Early Runs Give Taunton Early Edge on KP

Taunton softball
Meghan Navarro (11) and the Taunton bench are fired up after scoring the second run against King Philip. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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TAUNTON, Mass. – Taunton entered Wednesday’s showdown with nine-time defending league champion King Philip (including five straight since the divisional split) with a hard to believe plus-108 run differential and a perfect 8-0 record.

But, the Tigers were still looking for the marquee win to show that this year’s squad has what it takes to get back to the top of the league (Taunton shared the title with KP in 2014) and potentially make a run in Div. 1 South.

Starting pitcher Aimee Kistner, who had yet to be scored on this season, admitted that the team was extra fired up for the visit of the Warriors to Jack Tripp Field. She said, “We were all psyched to play today; it’s all we thought about all day. We were ready to go.”

The Tigers scored a pair of runs in the first inning and Kistner shut down the Warriors, striking out nine and allowing only one base runner to reach second base, to ensure that the lead held up for a 2-0 victory that puts the Tigers (9-0) in front in the league title race.

Taunton coach Dave Lewry said, “We don’t get style points, we don’t get extra points for 20 hits, we win games and that’s what counts.”

When asked about getting the jump on KP in the league, Lewry said with a chuckle, “We kind of put ourselves in this spot last year too and let it slip away. So we ain’t got nothing yet, but it’s always good to get the first one and have them chasing us rather than the other way around.”

Kistner allowed a one-out base hit to Hailey McLasland (3-3) in the first inning, but then struck out Meghan Gorman and Taunton’s Sarah Bagge fired to second to catch McLasland stealing.

In the bottom of the frame, Liana Duarte battled with KP ace Kali Magane to earn a lead-off walk. After Jordan Wade flew out to left, Kistner had a swinging bunt back to Magane that allowed Duarte to move into scoring position.

Cleanup hitter Meghan Navarro followed with a line drive single to left that was momentarily bobbled, although Duarte was already around third at the time. When the throw went to the plate, Navarro took off for second. Magane cut off the throw from Sydney Phillips but her attempt to get Navarro skipped into center and the Taunton second baseman raced home with a second run.

“Heads up base running on her part,” said Lewry. “It would’ve been a close play at second but with two outs you force the issue, they make the mistake and we stole a run, which is huge in a game like this.”

Kistner went back out to the circle with a lead and she admitted that it allowed her to relax just a little. She explained, “It was awesome. I knew that I had my defense behind me and that we had runs behind us. I knew I had backup when I needed it.”

The Warriors finally got something going in the third inning. With two outs, Christa Wagner singled to center and McLasland followed with a single to center. But Kistner bore down and got Gorman to bounce back to the circle, where the pitcher caused a second of panic when she went to third rather than first, but she got the force to escape the jam.

It was the only time in the game that KP managed to get a runner into scoring position.

“Today may have been her best day,” said Lewry of Kistner. “She was hitting her locations, she had all her pitches working. She’d been struggling with the drop but today it was working real good.”

Magane, the reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Year, was just as good on Wednesday. She struck out six batters, allowed only two hits and one earned run over six innings. Between a lead-off walk in the second and a double by Wade in the sixth, Magane retired 11 straight Tigers.

KP coach Norm Beauchemin said, “Kali pitched a great game. When you have a two-hitter and the second hit is in the sixth inning…what can you say? You can’t say anything bad about her.”

He added, “If you don’t score then you don’t win, plain and simple. Their pitcher kept us off-balance. We haven’t struck out hardly at all this year and…she had a good game, very good game…We outhit them but they got the hit when it counted.”

The Warriors also flashed the leather to keep Taunton off the board after the first. Magane made a sliding grab on a Bailey Clapp bloop down the third base line and two batters later Wade hit a sinking liner that Ashley Hession was able to snag on the edge of the outfield grass.

In the top of the seventh, Kistner got Elise Pereira to ground to Wade at short and Hession to fly to Kya Enos in center. With two down, she fired a rise ball that got Magane to swing to end the game and send the bench charging out to greet the pitcher as she left the field.

