TAUNTON, Mass. – In the bottom of the sixth inning, Taunton put together a rally to try and regain the lead against King Philip (21-4) in Friday night’s Div. 1 South final at Jack Tripp Field. The first two batters reached and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. An intentional walk loaded the bases for No. 9 hitter Rylie Murphy.
The sophomore made her first start of the playoffs, after playing a handful of games and getting fewer than 20 at-bats on varsity in the regular season, and was now up in the biggest moment of the spring against the team’s biggest rival. Taunton coach Dave Lewry admitted that adding Murphy to the lineup was a “hunch.”
It was a hunch that paid off with a South title.
Murphy battled to a 3-2 count against KP starter Elise Pereira, who was only a strike away from escaping the jam, before turning on a pitch and smacking a grounder down the third base line. KP third baseman Jess Bonner dove but the ball hit a mound of dirt in front of her, took a huge hop, and bounced into shallow left field, bringing in the game-winning runs.
“It’s like what you have in dreams, two outs, 3-2 count, bottom of the sixth inning and you just hit it and you don’t even know where it goes and all of a sudden your coach is screaming, jumping up and down and you’re so excited,” said Murphy after Taunton’s 4-2 victory, which earned the program’s first South title since 2007.
Lewry was all smiles as he talked about Murphy and the contributions she has made to the team off the field all season. He said, “A kid who sits the bench all year, cheering for everybody, and comes into this game and gets the winning hit, unbelievable.”
He added, “She’s a kid that puts the bat on the ball all the time. You’ve got to put the bat on the ball to get hits. If you swing and miss or take a called third then you’re not going to get anything.”
The Warriors were far from finished. In the top of the seventh, Bonner ripped a hard line drive to third but Jaime Brown knocked it down and made the play for the first out. Brooke Taute and Brianna Lacy were both hit by pitches from freshman Kelsey White to bring the go-ahead run to the plate.
“Probably the most nervous she got all year was hitting two batters in the last inning,” said Lewry of White. He gathered the team in the circle to settle everyone down. “That’s one of her traits, she’s just so composed,” he added. “She’s amazing, I love her demeanor out there on the mound.”
White got a pop-up in foul ground and a soft liner that shortstop Hanna Aldrich made a nice running catch on to end the game. It meant the Tigers won the season series with KP, after splitting two games in the regular season (and losing the Kelley-Rex title to the Warriors) and fulfilled a mission for the team’s three seniors and for Brown, who was an eighth grader when Taunton made the final in 2015 but lost to Silver Lake.
“Since my eighth grade year, being here and losing, we’ve been working for this for so long,” Brown explained. “It gave you that pit in the bottom of your stomach. There was no other option; we knew we were winning today.”
Taunton took the lead for the first time in the second inning. Kelsey White lined a one-out single to left and her sister Alexa, a junior second baseman, drilled a double down the leftfield line to bring in the game’s first run.
As expected in a rivalry that is fast becoming one of the best in the state, one run was not going to be enough. KP battled back in the top of the fourth to jump in front.
Hailey McCasland led-off with a walk and moved to second on a groundout. Faith Turinese singled to right but the runner had to hold at third. After Turinese stole second, KP coach Norm Beauchemin called for a Pereira squeeze bunt, but Kelsey White fielded her position well to scoop the ball to catcher Kya Enos for the second out.
The Tigers nearly got out of the inning unscathed, but Aldrich bobbled a Bonner grounder to extend the inning and bring in the tying run. Taute followed that by crushing a ball to dead center that was inches from being gone. Instead it was an RBI-double to put KP up 2-1.
“We didn’t beat ourselves tonight and that’s what I’m proud of,” said Beauchemin of the Warriors battling back. “We know we’re going to have a tough game and they expect a tough game on their end as well.”
