TAUNTON, Mass. – Sophomore Kelsey White and the Taunton softball team didn’t give third-seeded Bishop Feehan many chances, but the Shamrocks took advantage of the little opportunities they had.
Meanwhile, the Tigers had a handful of opportunities, putting at least one runner in scoring position in five innings, and a runner on base in six of the seven innings, but an uncharacteristic performance from second-seeded Taunton put an end to its season.
Bishop Feehan scored single runs in the first, sixth, and seventh innings while Taunton was limited to just one run, leaving six runners on base in scoring position as the Shamrocks earned a 3-1 win a D1 South Semifinal contest.
“We had many chances,” said Taunton head coach Dave Lewry. “It comes down to a game of execution. You have to execute at the plate, in the field, and on the bases, and we picked the wrong game not to execute. It wasn’t a good game for us all around. We didn’t execute. We took too many called strike threes. We played well all year, but the wrong game to play poorly.”
The Shamrocks got off to an ideal start with leadoff hitter Jessica Levesque clubbing a triple to right center field. White (7IP, 6H, 1BB, 3R, 1ER, 3K) induced a ground ball to shortstop and the runner originally held, but after a brief bobble a throwing error allowed Levesque to score and the Feehan runner to get to second.
After a walk, McKenzie McAloon started a double play to get two outs and White got a fly ball to center to strand a runner at third and minimize the damage to just one run.
Taunton had a bevy of chances to tie the game and even take a lead, but couldn’t find the timely hit necessary.
“We had timely hitting,” said Feehan coach Bill Milot. “We did not play a flawless game but fortunately [Taunton] wasn’t able to capitalize on our mistakes and we were able to capitalize on theirs.”
In the bottom of the first, sophomore Hanna Aldrich ripped a two-out double but Feehan pitcher Brooke Scorzinski (7IP, 4H, 4BB, 1ER, 9K) got a pop up in foul territory behind the plate for the third out.
Heads up base running allowed White to get to second on an error in the second with one out, and quickly moved to third on a ground out. But the Tigers couldn’t get the run in as Scorzinski got one of her nine strikeouts to end the frame.
Jaime Brown doubled with one out in the third inning, Alexa White walked, and both advanced on a passed ball to put runners in scoring position with one out. But again Scorzinski got a big strikeout (looking) for the second out. McAloon was hit by the pitch to load the bases but Taunton couldn’t manufacture anything as Scorzinski got a soft line drive back to the circle.
A walk and an error put Kelsey White and Paige Silvia on first and second with no outs but neither runner would advance any further as the Tigers failed on a sac bunt attempt and had three straight fly ball outs.
“I would definitely say it was uncharacteristic,” Lewry said. “Defensively we had a couple of silly little plays, not being aware of the base runners…not being able to get down bunts, that was critical. We tried three or four times and we didn’t get one down. We talked about executing bunts all year, we’ve practiced it all year, we just didn’t do it tonight.
Meanwhile, Kelsey White was cruising on the mound. She retired the side in order in each the second and fourth innings and didn’t let a one-out single past first in the second. A two-out single from Sierra Basara went nowhere in the fifth went nowhere when White got a big strikeout.
“Kelsey had to really battle tonight,” Lewry said. “Some of her pitches weren’t working the way they normally do so we had to go a different way and I thought she did a heck of a job. We could have been out of there allowing one run if we made a couple of plays, it came down to execution and we didn’t get it done.”
The Shamrocks added to their lead with a run in the top of the sixth inning as Caroline Deem blooped a one-out single and took second on a ground ball. Scorzinski sliced a single to right field that Abbie McDonough fielded, firing a throw home but it wasn’t handled at the plate and the runner from second came across.
Taunton finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth but again left runners in scoring position. Silvia had a one-out single and moved to second on a two-out walk from Rylie Murphy. Brown sliced an RBI double to left field to bring a one run in and make it 2-1. With runners on second and third, Scorzinski got the third out with a strikeout.
