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.
Mansfield, 4 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Franklin junior Liam Dailey shined in relief, tossing four shutout innings to help the Panthers edge visiting Mansfield. The Hornets scored four runs over the first three innings but Dailey was nearly flawless in his four innings of work, allowing no hits, runs, or walks, striking out one with one hit batter. Mansfield went up 1-0 in the top of the second but Franklin responded with two runs in the bottom half. Dan Markowski knocked in Cooper Ross (2-for-3, run) to tie it, and Brennan Rivera plated JB Floris (2-for-2, RBI, run) to make it 2-1. Dan Saraceno blasted a two-run home run in the top of the third, highlighting a three-run inning for the Hornets. But once again, Franklin had an answer with three runs of its own. Jake Macchi plated two with a double to tie the game, and Floris brought Macchi home with a sacrifice fly for the winning-run.
Attleboro, 4 vs. Bishop Feehan, 3 – Final – Bishop Feehan loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with the chance to take the lead but Attleboro senior Ryan Morry came on in relief and escaped the jam and set the Shamrocks down in order in the seventh to earn the save, securing the Bombardiers win. Junior Max Amaral pitched five innings for Attleboro, scattering three hits with one run allowed in his first varsity start. Senior Mason Houle paced the offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Troy Gamache (RBI), Bailey Camacho (double, run), Tim Callahan, and Robbie Furtado each had a hit for Attleboro.
Canton, 2 @ Franklin, 3 – Final (8 inn.) – Franklin senior Cooper Ross drove in the game-winning in the bottom of the eighth inning, his second RBI of the game, to give the Panthers a walkoff win over Canton. Ross singled in classmate Alex Haba, who singled and stole second to get in scoring position. Canton scored in the first inning off an RBI double from Matt Pigeon but Franklin took the lead away with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Scott Elliott drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a double from Haba. Jake Macchi brought the first run home with a sacrifice fly, and Haba scored when Ross reached on an error. Brennan Rivera earned the win for the Panthers, striking out eight in a complete game effort. Rivera walked just one batter (the first of the game) and scattered four hits.
Sharon, 0 @ Mansfield, 13 – Final – Leading 1-0 through two innings, Mansfield plated five runs in the third, three more in the fourth, and four in the fifth to earn a win over visiting Sharon. Hornet senior Jake Gerraughty had a pair of hits, two walks, three runs scored and an RBI to pace Mansfield’s offense, which totaled 11 hits. Dan Saraceno, Eric Longley, and Nick Dumouchel each knocked in two runs for Mansfield. Gerraughty earned the win on the mound, allowing just one hit and three walks in six innings of work, striking out five. Sharon sophomore Justin Brown reached base three times, getting one hit and walking twice
Attleboro, 0 @ Bishop Feehan, 13 – Final
Sharon, 11 @ Ursuline Academy, 10 – Final – Sharon freshman Trinity Payne launched a three-run home run to help the Eagles earn a win on the road.
Milford, 14 vs. Framingham, 2 – Final (6 inn.) – Milford’s April Swain made her season debut starting in the circle and also had a strong day at the plate to help the Scarlet Hawks break into the win column. Swain struck out five in a complete game effort, and then went 3-for-4 at the plate (double, triple) with four RBI and two runs scored. Lucy Creedon added three hits, including a double and a triple, and two RBI, Amanda Wenckus added a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored, and Elise Fauerbach went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Brockton, 2 – Final – Oliver Ames freshman Kylah Ganesh prevailed in a tight match at first singles, earning a 6-4, 7-5 win to help the Tigers get their first win of the season. Junior Yusaf Hameed picked up a 6-0, 6-4 win at second singles for OA.
Milford, 1 vs. Medway. 4 – Final
Taunton, 4 @ Durfee, 1 – Final – Taunton picked up a non-league win on the road over Durfee. Brett Beaulieu won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles while Charlie Fiske earned a comeback win at second singles, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. The team of Ryan Hebert and Alex Pugh didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles while Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard prevailed 6-1, 7-6 at second doubles.
Franklin, 4 @ Canton, 1 – Final – Franklin swept doubles play and won two more matches in singles action to pick up a win on the road. Sophomore Liam Marr won 6-3, 6-2 at first singles and junior Rohan Herur won 6-2, 6-1 at second singles. The team of Saketh Saripalli and Vayshnav Malhotra won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles while Shoumik Sompally teamed up with Shoyaib Shaik for a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles. Canton’s Ethan Nguyen 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 at third singles.
Mansfield, 3 @ Sharon, 2 – Final – Mansfield earned one win in singles action and swept doubles play to stun a shorthanded Eagles squad. Luke Nickerson won 4-1, injury/ret. at first singles, the team of Max Bank and Sethu Odayappan won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles, and Nilay Pangrekar and Sam Donellan earned a 6-3, 6-3 win at second doubles. Sharon’s Rueman Bhattacharyya won 6-0, 6-1 at second singles and Max Brody picked up a 6-4, 7-5 win at third singles.