Taunton almost came right back to tie it after Handrahan started the bottom of the fourth with a double, but she was stranded. In the fifth, the Tigers did even the score. Paige Silvia lined a double to left center and moved to third on a sac bunt by Murphy. Brown grounded a ball to KP shortstop Meghan Gorman, who was playing deep enough to allow the run to score.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been more confident in this team in years. Even when we were down, we knew we could pick it up,” said Brown. When asked about the contributions from the bottom of the order, she added, “We’ve been working on it all season and trying to get that whole lineup going and it’s a perfect timing for all of it to come together.”
In the sixth inning, Handrahan again got things started with a single off the glove of Bonner, who was at full stretch going to her left. Aldrich lined a ball off the leg of Pereira and into no-man’s land in front of second base. Kelsey White’s sac bunt moved the runners into scoring position and Beauchemin called for an intentional walk of Alexa White to give KP a force at the plate.
It worked on the next hitter, as Silvia’s grounder to Bonner turned into the second out when the third baseman gunned down the lead runner. Murphy came up next and with the pressure on, she delivered the hit that decided the South title.
“It wasn’t only the lucky break,” said Beauchemin, “they earned the first two runs and of course they got a lucky break, but such is life. I thought it was two evenly-matched teams coming into this game.”
Lewry said, “It took kind of a bad-hop ground ball to make the difference, but we’ll take it all the time. These kids don’t quit. They’ve got a lot of guts and they hung in there and found a way to come back and do the job.”
Murphy tried to reflect on what was going through her mind as she stepped up to the plate in the decisive moment, knowing that this was a chance to not only win the game, but also to give the upperclassman the title that they have been craving since their last final appearance four years ago.
“It’s so overwhelming,” she said. “I’m just so glad that I got to be to be able to be in the game and be around to hit the ball. I just feel so amazing to win.
“I’ve never wanted to win this for them and for everybody so badly in my entire life.”
Taunton (24-2) will face the winner of Methuen and Newton North in the state semifinal on Tuesday night at Martin Field in Lowell.
By Brian Hines, HockomockSports.com Contributor
TAUNTON, Mass. – King Philip has had no problem scoring runs all season, so after their bats were silenced for three innings, the sense was that an offensive explosion was coming.
And that’s exactly what happened.
After Meghan Duffy doubled and scored on a sacrifice squeeze in the second inning to give the Wamps a 1-0 lead, the Warriors plated six runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good, on their way to a 9-3 win in Wednesday night’s Div. 1 South semifinal at Jack Tripp Field.
“They obviously never quit and they have a lot of confidence in themselves even when we were down 1-0,” King Philip coach Norm Beauchemin said about his team. “[Braintree has] an extremely good pitcher but they always thought they could come back and score at least two runs.”
The fourth inning rally started with back-to-back singles, then a misplayed ball loaded the bases for the Warriors. Catcher Brianna Lacy laced a one out single, driving in two runs and opening up King Philip’s first lead of the afternoon.
The runs didn’t stop there, as Sydney Phillips scored Lacy two batters later through a sacrifice fly. After another error scored Phillips, Meghan Gorman ripped a single to score two more for the Warriors.
“Today we scored,” Beauchemin said. “It’s not how many hits you get its when you get the hits and today we got the hits when we needed them. We took advantage of whatever mistakes they made, but for the most part our girls played very intelligent today, very intelligent game.”
After surrendering six runs in the fourth, the Wamps continued to fight back, but the Warriors had an answer every time.
In the fifth, Kara Paquin’s RBI double gave the Wamps life, but King Philip answered with two runs of their own after three consecutive singles.
Braintree again added a run in the sixth looking to get back into the game, but King Philip matched them yet again after scoring on a pass ball.
“We kept matching them when they scored,” Beauchemin said. “They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t a good team, plain and simple. You got four really good teams here so anybody is capable of beat anybody at this point.”
The offensive outburst was due to the same approach they’ve followed all year: being aggressive. The Warriors had seven stolen bases and laid down two bunts, both part of the six-run fourth inning.
