King Philip Softball Crowned Division 1 State Champs

King Philip softball
King Philip softball poses with the D1 State Championship after beating Doherty. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Division 1 State Championship game was certainly far from over when King Philip took a 1-0 lead over Doherty the top of the first inning. But with Kali Magane in the circle and the way that she’s been pitching in the postseason, it sure felt like more than just a one run cushion.

The confidence level grew after the Warriors tacked on another run in the top of the third and then peaked when Jenn Hutnyan launched a three-run home run in the fifth inning.

Magane did the rest, tossing a one-hit shutout with 13 strike outs, fanning the side in order in the bottom of the seventh, punctuating King Philip’s 5-0 win to claim the Division 1 State Championship.
It marks the third D1 State Title in the past seven years for the Warriors.

“We’ve been trying for four years so it’s good to finally get it the last one,” beamed Magane, a senior. “It always feels good when it’s a strikeout, nice to end it like that. We hadn’t faced [Doherty] before so I had to see what they were hitting. In the past, I had been focusing on jamming hitters and keeping them off balanced. But they ended up chasing it high more so that’s what I went with. As the game went on, I just kept adjusting to what they were hitting.”

Senior Christa Wagner started the game with a leadoff single and quickly took second with her first of three stolen bases of the game. Hailey McCasland advanced Wagner with a ground out and Elise Pereira’s contact was deep enough to center to score the run on a sacrifice fly.

Wagner reached on a fielder’s choice in the third and promptly swiped second and third, just beating the throw to third. Doherty pitcher Peyton Sylverster saw her pitch elude catcher Emma Brennan and Wagner took advantage, sprinting in to make it 2-0.

“We don’t like to say [the 2-0 lead is safe] but I’m breathing pretty good,” King Philip coach Norm Beauchemin said. “There’s a reason why that [Doherty] is here…but [Kali] is an equalizer.”

Magane was dominant from start to finish. Doherty’s lone hit was a leadoff single in the top of the second inning and a runner reached on an error in the fifth but neither advanced past second base. Magane retired the side in order in the first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings and recorded a strikeout in every inning.

“She’s a tremendously smart pitcher. She knew where their weaknesses were and she attacked it,” Beauchemin said.

The Warriors put the proverbial nail in the coffin in the top of the fifth inning. McCasland singled and Pereira drew a two-out walk to put two on. Hutnyan, who had made contact in her first two at-bats but was without a hit, fell behind Sylvester 0-2. But that did’t stop the junior from connecting on the next pitch, smacking a bomb over the left center field fence and putting KP up 5-0.

“She had a two strike lead and I was nervous but I was looking for a pitch to hit,” Hutnyan said. “I wasn’t trying to swing for the fences or anything but it just went off my bat the right way. I could feel it when it came off my bat, it felt good. It gave us a cushion but we still had to play like it was a 0-0 game.”

Magane was at her best following the home run. After the error to start the fifth, Magane fanned three straight. She induced an infield pop up and grounder to third before getting his 10th strikeout to end the sixth. She finished off the season with three straight swinging strikeouts to earn the championship.

“They’re a very relaxed team, they all enjoy each other and have each other’s backs,” Beauchemin said. “They have a lot of confidence and they play a lot of softball. They were able to build up the confidence and they knew if they could play their game today, they’d be tough to beat.”
The Warriors totaled nine hits with Wagner, McCasland and Gorman each having two and Caeli Bench, Brooke Taute and Hutnyan each adding one.

King Philip softball finishes the season with a 24-4 record, and were quick to credit their schedule as a reason they were ready to play today. Over the past 10 years, teams that now reside in the Hockomock League have won the D1 State title six times. Taunton won in 2007 before joining the league, Milford won back-to-back in 2012 and 2013, the latter their first year in the Hock and King Philip won in 2011, 2012 and now 2016. The Warriors also loaded their non-league schedule up, including Bishop Feehan and Newton North.

