Teams of the Decade #7: 2011 King Philip Softball

King Philip softball

Team: King Philip softball
Year: 2011
Record: 26-0
2011 Kelley-Rex Division Champions
2011 Division 1 State Champions


King Philip softball has dominated the Hockomock League for the past 10-plus years, having won the league title in 11 of the past 13 seasons. Amidst all of that success, one KP team stands out above the rest and it was the one that kicked off the new decade.

In the spring of 2011, the Warriors were coming off a state title and the return of junior pitcher Meg Rico, who had come off the bench to win the final four games of the previous season, made them one of the favorites to repeat. Not only did the Warriors win back-to-back titles, but they went one better than 2010, completing a perfect, 26-0 season.

“We kind of had no doubt in our minds that we were going to take it as far as we could go and there was nobody that was going to stand in our way,” said former Canton coach Jennifer Robillard, who was a senior shortstop and leadoff hitter on the 2011 team. “We knew that as much as we were going to miss the talent that we had lost, we had people that could come in and step up.”

Former KP coach Jim Leonard said of coming off a state title, “It’s always hard to repeat. You come through and you have a championship season and you’re through and the table has shifted and sometimes it’s harder to live up to those expectations that are raised from the year before.”

The Warriors certainly appeared to be comfortable with the target on their backs. Led by Rico and fellow pitcher Megan Carnase, KP outscored its opponents 146-0 during the regular season. It took until the sixth inning of the Div. 1 South final before Norwood scored the first runs of the season by a KP opponent. The pitching staff combined for 264 strikeouts.

Rico became the standout player of the season. After stepping into the circle in the South semifinal the year before, following an injury to star pitcher Maggie Quealy, Rico struck out three of the five hitters she faced against Dighton-Rehoboth, including two with the tying run on third, and then allowed only two runs over the final three games.

 

In 2011, Rico’s dominance gave the Warriors extra confidence that they were the team to beat.

“It gives a team a huge confidence,” said Robillard. “Mistakes are going to happen and we knew that in the field, as much as we wanted to be strong for her, you can make a mistake and it doesn’t feel like the end of the world because your pitcher is going to come in and shut it down.”

Even a dominant pitcher can’t win every game on her own and the Warriors developed a fearsome lineup as well. Senior third baseman Anna Kelley was a big bat in the middle of the order, senior right fielder Kelsey Gray could always be counted on to get on base, juniors Olivia Godin and Carnase both emerged as tough outs.

The stats make it seem like an easy run through the season, but the Warriors had their share of challenges, including a pair of tough games with North Attleboro and Mansfield and two non-league encounters with a strong Coyle-Cassidy team (which KP beat 3-0 and 9-0). The highlight of the regular season was a state final rematch with Milford, which was the only team to beat KP in 2010. KP won that 1-0 to confirm its status as title favorite.

“We never said we’re going to run the schedule and that gets harder the deeper you get into the season, it’s always about the next game,” said Leonard. “It was a great group of kids. They were dedicated, they came every day to practice and worked hard, and put in all those extra hours. Any time a girl was at the plate or in the field, everyone had everyone else’s back.”

While KP rarely lacks for talent on the field, Robillard also credited Leonard’s approach in the dugout for keeping things light and not allowing the pressure of expectations to overwhelm the team. Our practices were fun and I absolutely love having him as a coach,” she said. “He was an awesome guy.”

Leonard explained, “These girls have all played enough softball with enough pressure already on them. I just wanted them to play loose, be relaxed. They’d been part of that culture for a number of years, so from that perspective we knew how hard we worked and trained and the game will take care of itself.”

Things got no easier in the tournament, as KP started its playoff run wins against perennial powers Taunton and D-R before easily dispatching with Weymouth in the South semifinal. Senior captain Alyssa Siegmann drove in one and scored twice and junior first baseman Cayleigh McCarthy drilled a clutch sixth inning homer, as KP made it two straight South titles with a 4-2 win against previously unbeaten Norwood.

