STOUGHTON, Mass. – Over the closing stages of the regular season, Stoughton’s offense wasn’t tearing the cover off the ball, but the Black Knights were finding ways to win.
The same was the case in the opening round contest with Greater New Bedford as the Black Knights squeaked by with a 1-0 win.
But Stoughton’s offense could be heating up at the right time. In a rubber match with division rival Milford, the Black Knights doubled their hit production from the previous game and put a runner in scoring position in all but one inning.
The result was a convincing 7-1 win for the Black Knights in an all-Hockomock D2 South quarterfinal game, earning a season series win over the Hawks.
“I feel like we came out a little flat, especially after having so much energy on Saturday,” said Stoughton coach Mike Armour. “But I felt like we got our mojo back a little in the second inning there. Milford manufactured a run and it was like here we go, but our guys were able to get the bat on the ball. The bats had cooled off as of late. So if we can get the bats going, I know what we’re capable of. But we’re happy to have the opportunity to play again.”
Stoughton had a total of 14 base runners: scattering eight hits, reaching twice via walk, had two players get hit by a pitch, one reached on an error, and another on a fielder’s choice.
The only inning Stoughton didn’t put a runner on base, and it might have been the defense that gave the Black Knights momentum at the plate.
After squandering a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the bottom of the second, Milford came out and loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third. Luke Rosa drew a leadoff walk and Nick Marcolini and Justin Applebee followed with bunt singles.
Matt Shaver drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly but Stoughton junior lefty James Genest (6IP, 3H, 1BB, 1ER, 4K) limited the damage by getting a foul ball pop up to first and a swinging strikeout for the third out.
Junior George Currier (3-for-4, three runs, stolen base) led off with a single and beat the throw to second to allow Robbie Seaman to reach on a fielder’s choice. Currier moved to third on a fly ball by Genest and came home to score when Mike Nazzaro’s grounder was misplayed in the infield.
Cian Swierzewski walked to load the bases and junior Jacob Kaplan smashed a deep triple to left field to clear the bases and put the hosts up 4-1.
“Those are hits that change games and Kap’s been doing it for us all year,” Armour said. “We’ve talked before about how many hits he’s had this season with the bases loaded but I mean a bases-clearing triple in a tournament game…that’s just big time.”
Currier got things started in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out single, stole second, and moved to third on a deep fly ball from Zak Paquette. After Seaman was hit by a pitch by Milford starter Colby Pires (4IP, 6H, 1BB, 6R, 2ER, 3K), Currier raced home on a wild pitch to make it 5-1.
Seaman moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Genest drilled a two-out single through the right side for a 6-1 advantage.
Stoughton tacked on another run in the sixth inning with Currier being the catalyst again. Currier and Paquette had back-to-back singles with the former moving up a bag on a fly ball from Genest. With runners on first and third, a balk was called and Currier scored.
“It’s a tribute to these guys,” Armour said. “We knew it was going to be a battle with Milford coming to town, it always is. We had a lot of the 2017 [Stoughton] team here, [Milford] kind of came here and did us in that year and I think that was fresh in their minds being just a couple years removed. Our guys made the plays, defensively really fantastic.”
Milford didn’t have a hit after the third inning but did have a couple of chances to cut into the deficit. Rosa reached on an error to lead off the fifth inning, moved to second on a ground out but was tagged out on a ground ball. Applebee, who reached on the fielder’s choice, stole second but was stranded there.
The Hawks got to the Knights’ bullpen in the top of the seventh, adding a bit of drama to the game in the final frame. Rosa and Applebee both walked, sandwiched around Marcolini getting hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. But Stoughton senior Evan Jackman induced a ground ball to Currier at second. Currier finished with four putouts and four assists.
“Give a lot of credit to [Stoughton], Mike always has them ready to go and they are a good team, It’s always competitive,” said Milford coach Alex Dion. “The 2017 [Stoughton] team is here, and that was a similar story then when it was split in the regular season but we came out on top in the postseason, this year they come out on top. It’s always going to be a tough game but we didn’t take advantage of any opportunities we had and they got that big hit and I think after that, we were a bit deflated and couldn’t find a way to get it going again.”
Stoughton baseball (14-8) will host top-seeded Hopkinton (14-5), who knocked off Milton in the quarterfinal round, on Wednesday at 4:00. Milford finishes the season at 11-11.
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.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – After surrendering an unearned run in the third inning, Attleboro responded with a pair of runs in the fourth inning and junior Ryan Morry had a stellar outing on the mound to lead the Bombardiers to a win. Lorenzo Wilson singled, Morry walked, and Robbie Furtado singled to load the bases for Attleboro. Camden Fitzpatrick delivered the big hit with a single to score two runs. Morry pitched a complete game, allowing three hits with no walks and five hits allowed. He retired the final 13 batters in order to close out the game. OA senior Reid Latham also pitched a strong game, striking out five, walking two and allowing two runs in a complete game.
Stoughton, 6 @ Canton, 1 – Final – Canton scored in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead but Stoughton scored six unanswered runs — the last five coming in the seventh inning to earn the win and qualify for the state tournament. The Black Knights tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the top of the third, Zak Paquette (single) scoring on a double from Kyle Gagnon. In the seventh, Cian Swierzewski was hit by a pitch, took second on a passed ball, and scored on a single from Paquette. Jacob Kaplan drove in a run with a double, Robbie Seaman plated a run with a sac fly, and Kaplan scored by stealing home to make it 5-1. George Currier added the final run on a passed ball. Evan Jackman earned the win on the mound, scattering four hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings of work.
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Mansfield scored once in the third and once more in the sixth, and senior Kyle Moran shined on the mound as the Hornets handed Franklin its first loss of the season. Moran scattered three hits, all in the first three innings, walked one and struck out 10 in a complete game effort. Sam Nugent (1-for-3) knocked in Connor Smith (hit by pitch) in the third to put Mansfield up. Junior John Carney (2-for-3, double) added the second run by scoring on a wild pitch in the sixth. Scott Elliott had two hits for the Panthers, including a triple. Junior Brennan Rivera was strong on the mound in the loss, allowing three hits and two walks, striking out nine with two runs (one earned) allowed in six innings.
Taunton @ King Philip – Postponed to Friday, 5/31 at 3:45.