“I think our schedule paid off, absolutely,” Beauchemin said. “There weren’t that many easy games, so if you don’t have any easy ones, you have to fight for it. When you get into these situations, you have a lot of confidence. We were tested a lot this year, and these girls responded very well.”
“I think our schedule helped prepare us a lot for this game,” Hutnyan said. “We’ve seen pitching exactly like that before, a lot of teams haven’t so that helped us. And I don’t think a lot of teams have seen pitching like Kali, she’s an awesome pitcher, she really is.”

Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

King Philip Softball Claims D1 South Sectional Title

King Philip softball
King Philip seniors Christa Wagner (left) and Kali Magane celebrate with the D1 South Sectional trophy. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
TAUNTON, Mass. – Top-seeded Silver Lake entered Sunday’s D1 South Sectional Final allowing less than a run per game on average and had just one run against in three playoff wins so far.

That certainly didn’t phase the seventh seeded King Philip Warriors.

KP scored a pair of runs in the first inning, added two more in the fourth and tacked on one more in the fifth to get a 5-2 win over the Lakers and the team’s first sectional title since 2011.

“It takes the pressure off us,” King Philip head coach Norm Beauchemin said of the first inning runs. “It gives the opportunity to make a mistake but fortunately we didn’t make mistakes. Altogether, it’s a different game with a two run lead.”

The Lakers, who had been unbeaten at 23-0 (25-0 if you include exclusion games) coming into the game, had only allowed more than one run in three games this season and allowed more than two runs just once, a 5-4 win in April.

Sophomore Elise Pereira got things going in the first inning after Lakers pitcher retired the first two Warrior batters with swinging strikeouts. Pereira’s grounder rolled along the first bast line, was bobbled by the Lakers catcher and the throw was off the mark. Junior Jenn Hutnyan followed with a single through the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second.

Senior Caeli Bench came in clutch with a single to score Pereira from second for a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Brooke Taute followed suit with a slow roller down the third base line for an infield single RBI to make it 2-0. Kali Magane’s single loaded the bases for KP but Silver Lake pitcher Maddy Barone was able to induce a pop fly to right.

Despite leaving the bases loaded, the damage was done for KP.

“We wanted to get [Barone] early because she moves the ball a lot and we wanted to get ahead first because they’re a very good team,” freshman Meghan Gorman, who had a pair of RBI, said. “It gives us a lot of confidence [to get the lead] because we have Kali, she shuts everyone down, she’s great.”

While Barone retired KP in order in both the second and third, Magane worked around a one out double in the bottom of the first and retired the side in order in the second. Silver Lake was able to draw within one in the bottom of the third. Madeline Critch led off with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt. Critch then used a pair of wild pitches to get to third and then home to cut the lead in half.

But KP was quick to answer, stretching the lead to three by plating a pair of runs in the top of the fourth.

Taute started the top of the fourth with a double and moved to third when Magane lined a single down the left field line. Barone got a ground out by Gorman came through with her first RBI hit of the day, this one a double into left center to bring Taute and move courtesy runner Jessica Bonner over to third. Senior Christa Wagner drove a pitch to center, deep enough for a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.

“The kids are all good hitters, they make good adjustments, one through nine, Beauchemin said. “Anyone that thinks the bottom of our order is easy, they haven’t seen us play. Seven through nine is just as strong as one through three. Our number nine hitter [Gorman] is probably one of our best hitters but she’s also fast.”

After retiring the side in order in the fourth, Magane allowed a lead off walk in the bottom of the fifth but responded with back to back strikeouts and then got a ground ball to third for the third out.

“They made Kali work, they fouled off a lot of pitches,” Beauchemin said. “But Kali is as tough as a pitcher can be. She doesn’t get the accolades, I don’t know why. I’d put her over any other pitcher in the state in a game. It’s like Tom Brady, he doesn’t get the recognition but when push comes to shove, who are you putting out there? I’m putting Kali Magane out there every time.”

That gave KP enough momentum to tack on another run in the top of the sixth. Taute was the catalyst once again, this time leading off with a walk. Magane grounded out to the shortstop but Taute advanced to second. Gorman connected with her second RBI hit of the day, this one into the outfield deep enough to bring Taute home to make it 5-1.

“We didn’t hit [Barone] as hard this year but we got some scratch hits but they all add up,” Beauchemin added. “We’re comfortable against her because we hit her last year. Obviously, it was late in the game and we hadn’t scored any runs we would be concerned. But coming out with two runs kind of made us feel like we could hit her all day, which wasn’t going to happen.”