“You saw the rise ball today; she got four or five strikeouts on the rise and that’s something she really put a lot of work on over the winter,” said Lewry of Kistner’s improvement from last year to this season. “That kid works hard all the time and she’s going to give you everything she’s got.”

The Tigers had been looking to prove themselves against another top team and they were able to succeed against their biggest league rival. Kistner is already looking forward to the next meeting on May 18.

She said, “I know that KP is always a big game so to jump ahead of them…just adds fuel to the fire for next time.”

Taunton has now outscored teams 111-1 through nine games, but Kistner is not going overboard with so many challenges still facing the Tigers.

“We’re definitely very confident,” she explained, “but we’re not overconfident because then we don’t play up to the competition.”

The Tigers will face another division challenge on Friday against Mansfield. KP is in a stretch of three games in three days and will face Franklin on Thursday before hosting defending state champion St. Peter Marian on Friday.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Wednesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/13/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Franklin, 13 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Franklin’s offense reached double figures for the second straight game to pick up another road win. Tyler Gomes had a pair of doubles and five RBI to lead Franklin while Jake Lyons had two hits, an RBI and a run scored, Josh Macchi had two hits, two runs and an RBI, Ryan Hodgkins had a triple and three runs scored, Steven Luttazi had a pair of hits, a pair of runs scored and an RBI and Joe Corsi scored a pair of runs. Mike Skaza got the win on the mound, tossing five innings and striking out four. Ryan Morse pitched two scoreless innings in relief for Franklin. Attleboro’s Pat Collins went 2-4 with an RBI double for the Bombardiers.

Foxboro, 0 @ Canton, 12 – Final – Canton’s Kevin Powers threw a complete game shutout with four strikeouts, issuing just one walk for the win. At the plate, Powers was 3-4 with two runs scored, Joe Peccia was 1-3 with three runs scored, Mike McMahon was 3-4 with a run scored and a stolen base and sophomore Matt Casamento was 1-2 with two runs scored.

King Philip, 2 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final (9 inn.) – Senior Jon Rolfe picked up the win with a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits. Rolfe had 82 total pitches – 62 for strikes – in an efficient outing that saw him strike out three batters. In the top of the ninth, Stephan MacMean’s leadoff double to turned into a run when junior Will Weir singled him home. Three straight singles from Rolfe, senior Jack DiCenso and senior Jake Cavanagh plated pinch runner Rich Lucente for the Warriors’ second run.

Milford, 7 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Sophomore Aidan Wilde struck out six in five innings of no hit baseball to get the win on the mound for the Scarlet Hawks. Chris Speroni was 2-3 with three stolen bases and two runs scored while Blake Hill had a triple and two RBI.

North Attleboro, 8 @ Taunton, 2 – Final – North Attleboro’s John O’Donnell scattered five hits and one walk over seven innings of work, striking out five to pick up the win for the Rocketeers. North Attleboro erased a deficit with a four run fourth inning to get the lead including a pair of runs coming off suicide squeezes. Zach Rofino was 2-5 with two RBI, Kyle McCarthy was 2-4 with a pair of RBI, Ethan Hebard added a pair of hits, Bryan Harris had a hat and two sacrifices and Ridge Olsen finished with two hits. North Attleboro amassed 12 hits as a team. Taunton’s Max Bowden had two hits and an RBI for the Tigers.

Stoughton, 9 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Stoughton scored eight runs with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.

Softball
Franklin, 8 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final

Canton, 5 @ Foxboro, 10 – Final – Foxboro scored six runs in the sixth inning to earn its first win of the season. Emma Rohan struck out seven and walked just three to earn the win in the circle for Foxboro. At the plate, Marylou Long went 3-3 and Chelsea Gibbons had a pair of hits in the big sixth inning for the Warriors.

Mansfield, 0 @ King Philip, 9 – Final – Kali Magane struck out 15 batters and threw her first no hitter of the season for the Warriors. Offensively, King Philip had 14 hits as a team led by Jenn Hutnyan’s three hits and a fourth inning grand slam. Christa Wagner had three hits, including a double and a triple, and Ashley Hession had two hits.