North Attleboro, 6 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – North Attleboro senior Kyle Bolger delivered the big hit of the game with the bases loaded, knocking in two runs with a double to highlight a four-run second inning in the Rocketeers’ win over Sharon. After Bolger put the Rocketeers on the board, Ryan Warren and Brendan McHugh each had a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0. North extended its lead with a pair of runs in the fourth, with Warren (walk) scoring on a double from sophomore Jared Penta. Penta came around to make it 6-0 on a wild pitch. Sharon tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Wanless had a strong performance, perfect through the first three innings, finishing with seven strikeouts, five hits, and two walks.
Stoughton, 3 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Liz Bickett continued her torrid run for the Bulldogs with a homer in her fourth straight game and Katy Lynch provided the game-winning hit with a two-run single in the sixth, lifting Canton to a division win. Lynch also came through with a big defensive play in the seventh that preserved the lead. Sophia Santos went the distance for the Bulldogs, striking out eight to earn the win. Karly Estremera and Brianna Ferrandiz both had a pair of hits for the Black Knights, while freshman Sydney Menz hit a solo homer in the seventh inning as Stoughton tried to rally.
Mansfield, 7 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Mary Muldoon had three hits, including a pair of doubles and a homer, and drove in four runs, as the Hornets pulled out a road win against league-leading Franklin. The Hornets got out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Kara Bendanillo reached on an error and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Mady Bendanillo walked and both sisters moved into scoring position on a sac bunt by Caty DeMassi before Muldoon drove them in with a double. In the fourth, DeMassi and Muldoon had back-to-back doubles to make it 3-0 and then Casey Mousette singled in the fourth run. In the top of the fifth, Megan Letendre drew a one-out walk and then scored on a DeMassi double. After Franklin plated a pair in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 5-2, Kara Bendanillo made a solid defensive play on a bunt attempt to end the rally. Mansfield tacked on two insurance runs in the sixth. Mady Bendanillo tripled with one out and scored on a sac fly by DeMassi (her third RBI of the game) before Muldoon sent a ball off the top of the fence and out for a solo home run to cap the scoring. Sarah Cahill allowed only four hits to pick up the win in the circle and Sydney Woods added three hits for the Hornets.
Sharon, 1 @ North Attleboro, 15 – Final (5 Inn.) – Katy Daby celebrated senior day with four hits, including a pair of doubles, and drove in four runs as the Rocketeers moved closer to clinching the Davenport title. Mandi Hanewich went 3-for-3 with three RBI, while Alex Moulson (homer), Ashley Cangiano, and Annabelle Hebard each had a pair of hits for North. Cangiano also threw out a runner from behind the plate for the game’s final out. Senior Makenzie Nardelli added an RBI-single for North. Bella Erti earned the win, allowing two hits and striking out seven while walking none.
King Philip @ Taunton – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/28 at 7:00.
Attleboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to Wednesday, 5/22 at 3:45.
Canton, 7 @ Foxboro, 8 – Final (OT) – Canton scored three straight goals in the fourth quarter to force overtime but Foxboro’s Charlie Baughan scored with just seconds left in the extra period to give the Warriors the win. Trailing 7-4 entering the final quarter, the Bulldogs tied the game and then nearly had the winner but had a shot hit the pipe late. Baughan finished with three goals and one assist, Pete Conley added two goals and an assist, and Shayne Kerrigan, Bobby Yerardi, and Brendan Tully each scored once. Freshman Matt Tully made 14 saves in net for Foxboro. Canton’s Tommy Vaughan had four goals and one assist, and Griffin Roach, Brendan Clifford, and Dan Cohen each scored once while David Allen had an assist.
Milford @ Mansfield – Postponed to Wednesday, 5/29 at 4:00.
Oliver Ames, 11 @ North Attleboro, 10 – Final – Oliver Ames scored once in the final quarter and held the Rocketeers to just one goal in the fourth to earn a close win on the road. Junior Shane Kilkelly paced the offense with five points (three goals, two assists), Sam Stevens scored a hat trick and added an assist, Frankie Ireland had a pair of goals and assists, Sandro Masciarelli found the back of the net twice, and Colin Bourne scored once for the Tigers. Nick Gillis had a strong game in net for OA.
Foxboro @ Canton – Postponed to Thursday, 5/16 at 3:45.
Franklin, 17 @ King Philip, 8 – Final – The Panthers stayed unbeaten in the league and clinched at least a share of an eighth straight league title with a road win. Erin Walsh scored five times and had a pair of helpers, while Annie Walsh scored three times, assisted on one, grabbed seven draw controls, and four ground balls. Kenzie Baker also had a hat trick for the Panthers, while Jackie O’Neil scored a goal and had three assists. Gianna Cameron made seven saves in the win.
Mansfield, 20 @ Milford, 9 – Final – Milford senior Emily Haley scored three goals, including the 100th goal of her career, but the Scarlet Hawks fell to visiting Mansfield. Sophia Bucal and Annie Flanagan added two goals for the Hawks while Elena Bon Tempo and Brianna Maietta each scored once.
North Attleboro, 15 @ Oliver Ames, 13 – Final – For Oliver Ames, Olivia Carroll had a strong game with six draw controls and five goals, Ella Hogan recorded a hat trick and two assists, and Emma Pereira found the back of the net twice and added one assist. Maddie Kullen made 10 saves in net for OA.
Taunton, 5 @ Sharon, 20 – Final – Emma Eberhardt had a hand in half of the Eagles goals, scoring six and assisting on four, to lead Sharon to its 11th win of the season. Cass Barbera added five goals and Jenna Goldstein chipped in with four goals and an assist. Bridget McManus had a hat trick and an assist, Athena Merck scored once, and Katelyn Galeota added her first varsity goal for the Eagles. Rose Wald made seven saves in the Sharon goal and head coach Shara Ginthwain said the defense stepped up in front of her, making three interceptions, forcing three turnovers, and coming up with four takeaways.
Attleboro, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Attleboro won once in singles and once in doubles and earned a third point by default to get a win over Oliver Ames. Evan Capar won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles and the team of Robert Agular and Kyle Norman earned a 6-0, 6-0 win at second doubles. Oliver Ames’ Yusaf Hameed emerged with a 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5) at second doubles and the team of Marceli Tucker-Zsudra and Kylash Ganesh won 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 at first doubles.
Canton, 1 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Stoughton won all three singles matches in a rain-shortened match. Waseem Sablon won 6-4, 6-1 at first singles, Erik Anderson took a 6-0, 6-7 (4-7), 10-8 win at second singles, and Anish Sinha picked up a 6-4, 7-5 win at third singles. Canton’s Justin Luk and Tyler Duffy won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles.