Silver Lake turned a lead off single into a run in the bottom of the sixth but Magane induced two fly balls in foul territory, caught by Pereira at first, and a grounder to Ashley Hession at short to finish the inning.

“King Philip was very aggressive at the plate,” Silver Lake coach Tony Pina said. “They were jumping on the first pitch in just about every at bat, making her throw a lot of pitches. Hats off to King Philip for taking the right approach offensively and putting a lot of pressure on our defense. [Magane] was doing a nice job of hitting her spots. She was hitting that low outside corner really effectively. At some point we needed to do a better job attacking that pitch and we didn’t.”

It was business as usual in the final inning for Magane, getting a line out to Hutynan at third, who made a nice grab, a swinging strikeout — her seventh of the game — and then got a grounder to short for the sectional final winning clinching out.

“It’s been five years since the team has won the South sectional, so this is a big win,” Beauchemin said.

“[Silver Lake] is a good team, but there are other good teams and whoever plays the best that day is going to win. Taunton is a very good team, Bishop Feehan had [Silver Lake] for six innings. There’s no cake walks in this tournament. This is probably the toughest tournament that anyone can play in.”

King Philip (22-4) advances to the Division 1 State Semifinal to play the North champion, Lexington. Lexington (20-4) defeated Newton North 2-1 in eight innings in the North sectional final. KP and Lexington will play for a spot in the state finals on Tuesday, at Martin Field in Lowell at 7:00.

Ryan Lanigan can be contacted at RyanLanigan@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @R_Lanigan.

Hession Blasts KP Past Taunton in South Quarterfinal

King Philip softball
Ashley Hession hit a three-run homer to provide the winning runs for a KP in a 3-0 victory at Taunton in the D1 South quarterfinal. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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TAUNTON, Mass. – Taunton won both meetings with King Philip during the regular season (by the same 2-0 score line) and ended the Warriors’ nine-year run as Hockomock League champions.

The Tigers held bragging rights on their division rivals…right up until Monday night.

The third time proved to be the charm for the Warriors. Kali Magane struck out 11 and allowed only three hits and fellow senior Ashley Hession blasted a three-run homer in the second inning to lift KP to a 3-0 victory in the Div. 1 South quarterfinal at Jack Tripp Field.

“Oh gosh. We wanted to leave everything on the field,” said Hession about how the Warriors felt coming into Monday’s game. “I got up there and I just…we had to do it for the team, you couldn’t think about yourself, and we did.”

The defining inning began with a leadoff walk by Brooke Taute and a single by Caeli Bench that put two on with no outs.

Taunton pitcher Aimee Kistner got a line out to left and another line drive right back to the circle to give her a chance of escaping the jam, but her two-strike rise ball to Hession caught too much of the plate and the St. Joseph’s commit deposited the pitch over the left field fence.

“She caught a rise ball that possibly didn’t rise as much as we had hoped,” said Taunton coach Dave Lewry, “and got it up around the letters and hit the ball out and that’s the ball game.”

Hession admitted that she had no idea that it was going to be a homer when it left her bat. She said, “I didn’t realize it was gone, I really didn’t. Not until I hit second base and then I knew. It was amazing.”

Magane dominated the Tigers from start to finish and made sure that Hession’s one swing was enough to earn the win. She struck out the side in the top of the first and struck out two hitters in an inning twice.

The Tigers got a two out walk in the second, but did not get their first hit until the fourth on a single by Meghan Navarro, which followed Kistner’s walk and was the only time that Taunton had more than one base runner in an inning. Magane stuck out Kya Enos and got Sarah Bagge on a soft liner over second that Hession chased down to end the threat.

“She beat us tonight. There’s no doubt about it,” said Lewry. “We didn’t even hit her well in the two games we won; we just got enough bats on the ball to score a couple of runs.

“In three games we probably squared four balls up. She’s good…the kid can pitch.”

KP coach Norm Beauchemin added, “Dominant, dominant. She’s getting more and more determined. Mentally stronger, but not physically stronger; I think she’s reached her peak.”

