STOUGHTON, Mass. – The visiting Greater New Bedford Bears came knocking on the door twice, including with the game on the line, and both times, the Black Knights slammed the door shut.
The visitors, seeded 12th in the MIAA D2 South tournament, tried on a pair of occasions to score on aggressive base running moves, but on each occasion, Stoughton junior catcher Mike Nazzaro and senior pitcher Zak Paqeutte denied the Bears, including on the last play of the game to secure a 1-0 win in a First Round matchup on Anthony Novello Field.
The fifth-seeded Black Knights took the lead into the final inning, putting the pressure on the visitors. Paquette (7IP, 3H, 2BB, 2HBP, 5K) hit the first batter he faced before getting a fly ball to center for the first out. A passed ball allowed pinch runner Cam Barton to take second, and a ground out advanced the runner to third. Evan Mello drew the first walk of the day against Paquette to put runners on the corners.
GNBVT’s Payton Leandre battled to draw a second straight walk that would have loaded the bases. But ball four was bobbled at the plate and Barton took off for home. Nazzaro quickly recovered and scooped the ball to Paquette and Barton retreated and tried to head back to third. But the Black Knights had the runner caught in a pickle and Paquette tossed to third baseman Brady Conlin and the sophomore applied the tag to end the game.
“That game was one play away from maybe going another direction so it was nice for the boys to hold on,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “Zak was obviously huge for us today, set the tone early. He was hitting the zone, challenging those guys. We talked about really challenging them and making them earn everything, I’m not sure how many walks he ended up with but not many.
“Hats off to Greater New Bedford, their guy pitched a good game. But we need to do a better job offensively, I felt like we had guys on base early just couldn’t get them in and that could have changed the game early. We let them hang around and anything can happen, and it almost did.”
Nazzaro and Paquette combined to deny the Bears of another run with a play at home. Leandre singled in the bottom of the fifth with his side trailing 1-0 and moved to second on a sac bunt from Jack Gifford. With leadoff man Ethan Almeida at the plate, a wild pitch got back Nazzaro and went to the backstop. Leandre sprinted to third but didn’t slide in, instead rounding the base and taking off for home without hesitation.
Paquette, who was halfway between the mound and plate, noticed and quickly sprinted home and Nazzaro fielded the loose ball and hit Paquette, who applied the tag for the third out of the inning.
“Fantastic plays,” Armour said. “And even Zak looking like he wasn’t covering the plate. He was locked in from the second he got here today so I don’t think he thought he was going to go and when he did, it was like OK, thanks for coming. I think it affected them on the bases going forward too.”
The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the third inning. Paquette clubbed a one-out single and it looked like the Black Knights would have runners on first and second when Robbie Seaman was hit on the back by the pitch. But halfway down the line, the home ump ruled Seaman didn’t make an attempt to get out of the way of the pitch and the at-bat continued.
Instead of first and second, the Knights had runners on the corners as Seaman smacked a single through the right side. Junior James Genest hit a fly ball deep enough to left field to allow Paquette to scamper home for a run on a sacrifice fly.
“In my eyes, he was hit between the 2 and the 1 so I’m not sure how he’s supposed to get out of the way,” Armour said. “But we took advantage of the situation. Umps are doing the best they can, it’s not easy. We don’t want to make excuses, we’re not shrugging our shoulders, we’re not complaining…you have to overcome.
“I’m proud of the guys, gutting it out. Those tight games can go either way, tournament games can go either way. We’ve been on both sides. I think the first one is the hardest so we’re excited to move on.”
Stoughton had someone reach base in four other innings, and get into scoring position each time, but couldn’t cash in any further against GNBVT starter Angel Quinones Gonzalez. Paquette walked in the first and stole second but back-to-back strikeouts stranded the runner there.
Nazzaro was hit by a pitch to lead off the second and an error on a hard hit ground ball from Jacob Kaplan moved him to second with one out, but Stoughton could only manage a pair of fly balls and no further damage.
Cian Swierzewski put the pressure on the Bears’ defense, beating out an infield dribbler and taking second on a throwing error but three straight soft line drives stranded the run there.
And in the fifth, Seaman had a two-out single, stole second, but was caught at third trying to swipe another bag.
“I didn’t think we hit the ball the way we are capable of hitting, but that’s baseball that’s going to happen. And you’re going to have some physical mistakes, that’s part of the game. But I think we did have some mental mistakes.”
Stoughton advances to the D2 South Quarterfinals and will host a familiar foe in division rival Milford, the 13th seed. The Scarlet Hawks knocked off #4 Southeastern in their opening contest. Milford beat Stoughton, 3-2, at Fino Field at the end of April but the Black Knights clinched the division title with a 6-3 win in mid-May at Novello Field. Stoughton will host Milford on Monday at 4:00.
Milford put nine runners in scoring position in the first three innings, but could only turn that into three runs. The Hawks scored once on one hit in the first inning and then turned a bases-loaded situation with no outs into just a pair of runs in the second inning.
“Zak [Paquette] didn’t really have it early on but him being who he is, he had a little more leeway,” said Stoughton coach Mike Armour. “Not to take anything away from Milford, it kind of felt like we gave them three runs with the walks. Walks are tough but it was nice to see Zak settle down. The ump was consistent, wasn’t giving the belt strike so he had to adjust a little bit. We wanted to make them string some hits together so it was nice to see him make them earn it over the last couple of innings.
“We talked about having the chance to put a new banner up in the new school and now 2019 will be on it. I’m proud of the guys.”
Milford senior Matt Shaver drew a leadoff walk to open the game, moved to second on a single from sophomore Carter Scudo, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Paquette got a ground out to third and then a strikeout.
After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Shaver sprinted home and scored on a wild pitch. But Paquette got another strikeout to strand runs at second and third.
Stoughton responded with two runs in the bottom half, both with two outs. Junior Ryan Currier drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on an RBI single from junior Jacob Kaplan. Junior Michael Nazzaro, who drew a walk in the prior at-bat, came home on a double steal when Kaplan was able to avoid the tag long enough for him to race home.
The Black Knights’ lead didn’t last long. The Hawks were patient at the plate and drew three straight walks to begin the top of the second inning. Junior Luke Rosa, senior Nick Marcolini, and senior Justin Applebee all reached on balls, loading the bases with no outs.
Shaver brought in a run with an infield single but Paquette got another ground ball that resulted in a fielder’s choice with sophomore third baseman Brady Conlin firing home to get the lead runner.
Another fielder’s choice allowed a run to come in, but the Black Knights got the runner at third. Paquette got another grounder, this one to short, for the final out to limit the damage to just two runs and a 3-2 deficit.
“That’s been the story this week for us, just missed opportunities,” Dion said. “Our guys have battled, and we know what we’re going to get every time we play [Stoughton], we know it’s going to be a tough game. First time we had them at our place it was a competitive game and we came out on the right side of things. We come down here, another competitive game and we came out on the wrong side. All three games this week, three days in a row, we just haven’t taken advantage of opportunities we’ve had, especially early in the game.”
Stoughton couldn’t take advantage of James Genest’s leadoff double in the bottom of the second as Rosa, Milford’s starter, got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. Milford once again put a runner in scoring position in the top of the third when junior Nick Wemette doubled and moved to third on a two-out single from Marcolini, but Nazzaro was able to gun the latter down at second on a steal attempt to strand the runner at third.
After allowing nine batters in scoring position in the first three innings, Paquette limited the Hawks to three total base runners over the next three innings. A bunt single was erased by Nazzaro on a steal attempt, and a leadoff single by senior Danny Corsini was wasted when Paquette got three straight fly ball.