Mansfield, 3 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Mansfield earned a win on the road at Franklin to pull into a first-place tie with the Panthers with three matches to go. The Hornets got a win at first singles and swept doubles action to edge the Panthers. Luke Nickerson won 6-3, 6-3 at first singles, the team of Max Bank and Sethu Odayappan won 6-1, 6-4 at first doubles, and the Hornets’ second doubles team of Dheeraj Valluru and Sam Donellan won 6-3, 6-3. Franklin’s Rohan Herur won 6-0, 6-3 at second singles and Vayshnav Malhotra won 6-0, 6-3 at third singles.
Sharon @ North Attleboro – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/14 at 3:45.
King Philip @ Taunton – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/28 at 3:45.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Oliver Ames earned wins in straight sets at all three singles matches in a rain-shortened victory over Attleboro. Sarah Leger won 6-3, 6-3 at first singles, Maura Kiernan picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and Sarah Barron earned a 6-2, 6-0 win at third singles.
Stoughton, 0 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Canton earned a sweep over visiting Stoughton, winning all five matches in straight sets. Rachel Kupferman and Natalie Keppler each won 6-0, 6-0 at first and second singles, respectively, while Sarah Hernandez earned a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Sophie Le picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at first doubles while Nyah Claiborne and Rose Hazam won by the same score at second doubles.
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – The Hornets picked up two wins and singles and another in doubles play in a rain-shortened match against Franklin. Lizzy Elsner won 6-4, 6-2 at first singles and Aryana Khosravani picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Hannah Podolske and Sam Sternburg won 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles.
North Attleboro @ Sharon – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/14 at 3:45.
Taunton @ King Philip – Postponed to Thursday, 5/16 at 3:45.
Taunton, 0 @ North Quincy, 3 – Final
Mansfield, 0 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Attleboro prevailed on the right side of a pitcher’s dual, earning a 2-0 win in a game that took just 80 minutes to complete. Attleboro senior Eoin Kelleher needed just 72 pitches to toss a complete game, scattering three hits with no walks, striking out one. Mansfield threatened in the second when Sam Nugent (error) and Jake Lund (double) reached to put runners on second and third but Kelleher got an infield ground ball and a fly ball back to himself to escape. Attleboro took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Alvaro Espinal singled and advanced to second on a pickoff attempt. Ryan Morry used a sac bunt to advance the runner and Lorenzo Wilson brought Espinal in with a sacrifice fly. The Bombardiers added a run in the fifth when Camden Fitzpatrick doubled and Tom Callahan had an RBI single to make it 2-0. John Carney was strong on the mound for Mansfield, allowing three hits in six innings, with one walk and one strikeout.
Foxboro, 9 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Foxboro got off to a strong start, scoring seven runners between the first two innings on its way to a win over Canton. The Warriors plated two runs in the first and then added five more in the second to build a 7-0 advantage. Foxboro tacked on two runs in the seventh while Canton scored once in the sixth and three in the seventh. Sophomores Sean Yoest (run) and Tom Marcucella (RBI, run) each had two hits to pace the Foxboro offense while Michael Devlin (run) and Joe Cavaleri (hit) each had two RBI. Canton’s Sawyer Julier-Albert and Nate Quan had two hits each. Yoest earned the win, allowing one run (unearned) on eight hits and two strikeouts in six innings of work.
King Philip, 1 @ Franklin, 11 – Final – Franklin had three pitchers combine for a one-hitter scored double-digit runs for the fourth straight game. Liam Dailey allowed one unearned run on one hit and two walks, striking out four in five innings of work. Ben Guzman (two strikeouts) and Will Pacheco (three strikeouts) each pitched an inning in relief. Scott Elliott led the offense with three hits, including a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Alex Haba (two runs, RBI), Jake Macchi (two runs), and Brennan Rivera (run, two RBI) each had two hits for the Panthers.
Sharon, 5 @ Milford, 11 – Final – Milford senior Tyler Almeida drove in four runs and junior Colby Pires was strong on the mound and offensively to help the Scarlet Hawks beat Sharon. Almeida went 3-for-4 with a triple, Matt Shaver added two hits, two RBI, and a run scored, and Pires chipped in with two hits, including a double, and three runs scored. Pires allowed three runs in four innings of work, striking out a pair to earn the win.
Stoughton, 11 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – After trading runs early on, Stoughton exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning to turn a close game into a blowout. The Black Knights took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Robbie Seaman (3-for-4, two RBI, two runs, stolen base) singled, took second on a passed ball, stole third, and scored on another passed ball. North responded with a run in the bottom of the second. In the fifth. Cian Swierzewski got things going with a leadoff single, Zak Paquette and George Currier drew walks, Seaman had a two-run single, Jacob Kaplan had an RBI single, Paquette added a sac fly, and mixed in with a couple of Rocketeer errors, the Black Knights jumped ahead 9-1. Sophomore James Genest was strong on the mound, needing just 83 pitches to get the win. He allowed one run (unearned) on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Taunton, 6 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Taunton senior Josh Lajoie had one of his best outings of the season, striking out 10 in a complete game effort to help the visiting Tigers take down Oliver Ames. Lajoie scattered five hits and walked two while allowing one run (unearned). Offensively, sophomore Danny MacDougall had three hits and knocked in two runs while Lucas Martins had a pair of hits and one RBI.
Attleboro, 4 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – Attleboro scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie and then stranded a pair of Hornet baserunners in the bottom of the seventh to grab a win on the road. Attleboro took a 2-0 lead in the third but the Hornets knotted the score in the third when Mady Bendanillo smacked a two-run triple to make it 2-2. In the bottom of the seventh, with the Hornets down two, Mary Muldoon launched a one-out homer and the Hornets put two more on base but Attleboro closed out the win. Makenzie Killough went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Bombardiers, Lora Woyton added three hits, including a double, and an RBI, and Brenna Morse hit a triple. Megan Letendre had two hits for Mansfield while Kara Bendanillo and Ella Verheggen each added a hit. Sarah Cahill had eight strikeouts for the Hornets while Emily Gittle (seven strikeouts) pitched a complete game for Attleboro.
Foxboro, 6 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Peyton Feldman (3-for-4) tripled for the second time in the game and aggressively took home when the throw went down to first on a dropped third strike to score the game-winning run. Feldman scored three times for the Warriors, who picked up and important Div. 2 win. Chelsea Gibbons also went 3-for-4 for Foxboro, while Camryn Willis went 2-for-4 and threw a complete game in the victory. Taylor Reynolds went 3-for-4 for the Bulldogs and scored a pair of runs, while Liz Bickett tripled and homered and Steph Trendell tripled and doubled in the loss. Caroline Hughes threw five innings in relief and allowed one run, striking out three. Canton coach Dave Bohane called it a great game between two improved teams.
Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 6 – Final – King Philip Faith Turinese had a strong performance in the circle, scattering five hits in a complete game shutout. Meghan Gorman had two hits, including a home run, to lead the Warriors’ offense. Liliana Rolfe also had two hits and Abby Carey came through with a key single with the bases loaded. Franklin’s Maddy White went 2-for-3.
Milford, 9 @ Sharon, 11 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Sharon scored five unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, four coming with two outs, and then held off a final inning charge from Milford to secure a season sweep of the Hawks. Sharon sophomore Julia Earley went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI, and played strong defense at short with three putouts and two assists to pace the Eagles, which totaled 11 hits as a team. Savannah Gray (double, RBI, run), Ciara McAuliffe (two RBI, run), and Penny Rabatsky (run) each had two hits for Sharon. Emily Botvin pitched three innings in relief, allowing just one earned run, with four strikeouts to get the win. Milford’s Amanda Wenckus went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBI, Lucy Creedon (three runs) had three hits, including a home run that put Milford up 7-6 in the top of the sixth, and April Swain (run), Carly Ferreira (RBI), and Olivia Morelli (run, double) each had two hits.
North Attleboro, 6 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – North Attleboro belted out five consecutive hits, all with two outs, to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead, and junior pitcher Bella Erti took care of the rest as the Rocketeers swept the season series with the Black Knights. Emily Nardelli, Abby Gallagher (two hits), Ashley Cangiano (2B), Annabelle Hebard (three hits), and Katie Daby had consecutive hits to put the Rocketeers ahead. Erti tossed a one-hitter, limiting the Black Knights to one base runner (error) through six innings before Stoughton sophomore Nicole Baker recorded the team’s first hit. North coach Bill Wallace said Alex Moulson had a strong game in the field.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Taunton, 15 – Final (5 inn.) – Taunton senior Alexa White was nearly perfect in four innings of work, striking out nine with just one hit allowed as Taunton completed a season sweep of Oliver Ames. Olyvia Mendonca pitched a scoreless inning in relief with one strikeout. Jaime Brown (two runs, RBI), Alexa White (double, run, three RBI), Hanna Aldrich (triple, three runs, two RBI, two stolen bases) Tayah DaCosta (run), and Ava Venturelli (two runs) each had two hits for Taunton. Kenzie McAloon (double, two RBI), Rylie Murphy (three RBI), and Kelsey White (two RBI) also contributed to the Taunton offense.
Canton, 10 @ King Philip, 9 – Final – Canton junior Tommy Vaughan scored the game-winning goal with just over five minutes left in the game to help the Bulldogs knock off previously unbeaten King Philip. Vaughan scored his fourth of the game with 5:07 left and the Bulldogs took advantage of a three-minute locked in penalty to possess the ball and kill the final moments of the game. Griffin Roach and David Allen each added two goals while Chris Lavoie and Andrew Canton found the back of the net once each for the Bulldogs. Dylan Coyne had a strong game in net for Canton while Brendan Albert anchored the defense.
Attleboro, 1 @ Foxboro, 17 – Final – Foxboro raced out to a 6-0 lead after a quarter and took an 11-1 advantage in halftime and never looked back to knock off visiting Attleboro. Junior Bobby Yerardi (four goals) and sophomore Charlie Baughan (three goals, one assist) each accounted for four points to pace the Foxboro offense. Junior Aidan Stapleton added two goals and two assists, sophomore Max Biegel had a goal and an assist, and freshman Tom Sharkey and junior Ronnie MacLellan each scored once for the Warriors.
Franklin, 21 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Franklin built a 13-1 lead by halftime and then pitched a shutout in the second half, rolling to a win over the Hornets. Senior Jacob Alexander continued to dominate at the face-off X, winning 20-of-22 draws to help the Franklin offense control possession. Sophomore Matt Lazzaro scored six goals and had two assists, junior Jake Davis scored five times and added two helpers, senior Nitin Chaudhury had a pair of goals and one assist, and both junior Ben Greco (three assists) and senior Tim Kolb (two assists) scored once. Senior Will Davis made nine saves in net.
Oliver Ames, 15 @ Milford, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames picked up a win on the road to punch its ticket for the state tournament, marking the first time in program history that the Tigers have qualified for the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Junior Shane Kilkelly paced the offense with six goals and two assists, sophomore Remi Creighton added a pair of goals and three helpers, senior Colin Bourne scored a hat trick and added an assist, and junior Sam Stevens netted a pair of goals with one helper.
Stoughton @ Sharon, 3:45
Foxboro, 19 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final
King Philip, 17 @ Canton, 3 – Final – King Philip exploded for 10 goals in the second half to run away with a win over Canton on the road. Caroline Klim paced the offense with eight points, scoring six goals and adding two assists while Jess Sullivan (assist) and Olivia Tormey each found the back of the net four times for KP. Haley Izydorczak, Julia Marsden, and Mackenzie Mazur each scored once for the Warriors while Caroline Watson made eight saves in the win.
Mansfield, 3 @ Franklin, 16 – Final – Franklin ran away with the game, picking up its seventh straight win with a 16-3 decision over visiting Mansfield. Senior Annie Walsh (four goals, three assists) and junior Erin Walsh (five goals, two assists) led the offense with seven points apiece, while Kelsey MacCallum added a hat trick and assists. Junior Gianna Cameron had a strong game in goal with 11 saves.
Milford, 9 @ Oliver Ames, 10 – Final – Milford scored two straight late in the game to get within one but Oliver Ames held on for the win. Senior Emily Haley paced the Hawks offense with five goals while senior Savannah Rosado had a strong game in net. Sophia Bucal added two goals while Alyssa Williamson and Stella Amour each found the back of the net once for Milford.
North Attleboro @ Taunton, 5:15
Attleboro, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Mansfield’s Luke Devine filled in at first singles and picked up a win in straight sets to help the Hornets defend home court. Devine won 6-0, 6-1 while Nilay Pangrekar secured a 6-0, 6-2 win at third singles for Mansfield. The team of Sam Shirmacher and Yash Sakhalkar picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win at first doubles while Jonah Fine and Ben Newcomb earned a 6-2, 6-2 win at second doubles for the Hornets. Attleboro’s Jared Cooper won 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) at second singles.
Canton, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Canton freshman Suraj Ramanathan won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles.