“We’re aggressive all the time, we’ve got the talent to be aggressive,” Beauchemin said. “We try to do whatever they’ll give us. If it looks like we can put the bunt down we’ll put the bunt down, if it looks like we’ll have to swing away well swing away. We do whatever the other team wants to give us and we have the personnel to take advantage of whatever mistakes the other team makes.”
For as good as King Philip’s offense was, starting pitcher Elise Pereira was very economical on the mound.
The right-handed senior threw an 89-pitch (71 for strikes) complete game for the Warriors. Pereira was able to limit the Wamps damage all game, including ending the Wamps second inning rally with back-to-back strikeouts.
King Philip (21-3) advances to take on league rival Taunton in the Division 1 South Finals on Friday night at 7:00 back at Jack Tripp Field.
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor
PLAINVILLE, Mass. – Last year, the King Philip Warriors saw their season end in the MIAA D1 South Quarterfinals.
This year, the #4 Warriors were able to book their trip to the D1 South Semifinals in Taunton for the third time in four years as they beat the #11 Somerset-Berkley Raiders, 4-1, on Monday afternoon at the Plainville Athletic League fields.
“We’re feeling very confident and we’ve got a big, senior-heavy lineup,” said King Philip pitcher Elise Pereira. “We all want [the state title] really badly. We’re all ready to work for it.”
The senior tossed a complete game for the win, giving up seven hits and just one run while striking out six.
On the Raiders side, pitcher Abigail Cadorette also went the full game, giving up 10 hits, four runs and two walks with a pair of strikeouts in the loss.
The King Philip offense saw contributions from several players, including catcher Brianna Lacy, who went 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI. First baseman Brooke Taute and second baseman Hailey McCasland both went 2-for-3 with a run, while shortstop Meghan Gorman went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
For Somerset-Berkley, catcher Lindsay Chubbuck scored the team’s sole run, going 1-for-3 in the process. Shortstop Megan Antaya hit 2-for-4 with a single and a double from the Raiders’ leadoff spot.
The game started off, and for the most part remained, a pitchers duel between Pereira and Cadorette, with each side’s getting a hit or two before being shut down by the opposing pitcher.
The Warriors broke through and put themselves on the board first in the bottom of the third as they put three of their first four batters of the inning on base, and a bases-loaded walk to third baseman Jess Bonner sent Gorman home for the early lead and easy RBI.
Both pitchers would again shut down their opponents in the fourth, with Cadorette retiring the side in order. After giving up a leadoff hit to designated player Courtney Faris to start the inning, Pereira sent down the next three batters, two through strikeouts.
That would change in the fifth, however, as Cadorette walked McCasland to start the inning, then gave up a single to Gorman to put her in scoring position. Outfielder Faith Turinese lined out through a diving catch by second baseman Julyanne Pacheco, but her ensuing throw back to first went out of bounds, allowing both KP runners to advance.
After initially sending McCasland and Gorman to second and third respectively, both umpires convened and ruled that the runners had tagged up and awarded them each an extra base, giving the hosts a 2-0 lead as McCasland crossed the plate.
Somerset-Berkley made their offensive presence felt in the top of the sixth as Chubbuck led off the inning with a single down the right field line, and found herself in scoring position shortly after through a sacrifice bunt by Faris. Cadorette hit a grounder, but an infield error allowed her to reach and advance to second and for Chubbuck to score, pulling the Raiders within one run.
The Warriors, however, had different plans.
Back-to-back-to-back singles from the bottom of the order loaded up the bases quick for King Philip in the bottom of the sixth, and Taute and Lacy were able to score off tag ups on fly outs from outfielder Sydney Phillips and Gorman respectively, making it 4-1 for the home team.
Somerset-Berkley attempted to come back in the seventh, as a two-out single by Antaya gave them hope, however a ground out to Pereira by Pacheco on the next at-bat ended the game, as the Warriors sealed the deal.
