WORCESTER, Mass. – It hasn’t always been pretty for Taunton this season, but it has almost always been effective. The Tigers use a lot of arms, are aggressive on offense, and find ways to pull out wins. On Tuesday afternoon at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field on the campus of Holy Cross, Taunton showcased its will to win yet again.
Dawson Bryce drove in three runs, Ryan MacDougall and Colin Botelho combined for four scoreless innings of relief, and the Tigers pulled out an 8-4 victory over Catholic Memorial to reach the Div. 1 state title game for the second time in three seasons.
“I don’t think we have that true ace that some other teams that are this deep have,” admitted Taunton coach Blair Bourque, but what we do have is a lot of competitors and guys who compete on the mound, throw strikes, trust our defense, and they showed what they’re capable of tonight.”
He added, “I can’t say enough about the pitching staff, with the way they were swinging it we knew it was going to be a tough battle and they were up for the task.”
Taunton got off to a great start. Shawn Cali threw a perfect top of the first and the Tigers quickly got the bats going in the bottom half. Braden Sullivan lined a one-out single to get it started and MacDougall (2-for-3, two RBI) smashed a double to right to grab the lead. Bryce (3-for-4) reached on an infield hit and Allen Lewis singled to load the bases. Catcher Colby DeCouta would drive in his first run with a grounder to third.
CM responded in the second with clutch two-out hitting. Gabe Malaret led off with a single but Cali got a comebacker and a strikeout to be on the verge of getting out of the inning unscathed. After a walk, pinch hitter Brett Mulligan went the other way to score one and Conor Coulter followed suit to tie it at 2-2. Cali got his second strikeout to end the frame.
The Tigers showed off their two-out chops in the bottom of the second. CM starter Drew Delucia gave up a single to Evan Cali (2-for-3) but the leadoff man was caught trying to stretch the hit into a double. A strikeout followed and it looked like the Knights were going to have a quick inning.
Instead, Brayden Cali reached on an error and the Tigers would turn the mistake into three runs. Sullivan (2-for-4) reached on an infield single and MacDougall followed with an RBI hit. Bryce also drove in a run with a single to right. After Lewis walked to load the bases, DeCouta drew a walk to drive in his second run and put the Tigers up 5-2.
MacDougall took over on the mound to start the third and CM cut the lead to one. A pair of singles kicked off the inning and one run scored on an error, while the second came home on a double steal. MacDougall got a fly ball to right and a strikeout but a pair of walks put runners on every base. A grounder to second would end CM’s biggest threat of the day.
Following the fourth, MacDougall settled down and gave up only one infield single over two more clean innings before turning the ball over to Botelho for the sixth and seventh. It was an important stretch that allowed the game to settle down after the frenetic start.
Bourque said, “MacDougall has been our rock all year, offensively and defensively. He’s the Hock MVP for a reason. We trust him, he throws strikes, and he had a couple big RBI there. He’s a big boy and he puts us on his back.”
In the fifth, Taunton got a key insurance run again with two outs. Evan Cali turned on a pitch and lined a ball into the right field corner. He raced around on his way to third with a triple. The relay to third sailed and bounced into the CM dugout, allowing Cali to come home and double the advantage.
“We’re never out of it,” Bourque said his team’s penchant for rallying with two outs. “They’ve competed from an early age, they’re used to competing, and they’re blue collar kids who work really hard and I’m really proud of them.”
Taunton’s offense kept producing in the sixth. Brayden Cali reached on an error, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch. MacDougall was intentionally walked and Bryce made that decision a moot one by drilling a ball down the line in left, turning it into another triple and bringing in two more runs.
Botelho wouldn’t need the insurance. The senior struck out the side in the sixth and in the seventh, after allowing two runners in scoring position with no outs, he was able to settle down with a strikeout and line out. With two outs, he induced a grounder to MacDougall at first, sealing Taunton’s return to the title game.
“He was lights out today, especially in that sixth inning,” Bourque said of Botelho. “Came out and really shut them down, then we score a couple more runs to really gain the momentum. Obviously that allows a couple guys to get one without having a lot of pressure.”
Taunton (21-3) will face league rival Franklin, who beat Shrewsbury in Tuesday’s nightcap, in the final on Saturday at Lowell’s LeLacheur Park. The two teams split during the regular season, both winning on their home field, and will now get the chance to decide the season series at a neutral venue.
“Same thing we’ve done all year,” Bourque said when asked about how they would approach the final, regardless of who they matched up with. “There’s not many guys who’ve been in this spot before. We know it’s not going to be easy, we just have to go out and compete and leave it all out on the field like we’ve been doing.”