Franklin, 3 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – Franklin won two matches in singles action and won one doubles match in a three-set thriller to edge King Philip in a battle of top teams in the Kelley-Rex division. The Panthers, who entered tied with the Warriors in first in the division, got the deciding win from Saket Gandham and Shoumik Sompally, who pulled out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win at second doubles to give Franklin the win. Liam Marr won at 6-3, 6-3 at first singles and Vayshnav Malhotra didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. King Philip sophomore Nick Putney won 6-1, 6-2 at second singles and the team of Jack Cannon and Nate Ihley, both juniors, secured a 6-4, 6-0 win at first doubles.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – North Attleboro won a pair of singles matches and both doubles matches, all in straight sets, to earn a 4-1 win over Stoughton. Junior Alex Pfeffer won 6-2, 6-1 at second singles and sophomore Sam Gallagher grabbed a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Vikram Senthilakumaran and Tomas Bentley lost just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 decision at first doubles while Saketh Uppuluri and Justin Strom dropped a total of two games in a 6-0, 6-2 win at second doubles. Stoughton sophomore Waseem Sablon earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at first singles.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Taunton, 4 – Final – Taunton earned two wins in both singles and doubles action to knock off visiting Oliver Ames. Brett Beaulieu won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Charlie Fiske picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win at second singles, and Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard earned a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles. Oliver Ames junior Yusaf Hameed earned his fifth straight win with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at third singles.
Milford, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final – Sharon won all five matches in straight sets to earn a sweep on the road. Senior Danujan Thirumavalavan won 6-1, 6-3 at first singles, junior Alberto Olivei earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at second singles, and freshman Max Chen grabbed a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Max Brody and Jake Ross didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles while Sharon’s second doubles team of Deyan Kassev and Mitch Weiss earned a 6-2, 6-1 win.
Mansfield, 4 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – Mansfield’s Lizzy Elsner prevailed in a super tiebreaker to win at first singles as the Hornets battled for a 4-1 win over the Bombardiers. Elsner won 6-2, 4-6, 10-2, Aryana Khosravani earned a 6-1, 6-3 win at third singles, Hannah Podolske and Sam Sternburg earned a 6-2, 7-5 win at first doubles, and Lauren Hobaica and Alex Burnham notched a 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles. Attleboro’s Brianna Aronne picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles.
Foxboro, 3 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Foxboro’s second doubles team of Maggie McAuliffe and Neha Jammula prevailed with a win in a tight three-set thriller, helping the Warriors edge Canton. McAuliffe and Jammula earned a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 win for the Warriors, who also picked up wins from Pam Nelson (6-4, 6-2) at first singles and the team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta (6-1, 6-3) at second singles. Canton’s Natalie Keppler rallied for a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 win at second singles, and Sarah Hernandez earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory at third singles for the Bulldogs.
King Philip, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final – North Attleboro defended home court, winning all five matches in straight sets to earn a sweep of the visiting Black Knights. Senior Tara Nair won 6-0, 6-4 at first singles, senior Mae McLaughlin picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and junior Olivia Wills emerged with a 6-2, 6-1 win at third singles. The Rocketeers’ first doubles team of sophomore Haley Strom and junior Sam Martino dropped just two games in a 6-0, 6-2 win while junior Brototi Nandi and sophomore Jayli Carmichael secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Taunton won all three singles matches to secure a tight 3-2 victory over Oliver Ames. Jillian Pagliuca had a strong showing with a 6-0, 6-1 win at first singles, McKenzie Lucie picked up a 6-4, 6-2 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca recorded a 6-0, 6-2 win at third singles. Oliver Ames’ Eva Belanger and Morgan Vasiliou earned a 6-4, 6-4 win at first doubles, and the second doubles team of Kate McCormick and Sarah Marley recorded a 6-1, 6-3 win for the host Tigers.
Sharon, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Sharon lost a total of two games in singles action and won all five matches on the road at Milford. Nupur Shukla didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles while freshman Valeria Barajas (second singles) and sophomore Charlie Martinez (third singles) each won 6-0, 6-1. The team of senior Sophia Fein and freshman Sasha Fein earned a 6-3, 7-6 win at first doubles while freshman Alice Zaniewski and sophomore Lena Lee won 6-4, 2-6, 10-5 at second doubles.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton’s offense came knocking multiple times throughout the game, but in the biggest situations, Franklin’s defense slammed the door shut.
The Black Knights loaded the bases in three separate innings and threatened with the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but three separate Panther pitchers came through to limit the damage, helping the Panthers secure a 5-3 win on the road.
After two quick strikeouts to start the game from Stoughton starter Zak Paquette, the Panthers cashed in. Senior Alex Haba had an infield single and quickly moved into scoring position by stealing second. Haba came in to score on a two-out RBI from senior Jake Macchi to put the visitors up 1-0 after a half inning.
Stoughton loaded the bases in the bottom of the first following a walk to junior George Currier, a single from senior Robbie Seaman, and a catcher’s interference but starting pitcher Liam Dailey induced a ground ball for the third out to keep the Knights off the board.
Franklin capitalized on its chances again in the top of the third. Scott Elliott led off with a single and took second when the hit got by the center fielder trying to make a defensive play. Elliott then stole third and came home when the throw from home was high, giving the Panthers a run without a second player putting the ball in play.
The Panthers struck again with two outs to increase the advantage. Cooper Ross reached on an error, took second on a single from JB Floris, and game in to score on an RBI base hit from Dan Markowski to make it 3-0.
“Two-out RBIs are key, they are clutch,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “This is a good offense, and we’ve found ways to score runs in a number of ways. Today it just happened to be the two-out RBI and not quitting on an inning that made the difference.”
The Black Knights had the leadoff man erased with a double play in the second, and then couldn’t push across any runs when they loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. Currier and Seaman had back-to-back singles and junior James Genest reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with the Black Knights trailing 3-0.
Again, Dailey was up to the challenge, getting a strikeout for the second out and inducing a pop up behind the plate that was caught on a nice play by Macchi to keep Stoughton off the board.
“With some of the plays we made, we didn’t make it easy for Liam,” Brown said. “He gave us a great effort, we’re proud of that effort. When he’s on the hill, we feel pretty good about our chances.”
Franklin increased its lead with another big play from Elliott. Junior Jack Nally drew a one-out walk and advanced to second and third on back-to-back wild pitches.Elliot laced a shot to right center field that went past the fielder. With no fence at the Stoughton field, the ball continued rolling allowing Elliott to round the bases for an inside the park home run.
Stoughton once again put pressure on the Panthers in the bottom of the fifth, this time pushing some runs across with the bases load. Cian Swierzewski led off with a single, Seaman was hit by a pitch, and Genest single to load the bases with one out.