Taunton, 5 vs. Durfee, 0 – Final – Taunton won all five matches in straight sets, defending home court against Durfee. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, McKenzie Lucie earned a 6-2, 6-1 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca emerged with a 6-0, 6-1 win from third singles. Sam Martin and Brian Fevrier picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at first doubles while Ogechi Ariguzo and Cayeesha Charles-Marc secured a 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles.
Canton, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final – Canton lost a total of just one game in singles action on its way to a sweep on the road over Franklin. Rachel Kuperfman (first singles) and Natalie Keppler (second) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Sarah Hernandez earned a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Jamie Cree pulled out a 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 win at first doubles while Alexis Newton and Simela Donovan won 6-0, 6-1 at second doubles.
Sharon, 5 @ Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final – The Eagles dropped just four games total in the entire match, dominating the Shamrocks for a win. Nupur Shukla (first) and Valeria Barajas (second) each won 6-0, 6-0 in singles action while Charlie Martinez earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Sophia Fein and Sachi Basin won 6-0, 6-1 at first doubles, and Lauren Glass and Makaila Cheung teamed up for a 6-2, 2-0 (ret.) win at second doubles.
Boys Outdoor Track
Oliver Ames, 78 @ Taunton, 58 – Final – Zane Reservitz and Aaron MacDonald each had a pair of first place finishes to pace Oliver Ames to a win over Taunton. Reservitz took first in the 800M (2:05.0) and the 1 Mile (4:58.0) while MacDonal crossed first in the 400M (52.0) and won the long jump (20’3′). Other first place finishes for the road Tigers included Sean Flaherty (110M hurdles, 17.8), Kyle Sarney (2 mile, 10:34.8), Ryan Hilliard (triple jump, 41’0″), Jared Mileika (javelin, 139’0″), and Anthony DeCosta (discus, 108’1″).
Girls Outdoor Track
Oliver Ames, 57 @ Taunton, 79 – Final
Taunton, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip rallied from an 0-2 deficit to stun the visiting Tigers with a 3-2 (23-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-12) win. “It was such a great game to watch I’m so proud of the boys,” said KP head coach Emily Tkowski. “The team had great chemistry and never gave up, as a coach I couldn’t ask for anything else.” Max Armour had 14 digs and added five kills while Kyle Desrochers paced the defense with 19 digs.
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).
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Mansfield junior John Carney pitched a complete game shutout and scored the game’s lone run to help the Hornets open the season with a win. Carney allowed just two hits without issuing a walk, striking out six to get the win. In the second inning, Carney singled and moved to third on a double by Eric Longley (2-for-2). Carney then scored the lone run on a passed ball. Attleboro’s Eoin Kelleher only allowed two four hits in 5.2 innings of work, striking out four with one walk. Sam Larkin had a double (and a terrific catch in right field) and Mason Houle had a single for Attleboro.
Canton, 14 @ Foxboro, 12 – Final – In a game dominated by offense, Canton prevailed with a 14-12 victory over Foxboro. The Bulldogs scored three runs in each the first, third, and fourth innings, and then tacked on five runs in the top of the fifth to take a 14-5 lead. Foxboro scored two runs in the first, three runs in the third, and rallied for seven runs in the fifth to make it a two-run game. Canton sophomore Steven Burbank went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored while sophomore Matt Connolly had three hits, three RBI, and three runs scored. Junior Nate Quan added two hits and four RBI for the Bulldogs. Foxboro junior Kyle McGinnis went 3-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored, Michael Devlin was 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored, and Adam Lanctot added two hits, two RBI and a run scored for the Warriors. Phil Thomas pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Foxboro.
Franklin, 11 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Franklin opened its season in style with an 11-1 win on the road against King Philip. Junior Brennan Rivera earned the win on the mound, scattering five hits with no walks over six innings of work. Rivera also struck out three without allowing an earned run. Jack Nally had two hits — a double and a triple — with two RBI and three runs scored while Scott Elliott added three hits, an RBI and a run scored. Alex Haba (RBI, run), Jake Macchi (two runs), Cooper Ross (two RBI), JB Floris (RBI), and Joe Lizotte (two runs) each had two hits apiece for Franklin.
Milford, 9 @ Sharon, 0 – Final – Milford went on the road and picked up a shutout win in its first game of the 2019 season. Senior Danny Corsini tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out six to earn the win. Offensively, senior Matt Shaver went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, junior Nick Wimmete had three hits and a run scored, and senior Justin Applebee had two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored for the Scarlet Hawks.
