Campus Report: Closing the 2016 Baseball Season

Hockomock Campus Report
Former Oliver Ames star David MacKinnon became the first Hartford player to win America East Player of the Year. (Twitter/@AmericaEast)

Below is an update on former Hockomock League baseball athletes currently competing in collegiate sports. If you would like to submit an update, please e-mail info@HockomockSports.com.

The long list of accomplishments for Oliver Ames graduate David MacKinnon continues to grow. MacKinnon, who broke Hartford’s hit record as a sophomore year and then broke his own mark again this year, was tabbed as the America East Baseball Player of the Year. MacKinnon becomes the first Hartford player to earn this honor.

An All Conference second team selection for the past two seasons, MacKinnon made it clear he was the top player this season. Entering the America East tournament, he led the conference in hitting (.390) and runs (54). He was fifth in the conference in slugging (.537), second in on-base percentage (.467) third in doubles (15) and eighth in triples (3).

He finished the regular season with 80 hits, smashing his program record of 68 from a year ago. He has already added to that, going 4-5 in Hartford’s opening game in the conference tournament. MacKinnon drove in four runs, including the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Hawks went on to walk off in the 10th inning. He also had a two-run home run in the game.

MacKinnon wasn’t the only Hockomock representative honored in America East’s conference honors. Another former Hockomock League MVP, Franklin’s Brendan Skidmore, was selected to the America East All Conference Second team at first base. Entering the America East playoffs, he leads Binghamton with nine home runs (third in the conference) and 14 multi-RBI games, hitting .345 in conference play with 39 RBI for the season.

Skidmore and MacKinnon, the two top first basemen in the conference, will face off on Friday as Hartford and Binghamton play at 12:00 noon at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.

A pair of former Hockomock players had their collegiate careers come to a close after successful stints with Bridgewater State. Oliver Ames’ David Holmes had the best record for the Bears’ pitching staff at 5-1, posting a 2.94 ERA and a team-best 38 strikeouts. Holmes limited opponents to a .261 average with just nine walks on the year. Taunton’s Travis Ritchie started and played in all but one game this year, posting a .282 average, good for fifth on the team while being second on the team in hits with 35. Ritchie tied for the team lead in triples and was one of the Bears’ best fielders (.987%) in the outfield. Both Holmes and Ritcher were selected to the MASCAC Second Team.

Sharon graduate Ryan Riley made 11 appearances for Clarkson this season, the second most of any pitcher, with all of them coming in relief situations. Riley posted a 2-1 record in 22 innings of work, striking out 18 and limiting opposing batters to a .250 ERA. Riley posted a 3.97 his freshman year on the bump for the Golden Knights.

Former Milford Scarlet Hawk JJ Branch emerged as Endicott’s go-to pitcher and ace this season. Branch started in a team-high 12 games, pitching 77.2 innings (over 30 more than the next pitcher on the staff) and posted an impressive 7-1 record. Branch had a team-low ERA of 2.43 for starting pitchers and fanned 49 batters, also a team best.

A pair of former Hockomock rivals turned teammates helped Keene State get their most wins since the 2013 season. Foxboro’s Connor Longley had the fourth most at-bats for the Owls during his freshman year, batting .277 with 38 hits and a pair of home runs. Sharon’s Nate Pederson made 10 appearances in relief, throwing 13.2 innings with six strikeouts.

Former North Attleboro standout Justin Gallagher was a valuable asset to Wheaton’s bullpen this year. Gallagher made 13 appearances in total, all in relief, helping the Lyons to another successful season. He posted a 2.08 ERA second on the team by pitchers who made at least 10 appearances. He struck out 11 with just three earned runs allowed this season.

Lesley University’s baseball team posted 19 wins this season and two former Hock players had a lot to do with it. Milford grad Bryan Hildebrand was tied for second on the team with three wins, starting four games and appearing four times in relief. The former Scarlet Hawk walk just nine batters in over 25 innings of work. Former Foxboro Warrior Mike Slaby was the Lynx’s top offensive option, leading the team with a .361 batting average, 44 hits and two triples. He was second on the team with 18 RBI and had a .451 on-base percentage.

