King Philip Sweeps Attleboro Behind Stellar Defense

King Philip softball Mia Bennett
King Philip junior Mia Bennett applies the tag at second after an outfield assist from Charlotte Raymond. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
 
PLAINVILLE, Mass. – With the playoffs right around the corner, the King Philip softball team is clicking on all gears.

The Warriors have boasted solid pitching and a punishing offense all season long, but for the second straight game, the defense stole the show. Aided by terrific effort plays and pinpoint accurate throws in almost every inning, King Philip scored a 7-5 win over visiting Attleboro.

Charlotte Raymond cut a runner down at second base in the early stages to set the tone, senior Anna Bradley made a pair of momentum-swinging plays at first, and Paige Berdos’ alert double play in the final inning helped put an end to Attleboro’s comeback attempt.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“They made the plays they had to, that’s what you have to do against good teams. [King Philip] can really play in all aspects and we were right there with them,” said Attleboro head coach Mark Homer. “We’re disappointed with the loss but there are positives, we were competitive tonight, we were one swing away, we were only one swing away in the first game too.”

Both defenses played mistake-free ball, the second straight contest that saw both sides make big plays on offense and defense with no errors recorded. King Philip held a 1-0 lead, a 5-2 advantage, and a 7-5 edge; the final lead the only one to hold.

Attleboro took its first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the third inning, and just a half-inning after letting that lead slip away, the Bombardiers battled back with three runs to tie the game.

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“That was a battle,” said King Philip head coach Kate Fallon-Comeau. “It was an all-around great game again, back and forth between two good games. Our defense has been really solid, and it’s been great these last two games. The assists we’ve gotten from the outfield in both games have changed the game.”

Offense was hard to come by in the first contest between the two teams, a 2-1 win for the Warriors. King Philip wasted little time to get things going on Wednesday night though, pushing across a run in the opening inning.

Berdos led off with a single and sophomore Ava Lanza (3-for-4) followed with a base hit of her own, but Attleboro catcher Lora Woyton caught the runner stealing at third. Two batters later, Raymond smacked a double off the fence in right-center field to plate Lanza and Sarah Cullen (HBP).

Woyton laced a shot to right field to lead off the second inning but Raymond was able to chase down the ball and fire to second where junior shortstop fMia Bennett applied the tag for the out.

Attleboro’s defense continued to make plays as well, as pitcher Lindsey Perry made a spectacular effort to snag a bunt for an out, quickly firing to first to double up the runner in the bottom of the second.

The Bombardiers carried that momentum into the top of the third where Meghan Gordon drove a solo shot over the center field fence to tie the game. Gabby Bosh drew a one-out walk and advanced to second during the next at-bat. Lindsey Perry smacked a hard-hit ground ball up the middle to bring in a run to put the visitors ahead 2-1 in the top of the third.

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It looked like Attleboro would put a runner on with two outs in the top of the fourth but an incredible stretch at first by Bradley took away the infield hit. King Philip picked up a lot of momentum from the play and that translated to the offensive side of the ball.




Cullen was hit by a pitch again and two pitches later, Raymond drilled a home run over the fence and the Warriors were back ahead. On the next pitch, Meg Sherwood connected for a solo home run and KP’s lead grew to 4-2.

Freshman Maddie Paschke had a one-out single, freshman Jordan Bennett connected for a two-out single and took second on the throw, and Berdos drew a walk to load the bases. Lanza singled through the left side to bring in one run for a 5-2 advantage through four innings.

“I think those big plays on defense kind of carried us,” Fallon-Comeau said. “We got a lot of momentum from those plays, it just fired everybody up and we had the right bats coming to the plate at the right time. And we used that momentum to get some runs.”

Attleboro put two on to start the sixth with freshman Kayla Goldrick drawing a leadoff walk and Gordon followed with a single. Both runners advanced on a ground out to the pitcher, and Jordan Bennett (7IP, 7H, 2BB, 5ER, 5K) induced an infield pop up to get the second out.

Hailey Perry came through in the clutch, driving a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for a three-run home run as Attleboro quickly erased the deficit to knot the score at 5-5.