“There is that little bit of pressure there that you’re supposed to do this, you’re supposed to win the South,” Robillard reflected. “I think that gave us more confidence than it did nervousness. When you’re able to take that anxiety and flip it into excitement, that’s the fine line. I think our team had a lot of maturity and there really wasn’t a panic mode.”

After taking a 3-0 lead against Acton-Boxboro in the state semifinal, the Colonials broke up Rico’s no-hitter and struck for a pair of runs to make it a nervy finish. KP finished off a 3-2 win and continued its run with another title game appearance, this time against Amherst.

For the second year in a row, Rico out-dueled the Gatorade Player of the Year (Milford’s Shannon Smith in 2010 and Amherst’s Emma Mendoker) to win the championship. Leonard joked, “I think that Rico’s season and what she brought to the game in the circle, she would have been the obvious choice but if you ask her would you rather have Gatorade Player of the Year or a state championship [laughs]…”

It was a game dominated by the two stars in the circle. Mendoker held KP hitless until the sixth inning when Rico got the first hit for the Warriors. Robillard reached on a bunt and courtesy runner Hailey Mullen went from first-to-third. The bases were loaded when Siegmann was hit by a pitch. Carnase had the big hit with a fly ball that dropped in deep left center, allowing all three runs to come across. After an appeal by the Amherst coach, Robillard was deemed to have missed third, so only one run counted.

It proved to be enough. Amherst had its chances to score, putting runners on base several times, but Rico always managed to find another gear and get out of the jam. She finished with a career-high 19 strikeouts.

“Rico remained really calm during that and just knew it was about the next pitch and she and Olivia Godin were kind of a perfectly matched tandem where they trusted each other, worked it all out together, and they worked as one unit,” said Leonard. Robillard added, “Bottom line is we put runners in scoring position and we executed when we needed to execute, whether it was one or three runs didn’t really matter to us. It was all about the final outcome.”

When asked to put into perspective the 2011 season, Leonard replied, “Those girls deserve an awful lot of credit for committing themselves and working hard and staying with each other. The best part of that year is the time you spent in practice laughing and these girls knew how to keep it light. That helped us when things would’ve gotten tight for many other teams, they were cool as could be.”

Robillard had more state championships than losses over the final two seasons of her high school career. The former Sacred Heart University player and current Bentley assistant said, “The only thing we could possibly do to improve on [2010] was to not have any losses and the fact that we could kind of come in and not just win the states but also have a perfect season, you couldn’t ask for a better way to cap off your high school career.

“We didn’t expect to go in and dominate every game, but it was sort of the cherry on the cake.”






King Philip softball
King Philip softball

Playoff Games

Opponent
Result
#17 TauntonW, 2-0
#8 Dighton-RehobothW, 5-0
#21 WeymouthW, 15-0
#2 NorwoodW, 4-2
Acton-Boxborough (State Semifinal)W, 3-2
Amherst (State Final)W, 1-0






Teams of the Decade #11: 2013 Milford Softball

Milford softball

Team: Milford Softball
Year: 2013
Record: 26-1
2013 Davenport Division Champions
2013 Division 1 State Champions


Coming off a perfect season and a state championship the previous spring, the 2013 Milford softball team faced a new set of challenges. Not only were the Hawks facing the difficult task of trying to repeat while having a giant target on their backs, but were also trying to navigate the unfamiliar waters of the Hockomock League and the South sectional.

Led by its five seniors, Milford lived up to its preseason hype. Refocused by a midseason loss that ended their win streak at 35 games, the Hawks closed the season with 16 straight wins and sealed back-to-back titles with a 1-0 win over Amherst in the state title game.

“These seniors really from freshman year on, to see their growth not only as players but leaders and girls that set an atmosphere, set an expectation that others were going to follow,” said then head coach Brian Macchi about his senior class. “From losing a state championship game to losing a state semifinal to finally winning it and then wanting to go out and do it again, they weren’t going to settle for anything less.”