Sharon, 0 @ Milford, 15 – Final (5 inn.) – Milford’s Kaitlyn DeCapua was 3-3 with a pair of runs knocked in and a home run in the first inning that was the highlight of a 10-run inning for the Scarlet Hawks. Sophomore Emily Piergustavo was 3-3 at the plate, driving in four runs and scoring a pair herself and Maggie Farrell added a pair of hits and knocked in four runs. Kelley Reichert struck out four, allowing just one hit, in five innings of work to earn the win.

Taunton, 9 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Taunton’s Aimee Kistner threw her second consecutive no hitter, this time striking out 10 while scattering three walks. Sophomore Kya Enos went 4-4 with a double and an RBI, Jordan Wade had three hits with two RBI and a double, Meg Navarro had two hits and an RBI and Jaime Brown went 2-3 with a double and two RBI. Bailey Clapp and Sarah Bagge each added two hits and Rebekah Lajoie had a pinch hit two run home run for the Tigers.

Stoughton, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – OA’s Lexie Campbell’s complete game effort, with just two earned runs allowed, helped the Tigers pick up a win. Jamie Gottwald went 3-3 at the play, knocking in a pair of runs and Rachel Han was 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Lizzie Miller also had an RBI and a run scored while Victoria Ziner and Caroline Mahoney each added hits for Oliver Ames. Stoughton’s Nicole Bodette, Jordan Lyons and Karly Estramerea all had two hits for the Black Knights.

Boys Lacrosse
Mansfield, 14 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Ryan Smith led a balanced attack with a game-high four goals while Sam O’Connell and Connor Finerty each added three goals and Joe Cox and Billy Grant chipped in with two goals apiece.

King Philip, 10 @ Canton, 4 – Final – King Philip started strong, building a 5-1 lead after the first quarter but didn’t put the game away until adding four goals in the fourth quarter. Sam Agricola led the offense with four goals and one assist and senior Steven Eaton led the defense with 10 groundballs. John DeLuca and Harrison Fallon each scored a pair of goals and Tim Watson added two more with an assist.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ Foxboro, 12 – Final – Louis Piccolo scored four goals and Colin Spinney netted a hat trick to lead the offense for the Warriors. Connor McNamara added a goal and three assists and Brendan Tully found the back of the net twice and had one assist. Pat Kaveny had five groundballs for Foxboro.

Franklin, 18 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – The teams finished level (3-3) at the end of the first quarter but Franklin won the second quarter 6-0 and the second half 9-1 to get the win. Freshman Jacob Alexander dominated the faceoff X, winning 24/26 draws while sophomore Eric Civetti tied a team record with eight goals in the game. Senior Austin Kent added four goals and three assists and sophomore goalie Connor O’Rourke made seven saves in net. Head coach Lou Verrochi credited the defense of Sean Lockhart, Matt Pleshaw, Wyatt Arsenault and Patrick Morrison for limited the Eagles after the first quarter.

Milford, 4 @ North Attleboro, 16 – Final – Sophomore Colin Young scored four goals to lead the Rocketeers.

Girls Lacrosse
Attleboro, 11 @ Mansfield, 10 – Final (OT)

Foxboro, 18 @ Oliver Ames, 5 – Final

Sharon, 3 @ Franklin, 17 – Final – Julia Jette scored a team-high four goals, including her 100th career goal, and added two assists to lead the Panthers. Grace MacCallum had a pair of goals and four draw controls and Olivia Truenow had two groundballs and played well on defense according to head coach Kristin Igoe.

North Attleboro, 19 @ Milford, 3 – Final

Boys Tennis
Franklin, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Franklin’s Rahul Herur and Eli Brooks picked up 6-1, 6-1 wins at first and second singles respectively to lead the Panthers. Tom Mancini won 6-2, 6-1 at third singles for Franklin, James Johnston and Cam Piana won 6-1, 6-0 at first doubles and Jeremy Gan and Dan Barrow won 6-1, 6-2 at second doubles for the Panthers.