In the bottom of the sixth, junior DP Lauren Hooper got things started with a one-out single. Berdos worked a long at-bat into a single into right field, but KP’s courtesy runner was thrown out at third on the relay. Lanza came through with another clutch two-out hit, this time bringing in Berdos, who had advanced to second on the throw, to take a 6-5 lead.

“She’s really stepped up in a big way for us,” Fallon-Comeau said of Lanza, who was recently inserted into the lineup. “We had an injury, losing our starting shortstop (Libby Walsh). I had intentions of getting her bat in the lineup at some point but it just came at the right time. And she’s proven her bat belongs in the lineup and when you can do that, you’re going to keep playing.”

Cullen reached for the third time, this time on a walk, and Raymond drew a walk as well to load the bases with two outs. Sherwood’s patience at the plate resulted in a third walk and the Warriors brought in an insurance run.

King Philip had one more big defensive play left to make. Attleboro put the leadoff runner on a bloop single to right and the next batter made a lot of contact but the ball was driven hard right to Berdos in center field and without hesitation, the junior fired to first and Bradley was in position to double up the runner. Bennett induced a grounder to the circle for the final out.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

While Attleboro softball came away from the series with a pair of losses, there were plenty of positives for the Bombardiers.

“Now we have to make it so we’re not staying with them, that teams are trying to stay with us. And it’s coming. We’re at the level where we go into these games against top teams knowing that we have a chance We feel like we’re peaking at the right time too. We’re not just doing it with one or two girls either, it’s a group effort. We’ve got a great mix of veterans and younger players. It’s a great team, they get along. And they have short memories, we’re already talking about Franklin for the next game.”

Attleboro softball (7-5) will travel to Franklin on Monday for the first of two games against the Panthers. Meanwhile, King Philip (12-0) sets up a Kelley-Rex division title showdown with Taunton, who is also undefeated. The winner of the first game will clinch at least a share of the crown. The Tigers host KP in the first game on Monday at 6:30.

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2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview

2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview
King Philip’s Paige Berdos attempts a sliding catch against Attleboro during the 2019 season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)

By HockomockSports.com Staff

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Attleboro

2019 Record: 11-11
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Mark Homer

The Bombardiers will be fielding one of the most balanced lineups the program has seen in recent memory. Head coach Mark Homer believes his group of enthusiastic, hard-working, and motivated players can compete for the division title in what is always a very competitive division.

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It will start with a strong group of returners that picked up valuable experience two years ago during the 2019 season. Senior captains Brenna Morse and Lora Woyton have been leaders both on and off the field during the offseason and so far during the preseason. Homer credits their commitment for setting the tone for the entire program. Juniors Lindsey Perry, Hailey Perry, and Meghan Gordon all burst onto the scene as freshmen during the 2019 season and will be key pieces this year.

Homer is going to lean heavily on his senior class, which also features Natalie Mansur, Gabby Bosh, Nina Campbell, and Janie Hillman. The Bombardiers are set to get a boost from a strong core of underclassmen as well, including sophomores Lauren Eby and Sarah Mayer as well as freshmen Rylie Camacho and Kayla Goldrick.

“This year’s team represents one of the most balanced groups we’ve had here at AHS in a while,” Homer said. “Win, lose, or draw this year’s team is about working hard and having fun doing it.”

Canton

2019 Record: 6-14
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Dave Bohane

With four seniors returning and five sophomore and freshmen making their varsity debuts, Canton has a good mix of youth and experience to build on this season. It will be the senior class that the Bulldogs hope will provide the leadership to make a move up the standings and maybe challenge the top teams in the Davenport.

Senior center fielder Liz Bickett has been a star for the Bulldogs, earning all-star honors as a sophomore, and is a power bat in the middle of the lineup. Senior Steph Trendell can play both corner infield positions or jump behind the plate and senior Sarah Kelly can step in at either middle infield spot. Both will be setting the table at the top of the order. Senior Amanda Vrabel will start at catcher and work with Canton’s younger pitchers including juniors Gillian Gordon and Sophia Santos and freshman Jess Wright.