Fresh off a terrific senior year at Oliver Ames, Mike Ferrara made an immediate impact at Worcester State during his rookie season. He played in all 39 of the Lancers’ games this season and had 139 at-bats, fourth most on the team. Ferrara batted .281 with 39 total hits, including four doubles and a home run. He had 15 RBI, fifth on the team, and stole four bases.

Connor Johnson has been one of Maine head coach Steve Trimper’s top choices in the bullpen this season. The Taunton alum had made a program-high 19 appearances, all in relief, this season for the Bears. Johnson posted a 4-4 record with a 3.93 ERA, striking out 35 batters in 34.1 innings of work. Johnson is one of a just a few pitchers in the conference to be able to retire MacKinnon in two straight at-bats this season.

MIT baseball claimed the ECAC New England Division III Baseball Championship earlier this month with former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Max Lancaster playing the role of catalyst. Lancester, an Attleboro grad, helped spark the Engineers’ eight run seventh inning. Lancaster had a two RBI single down the left field line to score the first two runs of the rally. Lancaster doubled the amount of games he played in this season compared to his freshman campaign. He batted .266 with 23 RBI, 18 runs scored, four stolen bases and three home runs.

Attleboro alum Matt Elliot concluded a strong first season for Anna Maria, finishing third on the team with a .306 batting average. Elliot, who had eight hits in a four game span at the end of the season, finished in the top 30 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in batting average, was second on the team in doubles and stolen bases and led the Amcats with three triples.

There are a lot of reasons that Nichols baseball was able to post 24 wins this season but North Attleboro’s Matt Hardy was one of the big ones. Hardy started all 42 of the team’s games and batted a team-best .391 on the year with 11 doubles and 26 runs batted in. Hardy had 63 hits this season and scored 31 runs. While patrolling left field, Hardy had a .938 field percentage and finished the season with 12 straight games without an error.

Former Milford starter Cam Cossette made nine appearances for Plymouth State this season, five of them starts. Cosette struck out 27 in 31.2 innings of work, posting a 2-1 record on the season. Cossette struck a season-best six batters on two occasions, in a big win over Rivier in April and a close lost to Lyndon State in May.

A pair of Franklin Panthers turned Saint Anselm Hawks had strong seasons on the mound. Tyler Buck was unlucky to not get a win in his senior year in 44.1 innings of work. In six starts and eight overall appearances, Buck struck out 18 with a 4.47 ERA and also recorded a save. Zane Byrne made 12 appearances in his rookie season for Saint A’s, all in relief. He tossed 23.1 innings with 16 strikeouts, posting a 4.63 ERA for the year.

The accolades continue to roll in for Sharon alum Jake Fishman. Now starring at Union College, Fishman was recently named to the ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Div. III New York All-Region Team and the D3Baseball.com All-New York Region Team. He was selected as a First Team Utility player on the ABCA team and was chosen as one of three starting pitchers on the D3Baseball.com First Team. He batted .361, had 14 RBI and led the team in hits (48) and runs scored (29). On the mound, the Liberty League Player of the Year was 7-0 with a 0.41 ERA. Fishman will be playing with the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer.

The University of Rhode Island baseball team is playing in the A-10 semifinal on Friday and two Hockomock alums could be in the mix. Ryan Olmo, a former star at Attleboro High, will likely be patrolling the outfield. So far this season, he’s batted .260 this season with 51 games played. He’s third on the team with 31 RBI and has recorded 12 doubles as well as a home run. Canton’s Sam Larson, a red shirt freshman, has made just one appearance this year. He made the most of it though, throwing two scoreless innings against UConn.

Matt Nunes had a strong bounce back year at Westfield State after being hampered by an injury last year. Nunes tossed 31 innings this year, starting five games and making eight total appearances. He posted a 3-1 record and had a save on the season, striking out a 35 batters – good for second on the team. He held opponents to a .240 batting average over the course of the year.

