Foxboro’s Magical Ride Ends In D3 State Semifinals

Foxboro baseball Mike Marcucella
Foxboro freshman catcher Mike Marcucella applies the tag for the out at first down after a rundown in the fourth inning. (Ryan Lanigan/
 LOWELL, Mass. — Foxboro’s memorable postseason run came to an end in the Division 3 state semifinals, but not before putting a scare into top-seeded and undefeated Austin Prep.

After winning its first two playoff games in dramatic fashion on walk-off home runs, and belting out six triples in a 14-run explosion to upset Bishop Stang, the Warriors still had a little magic left in an upset bid against the Cougars.

After being no-hit for the first five innings by University of Virginia commit Evan Blanco, Foxboro feasted against Austin Prep’s bullpen. Trailing 6-0, freshman Mike Marcucella ignited the offense with a leadoff single through the right side. Senior Jack Watts followed with a double and junior Ryan LeClair earned a walk to load the bases with no outs.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Junior Sean O’Leary ripped a single to right to bring two runs in and that was enough for Austin Prep to put Blanco back on the mound. Since Blanco moved to left and stayed in the lineup, he was able to take the mound again.

After Blanco got one of his 13 strikeouts for the game, sophomore Tyler Prescott got Foxboro’s first hit off of Blanco with a single to center to score LeClair, and both O’Leary and Prescott moved up after the ball eluded the center fielder. A ground out from Liam Mulkern brought in another run to cut the deficit to 6-4, and just like that, Foxboro had the tying run at the plate.

Blanco induced a grounder for the final out of the sixth though, and then came back to strike out the side in the seventh to secure a spot in the D3 Final with a 6-4 win, ending Foxboro’s season at 16-8.

“You can never count our guys out,” said Foxboro head coach Derek Suess. “We got a few things going, Mikey Marcucella gets us going with a base hit after we were no-hit up to that point. All I could ask for is for them to battle each pitch, and for every opportunity we get and see what happens. They lit a little bit of a fire, had a little magic there…in the end, the better team won but I’ll take my guys any day of the week because they just fight their ass off, all seven innings for 21 outs, and you really can’t ask for more.”

Even with Blanco on the mound, the Warriors facing a two-run deficit, and just three outs left, Foxboro was full of optimism. The Warriors used back-to-back home runs from LeClair and O’Leary to stun Saugus in the opening round, and then Mulkern erased a one-run deficit in the second round with a walk-off two-run home run.

And to add to the momentum, O’Leary had just worked around a one-out single, and two base runners after an interference call, ending the inning with a terrific defensive play off the mound for the third out.

But there’s a reason the Cougars haven’t lost a game all year, and Blanc slammed the door shut to deny Foxboro another magical moment.

“I don’t think anyone thought this was going to happen this year,” Suess said. “In years past, we haven’t been a really strong team. These seniors, we have five of them [Kyle Smith, Jack Watts, Tom Marcucella, Drew Peterson, Liam Mulkern], they were our leaders and came through in the clutch when we needed them to and they set the tone for the rest of the team. For us to make a run, I’m so happy for those guys to be able to experience this because it doesn’t happen very often. I told them to soak in the whole experience while we’re here, win or lose, this is a great opportunity for our program. And these guys made a lot of people proud in the stands, at home, and in the community.

“I think they’ve proved it that we don’t just rely on one or two guys. It’s about one through nine, everyone in the lineup. When you get your opportunity, make the most of it. Everyone contributed this year and helped us win 16 games, I mean that’s quite impressive. It’s all the hard work they’ve put in, the camaraderie, and they’ve all bought in today and I couldn’t ask for more, I’m just so proud of them.”

O’Leary battled from the start and didn’t stop, tossing all six innings. He allowed six hits — only three in the final five innings — and walked four with six strikeouts.

Prep took the lead in the first, a one-out single from Zawatsky was followed by an RBI base hit from Will Burns and the Cougars had a quick 1-0 lead. AP had a two-out single too but O’Leary got a big strikeout to end the first.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

The Cougars doubled their lead in the third without getting a hit. An infield error allowed a runner to reach and then he went to third after a throwing error on a stolen base. A ground out brought the run home to make it 2-0 after three innings.

Austin Prep created separation with four runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of a leadoff walk and a triple from Brendan Walsh early for a 3-0 lead. After a strikeout for the second out, AP drew another walk and a wild pitch brought a run home. A two-out single from Zawatsky extended the lead to 6-0. O’Leary caught his second runner on the base paths for the third out.

“He didn’t want to [come out], he’s an absolute animal,” Suess said of O’Leary. “He wants the baseball, any opportunity there is. He wants to be up at the plate at the toughest times. I can’t ask for a better leader and for him to only be a junior and to be back next year is comforting. We could have taken him out and gone with someone else but he’s our best guy. They have an all-around good offense and he really pitched his ass off.”

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/12/22

Today’s games are listed below.