Attleboro, 1 @ King Philip, 15 – Final (5 Inn.) – King Philip got off to a great start offensively with seven runs in the first inning and never looked back in a big win over visiting Attleboro. The Bombardiers struck first in the top of the first inning but the Warriors responded with seven runs in the first, five more in the second, and three in the third to take a 15-1 verdict. The Bombardiers scored without a hit in the first, an error followed by a fielder’s choice allowed the visitors to stake the early lead. KP scored all seven of its runs in the first with two outs, getting two-run singles from each Matt Kelley and Max Robison. The Warriors added five more in the second with two outs as well with Matt DiFiore, Eli Reed, and Brendan Sencaj singling in a run each. Quin Garstka earned the win for the Warriors, allowing just one hit (leadoff single in the fourth) with no walks and five strikeouts.
Sharon, 8 @ Canton, 13 – Final – Canton exploded for six runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to pull away from Sharon, who acted as the home squad for the game. Junior Matt Chafin went 3-for-3 with a walk, scoring all four times he reached base and Jack Digirolamo (two runs, three RBI), Hayden Rose (four RBI), and Matt Quan (run, two RBI) each added two hits in the win. For Sharon, Will Hippler went 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs and two RBI and both Conbor Blaney and Eli Greenfield drove in a pair of runs for the Eagles. Junior Alex Coughlin pitched well in relief for Sharon, allowing one run on four hits and one walk, striking out three in 2.2 innings out of the pen.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Foxboro, 9 – Final – Foxboro made it five straight wins with a 9-1 decision over visiting Oliver Ames, making it four straight games the Warriors have limited the opposition to just a single run. Sean O’Leary earned the win on the mound for the Warriors, allowing just one run on two hits and three walks, striking out eight for the win. Matheiu Sullivan had one of his best performances of the season, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings in relief with a pair of strikeouts. The Warriors wasted little time to get the offense going, plating five runs in the first inning before tacking on insurance runs in the fifth (three) and the sixth (one) innings. Ryan LeClair tripled on Foxboro’s second at-bat, driving in Jack Watts, and then scored on a single from O’Leary. Sophomore Tyler Prescott had an RBI single and then Louis Carangelo (double) and Prescott both came around to score on separate wild pitches. Kenny Mello and Mike Marcucella each added an RBI single in the fifth and Tom Marcucella had a sac fly in the sixth. OA’s Jake Waxman smacked a solo home run in the fourth for OA’s first hit of the game.
Franklin, 12 @ Milford, 0 – Final (5 inn.) – Holding a 3-0 lead after four innings, Franklin found its groove in the fifth and exploded for nine runs to secure a win at Fino Field. Eisig Chin had an RBI double early in the fifth, Evan Raider blasted a two-run triple, and Jacob Crisileo had a two-out RBI triple to give the Panthers a 12-0 lead. Jack Marino (two RBI, run) Jase Lyons (two runs, RBI), and Joe Tirrell (two RBI) also had two hits for the Panthers. James Kuczmiec tossed a five-inning complete game shutout for the Panthers, allowing a pair of hits and walks to go along with four strikeouts to get the win. Sophomore Keith Lee went 2-for-2 for the Scarlet Hawks.
Mansfield, 0 @ Taunton, 6 – Final – Ryan MacDougall, Colin Botelho, and Dawson Bryce combined to toss a shutout as Taunton avenged a loss to Mansfield from earlier this year with a 6-0 verdict at home. MacDougall got the win, scattering four hits and three walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts. Botelho (one hit) and Bryce (one walk, one strikeout) each pitched a scoreless inning in relief to help the Tigers close out the win. After MacDougall pitched out of a bases loaded situation in the top of the first, Taunton took the lead with one run in the bottom half. MacDougall hit a two-out double and scored when Bryce got a hit to fall into right. Braden Sullivan led off the third with a triple and scored on a single from MacDougall, AJ Lewis added an RBI double and Shawn Cali singled in a third run for Taunton to make it 4-0. Botelho knocked in a run with a single to right in the sixth and Lewis grabbed another RBI with a single to right.
Stoughton, 3 @ North Attleboro, 6 – Final – Stoughton pushed across three runs in the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead but North responded with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to get the win and clinch the Davenport division title outright. Christian Bates earned a leadoff walk, stole second, took third on an error, and scored the tying run on a single from Kyle Conroy. Tyler DeMattio added an RBI double to put the Rocketeers ahead, and Dillon Harding brought in two runs after reaching on an error to make it 6-3. Tyler Bannon earned the win for North, allowing three runs on four hits and no walks, striking out nine in a complete game effort. Derek Maceda and Danny Curran each added two hits in the win for North. Jonah Ly went 2-for-3 with an RBI for Stoughton while Anthony Tilton and Dom Belle each drove in a run.
