2019 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Oliver Ames baseball
Oliver Ames’ Jake Erlich (left) and Reid Latham celebrate after recording the final out to beat Duxbury in 2018. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Attleboro

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.”

Canton

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.”

Foxboro

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.”

Franklin

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

2018 Record: 7-14
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Greg Kessler

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”

Mansfield

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.”

Milford

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.”

North Attleboro

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.”

Oliver Ames

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.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 6-14
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kee Arguimbau

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.

Stoughton

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.”

Taunton

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.”

2019 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars

Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Boys Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.

Hockomock League MVP

Devin Foster, Canton

Hockomock League All Stars

Bryant Ciccio, Attleboro
Qualeem Charles, Attleboro
Mason Houle, Attleboro
Devin Foster, Canton
Kevin Gallagher, Foxboro
Brandon Borde, Foxboro
Chris Edgehill, Franklin
Jalen Samuels, Franklin
Bruce Saintilus, King Philip
Thomas Dooling, Mansfield
Sam Stevens, Mansfield
Matt Boen, Mansfield
Brendan White, Milford
Ethan Eckstrom, Oliver Ames
Obinna Ugwuakazi, Stoughton
Dante Law, Taunton
John Martins, Taunton

Honorable Mentions:
Kevin Velazquez, Attleboro
Ryan Lentol, Canton
Anthony Mollica, Foxboro
Will Harvey, Franklin
Alex Fritz, King Philip
Damani Scott, Mansfield
Danny Corsini, Milford
Josh Montague, North Attleboro
Sean O’Brien, Oliver Ames
Aidan Kane, Sharon
Kevin Dixon, Stoughton
Michael Quinn, Taunton

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/15/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 36 @ Franklin, 57 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Milford, 46 @ Canton, 52 – FinalCanton senior Devin Foster poured in a game-high 28 points, including a three-pointer in the first quarter that made him the all-time leading scorer in Bulldog basketball history, passing Brian Pendergast (1,179 points in 2000). Foster (12 rebounds) scored 12 points in the opening quarter, and then 14 in the second half to help Canton turn a halftime deficit into a win. Milford led 23-20 at the break but the Bulldogs scored 18 points in the third to seize the lead (38-31) with both Ryan Lentol (10 points) and Robbie Gallery scoring five in the frame. Milford’s Brendan White scored 17 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and Danny Corsini added 14 points for the Hawks.

North Attleboro, 47 @ Foxboro, 48 – FinalFoxboro senior Anthony Mollica sank both ends of a one-and-one situation from the foul line with 2.9 seconds to lift the Warriors to a win and a spot in the state tournament. The Rocketeers led by one after a 9-0 run and had the ball with 31 seconds left in the game, and 24 seconds left on the shot clock, but couldn’t extend the lead. Mollica drove to the basket as time ticked away and was able to draw a foul on the floor, with the Rocketeers in the bonus. North Attleboro led 26-20 at half and 36-33 going into the final quarter. An early run from the Warriors put the hosts ahead, leading 46-38. North responded with a 9-0 run, Josh Montague hitting back-to-back baskets to put the Rocketeers up 47-46. Foxboro junior Brandon Borde had a game-high 17 points while Mollica finished with 10, seven coming in the final quarter. Josh Porter, Ethan Friberg, and Jake Petersen each had eight points for North.

Oliver Ames, 66 @ King Philip, 71 – Final (OT)King Philip overcame a 22-point second half deficit to force overtime and shock Oliver Ames. The Tigers jumped ahead 34-21 by halftime, and extended the lead to as much as 22 before taking a 55-37 lead into the final eight minutes. King Philip held OA to just three points in the final quarter, dropping 21 points of their own to tie the game and force overtime. In the extra period, with KP up by two, senior Bruce Saintilus (27 points) hauled in an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and sank two free throws of his own to extend the lead to four with 10 seconds left to secure the win. Saintilus scored nine points in the fourth quarter comeback and was 6-for-6 from the line in overtime. Juniors Alex Fritz and Andrew McKinney each added 15 points for KP, who scored 34 points over the final 12 minutes after netting just 36 over the course of the first three quarters. Sean O’Brien had a team-high 14 points, Owen Friel added 12 points and Jake Erlich finished with 11 points for OA.

Taunton, 56 @ Mansfield, 65 – FinalMansfield pulled away late to secure the Kelley-Rex division title, a record seventh straight for the Hornets, surpassing Oliver Ames’ six straight from 1981-1986. Mansfield held a 16-13 lead after a quarter of play, and took a 30-27 advantage into halftime. Taunton continued to battle, taking a brief 41-40 lead late in the third and went into the fourth quarter tied 44-44. Mansfield made a 8-3 run over a three minute span in the fourth quarter to create enough separation for the win. Damani Scott had a team-high 15 points along with 11 rebounds, Sam Stevens added 13 points, and TJ Guy finished with 11 points. Taunton junior Dante Law had a team-high 21 points.

Sharon, 36 @ Stoughton, 80 – FinalStoughton combined to score 45 points between the second and third periods, running away with a big win over Sharon to qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2012. The Black Knights connected on an impressive 31 two-point field goals, with 10 players getting on the scoresheet and six of them scoring nine points or more. Junior Obinna Ugwuakazi scored a team-high 13 points, sophomore Brett Pendenza added 11 points, senior Zak Paquette and junior Ahmad Jahed each scored 10 points, and senior Kevin Dixon and junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell each finished nine points. Aidan Kane had a team-high 12 points for Sharon.

Girls Basketball
Franklin 54 @ Attleboro, 63 – FinalLiv McCall and Mackenzie Roberts both scored career-highs and Attleboro head coach Marty Crowley called the game a “phenomenal effort” by the Bombardiers to hand the Panthers their first league loss of the season. McCall scored 18 points and Roberts added 17 to lead Attleboro to the upset. Bea Bondhus had 13 points and Megan O’Connell had 12 for the Panthers.

Canton, 58 @ Milford, 32 – FinalCanton matched its highest win total since 1995 with its 13th win of the season. Maggie Connolly led the way with 13 points, Sydney Gallery added 12 and Kiara Cerruti scored 11 for the Bulldogs.

Foxboro 60 @ North Attleboro, 29 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

King Philip, 60 @ Oliver Ames, 69 – FinalA pair of underclassman each scored over 20 points for the Tigers, helping Oliver Ames fend off visiting King Philip. Sophomore Caroline Flynn had a career-high 25 points and hauled in 11 rebounds while freshman Caroline Peper scored a career-high 26 points for OA. Shannon O’Connor led three Warriors in double digits with 23 points, but KP couldn’t find a way back after falling behind early, trailing 32-23 at half. Brianna James scored 13 points and Faye Veilleux added 11 for KP.

Mansfield, 47 @ Taunton, 36 – FinalMansfield took control of the game in the third quarter, breaking open a 20-20 halftime tie by scoring 19 points in the third. Maggie Danehy scored 16 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and Sydney Mulkern added nine for the Hornets. Sonya Fernandez was the top scorer for the Tigers with 15 points and Lily Patneaude added eight.

Stoughton, 46 @ Sharon, 55 – FinalEmma Eberhardt closed out the season with 15 points to help the Eagles sweep the season series with the Black Knights and finish with nine wins. Kaitlyn Wallace added 13 and Telishya Herbert had 10 in the win. Sophomore Sydnee Hyacinthe scored 18 points for Stoughton.

Stoughton Stuns Foxboro With Late Game Surge

Stoughton boys basketball Ajahn Rue
Stoughton’s Ajahn Rue splits a pair of Foxboro defenders for a layup in the fourth quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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FOXBORO, Mass. – While the Stoughton Boys basketball team spent the majority of Friday night’s contest trailing Foxboro, the Black Knights never let the Warriors run away with it.

Staying within striking distance for the majority of the game, the Black Knights made their move late in the fourth quarter. Stoughton used an 8-0 run to tie the game with just over two minutes to play, and finished the game with a 9-0 burst.

