North Beats Stoughton, Books Return to Tournament

North Attleboro softball
Kaylea Sherman (17) slides in with a North Attleboro run in the win against Stoughton that clinched a playoff spot for the Rocketeers. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – After losing star pitcher Meg Colleran and a host of seniors, North Attleboro coach Bill Wallace knew that 2015 would be a rebuilding year for the program. The additional loss of shortstop Mycala Moody to injury only added to a long spring.

Coming into this season, the Rocketeers returned seven starters, including a healthy Moody, and added sophomore KP transfer Amelia Murphy in the circle. The expectation was a for a quick return to the tournament and on Friday afternoon North fulfilled that goal secured its place in the postseason.

Behind a four-hit, three-RBI day from Moody in the leadoff spot and three RBI from No. 2 hitter Jordan Sharpe, North beat Stoughton 13-2 for its ninth win of the season.

“It’s good to be back in,” said Wallace. “The kids are thrilled.”

He added, “They knew last year was going to be a tough year with the amount of seniors we lost, so I think they came in here knowing we had seven starters coming back thinking we’re going to be in the tournament.”

The North offense was clicking with Moody setting the tone in her first at-bat with a hard grounder through the infield that was missed by the right fielder allowing her to take third. Sharpe brought her home with a groundout and North had a 1-0 lead.

The Rocketeers would have 18 hits as a team against Stoughton pitchers Shannon Flaherty and Gina Carafa and every batter in the starting lineup had at least one. In addition to Moody’s 4-for-5 day, Liz Morehouse went 2-for-4, Kaylea Sherman went 2-for-3 with a walk, Amelia Murphy was 2-for-2 with a walk, and No. 9 hitter Gina Miceli chipped in with a 2-for-3 day and reached base three times.

Miceli acts as a second leadoff hitter for North, setting the table for the top of the order, according to Wallace. He said, “I’ve been tempted to move her up but she’s very comfortable. Last year she dealt with injuries and things like that and this year she came out, won the spot and is very happy in the nine spot and we are too.”

Stoughton had seven hits, three of them in the four innings that Murphy pitched, but the Black Knights showed a lot of pop at the plate.

Unfortunately for the visitors, a lot of those line drives went right at North players, including shots to Sherman in center and Sharpe in right in the opening inning and a line drive ripped to Moody at short that she turned into a game-ending double play by picking off a runner at first.

“We’re snake-bitten,” said first-year Stoughton coach Tim Norton. “We’re swinging the bats real well right now. Everything was line drives; I think there was maybe one, two pop-ups. They just made the plays.”

The Rocketeers broke the game open in the third with four runs. Sherman had an infield single to start it and Murphy followed with a singe to left. Kristina Murphy bunted past the charging third baseman to load the bases.

Megan Barlow hit a sac fly to left for the first run, Sam Courtemanche had a squeeze bunt to plate the second, Miceli’s infield single scored the third and Moody lined a single to center for the fourth.

“After the first two innings I was a little frustrated,” Wallace explained, “because we left five runners on base, but then we started mixing in the bunt a little bit, we squeezed one home there. Sometimes that gets teams going and lately it seems to kind of kickstart us.”

The offensive outburst continued in the fifth. North sent 12 batters to the plate and scored seven runs to put the game out of reach.

A Morehouse single and an Amelia Murphy double put two in scoring position with one out and Kristina Murphy singled to bring one run in. A fielder’s choice reloaded the bases and a wild pitch scored another run.

After a walk loaded the bases for a third time, Moody doubled down the left field line for a pair of RBI and Sharpe followed it with a single to right center for two more runs. North led 12-0 after four innings.

“It’s a young team,” Norton said. “They’re still learning how to play together. It takes time and I think they’re learning but yeah occasionally we’re going to have those lapses in communication. You don’t need to help a team like that.”

Stoughton did not give up. Abby Warren came in to relieve Murphy in the circle after the starter had to leave for a family event and the Black Knights got on the board.