While Stoughton didn’t have a lot of chances, it did take advantage when the opportunity presented itself. Kaplan ripped an opposite field triple deep to right field tolled off the bottom of the fourth and scored on a sacrifice fly from Genest to make it 3-3.
In the sixth inning, Nazzaro and Kaplan had back-to-back doubles to deep left against Milford’s bullpen, the latter scoring the former. Paquette drew a one out walk and Kaplan stole third to put runners on the corners. Junior pinch runner Cam Dirosa stole second before a pop up to get two outs.
“His days in the leadoff spot are over,” Armour said of Kaplan, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, and was a home run shy of the cycle. “We’ve been mixing up the order trying to get the offense going but leadoff didn’t work, and with his performance today, I think he cemented his spot in the middle of the order. He’s been huge, talk about a catalyst and getting us going. He had the leadoff triple and then him and [Nazzaro] had two bombs to really set the tone. We weren’t looking for walks today, we went to put a charge on the baseball so it was nice to put it together in the sixth.
Armour called on junior Noah Johnson, a recent call up from the JV team, to pinch hit in the nine spot. In his first varsity at-bat, Johnson roped the second pitch he saw into the gap in left center field for a two-out, two-run triple to give the Knights insurance runs and a 6-3 lead.
“Kevin Cronin does a great job with the JV squad, he’s been with us for a while and I have so much respect for him, our success over the years…he’s been getting the guys ready for this level,” Armour said. “[Johnson] had been his guy this year. We haven’t exactly been smashing the ball towards the bottom of the order. I thought it was just perfect timing and to see him come through was awesome.”
Scudo led off the top of the seventh with a triple to try and start a rally, but the rest of the inning summed up the week for the Hawks. Paquette got a strikeout and then senior Robbie Seaman and Currier made back-to-back web gems at shortstop and second, respectively, to strand the run and clinch the win.
Stoughton baseball (9-6 Hockomock, 11-6 overall) will try and clinch the division title outright when it travels to Sharon on Monday. Milford (6-8, 8-9) will try to snap a three-game skid when it hosts Canton at Fino Field on Tuesday.
Canton, 5 vs. Wellesley, 3 – Final – Wellesley tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the top of the fifth inning but the Bulldogs took it right back with two in the bottom half to earn the win. Sophomore Matt Connolly went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Nate Quan (two runs), Rob Sullivan (RBI), and Chris Rota each had a hit for Canton. Mike Konzal, Steve Burbank, and Matt Pigeon each had a walk and a run scored. Sullivan got the win for Canton, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six innings of work. Rota didn’t allow a hit in one inning of work to get the save.
Milford, 7 @ Concord-Carlisle, 2 – Final – Milford senior Danny Corsini allowed just one hit in four winnings of work, allowing just one unearned run while striking out three to help the Scarlet Hawks get a win over Concord-Carlisle. Matt Shave had one hit and scored three runs while both Colby Pires (double, two runs, two RBI) and Tyler Almeida (two RBI) had two hits apiece. Luke Rosa struck out one with one hit allowed in two innings of relief.
Stoughton, 3 vs. West Bridgewater, 0 – Final – Stoughton sophomore Brady Conlin shined on the mound, throwing a complete game shutout to lead the Black Knights to a win. Conlin scattered four hits and three walks while striking out 11. Stoughton scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning. Robbie Seaman (reached on error) scored on an RBI single from James Genest, Jacob Kaplan used heads up base running to score on an infield hit from Mike Nazzaro, and Kyle Gagnon had a single that bought Nazzaro home.
Canton, 4 @ Boston Latin, 11 – Final – Canton sophomore Nikki Desjardins went 2-for-4, including hitting a home run, but the Bulldogs fell on the road. Freshman Sophia Santos pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
Milford, 1 @ Hopkinton, 13 – Final (6 Inn.)
Sharon, 3 vs. Duxbury, 4 – Final – Despite the loss, Sharon coach Heather Poliferno called it a “great game” against the Dragons. The Eagles rallied with two runs in the sixth inning to close the gap and added one in the seventh but couldn’t find the tying run. Emily Botvin was strong in the circle, throwing a complete game with four strikeouts and just one walk. She threw first pitch strikes to 29 of the batters she faced. Poliferno said that the Eagles made solid contact all game.
Taunton, 16 vs. Moses Brown, 5 – Final – After Moses Brown cut Taunton’s lead in half with five runs in the fifth, the Tigers responded with six runs in the sixth inning to pull away. Jaime Brown had a big day at the plate with four hits, including a pair of triples and five RBI. Hanna Aldrich (two RBI), McKenzie McAloon (double, RBI), and Ava Venturelli (double, triple, two RBI), each had two hits. Winning pitcher Kelsey White pitched the first five innings, allowing five unearned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Alexa White came in for the final two innings, striking out five while allowing two hits.
Canton, 7 vs. Natick, 10 – Final – Canton stayed close with Natick for the entire game but couldn’t close the gap. Tommy Vaughan scored four goals and Griffin Roach netted three for the Bulldogs, who trailed 6-3 at the break.
North Attleboro @ Silver Lake, 4:00
Attleboro, 7 vs. Dartmouth, 17 – Final
Franklin, 10 @ Notre Dame Academy, 15 – Final
Mansfield, 4 @ Norton, 1 – Final – Mansfield swept doubles action and added two more wins in singles action to knock off Norton. Lizzy Elsner won 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 at first singles while junior Samantha Sternburg didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of senior Hannah Podolske and sophomore Alex Burnham earned a 6-4, 6-2 win at first doubles while sophomores Ally McDeuitt and Alex Wendland secured a 7-5, 6-2 win at second doubles.
Foxboro, 12 vs. Blue Hills, 0 – Final (4 inn.) – Foxboro’s offense exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the first inning, helping the Warriors win big in a mercy-rule shortened contest. The Warriors totaled 12 hits in the contest with senior Brian Duncan leading the way with three hits (one double) and two runs scored. Junior Kyle McGinnis added two doubles and two runs scored and junior James Kaeser had two hits, a run, and two RBI for the Warriors. Michael Develin and Joe Cavaleri each had a double and knocked in a pair of runs in the win. Sophomore Cam Prescott earned the win, allowing just one hit in four innings of work while striking out two. Foxboro will take on Milton in the championship game of the third annual Steven J. Sullivan tournament on Thursday at 2:00.
Franklin, 12 @ Catholic Memorial, 1 – Final – Franklin’s offense plated six runs in the top of the fifth inning, turning a 6-1 lead into a 12-1 win on the road at Catholic Memorial. Senior Scott Elliott blasted a three-run home run to pace the offense while senior Alex Haba went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Joe Lizotte (three RBI, run), Shane O’Neil (run, RBI), JB Floris (double, two runs, two RBI), and Jack Nally (run, RBI) each had a pair of hits for the Panthers. Junior Brennan Rivera tossed a complete game, allowing just one unearned run on two hits and two walks while striking out six to get the win.
North Attleboro, 10 vs. Somerset Berkley, 1 – Final – North Attleboro burst into the win column behind a strong team offensive performance and a stellar showing on the mound from sophomore Dennis Colleran. The Rocketeers, who trailed 1-0 early, tied the game with a run in the second, plated five runs in the third (all with two outs), tacked on one run in the fourth, and put the game out of reach with three more in the sixth. Colleran allowed just two hits in a complete game effort, striking out seven with no earned runs allowed. Russell Dunlap (four RBI) had a bases-clearing triple with two outs in the third to help the Rocketeers create separation. Jake Palmer led off the fourth with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-1. Jake Carroll added an RBI single in a three-run sixth. Sophomore Jared Penta added two hits in the win.
Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 3 – Final – With the game tied at 3-3, Oliver Ames senior Matt McCormick delivered a two-run single to put the Tigers ahead for good. Senior Reid Latham earned his third win of the season, striking out eight and walking in two with two earned runs allowed in six innings of work. Senior Tyler Avery recorded the save, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to secure the win. Jake Erlich went 2-for-3 while Cam Perron and CJ Deveau each had a hit and an RBI. Chris Pearsons added three hits, two runs scored, an RBI and was strong in the field defensively, including turning a key double play.
Sharon, 0 vs. Hingham, 4 – Final
Stoughton, 7 @ Brockton, 6 – Final – For the second time this season, Stoughton junior Jacob Kaplan has delivered a big hit with the bases loaded. After helping the Black Knights beat North in the season opener with a big hit, Kaplan was at it again on Tuesday. This time, with Stoughton holding a 2-1 lead, Kaplan cleared the bases with a two-out double in the top of the fifth and later scored himself to give the visitors a 6-1 advantage. Brockton cut the deficit to one with a four-run fifth, and the teams traded runs in the sixth to make it 7-6. Sophomore Brady Conlin earned the two-inning save with no hits allowed and one strikeout. Senior Evan Jackman picked up the win, scattering seven hits and three walks in five innings of work, striking out two.
Taunton, 8 vs. Durfee, 4 – Final – Durfee cut Taunton’s lead to just one with a run in the top of the fourth inning but the Tigers scored once in the bottom half and added three runs in the fifth inning to conquer the Hilltoppers. Jack Moynihan earned the win on the mound, scattering six hits over six innings of work, striking out five with three earned runs allowed. Logan Lawrence had a hit and two RBI and Colby Lariviere added two hits and two RBI for the Tigers.
Mansfield, 12 vs. Duxbury, 5 – Final – Mansfield pounded out 14 hits in total and scored four runs in each the fourth and sixth innings to earn a win over visiting Duxbury. Mady Bendanillo got the offense started with a home run in the bottom of the first and was a part of the Hornets’ two-out three-run rally in the third. Megan Letendre singled, Mady Bendanillo (two hits) walked, and Mary Muldoon, Caty DeMassi (two hits), and Ella Verheggen (two hits) each had RBI singles. Kara Bendanillo, Casey Mousette, and Sydney Woods also had two hits for Mansfield. Sarah Cahill allowed five hits while striking out seven.
North Attleboro, 7 vs. Dartmouth, 3 – Final – North Attleboro prevailed in a battle of unbeatens, handing Dartmouth its first loss with a 7-3 verdict. Junior Bella Erti struck out eight without issuing a walk, scattering six hits in a complete game. Erti did not allow any earned runs in the win. Sophomore Emily Nardelli had two hits, a sacrifice fly, and a walk, junior Ashley Cangiano added a triple, and freshman Mandi Hanewich had a single and a run scored. Junior Annabelle Hebard, junior Abby Gallagher, and sophomore Belle Clarkin each had two walks and a run scored.
Stoughton, 5 vs. Brockton, 4 – Final – Stoughton sophomore Nicole Baker hit a walkoff solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to cap the Black Knights’ comeback against Brockton. The Boxers held a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth but senior Karly Estremera (two hits) delivered a two-out double to score Sarah McGrath to tie it 4-4. After Baker shut the Boxers down in the top of the seventh from the circle, she gave Stoughton the win with her home run. Senior Brianna Ferrandiz went 2-for-3, junior Lexi Baptista added a double, and freshmen Melody Casna and Sydney Menz each had a hit. Baker earned the win in the circle, striking out 12.
King Philip, 1 vs. Bishop Feehan, 18 – Final
Attleboro, 2 @ Sharon, 13 – Final
Foxboro, 13 vs. Hanover, 7 – Final – Foxboro held a three-goal advantage at half and entering the final period but the Warriors were able to pull away to get the win over Hanover in Chowda Cup competition. The Warriors led 6-3 at the break, and 9-6 going into the fourth. Foxboro outscored the Indians, 4-1 in the final frame. Brendan Tully had four goals and one assist, Bobby Yerardi added four goals, and Shayne Kerrigan netted a hat trick and added one helper. Pete Conley and Charlie Baughan each scored once for the Warriors, who will take on Marshfield on Thursday at 12:00 at Westwood High.
Mansfield, 3 @ Marshfield, 16 – Final – Mansfield trailed by just two after the first quarter and at half but couldn’t keep pace with the Rams in the second half. Connor Quirk and Jake Quirk each scored in the second quarter, helping the Hornets stay within two at half (down 4-2). Jake Quirk added a second goal in the second half for Mansfield, who will play Hanover on Thursday at 10:00AM at Westwood High.
Milford @ Dighton-Rehoboth – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.
North Attleboro @ Silver Lake – Postponed to Wednesday, 4/17 at 4:00.
Oliver Ames, 19 vs. Norton, 4 – Final – Seven different Tigers found the back of the net as Oliver Ames improved to 5-0 with a win over visiting Norton. Junior Frankie Ireland had two goals and five assists, sophomore Remi Creighton added two goals and three assists, and sophomore Ross Carroll recorded a hat trick in his varsity game.
Stoughton, 2 @ Milton, 9 – Final
Canton, 11 @ Milton, 14 – Final
Foxboro, 11 vs. Natick, 15 – Final
North Attleboro @ Walpole, 11:30
Oliver Ames, 9 @ Pembroke, 10 – Final
Sharon, 14 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 3 – Final – Sharon senior Emma Eberhardt and sophomore Jenna Goldstein combined for nine goals as the Eagles rolled to a win over visiting Cardinal Spellman. Goldstein netted a team-high five goals while Eberhardt finished with four tallies. Mia Lappen and Cass Barbera each had two goals, and Bridget McManus scored once.
King Philip, 3 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 0 – Final – King Philip went on the road and earned its sixth straight win, sweeping D-R (25-18, 25-12, 25-23). Senior Billy Hughes and senior Max Armour both had strong games for KP, with Hughes recording five digs, three kills, and two blocks while Armour added seven kills and six digs. Junior Kyle Desrochers anchored the defense with nine digs while senior Eric Altobello finished with eight kills.
Attleboro, 11 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final (6 inn.) – Attleboro scored scored once in the second, added three runs in each the third and fifth innings and put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth inning to walk out of Frothingham Park with an 11-1 over the Tigers. Senior Eoin Kelleher shined on the mound as well as at the dish to pace the Bombardiers. He went six innings, scattering four hits and striking out six with one run allowed. He added a double, an RBI, and a run scored offensively while Sam Larkin (two RBI), Tim Callahan (two RBI), and Mason Houle (double, RBI) each had a pair of hits for Attleboro.
Canton, 2 @ Stoughton, 4 – Final – Canton jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Stoughton scored four runs, all on two-out hits, over the final three innings to earn the win. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second and made it 2-0 in the top fo the fifth. In the bottom half, Robbie Seaman (2-for-3) connected for a two-out, two-run single to knot the score. The Black Knights added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Sophomore Brady Conlin (2-for-3) led off with a single and pinch-runner Jake Queeney came around to score on a two-out single from Mike Nazzaro (2-for-3). Zak Paquette then knocked in Nazzaro to make it 4-2. Paquette earned the win on the mound, tossing a complete game allowing six hits with two runs (0 ER), two strikeouts, and three walks.