King Philip (20-3) will return to action Wednesday against #9 Braintree at 5:00 Taunton High School for a shot at going to the D1 South championship.
By Joe Clark, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
WRENTHAM, Mass. – Throughout the 2018 season, King Philip junior Caroline Klim has emerged as one of the Warriors’ go-to goal scorers.
That was the case once again on Tuesday afternoon, as Klim scored nine goals, including the 100th of her career, to lead #5 King Philip past #12 Sharon, 16-8, in the first round of the MIAA D1 East Tournament.
“She’s one of those players that always has a chip on her shoulder, she’s confident that when she shoots that it’s going to go in and I’m glad we had some other girls play like that today as well,” said King Philip head coach Kourtnie Wilder about Klim.
Klim got off to a quick start, as just thirty seconds into the game she scored her first goal to put KP up 1-0, and a few minutes later Jessica Sullivan (four goals, assist) put the Warriors up to 2-0.
Rose Wald came up huge for Sharon throughout the first half with six saves, including three point-blank stops early in the first half. Sharon took advantage of their solid defensive play early, as Emma Eberhardt scored back-to-back goals just minutes apart to tie the score at two.
Klim scored her second goal of the game with 14:28 to play, and from their KP never looked back, scoring another seven unanswered goals and jumping out to a 10-2 lead early in the second half.
“We talked about getting off to a fast start today,” Wilder said .“We wanted this one for our seniors and didn’t want it to be their last game, and we played like it.”
With the game at 5-2, Klim scored her third goal of the game off a free-position, and minutes later scored again to give KP a 7-2 lead heading into the half. Just under a minute into the second half, Dana Truini scored off a free-position to extend the Warriors’ lead, and with 21:59 left to play Olivia Tormey scored to make the game 9-2. Sullivan scored her fourth goal of the game a few seconds later to put the finishing touches on the eight-goal KP run.
Sharon broke the drought with just over 18 minutes to go in the game when Eberhardt scored the third of her six goals on the game. A few minutes later, Sharon capitalized on a free position, as Maeve Barbera took advantage of the open space to find Lydia Chase wide open in front of the net to cut the lead to 10-4.
Klim scored her fifth goal of the game a few seconds later, and four minutes after that Sullivan found Alli Meehan for a goal to put the Warriors up 12-4.
Back-to-back goals by Klim, the second of which was the 100th of her career, would extend the KP lead to 14-4 with 4:41 left to play, but three straight Sharon goals, including two by Eberhardt, would give them some life with the score 14-7, but Klim’s eighth and ninth goals of the day ended any hope of a comeback.
With the win, King Philip moves on to play Lincoln-Sudbury at L-S on Thursday afternoon. L-S advanced with a 15-2 win over Mansfield on Tuesday afternoon. The winner of that game moves onto the D1 East semi-finals where they will play the winner of Natick-Walpole.
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – The North Attleboro Red Rocketeers took an early lead in their late-season showdown with King Philip on Tuesday afternoon and were able to fight off a second-half comeback effort from to Warriors to win 11-9.
“I’m really proud, we really worked together and [the] attack really played awesome today,” said North Attleboro coach Colleen Carchedi. “We’ve been working on shooting often and shooting sooner, and it really came into play (today)… Everyone was in the game today, and it just all came together.”
Senior attacker Camille Pizzaro led the Rocketeer offense with four goals, while senior midfielder Julia Dakin had three goals and three assists, and sophomore midfielder Katie Lindstrom had two goals and four assists.
In the net, senior goalie Kayla Moulin made nine saves for North Attleboro.
On the Warrior side, junior Caroline Klim had four goals while fellow juniors Olivia Tormey and Alli Meehan both had a pair of goals each.
“I thought (the game) was sloppy on our part,” said King Philip coach Kourtnie Wilder. “We didn’t come out playing the way we needed to play and it showed.”