North Attleboro, 3 @ Stoughton, 6 – Final – Stoughton junior Jacob Kaplan connected on a two-out, bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 3-3 tie, giving the Black Knights a win over the defending D2 State Champions in the season opener for both teams. Junior George Currier added two hits for the Black Knights. Stoughton senior Zak Paquette earned the win, tossing a complete game with four strikeouts, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits.
Mansfield, 6 @ Attleboro, 8 – Final – Natalie Mansur gave Attleboro the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pinch-hit, two-run homer. The Bombardiers had jumped out to a 5-2 lead only to have Mansfield respond with four runs in the fifth to take back the lead before Mansur’s big hit. Makenzie Killough continued her hot start to the season with a double and a home, while McKenzie Bergdoll had a pair of hits for the second straight game and drove in a pair. Jenna Gittle pitched the opening 4-2/3 inning and Emily Gittle grabbed the win with 2-1/3 innings of relief. Mady Bendanillo had three hits, including a homer, and drove in four runs for the Hornets in the loss. She plated Kara Bendanillo with a first-inning single, blasted a solo homer in the third and drove in a pair with a single in the fifth. Mary Muldoon also drove in two with a fifth inning single, as the Hornets scored four in the frame to regain the lead at 6-5. Mansfield coach Lori Letendre said, “It was a great back and forth game.”
Canton, 7 @ Foxboro, 6 – Final – Canton held off a late charge by the Warriors, who got a run in the bottom of the seventh and the tying run in scoring position before Caroline Hughes snared a line drive to end the game. Hughes threw a complete game with a pair of strikeouts, allowing three earned runs. Sarah Kelly went 2-for-4 with four RBI to power the Canton offense and Jackie Morrissey was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
King Philip, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Franklin edged out a pitcher’s duel against the defending league champions thanks to a dominant start from senior Jackie Cherry. She allowed no hits to the potent KP lineup and struck out 10 batters. Cherry allowed only four base-runners, three on walks and one batter reached on an error. Faith Turinese was almost as good for the Warriors, limiting the Panthers to just one earned run. Anna Balkus led-off the bottom of the first with a single, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Gabby Colace and to third on a single by Allie Shea (2-for-3 in the game). Maddy White drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run with an RBI-single. Franklin added a second run in the fifth. Colace doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a groundout, before scoring on a wild pitch. Peyton Arone went 2-for-3 for Franklin and made a pair of great catches in left.
Sharon, 12 @ Milford, 7 – Final – Senior Rebecca Clayman went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and freshman Savannah Gray went 2-for-4 and drove in four runs as the Eagles beat the defending division champs and picked up their first win under head coach Heather Poliferno. Freshman Trinity Payne pitched in relief, getting out of a jam in the fourth by striking out two and going 3-2/3 innings with 5 Ks. She also went 2-for-4 at the plate and hit a fifth inning homer. Meg Hart had an RBI-triple and Taylor Waldrup had two hits for the Hawks.
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 2 – Final – Click here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.
Taunton, 21 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final (5 inn.) – Taunton scored 21 runs on 17 hits in its season opener. Hanna Aldrich powered the offense with a pair of homers, three RBI, and four runs scored. Mckenzie McAloon (three runs), Payton Ceglarski, Riley Murphy (three RBI), and Skylar Rheaume (three RBI) all had two hits for Taunton. Kelsey White earned the win with four strikeouts over three innings with Alexa White and freshman Olyvia Mendonca each taking one inning in the circle. Katie Abreu drove in Emma Varella with a fifth inning double for OA’s lone run. Katie Mills and Colleen Larson each had hits for the Tigers.
Mansfield, 3 vs. St. John’s Shrewsbury, 19 – Final
Milford, 13 @ Northbridge, 15 – Final
Foxboro, 12 vs. Wellesley, 15 – Final
Milford, 11 @ Assabet Valley, 3 – Final
Mansfield, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Mansfield picked up a sweep on the road, winning all five matches in straight sets. Senior Luke Nickerson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, senior Luke Devine earned a 6-1, 6-0 decision at second singles, and junior Nilay Pangrekar won 6-1, 6-1 at third singles. The team of Sethu Odayappan and Max Bank won 6-1, 6-2 at first doubles and Sam Donellan and Sam Schirmacher picked up a 6-0, 6-0 victory at second singles.
King Philip, 3 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – King Philip’s second doubles team of Tyler Dowd and Jake Mager pulled out a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 win to give the Warriors a 3-2 win over rival Franklin. The Warriors also got wins from Nick Putney (6-3, 4-6, 6-3) at second singles and Jack Cannon (6-4, 6-0) at third singles. Franklin’s Liam Marr won 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 at first singles and the team of Saketh Saripalli and Vayshnav Malhotra won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles.
Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – Final – Stoughton sophomore Waseem Sablon won at first singles but North Attleboro won at the other four matches to get the win at home. Junior Alex Pfeffer won 6-1, 6-0 at second singles and sophomore Sam Gallagher earned a 6-0, 6-1 decision at third singles for the Rocketeers. The team of Vikram Senthilakumaran and Saketh Uppuluri pulled out a 6-1, 6-3 win at first doubles while Tomas Bentley teamed up with Justin Strom to pick up a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles. Sablon earned a 1-6, 6-3, 10-8 win at first singles for the Black Knights.
Taunton, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – Taunton didn’t drop a game at first or second singles as well as first doubles in a win on the road at Oliver Ames. Brett Beaulieu (first singles) and Charlie Fiske (second) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Dylan Kullas earned a 6-4, 6-1 win at third singles. Taunton’s Ryan Hebert and Alex Pugh won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles.
Sharon, 4 @ Milford, 1 – Final – Sharon swept doubles play and earned two more wins in singles action to defeat Milford. Danujan Thirumavalavan (first singles) won 6-2, 6-3 while Ruemon Bhattacharya (second singles) earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory. The team of Max Chen and Max Brody won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles and the team of junior Jake Ross and freshman Deyan Kassev won 6-0, 6-2 at second doubles. Milford senior Riley Lynch won 6-4, 6-0 at third singles.
Attleboro, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – Attleboro senior Bri Aronne overcame a one-set deficit to win the next two and help the Bombardiers clinch a 3-2 win over Mansfield. Aronne won 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 while the first doubles team of Nicole Matheson and Lauren Anthony won 6-0, 6-4 and the duo of junior Rena Danho and junior Jordan Benardo earned a 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 win at second doubles. Mansfield’s Lizzy Elsner won 6-1, 7-5 at first singles and sophomore Aryann Khosravani picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at third singles.
Canton, 0 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final – Foxboro picked up a win over division rival Canton, winning all five matches in straight sets. Pam Nelson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Sarah Prag earned a 6-1, 6-1 decision at second singles, and Julia Muise won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles. Foxboro’s first doubles team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta won 6-1, 6-1, and the Warriors’ second doubles team of Maggie McAuliffe and Lindsey Young won 6-1, 6-2.
Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final
North Attleboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – North Attleboro earned a sweep on the road, winning all five matches in straight sets. Tara Nair won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, Mae McLoughlin earned a 6-1, 6-4 decision at second singles, and Jayli Carmichael prevailed 6-1, 6-3 at third singles for the Rocketeers. North Attleboro’s first doubles team of Olivia Willis and Sam Martino won 6-3, 6-1 and the second doubles team of Hayley Strom and Brotiti Nandi didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Taunton, 5 – Final – Taunton defended home court, winning all five matches in straight sets. Jillian Pagliuca (6-2, 6-2), McKenzie Lucie (6-1, 6-2), and Jocelyn Pagliuca (6-1, 6-0) won at first, second, and third singles, respectively. The team of Sam Martin and Briana Fevrier won 6-1, 6-0 at first doubles while Ogechi Ariguzo and Kayla Parrett secured a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Milford, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final – Sharon didn’t drop a single game in singles play, winning all three 6-0, 6-0 and all five matches in straight sets to beat Milford. Senior Nupur Shukla (first), freshman Valeria Barajas (second), and sophomore Charlize Martinez swept singles play for the Eagles. The first doubles team of Sachi Bhasin and Sophia Fein won 6-3, 6-4 while the duo of Lauren Glass and Makaila Cheung won 6-0, 6-1 at second doubles for the Eagles.
King Philip, 3 @ Millis, 1 – Final – King Philip picked up its second win of the season, earning a 3-1 (25-20, 26-24, 22-25, 25-9) win on the road at Millis. The Warriors rode the strong serving of Max Armour (11 service points) and Kyle Desrochers (16 service points), both of whom went on big runs at the service line. Desrochers added 10 digs and Alex Bernhard had a strong game with seven digs. Senior middle Jimmy Peterson paced the net defense with seven blocks.
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.”
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
BROCKTON, Mass. – Once Franklin scored the tying run in the top of the 9th inning during Thursday’s MIAA Super 8 semi-final against Central Catholic, and got two quick outs in the bottom of the inning, the game seemed primed for extra innings.
But Central Catholic’s next batter, Vanderbilt-commit Dom Keegan, had other ideas, as he sent a ball high off the wall in left-center field before coasting into third with a triple. Steve Hajjar was hit by a pitch, which set the stage for Mike Borrelli.
Borrelli grounded to shortstop, but the throw was wide and looked like it would get by Franklin first baseman Steve Luttazi and give Central a walk-off win. Instead, Luttazi made an incredible pick and held the bag, retiring Borrelli and keeping Franklin alive.