Foxboro, 7 @ Milford, 8 – Final – Milford sophomore Carter Scudo put the ball in play and senior Matt Shaver scored from third as the Scarlet Hawks walked off with a win over visiting Foxboro. The Warriors held a 7-6 lead entering the final inning but were done in by three fielding errors in the bottom of the seventh. Scudo finished with a double, RBI, and a run scored while senior Tyler Almeida drew three walks and scored twice. Danny Corsini went five innings on the mound for the Hawks while Nick Marcolini earned the win in relief, allowing one hit and striking out one in two innings of work. Foxboro’s Michael Devlin went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, Brian Duncan added three hits, an RBI, and a run scored, and Joe Cavaleri and Sean Yoest each recorded two RBI for Foxboro.
King Philip, 1 @ Taunton, 0 – Final (10 inn.) – Both King Philip starter David Morganelli and Taunton starter Logan Lawrence pitched into extra innings in a terrific pitchers’ duel on Wednesday afternoon. The Warriors were able to string together three hits in the 10th, the last being an RBI single from Morganelli to score Matt Munnafo for the winning run. Morganelli tossed 8.1 scoreless innings, striking out five while allowing five hits and two walks. Chris Sawyer earned the win in relief with 1.2 scoreless innings. Taunton junior Logan Lawrence pitched eight scoreless innings for the Tigers, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Mansfield @ Franklin – Postponed to Saturday, 4/13 at 6:00.
Sharon @ North Attleboro – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.
Oliver Ames, 2 @ Attleboro, 15 – Final (5 inn.) – Attleboro’s Makenzie Killough had four hits, including a home run, and McKenzie Bergdoll allowed just three hits as the Bombardiers earned a win over visiting Oliver Ames. The Tigers scored a run in each the first and second innings but the Bombardiers’ offense proved to be too much. Killough also had two doubles and finished with two RBI, Kayla Baptiste went 3-for-3 with two RBI, Jordyn Lako had two hits, including a triple and three RBI, Lindsay Perry had a double and two RBI, and Bergdoll added two hits and two RBI at the plate. OA sophomore Grace Simone was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Freshman Anna Balestino was 1-for-2 with an RBI while senior Colleen Larson scored the other run for OA.
Canton, 4 @ Stoughton, 7 – Final – Stoughton belted out 14 hits on its way its third win of the season, knocking off rival Canton, 7-4. Each player in the Black Knight recorded at least one hit with Karly Estremera leading the way with three. Jordan Lyons, Nikki Coppola and Lexi Baptista each had two hits for the Knights. Nicole Baker had another solid performance in the circle to earn the win. Canton’s Liz Bickett went 3-for-4 with a triple, a pair of singles, and two RBI for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 21 @ Milford, 5 – Final (5 inn.) – Riley Martignetti had three hits and drove in five runs and freshman Peyton Feldman had three hits and three RBI from the lead-off spot to power Foxboro to a big win on the road. Camryn Willis also had three hits for the Warriors, while Morgan Sylvestre went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Emma Rohan went the distance in the circle to get the win. Foxboro coach Mark Maguire called it a complete team performance, as Foxboro got contributions throughout the lineup and all nine starters recorded at least one hit. Milford sophomore Carly Ferreira went 2-for-2 with two RBI, two runs scored and two triples while junior Amanda Wenckus smacked a two-run home run for the Hawks.
Franklin, 11 @ Mansfield, 6 – Final – Mansfield scored three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to cut Franklin’s lead to just three runs (8-5) but the Panthers responded with three runs in the top of the seventh to secure the lead and a win on the road. Franklin jumped out to an 8-0 lead, with Gabby Colace (2-for-2, double, three runs, five RBI) putting the Panthers ahead with a two-run home run in the second inning. The Panthers added five runs in the second and one in the fourth for the 8-0 advantage. After Mansfield cut it to 8-5 through six innings, Franklin senior Jackie Cherry launched a three-run home run to give the Panthers breathing room. Ally Shea (double), Anna Balkus, Peyton Aronne (two RBI), and Maddy White (RBI, run) each had two hits for Franklin. Mansfield left runners on base in every inning but the fourth, including leaving the bases loaded in the first, third, and the seventh. Ella Verheggen went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI in the loss and the Hornets also got two hits apiece from Mary Muldoon and Sarah Cahill. Emma Roche came off the bench with her first hit of the year to start a sixth inning rally.
North Attleboro, 14 @ Sharon, 3 – Final – North Attleboro junior pitcher Bella Erti allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out 11 to help the Rocketeers pick up a win on the road. Annabelle Hebard paced North Attleboro’s offense by going 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI. Ashley Cangiano and Belle Clarkin each had three hits while Emily Nardelli (home run), Katy Daby, Erti, Alex Moulson and Emma Bailey each had two hits. North freshman Mandi Hanewich had a hit, stolen base, RBI, and a run scored. Julia Earley hit a two-run homer for the Eagles in the third inning.
Taunton @ King Philip – Postponed to Thursday, 4/11 at 3:45.
Canton, 7 @ Sharon, 8 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. 0 The Eagles took control of the game with a 4-0 run in the second half that turned a 5-3 halftime deficit into a 7-5 lead with eight minutes to play. Sharon made a defensive stand over the final minute to keep the Bulldogs out and hold on for the victory. Rowan Barnes had a goal and assist in the first quarter as Sharon jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Tommy Vaughan scored to cut the lead in half and then had a behind the back pass to David Allen for the tying goal early in the second. Vaughan then forced a turnover that led to a Chris Lavoie goal to put Canton in front 3-2, but Dan Lillenfeld responded immediately, catching the Bulldogs in transition, to tie it. In the final minute of the half, Griffin Roach and Matt Martin each scored to make it 5-3. Lillenfeld scored the lone goal of the third quarter to make it 5-4 and the Eagles tied it on a Drew Litner goal early in the fourth. Litner added his second to put Sharon ahead and Lillenfeld secured his hat trick with Sharon’s seventh. Roach got Canton back within one but Zack Waxman scored a man-up goal to double the lead. Vaughan got free for his second goal with two minutes left and Canton had possession in the final minute of the game but Adam Rabb made a big save and the Eagles held on.
Milford, 9 @ Attleboro, 8 – Final (OT) – Milford’s Josh Ligor scored the game-winner in overtime to deliver the Scarlet Hawks a dramatic win on the road. Ryan Hazard paced the Hawks’ offense with five goals and an assist while Brendan White scored twice and Mike Demko had one goal. Milford coach Jacob Scordato said Danny Farrell and Jack LeBlanc had great defensive performances in front of Evan Hazard (22 saves).
Franklin, 20 @ North Attleboro, 6 – Final – Franklin senior Jacob Alexander won 21-of-27 faceoffs, helping the Panthers control possession in a 20-6 win on the road at North Attleboro. Matt Lazzaro paced the Panther offense with five seven goals and four assists, Jake Davis added five goals, Ben Greco chipped in with two goals and two assists, and Alexander added a pair of goals and assists in the win.
Mansfield, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 11 – Final – Mansfield scored the first goal of the game but Oliver Ames rattled off seven straight to take a commanding lead at halftime and never surrendered that advantage. OA junior Shane Kilkelly scored three goals and assisted on four more while Colin Bourne had a strong game with four goals. Sam Stevens and Sandro Mascierelli each added a pair of goals while Nick Gillis made 13 saves in goal. Mike Reed scored twice and had an assist for the Hornets, Aidan Sacco scored once and had one helper, and Tom Norton and Brad Grant each scored once.
Foxboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to Thursday, 4/25 at 3:45.
Attleboro, 13 @ Milford, 14 – Final – Annie Flanagan scored five times and Emily Haley added four to lead the Hawks to a come from behind victory. Milford scored the game’s final four goals, including Flanagan’s winner with only 35 seconds remaining. Elena Bon Tempo and Riley Campbell each scored twice for the hosts, Sophia Bucal added one, and goalie Savanna Rosado made critical saves down the stretch to help the Hawks come out on top. Attleboro’s Kyra Lyons scored a game-high 10 goals while Rylee Fontes added two and Sydney DiLiddo added one for the Bombardiers.
Sharon, 8 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Rose Wald made nine saves in goal and the midfield collected 13-of-15 draw controls, including a team-high six by Bridget McManus, to help the Eagles hold off Canton in a big Davenport matchup. The Sharon attack clicked today, with five of the eight goals coming off assists. Emma Eberhardt was involved in all eight goals, scoring five and assisting on three others. Jenna Goldstein scored twice, Cass Barbera added one, and Mia Lappen had an assist for the Eagles. Kaitlyn Goyetch scored a hat trick for Canton in the loss.
Foxboro, 14 vs. Bishop Feehan, 6 – Final
North Attleboro, 3 @ Franklin, 19 – Final – Franklin notched its third win of the season with a big victory at home over visiting North Attleboro. Annie Walsh led the way with five goals and two assists while Kelsey MacCallum scored six goals with one helper. Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said Hailey Toolin had a strong day in the midfield and on defense with three draw controls.
Oliver Ames, 9 @ Mansfield, 15 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Mansfield pulled away in the second half to earn the Kelley-Rex division win. The Hornets led 7-5 at the half and just 9-8 early in the second half but closed the game on a 6-1 run to seal the victory. Katie Garvin scored seven times for Mansfield and Hayleigh Crawford added four. Katie McCarthy made three saves in the win and the Hornets got strong play on draw controls by Lauren Whitman. Maddie Kullen had a big game for the Tigers to keep the game close and head coach Nicole Lang rued OA’s inability to capitalize on the offensive opportunities it created.
King Philip, 19 @ Taunton, 7 – Final – Nine different players scored for the Warriors in a big road win. Caroline Klim led the way with five goals and Dana Truini added four for KP. Ali Wilson had two goals and Jessica Sullivan scored twice and assisted on a third, while Victoria Tormey and Jenna Hitchen each scored once. Three players scored their first varsity goals for the Warriors. Haley Izydorczak had her first two goals and an assist, Lily Brown scored her first goal and had an assist, and Julia Marsden opener her varsity account with a goal as well.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Attleboro, 5 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Canton freshman Suraj Ramanathan won his third match of the year at first singles, picking up a 6-0, 6-4 win to pace the Bulldogs to a win over Stoughton. Sophomore Minh Duong added a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles and the team of Tyler Duffy and Justin Luk were winners at second doubles won 6-1, 6-4 at second doubles for the Bulldogs. Stoughton freshman Anish Sinha won 3-6, 6-3, 12-10 at third singles while the team of Hassan Khan and LJ Ferrandiz secured a 6-0, 6-2 win at first doubles.
Milford, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Foxboro earned a pair of wins in both singles and doubles action to pick up a 4-1 victory over visiting Milford. Sophomore Jason Kandula won 7-5, 6-4 at second singles and freshman Bo Canfield earned a 6-1, 6-4 decision at third singles for the Warriors. The team of senior Brian Gardner and junior Sean McAvoy won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles while junior Noah Hicks and sophomore Justin Neale prevailed 6-1, 6-0 at second doubles. Milford’s Brendan O’Shaughnessy won 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 10-5 in a hard fought match at first singles.
Franklin, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery of this game. – Franklin swept doubles play and earned one more win in singles action to edge Mansfield at Memorial Park. Rohan Herur was the lone singles winner for the Panthers, earning a 6-0, 6-1 win at second singles. The team of senior Saketh Saripalli and freshman Vayshnav Malhotra won 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles and juniors Shoyaib Shaik and Shoumik Sompally prevailed 7-6 (3), 7-5 at second doubles. Mansfield’s Luke Nickerson won 7-5, 6-1 at first singles and Nilay Pangrekar scored a 6-0, 6-4 win at third singles.
North Attleboro, 1 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – North Attleboro sophomore Jonah Manso prevailed in a three-set match at first singles but Sharon picked up wins in the other two singles matches while sweeping doubles play. Junior Alberto Olivei won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles and freshman Rueman Bhattacharyya secured a 6-4, 6-1 victory at third singles. Sharon’s Max Brody and Max Chen earned a 6-3, 6-0 win at first doubles while Alex Aspel and Jake Ross prevailed 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in a tight match at second doubles. Manso won 7-6, 1-6, 6-1 at first singles for Big Red.
Taunton, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip won all five matches in straight sets to secure a sweep of visiting Taunton. Marco DiStefano won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles, Nick Putney earned a 6-3, 6-1 win at second singles, and Jack Cannon didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 decision at third singles. The team of Nate Ihley and Zak Ryan secured a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles and the team of Jake Mager and Tyler Dowd prevailed 7-5, 6-3 at second doubles.
Attleboro, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames swept singles play and added one more win from doubles action to pick up a victory over visiting Attleboro. Senior Sarah Leger battled back to win 4-7, 6-2, 11-9 at first singles, junior Maura Kiernan earned a 6-2, 6-4 win at second singles, and Kate McCormick picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Sarah Barron and Morgan Vasiliou won 6-2, 6-4 at second doubles for the Tigers. Attleboro’s Nicole Matheson and Lauren Anthony won 6-0, 6-3 at first doubles.
Canton, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Canton picked up a win on the road over Stoughton, winning all five matches in straight sets. Rachel Kupferman didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles, Natalie Keppler picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles, and Sarah Hernandez earned a 6-2, 6-1 win at third singles for the Bulldogs. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Jamie Cree won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles while Kiara Cerruti and Lily Hazam secured a 6-1, 6-3 victory at second doubles.
Foxboro, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Foxboro continued its unbeaten start to the season with a sweep on the road at Milford. Pam Nelson didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles, Sarah Prag prevailed 6-3, 6-4 at second singles, and Maggie McAuliffe earned a 7-5, 6-2 win at third singles for the Warriors. The team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta secured a 6-3, 6-4 decision at first doubles while Kethry Milne and Neha Jammula won 6-2, 6-1 at second doubles.
Mansfield, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final – Mansfield picked up its second win of the season with a sweep on the road at Franklin. Senior Lizzy Elsner didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles, freshman Kate Martin won 6-1, 7-5 at second singles, and sophomore Aryana Khosravani earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of senior Hannah Podolske and sophomore Alex Burnham won 6-1, 6-2 at first doubles while junior Tori Detch and sophomore Alex Wendland prevailed 7-5, 6-1 at second doubles.
Sharon, 5 @ North Attleboro, 0 – Final – Sharon’s three singles players had a terrific showing, all winning in straight sets without dropping a game in a win at North Attleboro. Senior Nupur Shukla, freshman Valeria Barajas, and junior Makaila Cheung each won 6-0, 6-0 at first, second, and third singles, respectively. The team of Sophia Fein and Sachi Basin earned a 6-0, 6-3 win at first doubles and the team of Lauren Glass and Anjali Jha won 6-4, 6-0 at second doubles.