Two former Hockomock players made their mark on Salve Regina’s very successful season. The Seahawks advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before concluding their season. Canton’s Jimmy Fitzgerald, a sophomore, made five starts and nine overall appearances. In 33.2 innings, he fanned 37 batters and allowed 10 walks while posting a 3-1 record with a save. Sharon graduate Will Ginsberg made eight appearances with half of them being starts. He went 1-0 with 19.1 innings of work, striking out 17 batters.

Campus Report: Hock Alumni Shine In Spring

Former Sharon standout Jake Fishman was recently named to USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, on of only two non-Div. I players on the list. (Trent Hermann/Carolyn Studio{
Former Sharon standout Jake Fishman was recently named to USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, on of only two non-Div. I players on the list. (Trent Hermann/Carolyn Studio{

Below is an update on former Hockomock League athletes currently competing in collegiate sports. If you would like to submit an update, please e-mail info@HockomockSports.com.

BASEBALL

Last week, USA Baseball announced its 60-man Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List and former Sharon star and current Union College junior pitcher Jake Fishman was among those listed. Fishman is one of only two non-Div. I players that were on the list, which includes 18 preseason picks and 42 players that were added over the course of the season.

Fishman is currently leading Union with a .383 batting average and has driven in 10 runs. He has also been a star on the mound with a miniscule ERA of 0.51 and a record of 4-0. He has thrown three complete games in five starts and has struck out 51 batters and allowed only two earned runs in 35 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .211 against Fishman this season.

The semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award will be announced by USA Baseball on June 1.

Former Attleboro High outfielder Matt Elliot went 4-5 in a doubleheader against Suffolk over the weekend. The Anna Maria College freshman is batting .294 this year with seven RBI and an OPS of .805. He is also 1-4 on the mound over six starts and has struck out 12 in 33-2/3 innings for the AMCATS.

Brendan Skidmore of Franklin has a seven-game hit streak going for Binghamton University. The junior infielder is batting a team-high .344 with seven homers and 28 RBI this season. His OPS is .983 and he has also been strong with the glove, boasting a fielding percentage of .994.

Former Oliver Ames pitcher David Holmes threw a complete game for Bridgewater State in the opening game of a doubleheader with Mass. College of Liberal Arts to pick up a 1-0 victory. Holmes struck out seven and allowed only four hits and improved to 4-1 on the season. He has an ERA of 3.00 on the season and batter are hitting only .247 against him this year. Also for the Bears, former Taunton player Travis Ritchie went 2-5 in the second game of the MCLA doubleheader and is currently batting .286 on the season, good for third on the team. He also has a homer and nine RBI.

J.J. Branch suffered his first loss of the season at Endicott in a 5-0 loss to Salve Regina on Sunday. Branch allowed three earned runs in seven innings and struck out a pair of hitters. For the season, the former Milford pitcher leads the Gulls with an ERA of 2.50 and is now 5-1 overall. He has struck out 33 batters in 57-2/3 innings pitched.

David MacKinnon went 3-4 and drew a pair of walks for Hartford in an 11-5 victory over Quinnipiac on Tuesday. The Oliver Ames star is now batting a team-high .372 with two homers and 22 RBI this season and is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. MacKinnon has struck out a team-low 11 times in 148 at bats this year.

MacKinnon’s former teammate at Oliver Ames, Mike Ferrara, came through with a clutch at bat for Worcester State to help the Lancers beat Becker College in extra innings. Ferrara came through with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to tie it, before the Lancers added another for a 10-9 win. Ferrara was 2-4 with a pair of RBI in the game. The freshman is now hitting .279 on the season and has hit one homer and drive in 13 runs.

Former Foxboro player Connor Longley went 1-4 with an RBI and former Sharon pitcher Nate Pederson picked up the win with 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief as Keene State beat Western New England on Monday. Longley, a freshman first baseman, has stepped right into the lineup and is batting .310 with a homer and 19 RBI. Pederson, also a freshman, is now 1-1 and has struck out six batters in 13-2/3 innings this season.