Once a team has reached the pinnacle and lifted the state championship trophy, it can be hard to come back the next season with the same focus and determination, but the Hawks faced a new challenge in 2013 that kept them motivated. That spring was Milford’s first in the Hockomock League.

Macchi explained, “It made it easy for me as a coach to motivate because you had that storyline of entering a new conference and the league we’re entering is the league you want to be in when you’re talking about softball in Massachusetts.”

Shannon Smith, the team’s standout senior pitcher, added, “We were just trying to take things one day at a time and one moment at a time because there was a lot of hype. There was a lot of new stuff, entering a new conference, but with a lot of the same girls we felt like we could do some good things again.”

 

Having Smith in the circle certainly gave the Hawks an edge, no matter what league they were playing in. The three-time Gatorade Player of the Year set a new state record for strikeouts that season, recording the 1,120th strikeout of her career in the next to last game of the regular season and ending with 1,216 for her career. She finished with 358 strikeouts that season and an ERA of 0.04. That is not a typo.

“She just exemplifies everything you want in a player and a teammate,” said Sam Bonvino, a junior first baseman on the 2013 team. “She was the first to cheer you on, always the first to make you happy and lift up the spirits of the team, and she was always the first to buckle down and get us back on track. When she stepped on that mound and she was ready to pitch, it all just fell into place. It was incredible to watch her drive and her passion.”

Macchi added, “To have a player like that and a pitcher like that you know going into every game, no matter who you’re playing, you’ve got a chance to win. That is an outstanding feeling to have.”

The Hawks were rolling at the start of the season, winning their first 10 games, but the dream of a second straight perfect season came to an end with a visit from North Attleboro. Despite a 17-strikeout, one-hitter from Smith, the Rocketeers were able to scratch out a run in the 10th inning and throw out a runner at the plate in the bottom half of the inning to escape to pull out a 1-0 win.

“I think it was a big reminder that it’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbow but we have to put in the work,” said Smith. Bonvino noted, “I think that loss was kind of like a wake up call. We were devastated because it would’ve been pretty cool to go back-to-back undefeated but it showed to us that we can lose, we can bounce back, and pick right up where we left off.”

Macchi said that the team started the next day’s practice with a talk about the loss and how to move forward. Whatever was said in that conversation worked, as Milford softball won 10 straight to head into the playoffs as the second seed. That set up a quarterfinal with King Philip, a rematch of the 2010 state title game and a matchup between the teams that had won the last three state titles.

“The KP games, every time, no matter if it was the regular season, the playoffs, state title game, the atmosphere and the competitiveness between both teams was outstanding,” said Macchi. “It was just so fun to be a part of, and the girls absolutely loved it.”

It was a pitcher’s duel between Smith and KP’s Anna O’Neill and, fittingly for two of the top programs in the state, the game went into extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Lauren Hanna bunted for a single and Smith followed with a hit. A wild pitch moved the runners up and KP intentionally walked cleanup hitter Caroline Fairbanks. Senior Rachel Levine singled to left center setting off a wild celebration that included Macchi charging out to second base to lift up Levine.

“We were both so into it and it was like a state title game because we both had a lot riding on that game, not just the loss or the win but proving to each other that we’re really good teams,” said Bonvino.

Milford softball completed its run through the South by outsourcing Franklin and Bridgewater-Raynham 13-0. “Realizing the names and the teams that were in that bracket was a huge accomplishment but at the same time this group wasn’t ready to settle,” Macchi said. “That was more motivation to finish it off and finish up those last two games the way they wanted to.”

For the second year in a row, the Hawks needed only one run to seal the state title. Smith struck out 13, finishing her career with another shutout. She said, “You want the ball in those situations. A lot of pitchers who are competitive would love that situation. Just go for it and do whatever you can to win.”

With all the attention on the upperclassmen, it was freshman Jill Powers that provided the decisive hit, driving in sophomore Allie Piergustavo with a two-out double in the sixth inning. Smith struck out the side in the seventh and Milford softball was back on top.