Milford, 6 vs. Hopedale, 1 – Final

Oliver Ames, 6 @ New Bedford, 2 – FinalTrailing 2-1 going into the last inning, Oliver Ames rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to stun New Bedford. The Tigers scored in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single from Andrew Rodgers to make it 1-1, but the Whalers took the lead right back with a run in the bottom half to make it 2-1, a lead that lasted into the seventh inning. Jack Muir earned a two-out walk and moved to second when Joe Cicchetti was hit by a pitch. After both runners advanced on a passed ball, Nathanial Lewis drove in both with a hard hit single to center field. Patrick Finnerty drew a walk before Jake Waxman plated two with a triple to right field to make it 5-2. Nathan Carpentier added a single to center to bring Waxman home to add to the lead. Finnerty (7IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 5K) retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to finish the game.

Foxboro, 11 vs. Norwell, 1 – Final (6 Inn.)Foxboro capped a three-win week with a rout on the road over Norwell, making it six wins in its last seven games. The Warriors pushed across three runs in each the first and the second innings to establish a big lead early on. Tom Marcucella had a big two-run single in the first and Liam Mulkern added a two-out, two-run double in the third to put the hosts ahead 6-0 after two innings. The Warriors put the game away with five more runs in the bottom of the fifth as Sean O’Leary had a two-run single and then scored on a wild pitch and freshman Nolan Gordon drove in two with a two-out single to end the game. Senior Drew Peterson was strong on the mound, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits and no walks, striking out three for the win. Mulkern tossed two scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts.

Franklin, 13 @ Brockton, 0 – Final (5 inn.)Franklin scored in four of the five innings, including five in the second and four in the fifth, and senior Aislinn Lavery tossed a shutout to lead the Panthers to a big win in Brockton. Lavery allowed just two hits without issuing a walk, striking out three in five innings for the win. Offensively, Lavery had a team-high three hits from the leadoff spot, scoring a pair of runs. Reece Allen and Carly Johnson-Pellegri each added two hits and Julia White drove in three runs.

Sharon, 1 @ Foxboro, 13 – Final (5 Inn.)Foxboro freshman Vittoria Cuscia tossed a five-inning complete game shutout to lead the Warriors to a big win over Sharon. Cuscia allowed just one hit while striking out seven to get the win. Offensively, Peyton Feldman, Emma Callahan (four RBI), and Allie Willis each had three hits.

Stoughton, 19 @ Norwood, 9 – FinalStoughton’s offense came alive, belting out 20 hits and scoring 19 runs in a non-league win on the road at Norwood. Madison Hind led the offense with two doubles, two singles, and two RBI, Julie Powers had two doubles, a single, and an RBI, Melody Casna (double) and Caitlyn Driscoll both contributed three hits, and both Sydney Menz (triple) and Kerry Driscoll each pitched in with two hits.

Boys Lacrosse
Mansfield, 7 @ Silver Lake, 11 – Final

Girls Lacrosse
North Attleboro, 17 @ Taunton, 8 – FinalTaunton’s Melissa Jesus made 20 saves in net but the Tigers fell at home against visiting North Attleboro. Maddie Szala led Taunton with five goals, Cali Melo scored twice, and Aria Cordeiro scored once.

Milford, 14 vs. Hudson, 8 – FinalMilford made it six straight wins at home, building a big lead by halftime and never looking back in a victory over Hudson. Aislinn Bennett scored six first half goals, including the 100th of her career, to help the Hawks take a 13-3 advantage at the halftime break. Junior Aliza Syed scored a career-high four goals while Emily Croteau, Carly Haley, Jordan Douglas, and Adrianna Greska (first career goal) each scored once. Caitlyn Bangert was outstanding in goal in the first half and Gill Meaney got the call in goal in the second half, and both had seven saves.

Boys Tennis
North Attleboro, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalBehind a sweep of doubles action and a win at third singles, King Philip secured a 3-2 decision over North Attleboro in a non-league clash. Jackson Hom battled to a 6-3, 6-3 win at third singles for the Warriors while the tandem of Noah Ihley and Connor Sachleben (6-2, 6-3) won at first doubles and the pairing of Adam Gousie and Arjun Kullo (4-6, 6-3, 6-2) grabbed a victory at second doubles. North’s Will Folan rolled to a 6-0, 6-1 at first singles and Brody Carter secured a 6-2, 6-0 win at second singles.

Milford vs. Medway, 3:45

Girls Tennis
King Philip, 3 @ North Attleboro, 2 – FinalA sweep of doubles and one more win in singles was enough for King Philip to take a non-league road contest over North Attleboro. Sammie Taylor was the lone Warrior to get a win in singles action, claiming a 6-2, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Resha Ajoy and Caroline Freese made few errors in their first time playing together, taking a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles while Carlie Burns and Priya Riar played a steady match in a 6-0, 6-0 second doubles win. North Attleboro’s Lauren Hunt (6-2, 6-0) and Grace Noreck (6-2, 6-2) won at first and second singles, respectively.

Milford @ Whitinsville, 3:45

Boys Volleyball
King Philip, 1 @ Taunton, 3 – FinalAfter splitting the first two sets, Taunton finished the match off with back-to-back wins for a 3-1 decision over visiting King Philip (25-14, 25-27, 25-18, 25-18). Matt Freitas had a big day at the net with 20 kills along with a pair of aces, Ty Ekstrom added nine kills, three aces, and 24 assists, Travis Johnson notched seven kills and three blocks, Josh Duncan finished with six kills and two aces, and Owen Kelley held down the serve receive and defense with great passing (18 digs).