King Philip, 7 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – King Philip earned a shutout win on the road over Attleboro to clinch the Kelley-Rex division title for the first time since 2018. Sophomore Jordan Bennett had another stellar outing in the circle, allowing just three hits and one walk, striking out eight in a complete game shutout effort for the win. The Warriors pushed a pair of runs across the plate in the second and went on to score in each of the next three innings, punctuated with a three-run fifth. Mia Bennett opened the scoring with an RBI double and Maddie Paschke followed with an RBI single up the middle for a 2-0 lead. Ava Lanza drove in a run in the third to make it 3-0 and Bennett dropped a squeeze bunt down in the fourth to plate Taylor Regan. Meg Sherwood extended KP’s lead with an RBI single to right to bring Sarah Cullen home, and then Regan followed with her second hit of the day, a line drive single to right to bring both Ava Kelley and Lanza home.
Sharon, 2 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Taylor Reynolds had two hits and an RBI, Emily Ciampa had a hit and an RBI, and Gillian Gordon scored a run as Canton secured a close win over visiting Sharon. Jessica Vo had a solid game defensively in right for the Bulldogs, and Sophia Santos was the winning pitcher, striking out four. For Sharon, Ally Foulsham had two hits, Ciara McAuliffe played a strong game defensively behind the plate, and Trinity Payne struck out six in four innings of work.
Foxboro, 12 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final (6 inn.) – Foxboro exploded for eight runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back in a win on the road at Oliver Ames, earning a season sweep of the Tigers. Freshman Vittoria Cuscia tossed a complete game shutout for the Warriors with three strikeouts, and helped her cause at the plate with a hit and an RBI. Peyton Feldman went 3-for-5 from the leadoff spot with three runs scored and two RBI, Allie Willis added two RBI, and Natalia Leach drove in three runs for the Warriors.
Milford, 2 @ Franklin, 10 – Final – Milford jumped ahead with two runs in the top of the third but Franklin quickly responded with seven runs in the bottom half and went on to secure a big win over the visiting Scarlet Hawks. Sophomore Camille Bonina launched a two-run home run in the top of the third to put Milford ahead 2-1. In the bottom half, Franklin had its first five batters reach base including a two-run double from Hailey Fales as the Panthers jumped back ahead 4-2. Avery Chalk and Dana Stott had back-to-back RBI singles and Katy Liberman smacked a two-out, two-run double to push Franklin’s lead to 8-2. Junior Kiera Kotwicki earned the win for the Panthers, allowing two runs on seven hits and no walks, striking out four in a complete game effort.
Taunton, 13 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final (6 Inn.) – Taunton bounced back after losing two of its last three games by picking up a big win at Mansfield. The Tigers finished with 19 hits as a team, including nine extra-base hits, and scored five runs in the second and four in the third to break the game open. Ava Venturelli was 2-for-5 with a homer, a double, and four RBI, while Kaysie DeMoura also was 2-for-5 with a homer and drove in three. Taunton got good production from the bottom of the order, including Kylie Thorpe, who was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. Liv Mendonca and Cate Larson combined to pick up the win. The Hornets got their lone run in the third inning. Amanda Schwarz singled and courtesy runner Sydney Fernando took second on a wild pitch before crossing the plate on a Callie Lake double. Mansfield finished with seven hits as a team.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final (8 Inn.) – Freshman Maryellen Charette drove in the game-winning run in the top of the eighth and Kelly Colleran made it stand up by striking out the side in the bottom half to secure the win and clinch the outright league title for North. Zoey McDonough started the winning rally with an infield hit and took second on the throw. Shaelyn Burns singled to move McDonough to third and Charette followed with a hit of her own to bring in the go-ahead run. Colleran went the distance in the circle and struck out 16 hitters. Charette, Burns, and Grace Simmons each had two hits, while Colleran scored twice and McDonough had a pair of RBI.
Canton, 9 @ Sharon, 12 – Final
King Philip, 10 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 9 – Final (3 OT)
Franklin, 11 vs. Longmeadow, 16 – Final
Attleboro, 3 @ Bridgewater-Raynham, 12 – Final
Sharon, 2 @ Canton, 15 – Final – Canton had seven different scorers to pick up its 10th win of the season, sweeping the season series with the Eagles. Emily McCabe was the spark plug for the Bulldogs, scoring five goals. Ella Yeaton added a hat trick for Canton and Elyse Broderick made nine saves. Bailey Garte scored both of Sharon’s goals and Tess Letendre had a big game, making 14 saves in the loss.