“It’s very fulfilling because you see people practice year round and not get to that final game and not fully get to see what it’s made of,” said Bonvino. “To be able to do it twice and be able to feel the love and the gratitude and how amazing it is to be back there again, even just to stand on the field at the end and think about the games you’ve played to get to that point is really cool.”

Macchi said, “Getting to that day and winning that game, the smiles on their faces, it was just an outstanding feeling for me as a coach and something I’ll never forget. They had that moment realizing that, as they were running out to get the state championship trophy, the story for them in their high school careers was ending on such an unbelievable high.”






Milford softball
Milford softball

Opponent
Result
TauntonW, 8-0
King PhilipW, 3-0 (Recap)
MansfieldW, 5-1
CantonW, 16-0
Coyle & CassidyW, 4-0
SharonW, 13-0
HopkintonW, 10-0
FoxboroW, 9-0
StoughtonW, 15-0
Oliver AmesW, 7-0
North AttleboroL, 1-0 (10 inn.) (Recap)
AttleboroW, 13-0
FranklinW, 1-0 (Recap)
CantonW, 12-0
SharonW, 19-0
FoxboroW, 2-1
StoughtonW, 10-0
BraintreeW, 8-0
Oliver AmesW, 12-0
MarlboroughW, 2-0 (Recap)
ShrewsburyW, 4-0
#18 DartmouthW, 7-0
#7 King PhilipW, 1-0 (9 inn.) (Recap)
#11 FranklinW, 6-0 (Recap)
#1 Bridgewater-RaynhamW, 7-0
Central Catholic (State Semifinals)W, 3-0
Agawam (State Final)W, 1-0 (Recap)






Consalvi Takes Charge of Taunton Softball Program

Carrie Consalvi
Former Bridgewater State standout Carrie Consalvi has been announced as the new Taunton softball coach, replacing legendary coach Dave Lewry after he retired in November. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Taunton athletic director Mark Ottavianelli recently announced that Carrie Consalvi will take over as the new softball coach this spring. She replaces legendary coach Dave Lewry in the Taunton dugout, following his retirement in November after 20 successful seasons in charge of the program.

“It’s super successful,” said Consalvi about the draw of taking over at Taunton. “It’s full of kids who are talented and super-motivated, and obviously has a big tradition of being successful and working hard. I kind of would rearrange my life to do this, to walk into this and not have to start from ground zero and not have to worry about motivating athletes. They’re going to come to me motivated.”

After starting her collegiate career at Sacred Heart, Consalvi played three years at Bridgewater State. A catcher and designated player, Consalvi was selected to the school’s Hall of Fame. She batted .387 for her career, helping the Bears win three straight MASCAC titles, appear in three straight Div. III World Series, earning three straight all-conference selections, and twice was named a Div. III second team All-American.

Consalvi spent one season coaching JV softball at her alma mater, Quabbin Regional, and was an assistant coach for three years at BSU. In the past few years, as her daughter has become more interested in softball, Consalvi made trips up from her home on the Cape to coach in the Taunton Youth Softball program.

She explained, “I really always loved the college level, the high school level and to have an opportunity when you have a town that has such a great foundation for softball; it’s like a breeding ground for softball. I just think I have so much as a female former player and coach to give them.”

The chance to take over one of the state’s perennial powers and a program that has strong foundations in terms of talent was one that Consalvi couldn’t pass up, even if it meant the formidable challenge of following in Lewry’s footsteps.

“It’s huge shoes to fill, but when talking with him I think our philosophies really lined up a lot,” Consalvi said. “Just getting an opportunity to understand and know how he felt about the sport and the team and how he ran things, we kind of shared some similar philosophies.”

 

She continued, “I’m sure that I’m going to do things a little differently than he would, so my concern is how are we going to learn to understand and communicate with each other to be successful. The meetings I’ve had have been really positive. I’m sure they were nervous, who is this person coming in and do they not only know the game but do they understand us as female student-athletes, and so far I think we already mesh well.”