The Panthers capitalized, scoring two runs in the top of the tenth, and winning 6-5, to advance to the Super Eight Final.
“Steve’s been a rock for us defensively over there all year,” said Franklin manager Zach Brown. “Honestly, I think he gives our infielders tremendous confidence to get the ball in the air and get it around him and he’s going to take care of the rest,”
“We had two outs, it was a tie game, looking good, then Keegan gets on third which was a little bit scary, then the play was just a grounder, simple pick, I’ve been doing it for awhile, it was just reactionary, I didn’t feel any pressure, just got the play done and I was excited we got the out,” Luttazi said.
In the top of the 10th, Jack Nally led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Luttazi. JB Floris was hit by a pitch, and Evan Wendell drew a walk which loaded the bases for Colby Fitzgibbons.
Fitzgibbons’ grounder to third was mishandled which allowed Nally to score to give Franklin a 5-4 lead. In their next at-bat, Franklin got a very important insurance run, as Scott Elliott’s sac fly scored Floris to put the Panthers up 6-4.
In the bottom of the 10th, Bryan Woelfel got two quick outs before walking Sean Thompson and then hitting Mike LeFebre to put the winning run at the plate in Joey Sanchez. Sanchez singled home Thompson from second, but Woelfel battled back to strike out Jake Delaney and give Franklin a 6-5 win.
“I love closing,” Woelfel said. “I was a closer my sophomore year and most of last year, I just started starting this year. I’m pretty used to that situation and I just love having the pressure in my hands going into the last outs of the game.”
Woelfel’s been one of Franklin’s best pitchers all year, and that was no different on Thursday night, as he went four innings to earn the win in relief, allowing just two hits and striking out three.
“He’s just a tremendous competitor. He’s a fiery, fiery kid, and when he has the ball in his hand, we feel really good,” Brown said about Woelfel
Franklin scored their first three runs of the game in the top of the second inning, with Nally and Luttazi both hitting singles, while Floris reached on a bunt single. With the bases loaded, Evan Wendell hit a two-run single to center, and Fitzgibbons’ sac fly scored Floris. Franklin had 16 hits in the game, all of which were singles.
The Panthers had the chance to break the game open in the top of the third, loading the bases with no outs. But a grounder allowed a throw home for the force out and then another infield grounder was turned into a double play.
“We were putting good swings on it, we were giving ourselves chances, and we just weren’t able to get that one big hit to kind of break it open for us, but to our guys’ credit, they just keep grinding, they keep believing, they’re really resilient,” Brown said.
Central Catholic had their offensive breakthrough in the bottom of the third with Sanchez leading off the inning with a double and later coming around to score on a two-out double by Hajjar. Borrelli singled home Hajjar, and a walk by Mike Pierro set up Central with runners on first and second. Noah Lucier and Sean Thompson hit back-to-back RBI singles to put Central up 4-3, a lead that would hold until the top of the ninth.
In the top of the ninth, Fitzgibbons reached on an error, but a fly out and a strikeout brought Franklin down to their last out.
Jack Macchi singled to put runners on first and second for Cooper Ross, who hit a blooper into left field that hung in the air long enough to allow pinch runner Joe Lizotte to score from second. Macchi went to advance to third on the throw home, but the throw to third was wide and went into left field which gave Macchi the opportunity to head towards the plate, but he was cut down on the relay from Central Catholic and tagged out at home.
With the win, Franklin baseball moves to the Super 8 final, where they will play the winner of Central Catholic and BC High. Whoever wins that game will have to beat Franklin twice to win the Super 8, as Franklin is the only unbeaten team remaining in the tournament. The date and time for Franklin’s next game has yet to be announced.
“We’re fired up, we’re ready to go for the next one,” Woelfel said about Franklin’s mentality. “It feels nice to get there, but we’re not satisfied.”
BROCKTON, Mass. – Franklin has come into the Super 8 with a chip on its shoulder. The last team selected for the elite tournament field, the Panthers are not out to prove that they belong but that they should be one of the teams to beat.
After knocking off second seed Wachusett in the opening round, Franklin squared off with perennial power St. John’s Prep, the third seed, at Brockton’s Campanelli Stadium. It came down to the last out, as these games so often do, but after Jake Noviello induced a weak grounder to second, the Panthers walked away with a 7-6 victory and a spot in the semifinal.
“We were the last team into this tournament, so we’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Franklin coach Zach Brown about playing the underdog in the Super 8.
Bryan Woelfel closed out the win against the Mountaineers just three days earlier, but he was given the ball to start against Prep and it looked as though his start was going to be a short one after the Eagles plated three runs in the third to take the lead for the first time.