Junior third baseman Mike Slaby went 3-6 and scored a pair of runs for Lesley University in an 11-4 win against Mitchell College on Sunday that clinched the Lynx the fourth seed in the upcoming NECC Baseball Championship. In 34 games this season, the former Foxboro High player is batting .388 (good for second on the team), has scored 19 runs and picked up 16 RBI.

Former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Max Lancaster went 3-9 for MIT in a doubleheader sweep of Wheaton College that earned the Engineers their second straight NEWMAC regular season title and top seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The Attleboro grad is batting .278 on the season and has three homers and 17 RBI in 20 games played.

Former North Attleboro player Dylon Grzenda drove in a pair of runs with a single to left as part of a four-run fourth inning that lifted the University of New Haven to a win against Saint Anselm on Monday. The freshman infielder has hits in five of his last eight appearances.

Another former Rocketeer, Matt Hardy, went 1-3 with a pair of RBI to help Nichols College earn a spilt of a doubleheader with Western New England on Sunday. The junior has a team-high .395 average and has driven in 19 runs this year for the Bisons. He has struck out only five times in 124 at bats and has scored 27 runs.

Junior pitcher Matt Nunes allowed three earned runs in 5-1/3 innings on Saturday to help Westfield State split a doubleheader with Fitchburg State. With the win, the former Taunton player improved to 2-1 on the season with an ERA of 5.04. Nunes also has one save this year and has struck out 29 batters in 25 innings of work.

SOFTBALL

Freshman pitcher Renee Poirier was named the Army Athletic Association Athlete of the Week and the Patriot League Rookie of the Week after going 2-0 in the last week with no earned runs allowed. The former King Philip player threw a pair of complete games for the Black Knights to beat Quinnipiac and Holy Cross. For the season, Poirier is 7-5 with an ERA of 2.21 and has struck out 60 batters. Opponents are only hitting .231 against her. Army has won 30 games and reached 10 league wins for the first time since 2013.

Last year’s Hockomock League MVP Kelly Reading went 2-4 with three runs scored and a pair of stolen bases on Saturday to help Cedar Crest College (Pa.) to a 9-2 win in the second game of a doubleheader with Keystone College. The former Taunton and Franklin player is batting .355 this season with an OBP of .418. She also leads the team with 14 steals and has driven in 16 runs.

Former Mansfield player Bri Chiusano, a senior at Coastal Carolina, was named the Big South Player of the Week on Monday. Chiusano batted .619 last week, going 13-21, with two RBI and nine runs scored. In the process, Chiusano set a Big South career mark with 196 runs scored. She has at least one hit in 30 of the past 32 games and is now third in the league with a .394 batting average and second with 71 hits and 49 runs scored. She is also among the nation’s best in stealing bases with 141 for her career, including 25 this season.

Franklin Pierce ended its softball season with a loss to Stonehill on Sunday and a couple of Hock alumni closed out strong seasons for the Ravens. Senior Patricia Hansen, a former Mansfield player, finished with a record of 6-4 and an ERA of 3.16. She struck out 39 in 75-1/3 innings and threw eight complete games. Sophomore Samantha Bonvino, a Milford alum, batted .293 with a homer and 13 RBI.

Another former Scarlet Hawk continues to pitch well for the University of Kentucky. Former HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Shannon Smith has made 14 appearances and nine starts for the Wildcats this season and has a record of 3-0 with an impressive ERA of 1.83. Smith, who won a pair of state titles for Milford, has struck out 72 batters in 42 innings and opponents are batting only .147 against her.

Senior Nicole LeBlanc became Lasell College’s all-time hits leader on Saturday with the 163rd base hit of her career during a doubleheader split with Rivier. LeBlanc, an Oliver Ames alum, had three hits and drove in four runs during a 9-1 victory in the opener and then added another RBI, the 100th of her career, in a 9-3 game two loss. LeBlanc is second on the Lasers in hitting this season with a .355 batting average and tops in slugging at .548. She has two of the team’s three homers and driven in a team-high 19 runs.