King Philip, 4 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – King Philip won two matches in both singles and doubles action to secure a victory on the road at Taunton. Junior Erin Regnier won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles while sophomore Katarina Schneider picked up a 6-1, 6-1 decision at second singles for KP. The team of Grace Ely and Katie Welch, both juniors, won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles while sophomores Laura Davenport and Meghan Powers prevailed 7-5, 6-2 at second doubles. Taunton sophomore Jocelyn Pagliuca battled back to win 3-6, 6-4, 10-4 at third singles.
Canton, 7 vs. Attleboro, 6 – Final (8 inn.) – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Attleboro scored twice in the top half of the seventh inning to take the lead but Canton tied it in the bottom half to force extra innings then walked off with the win in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Konzal (2-for-4, run) drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a single from Steve Burbank (2-for-4, run, RBI), and then scored the game-winning run on a hit from Matt Pigeon (3-for-4, two runs, two RBI) for the winning run.
Pigeon was the catalyst for the tying run in the bottom as the seventh as well. Trailing 6-5, Pigeon led off with a double, advanced to third on a fly out from Matt Connolly (double, RBI), and scored the tying run on a two-out double from Rob Sullivan (2-for-3, two RBI).
Each team scored in the first inning but Attleboro seized a 4-1 advantage with a run in the second and two more in the third. Troy Gamache drove in Tim Callahan (3-for-4, two runs) to put Attleboro up 1-0 but Canton responded in the bottom half as Pigeon brought Nate Quan (2-for-4, two runs) home with a sacrifice fly. Attleboro’s Bailey Camacho put the Bombardiers back in front, 2-1, with a sacrifice fly that plated Sam Larkin (double, two runs) in the second inning.
Attleboro extended the advantage to 4-1 when Alvaro Espinal tripled and scored on a wild pitch, and Larkin doubled and came home on an error by the Bulldogs. Canton scored once in the fourth (Rob Sullivan RBI double) to make it a two-run game before putting three on the scoreboard in the fifth to take the lead. Quan, Konzal, and Burbank each singled, the last hit bringing Quan to the plate for a run but Larkin gunned down a potential second run on the play. Canton’s offense continued to battle though, with Pigeon singling to put runners on the corners. A double from Connolly tied the game at 4-4, and an RBI single from Paul Corcoran put Canton up 5-4.
In the top of the seventh, Mason Houle (2-for-4, run, RBI) drove in Callahan with a base hit and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
Senior Kevin McGonigle earned the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out one.
Franklin, 5 vs. Milford, 4 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Franklin trailed 4-1 heading into the fifth inning but scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the top of the seventh to pull out a come from behind victory over neighboring Milford at the Taunton High turf. Alex Haba drove in a pair of runs, including the game-tying run, and scored the eventual game-winner in the seventh, coming home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of JB Floris.
Milford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Nick Marcolini started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, moved into scoring position on a Matt Shaver single. Colby Pires, who also started for the Hawks and struck out four in 4-1/3 innings, plated the opening run with a single to left. Franklin tied the game in the top of the fourth. Haba walked, stole second, and scored on a single to right by Cooper Ross. The Hawks responded in the bottom half with three runs off the Panthers starter Liam Dailey. Danny Corsini started the rally with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Nick Wimette single. Carter Scudo doubled to left to put two in scoring position. Luke Rosa looped a basehit to right to score one and then, after a pitching change, a balk brought in the fourth run.
In the fifth, the Panthers struck for two. Joe Lizotte walked and Jack Nally got hit by a pitch. Scott Elliott loaded the bases with an infield single. A Haba sac fly made it 4-2 and Jake Macchi singled in another to make it 4-3. In the seventh, Elliott walked and stole second before coming around on a Haba single to center to tie the game. With Haba at third, Floris hit a fly ball to left that was deep enough to get in the winning run. Jake Fitzgibbons closed out the game, earning the win with four innings of scoreless relief.
Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 11 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Stoughton scored in each of the first four innings, jumping out to an 11-3 lead and never looking back to get a win over Oliver Ames. Cian Swierzewski, James Genest, and Mike Nazzaro each scored in the first inning to help the Black Knights jump ahead.
After Oliver Ames got on the board in the top of the second (Jake Erlich leadoff double, scored on infield single from Jared Spillane), the Black Knights cashed in on a pair of OA errors and walks to make it 4-1. Chris Pearsons (4-for-4, two RBI, two runs) had an RBI triple and scored on an error in the top of the third to make it a one run game at 4-3, but Stoughton tacked on three runs in the bottom half to regain a multi-run lead.
Three walks loaded the bases for the Knights in the bottom of the third. Stoughton scored on a passed ball, a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Cam Dirosa to make it 7-3. Stoughton pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jacob Kaplan walked, stole second, and came home to score on an infield error that was put in play by Clayton Rahaman. An RBI double from sophomore Brady Conlin made it 9-3. Swerziewski then connected on the first home run of the season for any Hock player, and first high school player to hit a home run at the new Taunton field, with a two-run blast to make it 11-3. Oliver Ames scored single runs in the fifth (Jacob Levine RBI double) and the seventh inning (Pearsons RBI double).
2018 Record: 9-11 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Steve Dunlea
After missing out on the playoffs by just one game last season, the Bombardiers are hoping to their experience will help them reach the state tournament this year.
Attleboro has experience in its pitching staff, behind the plate, and both in the infield as well the outfield. The Bombardiers pitching was a strength last season and should be again this year. Eoin Kelleher, the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, returns for his senior season and will be the anchor on the staff. Junior Ryan Morry impressed during his outings last season and lefty Camden Fitzpatrick will be in the mix as well.
The Bombardiers will be very strong on the left side of the infield. Senior captain Mason Houle will man third base while junior Tim Callahan, a starter last season, takes over at shortstop. Junior Lorenzo Wilson is slated to take the job at first base while Morry and junior Nick McMahon will split time at second base. While it’s a strong group defensively, all four will be relied upon to step up offensively. Attleboro had just 80 runs total last year, least in the Kelley-Rex division.
Another big part of the offense will be center fielder Alvaro Espinal. Espinal is arguably the best fielding outfielder in the league and will also bring a spark to the Bombardiers lineup at the plate. Senior captain Robbie Furtado will fill in at left field while Sam Larkin and Troy Gamache will both see time in right as well as designated hitter. Behind the plate, Troy Van Vliet gives the Bombardiers some experience while sophomore Bailey Camacho gives first-year head coach Steve Dunlea some flexibility at the position.
“The strength of this team is its senior class leadership and team chemistry,” Dunlea said. “We really have a well-balanced team that is strong in all phases of the game. It’s going to be a fun group to watch this year.”
2018 Record: 5-15 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Ben Shuffain
A strong core of returning players along with some young talent should make for a fun season for the Bulldogs in 2019.
After losing a few key pieces from 2018, there is a good mix of experienced players and talented youth for first-year head coach Ben Shuffain to work with. The Bulldogs will look to three senior captains to the lead the way: Matt Pigeon, Paul Corcoran and Robert Sullivan. Pigeon is a three-year starter behind the plate who batted .368 last season. Corcoran and Sullivan will anchor a deep pitching staff that has looked solid in the preseason.
The pitching staff will also include seniors Kevin McGonigle, Nick Murray, and Joe Bates. Along with them Shuffain will also lean on junior Chris Rota and sophomores Nate Hewitt and Matt Connolly on the mound.
The infield has a double play duo that has shown to work well together featuring senior Mike Konzal and returning second baseman Nathan Quan. Offensively Canton will look to senior Max Macort along with juniors Owen Lahane and Lucas Bryant, and sophomore Steven Burbank.