All in all, Stoughton outscored Foxboro 17-0 over the final 4:24 to stun the Warriors with a 63-52 decision. The win moves Stoughton into a four-way tie in the Davenport division along with Foxboro, Milford, and North Attleboro with two division games left.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Nothing came easy tonight,” said Stoughton head coach John Gallivan. “We had to stay with our stuff. We said at halftime it was the luckiest five-point deficit because we didn’t do anything we talked about doing. The third quarter got a little better, but we were still down three. Then we got down eight. They just stayed with it, stayed with it, and finally got a couple of breaks.”

Foxboro junior Dylan Barreira drained a three to put the Warriors up 53-45 with 4:43 to go. It marked the seventh time that the Warriors had led by eight or more points in the game. But similar to each of the previous times, Stoughton clawed its way back in.

This time, however, the Black Knights were able to tie the game. Junior Thomas Sanda (eight points) scored on a shot from the block, junior Ajahn Rue (13 points, five rebounds) beat his man and attacked the rim on two straight possessions, and senior Kevin Dixon had a strong take to make it 53-53 with 2:07 left.

Foxboro called a timeout to try and stem the tide, but Stoughton junior Ahmad Jahed stole the inbounds pass and found Dixon for an easy bucket and the lead. The Warriors came up with an offensive rebound on its next possession, but Rue was able to knock the ball free for a turnover. Rue once again went to the basket, this time sneaking a layup under the defender for a 57-53 advantage with a minute to go.

The Black Knights continued to get stops, including a big block from Obinna Ugwuakazi. Ugwuakazi, Jahed, and Rue each hit from the free throw line down the stretch to get Stoughton to the final score.

“The lead never felt comfortable, but there were moments I felt we could put them away if we maybe made a couple more shots in a row or a couple of more plays [defensively],” said Foxboro head coach Jon Gibbs. “It seemed like we could never make that last momentum play. We’ve got a young group, so we have to go back to the film and see what went wrong and learn to execute better down the stretch. That’s how our league is, every game is going to be like that.

“We didn’t execute offensively. We had some bad possessions where we weren’t able to get into the right spots or execute what we wanted to. We rushed some shots and I think we just got a little rattled and lost our composure a little bit. And defensively we gave up the paint a little too easy. We gave up some offensive rebounds, they posted up our guards a little bit. In the end, we weren’t able to execute on either end under pressure.”

Foxboro had leads at 15-7 to end the first quarter, 23-15, 26-18, 28-18, and 30-20 in the second quarter, and a 38-29 advantage midway through the third quarter. Stoughton was able to respond each time, cutting into the deficit to get within five or three before Foxboro could pull away.

“They are a hard team to chase,” Gallivan said. “They spread the floor so well and if you have to double, one of their great shooters is going to get a wide open shot. I think it probably would have taken one more and it could have been the dagger but the kids just stuck with it.”

Rue was limited to just two points (on four field goal attempts) entering the fourth quarter, but seemed to flip the switch to get the Black Knights going. Even before sparking the comeback run, Rue gained confidence by converting a traditional three-point play early in the fourth quarter. He had 11 of his 13 points come in the final frame.

“I thought Ajahn took over,” Gallivan said. “I think at one point they had three guys on the floor with four fouls so if you’re switching screens, it becomes which kid do you want to get in foul trouble there. He was able to get to the rim, finished, and I think that got everyone going.”

Foxboro junior Brandon Borde (23 points, nine rebounds) had his way for the most part, scoring seven points in the opening quarter to help the Warriors create a 15-7 lead. The Warriors used a 13-5 run to create a 10-point lead with a minute to go in the half. Borde had three baskets, Ryan Hughes added two field goals, and Will Morrison (10 points) drained a three. Stoughton got some momentum back before the half as Tahkwan Gates Brown (nine points, four rebounds) converted a putback and Myles Grigalunas-Powell drained a three after an offensive rebound from Gates Brown to make it 30-25 at the half.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

A three from Foxboro sophomore Kevin Gallagher sparked an early 8-0 run for the Warriors, with Borde adding two field goals and Morrison with a free throw to put the hosts up 38-29.

But as they had done all game, the Black Knights battled back, closing the quarter with an 11-5 run. Zak Paquette sank two free throws, Jahed scored after a steal, Dixon hit a pair from the line, Gates Brown scored down low, and Sanda made both ends of a one-and-one situation to bring the Black Knights within three, 43-40, entering the fourth quarter.

Stoughton boys basketball (6-8 Hockomock, 9-9 overall) hits the road on Tuesday to take on Milford. Foxboro (6-8, 9-8) will look to snap its two-game skid when it travels to Sharon on the same night.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 02/05/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 55 @ Oliver Ames, 53 – FinalAttleboro overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 21-12 in the final quarter to get the win. The Bombardiers trailed 35-22 in the third before closing the gap to 41-34 entering the fourth quarter. The Bombarders opened the fourth with a 12-5 run, tying the game at 46 with four minutes to play. Attleboro had a three-point lead but OA’s Sean O’Brien hit one from deep to tie the game. Attleboro senior Mason Houle hit two free throws with 20 seconds left and the Bombardiers forced a turnover with seconds left to secure the win. Houle finished with a team-high 20 points while Qualeem Chares added 16 points and eight rebounds. Kevin Velazquez scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including nine in the fourth quarter. OA senior Ethan Eckstrom had a team-high 15 points.

Canton, 52 @ Stoughton, 58 – FinalStoughton scored 34 points in the second half to pick up a key division win over rival Canton. Junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell was held scoreless in the first half but exploded for 14 points in the second half while Ahmad Jahed added a career-high 13 points to pace the Black Knights. Kevin Dixon and Tahkwan Gates Brown each finished with 11 points for the Black Knights, who trailed 26-24 at half but took a 42-36 lead into the fourth quarter. Devin Foster led Canton with 16 points.

Foxboro, 63 @ Milford, 66 – FinalMilford trailed by 14 at halftime but used a spirited second half to secure the win. Milford scored 19 points in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to single digits (51-42) but then exploded for 24 points in the final period to get the comeback win over the Warriors. Brendan White scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed 15 rebounds to pace the Hawks’ comeback. White put Milford ahead 62-61 after converting an offensive rebound, and Danny Corsini (11 points) came up with a steal and bucket to make it 64-61. Sophomore Jordan Darling added 15 points for Milford Foxboro had a look for the tying bucket at the buzzer but it was just off the mark. The Warriors, who were without leading scorer Brandon Borde, were led by sophomore Kevin Gallagher’s career-high 24 points while senior Anthony Mollica added 16 points.

Mansfield, 73 @ Franklin, 72 – Final (OT)Click here for a recap of this game.

King Philip, 52 @ Taunton, 59 – FinalKing Philip used a 16-point third quarter to tie the score at 43-43 heading into the final frame, but the Tigers’ defense limited the Warriors to just nine points in the fourth quarter to secure the win. Senior Michael Quinn had a team-high 21 points while John Martins added 12 points and Naz Kenion finished with 11 points. Junior Alex Fritz led KP with a career-high 22 points while Bruce Saintilus added 18 points.

Sharon, 43 @ North Attleboro, 50 – FinalNorth Attleboro senior Nate Gonsalves (13 points) hit a pair of three pointers and junior Ethan Friberg added one as the Rocketeers were able to pull away from Sharon in the fourth quarter. Big Red held a 20-13 lead at halftime but the Eagles exploded for 17 points in the third, as junior Aidan Kane hit three triples and had 11 of his team-high 15 points in the quarter. North had connected on just two threes heading into the fourth but totaled 18 points in the fame to get the win. Senior Josh Montague and sophomore George Ladd each added 13 points for North.

Girls Basketball
Oliver Ames, 58 @ Attleboro, 28 – FinalOliver Ames ramped up the defensive intensity in the second half, limiting the Bombardiers to just 11 points as the Tigers ran away with the win. Tate Hadges led OA, which led 33-17 at half, with 12 points while freshmen Caroline Peper and Hailey Bourne each added 10 points.