The Warriors found the back of the net first within the first minute of the game as Meehan scored from a free position 51 seconds after the first draw to give the visitors the early lead.
Pizarro struck back less than a minute later, as the senior bounced a shot past junior goalie Caroline Watson to draw even.
Pizarro struck again with 16:54 remaining in the half off a free position to give the Red Rocketeers their first lead of the afternoon.
Exactly three minutes later, senior midfielder Julia Dakin scored on a low shot in front of the net to extend North’s lead to 3-1, and senior midfielder Julia Tolfa turned and put a shot past the goalie with 9:35 left in the half to make it 4-1.
The North defense kept King Philip in check for much of the first half, with the defenders keeping the Warrior attack from reaching Moulin in most cases.
King Philip thought they had split the lead in half with 3:26 left in the half but an illegal stick call took the goal off the board.
Sophomore defender Regan Fein and Lindstrom added a fifth and sixth goal to the home team’s total at the 3:00 and 1:44 marks respectively.
At the 1:33 mark, however, momentum began to shift as Klim scored from a free position to make it 6-2, the first of three straight Warrior goals to finish the half as juniors Olivia Tormey and Victoria Tormey both beat out Moulin and the trailed the hosts by just two goals going into the second half.
When the action resumed, it seemed much of the same as Klim added another goal with 23:39 left to make it 6-5.
Just 25 seconds later though, Pizzaro struck again and extended the Rocketeer lead to two goals again. Lindstrom added another as she ran down field and delivered a goal with 22:09 remaining to make it 8-5.
The game would stay fairly even for much of the next few minutes until Klim put a quick low shot in the bottom right corner of the net with 15:49 remaining, followed by another strong shot from the UMass Lowell commit with 15:14 remaining to make it 8-7.
From there, the Warriors staged a comeback effort.
Meehan tied the game up at 8-8 off a free position with 13:07 remaining, while Olivia Tormey put King Philip in front for the first time since the opening minutes with 12:35 remaining.
Lindstrom drew North back even on a free position with 11:01 remaining, 9-9. From there, North would threaten with a couple chances retook the lead when Dakin went behind the goal and turned left to put it in with 7:29 remaining.
North retained control of the game, capitalizing on dropped balls by King Philip and being quick to fix their own mistakes. Pizzaro added a final goal with 1:09 left and the Rocketeers were able to close out the win at home.
North Attleboro (6-4 Hockomock, 7-10 overall) returns to action Thursday as they host Walpole in their final regular season game, while King Philip (7-3 Hockomock, 13-5 overall) regular season came to a close, and now the Warriors will wait on their seeding and opponent for the first round of the tournament.
PLAINVILLE, Mass. – As the warm weather has rolled in, so have the dominant performances from King Philip’s Elise Pereira.
The senior right-handed pitcher has been superb in the circle over the past few weeks for the Warriors and has also shined at the plate as well.
That was the case again on Tuesday afternoon as Pereira earned the win in the circle and highlighted offensive attack with a grand slam in the third inning, helping King Philip pick up its most impressive win of the season, 12-2, over Milford.
The win snapped the Scarlet Hawks’ 43-game win streak dating back to early 2017. It also clinches the second straight Kelley-Rex title for the Warriors.
“Elise has been phenomenal for the last three or four weeks,” said King Philip head coach Norm Beauchemin. “Her bad games were in cold weather at the beginning of the season. We basically weren’t playing great ball anyways. If you look at her earned run average after the second Newton North game, it’s minuscule. Since then she’s been lights out.”
Pereira allowed two runs on five hits and just one walk in a complete game effort, striking out six. Milford had three of its five hits in the fourth inning and scored both of its runs in that frame. Pereira only allowed three base runners in the other six innings.
“Her off-speed has been strong all year,” Beauchemin added. “That was her pitch last year and she threw it too many times. This year she’s got a lot of confidence hitting the corners, her curveball is working, everything is working. She’s using the whole plate – up and down, side to side. She’s just been lights out.”