Franklin, 9 vs. Notre Dame Academy, 7 – Final
Foxboro, 11 @ Natick, 8 – Final – Foxboro pulled out a big non-league win at Natick to build momentum for the postseason. Val Beigel led the Warriors with four goals and Paige Curran finished with a hat trick and four assists. Mary Collins added two goals and an assist, while Cate Noone and Grace Riley each found the back of the net once. Mya Waryas had an assist and Audrey Campbell made nine stops in the win.
King Philip, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Behind a pair of single wins and one from doubles action, King Philip went on the road and picked up a win over Attleboro. Jonathan Cohen took care of business with a 6-1, 6-3 win at second singles and Jackson Hom captured a 6-1, 6-2 victory at third singles for the Warriors. The team of Leo Manning and Arjun Kullo added KP’s third point, getting a 6-1, 6-2 win at second doubles. Attleboro’s Kyle Neuendorf grabbed a 6-3, 6-2 win at first singles and the duo of Tyler Rocchio and Evan Sousa earned a 7-6, 6-3 win at first doubles.
Sharon, 3 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Sharon swept both doubles matches and added another win from third singles to fend off host Canton. Jacob Stavsky earned a 6-0, 6-0 third singles win, the team of Ruemon Bhattacharyya and Mitch Weiss earned a 6-0, 6-0 first singles victory, and the team of Hyojae Park and Sava Kassev emerged from second doubles with a 6-1, 6-4 verdict. Canton sophomore Max Kupferman and senior Suraj Ramanathan both continued their strong seasons with wins at first singles (6-4, 6-2) and second singles (6-1, 6-1), respectively.
Foxboro, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 3 – Final
Milford, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Franklin’s experience was on full display as the Panthers used five seniors in the lineup to knock off visiting Milford. Senior Vayshnav Malhotra and senior Sameen Shaik both won 6-0, 6-0 at first and second singles, respectively, while senior Drew Mahoney earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The senior tandem of Thomas Broyles and Tyler Fitzpatrick captured a 6-2, 6-0 win at first doubles and Franklin’s sophomore pairing of Ahan Shetty and Jay Gorgas captured a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Mansfield used a trio of underclassman to sweep singles action and added a fourth point in a win at second doubles to defend home court against Taunton. Freshman Neema Khosravani captured a 6-3, 6-1 win at first singles, while sophomores Iniyan Karruppusami and Nikhil Nain both won 6-0, 6-0 at second and third singles, respectively. The tandem of Jesse Colchamiro and sophomore Dhruv Jain added a 6-1, 6-0 second doubles win for the Hornets. Taunton’s first doubles pairing of senior Andrew Letourneau and junior Derek Deseault battled to a 6-3, 5-7, 10-8 win.
North Attleboro, 3 @ Stoughton, 2 – Final – Behind a three-set victory at first doubles, North Attleboro returned home from Stoughton the victorious side of a 3-2 match. Junior Griffin Rodden and sophomore Quinn DiFiore won the first set but Stoughton took the second, sending it to a third set. Rodden and DiFiore had their best set of the match and prevailed with the win (6-4, 4-6, 6-1). North senior Will Folan captured a 6-0, 6-2 win at first singles and junior Brody Carter took a 6-1, 6-0 verdict at second singles. Stoughton senior Anish Sinha earned a 6-4, 6-3 win at third singles.
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – In a battle of two of the top teams in the Kelley-Rex division, King Philip took a clean sweep over visiting Attleboro. Ahunna James (6-4, 6-1), Shea Mellman (6-0, 6-0), and Caroline Freese (6-1, 6-2) swept the singles matches for the Warriors. Resha Ajoy teamed up with Lauren Casper and emerged from a 90-minute battle to take a 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 victory at first doubles, and the pairing of Priya Riar and Carlie Burns used their strong chemistry to capture a 6-2, 6-2 win at second doubles for KP.