Stoughton, 34 @ Canton, 56 – FinalThe Bulldogs clinched a playoff spot with the win. It is the quickest that Canton has clinched a playoff berth in about two decades. Head coach Jim Choquette credited his team’s defensive performance for earning the win and sealing a quick return to the state tournament. Sydnee Hyacinthe had 12 points and Shyanne Trinh had 10 for the Black Knights.

Milford, 13 @ Foxboro, 75 – FinalKatelyn Mollica scored 19 to lead the Warriors, who clinched at least a share of their third straight Davenport title. Shakirah Ketant had 13 ponints and 11 rebounds and Yara Fawaz added 12 points for Foxboro.

Franklin, 47 @ Mansfield, 32 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

King Philip, 74 @ Taunton, 37 – FinalFaith Roy scored 21 points, including 16 in the first quarter, helping the Warriors jump out to a big lead right from the opening tip and they never looked back. KP coach Amy Siggens said that the team’s defensive intensity made the difference. Shannon O’Connor added 16 and Faye Veilleux had 12 points for the Warriors, who are one win away from booking a spot in the state tournament.

North Attleboro, 52 @ Sharon, 57 – Final (OT)Ally Brown and Telishya Herbert each scored 13 points for the Eagles, who move within two wins of clinching a playoff spot. Emma Eberhardt and Evanjuline Elisma each scored eight points in the win.

Boys Gymnastics
Attleboro @ Burlington, 7:00

Vendrell Sparks Taunton To Win Over Stoughton

Taunton boys basketball Lou Vendrell
Taunton senior Lou Vendrell drives to the basket for a layup in the fourth quarter against Stoughton. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – A shorthanded Taunton team has seen a pair of seniors step up over the past two games. Tuesday night on the road against Stoughton, they had a third senior rise to the occasion.

Following in the footsteps of John Martins (30 points against Canton) and Ryan Sullivan (27 points against Mansfield), senior Lou Vendrell came off the bench to provide a big spark for the Tigers, leading Taunton to a 70-61 win on the road.

Vendrell scored a season-high 20 points, including 11 points in the fourth quarter, to help the Tigers secure an important win as they inch closer to a postseason berth.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“It was a huge win, being shorthanded,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “These guys that have carried us for three games are all good kids, they’ve done a nice job.”

Without three starters, the Tigers posted a 1-1 record last week so Tuesday’s road trip to Stoughton was an important one. Martins had another solid effort for the Tigers, dropping 15 points and hauling in eight rebounds while sophomore Josh Lopes came off the bench and scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half.

Taunton built a 10-point lead by using a 13-4 run over the final 2:15 of the first half. In the second half, Stoughton continued to push back into the game but the Tigers never surrendered the lead.

The Black Knights kept the visitors scoreless for the first 4:13 of the third quarter but could only muster six points of their own. Martins scored off a turnover and assist from Vendrell to get Taunton on the board, up 37-31. A three from Lopes extended that advantage to 40-31 with three minutes left in the third.

But Stoughton continued to chip away. Four points from Obinna Ugwuakazi (21 points, 11 rebounds) and two from Tahkwan Gates Brown (six points, five assists) got the Black Knights within five but a three-point play from Lopes kept Taunton ahead, 43-47, going into the final quarter.

“Those two guys are learning to play together,” Gallivan said of Ugwuakazi and Gates Brown. “At the beginning of the season we were playing one at a time, but they’re learning. They are looking for each other too. It’s not always pretty, but it can be effective.”

Taunton’s lead ballooned to 12 when sophomore Tyler Stewart come up with a steal then found Vendrell on the break early in the fourth quarter. Vendrell returned the favor to Stewart for two and a 51-40 lead, and then Stewart found Quinn in the corner for a three and Vendrell converted on a breakaway to make it 56-42 with 4:38 to play.

The 14-point lead was far from safe, however, as Ugwuakazi converted down low, Kevin Dixon splashed in a triple, and sophomore Jake Queeney came off the bench to drain a three to make it 58-50 with 2:14 to play.

“Queeney did a nice job, came off the bench and hit some shots,” Gallivan. “He’s played a couple of varsity quarters, he had one quarter of eligibility left tonight so we put him in and he did well.”

A free throw from Ugwuakazi cut the deficit to seven, but Vendrell responded with a jumper in the paint to put the Tigers up 60-51.

“If he starts off playing well, he does well for the game,” Dacey said of Vendrell. :He was confident tonight. He had a lot of momentum and was participating on both ends of the floor too which I think factored in.”

Ugwuakazi and Quinn traded two points apiece and Queeney hit another triple to get Stoughton within six, 62-56, with 1:29 to go. Each team had an empty trip, and Lopes raced out for a layup and a 64-56 lead.

“14 points out of a sophomore in a pressure situation like that? He’s a worker,” Dacey said of Lopes. “He’s worked his butt off, he’s in a good spot right now, and he deserves it.”

With under a minute to go, the Black Knights were forced to foul and Taunton was able to hold on for the win.

In the first half, Stoughton junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell (13 points, five rebounds, four assists) helped the Black Knights jump ahead 12-8, but Taunton closed the opening quarter with a 6-0 run (two each from Krishon Nairne, Martins, and Vendrell) for a 14-12 lead.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

In the second quarter, Martins took control of the offense and scored eight points in the quarter. A three-pointer from Ajahn Rue brought Stoughton within one at 22-21 with under three minutes to go but the Tigers finished the quarter strong with a 13-4 run.

Martins made back-to-back triples, Vendrell added in five straight, and Martins converted shortly before the buzzer for a 35-25 lead at the break.

“[John] makes good decisions out there,” Dacey said. “We’re trying to run some things, and he manages to settle it down and occasionally takes care of business himself. That’s the senior leadership we need.”

Taunton boys basketball (7-4 Hockomock, 10-5) begins a three-game home stand when it welcomes Oliver Ames on Friday night. Stoughton (4-7, 7-8) has its second straight home contest when it entertains North Attleboro.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 01/11/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Basketball
Attleboro, 79 @ King Philip, 60 – FinalAttleboro outscored King Philip 29-10 in the second quarter to turn a deficit into the separation it needed for the rest of the way. The Warriors held a 20-18 advantage after one but Attleboro’s offense poured in 29 points in the second quarter to take a 47-30 lead into the break. Junior Bryant Ciccio scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the second frame while senior Kevin Velazquez added seven of his career-high 19 points in the second. Attleboro junior Qualeem Charles shined with 16 points and 15 boards. King Philip’s Tim Nault, Bruce Saintilus, and Sam Sesay each scored 12 points.

Canton, 54 @ Sharon, 38 – FinalCanton turned it on the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points to pull away from a pesky Eagles team to earn the win. Canton led 18-13 at halftime, and took a six point advantage at 33-27 going into the final quarter. Devin Foster had five of his team-high 17 points in the final quarter and grabbed a total of 15 rebounds while sophomore Eric Mischler got going in the final frame with 10 of his 13 points coming in the fourth. Ryan Lentol added nine points and Kyle Fitzgerald scored all seven of his points in the second half. Sharon’s Ben Kaplan and Aidan each scored nine points for the Eagles.

Foxboro, 66 @ Stoughton, 77 – FinalStoughton had its been offensive performance of the season, scoring a season-high 77 points on its way to a win over visiting Foxboro. Stoughton’s four point lead after one quarter (19-15) grew to nine by half as the Knights led 45-36 at the break. Foxboro cut the deficit to four by the end of the third, 60-56, but Stoughton outscored the Warriors 17-10 in the final quarter. Stoughton junior Obinna Ugqwuakazi connected on 13 field goals for a career-high 27 points and hauled in 18 rebounds to pace the Black Knights. Senior Kevin Dixon scored 16 of his career-high 18 points in the second half and five more Stoughton players scored five or more points. Foxboro junior Will Morrison hit six three-pointers for a career-high 18 points to pace the Warriors.