Taunton also got a hit from Katie Van Zandt with one out in the fifth, but the inning ended when Liana Duarte grounded to second baseman Meghan Gorman who turned a 4-3 double play. That was the last Tigers base runner, as Magane retired the final seven hitters.

“The first game they only had two hits,” said Beauchemin. “They may have had three hits today, so actually they may have hit her better today than the first game but we didn’t make any errors…and we scored runs.”

Kistner had a rough start to the game but seemed to get stronger as the innings wore on and turned it into another pitcher’s duel. She limited the Warriors to just two hits after the second inning (a single in the fifth and one in the seventh) and finished with three strikeouts, including back-to-back K’s to end the sixth.

“Aimee battled like she does every single game,” said Lewry. “She had trouble with a couple of pitches early on, couldn’t get things to work, but she just finds a way to battle through things.”

Lewry added that he is going to miss the influence of seniors Jordan Wade, Navarro, and Kistner, who have played at least four years on varsity and won a pair of league titles.

He said, “I said to the other kids coming back next year, let’s remember what they established. Lets remember the teamwork they emphasized. Lets remember the hard work they were willing to put in every single day. We’ve got to keep that same level of spirit.”

Beauchemin was basking in the moment after beating the Tigers. He said, “It was nice to see the seniors come through…If we don’t win another game, this one’s sweet, but I think we’re going on.”

When asked if he felt comfortable potentially playing the next two games at Jack Tripp Field, he replied with a smile, “We’re very comfortable here. We’ve played a lot of games here and had a lot of success in the past.”

King Philip (20-4) will face the winner of Hopkinton/Walpole on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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

Magane Shuts Out Norwood, KP Advances to Quarters

King Philip softball
KP advances to the Div. 1 South quarterfinal after a 10-strikeout shutout from senior pitcher Kali Magane. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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PLAINVILLE, Mass. – King Philip seems to have Norwood’s number in the state tournament.

Behind a stellar performance from senior pitcher Kali Magane, 10 strikeouts and just three hits allowed, the Warriors beat Norwood 5-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Plainville Athletic League complex. It is the third time in four years that KP has ended the Mustangs’ season.

Magane was dominant in the circle on Saturday. She allowed a lead-off single off the centerfield fence to Taylor Reed in the second inning, but that was the lone hard hit ball. She struck out two in an inning four times and overpowered the Norwood hitters.

“There’s nobody better than her,” said KP coach Norm Beauchemin. “There weren’t too many balls hit hard.

“I’m glad that she went seven because it’s good for her endurance…she had to stay mentally tough for seven innings.”

The Mustangs did put together a rally in the fourth inning but a controversial call when Brianna Lacy caught the Norwood runner trying to steal third effectively ended the threat.

Norwood coach Carol Savino said, “That was a tough call over here because she was safe…That tag came after the base came out. That was a big call because that killed the rally.”

Magane allowed a runner to reach on a throwing error in the fifth but followed it with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. In the sixth, she allowed a one-out single but retired the final two hitters and then closed the game out in style by striking out a pair in the seventh to reach double digits for the game.

When asked what was working so well for her, Magane responded, “Just moving pitches around, keeping them off-balance. They’re a good hitting team, they’re coached well, so basically you have to try and keep them off-balance and limit the hits.”

Savino said, “Magane’s tough; Magane’s a good pitcher. If I had a pitcher like Magane on the mound for me and my defense, it would be different.”

The KP offense came through with a big second inning to give its pitcher a little cushion. Caeli Bench doubled down the left field line and Jenn Hutnyan (3-for-3) dropped a bloop into shallow left. With one out, Ashley Hession singled to right to plate the first run of the game.

Meghan Gorman lined to the second baseman for the second out but the Norwood player tried to turn it into a double play and the throw got away to allow a second run to score. Christa Wagner (2-for-3) drove in the third run with a bunt single.

Magane said, “It’s what you need is runs to win and it makes me more confident going into the circle.”

Beauchemin added, “When we didn’t score in the first, it was a little shocker for us. When we got the three runs, the thinking process changes drastically. You’re not trying to over-think the game anymore.”