Canton, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final – Sharon took three matches in straight sets and two more in third-set tiebreakers to earn a 5-0 sweep of visiting Canton. In a great battle at first singles, sophomore Navya Shukla emerged with a hard-fought win over Canton freshman Camila Cutter (7-5, 4-6, 10-8). Sharon’s Sophia Oh and Ritu Sreeram also prevailed in a tiebreaker, taking a win at first doubles (6-2, 4-6, 10-6). Sharon’s Ale Aguilar won 6-2, 6-4 at second singles, Judy Song added a 6-0, 6-0 sweep at third singles, and Jenny Sand teamed up with Alina Hou for a 6-1, 6-2 second doubles victory.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames swept both doubles matches and got a key win in singles action from a senior to take a 3-2 verdict on the road at Foxboro. Senior Elizabeth O’Brien played a very smart and consistent match to take a 6-2, 6-2 win at third singles for the Tigers’ lone point in singles action. The senior pairing of Morgan Vasiliou and Caroline Peper were strong at the net in a 6-3, 6-2 win and the duo of Marina Mierzwinski and Olivia Querzoli also won in straight sets (6-3, 6-3) for OA. Foxboro’s Athena Li continued to shine at first singles with a 6-0, 6-0 win while Hailey Kornbluth took a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles for the Warriors.
Franklin, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – Franklin took all five matches in straight sets to take down Milford and stay in first place in the Kelley-Rex division with three matches to go. Izzy Trull (6-2, 6-1) Chloe Essum (6-3, 6-2), and Sarah Schiavo (6-1, 6-2) swept the three singles matches for the Panthers while Vedika Vinayak and Lexy Winkler secured a 6-2, 6-3 win at first doubles, and Amulya Jayam and Nihara Lijan captured a 6-4, 6-4 win at second doubles.
Mansfield, 0 @ Taunton, 5 – Final
Stoughton @ North Attleboro, 3:45
King Philip @ Millis, 6:00
Milford @ Medfield, 6:00
2021 Record: 5-11 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Steve Dunlea
With a good mix of new faces and experienced veterans, Attleboro is aiming to be in the mix of a loaded Kelley-Rex division. For the Bombardiers, it will lean heavily on a deep pitching staff.
It starts with seniors Billy Saltmarsh, who is committed to UMass Dartmouth, and Cian Kelleher, who is committed to Stonehill. They’ll be joined in the rotation by junior lefty Danny Johnson while senior Jamie Bloch and junior Sean O’Hara lend strength to the relief corps. Sophomore Matt Harvie, sophomore Johnny Pagano, and freshman Tyler Dunlea will also be in the mix to see innings on the mound.
Senior captain Owen Taber (UMass Dartmouth) will be an anchor of the Bombardier defense at second base while juniors Peter DelPozzo and Cooper Johnson, along with Pagano, look to fill in at shortstop as senior captain Evan Houle works his way back from an injury from basketball season. Johnson, DelPozzo, and Dunlea are in the mix for the starting job at third while Bloch (committed to UMaine Farmington) and Christian Dame provide depth at first base.
In the outfield, senior Nate George will cover a lot of ground from his spot in centerfield, and the Bombardiers will rotate between Parket Sacket, Hayden Hagerty, Ben Hochwarter, Danny Johnson, Brody McKenna, and Harvie for the other two outfielder spots. Junior Aidan Hochwarter provides a steady presence both at the dish and behind the plate at catcher.
“The strength of this team is its chemistry,” said Attleboro head coach Steve Dunlea. “We have a great group of returning players who have really worked hard to build a team bond through the pandemic. I give a lot of credit to the captains from last year and this year. Despite the challenges they faced with COVID, they were able to rebuild the chemistry of the Attleboro baseball program that was lost when the 2020 season was canceled.”
2021 Record: 8-7 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Ben Shuffain
Canton got off to a great start to the 2021 campaign, winning six of their first seven games but ended up with a first-round exit in the playoffs. With a strong core of returning players plus a couple of promising young players, the Bulldogs are aiming to get back to the postseason again this season.
The Bulldogs certainly have some holes to fill with the loss of a talented senior class and the departure of ace Andrew Middleton. Fourth-year head coach Ben Shuffain will lean on captains Andy Butler and Matt Chafin to lead the charge this season, along with three-year players Nico Bonanno, Matt Quan, and Zach Peters. Chafin was one of the best offensive players in the league last year, finishing second with a 0.442 average.
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Shuffain has a lot of options for pitching, with at least a dozen choices to fill out the rotation and relief corps. Jay Kelleher, Hayden Rose, and Owen Lane will all be in the mix for innings on the mound. Matty Lesser, James Young, Jack Digirolomo, and freshman Kyle Redquest will work the infield while the catching duties will fall to Sean Sullivan and Matt Hart.
“We are a very experienced team with a lot of guys with a lot of innings pitched from last season and wins under their belt,” Shuffain said. “With a few of last year’s backups moving into starting roles and the addition of a few younger guys and the experienced upperclassmen this team should have a good season as they will continue to work hard on the field and in the weight room.”