Taunton, 45 @ Franklin, 50 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Oliver Ames, 44 @ Mansfield, 64 – FinalClick here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Mansfield broke the game wide open in the second half, thanks to Tommy Dooling’s outside shooting. Dooling hit six of his seven three-pointers after halftime, including four in the third quarter alone, and finished with a game-high 21 points. T.J. Guy scored 11 points for the Hornets, including six in the fourth quarter, and Damani Scott added nine points. Amari Brown tried to keep things close with 10 points for the Tigers, including eight in the third quarter, Sean O’Brien scored nine points and Ethan Eckstrom added eight in the loss.

North Attleboro, 53 @ Milford, 52 – FinalNorth Attleboro senior Nate Goncalves (11 points) connected on a pair of free throws to put the Rocketeers up three and that ended up the difference as Big Red held on for a one-point road win at Milford. After Goncalves’ put North up 53-50, the Rocketeers got a stop but Milford senior Brendan White (10 points) converted an offensive rebound to make it a one-point game. North missed the front end of a one-and-one but Milford’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer was off the mark. The Rocketeers led 18-13 after one, and 27-24 at half but an 18-point third quarter from the Scarlet Hawks knotted things at 42-42 going into the final frame. Senior Josh Montague (10 points) had a big three in the fourth and senior Jake Petersen scored half of his eight points in the final quarter. Senior Matt Seavey added a career-high 12 points for North and junior Ethan Friberg finished with 11 points. Junior Colby Pires and sophomore Jordan Darling each added 10 points for Milford.

Girls Basketball
King Philip, 68 @ Attleboro, 54 – FinalKP had three players score in double figures to bounce back from the loss to Canton. Faye Veilleux continued her strong start to the season with a game-high 15 points, but she got plenty of help on Friday with Faith Roy scoring 13 and Julia Leroux scoring 10. Nyah Thomas hit double figures for the second straight game for Attleboro, with 14, and Dom Garnes scored 13 and pulled down 12 rebounds. Liv McCall added 10 for the Bombardiers.

Canton, 58 @ Sharon, 44 – FinalCanton caught fire from three-point range to win its fifth straight game. The Bulldogs knocked down eight threes as a team. Sydney Gallery was the top scorer for the Bulldogs with 16 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Fay Gallery and Kiara Cerruti each scored 14 in the win, while Maggie Connolly scored six points, had seven rebounds and held Sharon’s top scorer Emma Eberhardt to two points in the second half. Eberhardt still managed 11 points for the Eagles, who had a lead after the first quarter. Evanjuline Elisma added seven points in the loss.

Stoughton, 29 @ Foxboro, 58 – FinalFoxboro stayed unbeaten heading into next week’s showdown with fellow division leader Franklin. Katelyn Mollica scored 23 points for the Warriors and Chelsea Gibbons added 14. Stoughton stayed with Foxboro for a half, down only 11 at the break, but the Warriors were able to build momentum and pull away. Aliyah Wright had a team-high 13 points for the Black Knights.

Franklin, 75 @ Taunton, 37 – FinalAli Brigham was dominant again for the Panthers, scoring 26 points and pulling down 17 rebounds. Bea Bondhus added 12 points for Franklin, which had 11 different players get on the score sheet.

Oliver Ames, 32 @ Mansfield, 41 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Milford, 39 @ North Attleboro, 59 – FinalNorth continued its winning run with a strong second half to pull away from the Hawks. Reigning HockomockSports.com Player of the Week Julia Feid was the game’s top scorer with 15 points and North also got 12 from Amanda Kaiser. Jillian Michelson scored a team-high 13 for Milford.

Boys Swimming
Canton, 99 @ Foxboro, 50 – FinalFoxboro’s Ben Dorman and Thomas Perry Jr. each had a win and the Warriors’ 400 relay team took first but Canton earned the win overall. Dorman won the 100 backstroke in 1:20 with Kris Andersen taking second. Perry Jr. took first in the 100 breaststroke with teammate Josh Sitte touching second. The team of Jared Roke, Anthony Amico, Jack Groves, and Joseph St. Pierre won the 400 relay in 5:17.

King Philip, 91 @ Oliver Ames, 77 – Final
Milford, 101 @ Sharon, 63 – Final
Stoughton, 35 @ North Attleboro, 90 – Final
Franklin, 56 @ Taunton, 37 – Final

Girls Swimming
Canton, 97 @ Foxboro, 71 – FinalFoxboro’s Pam Nelson had a pair of individual wins, Sarah Egan won once, and the Warriors swept the 400 relay but Canton recorded the win. Nelson won the 200IM (2:32) and the 500 free (6:03), Egan touched first in the 100 backstroke (1:14), and the team of Gina Oullette, Kendall Milender, Madison Feldman, and Shannon Egan won the 400 relay in 5:01.

King Philip, 81 @ Oliver Ames, 94 – Final
Milford, 83 @ Sharon, 86 – Final
Stoughton, 57 @ North Attleboro, 91 – Final
Franklin, 51 @ Taunton, 42 – Final

2018-2019 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

2018-2019 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018-2019 Hockomock Boys Basketball Preview

Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 13-10
2017-2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Mark Houle

Expectations are high for the Attleboro Bombardiers, who return all but one player from last year’s squad that won 13 games and qualified for the D1 South tournament. While the majority of the roster is made up of juniors (eight), the Bombardiers have a wealth of experience with almost all players having played at least one year, with a handful with two.

With experience comes options for veteran head coach Mark Houle. The Bombardiers expect to be able to play fast in transition but also slow down and execute in the half court. Attleboro boasts some of the top big men in the league and will look to use that to its advantage. Junior Qualeem Charles (6’5) was selected as a Hock All Star last year and will be a key piece on both sides of the ball with fellow big men Jason Weir, Lorenzo Wilson and Nolan Jaeger looking to factor in.

Junior Bryant Ciccio, also a Hockomock All Star last season, will be the quarterback of the offense from the point guard position. With two years of varsity experience already, Ciccio could be poised for a big season. Seniors Mason Houle and Kevin Velazquez both made big splashes last year and will be key pieces in the frontcourt this year. Velazquez provides high energy and can be a big threat from deep while Houle is a strong two-way player that will make plays on both ends of the court.

“We have several returning players with one or two years of varsity experience and will rely on them to be consistently working hard on both ends of the court,” said Mark Houle. “Our strength will be a strong inside game on offense…[and] our guard play will have multiple players able to handle pressure, score and contribute.”

Canton

2017-2018 Record: 16-5
2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Ryan Gordy

The Bulldogs are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. This season, the Bulldogs will be looking to improve each day and adjust to a new style of play that fits the personnel best.

While three starters are gone, one starter that is back is Devin Foster, a Hockomock League All Star and HockomockSports.com First Team selection a year ago. Foster is a dynamic player that can be a nightmare for opposing defenses trying to stop him. He can shoot the three and really improved on his ability to finish around the rim last year.

Senior Paul Corcoran and junior Kyle Fitzgerald both had starts last season and head coach Ryan Gordy is looking for both players, along with versatile guard Ryan Lentol, to take a big step on the court this season. Corcoran is a strong defender, Fitzgerald will handle the point, and Lentol will do a little bit of everything for the Dogs. All three have a good amount of varsity experience and will be relied upon to be leaders on the court.

“Our culture in our foundation, and our veteran leadership sets the tone for the program,” Gordy said. “If we stay growth oriented this could be a fun season, players are committed to continuous improvement and that’s a pleasure to coach.”

Foxboro

2017-2018 Record: 19-5
2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Jon Gibbs

Foxboro had a memorable 2018 season, earning 19 wins and sharing the Davenport division title with Canton. But with four of the five starters from that team gone, the 2019 Warriors will try to create their own identity while trying to replicate the success.

The one starter back is junior Brandon Borde (11.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.7 apg) and his two years of experience on varsity will be vital as role players switch to starters and new role players emerge. Borde is a talented guard that can hurt teams in a variety of ways but his strength allows him to finish around the rim in tough situations.