Feehan tacked on a big insurance run in the top of the seventh inning. Haley Coupal had a one-out single and moved to third on a soft grounder in front of the plate. With two outs, Levesque was able to reach when her grounder was bobbled at first, and Coupal ran all the way from second to home before the Tigers could fire a throw home.
The Tigers brought the heart of their lineup for the seventh inning but Scorzinski retired the side in order for the first time all game.
Taunton softball finishes the season at 22-3 while Bishop Feehan will play Bridgewater-Raynham in the D1 South Final on Sunday.
TAUNTON, Mass. – Defending state champion Taunton kicked off its title defense on Monday night at Jack Tripp Field against a familiar foe. It is never easy to play a team three times in a season, especially when it is a league rival and annual competitor for the league title.
The Tigers made it a clean sweep against King Philip and earned their third shutout of the Warriors this season, earning a 4-0 victory and getting started on the road to a potential repeat.
“First game of the tournament is always tough,” said Taunton coach Dave Lewry about facing an atypical No. 15 seed in the opening round. “We’ve been there before but all the kids were saying they had the butterflies and were a little nervous early on, so get this out of the way and we can move onto tomorrow.”
Senior outfielder Alexa White added, “It’s definitely a relief to have the first one in the books. We have a young team, so we made sure to talk to them yesterday at practice to be prepared that the atmosphere is different, everything’s different, so you need to keep the energy up and you need to relax, at the plate or in the field.”
King Philip (13-9) had been outscored 19-0 in two regular season meetings with Taunton, but the Warriors came into Monday confident that they could pull the upset and had an early chance to get on the board. Raegan Simeone bunted for a hit with one out in the first and then stole second. After a strikeout, Liliana Rolfe walked to put two on base, but Taunton starter Kelsey White snagged a comebacker by her opposite number, Faith Turinese, to end the inning.
The Warriors wouldn’t have another base runner until a one-out single by Rolfe in the fourth. Rolfe was controversially called out on a steal attempt and a pop up to first baseman Tayah DaCosta ended the threat.
“It’s been a struggle against most quality pitchers,” Beauchemin said about the lack of offense. “You’ve got to get that key hit, but we didn’t have many hits to begin with.”
Taunton wasted no time jumping in front. JJaime Brown led off the bottom frame with a double to right center. Abigail McDonough dropped down a bunt to move Brown to third and a wild pitch allowed her to come home with what would turn out to be the game-winning run.
Beauchemin said, “You can’t make any mistakes against this team. They’re as strong as they were last year, if not stronger.”
It stayed 1-0 until the third inning. With one out Brown drew a walk and again McDonough dropped down a bunt to move her into scoring position. Hanna Aldrich, who was robbed of a single in the first by KP shortstop Meghan Gorman, lined a base hit to left to double the lead.
Lewry said, “I just had a feeling it was going to be one of those games, so we want to get runs any way we can, chip away one at a time if we have to and it seemed to work out.”
In the fourth Taunton gave itself a cushion with a two-out rally. Turinese got a pair of fly balls, including one to deep center by Kelsey White, and seemed to be cruising through another inning, but Paige Silvia took a pitch off her thigh. Alexa White followed with a triple that was crushed into the gap in left center. White scored on a double by eighth grader Ava Venturelli.
“It brings the confidence in the next batter up to keep it going and it definitely gets the girls pumped,” said Alexa White about the importance of two-out rallies.
There was one more threat by the Warriors in the seventh, as they tried to keep their season alive. Rolfe was hit by a pitch with one out, reaching base for the third straight time, and Turinese hustled to beat out an infield single. Taunton’s defense made the plays it needed to with Aldrich and Brown grabbing grounders and getting the outs to seal the win.
“I think the kids gave a very good representation today, we played hard,” said Beauchemin. “We’re not young, but we’re inexperienced and I think next year we’re going to be a very formidable team.”