2021 Record: 5-10 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Preliminary Round Coach: Derek Suess
Foxboro has some of the top returning talents in the league but will look for some of its younger players to provide the depth needed to compete for a division title this season.
Junior captain Sean O’Leary is one of the top arms in the league and has a lot of varsity experience under his belt already. He will be the ace of the staff that will also feature junior Mathieu Sullivan, who made his varsity debut last season, and freshman Nolan Gordon, who has impressed during the preseason. Pitching depth will come from seniors Andrew Peterson, Tom Marcucella, Liam Mulkern, and junior Alex Stern.
Senior captain Tom Marcucella is one of the most experienced players in the league and his versatility gives head coach Derek Suess a lot of options in the infield. Marcucella can play at any of the four infield spots but will spend the majority of his time at first base. Junior Ryan LeClair is back in the mix at shortstop after a breakout season a year ago, sophomore Tyler Prescott is back for his second year with the squad, and freshman Ryan O’Leary offers a solid bat and glove. Senior Kyle Smith and junior Josh Connolly provide solid depth in the infield.
Senior captain and three-sport star Jack Watts will patrol center field for the Warriors and will be flanked by juniors Kenny Mello and Louis Carangelo, all three looking to make an impact with their bats this season. When not pitching, Gordon will also be in the mix for some innings in the outfield and sophomore Shane Henri gives Suess another solid option. Mulkern is the starting catcher with freshmen Ben Angelini and Mike Marcucella in the mix as well.
“We have great leadership from our captains and upperclassmen which has set the tone for the rest of our guys,” Suess said. “The underclassmen have bought in and can contribute right away. We must embrace the daunting challenge of playing in the Hock, and compete with confidence to give ourselves the best chance to reach our goals.”
2021 Record: 16-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final Coach: Zach Brown
Franklin graduated some of the best players in the league after last season, but the Panthers still have a loaded lineup and a deep and talented pitching staff that could result in a very deep playoff run.
Not many teams could lose one of the best hitters in the league (Nate Cooke, 0.429) and one of the best catchers in the league (Jake Fitzgibbons, 0.353) and still boast one of the best lineups in the league but that’s how deep the Panthers are. Jack Marino, Ben Jarosz, and Chris Goode were all among the league leaders offensively a season ago, and Franklin also has sophomore Henry Digiorgio and junior Eisig Chin back after picking up a year of varsity experience. Junior Ryan Gerety, a Northeastern commit, is one of the best fielders in the region and is very dangerous at the plate.
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And after surrendering a league-low 40 runs last season, Franklin returns its entire rotation. Jacob Jette had a great junior season and will be one of the best pitchers in the Hock while junior Alfred Mucciarone will look to build upon a solid sophomore campaign. Relievers James Kuczmiec and Ethan Voellmicke dominated last season, coming in time after time and shutting opponents down.
2021 Record: 8-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Jeff Plympton, Jr.
It was a good start for head coach Jeff Plympton as the Warriors won eight games last season and went to the playoffs, bowing out to eventual state champions Xaverian.
King Philip has the majority of its lineup back and will be looking to make some noise in a very competitive Kelley-Rex division. After averaging almost five runs a game last year, the Warriors have some key bats back in the lineup this year. Senior Shawn Legere is a returning league all star that starts at shortstop and is coming off a season in which he hit 0.386 and scored a league-best 16 runs. Rudy Gately had a breakout sophomore season and will be a key bat in the lineup again this year.
Gately will also be a go-to option on the mound for Plympton after going 4-0 last season, striking out 33 in 34.1 innings of work with an impressive 1.03 ERA. Tommy Martorano also gained a lot of experience last year as a sophomore and will give the Warriors a solid 1-2 punch for its starting rotation.
“We have a lot of arms to roll out if we need them which is great,” Plympton said. “Shawn Legere provides great leadership to the team and demands hard work at practice and games. Our fielding should be strong this year but I’m looking forward to watching our offense. Last year we struggled at the plate but this year looks promising. Last season we notched our first playoff win in over a decade and we look to keep those strides moving forward this year.”
2021 Record: 8-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Chris Hall
With a talented and experienced pitching staff and a list of players eager to make a name for themselves at the dish, Mansfield enters the season with the goal of challenging for the Kelley-Rex division title.
The Hornets were young last spring, and a lot of players earned their first varsity starts on the mound and at-bats. Mansfield has the majority of its team back and will be looking to turn that valuable experience into a successful 2022 campaign. They certainly aren’t shying away from testing that talent with defending state champions Xaverian, Maryland powerhouse Archbishop Spalding, and other top teams on its schedule along with a loaded Hock schedule.