Foxboro, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final

King Philip, 5 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – King Philip sophomore Cole Ginter rallied for a 3-6 7-5, 1-0 (11-9) at first singles to lead the Warriors. Garrett Schneider won 6-2, 6-3 at second singles and Blake Ginter won 6-1, 6-1 at third singles. Ryan Gemelli and Sam Colella won 6-3, 6-2 at first doubles and Justin Rohan and Jake Webster won 6-3, 6-0 at second doubles for KP.

Milford, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final

North Attleboro, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Rallies at both first and second singles anchored the Rocketeers to a win. Mitchell Dyer rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-5) win at first singles and Barsomo Nuay won 6-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-5). North junior Zack Pfeffer won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles, Jeff Yao and Nick Lockavitch won 6-3, 6-4 at first doubles and Jake Fontes and Daniel Zhang won 6-1, 6-0 at second doubles.

Oliver Ames, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames won each singles match in straight sets to pick up its first win of the season. Thomas O’Leary won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles, Greg Weinstein won 6-1, 6-4 at second singles and Jarrod Hedlund won 6-0, 6-1 at third singles.

Girls Tennis
Attleboro, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Franklin didn’t lose a game at first or second singles as well as first doubles to get the win. Hannah Sweeney and Anna Humphreys won 6-0, 6-0 at first and second singles respectively while junior Anja Deric and senior Katelyn Davenport won with the same score at first doubles. Franklin junior Madison Derby won 6-3, 2-6, 13-11 at third singles and seniors Halle Love and Selina Wu won 6-3, 6-2 at second doubles.

Canton, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Diana Prinos, Sophia Prinos and Lexi Nelson all won in straight sets without losing a game in singles play to lead the Warriors. Michaela McCarthy and Diana Hickox won 6-2, 6-2 at second doubles for Foxboro. Canton’s Tiffany Ha and Sarah MacQuarrie won 6-2, 6-4 at first doubles.

Mansfield, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – The Warriors swept doubles play and got a win at third singles to edge out the Hornets. Kelly Masse’s and Megan Davenport’s marathon 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 win at first doubles was key while Molly Citarell and Corinne Palumbo won 6-1, 6-4 at second doubles. Sophomore Megan Sepich notched a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback win at third singles for the Warriors. Mansfield’s Paulina Martin won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles and Kathleen Giffels won 6-2, 6-3 at second singles.

Sharon, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Sharon didn’t lose a game in singles play and lost only three games in the two doubles matches combined in the win. Lulu Yuan, Nupur Shulka and Emily Wen all won 6-0, 6-0 at first, second and third singles respectively. Pooja Puttigampala and Michal Kondratiev teamed up for a 6-0, 6-3 win at first doubles and Katie Merpot and Sydney Gordon won 6-0, 6-0 at second doubles.

Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final

Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames swept singles play and got a win at first doubles to pick up the victory. Riley Spillane won 6-2, 6-2 at first singles, Jackie Sulkala won 6-2, 6-3 at second singles and Sarah Leger won 6-0, 6-3 at third singles. Lark Warner and Olivia Groebe rallied to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 at first doubles for OA. Stoughton’s Becca Lawson and Ellie Kashian won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at second doubles for the Black Knights.

Boys Outdoor Track
North Attleboro @ Attleboro 3:45

Girls Outdoor Track
North Attleboro, 121 @ Attleboro 15 – Final

Boys Volleyball
Taunton, 1 vs. Barnstable 3 – Final – Taunton fell behind 2-0 in close, won the third game but Barnstable won the fourth game to win the match. Set scores were 23-25, 23-25, 25-13, 14-25. Ricardo DaFonseca had 43 assists and 11 digs along with a block and an ace for the Tigers. Sophomore Lance Law had 22 kills, eight digs and an ace, Collin Hunter played well with 11 kills and a block and Nate Grant was strong in the back row with 16 digs.

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.