Senior Anthony Mollica had a bit of a coming out party during the end of last season, emerging as an offensive threat for the Warriors. Head coach Jon Gibbs expects more of that throughout this season and will be looking for the likes of Will Morrison, Liam Devlin, Ryan Hughes, and Kevin Gallagher — all players with varsity experience, to step up this year. While Foxboro will likely rely on its defense again this year, three-point shooting should be a strength on the offensive side.

“Right now the focus is on getting better each day,” Gibbs said. “Practices have been competitive. Guys are fighting hard to carve out a role for themselves by earning the trust of their teammates and coaches. If we can continue to defend and rebound at a high level, we have a chance to be very successful.”

Franklin

2017-2018 Record: 23-4
2017-2018 Finish: Reached D1 State Final
Coach: CJ Neely

The Panthers have reached the D1 State Final each of the past two seasons and it looks like they have the tools to try and make a third straight appearance. Franklin brings back two of the top players in the Hockomock League in senior Jalen Samuels and junior Chris Edgehill.

Both Samuels (13.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Edgehill (17.1 ppg, 3.5 apg) have a wealth of varsity experience that the Panthers will rely on as others battle for minutes in the rotation. Edgehill is one of the most dangerous guards offensively and can score in a variety of ways while Samuels can present a matchup problem for most teams. Will Harvey also has varsity experience and will likely see an increased role in the 2018-2019 season.

The rest of the rotation is up for grabs but there is a lot of choices for head coach CJ Neely, who noted there is a strong amount of depth and balance on this year’s squad. Unsurprisingly, Franklin will be focused on causing problems on the defensive side of the ball. The Panthers have been known as a gritty defensive squad and they are looking to continue that tradition this year. Offensively, Neely is hoping unselfishness and outside shooting will help replicate the success of previous seasons.

“It will be a season long battle for minutes and guys will have to earn our trust through defensive intensity and unselfish play on offense,” Neely said. “Our goal is to focus on the process of competing hard and improving each day and the results will reflect our daily effort and attitude.”

King Philip

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Dave DeStefano

First-year head coach Dave DeStefano is hoping hard work in the offseason will translate into success on the court this year for the King Philip Warriors. DeStefano is the Warriors fifth head coach in the last eight seasons but his familiarity with the Hockomock League (former JV coach at Foxboro) should give him a boost right away.

While the Warriors had only four wins last year, half of their 16 losses came by six points or less, including to D2 State Champions Tech Boston (74-71) and division foes Attleboro and Taunton. King Philip is hoping it can be on the right side of those contests this season. Bruce Santillus and Timmy Nault are the two returning starters from last year, and both showed they are capable of taking over games on the offensive end. Santillus is a versatile player that can score in many ways and is tough in one-on-one matchups. Nault provides a lot of energy on both ends and can give the team a spark when needed.

DeStefano is looking for seniors Tyler Nault, Ian Khung, and Michael O’Brien to build on their minutes from last year and have increased roles for 2018-2019. Junior Andrew McKinney showed a lot of promise last year and could be a big contributor for the Warriors this year. Senior Terry Jacobs-Baston gives KP a nice post presence along with junior Tommy Donahue (6’5) and senior Sam Sesay (6’2). Juniors Alex Fritz, Chris Roy, and Adam Nicastro will all be in the mix for minutes as well.

“The boys have really worked hard this offseason,” DeStefano said. “The practices have been really competitive and physical. For us to be successful we will need to make a big commit on the defensive end of the floor. We want to make our opponents uncomfortable and focus on working together to get stops.”

Mansfield

2017-2018 Record: 27-2
2017-2018 Finish: D1 State Champions
Coach: Mike Vaughan

While the D1 State Championship is in the rearview mirror, expectations are still sky high for Mansfield, who has won six straight Hock Kelley-Rex titles, tying a streak from OA in the 1980s for the longest title run. With a handful of players back and a strong mix of new faces Mansfield will be aiming for its seventh straight.

The Hornets will rely on their most experienced players early on with Damani Scott, Tommy Dooling, and Khristian Conner back. All three have starting experience, and beyond that, a wealth of varsity minutes in the regular season and postseason. Scott had a terrific playoff run last year and could be one of the top players in the Hock this year. Dooling is a talented guard that can hurt teams from deep while Conner can score from all over the floor.

Beyond that trio, there are a handful of new faces trying to establish time in the lineup and rotation. Junior Sam Stevens and sophomores Matt Boen and TJ Guy are top candidates to find time in the rotation. Stevens and Guy both have good size and will give the Hornets a presence in the post while Boen is a crafty guard that will likely contribute offensively right away. Expect Makhi Baskin, Jack Mousette, and Drew Rooney to be in the mix as well.

“We’re looking forward to getting the season started with new faces,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Vaughan. “We’ll have our early challenges getting the new faces up to speed with the varsity level of play, but it’s a talented group, they are working hard, and they are getting better each day. It should be an exciting year as the league looks to be super competitive as always.”

Milford

2017-2018 Record: 13-10
2017-2018 Finish: Reached D2 Central Semifinal
Coach: Paul Seaver

While the Hawks have some experience back this year, it will be key for the new faces to get up to speed as Milford looks to compete for a Davenport division title. Seniors Brendan White, Brendon Sailer, and Steve Sutherland are all back after either starting or playing a lot of minutes last season and will be relied upon, especially early, to guide the Hawks through a difficult schedule.

White was Milford’s leading scorer last season with 14 points per game in the regular season so he will be a key piece for the Hawks again this year. Sailer is a good ball handler and will handle point guard duties. He’s a strong defender and can distribute the ball well, but he is also able to get to the rim or shoot from deep. Sutherland provides the Hawks with an experienced presence in the post but can step out and hit shots as well.

Junior Colby Pires is coming off a successful season on the gridiron and will see a lot of minutes on the court and senior Danny Corsini can provide a spark on the offensive end with his shooting. Sophomore Dom Schofield stands at 6’5 so he can be a matchup problem for some teams in the league while classmate Jordan Darling can do a little bit of everything and could have a breakout year for the Scarlet Hawks.

“Our goal is to simply get better with each passing day,” said Milford head coach Paul Seaver. “We have a lot of newcomers this season and are facing one of our toughest schedules in years. Our goal is to build chemistry and work towards qualifying for the state tournament for a fourth consecutive season.”

North Attleboro

2017-2018 Record: 9-11
2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Sean Mulkerrins

After just missing out on the postseason a year ago, North Attleboro is hoping a strong senior class can help the Rocketeers return to the postseason and compete for a Davenport division title. Big Red boasts nine seniors, including three starters and a handful of guys that played plenty of minutes a year ago.

Leading scoring Josh Montague (13.7 points per game) is back and will be one of the top guards in the Hock. He plays well on both ends of the court but really came into his own as a scorer as the season progressed last year. Senior Jacob Petersen, standing at 6’6, will be one of the toughest matchups in the league and his ability to play as a true post player gives North an advantage over other teams. He is also a force on defense that can prevent easy buckets in the paint. Senior Nate Gonsalves improved throughout last year and could be poised for a breakout season for Big Red.

Senior Evan Rosenberg will likely be tasked with guarding some of the top players in the league because of his strong defensive play. Seniors Adam Falcone, Jonathan James, Joe Milosh and Matt Seavey all played last year and that experience will be key as they factor into the rotation again this year. Junior Ethan Friberg got valuable minutes last year and can score in a variety of ways while also giving Big Red size at 6’4. Sophomore George Ladd will be making his varsity debut but is expected to provide North with a spark on offense.

“We are extremely excited about the 2018-2019 season,” said North Attleboro head coach Sean Mulkerrins. “Led by our nine seniors, we hope we can build off of last year’s momentum. We have an extremely intelligent group of players that is coachable, hardworking, and determined. We believe our cohesiveness and depth will allow us to be successful.”

Oliver Ames

2017-2018 Record: 8-13
2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Don Byron

The Tigers found themselves in an unfamiliar place at the end of last year – on the outside looking in for the postseason. This year, Oliver Ames is hoping to blend a mix of returners, role players, and new faces — both from JV and transfers — into a competitive group that will look to begin a new postseason streak.