Foxboro

2019 Record: 8-13
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Mark Maguire

Youth will be the story for Foxboro this season, as the Warriors will be relying on players seeing their first varsity action in several positions, including a pair of eighth-graders who have been called up for the spring. Still, confidence is high that the Warriors have the talent to compete with the top teams in the Davenport and make a push up the standings.

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Senior shortstop Morgan Sylvestre gives the Warriors a good foundation to build on, batting third and giving them a strong arm at short. Junior Peyton Feldman will see time at both third and second and will bat leadoff. Senior Nicole Theriault will play second and center, one of the few outfielders on the roster with any varsity experience, and Fiona Dunn can also jump in at second as well. Eighth-grader Ava Hill has impressed in preseason and will play first. Junior Alexandra Willis will be behind the plate and working with a young pitching staff led by eighth-grader Emma Callahan. The Warriors will also count on Dunn, Juliana Pettigrew, and Lucy Mulkern as pitchers. Andrea and Jill Slattery, Sadie Calabrese, Kaylee Bruce, Ellie Smith, and Grace Pisarczyk will all get the chance in the outfield this season.

Foxboro coach Mark Maguire said, “I’m expecting the girls to compete hard, and really feed off the energy that Peyton and Morgan bring to the top of our order. With strong leadership from our captains, we’re looking for this team to come together quickly and, hopefully compete for the Davenport.”

Franklin

2019 Record: 16-7
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Katie Holbrook

After coming within a game of sharing the league title with Taunton in 2019 (and within one run of facing the Tigers in the South semifinal), Franklin returns only two players and has a new coaching staff with Katie Holbrook taking over this season. Despite all the new faces, the Panthers expect to be in the mix for the league title again this year.

Senior Gabby Colace is the lone player on the roster with significant varsity experience and she will be counted on to be a run producer. Fellow senior Molly Collins will join Colace in the middle infield positions and the Panthers have players who are versatile to play multiple positions. Franklin has a potentially strong lineup with Libby Carter, Georgia Harvey, and Lauren Cote all capable of coming up with big hits and driving in a lot of runs. Juniors Julia White and Aislinn Lavery, and senior Jenny Maciel give Franklin good pitching depth and will try to keep the opposition off-balance and allow the defense to make plays behind them. Sophomore Hailey Fales will get the call behind the plate.

“They have already shown in just one scrimmage and a couple of practices great strides in gelling as a team and their commitment to team unity,” said Holbrook. “What we lack in experience we are making up for in determination and commitment to growth. I am impressed with the depth and solid foundation of all the players and it will give us a lot of options with lineups.”




King Philip

2019 Record: 13-9
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Kate Fallon-Comeau

The Warriors will have a new coach this season with former Mansfield standout player and former Franklin coach Kate Fallon-Comeau takes over at the helm.

King Philip will have a relatively young and inexperienced group at the varsity level so Fallon-Comeau will lean on her four seniors to lead the way. Paige Berdos is a three-year starter and a captain for the Warriors, a member of the varsity team since her freshman season. She’s joined by classmate Anna Bradley as captain and that duo will look to provide excellent leadership to the young Warriors. Seniors Libby Curran and Rubi Butler round out the class of 2021.

Berdos will anchor the outfield from center field and will be the spark for the offense from the leadoff spot. Bradley returns to her spot at first base and provides some pop to the lineup. From there, the Warriors will feature a lot of faces new to the varsity level. Junior Meg Sherwood and sophomore Charlotte Raymond will round out the outside for KP while junior Mia Bennett takes over at second base. Sophomore Libby Walsh brings a big bat to the lineup and will be a reliable option defensively at shortstop while freshman Maddie Paschke is slated to start at the hot corner. Junior Lauren Hooper provides depth and can fit into multiple spots in the lineup.

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Junior Emma Sheehan and freshman Jordan Bennett are both options to start in the circle for Fallon-Comeau. Both will be new to the varsity level this season so the Warriors will look to play strong defense to help out the pitchers. Sophomore Sarah Cullen will do the bulk of the catching for KP.

“We’re excited to be back out on the field and looking forward to having a successful season,” Fallon-Comeau said.