Consalvi has met with her captains for the upcoming season and is excited to get started building on last year’s league title and the 2018 state title.

“As a team, ourselves, I would expect us to have those goals,” Consalvi said about the lofty expectations around the team. “We always strive to be the best we can be. There’s this big sort of pressure around us because they’ve won multiple league titles and won multiple state titles. Just speaking with the captains in recent weeks, I know that the kids are hungry to get back out there and to start getting their feet dirty and making strides to going after the league title.”

Considering the level of competition across the league, winning a title is never a foregone conclusion but Consalvi sees that challenge as a positive to get the team prepared for a postseason run.

“I think we’re really fortunate that the towns and the teams around us are so strong,” she said. “Anyone who comes out of the league is going to be a contender in states because they’re always playing such great competition.”

Franklin’s DiGiacomo Reps JWU at NCAA Convention

Olivia DiGiacomo
Franklin alum Olivia DiGiacomo represented Johnson & Wales University at the NCAA Convention as one of 40 student-athletes selected from a national pool to take part in the DIII Immersion Program. (JWU Athletics)

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Competing in collegiate athletics opens a number of unique opportunities, not all of them on the field. Franklin grad Olivia DiGiacomo got to experience one of those opportunities last week, when she attended the annual NCAA convention in Anaheim, Calif. as part of the Div. III Immersion Program.

DiGiacomo, a junior outfielder on the Johnson & Wales University softball team, was nominated for the program by her softball coach Kim Camara-Harvey and director of athletics Dana Garfield. She was one of 40 Div. III student-athletes selected from thousands of nominees nationwide to join the program and attend the convention.

“My coach and my athletic director looked at me as a leader and someone who can bring back a lot of information and knowledge back to campus,” said DiGiacomo after she got back from the convention. “It was absolutely a gratifying experience to be recognized.”

The DIII Immersion Program was created in 2015 to give ethnic minority student-athletes who have an interest in coaching or administration an inside look into how the convention works and to build their personal networks. Each year, 40 student-athletes are given a fully-paid trip to the convention, attend workshops, and interact with professionals in the field.

DiGiacomo, who is Hispanic/Latino, and the other student-athletes spent a week in meetings, networking sessions, and listening to influential speakers from around the world of college athletics, including the likes of ESPN college basketball commentator Dick Vitale.

It was also a chance to meet with other athletes from around the country who have similar interests. In addition to this year’s crop of attendees, DiGiacomo said that they were also introduced to the student-athletes from the last several years, giving them access to nearly 200 connections.

“It was really cool,” she explained. “All of us came from very different backgrounds and from all around the country. It was really cool to interact with all those different people and those are definitely long friends and connections that I will have the rest of my life.”

 

As one of the leaders of the JWU softball team, and someone who is already showing an interest in coaching, DiGiacomo was an obvious choice for Camara-Harvey.

“I knew this experience would give her the opportunity to learn more about what it takes to be successful,” she said. “I also knew that she would represent our University and softball program at an elite level in all of her interactions with other professionals and students at the conference.”

Camara-Harvey added, “I hope she takes away a passion for athletics and understands what an impact it can have on students, coaches and administrators.”

DiGiacomo coaches softball during the summer, working with youth players who are looking to get recruited by college programs. At the convention, she learned ways to turn that experience into a career. She said, “Definitely being confident in what you believe and having your own core values – being kind, don’t judge, and then be loyal to everyone.”

One of the core values that DiGiacomo and the program share is promoting diversity and inclusion in DIII athletics.

“At the Div. III level there are so many walks of life and different people that you run into and can encounter in your life,” she said. “We need to be able to accommodate that and be empathetic to that and understand people in their many walks of life and be considerate of that.

“Coming to Johnson & Wales, in a city that’s very diverse, freshman year was like, ‘Woah look at all these different people coming from all these different walks of life.’ My parents raised me to be kind and not judge and to value every person for who they are and coming here I was able to make friends with all kinds of different people.”