A major challenge will be replacing Hockomock League All Star and HockomockSports.com First Team selection Jack Spillane, who led the Hock in scoring during the regular season with 22.3 points per game. The Tigers will aim to have a much more balanced approach this season players that can contribute at each position. It will begin with returning starters Ethan Eckstrom and Jake Erlich, both seniors. Both Eckstrom and Erlich will spend the majority of their time in or around the paint and will be key defensive pieces as well. Sean O’Brien, who mostly came off the bench but was one of the team leaders in minutes, is a high-energy player that contributes on both ends of the court.

Senior Harry DeChellis was slated to be a big contributor for the Tigers last year before suffering a season ending injury so OA is hoping he will step right in and be a leader. Jay Spillane and Ryan Burkett both had successful seasons on JV a year ago and will factor in the rotation while transfers Amari Brown, a sophomore guard, and Evan Craig, a junior forward, both will be impact players right away.

“We should be a lot more balanced on offense, it should spread around,” said Oliver Ames head coach Don Byron. “It’s one of those teams where we have the ability to score at all positions, as well as the guys off the bench. It might change each night but we have a lot of guys that are capable of contributing.”

Sharon

2017-2018 Record: 4-16
2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Andrew Ferguson

The Eagles are aiming to improve on both ends of the court this year and are looking to compete for the Davenport title and a trip to the state tournament. After missing out on the playoffs each of the last two seasons, the Eagles are looking to ride a mix of experienced players to try and get back to the postseason.

Sharon will rely heavily on its three senior captains: Aaron Strong, Ben Kaplan, and Alex Kaufmann. Strong is a versatile guard that can be a pest on the defensive end of the court; Kaplan makes a lot of things happen on both ends and was having a strong season as a junior before seeing it cut short to injury; and Kaufmann is in his third year on varsity and is capable of having big scoring games any given night.

Athleticism will be something the Eagles rely on this year on both sides of the ball. Beyond the three senior captains, juniors Andrew Burton, Aidan Kane, and Alec Filipkowski all saw varsity minutes and should be factors as their roles increase this season. Juniors Cameron Baker and Caleb Gayle will also factor into the rotation in the frontcourt.

“This is a very tight knit, energized group and they are continually pushing each other to get better every day,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Ferguson. “We have a good mix of experience and youth to provide depth at multiple positions. We are replacing a lot of offense from last year and have a lot of players vying for those opportunities.”

Stoughton

2017-2018 Record: 6-14
2017-2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: John Gallivan

The Black Knights are hoping a balanced attack on offense and a commitment to defense will result in 10 wins and a trip to the state tournament. Stoughton has five players back with varsity experience so the Knights will lean on those players early as head coach John Gallivan tries to fit a handful of new faces from JV and outside the program into the rotation.

Senior captains Zak Paquette, Josh Cocchi, and Kevin Dixon will be key not only for their contributions on the court but for their leadership as well. They are all experienced players that Gallivan will lean on as he figures out what the best rotations will be.

Senior Ajahn Rue is another returnee and brings a lot of talent to the point guard position while junior Myles Grigalunas-Powell got his feet wet on varsity a year ago and could see an increased role in the 2018-2019 season. After those five, Gallivan is looking for some new faces to step up and establish themselves as go-to options for the Black Knights.

“We are hoping to have more of a balanced attack on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor than we have had in the past,” Gallivan said.

taunton

2017-2018 Record: 12-11
2017-2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Charlie Dacey

This year’s version of the Taunton Tigers will be relying on tempo to try and run past the competition in the Hockomock League. Taunton boasts speed throughout the lineup and is hoping that it can use that — offensively and defensively — to its advantage this year. But if necessary, the Tigers can also slow it down and execute in the half court.

Senior guard John Martins and junior forward Dante Law are returning seniors from a season ago and both are quick players that bring experience to a team that is looking to use its speed to emphasize its open court skills. Martins is a steady player that can do a lot of things on both ends of the court and Law is looking to take the next step forward after some strong outings as a sophomore.

Senior Lou Vendrell is back and had a lot of offensive skill that the Tigers will need, especially his outside shot. Similar to Law, junior Naz Kenion had some breakout moments a year ago and Taunton will be looking for more production out of him this season. Prince Brown brings a year of varsity experience back and can provide an offensive spark with his shooting. Senior Mike Quinn rounds out the backcourt while Wesner Charles and Tyler Stewart provide the Tigers with size down low.

“Tempo will be the key this year,” said longtime Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey. “The roster has some depth and there is speed at every position.”

Stoughton Opens Season With Win Over Archies

Stoughton boys basketball
Stoughton’s Obinna Ugwuakazi goes up for a shot in the second half against Archbishop Williams. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 STOUGHTON, Mass. – With a combination of experienced, young, and new players on the team this year, Stoughton head coach John Gallivan has yet to determine how the pieces of the puzzle best fit together.

And while it may take a couple of games to integrate the team and find the best lineups at the right times, his most experienced varsity players stepped up in key moments to help deliver a 66-62 win on opening night against Archbishop Williams.

Senior captain Zak Paquette scored nine of his career-high 16 points in the final quarter while junior Ajahn Rue (10 points) buried a three with under a minute left to help the Black Knights fend off a comeback attempt from the Bishops.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“Zak had some big buckets for us in the fourth quarter and I thought the three that Ajahn hit by our bench late was huge,” Gallivan said. “It came right in the flow of the game and it was the kind of thing that should have happened instead of being forced. It was a gutsy shot when it should have been taken and obviously we needed it.

“We still have to figure out a lot of pieces, where they go and how they fit.”

While Archies had the strong start (11-2 lead in the first quarter), it was Stoughton that had success throughout the middle quarters. Paquette’s first triple of the game just under a minute the final quarter off a pass from Kevin Dixon gave Stoughton its largest lead at 55-39 and it looked like Stoughton was set to run away with the game.

But Archies refused to go away, making it a single digit game (59-50) but the midway point of the quarter, and used a 7-2 spurt to get within four, 61-57, with just under two minutes to go.

Stoughton responded with a key stretch, Paquette finishing underneath after a nice feed from senior Edward Aldama (four points, four rebounds) and then Rue came up with a steal to get possession back. Rue and Paquette combined for a two-man game in the corner, the passing resulting in a three from Rue and a 66-57 lead with 38 seconds to play.

Archies took an early lead but Stoughton was able to claw back into the game and make it a one-possession game after eight minutes. After an emotional pregame ceremony that honored David Bell and Nick Joyce, two of four Stoughton students that passed away in a tragic accident last May. Bell was slated to be a senior captain this season and Joyce played of sub varsity last season but attended plenty of varsity games over the years watching older brother Kris Joyce (1,000 point scorer).

Stoughton came out flying but the energy didn’t translate into points as the Bishops staked an 11-2 lead. From there, the Knights settled in and made a game of it. Rue, Myles Grigalunas-Powell, and Tahkwan Gates Brown (six points) came off the bench to help Stoughton get in gear.

The Knights closed the quarter with a 7-2 run, highlighted by a pair of putbacks from Obinna Ugwuakazi (11 points, 10 rebounds) and a triple from Rue and trailed just 19-17 after one.

“If we could have started that way instead of going down….we talked about using the emotion but not getting swamped by it,” Gallivan said. “We left a lot out there, we got some decent looks and we tried to do some things we’re not capable of doing. To [Archbishop Williams’] credit, they knocked some shots down.”

A three from sophomore Brett Pendenza and a midrange jumper from Ahmad Jahed helped Stoughton jump in front, a lead they didn’t relinquish the rest of the way. Paquette had a traditional three point and Josh Cocchi hit a pair of three throws to give Stoughton a 31-26 lead at half.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Stoughton extended its lead by outscoring the Bishops 19-11 in the third quarter. Ugwuakazi had five of his points in the frame, Aldama scored a pair of buckets, Cocchi drained a triple wit just over a minute left in the third, and Kevin Dixon converted a putback at the to make it 50-37 heading into the fourth.

