Softball: Kelley-Rex Division Preview 2016

The 2015 HockomockSports.com Softball Player of the Year Kali Magane is back in the circle this year for King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
The 2015 HockomockSports.com Softball Player of the Year Kali Magane is back in the circle this year for King Philip. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

ATTLEBORO
2015 Record: 7-13
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mark Homer

Attleboro comes into the spring hoping to make a return to the state tournament for the first time since it joined the Hockomock League. Head coach Mark Homer is confident that his team can score runs this year. Senior Sarah Vincent will return as the lead-off hitter and first baseman while classmate and fellow captain Olivia Kass will hit in the two-hole and play shortstop. Catcher Julya Carlson bats third followed by Julia Woyton and Mikayla Harnois, who will see time as the starting pitcher and at third base.

The pitching staff got a boost this year with a pair of newcomers – freshman McKenzie Bergdoll and sophomore transfer Makayla Vasquez – who Homer said will see time in the circle. Inexperience in the outfield remains a question mark for the Bombardiers but Homer sees potential for a big spring.

He said, “Although its been tough getting in the outdoor practices that we need, the team as a whole are very motivated and excited to get the season going. Our goal is to improve from last season and take it one game at a time and continue to work hard all season long.”

FRANKLIN
2015 Record: 14-10
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South first round
Coach: Kate Fallon

For the past few seasons, Franklin has been solidly entrenched as the third best team in the Kelley-Rex division, behind KP and Taunton, and also a team with the potential to make a run in the tournament. This spring, the Panthers will look to sustain that success with a number of new faces.

 

Senior Maddie Connelly returns as one of the team’s leading hitters and is a strong defensive outfielder. She will be joined by classmate Julia Arms and by Olivia Haba, as the Panthers look to fill the void left by Erin Hanley’s graduation. Seniors Caroline D’Aprile and Emily Sawyer will take over in the circle and try to replace Sabrina LoMonaco. In the infield, Olivia Di Giacomo returns at third base and classmate Alyssa DaSilva is back as well.

While there are question marks coming into the season, Franklin coach Kate Fallon is still expecting a strong year. She said, “We have some holes to plug from last years graduates, but we have a very hungry group!”

KING PHILIP
2015 Record: 20-3
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South semifinal
Coach: Norm Beauchemin

King Philip has long been the team to beat in the Kelley-Rex division and that should continue coming into this spring as well. Led by senior pitcher and defending HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Kali Magane, the Warriors boast a strong lineup and one of the best defensive teams in the league.

Senior Ashley Hession will be back as one of the state’s top shortstops and centerfielder Christa Wagner gives the Warriors one of the fastest players in the state. Senior Caeli Bench and junior Jenn Hutnyan will bring experience as well.

Head coach Norm Beauchemin, now in his fourth year in charge, believes that the team has a roster filled with players that could win a game for the team. “As usual King Phillip is always considered to be one of the top teams in the Hock and this year should be no different,” he said. “Offensively we will have to take advantage of our scoring opportunities and the team does have some power hitters.  It should be a real fun season and I can’t wait for it to start.”

MANSFIELD
2015 Record: 11-9
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South preliminary round
Coach: Lori Letendre

Mansfield can enter a new season with confidence because the Hornets return senior pitcher Maddie Letendre, who is coming off a season in which she struck out 226 hitters and posted an ERA of 1.41 in more than 138 innings. Letendre will also be throwing to a familiar face, as classmate Brianna Homer will return behind the plate.

Outside of that, there will be a lot of new faces for Mansfield with six new starters. Jocelyn Reardon will be back and will play multiple positions this year, as head coach Lori Letendre shuffles a roster that includes a sophomore and four freshmen.

Although the team may be young, Letendre is keeping the expectations high. She explained, “I have a talented group of girls and am very happy with the progress the team has made in the first week of the season. I like our chances for making playoffs this season!”

NORTH ATTLEBORO
2015 Record: 6-14
2015 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Bill Wallace

North Attleboro is coming off a season in which it won six games, a far cry from a South sectional final appearance in 2014, but this could be a rebound year for the Rocketeers who bring back seven starters. Included in that number is senior Mycala Moody, who only played six games last year due to injury, and will be the starter at short and a big bat in the middle of the order.

Liz Morehouse returns at first and the outfield (Kaylea Sherman, Meg Barlow, and Jordan Sharpe) is back in its entirety. Sam Courtemanche will be behind the plate for North to catch returning pitchers Carolyn Wallace and Abby Warren. King Philip transfer Amelia Murphy could be added to the mix in the circle and in the lineup.

“My first thoughts are we will be a little sounder defensively,” said Wallace. “My gut says we will win more than six like we did last year but the league is so strong I wonder where they will come from.”

TAUNTON
2015 Record: 23-3
2015 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South final
Coach: Dave Lewry

Taunton reached the Div. 1 South final last season before falling to eventual state finalist Silver Lake. The Tigers bring all but two players (and one starter, Hock MVP Kelly Reading) back to try and make another run at the sectional title. Senior pitcher Aimee Kistner will be back in the circle, with additional help from Courtney Fisher, and adds a power bat to the lineup.

Fellow seniors Jordan Wade (shortstop) and Meghan Navarro (second base) shore up the middle of the infield while sophomore Kya Enos will take her speed into centerfield. Freshman Jaime Brown returns at third, Amber Wainwright will be the designated player, and Sarah Bagge will be behind the plate. Sophomore Liana Duarte will step into right field to fill Reading’s shoes.

It is a familiar roster and the Tigers are looking forward to familiar success in the league and in the tournament.

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Ryan Lanigan

Ryan Lanigan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HockomockSports.com. You can contact him at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and follow him on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.
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