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Seniors Anthony Sacchetti, Aaron Blinn, Jimmy Gilleran, and Colby Geddis highlight a deep and talented pitching staff for the Hornets. All of those arms got their feet wet during last year’s season and now give head coach Chris Hall a lot of flexibility with his rotation. There won’t be a drop off as the games go on with four solid options.
The big challenge for the Hornets a season ago was offense, scoring a division low 57 runs. With a strong offseason under their belts, there are a lot of names eager to step up and improve that number. Sacchetti, Gilleran, Geddis, and classmates Andrew Slaney and Jared Fraone will try to lead the way while juniors Conner Zukowski, Sam Martin, Caden Colby, Aidan Jones, and Rocco Scarpellini are all in the mix. Sophomores Connor Curtis and Jake Maydak both played varsity last year and could be impact players right away. Behind the dish, Aidan Jones and Wyatt Bolduc are battling for the starting spot at catcher after the Hornets lost senior Liam Anastasia to an injury.
“The keys to success this season rely heavily on every player doing their job,” Hall said. “The Hornets bring a well-rounded roster to the table and expect to compete all season long. Pitching and defense continue to be a strength for the Hornets. Offensively, the Hornets look to use a variety of talent to score runs and win baseball games.”
2021 Record: 5-9 2021 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Alex Dion
There were some growing pains for the Hawks a season ago with a young squad, but with just five players graduated from a year ago, the Hawks are hoping to be a contender in a deep Kelley-Rex division.
Head coach Alex Dion plans to get contributions from all four classes this season, starting with a strong group of seniors that cover the field. Tyler Lane and Grant Scudo will see time in the outfield, Justin Luchini mans first base, Alex McColl can play in a number of spots in the infield, Cole Forrest is a versatile weapon, and John Denegris is an option on the mound.
The rotation will be anchored by junior Evan Cornelius, junior Tyler Caldon, and sophomore Anthony LaPierre. Cornelius started every game for the Hawks last season and will play at first when he’s not on the mound. Caldon and LaPierre, both right-handed pitchers, are up from the JV squad and have impressed in the early going.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Offensively, sophomore Keith Lee picked up valuable experience after starting nine games as a freshman last season. He will start behind the dish and be one of the most important bats in the lineup. Sophomores Damien Carter and Sean McGee also started last season and will make up Milford’s middle infield.
“I am excited about the potential that this group has,” Dion said. “With strong senior leadership and varsity players in all four grades we have an opportunity to compete this year and for years to come. This is a great league and I have a lot of respect for the other teams in it. It starts on the mound and if we can get quality pitching out of the arms that we have here we have a chance to compete. We will have to win games in a variety of ways and I believe that we have the athletes to do that.”
2021 Record: 12-5 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal Coach: Mike Hart
After splitting the division title a season ago, the Rocketeers enter the 2022 campaign with a chance at winning back-to-back division titles for the first time in 30 years.
Replacing ace Dennis Colleran won’t be easy but North Attleboro has some solid arms on the mound including senior Danny Curran and senior David Floyd, who missed last season. Curran went 2-0 last year and struck out 22 in 23 innings of work with a 3.65 ERA. Head coach Mike Hart also has pitching options in senior Anthony Wescott, and juniors Jordan Paradis, Derek Maceda, and Ayden Delaney.
One of the big reasons the Rocketeers had such success last season was their offense, which scored a Davenport division 110 runs. Maceda was one of the best bats in the league and will patrol the outfield for the Big Red along with Curran, Paradis, and senior Christian Bates. In the infield, Floyd will be joined by classmates Brody Rosenberg, Gavin Wells, and Nik Kojoian, and senior Tyler Bannon will patrol shortstop. Junior Aidan Conrad had a breakout season starting behind the dish a year ago.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
“We’re going to look to put a lot of pressure on other teams offensively,” Hart said. “We have many capable pitchers who can provide quality innings. We feel our defense will limit mistakes and not give many runs away. If we want to have a successful season we will need contributions from everybody on the roster on a daily basis. We will rely on our senior leadership and experience to guide us through the season. We need guys to excel in their role and focus on the job at hand.”
2021 Record: 9-6 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Joe Abarr
After earning a share of the Davenport title last season, the Tigers have the pieces in place to make another run at the division crown this year.
A combination of veterans and new faces eager to make an impression gives head coach Joe Abarr a nice mix to work with. Offensively, the Tigers will look for their senior captains to lead the way. Jake Waxman will play first base and potentially some outfield and is one of the best bats in the Hockomock League while Joe Cicchetti could also see time at first as well as the outfield, and is a strong two-way player. Patrick Finnerty is back in the mix after a strong junior season.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
On the mound, OA has a pair of lefties at the top of the rotation. Nick Clark (3-0, 2.78, 32K) and Jack Richardson (2-2, 2.07, 21K) are both coming off great junior seasons and will give the Tigers a solid 1-2 punch on the mound this year. Richardson will also see time in the outfield and will be a key piece of the lineup offensively.