KP tacked on a run in the fourth inning when Hutnyan lined a solo homer over the fence in center. The Warriors had a golden opportunity to add another in the fifth after Wagner tripled to lead-off the inning, but she was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to second.

In the sixth, the Warriors did add an insurance run. Sydney Phillips (who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top half of the inning), Bench, and Hutnyan singled to start the inning and Magane brought in a run with a sacrifice fly to right.

With the win, KP advances to the Div. 1 South quarterfinal and a possible matchup with division rival Taunton (the Tigers played Somerset-Berkeley on Saturday night). Magane admitted the team was looking forward to another chance to face the Kelley-Rex champions, who won both regular season meetings with the Warriors.

She said with a smile, “We’re excited. We’re excited. We’ll try again.”

King Philip (19-4) will play next on Monday against the winner of Taunton/Somerset-Berkeley.

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

Saturday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/14/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
North Attleboro, 3 vs. Central Catholic, 6 – Final – North Attleboro was able to tie the game 2-2 through three innings but Central Catholic built a 6-2 lead by the seventh inning. John Brennan had an RBI single down the third base line and Zach DeMattio had an infield RBI grounder. Andy Katch capped North’s scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. Matt Papineau pitched 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs in a solid outing for Big Red.

Softball
King Philip, 1 @ Newton North, 0 – Final – King Philip scored its lone run in the first inning and senior Kali Magane retired 21 of the 22 batters she faced, giving up a bunt single and striking out 14. Christa Wagner led off with a single, stole second and came home on an errant throw trying to get Elise Pereira out on a bunt play. Magane and Caeli Bench each had a hit while Meghan Gorman had two hits for the Warriors.

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Mansfield senior Bri Homer scored what turned out to be the winning run in the second inning and tagged out what would have been the tying run in the top of the seventh. Homer took a relay throw from Jocelyn Reardon after a throw from Amanda Giambanco in right field. Homer was 2-2 on the day, following a walk from Liz Mackin in the second inning with a single. Marissa Staffier hit a two-run single down the right field line next to put the Hornets up. Maddie Letendre got the win on the mound, striking out eight while allowing four hits. For Oliver Ames, Jamie Gottwald was 1-2 with an RBI triple, Victoria Ziner went 2-3 with a pair of doubles and a run scored and Caroline Mahoney had a double. Freshman Kayla Georgeu struck out five and allowed five hits in six innings of work.

North Attleboro, 2 vs. Bishop Feehan, 8 – Final – Abby Warren was able to keep the Shamrocks off balance for six innings but the away team plated six runs late. Kaylea Sherman went 2-3 with a pair of RBI and had an assist at the plate. Jordan Sharpe was 2-3 and Meg Barlow added a double for the Rocketeers.

Boys Lacrosse
Canton, 6 @ Dennis-Yarmouth, 3 – Final – Canton built a 2-0 lead after a quarter and held a 5-2 advantage by halftime. Dan Nadeau moved from his normal position in defense to play midfield and found the back of the net twice. Ben O’Neill led Canton’s offense with three goals and Ryan Lodge scored once.

Foxboro, 8 vs. Norwood, 3 – Final

King Philip, 8 @ Walpole, 15 – Final – King Philip rallied from a three goal deficit at halftime to knot the game at 7-7 but Walpole scored three straight goals in 67 seconds, stealing away the momentum and taking the win. Sam Agricola, Tim Watson, Harry Fallon and John DeLuca each scored twice for KP while Agricola, Collin DeVellis and Anthony Truini each had an assist.

Oliver Ames, 10 @ Whitman-Hanson, 9 – Final (2OT) – Senior attack Matt Gilson took a feed from Owen Gallagher in the second overtime and scored his fifth goal of the game to give Oliver Ames the win. Gilson’s five goals were complemented by a pair of goals and assists from Gallagher, two goals from Eric LeBlanc and a goal from senior Aidan Connly. Senior Jake Aronson made 17 saves in the cage for Oliver Ames.

Sharon vs. Shrewsbury, 11:00AM

Girls Lacrosse
King Philip @ Walpole, 3:00
Oliver Ames vs. Whitman-Hanson, 6:00

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.