Former Oliver Ames player Lexi Soucie had a big day for Salve Regina against UMass Boston. On Monday, Soucie went 3-3 with two solo homers and drove in three runs to lead the Seahawks to a 7-5 extra innings win. She also went 1-3 with an RBI in the second game of the doubleheader. Soucie now has a team-leading four homers on the season and is batting .289. In the same game, Taunton grad Lauren Mitsiaris went 3-4 with three RBI and a run scored for the Beacons and in the second game added a hit and another RBI. In the second game, Sharon alum Kelsey Whiting pitched three innings of relief for UMass Boston, her longest outing of the season.

Although Simmons was swept in a doubleheader by Johnson and Wales, former Milford catcher Taylor LeBrun had a big day with a double and homer. She went 1-3 in game two and drove in three runs. Former North Attleboro player Mikaela Caracciolo also went 1-3 in game two with a bunt single. Caracciolo is hitting .375 this season and has driven in 19 runs. LeBrun has hit .317 in her freshman season with a pair of homers and 16 RBI and a .537 slugging percentage.

Sophomore Meg Colleran was named the Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week and UMass Co-Athlete of the Week after picking up a 4-0 record in five appearances in the circle with an ERA of .62. She tossed her sixth shutout of the season against George Washington and matched her career-high with eight strikeouts. She struck out 23 in batters in 22-2/3 innings. Colleran is 16-14 on the season with a 2.04 ERA and 112 strikeouts.

Hannah Smith of Attleboro tossed a complete game in a 2-1 loss for UMass Dartmouth against Keene State. Smith struck out four in the loss and moved her season record to 11-7 with an ERA of 2.59. In the second game of the doubleheader King Philip alum Maddie O’Gryzek went 2-4 for the Corsairs with a run scored and an RBI. She is batting .319 in her rookie season.

Former Milford player Caroline Fairbanks went 5-8 as Wheaton College split a doubleheader with Smith College on Sunday. She went 2-4 in the opening game (an 8-6 loss) and drove in a pair of runs. In the second game, Fairbanks went 3-4 and drove in another three runs. Fairbanks is hitting .427 this year with nine homers and 31 RBI. In the same game former Franklin player Rebecca Seifert went 1-3 with an RBI, as Wheaton rolled to an 8-1 win.

MEN’S LACROSSE

Former King Philip attacker Brandon King scored a hat trick for Clark University in a 14-8 win over Mass. Maritime that helped the Cougars reach nine wins in a season for the first time in program history. He added another goal on Wednesday in a loss to Springfield College. King, a freshman, is among the team leaders with 12 goals this season and he has also recorded an assist for Clark.

Former Franklin player Connor Trainor made 10 saves for St. Joseph’s College of Maine in a loss to Mount Ida. Trainor, a sophomore, has started all 15 games this year and has made 182 saves, including twice making 18 saves in a game (in losses to Johnson and Wales and the University of New England).

Former Sharon player Jake Rotman has played in 15 games this season for Salisbury University and has scored 15 goals and assisted on 11 others for the country’s No. 1 ranked Div. III team, according to LaxMagazine and the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association coaches poll. The senior midfielder has jumped from 12 points last year to 26 this season, as the Sea Gulls get set for the conference tournament final.

Alex Pacitti scored a first half goal for St. Anselm in a 14-8 win over Bentley that clinched the team a berth in the NE-10 tournament for the third time in the past four seasons. Pacitti, a junior midfielder from Foxboro, is tied for second on the team with 20 goals and has also chipped in with five assists in 12 games.

WOMEN’S LACROSSE

Nicole Ellin had a goal and assist, three draw controls, and forced two turnovers in Bard College’s loss to Rochester on Friday. The former Franklin lax and soccer star added a goal and three ground balls in a loss to RIT on Saturday. Ellin led the team with 25 goals and 31 points this season. She added 44 draw controls and 36 ground balls for the Raptors.

Mansfield alum Kristen Tuleja had two goals and three assists for Emmanuel College in a 20-8 win over Rivier last Saturday, Heading into the regular season finale this weekend, the senior midfielder has a team-high 54 goals and added 15 assists. In her four-year career, Tuleja has scored 206 goals and has recorded 77 assists.