The program promotes leaders off the field, but DiGiacomo has also demonstrated leadership on the diamond as well. A second-team all-conference selection last spring, she is one of only a few upperclassmen for JWU this season and, once she returns from injury, is hoping to guide a young team back to the top of the conference standings.

“Definitely at Franklin I tried to be that leader that people could go to and talk to and be open with everybody,” DiGiacomo said. “In college, I was definitely recognized as a leader and chosen obviously to come to this convention but also to step up on and off the field and help underclassmen. Coach has definitely seen me as a leader and it’s something that I fully embraced and accepted.”

Not only has leadership been part of her playing career, but DiGiacomo and the other student-athletes that attended the NCAA convention in the DIII Immersion Program will hope that leadership also becomes a part of their professional careers as well.

Lewry Retires After Two Decades of Success at Taunton

Dave Lewry
Dave Lewry has announced his retirement after two decades, four state titles, and more than 400 wins as the head coach of Taunton softball. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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In the spring of 2000, there was a new, albeit familiar, face on the bench for the Taunton softball program. Former freshman coach Dave Lewry was promoted to take over from legendary coach Jack Tripp, who the field is now named after, with a mandate to keep the Tigers among the best teams in the state. “Jack Tripp handed me one of the very best programs in the state,” Lewry explained. “I said to him, ‘Jack I’m going to do everything I can to keep the program at the level that you just handed it over to me,’ and his words were, I’ll never forget them, ‘You better.’”

Lewry lived up to that promise and then some, becoming a Taunton legend in his own right.

He announced late last week that he was stepping down after 20 seasons as head coach. Over those two decades, his teams made the playoffs every year, won 407 games, winning more than 80 percent of the games over that span, brought home a dozen league titles (including three in seven years in the Hockomock League), and won four state titles (the most recent coming in 2018).

“I think maybe that’s what I’m most proud of is that the program maintained this level from when I took it over from a legendary coach and kept things moving,” he explained. “There wasn’t one year that we weren’t considered at least who could win the states. Maybe not the favorite or in the top two or three, but we always had enough talent to compete in the tournament and potentially win it if we played our best.”

The decision on whether or not to retire is one that Lewry makes after every season. In the months since the Tigers had their run at back-to-back state titles ended by Bishop Feehan in the Div. 1 South semifinal, he considered family responsibilities as well as his desire to travel with his wife of nearly 49 years. In the end, Lewry, who turned 70 this year, felt now was the best time to step away.

Only Taunton athletic director Mark Ottavianelli and long-time assistant coach Paul Dominico knew how seriously Lewry was thinking about retirement. While he trusts that he is making the right decision, Lewry was overcome by emotion when he had to tell the team.

“All of the emotional aspects of it hit you when you sit and talk to the kids,” he said. “That’s when it gets tough. That’s where I was at the other day. I was a mess.

 

“I’m going to miss being with the kids every day. That was a big part of my enjoyment. I’m certainly going to miss the competition and the adrenaline rush that comes with that and just the excitement of being around the sport.”

Lewry knows that there will be a pang of regret when the season gets underway in a few months, although maybe not as much during those first few weeks of the spring season. “In the middle, end of March I’ll probably be pretty happy because it’s 26 degrees and you’re outside at practice,” he joked, “but maybe mid-, late-April it will start to hit me.”

Looking back on 20 years with the Tigers, Lewry has seen a number of changes in the sport and with the program. Early in his tenure, the mound was moved back from 40 feet to 43 feet, altering the way that pitchers, including Taunton star Erin Wade, approached the game. “Pitchers couldn’t just throw hard,” he said, “now they had to pitch. Now you need the breaking balls, you need the spins, the ball to move as well as being able to command.”

Club softball has also grown during his time on the bench, becoming a year-round pursuit that has developed the skills of players coming into the program but also has impacted the mentality of some players. He said, “Kids are being taught that sports are all about the individual and not about playing as a team, playing for your school, for your friends, your community. It’s too much of that idea of you showcasing your talents for the college coaches sitting in the standings watching.”

