Early Offense Launches Rocketeers Over King Philip

North Attleboro junior pitcher Matt Wanless tossed six scoreless innings for the Red Rocketeers Friday, giving up five hits and a walk while striking out three. (Cameron Merritt/HockomockSports.com).
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor

NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – A five-run first inning gave the Davenport division-leading North Attleboro Red Rocketeers the boost they needed Friday as they cruised to an 11-4 win over the King Philip Warriors at Community Field.

“We just stuck to our whole batting approach that we keep pushing, just being at the plate and getting our pitches to drive,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “It worked out early for us and guys are starting to feel good… We stuck to our approach and it worked out for us today.”

The top of the Red Rocketeer batting order did much of the team’s heavy hitting, as senior outfielder Nate Pearce went 3-for-3 with a double, three runs and an RBI. Senior catcher Zach DeMattio went 2-for-4 with three RBI, two runs and a double, while junior outfielder Brendan McHugh went 2-for-2 with two runs, a double and a pair of walks from the leadoff spot.

On the mound, North Attleboro had a solid outing from junior pitcher Matt Wanless, who struck out three while surrendering five hits and a walk through six scoreless innings in the win. King Philip struck for four runs in the top of the seventh inning.

The Rocketeer offense launched right off the bat in the bottom of the first, as McHugh sent the first pitch he saw deep into right-center field for a double. The next pitch hit senior shortstop Nick Sinacola, and the pair would be driven in through a two-RBI double from DeMattio. A double by Pearce the next at-bat sent DeMattio home and gave North Attleboro the early 3-0 lead.

Junior third baseman Nick Raneri nearly had an inside-the-park home run, which drove in Pearce, though he would be thrown at the plate on the relay from KP junior second baseman Ian Zimmerman.

Senior outfielder Jeff Gale reached base due to an error, and after batting through the order, the hosts emerged from the inning with a 5-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the second, the Rocketeers nearly batted around again, coming up one player short as junior outfielder Ryan Warren flew out to center to end the inning. Before that, however, McHugh reached on a full-count count, only to be driven in again by DeMattio two batters later. Pearce walked during the next at-bat, and both were driven in by a two-RBI single from senior first baseman Aidan Harding, giving the hosts a commanding 8-0 lead.

The game evened out for much of the middle innings, with the Warriors having their first solid scoring opportunity in the fourth soiled as DeMattio picked off a runner at third from behind the plate.

The scoreline stayed the same until the bottom of the sixth when a leadoff single by Pearce was turned into the ninth run by Raneri an at-bat later. Junior pinch hitter Matt Seavey drove in Raneri for the tenth run on an RBI single, while pinch hitter Shawn Watters drove Seavey in on another RBI single to extend the lead to 11-0.

In the top of the seventh, facing a new pitcher, the Warrior offense roared to life. After senior pinch hitter Jackson Siebler reached base on a fielder’s choice, he stole second and would come home through a bases-loaded walk to fellow senior pinch hitter Ben Furfari, as junior pinch hitters David Morganelli and Matt Dix would reach base through singles.

Third baseman Chris Sawyer drove in Morganelli on an RBI single to double the Warrior lead, while a double from Jeremey Rhines drove in both Dix and Furfari to make it 11-4.

The comeback effort, however, would be cut short for the Warriors, as the Rocketeers secured another win.

Both teams return to action Monday, as North Attleboro (12-1 Hockomock, 13-1 overall) travels to Foxboro while King Philip (5-9 Hockomock, 5-10 overall) will face Franklin.

North Attleboro’s Wanless Wins In Season Debut


By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter

WRENTHAM, Mass. – Making his first appearance of the season on Friday afternoon at King Philip High School, North Attleboro junior Matt Wanless didn’t appear to be the least bit nervous. Wanless, a junior, threw a complete game, scattering hits, leading his North Attleboro baseball team to a 5-1 win over King Philip.

“He was in command of all his pitches, he felt really good about all of them, I think it was a lot of confidence, he got himself in a couple jams but I think he had a lot of confidence in his fielders and in his ability to pitch,” said North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart about Wanless.

North Attleboro was able to give Wanless some run support right from the get go, as after Nick Sinacola (1-for-3, two runs, RBI) was hit by a pitch, he advanced to second on a groundout. and then was singled home by Zach DeMattio (1-for-3, two RBI).

In the bottom half of the inning, Wanless allowed a leadoff single to Robbie Jarest, and after getting Tim Nault to fly out, he hit Pat Limerick with a pitch. After a Jeremy Rhines groundout, KP threatened with runners on first and third, but a flyout ended the inning for the Warriors. Wanless worked out of another jam in the bottom of the second, as with two outs, Jackson Shiebler and Ian Zimmerman hit back-to-back singles before Jarest drew a walk, but Wanless forced a fly ball to end the inning and preserve the 1-0 North Attleboro lead.

North Attleboro went back to work in the top of the third, showing off their patience at the plate as Kyle Bolger (1-for-2, triple, walk, run) and Ryan Warren drew back-to-back walks to open up the inning. Sinacola then delivered an RBI single to score Bolger, and Jeff Gale was hit by a pitch to load the bases. DeMattio then got hit on the elbow, which brought in Warren. After a popup, Brendan McHugh walked which brought home Sinacola, and Nick Raneri followed that up with an RBI groundout to plate the fifth North Attleboro run and fourth of the third inning.

“[Our patience] is just kind of part of our approach, we’re looking for certain pitches to hit, and we didn’t get them, so we just kept battling and we were able to get a couple off some walks with the bases loaded,” Hart said about NA’s patience at the plate

In the top of the fourth, North threatened again, as Bolger hit a rocket over the left fielder’s head for a leadoff triple, but Jarest was able to retire the next three hitters. In the bottom of the fifth, King Phillip pushed their only run of the game across, as Tim Nault walked, Limerick got by a pitch, and a single by Rhines scored Nault from second and left KP with runners on first and second with one out. Wanless was able to work out of it again though, as he struck out the next two KP batters to get out of the inning.

With the win, North Attleboro improves to 7-1 on the year. They’ll head to Canton on Monday to face off with the Bulldogs.

“We’ve had great senior leadership, and that’s carried over to our juniors, we’ve got a couple juniors that are really contributing,” Hart said about North’s hot start to the year.

King Philip (4-5) will look to rebound on Monday in Attleboro against the Bombadiers.