Lewry praised the Warriors and was happy to get through a third meeting with KP. He said, “I think they’re a much better team than they were at the beginning of the season and I thought they played an excellent game tonight. Their defense was good, their pitching was real good, and they just had some trouble hitting Kelsey, which is good for us.”
When asked if things felt any different entering the playoffs defending last year’s title, White said that the Tigers were just trying to focus on the moment rather than the ultimate destination.
“We’ve got a tough road ahead, we know that, but I think we have the talent to do it,” she said. “It’s about pulling everything together with clutch hits and keeping those rallies going. We have the mentality to take every game one step at a time. Just focus on the game you’re playing.”
Taunton (21-2) will host No. 10 seed Marshfield on Tuesday night at Jack Tripp Field.
The Whalers, limited to just three hits through six innings by KP senior pitcher Faith Turinese, suddenly had an offensive surge. Down to the final out and trailing 3-1, New Bedford smacked three consecutive doubles leading to two runs to knot the score and extend the game
But the game didn’t last much longer. The Warriors, seemingly unfazed by the rally from the visitors, had an immediate response in the bottom of the seventh. Destiny Goyco was hit by a pitch to put the winning run on base. Ryann Stagg, the nine hitter, fell behind 0-2 but drilled the third pitch she saw into the gap in left field, and with the outfield playing in, courtesy runner Heather Nix sprinted around the bases and all the way home to give King Philip a 4-3 walk-off win.
“It’s never easy,” quipped KP skipper Norm Beauchemin as the Warriors notched a tournament win for the fifth straight season. “[New Bedford] plays some good competition, they play a lot of people in the South Coast [Conference]. They usually try to play a pretty good schedule.
“They are tough kids, they have a great attitude. They work hard and they play hard, we’re no different than King Philip teams of the past in terms of attitude.”
Of the Whalers’ three hits prior to the seventh inning, two came in the opening frame. After Turinese (7IP, 6H, 1BB, 2ER, 7K) fanned the first batter of the game, New Bedford strung together back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Turinese got another strikeout, this one on a dropped third strike. With first occupied, the runner was automatically out but the Whalers were aggressive on the bases and the runner on second took off to third.
The throw from home was high, allowing the run to scamper home and just beat out a great throw from left fielder Liliana Rolfe and put the visitors up 1-0 early on.
From that point on, Turinese allowed just two bases runners between the second and sixth innings. After a leadoff walk in the second, Turinese retired eight straight before the Whalers had a pair of runners reach in the fifth on errors.
Meanwhile, senior Meghan Gorman was the catalyst on the offensive side of the ball. She was hit by a pitch in the first and stole both second and third with two outs but was stranded there. She was back at in the fourth inning, lacing a double to drive in Raegan Simeone, who had doubled in the at-bat before.
Rolfe wasn’t credited for an RBI on the next play but was certainly responsible for giving KP the lead. She reached on a bunt single, moving Gorman to third, With the infield in focusing on the bunt, Rolfe took off for second. Although the Whalers made the play at second, the throw allowed Gorman to sprint home for the go-ahead run.
“Two really smart players. You’re not going to find many players more heads up than Meg but Lil is not far behind at all. If you blink, they are taking a base. That’s a decision she made, and we’ve been an aggressive base-running team through the years. If they make the play and you’re out, but it was the right play, I’m good with it. “
An inning after taking the lead, a pair of errors threatened to give it back to New Bedford. Back-to-back mistakes put runners on first and second, and both runners advanced on a ground out to Turinese in the circle. Turinese got a ground ball and the Warriors were able to catch the runner on third off of the bag as Paige Berdos fired to Gorman for the tag. A fly ball to first baseman Anna Bradley ended the inning.
KP tacked on another run just a half inning later, with Gorman coming through again. Berdos got things going with a two-out double and stole third before pinch hitter Madison Kelley drew a walk. Gorman smoked the first pitch she saw off the center field fence for an RBI double, putting the hosts up 3-1.
New Bedford got its first hit of the game since the first inning with a leadoff single in the sixth but the runner didn’t go any further as Turinese got three straight infield fly balls.