Mansfield

2019 Record: 12-9
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Lori Letendre

Mansfield has consistently been a playoff team and competitive in the Kelley-Rex division but, with only two players returning from 2019, the Hornets enter the spring as a little bit of a mystery. With four freshmen and a sophomore on the roster, and only two seniors, Mansfield will be looking to put talented players in the right spots to keep battling the league’s top teams.

Senior pitcher Ashlyn Conley is one of the few players with any varsity experience and will be back in the circle this year. Junior first baseman Casey Moussette is the other returning player, after a strong freshman season at the plate in 2019. Abby DeCoste is the only other senior on varsity this season, while Jill Koppy, Molly Kucharski, Callie Lake, and Liv Madeira are all rookies who could step in and make instant impacts. Sophomore Olivia Harnden is another underclassman stepping right into the varsity team this year.

“We have a lot of talent but are still trying to learn to work together at new positions,” said Mansfield coach Lori Letendre. “It has been great to be on the field playing again and we are looking forward to the season.”

Milford

2019 Record: 2-18
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Steve DiVitto

Milford is turning the page on a tough 2019. The Hawks have been a powerhouse since joining the Hock but have gone through a transition period after graduating the core of the last state title-winning team. That transition won’t be helped by moving into the Kelley-Rex division this season, but head coach Steve DiVitto is hoping his seniors can build a foundation for several talented underclassmen that are excited about their first opportunity on varsity.

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The Hawks return five players from the 2019 team. Junior Olivia Morelli will be in the circle this season and can also play shortstop. Seniors Erin McEvoy and Carly Ferreira will be at the corner infield spots and senior Natalie Casilli will be back in the outfield. Senior Elise Fauerbach can play behind the plate or in the outfield. Junior Gianna Cacciola is a new face to watch at third base. Freshman Maeve Driscoll could see time at pitcher or at short and her classmate Camille Bonina will see time at first and in the outfield.

“This year’s team is focused on the here and now and not the past,” said DiVitto. “Keeping our awesome team chemistry will be an important part of this season. We’re excited for the challenges of playing in the Hock!”




North Attleboro

2019 Record: 16-6
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Bill Wallace

North Attleboro ended a two-decade wait for a league title in 2019 and had the potential to be even better last season, but the Rocketeers will come into this spring having graduated seven starters, with only three players returning with varsity experience, and looking for a new crop of players to search for a second straight Davenport crown.

Senior second baseman Emily Nardelli has been a starter since her freshman year and will be an impact player in the lineup and in the field. Senior Belle Clarkin adds versatility with her ability to play catcher, outfield, and first base, and junior Mandi Hanewich will step into center field. Pitching should remain a strength for North with a pair of promising sophomores, Kelly Colleran and Zoey McDonough, jumping into the circle. Colleran will also see time at shortstop and McDonough at first. Junior Ally Levine will be the new starter at catcher and juniors Chloe Mearn and Shaelyn Burns can play corner infield spots. Emma Bailey and Grace Simmons will add to the outfield, while there are a host of young players, including the lone freshman on the roster, Aubrey Amado, who can play multiple positions and add useful depth.

“I feel like a new coach this year after missing last year,” said North coach Bill Wallace, who also notched his 200th career win in 2019. “Since the last time we had softball I have graduated seven starters.”

Oliver Ames

2019 Record: 4-16
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Lindsey Allison

Oliver Ames is back in the Davenport division and has a small roster, but it is one that has coach Lindsey Allison excited about its potential and versatility. The Tigers will hope that a change of scenery and a speedy, athletic lineup will see a jump up the standings to put pressure on the top teams in the division this season.

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The Tigers will have a pair of pitchers this season as senior Emma Varella will be joined by sophomore Katie Melendy. Both have multiple pitches to keep batters off-balance and both can play other positions when they’re not in the circle. Senior Grace Simone will provide leadership for the pitching staff and a big bat in the middle of the lineup. Her leadership will be important as the Tigers will be carrying four sophomores and a freshman along with its five seniors.

Allison said, “As a coaching staff, we are looking forward to a season with a versatile team that works together and picks each other up. These kids work hard every day, strive for greatness, and are hungry for wins. Looking forward to a great season.”