“Tip your cap to KP, they played a great game,” said Milford head coach Steve DiVitto. “Pereira was excellent, she kept us off balance all game. We were able to put the bat on the some on the second and third time through but you just have to tip your cap, today was their day. It most certainly wasn’t our day but I’m proud of the way the girls continued to battle and fight. They played a full seven and that’s what you look for at this time of the year.
After a quiet first two innings for both sides, King Philip made a big splash in the bottom of the third. Bri Lacy lined a single into right to lead off and Nicole Carter laid down a sac bunt to move courtesy runner Marjorie Guerrier to second.
A single from Sydney Phillips put runners on the corners and Hailey McCasland reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with one out. Meg Gorman drove in the first run with a single, keeping the bases loaded. After an out, Pereira hit a sharp line drive over the center field fence at the PAL fields for a grand slam.
Two pitches later, Jess Bonner got a hold of one and launched it over the fence in left for a 6-0 lead. The Warriors loaded the bases again, all with two outs, but Kelley Reichert induced an infield pop up to escape further damage.
“We hit the snots out of the ball,” Beauchemin said “We had 12 hits today….we don’t have fictitious batting averages, ours are earned. Our batting average against [the Davenport] division is 0.489 as a team. And I don’t think we lowered it today. We bat 0.379 against [the Kelley-Rex] so when you compare apples and apples, and oranges and oranges, we’re not a bad team.
“This team likes being the underdogs because they have the toughness that it takes. [Milford] is a tough team too. This [score] is unusual, but we’ll take it. I’d rather 12-2 than 4-3.”
Milford responded in the top half of the third as Kate Irwin raced around to third for a leadoff triple. A sacrifice fly from Emily Piergustavo put the Hawks on the board, and Jess Tomaso followed with a single.
The Hawks had a player ejected on the next play after a close call at first but Shannon Corier came up with a line drive single to bring Tomaso in to make it 6-2 but Pereira got a strikeout to end the inning.
With the ejection, the Hawks were forced to put a field player at catcher for the remainder of the game.
KP’s Brooke Taute reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning and quickly stole second. Lacy connected on an RBI double to make it 7-2. Nicole Carter reached on an infield error and Phillips loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice.
McCasland connected on a single to bring a run in, Carter scored on a passed ball, and Phillips crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly from Gorman to put the hosts up 10-2.
“That’s what we lacked last year…we had a lot of hits but we didn’t get the hits at the right time,” Beauchemin said of his team putting up runs in bunches. “Now we’re getting them at the right time. We have confidence 1 through 9, every girl can put the bat on the ball. We came into this game with 58 strikeouts on the season, now we’re at 59 in 21 games.
“And I think their [Milford] defense showed a little bit. When the ball is hit hard they have a little trouble catching it. It’s much easier when the ball is hit soft to you.”
The Warriors tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Pereira got things started with a leadoff walk and courtesy runner Liliana Rolfe went to third on a single from Taute, who quickly stole second. A walk to Lacy loaded the bases and Rolfe raced home to score on a passed ball.
“I say this no matter who you’re playing, you’ve got to treat every opponent the same,” DiVitto said. “If you’re too up for KP and not up for other teams, that’s when you’ll get caught. Our girls are up for each game and today was no different. You want to obviously play a great game against a team like KP but you tip your cap, they had a great game and we didn’t have that timely hit and we made a couple of mistakes here or there that cost us.”
Carter brought in another run with a line drive single to center to plate Taute but Milford center fielder Kate Irwin gunned the second runner down at the plate for the third out.
“I told the girls that this game is on me, it’s my fault,” DiVitto said. “It’s my job as a coach to have them prepared to play. They fought and battled but I don’t think they had their ‘A’ game and that’s on me. As their head coach, that’s on me. But I told them that’s not going to happen again. We’ll have a great practice tomorrow and get ready for Senior Day against another great team in North Attleboro.”