“They got to me a little bit in the third, it was just a matter of getting it clicked down in the zone, slowing myself down,” Woelfel explained. “We have a hell of a field out there and we’re going to make the plays out there, so I just had to get it down in the zone, let them hit the ball.”
After that inning, Woelfel held Prep to just three hits (one an infield single) and no runs over the next four and picked up the win. It was a resilient outing for the senior, but one that his coach has come to expect from his pitcher.
“Bryan has been doing this his whole career,” said Brown. “My concern, honestly, wasn’t about him having a rough inning, it was, is he tired. Did the opportunity the other day take something out of him. He said, ‘I feel great, I’m just a little off…I need to be better and I will be,’ and he went out the next inning and he was.”
The Panthers could have been crushed by that three-run burst by Prep in the third. Franklin took the lead in its first at-bat, after back-to-back walks to Scott Elliot and Alex Haba and a bobbled grounder put runners at second and third with two outs. Cooper Ross provided the big hit with a single to right-center that scored both.
In the bottom of the first Prep got one back with an unearned run. A two-out error allowed Alex Lane to reach and Mike Yarin (4-for-5, three RBI) brought him home with a single to right. Franklin had two runners on in the second and had a runner at third with one out in the third, but failed to score in either inning.
In the bottom of the third, a walk, an infield hit, a walk, back-to-back singles (including a two-RBI hit from Lane) and a sacrifice fly by Jacob Bolger made it 4-2 and seemed to swing the momentum to the Catholic Conference side.
But, Steven Luttazi led-off the top of the fourth with a towering blast to right that cut the lead in half and instantly changed the mood on the Franklin bench.
“You never want to spit the bit with the lead and give a team like the Prep, which is absolutely loaded, an opportunity to get back in the game and take the lead,” Brown said. “Steven coming right back to put one on the board and make it a one-run game really kind of put the dugout at ease and we felt we were in striking distance.”
“That fires us up,” Woelfel added. “That got us going. I don’t think the game would’ve ended the same way if he didn’t do that.”
Woelfel followed up that homer by getting Prep in order to keep the energy high. In the fifth, Haba started a rally with a double that one-hopped the fence in left center. Jake Macchi moved him over with a sac bunt and two batters later Jack Nally made it pay off with a sac fly to left that tied the game at 4-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Woelfel closed out his outing by getting the side in order, although the final out was a loud one, as Yarin pushed Nally all the way to the wall in right center. The Franklin centerfielder reached up with his back against the wall to pull in a long out.
Luttazi drew a one-out walk to start a rally in the eighth. J.B. Floris pinch-hit for Noviello and was hit on the arm. After an infield pop up that was dropped off the bat of Evan Wendell, both runners were able to move into scoring position with two outs. Colby Fitzgibbons drew a walk to load the bases for Elliot and he cleared them, driving a ball into center for a triple that put the Panthers back in front.
Brown said, “It was just an awesome at-bat. He stayed within himself, great approach, got a fastball that was a little up and put a great swing on it and really backspun it and it came at a huge time for us.”
Reliever Jason Ulrickson gave up a pair of hits in the eighth, but was able to escape a first-and-third, one-out jam. In the ninth, facing the top of the Prep lineup, Ulrickson got a comebacker, a single, and a fielder’s choice to get within one out of the save. Yarin made sure that there was some drama to the finish, crushing a ball to right and cutting the lead to just one.
“We have a ton of confidence in Jason Ulrickson,” Brown explained. “We also knew we had this opportunity with Noviello where we had him hot and had him ready just in case the tying run was going to come to the plate.”
Noviello, the Fairfield University-commit, had warmed up a little between innings and moved from third to the mound to close it out. He allowed a single but then got the grounder to Fitzgibbons that keeps the Panthers in the winner’s bracket.
While Franklin is relishing its underdog role in the Super 8, Brown knows that his team is capable of playing at this level.
He said, “These aren’t guys who are doing something they haven’t been doing all year, they’re just guys that are doing what they’ve been doing and continuing to do it on a bigger stage.”
Franklin (19-5) will face Central Catholic in the semifinal on Wednesday at Campanelli Stadium at 7:00.
Baseball Super 8
#5 Mansfield, 3 @ #4 Central Catholic, 8 – Final – Central Catholic used two hits and two Mansfield errors to score five unearned runs in the first inning in a first-round Super 8 matchup. The Hornets cut the deficit to three (6-3) with three runs in the fifth inning but CC added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth for insurance. Tyler Dalton let up three hits and walked three with six unearned runs allowed in four innings of work. Sophomore Chris Jenkins had two hits on the day while Dan Saraceno, Justin Pena, and Dalton each had an RBI for the Hornets.