“We have been very fortunate to have a lot of work outside so far this spring and I think it is going to help us start off on a positive,” Shuffain said. “The team is coming together and we have a great group of kids who really want to turn this program around.”
2018 Record: 5-16 2018 Finish: Reached D3 South First Round Coach: Derek Suess
Foxboro graduated 10 seniors from last year’s squad but there are 12 Warriors returning with varsity experience looking to make another trip to the state tournament.
The Warriors will be relying on their pitching staff this year to lead the way. There is a lot of optimism surrounding the rotation with senior Anthony Mollica and sophomore Sean Yoest each possessing plenty of varsity experience. Those two will be the top guys in the rotation while sophomore Cam Prescott has impressed during the preseason and could fit into the third starting spot. Seniors Guy Quartarone, Brian Duncan, and Philip Thomas as well as juniors Michael Devlin and Joe Cavaleri will be in the mix as well.
When he isn’t on the mound, Mollica will be the anchor of the defense from the shortstop position. He will be joined by sophomore Michael O’Toole at first base, Cavaleri will man third, and Thomas will take over at second base. Senior Adam Lanctot will also see time at second base this season for the Warriors.
In the outfield, Duncan — a senior captain that missed all of last season — will be the anchor, with Devlin handling center field duties and junior James Kaeser rounding out the Warrior outfield. Junior Zach Jenkins will also be in the mix for time in the outfield while junior Kyle McGinnis takes over behind the plate and will be relied upon as a key piece of Foxboro’s offense.
“Mentally, we have to have the same focus, energy, and intensity every single game,” said Foxboro coach Derek Suess. “There are no easy games in the Hockomock League. We must be consistent in our everyday approach in order to have a chance to compete for a league title.”
2018 Record: 21-5 2018 Finish: Division 1A (Super 8) State Champions Coach: Zach Brown
Coming off the program’s first-ever Super 8 state championship, Franklin is going to have a big target on its back — and the Panthers know it.
Franklin lost its top three pitchers in Jake Noviello, Bryan Woelfel, and Jason Ulrickson. Those were the only three pitchers to play during the Panthers’ Super 8 run. This season, the Panthers will turn to the experience of Ben Guzman, Brennan Rivera, and Will Pacheco. All three made appearances a year ago with Guzman and Pacheco registering wins. Guzman is currently recovering from an injury suffered in the preseason but the Panthers are excited for his contributions when he returns. Juniors Liam Dailey and Cody Trotin will also be in the mix after starting for JV last season.
While the pitching staff gets settled in, the Panthers will rely on its defense and offense. After an up-and-down regular season last year offensively, Franklin will be trying to carry over the success it had in the state tournament. Senior Alex Haba is back at shortstop and is one of the best two-way players in the Hockomock. Jake Macchi had a terrific postseason and will be looking to carry that over into his final year starting at catcher for Franklin. Scott Elliott will be the veteran in the outfield for the Panthers as well as a top offensive weapon. All three players — Haba, Macchi, and Elliott — are committed to playing baseball at Merrimack.
Cooper Ross is coming off a strong postseason and will start at third base while junior Jack Nally had a standout sophomore campaign in center field and will move up to the top of the order to set the table for the Panther offense. JB Floris will move from the designated hitter spot to first base and brings an experienced bat with him. Senior Joe Lizotte should see time in the outfield while senior Shane O’Neil’s versatility gives Franklin a lot of options defensively.
“We know this isn’t last year, this is a totally different team with different dynamics,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “We like the makeup of our team, with guys working hard and the seniors being good leaders. I think we could be pretty good defensively, and we’ve shown at times in the preseason to be pretty versatile on offense.”
King Philip is returning a lot of experienced players from last year’s squad and is hoping that will turn into an improved season and berth in the state tournament.
One big reason for optimism is a seasoned pitching staff, which features seniors David Morganelli and Terry Murray. Morganelli posted a 1.99 ERA last season along with 43 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched. Murray will be the second starter for the Warriors while juniors Chris Sawyer and Robbie Jarest are expected to factor into the rotation as the season progresses.
“David’s size, strength, and velocity make him a formidable pitcher,” said KP’s second-year head coach Greg Kessler. “His slider and ability to locate his fastball are one of the best in the league. David has an opportunity to be one of the best pitchers in the Hock. He is competitive and has improved a lot in terms of accuracy.”
Sawyer and Jarest will handle the left side of the infield again this year, with Jarest returning as the starting shortstop and Sawyer back manning third base. Both players will be key pieces at the top of KP’s batting order. Senior Ian Zimmerman returns at second base while senior Jake Anderson and sophomore Conor Cooke will both see time behind the plate.
Timmy Nault (.311 last year) will lead the way in the outfield while Zachary Zarba will figure in as well. There is a lot of competition for some open spots in the KP lineup as well.
“We have a lot of work to do this season, we need to improve on our hitting and driving the ball,” Kessler said. “We have a great group of seniors who are dedicated and excited to compete for a Hock Title. This senior group is a collection of great student-athletes and really represent KP well. They are leaders on and off the field”
2018 Record: 19-5 2018 Finish: Super 8 First Round Coach: Joe Breen
Mansfield had a very successful 2018 season that saw the Hornets win the Kelley-Rex division and earned a berth into the Super 8 tournament. But the Hornets enter the 2019 campaign hungrier than ever.
After seeing an early exit from the Super 8, Mansfield is aiming to get back and make some noise in the tournament this year. There will certainly be holes to fill after graduating two top pitchers in Tyler Dalton and Kevin Dow, as well as the steady bat of Justin Pena and the terrific defense of catcher Cullin Anastasia. However, there are 11 players due back from last year’s team and a handful of new faces ready to make an impact of their own.
Junior John Carney and senior Kevin Moran will anchor the rotation; the Hornets unfortunately lost ace Connor Sheehan for the season to an injury. Both Carney and Moran have experience though, and Mansfield is looking to seniors Jake Gerraughty, Matt Scibilia, Aidan Angland, Connor Smith, and sophomore Greg Coyle to fill the relief and spot start roles.
Mansfield brings back two of its three outfielders from last year with centerfielder Sam Nugent and right field Dan Saraceno both returning. Speedy shortstop Mike Hargadon is also back so the Hornets have three key pieces from the top half of the lineup back to pace the offense this year. Look for Eric Longley, Jenkins, Smith, Gerraughty, and Scibilia to also factor into to the Hornet lineup this year.
“It’s been a wild offseason here between losing some of our top guys and coming down with the injury bug but we have a great group of self-motivated returning players that we will look to keep our program going in the right direction,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “There are a lot of positional battles and innings on the mound to be sorted out, but the staff is excited to see the boys compete over the first couple weeks of the pre-season to get ourselves ready for [the first game]. While we had some great success last season, the boys know that we are 0-0 and they are ready to carve their own path.”
2018 Record: 5-15 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Alex Dion
After having a relatively young, inexperienced group in 2018, the Scarlet Hawks have flipped the script, bringing back six starters and eight total players and will be looking to ride that experience to an improved 2019 campaign.
Half of the returning starters are the three starting pitchers from last year, including senior Danny Corsini and juniors Colby Pires and Luke Rosa. Despite a 1-3 record last year, Rosa had a solid 2.97 ERA in 30.2 innings of work with 19 strikeouts. Corsini logged over 35 innings while Pires had over 24, so there is plenty of experience in the Hawk’s rotation.