The third major change for Taunton was its move into the Hock. Since 2013, the Tigers have won the Kelley-Rex division title three times, including twice outright. Last year, Taunton edged Franklin by a game and Lewry insisted that level of competition has added more motivation for the program to improve. “That was a great thing for us,” he said of the move from the Old Colony League to the Hock. “It came at exactly the right time, and I think it’s really pushed us to go a little bit harder.”

Taunton was hardly a mystery to Hock teams when the Tigers joined the league. Many had squared off with Taunton in the playoffs and had a healthy respect for the program and for Lewry. North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace, who earned his 200th career win this past spring, first met Lewry in the South semifinals in 2003. The Rocketeers had the Tigers on the schedule for three years before becoming league rivals.

“His kids were so well-coached that if he called for a squeeze, hit and run, or double steal they always knew what to do,” Wallace said. “After games, win or lose, Dave always had something nice to say about your team and this was sincere as we had some grinders with them!”

Former Franklin coach Kate Fallon-Comeau, who will take over at King Philip this spring, has become close to Lewry during his time in the league, calling him a mentor and a friend. She praised the consistency of the program and the way Taunton teams were always prepared for the challenges that the Panthers, and other teams, presented.

“They were always the toughest team in the league to face, year after year, didn’t matter how many had graduated, there was always another fundamentally sound player to step into a vacancy,” she explained.

Fallon-Comeau added, “The game doesn’t know how old you are or what grade you are in, nor does it care and neither did Dave. He played the best 9-10 players, some being only eighth graders, and they became some of the best players the game has seen.”

Next year’s team promises to be just as talented. Taunton returns starting pitcher Kelsey White, the 2019 HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, and starting shortstop Hanna Aldrich, the 2019 Underclassman of the Year, among a host of other top players.

When asked about leaving while the team still has the potential to make a run at another state title, Lewry replied, “I’d rather leave under these circumstances knowing that the cupboard isn’t bare by any means. I’d much rather do that than wait until everyone graduated and it was a rebuilding year.”

He laughed when it was pointed out that Taunton rarely has to rebuild, adding, “That’s the great thing about coaching at Taunton, there’s always that next stud player coming through. I feel so, so fortunate to have the level of talent that we’ve had.”

The talent at Taunton remains but it will now be up to someone new to put it all together. Twenty years ago, Dave Lewry stepped into a legend’s shoes and kept the Tigers among the state’s best and now it will be someone else’s turn to do the same.

Franklin Announces Holbrook as New Softball Coach

Franklin softball
Franklin announced Katie Holbrook as its new softball coach this week, replacing Kate Fallon-Comeau after her move to King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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Franklin High athletic director Tom Angelo announced last week that Katie Holbrook had been hired to fill the softball coaching vacancy created by Kate Fallon-Comeau’s move to rival King Philip. Holbrook is the owner of Brand New Ballgame, a baseball and softball training facility in Wrentham, and has coached club and showcase softball teams for more than a decade.

Holbrook was familiar with the Franklin program, community, and players from her role at Brand New Ballgame, and was excited about making the Panthers her first high school coaching role.

“Between them coming in for team practices or working in private practice or clinics with some of the kids, I’ve gotten a chance to really know them over the last six or seven years,” Holbrook said in a phone call this week. “I had a tie to Franklin and when Kate moved over I thought it’s a good, strong program, there’s a desire for strong leadership and I have a good tie to the community. It was the right place.”

She also noted that the familiarity with the players could make the transition easier. She said, “They know who I am at least by reputation, so I think that’s helpful. They know I care about Franklin, that I know about softball, and that I do this day-in, day-out. So, I think the buy-in period may be a little shorter for me than maybe someone else who was new to things.”