#7 Franklin, 8 @ #2 Wachusett, 5 – Final – Wachusett erased a four-run deficit in the seventh inning to tie the game but Franklin responded by scoring in each the eighth and ninth innings to prevail in the program’s first-ever Super 8 game. Wachusett tied the game on a sacrifice fly in the seventh but Franklin was able to get a runner out at third trying to advance to erase any further damage. Bryan Woelfel earned the win in relief, allowing one run on four hits while striking out two. Jake Noviello had a strong outing on the mound, scattering five hits, four walks, and six strikeouts over six innings of work. Franklin’s offense had a strong day with Cooper Ross leading the way with three hits and two RBI. Colby Fitzgibbons (run), Scott Elliott (double, four RBI), Alex Haba (triple, two runs, two stolen bases), Jake Macchi (RBI, run) and Evan Wendell (two runs) all had two hits apiece for Franklin.
Boys Tennis D1 South
#4 Sharon, 1 vs. #13 Wellesley, 4 – Final
#6 King Philip, 0 vs. #11 Needham, 5 – Final
#9 Franklin, 0 @ #8 BC High, 5 – Final
#14 Taunton, 0 @ #3 Brookline, 5 – Final
#12 Foxboro, 0 @ #5 Duxbury, 5 – Final
Girls Tennis D1 South
#3 Sharon, 5 vs. #14 Braintree, 0 – Final
#6 Taunton, 2 vs. #11 North Quincy, 3 – Final
#10 North Attleboro, 0 @ #7 Brookline, 5 – Final
#12 Oliver Ames, 2 @ #5 Weymouth, 3 – Final – One match went to three sets and another a second set tiebreaker but Weymouth won both to edge Oliver Ames. OA’s Rachel Stryke and Olivia Groebe won 6-1, Def. at second doubles for the Tigers.
#5 Foxboro, 5 vs. #12 Falmouth, 0 – Final – Foxboro opened its 2018 playoff campaign with a sweep of visiting Falmouth. Sophia Prinos won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, Pamela Nelson didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Julia Muise earned a 6-2, 6-2 decision at third singles. The team of Kayla Prag and Sarah Prag won 6-3, 6-4 at first doubles while Olivia Dantona and Kendell Milender won 6-0, 6-0 at second doubles.
Stoughton, 4 @ Attleboro, 5 – Final – Attleboro’s Tim Callahan drove in the winning run with a two-out hit in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Bombardiers a walk-off win. Senior Gavin Wildrick earned a one-out walk, senior Brian MacDonald (2-for-2, run, RBI) singled, both advanced on a passed ball, and Waldrick scored on Callahan’s hit. Jon Candiales pitched a complete game for the win, striking out three without issuing a walk. Evan Gibb had two RBI for the Black Knights while Ruben Gonzalez added an RBI triple.
Mansfield, 15 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final (6 Inn.) – Mansfield’s offense continued to roll, collecting 18 hits and scoring double-digit runs for the second straight game. Thirteen different Hornets collected a hit, with Tyler Dalton (3-for-4, four RBI, two runs), Kevin Dow (two RBI, three runs), Justin Pena (RBI, run), and Kyle Moran (RBI) each having multiple hits. John Carney earned the win, scattering six hits over six innings of work with eight strikeouts and just one walk. JT Burke had two hits for Foxboro.
Franklin, 4 vs. Lincoln-Sudbury, 1 – Final – Senior Colby Fitzgibbons and juniors Scott Elliott and Cooper Ross each had two hits to help the Panthers pick up a win over the Warriors in the first round of the Pedroli tournament. Fitzgibbons had two doubles and scored a run while Elliott had a triple, a run scored and an RBI in the win. Evan Wendell (hit) and Alex Haba (RBI) each added a run scored. Bryan Woelfel earned the win, scattering eight hits, striking out six, walking one and allowing just one run in 5.2 innings of work. Jason Ulrickson earned the save with 1.1 perfect innings of relief.
Milford, 3 vs. Hopedale, 0 – Final – Milford senior Andrew Fauerbach allowed just three hits in a complete game effort to earn his first career win. Senior Matt Nickerson went 2-for-3 and knocked in all three of the Hawks’ runs.
Sharon, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 9 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Matt Muir collected three hits and drove in three runs to help the Tigers defend home field against rival Sharon. Chris Pearsons added two hits and also had three RBI while Jacob Levine added a hit and an RBI for the Tigers. Tom Parker tossed a complete game one-hitter, striking out seven to pick up the win. Ben Schwartz went 1-for-3 with an RBI for Sharon.
Attleboro @ Stoughton, 3:45
Foxboro, 21 vs. Medway, 9 – Final
Franklin, 0 @ Milford, 12 – Final (6 inn.) – Milford senior Kelley Reichert fired a no-hitter to lead the Hawks to a win over Franklin. Reichert struck out eight without issuing a walk for the Hawks. Offensively, Kate Irwin (two runs, stolen base), Sabrina Haarstick (double, two runs, RBI) and Antonia Bonina (two runs) had three hits apiece for the Hawks while Jess Tomaso (two doubles, four RBI) and Maddy Bonvino (two-run home run, three RBI, two runs) each recorded two hits.
