 3-1 victory in a division clash.

Moran pitched all 10 innings, allowing just three hits, one walk, one hit batter, and struck out eight to earn the win. Lawrence was not involved in the decision, tossing nine innings with seven strikeouts, three hits, and two walks. Both starters allowed an unearned run.

“Kyle Moran was how we found a way to win that one,” said Mansfield skipper Joe Breen. “Obviously he pitched the whole game, he’s been a senior leader for us, he’s battled against some really good teams, including [Taunton]. We knew it was going to be a close, long game…I think Taunton only plays extra-inning games.

 

“We talked to Kyle about attacking hitters and keeping his pitch count down, which hasn’t been a strong suit of his but it definitely was today. He attacked guys and that allowed him to go the whole distance.”

After two scoreless extra innings pitched by Lawrence, the Tigers turned to the bullpen. Mansfield senior Mike Hargadon got things going with a hard ground ball through the left side for a one-out single. Senior Aidan Angland sliced a blooper that fell just fair down the right field line to put runners on the corners.

Breen elected to put the pressure on the defense with a suicide squeeze and Nick Dumouchel put the ball down perfectly. Taunton pitcher Justin Rollo tried to make a play at home but the throw was high and the Hargadon came in and both base runners moved up.

“Pushing one across with the safety squeeze, we had the perfect personnel out there at the time for that play,” Breen said. “We had Hargadon at third, and he’s a great baserunner…and Nick Dumouchel is a smart hitter and smart baseball player. It was the two perfect guys for that situation to put a little pressure on the defense and they executed.

“We’ve talked a lot in the last two weeks about mental toughness and how to be strong in tight games. We’re getting better with it but with a game like this, you have to be mentally engaged at all times because one play slip of focus can cost you the game. We have a lot of seniors on the field that have been here before and are battle tested and they are showing it.”

After an intentional walk, Taunton turned to sophomore Danny MacDougall on the mound. After hitting Sam Nugent to bring in one run, MacDougall got a strikeout and a fly ball to limit the bases loaded situation to just one run.

Moran closed the door with a 1-2-3 inning, the sixth time he retired the side in order in the game, to pick up the win.

“Logan pitched a great game, [Moran] pitched a great game too,” said Taunton coach Blair Bourque. “They gave us [a run] and we gave them one right back, and I think it was a matter of who was going to be able to execute at the end and they were able to do a better job than we were. We just have to make sure we continue to practice hard now and hopefully, the adversity we’re facing now will help us in the long run.”

Taunton took the lead without getting a hit in the fifth inning. Junior Jared Roderick was hit by a pitch and used head’s up base running to sprint all the way to third on a sac bunt down the third base line from Joe Crawford. Moran got a strikeout for the second out but Roderick came home a couple of pitches later on a passed ball.

Mansfield tied the game in the next half inning, also pushing a run across without a hit. Dumouchel reached on an error and took second on the same throwing error. Pinch runner Michael DeBolt took third on a wild pitch and came home on a sacrifice fly from Nugent to make it 1-1.

Lawrence had a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning but the Tigers didn’t get another hit until the seventh inning. Moran got a fly ball to center in the first for the third out to erase that threat. Roderick had the second hit of the game with a one-out infield hit but Moran induced a line drive to left and got a strikeout looking for the third out.

Lawrence had his second hit of the day, a one-out bloop single to right but Morgan got back-to-back grounders with second baseman Connor Smith (four assists) and Hargadon (one put out, three assists), the shortstop, making the plays. Mansfield did not commit an error in the game while the Tigers had three.

“Going into today, we knew it’d be a close one…with all of our pieces back, we had what we felt was our best defensive line up out there and then we were able to bring some bats off the bench to do some things,” Breen said. “The guys up the middle, Hargadon and Smith, are stellar and Dumouchel is one of the best high school defensive first basemen I’ve ever coached. Just having those guys in the infield gives a pitcher confidence to go out there and throw strikes and not feel like they have to strike everyone out.”

Mansfield’s Eric Longley had a two-out single in the second but was erased trying to steal second on a nice throw from Taunton catcher Andrew Gomes. Dumouchel had a two-out single in the third but Lawrence induced a fly ball to center, and after John Carney walked with two outs in the fourth, the Taunton junior got an infield grounder to get out of the inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Hornets threatened when Hargadon walked in the fifth but MacDougall turned a double play to cancel that threat.

“We’ve faced some adversity so far this year,” Bourque said. “I wouldn’t say we’re comfortable playing in this type of game but we’re used to it. Any mishandle, any errors can cost you the game. We’re battle-tested, it’s just a matter of putting some hits together and helping our pitchers a little bit.”

Mansfield baseball (8-2 Hockomock, 9-2 overall) is back in action on Monday when it hosts North Attleboro. Taunton (5-4, 7-5) will host Stoughton on the same day.