Jacob Kaplan came through with an RBI single to get the Knights on the board, and Michael Nazzaro followed with a base hit of his own to bring another run in, making it 5-2. With the bases still loaded, Brown elected to go to the bullpen and brought in junior Cody Trotin.
Trotin came through for Franklin, getting the first batter he faced to strikeout and followed by inducing a fly ball to center to prevent Stoughton from adding to its total.
“We’re young and Franklin is a good team,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “We didn’t do ourselves any favors today. Zak was locked in to start, you saw it with the two strikeouts, and I felt like we could have done him a little better, we could have made some more plays early on. But at the same time, you have to tip your cap to Franklin. They got the bat on the ball and got a few runs across the dish early that ended up being the difference. But we’re still learning, there’s still room for improvement, but all in all, being a hit away from tying this game we’ll take it.
“We had 11 left on base, but you have to tip your hat to Franklin for making some pitches and getting us out. We’re young, we have some guys that are still getting their feet wet at the varsity level and I think they showed today. Hopefully, we learn from it.”
Genest took over on the mound in relief for the Black Knights, and after the first batter he faced reached on an error, he retired six straight Panthers.
Stoughton brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but again the Panthers got the necessary outs. Seaman led off with a triple and scored on an RBI single from Genest to make it 5-3. Genest moved to second when Kaplan was walked, putting runners on first and second with no outs, forcing Brown to go to his bullpen again.
Junior Will Pacheco got a strikeout and then a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners for the Knights with two outs. Pacheco then got a soft line drive back to the mound for the third out, stranding the tying run on first to get the win.
“We got some outs when we needed them,” Brown said. “Cody Trotin came into a big spot in his first outing of the year. He really gave us what we needed at the time. And obviously, Will Pacheco has been around the block and he just seems to rise to the occasion in pressure situations.”
Franklin baseball (5-0 Hockomock, 6-0 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts one of the top teams in the state in Walpole. Stoughton (3-2, 5-2) is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Foxboro.
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.”
Outlook: After playing plenty of sophomores last season, the Bulldogs will be looking to boast a balanced, experienced team aiming to compete for the Davenport division title in 2018.
Canton brings back six starters on offense and seven starters back on the defensive side of the ball. The Dogs are one of the few teams with their starting quarterback returning as junior Johnny Hagan continues under center after a solid sophomore season. He showed the ability to pass and run with the ball, and he has almost all of his running back options back to work with. Gersom Rivera had a terrific sophomore year and will be counted on to be a big piece of the offense during 2018. Rivera’s athleticism and speed will be complemented by the hard nose running and blocking of junior Kyle Fitzgerald and senior Brendan Albert.
Junior Jack Connolly will anchor the offensive line and will be joined by senior Brian Campagna and junior Lucas Bryant at the center position. Ryan Lentol, who came on strong at the end of last year, picked up right where he left off and will be a top option at split end.
The strength of Canton’s defense is its linebacker group, which is full of experience and talent. Albert is back at one of the outside spots after earning Hock All Star last year while senior Ben Seaman is back on the other side. Junior James Murphy will fill in the middle after impressing last season and junior Robbie Gallery has impressed early on as the other inside option. Canton will also rely on a seasoned secondary with Fitzgerald and David Allen returning as starters. Ryan Colby should see time in the secondary and Owen Lehane is in the mix for the defensive line.
“We’re very excited for the season,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “The kids have put the work in, we think we can play with anyone in the league but its a very good league so you have to be on your ‘A’ game every night. Every team is well coached and competitive so any time you can win in the Hock, its a success. We have to take it game by game, do the best we can, and keep plugging.
Outlook: The Warriors are aiming to make it two straight years in the postseason and will use a mix of returning players and new faces to try and get it done.
Foxboro graduated 35 seniors last year so there are some spots that need to be filled, but the Warriors are off to a good start with Liam Foley back in the fold at quarterback. The senior saw time under center last season along with Devin Hassett. And Foley will be in good shape as the Warriors have a lot of experience on the offensive line. Senior Tom Cullen is back in the middle of the line as the center, senior Andrew Longa and sophomore Sean Ferguson take on the tackle positions, and senior Hunter Williams and junior Aidan Dow will fill out the interior of the line.
Mike Luong got touches as a junior out of the backfield last season and will be a main part of the offense this season. Pat Stapleton is a returning split end, classmate Rob Fay will step into the same role, and junior Shayne Kerrigan will a top target for Foley.
The Warriors have experience and good size up front on defense, led by returning starting tackles Shawn Teixeira (6’4, 260) and Bill McNeil (6’0, 265). Senior William Ogbebor and Anton George will be called upon to fill out the defensive line on the ends while Williams and Martin McElroy will be joined by Mike Sheehan at linebacker. Russell Neale is back as the place kicker after a strong junior season.
Outlook: After reaching the quarterfinals last season, the 2018 version of the Scarlet Hawks are aiming for a deeper run into the postseason. And not just that, the Hawks are looking to be serious contenders for the Davenport crown.
Milford has a strong core of returning players back, a group of eager new faces looking to make an impression, and big new piece on the line. Kevin Pyne (6’8, 280) transferred to his hometown high school and will anchor what looks to be a big, physical line. Pyne is rated as the top recruit for his class and holds D1 offers from over a dozen schools including Notre Dame and Michigan. Senior Josh Ligor returns as a starter on the line while sophomore Nick Yohn will also be a two-way lineman.
The Hawks bring back both their quarterbacks: senior Ryan Pearl handled the team’s ‘WAR’ package while junior Colby Pires stepped in when Milford spread it out. Junior Luke Rosa will step in as an option at halfback along with sophomore Dominic Schofield. Brendan White (WR/S) brings toughness to both sides of the ball for the Hawks.
Shapel Feaster is one of the most experienced defensive backs in the Hockomock League and should be an important piece of the 2018 Hawks’ defense. Junior CJ Cerella will step in to anchor the linebacking group. On special teams, Sean Lehane is one of the strongest kickers in the area and will try to give Milford a spark at wide receiver this season.
“The goal of the 2018 football season for the Milford Scarlet Hawks is simple: start fast, play physical, and be the toughest team on the field on Friday nights,” said Milford head coach Anthony Vizakis.
Outlook: The target on North Attleboro’s back continues to grow. Coming off their third straight league title, including two straight Davenport titles, the Rocketeers made it all the way to the D3 State Final before falling, 35-33, to St. John’s Shrewsbury.