Oliver Ames, 12 @ Sharon, 3 – Final – Oliver Ames had four players record three hits on the day as the Tigers picked up their second win in the last three games. Lexie Campbell (three runs), Caroline Mahoney (three RBI), Katie Mills (three RBI), and Rachel Han (RBI, three runs) each had three hits in the win. Campbell pitched five innings with five strikeouts and no earned runs allowed while freshman Emma Varella struck out one in two innings of work. Rebecca Clayman had a triple for Sharon.
Taunton, 10 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 4 – Final – With the game tied 1-1, Taunton’s offense exploded for nine runs in the fifth inning to pick up a big win over a top team in the state. Mackenzie Handrahan went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI while Liana Duarte added three hits, including a triple, and had two RBI. Kya Enos (double, two RBI) and Alexa White (RBI) each added two hits for the Tigers. Freshman Kelsey White (complete game) earned the win in the circle, striking out five with three earned runs allowed on 11 hits.
Attleboro, 7 @ Norton, 0 – Final
Foxboro, 21 @ Milford, 5 – Final – Foxboro’s Louis Piccolo scored three goals and had four assists to pass the 100-point mark on the season.
Attleboro, 12 vs. Norton, 11 – Final – Attleboro’s Kyra Lyons scored just as time expired to give the Bombardiers the close win over Norton.
Milford, 0 @ Foxboro, 16 – Final
Franklin, 8 vs. Notre Dame Academy, 15 – Final – Franklin cut the deficit to just three late in the first half but the visitors scored three goals inside the final minute to push the lead to six, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way. Erin Walsh had three goals and an assist and Katie Jones scored twice and had an assist. Head coach Kristin Igoe Guarino said Annie Walsh (seven draw wins) played well in the midfield and Grace MacCallum had a strong game defensively.
King Philip, 10 vs. Medway, 7 – Final
Oliver Ames, 8 @ Milton, 18 – Final – Chloe Kilkelly scored three goals while Olivia Piazza scored two goals but the Tigers fell on the road to Milton. Sofia Masciarelli, Emalyn Duvall, and Ella Hogan each found the back of the net once.
Mansfield, 5 vs. Westwood, 0 – Final – Mansfield picked up a sweep at home, though three matches were forced to either a third set or a tiebreaker. Luke Nickerson earned a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win at first singles, Max Bank prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) at second singles and Luke Devine emerged from third singles with a 6-2, 4-6, 10-5 win. Sethu Odayappan and Jalaj Singh won 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles and Danny Radev and Ben Salden notched a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win at second doubles.
Milford vs. Medway, 3:30
Sharon, 3 @ Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final – Sharon showed off its depth with a 3-2 win on the road over Feehan. Andre Olivei earned a 6-3, 6-0 win at second singles and junior Danujan Thirumavalavan had a strong performance with a 6-2, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Ashwin Sreevatsa and Arie Chinnappan moved up to first doubles and recorded a 6-0, 7-5 win for the Eagles.
Foxboro, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Foxboro’s three singles players combined to drop just one game as the Warriors went on the road and swept Taunton. Sophia Prinos won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Pamela Nelson earned a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Julia Muise picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Kayla Prag and Sarah Prag earned a 6-1, 7-5 win at first doubles and Olivia Dantona and Kendall Milender prevailed 6-4, 7-5 at second doubles.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – Final – In a rematch from earlier this week, Oliver Ames prevailed with another win by the same score. The Tigers picked up wins at third singles (Maura Kiernan, 6-0, 6-1), first doubles (Kristin Bloumbas and Emily Yu, 6-4, 6-0), and second doubles (Olivia Groebe and Rachel Stryke, 6-2, 6-2). Mansfield’s Sarah Doyle won 6-0, 6-3 at first singles and Elizabeth Elsner earned a 7-6 (4), 6-3 win at second singles.
Bishop Feehan, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final – Sharon defended its home court with a sweep over visiting Bishop Feehan. Lulu Yuan completed her second straight undefeated regular season with a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles. Seniors Katie Merport and Emily Wen won 6-1, 6-0 at first doubles and Rithika Neti and Sophia Fein notched a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles.
Taunton, 3 @ Milford, 0 – Final – In a clash between conference champions, undefeated Taunton prevailed with a 3-0 sweep of Milford (25-15, 27-25, 25-23). Lens Esquil (12 kills) and Lance Law (11 kills) paced the offense while Malik Charles added nine kills and Collin Hunter chipped in with seven kills. Ricardo DaFonseca finished with 37 assists.