Holbrook played varsity softball for four years at Brockton High and also played several years in college at Bridgewater State. In addition to running her Wrentham facility, she has run and coached the BNB Hornets club program. The Hornets merged this year with the Hockomock Rox to create the BNB Rox. Also coaching in that program are Franklin JV coach Jenna Dicruttalo and Sharon head coach Heather Poliferno.

“In the club environment, you get them year round but you only get them maybe once or twice a week,” Holbrook explained. “We definitely make gains within that but I always felt within a high school season having them for a condensed period of time, but for a lot of time during that period, that a lot of growth can be made.”

The Panthers finished second in the Kelley-Rex division last season, just one game behind Taunton, and reached the D1 South quarterfinal before losing to Bishop Feehan by a run. Holbrook is excited about the challenge of coaching in the Hockomock League.

 

“There’s definitely some strong competition and we’ll have to be on top of our game,” she said. “I always said as an athlete, to be the best you have to play and train with the best, so I think when you have tough competition it makes you a better player and when you have success it makes it all the more sweet because you really had to work for it.”

Fallon-Comeau Takes Charge Of King Philip Softball

Kate Fallon-Comeau King Philip softball
Kate Fallon-Comeau was hired as the new King Philip softball coach after nine seasons with Franklin. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
PLAINVILLE, Mass. – Kate Fallon-Comeau is trading in her Franklin blue for the King Philip green and gold.

Fallon-Comeau, the Panthers’ softball head coach for the past nine seasons, was officially hired in the same capacity for the Warriors this week. King Philip was one of the most successful programs over the past decade, winning state championships in 2010, 2011, and 2016.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but there was an opportunity and I went for it,” Fallon-Comeau said. “I loved every minute of my time at Franklin but I’m really excited to work with the girls at King Philip. There is a great feeder program in place, they have solid softball players every year. Like Franklin, they have a community that is passionate about softball. It just seemed like a good fit and the timing was right.”

Fallon-Comeau, the 2019 HockomockSports.com Coach of the Year, is plenty familiar with the Hockomock League. She was a star pitcher as a member of the Class of 2001 at Mansfield High. After a successful career as a catcher at Curry College, she took over the reins of the Panthers’ program in 2011. Under her guidance, Franklin went 112-86 and made the state tournament in all but two seasons. In the two seasons the Panthers didn’t make it, they had 10 and nine wins, respectively.

“Franklin will always hold a special place in my heart, it was really difficult to say goodbye to the returning players,” Fallon-Comeau said. “I can’t wait to get started with King Philip though, I’m really excited for the upcoming season and beyond.

“I want to thank athletic director Gary Brown and all of the administration at King Philip for the opportunity.”

In her tenure with the Panthers, Fallon-Comeau helped Franklin win 10 playoff games and earned back-to-back trips to the D1 South Sectional Semifinals in 2013 and 2014. This past season, Franklin pushed D1 South Finalist Bishop Feehan to the limit in a 1-0 walkoff win. King Philip went 13-9 this past season before losing to league rival Taunton in the tournament. The Warriors have won 11 league titles in the past 13 seasons.

 

2019 Hockomock League Softball All Stars

Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Softball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Kelsey White, Taunton

Hockomock League All Stars

Mckenzie Bergdoll, Attleboro
Makenzie Killough, Attleboro
Lora Woyton, Attleboro
Liz Bickett, Canton
Morgan Sylvestre, Foxboro
Jackie Cherry, Franklin
Ally Shea, Franklin
Anna Balkus, Franklin
Meghan Gorman, King Philip
Faith Turinese, King Philip
Mady Bendanillo, Mansfield
Lucy Creedon, Milford
Ashley Cangiano, North Attleboro
Abby Gallagher, North Attleboro
Bella Erti, North Attleboro
Katie Daby, North Attleboro
Karly Estremera, Stoughton
Alexia Baptista, Stoughton
Nicole Baker, Stoughton
Hanna Aldrich, Taunton
Jaime Brown, Taunton
Alexa White, Taunton
Kelsey White, Taunton