Big Red is hopeful it can continue its string of success but knows it will be tested with a difficult schedule, including a non-league game with two-time defending state champion King Philip. The biggest challenge will be finding a replacement for three-year starter Chad Peterson, who graduated with a handful of program records and three Hock titles as the starter. Seniors Nick Raneri and Luke LaBonte are both in the mix, and both saw time last year throughout the season. Raneri started all 13 games at tailback but also filled in at QB at times.
Whoever ends up getting the nod at quarterback will have one of the best offensive linemen in the entire state with senior Ryan Clemente anchoring the protection unit. Clemente is joined by senior Jack Puccio as returning starters on the line while seniors Joe Larkin and John Nally, and juniors John Kummer, Ethan Friberg, Trevor Hewitt, Montrel Jackson, and Ethan Mottinger are all competing for time. The Rocketeers also have solid skill options back with senior Brendan McHugh (14 total touchdowns) back at the starting slot back. Omar Jasseh offers size and speed at split end while Ryan Gaumond’s quickness gives the Rocketeers another option down field.
North Attleboro returns six starters on the defensive end, including McHugh, Gaumond, and Jasseh in the secondary. Clemente will be a big piece of the defensive line while Raneri and captain Jonathan James, who will also see time at tight end, will lead the linebacker unit. Russell Dunlap, Puccio, Mike Carty, Friberg and Jackson are all in the mix for defensive end spots while Ryan Boyle, Tom O’Neill, Duane Bryant, and Owen Harding are competing for time at linebacker.
“We expect a very challenging schedule, opening with KP on our new turf field and then an improved Bishop Feehan team in Week 2,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “The Davenport division will be extremely competitive this year, with several teams able to beat anyone on any given night. We have a nice core, but if we are going to compete at a championship level, then we are going to need several new faces to mature very quickly. There’s a lot of work still to be done, and not a lot of time to do it.”
Outlook: For the first time in Sharon, there will be football on Friday nights.
With the installation of lights at the high school field, the Eagles will be hosting teams on Friday nights instead of Saturday afternoons. And the 2018 Eagles are hoping to put a show under those lights. Sharon brings back a handful of key returning starters on both sides of the ball, and with one more year experience under their belts, will be looking to compete in what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons top to bottom in the Davenport.
Sharon averaged nearly 20 points per game in its six non-league games last year and is hoping to carry that over into Davenport play this season. Senior quarterback Jeremy Ruskin (six total touchdowns) is back under center to lead the offense and last year’s starting running back Aaron Strong (three touchdowns) also returns to give the Eagles a solid 1-2 punch on offense right away. Coleman Loftus’ size and strength will be a vital part of the line on both sides of the ball while Chris Gong and Alec Filipkowski return as Ruskin’s main two targets.
Not only goes Gong give Sharon options on offense because of his speed, he is one of the most dangerous kick returners in the state. He had an 80-yard punt return touchdown and a 99-yard kickoff return last season so opposing special team units will have to pay a lot of attention.
Despite the numbers, the Eagles had a strong defense last season. This season, Sharon boasts a lot of speed (on both sides of the ball) and is looking to use that to be more aggressive. Juniors Kiran Chandrasekaran will step in to be a big part of the secondary while classmate Nic Marrero will be relied on to anchor the linebackers.
“With a lot of returning starters and a sprinkle of new talent, I am expecting this team to take a huge step forward from last year’s inexperienced team,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.
Outlook: It feels like a fresh start for the Black Knights after graduating a bunch of players that had multiple seasons of experience under their belts.
But the focus remains the same for the Black Knights, who are aiming to be in contention for the Davenport title and make another appearance in the state tournament. Similar to previous seasons, Stoughton will have talent in the backfield and that will be the focal point of the offense. Jeff Grier is one of the fastest players in the league and will make defenses pay when there is space. Alex Iverson is a shifty option out of the backfield, Malachi Green-Hightower brings power to the run game, and sophomore Chris Ais could emerge as a playmaker for the Black Knights.
Junior George Currier and sophomore John Burke will battle it out for the starting quarterback position while Matt Piana, Ali Awad, and Evan Jackman have solidified spots on the offensive line. Frank Derbes will factor into the offense as a tight end and junior Ajahn Rue is back as a receiver.
Defensively, Iverson and Green-Hightower will be right in the heart of the lineup as linebackers while Grier will help as a member of the secondary. Cian Swierzewski has impressed throughout the offseason and the preseason and will be a key piece of the defense from the safety spot. Stoughton is looking for other names to step up and help anchor its hard nose defense.
STOUGHTON, Mass. – If not for the perfect relay throw, Stoughton very well could have been looking at a different outcome against #9 Somerset-Berkley.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh, senior Ruben Gonzalez, one of the fastest players in the area, hit an RBI triple that rolled to the edge of right field at Noviello Field at Stoughton High School.
Gonzalez sped around third and nearly made the turn home but the perfect relay throw forced Stoughton head coach Mike Armour to hold Gonzalez at third with two outs. At the next at-bat. SB pitcher Chase Stafford induced a chopper down the third base line and the throw to first was just in time for the final out, giving the Raiders a 3-2 win over the Black Knights.
Stoughton entered the bottom half of the inning facing a two-run deficit, down 3-1 after the Raiders scored twice in the second and once in the fourth. Stafford got the first two outs – a 6-3 groundout and an F8 – before Stoughton senior Zak Paquette battled his way to a walk.
Gonzalez smacked the first pitch he saw into right, the ball rolling all the way to the edge of the playing field to bring pinch runner Cameron DiRosa home to make it a one-run game.
“Ruben…I expect nothing less, coming through there,” Armour said. “If they don’t the cut there, then he’s still going and tying it up. He is such a special player, I think he showed what he’s about today. But we just came up a little short.”
Gonzalez nearly stole home, but on a 2-2 count, Matt Hadley was forced to put the ball in play and the senior came inches away from legging out the infield single to tie the game.
“We couldn’t string enough hits today on offense,” Armour said. “You have to tip your cap to Somerset-Berkley. Their pitcher was hitting his spots but we weren’t really squaring them up that well today. They had that one big inning, they got some bloop hits. But that’s baseball…..if you only score two runs, chances are you’re not going to win that game.”
It was a bright start for the Black Knights. Gonzalez led off with a single in the bottom of the first and went to third on a single from Evan Gibb. With sophomore James Genest at the plate, the ball got behind the catcher and Gonzalez took off for home, but the umpire called the speedy shortstop out at home.
Gibb moved to third on the same ball and Genest singled into left field to give Stoughton a 1-0 lead.