North Attleboro Notches Road Win Over Canton

North Attleboro baseball
North Attleboro sophomore Jared Penta connects for a hit in the first inning against Canton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
CANTON, Mass. – Entering Monday’s contest with Canton, the North Attleboro baseball team had just two wins in its first eight games.

The defending D2 State Champions had just finished warmups when head coach Mike Hart gathered his team in, delivering a passionate pregame plea for his Rocketeers to play to the best of their abilities.

The speech seemed to light a fire under the Rocketeers, scoring three runs in the first inning to set the tone for a 7-4 win on the road over Canton.

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“We have to play the game the right way and we have a certain expectation to play a certain way,” Hart said of the pregame talk.

“I thought we’ve been playing really good baseball, just haven’t been making those winning plays. We’re starting to see that more and more as we’re going through. We played well today and got the win. Now we just have to continue to have those high expectations and put in the same effort each game.”

While North Attleboro’s big first inning was canceled by a three-run second from the Bulldogs, the tone had been set. The Rocketeers cashed in on bases-loaded situations in both the third and fifth innings and tacked on two more key insurance runs in the sixth inning for the win.

 

For the Bulldogs, it was a matter of missed chances to limit the Rocketeers. A trio of errors gave North second chances, while walks and wild pitches also hurt Canton’s chances.

North sophomore Jared Penta singled on the first pitch of the game, stole second, and came around to score when senior Jake Palmer singled, giving the Rocketeers a lead just five pitches into the contest. Senior Brendan McHugh reached when Canton couldn’t handle a potential double play ball up the middle, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch.

Sophomore Dennis Colleran brought a run home with a sacrifice fly and senior Todd Robinson smacked a single up the middle to bring McHugh in for a 3-0 lead. Canton starter junior Chris Rota escaped further damage, getting a fielder’s choice and a strikeout, stranding runners at second and third.

“I think, if anything, it just gives us confidence,” Hart said of the early runs. “It gives our pitcher confidence and everyone in the lineup. They see the guys in front of them are hitting so that carries over to them.”

In the bottom of the second, senior Max Macort earned a one-out walk and sophomore Sawyer Julier-Albert singled to put runners on first and second. North Attleboro senior starter Matt Wanless got a pop up to get to two outs but the Bulldogs were able to score three runs.

Senior Mike Konzal hit a line drive to bring Macort home and senior Matt Pigeon doubled to right field to bring in two more runs. North Attleboro limited the damage when senior Shawn Watters hit a relay throw to third, preventing a triple for Pigeon.

The Rocketeers quickly jumped back ahead, putting a run up in the top of the third. Colleran and senior Nick Raneri draw back-to-back walks and Robinson that could have potentially been a double play. Rota got back-to-back ground balls to third, and sophomore Steve Burbank got the lead runner both times with a throw home. With two outs, Robison came home on a wild pitch with senior Ryan Warren up at bat.

Rota issued another walk to load the bases again but got a fly ball to right for the third out.

“It comes down to mental mistakes,” said Canton head coach Ben Shuffain. “You can’t blame the kids for physical errors because they happen in baseball, especially high school baseball. But you have to be able to come back from it, let it go, and move on. Have to have a short memory.”

Canton had the winning run 90 feet away in the bottom half after senior Paul Corcoran doubled and moved to third, but Wanless induced a ground ball with Raneri making a nice scoop at first for the third out.

Robinson opened the fifth with a single and junior Russell Dunlap reached on a bunt. Senior pinch hitter Jake Carroll singled, giving the Rocketeers the bases loaded with no outs for the second time in the game. After getting an out with a shallow fly ball to left, Penta hit one deep enough for a sacrifice fly to score Robinson. Canton reliever senior Kevin McGonigle got a swinging strikeout for the third out.

“We left some runners on base but I’ll give Canton’s pitchers credit, they kept us off balance in certain at-bats and certain counts,” Hart said. “They made plays when they needed it.

“We’ve been grinding through some situations but we’re starting to finally come through with the plays we need. We’re trying to get guys more used to the varsity competition and meeting the expectations we have.”

North tacked on key insurance runs in the sixth inning. Back-to-back singles (from Colleran and Raneri) and then a fielder’s choice put pinch runner Joe Barrows and Robinson on the corners. After Robinson stole second, Dunlap slapped a deep rouble to right to bring both runners and a 7-3 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton got one back in the bottom half when Julier-Albert and pinch hitter junior Lucas Bryant both singled, the former coming in to score on an infield error from the Rocketeers to make it 7-4.

Rocketeer junior reliever Kyle Briere allowed just one base runner (walk) in 1.2 innings of relief, striking out one to get the save.

North Attleboro baseball (2-4 Hockomock, 3-6 overall) is scheduled to play at home on Wednesday against King Philip. Canton (3-5, 5-5) will try to snap a two-game skid when it hosts Taunton on the same day.