King Philip softball (13-9) advances to play at #2 Taunton (20-2) in the First Round of the MIAA D1 South tournament on Monday at 7:00. The Tigers won both regular season games, taking a 7-0 decision at PAL in early April and a 12-0 win at Jack Tripp Field in the regular season finale.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Having played each other twice in the regular season, including an 11-inning epic a little more than a week ago, there were no secrets between North Attleboro and Dartmouth in Saturday afternoon’s Div. 1 South first round game at Kelly Field. It all came down to execution.
The Rocketeers scored seven times with two outs, including six runs after having two outs and no one on base, while the Indians stranded 10 runners and North ran away with an 8-0 victory that not only sealed a win of the season series but sent Big Red into the D1 South quarterfinal to face top seed Bridgewater-Raynham.
“I thought our defense played really well today,” said North coach Bill Wallace. “When you see a team twice…Bella [Erti] throws hard, but that wow factor is gone. For us, they throw the lefty and come back with the righty, but we know that. When you only have three strikeouts and they put the ball in play 18 times then you’ve got to make the plays.”
Two-out hitting has been a theme of late, as North used a series of two-out hits to beat Taunton in the regular season finale and had a similar burst in the first inning on Saturday. With two outs, Ashley Cangiano (3-for-3, three RBI) singled to left, Annabelle Hebard drew a walk, and Katie Daby brought both runners in with a ringing double that bounced off the fence in right center.
North wasn’t done. Emily Nardelli and Alex Moulson drew walks and Belle Clarkin lined a single to left center that brought in another couple of runs for an early 4-0 lead and a cushion for starting pitcher Bella Erti to work with.
“It just got us hyped and started and just play our defense after that,” said Cangiano about the quick start.
In the second inning, Olivia Capobianco reached on an error to lead things off. Abby Gallagher dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt and Capobianco showed off her wheels to go from first to third. She scored when Cangiano ripped a line drive to the centerfielder. It was the only run that North scored with less than two outs.
Wallace said, “It’s so much easier playing ahead than playing behind. When we bunted with Olivia on first, she goes first-to-third, you might not try that down a run.”
Mandi Hanewich drew a lead-off walk in the fourth and stole second on a pitch in the dirt. Capobianco bunted her to third and with two outs Cangiano came through with another line drive hit to right center to make it 6-0.
The runs kept coming, as North tacked on insurance runs off Dartmouth’s reliever Hannah Arruda (who hit a pair of home runs and drove in five the last time the two teams played), always wary of a dangerous Dartmouth lineup. With two down (again), Gallagher doubled to right center, the ball skipping past the centerfielder. Cangiano followed with a carbon copy, this time heading to third with an RBI-triple. Hebard doubled to left and North led 8-0.
This was far from an easy win for the Rocketeers. Dartmouth consistently put pressure on Erti and the defense, but North made the plays it needed, including a couple of spectacular grabs in the outfield. Gallagher got things started on the first out of the game, laying out in right to take a hit away from Arruda. Capobianco took extra bases away from the Indians in the fifth when she chased down Samara Turgeon’s drive to the fence, flipping over the fence after pulling in the catch.
Erti finished with only three strikeouts and Dartmouth left two runners on in the first, fourth, sixth, and seventh, but Cangiano praised her pitcher’s approach to grind her way out of jams.
“She just gets so focused and she knows what she’s doing,” Cangiano said about Erti bearing down with two outs. “She’s been pitching for so long that she’s so used to that kind of stuff.”
“Her biggest improvement this year has been limiting the walks and I know she walked two today but part of that was trying not to just pound the strike zone,” said Wallace. “I think a lot of those runners on base were with two outs and, honestly, if you want to point a finger at the game that was the difference: we had two-out hits and also made two-out plays. That’s huge.”