Somerset-Berkley loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second inning. Kyle Vieira singled into center for a run before Paquette got the first out with an infield fly. Jacob Rebello hit one deep enough to center allowing the run to just beat Cian Swierzewski’s throw for a sacrifice fly and a 2-1 advantage.
The Raiders tacked on a run in the fourth inning. Vieira and Rebello had singles and Matt Shea reached on a bunt and overthrow. That same overthrow allowed Vieira to come around and make it 3-1.
After an intentional walk, Paquette got a pop up to right field and sophomore George Currier fired to first for a double play. Paquette followed up with a strikeout.
“Zak has been heart, guts, everything for us all year,” Armour said. “He plans to go seven [innings] every time he’s out there. He makes it very difficult to not have that come to fruition. He was falling behind a couple of times but he kept coming back and getting the outs in the later innings so you tip your cap to him.”
Stoughton had a chance to strike back in the bottom of the fourth but uncharacteristic errors hurt the Black Knights. Genest singled and Currier followed with a one-out base hit of his own to put runners on first and second.
But a ground ball not only got the force out at second, Stoughton’s pinch runner accidentally overran third and the Raiders capitalized, firing to third and getting the tag.
Swierzewski was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth but a sac bunt attempt turned into a double play when Stafford caught the bunt and fired to first.
“We had a couple base running errors, we had that sac bunt turn into the double play so it was just little things. And at the same time, George made that nice play in right and doubled them up. It was a good game…[Somerset] got their three runs early and we just couldn’t get enough to overcome.”
Stoughton baseball, which had just two players back from the 2017 squad with varsity experience, finishes the season at 10-9 overall. Six of the nine Black Knight starters are set to return next season.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Armour said. “Two of them played varsity baseball last year…so to qualify, get a game at our home field. The town has been going through a lot, I think that’s what I’m most upset about because we really wanted to give Stoughton something to smile about, something to get behind. But we just came up a little short and I think that hurts more than anything else.”
STOUGHTON, Mass. – It has been a long week for students at Stoughton High School.
On Friday morning, the Black Knights baseball team were among the hundreds of students that attended the funeral of classmate David Bell, one of four Stoughton High students, along with Nick Joyce, Eryck Sarblah, and Christopher Desir, who tragically passed away in an accident this past Saturday.
On Friday afternoon, the Black Knights took the field for the third time this season and came away with a 14-5 win over rival Canton, their second win over the Bulldogs this week.
“There wasn’t a doubt in my mind they’d want to play today, I’m just so proud of these young men,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. Many of the players on the team were teammates with Bell for football or basketball.
“Going back to Monday, tip of the cap to Canton. They had ribbons and everything when we got there, and then over to Attleboro, it was their senior day but their parents were all wearing orange ribbons and they had stuff hanging up for us. The support we’ve felt from the rest of the league has been amazing. Just to see everyone come out and pick us up has been great. You’re OK one minute and then it kind of hits you, the kids and coaches included. These kids lost four friends. We were at one funeral today. It was a long day, it was a long week, but unsurprisingly these kids dug down and I was proud of them.”
Stoughton’s offense had its best game of the season, scoring a season-high 14 runs on 16 hits. The Black Knights scored in every inning except the third, scoring at least three runs in the second, fifth, and sixth innings.
Senior Ruben Gonzalez, who was teammates with Bell in both football and basketball, earned the win on the mound with two strikeouts in five innings of work. He walked four and allowed just three hits and three runs.
Matt Hadley got Stoughton’s offense going in the bottom of the first with a one-out single. A pickoff error allowed Hadley to get to third and he scored on a groundout from sophomore James Genest for a 1-0 lead after one.
The Black Knights had their best inning in the bottom of the second. Will Eckhart (walk), Cian Swierzewski (single) and Zak Paquette (error) all reached to load the bases with one out. Gonzalez and Hadley reached on back-to-back infield singles, each driving a run in to make it 3-0.
Evan Gibb drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-0 and then a single from James Genest turned into two runs. Genest’s line drive to center was misplayed, allowing both Hadley and Gibb to score but Genest was thrown out at home on a nice relay throw from shortstop Nate Quan.
Canton stuck back for two runs in the top of the third. Niko Donovan singled and then scored on a two-out inside the park home run from Matt Pigeon to cut Stoughton lead to 6-2.
Stoughton loaded the bases in the fourth inning but Canton reliever Ryan Hickey limited the damage to one run. Gonzalez (double), Hadley (single), and Gibb (walk) were on base with one out. Gonzalez scored on a sacrifice fly from Genest to make it 7-2 but Hickey got the final out to escape further damage.
Quan helped Canton cut into Stoughton’s lead with a run in the top of the fifth. Quan had a leadoff walk, took second on a walk to Tommy DiLello and scored on an RBI single up the middle from Hickey to make it 7-3.
But Stoughton was quick to respond, scoring three runs in the bottom half. Swierzewski (fielder’s choice) and Paquette (single) were on first and second with two outs before Gonzalez ripped a shot to right-center field. Gonzalez used his speed to round the bases for a three-run inside the park home run, his third, fourth, and fifth RBI of the day.
“Ruben didn’t have any RBIs coming into this week,” Armour said. “He got his first one on Monday, got another against Attleboro and then the big day today. He’s been due, he’s a heck of a ballplayer.”
Mike Konzal led off with a triple for Canton in the top of the sixth and scored on an RBI groundout from sophomore Owen Lehane. An error allowed Rob Sullivan to reach, and a throwing error brought him to third and Lucas Bryant to second. Matt Casamento drove Sullivan in with an RBI single up the middle to make it 10-5.
But the Black Knights put the game out of reach with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, all with two outs. George Currier got things going with a single and scored after a triple from Robbie Seaman. Eckhart followed up with an RBI triple of his own and scored on a single from Ryan Semler to make it 14-5.
With the win, Stoughton qualifies for the postseason by securing a 0.500 record or better. The Black Knights were already headed to the playoffs because of a second place finish in the Davenport division.
While the offense has been a constant throughout the season, Armour is excited about the progress of the pitching.
“More important our pitching is coming along,” Armour said. “Ruben’s developed into a starter for us, Evan [Gibb] has been throwing, Will [Echkart] is getting back in the mix, and Zak [Paquette] is eating a ton of innings for us. We feel we have four guys that can man the mound and that puts us in a good position for the postseason. We’re looking forward to competing.”
Stoughton baseball (9-6 Hockomock, 9-8 overall) will finish the regular season with a visit from Sharon on Wednesday. Canton finishes the season 4-15 in the Hock and 5-15 overall.