Sophomore Jaimee Lutz has been on a scoring streak for Fitchburg State. The Foxboro grad has scored at least one goal in her last nine games, eight of those were wins for the Falcons. Lutz has 23 goals and eight assists on the season. Her former Foxboro teammate Carrie Long has also had a strOng sophomore season for the Falcons with 10 goals and an assist. Long scored two goals in a game twice, including two against Worcester State on Saturday, and has played in all 17 games.

Another former Foxboro player, Katie Notarangelo, had three draw controls in MIT’s loss to Babson College on Wednesday. Notarangelo, a sophomore midfielder, is fourth on the team with 41 points this season (35 goals and six assists). She is also third on the team with 29 ground balls and second with 45 draw controls.

Former King Philip player Alyssa DeLuca has scored 16 goals in the last five games for Illinois Tech, including four against Concordia Chicago and then a hat trick against Benedictine on Wednesday. DeLuca has scored 49 goals this season, 17 more than the team’s next top scorer, and also has four assists. She is also third on the team with 25 draw controls despite missing a pair of games in midseason.

Bridget Doherty scored a hat trick and added an assist for Lasell College in a big win over Albert Magnus on Tuesday. It was the second straight hat trick for the Franklin alum, a senior midfielder, who also scored three goals against Johnson and Wales. Doherty has scored 20 goals in 15 games this season and also has 16 assists.

Canton grad Sam Sullivan scored five goals in Plymouth State’s 13-7 win over Southern Maine on Wednesday. The sophomore attacker has scored a team-high 40 goals this season and added five assists for the Panthers. It was the second time this season that Sullivan notched five goals in a game and she also scored six against Lasell in March. Fellow sophomore Jordyn Kim of Sharon has played in 12 games this season and has chipped in with a goal.

Two-time HockomockSports.com Player of the Year Marta Versprille scored a pair of goals for St. Anselm College against Assumption on Wednesday. It was the fourth straight game with at least one goal for the sophomore midfielder, who is fourth on the team with 13 goals this season. She also has four assists and is second on the team with 24 draw controls, tied for third with 17 ground balls, and tied for the team lead with 17 caused turnovers.

Salve Regina senior Abby Tepper closed out her collegiate career with two goals and two assist in a loss to UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday. Tepper was tied for second on the team with 23 goals and added five assists. She was also second on the team with 35 ground balls and tied for fourth with 10 caused turnovers. Former Attleboro player Kerri Beland started nine games this season for Salve and had 18 ground balls and six draw controls.

Foxboro alum Ellen Decker scored a pair of goals and had two assists in Southern New Hampshire’s loss to New Haven on Wednesday. The junior midfielder has scored 24 goals and assisted on 18 others this season, good for fourth on the team in scoring. She is also third on the team with 39 draw controls. Another former Foxboro player, freshman Mary Beth Sweeney, has played in all 16 games for SHNU this year and has scored seven goals and had three assists in her rookie campaign.

Westfield State senior captain Blair Smith of Milford scored from 10 yards out with 1:10 left in overtime to hand the Owls a 12-11 victory over Bridgewater State on April 19. Smith is tied for second on the team with 20 goals this season. Olivia Overdahl, another former Milford player, has played 14 games and scored two goals in her freshman season. Liz Navoni, a freshman from Mansfield, has scored four goals in 13 games this year and Maria Woodall, a freshman goalie from King Philip, has played in six games and made 11 saves.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

Providence College senior Alana Prinos, a Foxboro grad, closed out the regular season by helping the Friars top doubles team earn a point in 6-1 loss to Seton Hall that closed out the regular season. Heading into the Big East Championships, Prinos has a career singles record of 46-44 and doubles record of 46-43.

Emma Prinos of Foxboro picked up a point at second doubles for Stonehill in a narrow win against Hartford on April 17. Prinos teamed with fellow sophomore Victoria Barbetta for a 7-5 win in the final regular season match.