North Attleboro (16-5) will move on to the Div. 1 South quarterfinal to face top seed Bridgewater-Raynham on Monday.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – With all-star third baseman Karly Estremera, one of the Stoughton’s leading hitters, sidelined with an injury, sophomore Julia Driscoll took over the starting role for Saturday morning’s playoff opener against Somerset-Berkley. She would walk off the field a hero.
In a tie game in the bottom of the seventh inning, Driscoll, batting in the eighth spot, drilled a lead-off double to left. It was only the fifth hit that the Black Knights had managed off of Raiders starter Laney Martin. After a pair of strikeouts, Jordan Lyons hit one off the end of the bat down the first base line. The backspin took it away from the first baseman and Lyons hustled to the bag to keep the inning alive.
The very next pitch skipped by the Somerset-Berkley catcher and made its way to the backstop as Driscoll scampered home with the winning run and was mobbed by her teammates. With the 2-1, walk-off victory Stoughton will travel to face Walpole in the D1 South first round.
“It’s what we talked about yesterday is that the beauty of this roster is that we have depth and somebody is going to step up every day and today was Julia’s day,” said Stoughton coach Deb Parker. Parker was also celebrating her birthday on Saturday and appreciated the gift of a win from her team. She joked, “It was the only thing I wanted today.”
Parker also praised the play that Lyons made to keep running on the awkward play for the first baseman and allow the inning to continue with Driscoll at third. She said, “That’s one of the things we stress with these girls is that every ball is in play until someone says you’re out and Jordan’s all hustle all the time.”
It was a pitcher’s duel from the start. Sophomore Nicole Baker and Martin combined to allow three base runners and one hit through the opening three innings of the game. Both pitchers struck out four over the first two innings, while Martin struck out the side in the third. Stoughton ended the third with a double play, as Sydney Menz grabbed a line drive in right and doubled up the runner on first.
The second time through the order was a little more difficult. In the fourth, the visitors nearly broke the deadlock, but with runners at first and second and two outs, Lyons chased down a bloop by the line in shallow left. The shortstop stretched to get to the ball and stayed with it when it popped off her glove, eventually corralling it on the slide.
During the fourth inning Baker took a liner off her ankle that had the Black Knights worried, but she recovered and ended up throwing a complete game. Parker explained, “We just needed her to work on her breathing and we wouldn’t give her mask or her glove back until she could breathe and then she wants the ball every pitch and we’re going to give it to her.”
After making a great play in the field, Lyons led off the bottom half of the inning and reached on an error. A sacrifice bunt by catcher Bri Ferrandiz moved Lyons into scoring position for Lexi Baptista, who drilled a double to right center (Stoughton’s first hit of the game) and brought in Lyons for the game’s first run.
Nikki Coppola singled as well, but Martin was able escape the jam by snaring a comebacker from Baker and then recording her eighth strikeout of the game.
The Raiders came right back and got their first run in the top of the fifth, with some help from the Stoughton defense that was otherwise outstanding. A lead-off walk and a sac bunt moved a runner into scoring position, but Baptista took a one-hop single to center and gunned down the lead runner at third, with Driscoll applying the tag.
“I think defense is one of the things we do best,” Parker said. “Nicole is a great pitcher but she also knows that she has eight people on the field with her that will get it done behind her.”
The next batter hit a hard shot up the middle that Baker knocked down, but her throw to first got away and skipped up the right field fence. The runner came all the way around from first and, after a delay at third, raced home to score the tying run. Somerset-Berkley were fortunate that the throw back into the infield dropped because that delay at third could have cost them the run.
Stoughton got two on in the bottom of the inning but Martin got out of the jam with an infield pop-up. Baker threw a perfect sixth and nearly helped her own cause with a two-out double in the bottom half, but again Martin was able to pitch out of the jam. In the top of the seventh, Baker was perfect again, with help from Baptista chasing down a liner in left center, and finished with her fifth strikeout.
Stoughton (15-6) will try to carry the momentum from its dramatic win into Sunday’s game at No. 5 seed Walpole.
“I think it’s great,” said Parker, “especially to battle the way that these guys did. They know there’s nothing they can’t do now.”