“I thought the middle third of the game, we were pretty good,” Gallivan said. “The beginning and the end were shaky but that could be a product of having so many new faces.”

Stoughton boys basketball (1-0) opens Hockomock League play on Tuesday with a trip to Oliver Ames for a 6:30 tipoff.

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 6-14
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Matt Bosh

After missing out on the postseason a year ago, Attleboro head coach Matt Bosh believes his team’s depth and versatility will help the Bombardiers get back there.

Junior Eoin Kelleher is back to lead the pitching staff after a stellar sophomore season in which he earned HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year honors. Kelleher posted a 1.00 ERA in 35 innings of work, including throwing a no-hitter against rival North. Senior captains Jason Weir and Jon Candiales, senior Drew Pagano along with junior Sam Larkin will all see time on the mound for Big Blue as well.

Candiales and Weir also anchor the offense with the former patrolling shortstop and the latter seeing time in both the outfield and first base. Candiales gives the Bombardiers power from the left side of the plate while Weir is a three-year starter that gives Bosh flexibility in the lineup. Larkin will be in the outfield when he isn’t pitching and can use his speed to hurt teams. Corey McKenna returns as the starting second baseman while senior Dakota Kirby is back behind the dish after a year off. Kirby will add pop to the lineup as he hit 0.425 as a sophomore with 10 RBI.

“The biggest improvement that I see from last year is our team speed and athleticism,” Bosh said. “We have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions and we’re very athletic. We have a high number of kids who can play anywhere.”

Canton

2017 Record: 6-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Greg Digirolamo

A strong core of returning players and a good amount of depth will be keys for the 2018 Canton Bulldogs baseball team.

After losing just four players from last year’s team, there is a good mix of experienced players and talented youth for head coach Greg Digirolamo to work with. The Bulldogs will look to three senior captains to the lead the way: Matt Casamento, Robbie Wilkinson, and Tommy DeLello. Casamento is a three-year starter in center field, DeLello will man first base and Wilkinson will try to carry over the momentum from an impressive junior year into 2018. Wilkinson went 3-1 last year with a 1.58 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.

Wilkinson will be joined in the pitching staff by seniors Austin Maffie, Niko Donovan, and Ryan Hickey, along with juniors Paul Corcoran, Robbie Sullivan, and Kevin McGonigle. Freshman Matt Connolly will also figure into the mix on the mound.

Casamento anchors the defense from the center field spot while junior catcher Matt Pigeon and sophomore shortstop Nate Quan bolster the defense up the middle.

“It’s a good group of kids that like to compete every day, what else can you ask for as a coach?” Digirolamo said. “For us the biggest thing will be seeing live pitching. If we’re to have any success this year we’ll need to do a better job at the plate.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 7-14
2017 Finish: Reached D3 South First Round
Coach: Derek Suess

New Foxboro head coach Derek Suess sees a little bit of the past in his first team as head coach. Suess, a former Warrior himself, said the 2018 version of Foxboro reminds him of a team that won 15 games during his senior year just over a decade ago.

“This team is hungry to put the program back on the map,” Suess said. “I couldn’t ask for a better senior group to lead us. They remind me of the senior group I was a part of in 2007 in which we won 15 games. With a good mix of underclassmen, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s hard work pay off on the field.”

After losing a painful eight games by just one run a season ago, including a near upset of third-seeded and D3 South Finalist Norton in the playoffs, the Warriors will be looking to turn those losses into wins this time around.

“We need to make more winning plays to put those tallies in the win column,” Suess said.

Junior Anthony Mollica will spearhead the offense after leading the Warriors with a 0.367 batting average a year ago. Senior Chad Bearce and sophomore Joe Cavaleri will bolster the middle of the lineup, freshman Sean Yoest has shown flashes early on at the dish, and seniors Joe Freitas, Matt Rongione, and Jack Franceschelli provide the Warriors with some speed.

Senior Steve McLaughlin returns after an impressive 2017 season. Despite posting an 0-6 record, McLaughlin struck out 24 batters in 32.2 innings of work and posted a 1.73 ERA. McLaughlin will be joined by Cavaleri, Yoest, and junior Guy Quartarone in the rotation while senior Robert Theriault returns behind the dish after getting a year of experience last season.

Franklin

2017 Record: 18-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Zach Brown

Focusing on pitching and defense, the Panthers will be looking to get better each and every day as they try to replicate the success from a season ago.

Franklin won the Kelley-Rex division last year, its first league title since 2012. And the mix of pitching and offense put the Panthers in some conversations for Super 8, but the Panthers ended up in the D1 South and bowed out in the quarterfinals after being forced to play on back to back days.

The arms that helped the Panthers have so much success last year as almost all back, starting with staff ace senior Jake Noviello. The Fairfield-commit struck out a Hockomock-best 61 batters a year ago, going 6-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 55.1 innings of work. Noviello is complemented by lefty Jason Ulrickson (7-0, 0.80 ERA, 35 K), Bryan Woelfel (3-2, 0.91 ERA, 4 SV, 31 K) and senior James Leofanti.

The defense will be anchored by a pair of returning starters in junior shortstop Alex Haba (0.360, 12 runs) and junior catcher Jake Macchi.

“While we are returning a number of experienced arms we are also turning over a number of positions last season,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “So, we will be young or inexperienced at a number of positions. Offensively, my hope is that as the season progressing we will be able to develop an identity and find a way to manufacture runs.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 10-11
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Greg Kessler

After just squeaking into the postseason a year ago, first-year KP head coach Greg Kessler is hoping his team will be in contention for a Kelley-Rex division title in 2018.

One reason for that is the senior class and the handful of returning players that have plenty of experience at the varsity level. Ben Furfari returns as a key piece of the Warriors’ outfield and lineup. He hit 0.298 last season and will provide the power on offense. Senior Pat Limerick, committed to play at St. Joseph’s (ME), will set the tone as the leadoff hitter.

On the mound, senior Jeremy Rhines (2-1, 1.45 ERA) and junior David Morganelli will be the main options while hard-throwing senior Liam Rohan will also be in the mix. Nolan Bradley returns behind the plate as one of the top catchers in the league while sophomore Robbie Jarest will step in to take over at shortstop.

“We have a great group of senior this year,” Kessler said. “They have been dedicated to the weight room and leading our underclassmen. They continuously strive to build a team that will compete for the Hock championship. They deserve to have a great year. I guarantee that will be the most vocal and most energetic team in the Hock. We pride ourselves on being positive and enthusiastic every pitch.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 14-8
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Joe Breen

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Mansfield baseball program this season. And with the arms they have back, there’s good reason for it.

Senior Tyler Dalton, a UMass Amherst commit, returns after missing the majority of his junior year with an injury. Dalton was tremendous during the 2016 season as a sophomore, posting a 6-2 record while striking out 35 batters and posting a 1.78 ERA. He will be joined on the Hornets’ staff by senior Kevin Dow (UMass Amherst commit, 4-1, 1.93 ERA), junior lefty Connor Sheehan (2.82 ERA, 28 K), and junior Kyle Moran (three saves). Sophomore John Carney will also likely see time on the mound for the Hornets.

Senior catcher Cullin Anastasia returns after being named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team. Anastasia had 19 hits a year ago, knocking in 10 runs and scoring 10 runs as well. Sam Nugent will give the Hornets a spark in center field and on the base path with his speed, Moran picked up plenty of experience at third base last season, and Eric Longley will provide Mansfield with some pop in the middle of the lineup.

“We will rely heavily on our pitching staff this season to keep us in games and look to make the plays behind them and be aggressive with our offensive and baserunning approach to get those guys a few runs per game,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “As always, we will turn to our senior class to set the tone and for our underclassmen to blossom under their leadership.”

Milford

2017 Record: 12-10
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Alex Dion

Milford baseball starts a new chapter in its historic history as longtime assistant Alex Dion takes over the reigns of the program.