Sharon

2019 Record: 5-15
2019 Finish: Missed postseason
Coach: Heather Poliferno

Sharon is filled with upperclassman so experience will be key as the Eagles look to compete in a wide-open Davenport division. The three captains this year are shortstop Julia Earley, second baseman Sneha Kini, — both seniors — and junior pitcher Trinity Payne so the Eagles will lean on their strength up the middle of the field.

Payne picked up plenty of experience during her freshman year so will be battle-tested for the 2021 season. Earley and Kini give the Eagles a strong defensive foundation and will provide leadership both in the field and at the plate. Of the 11 players on the roster, 10 are upperclassman so head coach Heather Poliferno has an experienced group at her disposal. Poliferno believes her team has a strong mix of power and contact hitters so versatility throughout the lineup will be key.

The one underclassman on the roster is sophomore Ally Foulsham, who could make an immediate impact in her first season with the program. Foulsham can also toe the rubber in the pitcher’s circle so the Eagles have options to work with in the pitching department. After missing out on last season, the Eagles are eager to get back on the field and compete for a division title.

“My high school coach always used to say ‘why not us?’ and I would say the same thing – Why not us? Our players work hard to be the best they can be,” Poliferno said. “They can compete in any setting. We are hungry to play and we have the skill set to do it. So, why not us?”

Stoughton

2019 Record: 15-7
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round
Coach: Deb Parker

Stoughton had an impressive 2019, finishing in second place in the Davenport behind North Attleboro and winning its opening playoff game on a walk-off against Somerset-Berkley. With five returning starters, the Black Knights will be looking to carry momentum into this spring and make another push for a league title.

One of the keys for Stoughton’s high hopes for the season is the return of senior pitcher Nicole Baker, who had a breakout sophomore campaign and emerged as one of the top arms in the league. Baker is the lone infielder returning but senior Julia Driscoll will take over at third and senior Sarah McGrath will be behind the plate. Junior Sydney Menz, who batted over .400 as a freshman, will start in center, while junior Melody Casna takes over at short. Junior Kate Bulger will get the nod in left and senior Lauren Turner starts in right. Sophomore Kerry Driscoll adds depth in the circle and Stoughton has a crop of freshmen who could contribute right away, including Alyssa Edwards, Maddie Hinds, and Julie Powers.

“It’s a little surreal coming back to the field after losing an entire season,” said Stoughton coach Deb Parker. “If we’ve learned anything from last year it’s that nothing is promised, and we have to take advantage of every opportunity we have on and off the field. These young women work hard, and I believe we have the depth, drive, and talent this year to have a great showing in this very competitive league.”

Taunton

2019 Record: 22-3
2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal
Coach: Carrie Consalvi

Taunton is one of the few teams that is coming back from the two-year layoff with a lineup that looks pretty similar to the one from 2019. The biggest change for the Tigers will be on the bench with long-time coach Dave Lewry retiring at the end of the 2019 season and Carrie Consalvi taking over. Consalvi goes into her first spring with a team loaded with talent that looks ready to defend its Kelley-Rex title.

Senior pitcher Kelsey White is back healthy following an injury that would’ve kept her out of last season. The reigning league MVP looks back to the form that helped Taunton win a state title three years ago. Reigning HockomockSports.com Hanna Aldrich is back for her senior season at shortstop and as one of the top power hitters in the Hock. Aldrich is joined up the middle by senior second baseman McKenzie McAloon. All three will be playing DI softball next year. Senior Skylar Rheaume and Tayah Decosta add to the leadership on the team and Taunton will have enviable depth with sophomore Olivia Mendonca back after playing as an eighth-grader and freshman Sam Lincoln looking like Taunton’s next pitching prospect.

“These players have had just about every challenge thrown at them over the past year, but if there was one group that could take all of this and rise to the occasion it is this group,” said Consalvi. “They are hungry to win, and I am hopeful my senior leadership will recall what it took to win that state championship back in 2018 and impart their wisdom with this group of younger players, as it will take every single one of them to make something so special to happen again.”

2021 Hockomock League Softball Preview