“We have a good mix of returners and young talented players looking for opportunities to help our team win,” Abarr said. “We are excited for a full ‘normal’ season back in the Hock.”
2021 Record: 3-12 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round Coach: Andrew Poliferno
Sharon enters the season with a roster eager to compete among the Hockomock League’s top teams, but the Eagles will have to do so all on the road this season. With the construction of the new high school currently underway where Sharon’s field was, it will be all road trips for the Eagles this season.
It will start with the 10 seniors on the team, including captains Dan Okstein and Dylan Labbe. Okstein is back after an injury limited his time a year ago and will be a key piece in the lineup offensively. He will be the anchor of the outfield, playing mostly in left but could also see time in center. Labbe has a ton of varsity experience and will be the ace of the pitching staff this year. Also on the mound returns sophomore Luke Meixel, one of the league’s breakout players last year as a freshman. junior Alex Coughlin, Ryan Baker, Zach Loomis, Jack Broughton, and Okstein will also be in the mix for innings on the mound.
Offensively, Nate Yaffe is back after a great year at the dish a year ago and will take over at shortstop. Not only is Yaffe consistent with the bat, but he’s also very dangerous on the base paths. Another speedy option at the dish will be Palash Raina and the Eagles are hoping to get key contributions at the plate from Okstein and varsity newcomer Connor Blaney. Liam Conway takes over behind the dish and Will Hippler, Owen Kevorkian, Eli Greenfield, Josh Tolentino, and Jake Loomis are all in the mix for spots in the lineup as well.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
“As a second-year varsity coach, I couldn’t be prouder to see how ready our players are to play their 2022 season,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Poliferno. “It is evident our players worked hard during the off-season to prepare to compete in the Hockomock. Our players are gritty, determined, and not afraid to put in the hard work that it takes to improve. In addition to their drive to succeed, the team vibe is positive and players go out of their way to encourage one another. I believe we have the makings of a very talented and passionate group of players ready to make noise for their 2022 season.”
2021 Record: 4-10 2021 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Kevin Carty
There will be a lot of new faces in the Stoughton lineup this season, and that goes for the dugout too as Kevin Carty takes over for Mike Armour, who was the longest-tenured coach in the Hockomock League.
Carty is going to lean heavily on his seniors, who make up over half of the Knights’ roster. There is a lot of versatility among the senior class as well with players like Joe McNulty and Jonah Ly, who could see time in the outfield, the infield, on the mound, and in McNulty’s case, even behind the dish. Brad Franey, Anthony Girolamo, Anthony Tilton, James Price, and Owen Wiesnberger are all seniors that are in the mix for infield spots.
Girolamo, Ly, and Price will be joined by sophomore Will Worsley, junior Jeriel Cuello, junior Sean Farley, junior Joe Rush, and sophomore Hunter Malkin as options on the mound for Carty.
“We have a deep group of seniors that will carry us this year,” Carty said. “These seniors are very athletic and can play anywhere on the field. They have the ability to be great leaders for the younger players. We will go as far as they carry us.”
2021 Record: 13-5 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Blair Bourque
Replacing a league MVP is never an easy task as the Tigers have to do with Danny MacDougall, but Taunton has a lot of depth and a lot of new faces looking to make a name for themselves as they help Taunton challenge for the Kelley-Rex title.
The strength of the 2022 Tigers will be offense and defense. Taunton has already lost some pitchers to injury so it will be a group effort on the mound this season. Coming off a season in which they scored 119 runs (nearly 7 runs a game), the offense will once again be a key component. Dawson Bryce had a breakout year after hitting 0.341 and driving in 12 runs a season ago, and junior Ryan MacDougall is one of the best power hitters in the league.
Seniors Evan Cali, Colby DeCouta, Colin Botelho, and junior Braden Sullivan are all very experienced at the varsity level and head coach Blair Bourque will lean on their leadership this season.
“Unlike in years past, we don’t have any true pitchers; our pitching staff consists of position players who will need to step up and give us an opportunity to compete,” Bourque said.”Offensively, we’ll look to have productive at-bats, be patient, and take advantage of mistakes. We should have one of the more productive offenses Taunton has had in some time. Although we’ll continue to play fundamental baseball, we hope to be able to capitalize when opportunity presents itself.”