Senior captain Matt Shaver returns to his shortstop position and will anchor the infield. Corsini and Pires will both see time at third base when they aren’t pitching, Justin Applebee is back for another season at second base, and Tyler Almeida continues his duties as the starting catcher for the Hawks. Senior captain Nick Marcolini gives the Hawks a left-handed option on the mound. Sophomores Carter Scudo (outfield) and Mario Lee (first, pitcher) will also factor in this year.
“I’m looking forward to the 2019 baseball season and am excited about the players that are on our team,” said Milford head coach Alex Dion. “This is a tough league with a lot of good teams and good coaches. I think we have an opportunity to be very competitive this year. I will lead on our returning seniors and captains to push this team in the right direction and I am excited about the young players we have in our program.”
2018 Record: 22-2 2018 Finish: Division 2 State Champions Coach: Mike Hart
North Attleboro is looking to replicate its success from last season, the best year in program history that resulted in the D2 State Championship. And with a solid group of returning players, there is optimism but the Rocketeers know it certainly won’t come easy.
“We are a team with a decent amount of returning players, but we will need everybody contributing to be successful,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “We are looking for guys to be more consistent, especially on the offensive side of the game.”
The Rocketeers have three returning starters in the infield, so that will certainly be relied upon as the season gets underway. Senior Nick Raneri started at third last season but will move over to first this year while seniors Shawn Watters and Ryan Warren will take care of business up the middle. Hart says there is a lot of competition for the final spot in the infield with a handful of players possibly seeing time. Brendan McHugh returns as the starting left fielder while Kyle Bolger, Russell Dunlap, and Kyle Briere are all in the mix.
Behind the plate, senior Todd Robinson and junior Owen Harding are battling for the starting spot.
While the Rocketeers look to get the offense going, they will rely on their pitching staff early on. Matt Wanless had a very strong junior year and will be counted on heavily this season while seniors Matt Seavey, Jake Palmer, Jake Carroll, as well as Dunlap and Briere, should be in the mix for innings. Sophomore Dennis Colleran will see an increased role this season and could emerge as a top option for the Big Red.
“We will rely heavily on our pitching staff to lead us, and with smart, mistake-free defense, we will be able to win some games,” Hart said. “I really like the competitiveness our team brings every day. If we can learn from our failures and grind through the tough parts of the season that are sure to come, I believe we can win some ball games.”
2018 Record: 16-8 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Final Coach: Joe Abarr
Oliver Ames is coming off one of its most successful seasons, reaching the D2 South Final last year. The Tigers graduated some key pieces but there is a lot of players back that gives OA hopes at replicating last year’s success.
Senior Chris Pearsons will be a leader on and off the field for the Tigers, moving over from third base to take over the starting shortstop spot. Pearsons is one of the top players in the league, earning HockomockSports.com First Team honors last year after belting out 30 hits for an impressive .448 average. Not only is he a dangerous offensive player, he’s one of the top defensive players in the league as well.
Another key returner for the Tigers is catcher Jake Erlich, who will begin his third year starting behind the plate. Erlich is one of the top defensive catchers in the region and OA is looking for him to have a breakout season at the plate. Junior Jacob Levine showed flashes last season with some timely hits as a pinch hitter. This year, Levine takes over at first and the Tigers will be looking for him to bring a consistent bat to the lineup.
Reid Latham, who went 2-1 last season with a 2.85 ERA, focused heavily on pitching this offseason and will take over as the top starter in the Tigers’ rotation.
“We have an established lineup of varsity hitters with a handful of underclassmen that will be filling in gaps for us,” said Oliver Ames coach Joe Abarr. “Our pitching rotation should be solid as long as everyone stays healthy. Last year, the Hock proved to be one of the best leagues in the state. We need to show up and compete every day if we want to be successful.”
After a couple of seasons of being on the outside looking in, the 2019 Sharon Eagles are looking to make strides towards a state tournament berth.
Although it will be a relatively young group, there is strong senior leadership. Head coach Kee Arguimbau is hoping that a nice mix of veterans and new faces will result in a successful season.
Tarlin was also the ace of the staff for the past couple of seasons but senior Noah Kamens should be ready to step into the top spot after some real strong outings last year. A lefty, Kamens does a nice job mixing up his pitches and will be a key part of Sharon’s defense. Kamens will be complemented by 6’6 righty Max LeBlanc, who burst onto the scene a year and had some impressive outings. Jared Reef returns behind the dish and the Eagles are looking for him to have a breakout year offensively.
Junior Alec Filipkowski is moving in from the outfield to second base while sophomore Justin Brown returns to shortstop after picking up valuable experience last season as a freshman. Noah Martinez, who recently returned to Sharon after living in Florida, could be a key piece of the offense while playing the hot corner defensively.
Seniors Dairell Martinez and Matty Jacobsen will be doing their part for the Eagles in the outfield while = senior Ben Reinbold looks to have an impact for Sharon on the mound.
“This year’s team is young. Luckily, what we lack in experience, we make up for in solid leadership,” Arguimbau said. “The seniors have done a phenomenal job in establishing the culture for the team this season. The young guys in the program have followed their lead and have been working hard in the offseason and are ready to continue to put the work in every day.
2018 Record: 10-9 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: Mike Armour
Stoughton had a solid season a year ago, but an early exit from the state tournament has left the Black Knights hungry for more in 2019.
It starts with the two co-captains for the Black Knights: senior Zak Paquette and senior Robert Seaman. Paquette emerged as Stoughton’s top option on the mound last season and will be counted on to take on a lot of innings again this season. Paquette isn’t the most flashy pitcher but he helps put Stoughton in position to win games. Seaman will start at shortstop and the Black Knights are looking to him for a big bat in the middle of the lineup.
Last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year George Currier is looking to pick up where he left off last season, giving the Black Knights flexibility with his ability to play anywhere on the field defensively. Seniors Cian Swierzewski, Kevin Dixon, and Kyle Gagnon are all experienced outfielders, James Genest III gives Stoughton a nice presence at the plate offensively, and Mike Nazzaro will handle catching duties.
Newcomers Clayton Rahaman and Jacob Kaplan should log some innings in the outfield, along with Cam Dirosa in the infield and Brady Conlin in the infield and on the mound. Senior pitcher Evan Jackman has impressed so far this preseason and will be a key piece of Stoughton’s starting rotation.
“The goal this season will be to compete every time we set foot on the field, playing sound fundamental baseball and doing the little things to put us in a position to win some ballgames,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “The boys have been working hard and I expect us to have some fun this year and play the game the right way.”
2018 Record: 1 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Blair Bourque
There is a lot of excitement in Taunton with its new turf field, but the Tigers are hoping it’s their performance on that field that will have people talking by the end of the year.
It all starts with pitching for Taunton this year. With two DI commits in Jack Moynihan (Siena) and Josh Lajoie (St. John’s), the Tigers will certainly be boasting one of the top pitching groups for another season. Moynihan posted a 1.44 ERA with 43 strikeouts while Lajoie fanned 36 batters and had a 1.52 ERA.
Both Moynihan and Lajoie provide a lot of offense as well, but the Tigers will need others to step up to fill some voids from graduation. Tyler Medeiros (.375) and Trevor Pietrzyk (.373) both graduated some Taunton’s offense so head coach Blair Bourque will be looking for some new faces to step up.
The Tigers will be looking to senior Evan Melo to give the offense a spark. Melo will patrol center field and set the table to the offensively from the leadoff spot. Junior Logan Lawrence impressed last year batting .336; Taunton will need his bat to provide pop in the middle of the lineup in 2019.
“We’re certainly excited about having the opportunity to showcase our new turf field,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “It’s really a dream come true. There’s something special about this year’s team, the senior leadership and camaraderie are substantial.”