Dion’s first challenge will be having to overcome the loss of a dozen seniors, including team ace Alex Macek, reliable infielders Zack Tamagni and Anthony Arcudi, and hard-hitting outfielder Ryan Goncalves. However, the good news is that Dion has one of the best players at his disposal in Stonehill-commit Aidan Wilde. Wilde had 59 hits between his freshman and sophomore years and added 21 more in the regular season a year ago. After seeing time as a catcher last season, Wilde will mainly man the corner infield positions in 2018.

Wilde will be complemented by junior Matt Shaver, who picked up some experience a year ago at both shortstop and on the mound. The Hawks will rely on Shaver to anchor the defense from short and give the offense a spark from the leadoff position. Junior Tyler Almeida will step in behind the dish and will provide some offense from the left side of the plate. Sophomores Luke Rosa and Colby Pires look to be in the mix as well as junior Nick Marcolini, who will pitch and patrol the outfield.

“We graduated a strong senior class this past year and are now in a situation where we have a lot of new players who we will look to take advantage of new opportunities,” Dion said. “I am excited about the athleticism that we have on our roster and the energy that these guys bring to practice each day. I think our philosophy is simple, but we preach a team-first mentality to our guys and strive to get quality pitching, play clean defense and get timely hits to win games.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 8-10
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Hart

North Attleboro didn’t have to go far to find its new coach. Mike Hart takes over for Paul Tobin and Hart truly bleeds Big Red – a graduate from the school and three-sport coach.

And expectations are high for the Rocketeers after just missing out on the postseason a year ago. Senior captain Nick Sinacola returns after having an MVP-caliber junior season. Big Red will rely on Sinacola on both sides of the plate, leading the offense (he batted 0.415 last year with 15 runs scored) and being the ace of the staff (48.1 IP, 49 K, 2.01 ERA). Senior captain Zach DeMattio is also back after being named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team, batting 0.333 with 15 RBI and three home runs. Big Red also gets senior Nate Pearce (0.371) back after a strong junior year.

Senior Peter Cohen (24 IP, 0.29 ERA) will look to build upon a superb junior year while Nolan Buckley and Jeff Gale bring experience to the outfield. Aidan Harding also has varsity experience and will be in the mix to get innings on the mound along with juniors Matt Wanless, Jake Palmer, Matt Seavey, Nick Raneri, and Ben Arrighi.

“We have a truly industrious group of players,” Hart said. “We’re going to keep moving guys around until we find the lineup that works for us. Some may have to play multiple positions, depending on whose pitching on any given day. We had a decent season last year, with many guys getting some varsity time, but we’re still unproven. We need to continue to improve every day and only worry about the things we can control. Guys will be competing every day all season, which will only make us better. We will approach each day, with a great attitude, high effort, and a steadfast approach.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 14-9
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Joe Abarr

A lot of the players that helped Joe Abarr have a successful first season as head coach last year are back, which means the Tigers are aiming to replicate that success.

Despite finishing in a tie for third in the Kelley-Rex, the Tigers put together the best playoff run of any Hock team, knocking off #2 Dighton-Rehoboth on the road to reach the sectional semifinals. Junior Matt McCormack is back after earning a spot on varsity late in the season this year, and along with classmate Tom Parker, should give OA a solid 1-2 punch. With a handful of capable arms in the mix, the third spot in the rotation is still up for grabs.

Abarr won’t have to worry much about anything hit to the left side of the infield as the Tigers return third basemen Chris Pearsons and shortstop Matt Muir, two of the top defensive players at their positions. Both are capable hitters as well and will provide some pop to the lineup. Another returning starter is senior Mitch Goulet. Goulet had a breakout junior campaign in center field (0.347, 7 RBI), catching fire in the second half of the year. Abarr is hoping that momentum will carry over to this season.

The Tigers have a battle for the spot behind the plate as both junior Jake Erlich and junior Reid Latham are back, both with experience behind the dish.

“We have a great core of returning players that will be the backbone of the program,” Abarr said. “We have to fill positions in the outfield and at first. If we have some guys step up in that role we should have a decent lineup from top to bottom.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 6-14
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kee Arguimbau

Sharon is aiming to improve on its six-win season in 2017, and will be looking to ride its senior leadership to do so.

Senior captains Max Tarlin and Drew Naisuler are two of the most experienced players in the league and will be spearheading the Eagles’ offense and defense this year. Tarlin (5-4, 46 K, 1.11 ERA) is the anchor of the pitching staff, picking up five of Sharon’s six wins last season. When he’s not on the mound, expect to see Tarlin patrolling shortstop. Naisuler returns as the team’s No. 4 hitter to provide some pop to the lineup and will be a key defensive piece at both center field and first base.

The Eagles will also rely on senior Ben Schwartz, who will mainly be catching this year as well as being a major offensive contributor. Junior Noah Kamens will be a major piece of the pitching puzzle after impressing during his sophomore year. Similar to Tarlin, Kamens will be a major player in the offensive lineup and will see time off the mound spent in the outfield. Spencer Singer is transitioning to the outfield and will continue to be one of the players the Eagles look at for offensive production.

“I have a lot of guys who are multifaceted baseball players and I can foresee a lot of games being played with straight nine in the lineup,” Arguimbau said. “We have great senior leadership and some very promising sophomores that are going to play a major role in our season’s success.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 15-6
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Mike Armour

There are a lot of questions to be answered for this year’s Stoughton baseball team, but head coach Mike Armour is excited for his players to rise to the challenge.

The Black Knights graduated nearly their entire team (10 of its 13 rostered players), which won its second straight Davenport division title. So not only will Armour be leaning heavily on his three returning players, he is looking for new faces to seize the opportunity.

“This is an exciting year for our program,” Armour said. “It’s an awesome opportunity for our younger guys. The JV and freshmen teams both over 15 or more games last year, so we’re looking for them to carry that winning attitude into this season. I expect our team to play with heart and execute the fundamentals to make us a competitive team.”

2017 HockomockSports.com First Team selection and senior captain Ruben Gonzalez returns as one of the top players in the league, both defensively at shortstop and offensively at the plate. Senior Matt Hadley and junior Evan Gibb, both captains, are the other two returning players for the Knights. Gibb has plenty of varsity experience behind the plate and Hadley, although he will miss some time with injury, will be key piece in the outfield.

Meanwhile, Armour is looking for sophomores James Genest (first base) and Michael Nazzaro (third base/catcher) to step up and play important roles both offensively and defensively this season. Juniors Kyle Gagnon, Kevin Dixon, and Cian Swierzewski will see time in the outfield and classmate Robbie Seaman will be in the mix for middle infield.

For pitching, Gibb will see time on the mound as well as behind the play. Senior Will Eckhart has some varsity experience and junior Zak Paquette will likely log some meaningful innings for the Knights. Seniors Tim Kellogg, Talyor Atkinson, and Mike Anderson provide infield depth and Jack Brown and Ryan Semler will be in the mix in the outfield.

Taunton

2017 Record: 12-10
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Blair Bourque

There are a lot of good pitchers in the Hockomock League this year, and it looks like the Tigers’ staff could be right near the top of the list.

Taunton returns senior Tyler Medeiros, who had a terrific junior campaign and will get junior Jack Moynihan back on the mound. Moynihan was impressive during his freshman year two seasons ago but an injury limited his action on the mound last season. Medeiros fanned 68 batters in 56.1 innings of work, posting a 1.98 ERA to anchor the staff. Look for senior Trevor Pietrzyk and juniors Griffin Tomaszycki and Josh Lajoie to get some meaningful innings on the mound as well.

“Tyler clearly emerged as our top pitcher last year,” said second-year head coach Blair Bourque. “Fortunately, he’s a big kid and was able to put us on his back and carry us. Hopefully, we’re able to provide more support for him this year.”

Moynihan will also play a big role in Taunton’s offense this year. While patrolling third base, Moynihan will try to provide some pop in the middle of the lineup. The Tigers also get their top two batters back with senior shortstop Jacob Crawford (0.350, 15 runs) and senior Christian Simoes (0.340, 12 RBI).

Taunton will carry nine seniors and eight juniors this season so experience will be key.