A walk to Taylor Levine and an infield single by Jenivieve D’Andrea put two on with no outs and Samantha Tullis followed with an RBI single to center. Jordan Lyons reached on a fielder’s choice and Brianna Ferrandiz smacked a single to right center that scored one, but Tullis slipped rounding third and was caught in a rundown for the first out.

North tacked on an insurance run in the sixth with Morehouse’s infield single bringing in Moody who had led-off with a hit and stolen second.

The Black Knights came into the game on a four-game win streak and had already clinched a playoff berth, their first since 2012. Norton was happy to see his team ensure tournament qualification in his first season as head coach.

“We’re really excited,” he said. “The future is bright. I was blessed with taking over a program that had a lot of young talent coming up.”

Stoughton (10-8, 7-7) will travel to Milford on Tuesday. North (9-8, 8-7) will host Attleboro on Monday afternoon.

Josh Perry can be contacted at JoshPerry@hockomocksports.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/29/16

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Sharon, 4 @ Canton, 7 – Final

Oliver Ames, 10 @ Foxboro, 9 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Matt Muir’s strong week continued as the sophomore pitched a scoreless bottom half of the seventh inning to seal the deal after the Tigers incredible comeback. Oliver Ames trailed 9-4 heading into the seventh inning but rattled off six runs to take the lead. Kyle Gagliardi had three hits for OA, Ryan Adams knocked in four runs on two hits and Mitch Goulet and Muir each added two hits for the Tigers.

Taunton, 5 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – Sophomore Christian Simoes blasted his first career home run off the foul pole in left field to break a 3-3 tie game in the top of the fourth to lift the Tigers. Taunton added a bases loaded walk in the same inning to create the separation. Mansfield struck in the first inning before Taunton took a 2-1 lead in the second and 3-1 lead in the top of the third. Mansfield tied the game in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs. Taunton senior Luke Figueira earned his fourth win of the season, scattering five hits in five innings of work, striking out two. Max Bowden earned the save, striking out two while not allowing a hit in two innings of work. Matt Machado had two hits, an RBI and a run scored, Charles Hearrold III had two hits, two RBI and a run scored and William Emerson added two hits for Taunton. Mansfield junior Zack Peterson had a pair of doubles and runs scored, Aidan Cahill had two hits, an RBI and a run scored and Mike Arnold had an RBI for the Hornets.

Milford, 3 @ Stoughton, 4 – FinalClick here for a recap from the game.

Softball
Canton, 2 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon junior Clara Cook recorded 11 strikeouts and only allowed five hits to pace the Eagles to their second straight win. Senior Rachel Usen was 2-3 with two runs scored, freshman Rebecca Clayman had a pair of singles, an RBI and a run scored and senior Jenny Friedman was 2-3 with a pair of singles.

King Philip, 13 vs. St. Peter Marian, 0 – Final (6 inn.) – King Philip wasted no time jumping all over the defending D1 State Champions, plating 10 runs in the first inning. Christa Wagner went 3-3 and Hailey McCasland, Meghan Gorman and Jenn Hutnyan all added two hits for the Warriors. Hutnyan closed out the game with a two-run home run for KP. Kali Magane pitched three innings for the Warriors, striking out eight of the nine batters she faced.

Mansfield, 0 @ Taunton, 10 – Final – The Tigers used a six hit, six run sixth inning to break open the game and score a big win over Mansfield. Taunton loaded the bases in the first but a throw home from Marissa Staffier and a pair of strikeouts helped the Hornets get out unscathed. Taunton scored one run in the second, one in the third and two in fourth to build a lead. Aimee Kistner continued her shutout streak to start the season, pitching six inning, striking out 13 with just one walk. Courtney Fisher retired the side in order in the seventh for Taunton. Meghan Navarro went 3-3 with a double, Liana Duarte was 3-4 with a triple and an RBI, Jordan Wade was 2-4 with a triple and an RBI and Jaime Brown went 2-3 and knocked in a pair of runs. Mansfield freshmen Megan Letendre, Mady Bendanillo and Caty DeMassi each had a hit for the Hornets.

Milford, 8 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Milford’s Kelley Reichert only allowed two hits in five innings of work, striking out four to earn the win for the Scarlet Hawks. Kate Irwin had a pair of hits and stolen bases, Jess Tomaso was 2-4 with a triple and an RBI, Jill Powers knocked in a pair of runs and both Maddy Bonvino and Shannon Cormier hit a homerun. Stoughton freshmen Freshman Jordan Lyons and Jeni D’Andrea each had a hit as well as sophomore Val Whalen and senior Nicole Bodette for the Black Knights.

Boys Lacrosse
Canton, 4 @ Foxboro, 5 – FinalClick here for a recap from the game.

Mansfield, 16 @ Sharon, 11 – Final

Milford, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 16 – Final – Oliver Ames senior Max Bamford and sophomore Owen Gallagher paced Oliver Ames’ offense, finding the back of the net four times apiece. Sophomore Eric LeBlanc added a pair of goals and assists for the Tigers.

Girls Lacrosse
Foxboro, 16 @ Canton, 3 – Final

Sharon, 10 @ Mansfield, 18 – Final – Caroline Maher led the way for the Hornets with five goals and Marie Foley added four. Katy Garvin also had a hat trick for Mansfield, which also got two goals apiece from Julia Todesco, Emily Aarons and Maggie Dunn According to head coach Alexis Kobey, Cat Daly and Kaleigh Jodice played well on defense and Victoria Lawlor had a great game in goal.

Oliver Ames, 17 @ Milford, 4 – Final – Oliver Ames’ Abby Duval paced an explosive Tiger offense in a big win on the road. Duval finished with a team-high five goals, adding two assists as well. Sam Lang and Erin Fitzgerald each netted a hat trick with an assist, Sofia Masciarelli and Hannah Friend each scored twice and had an assists, Devin Gardner had an assist and a goal and Emalyn Duvall scored once for OA. Ariana Waldorf made 10 saves in net for the Tigers.

Boys Tennis
Sharon, 5 @ Canton, 0 – Final – It was a clean sweep for the Eagles, who didn’t drop a game in four of the five matches. Griffin Fein (first singles), Han Cui (third singles), Adam Dobbin and Alex Romantz (first doubles) and Tilak Mehta and Danujan Thiru (second doubles) all won 6-0, 6-0. Sharon sophomore Fred Bondar completed the sweep with a 6-3, 6-1 win at second singles.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final

Taunton, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final

Girls Tennis
Canton, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – Final – Sharon didn’t lose a game at two of the three singles matches and won all five in straight sets. Lulu Yuan won 6-2, 6-1 at first singles while Nupur Shulka and Emily Wen each won 6-0, 6-0 at second and third singles, respectively. Pooja Puttigampala and Michel Kondratiev won 6-3, 6-2 at first doubles and Sydney Gordon and Akhila Songadi won 6-1, 6-0 at second doubles for the Eagles.

Foxboro, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – Final – Foxboro won all three singles in straight sets without dropping a game to edge the Tigers. Diana Prinos (first singles), Sophia Prinos (second singles) and Lexi Nelson (third singles) all won 6-0, 6-0. Oliver Ames’ Valeria Tueme and Claudia Ferrara battled for a 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) win while Rachel Stryke and Olivia Groebe won 6-3, 3-6 7-6 (8-6) at second doubles for the Tigers.

Mansfield, 2 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – Taunton swept both doubles matches and sealed the win with a victory at second singles. Junior Olivia Sweeney won 6-2, 6-4 at second singles while juniors Ashleigh Eason and Emily Moor won 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) at first doubles and junior Caroline Hebert and freshman Jillian Pagliuca won 6-2, 6-2 at second doubles. Mansfield’s Paulina Martin won 6-2, 6-1 at first singles and sophomore Sarah Doyle on 6-3, 6-0 at third singles.

Boys Volleyball
Taunton, 0 @ Quincy, 3 – Final