Panthers Prevail In Battle Against Black Knights

Franklin baseball Will Pacheco
Franklin’s Will Pacheco earned the save, getting the final three outs while stranding the tying run at first. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton’s offense came knocking multiple times throughout the game, but in the biggest situations, Franklin’s defense slammed the door shut.

The Black Knights loaded the bases in three separate innings and threatened with the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but three separate Panther pitchers came through to limit the damage, helping the Panthers secure a 5-3 win on the road.

After two quick strikeouts to start the game from Stoughton starter Zak Paquette, the Panthers cashed in. Senior Alex Haba had an infield single and quickly moved into scoring position by stealing second. Haba came in to score on a two-out RBI from senior Jake Macchi to put the visitors up 1-0 after a half inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Stoughton loaded the bases in the bottom of the first following a walk to junior George Currier, a single from senior Robbie Seaman, and a catcher’s interference but starting pitcher Liam Dailey induced a ground ball for the third out to keep the Knights off the board.

Franklin capitalized on its chances again in the top of the third. Scott Elliott led off with a single and took second when the hit got by the center fielder trying to make a defensive play. Elliott then stole third and came home when the throw from home was high, giving the Panthers a run without a second player putting the ball in play.

The Panthers struck again with two outs to increase the advantage. Cooper Ross reached on an error, took second on a single from JB Floris, and game in to score on an RBI base hit from Dan Markowski to make it 3-0.

“Two-out RBIs are key, they are clutch,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “This is a good offense, and we’ve found ways to score runs in a number of ways. Today it just happened to be the two-out RBI and not quitting on an inning that made the difference.”

The Black Knights had the leadoff man erased with a double play in the second, and then couldn’t push across any runs when they loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. Currier and Seaman had back-to-back singles and junior James Genest reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with the Black Knights trailing 3-0.

Again, Dailey was up to the challenge, getting a strikeout for the second out and inducing a pop up behind the plate that was caught on a nice play by Macchi to keep Stoughton off the board.

“With some of the plays we made, we didn’t make it easy for Liam,” Brown said. “He gave us a great effort, we’re proud of that effort. When he’s on the hill, we feel pretty good about our chances.”

Franklin increased its lead with another big play from Elliott. Junior Jack Nally drew a one-out walk and advanced to second and third on back-to-back wild pitches.Elliot laced a shot to right center field that went past the fielder. With no fence at the Stoughton field, the ball continued rolling allowing Elliott to round the bases for an inside the park home run.

Stoughton once again put pressure on the Panthers in the bottom of the fifth, this time pushing some runs across with the bases load. Cian Swierzewski led off with a single, Seaman was hit by a pitch, and Genest single to load the bases with one out.

Jacob Kaplan came through with an RBI single to get the Knights on the board, and Michael Nazzaro followed with a base hit of his own to bring another run in, making it 5-2. With the bases still loaded, Brown elected to go to the bullpen and brought in junior Cody Trotin.

Trotin came through for Franklin, getting the first batter he faced to strikeout and followed by inducing a fly ball to center to prevent Stoughton from adding to its total.

“We’re young and Franklin is a good team,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “We didn’t do ourselves any favors today. Zak was locked in to start, you saw it with the two strikeouts, and I felt like we could have done him a little better, we could have made some more plays early on. But at the same time, you have to tip your cap to Franklin. They got the bat on the ball and got a few runs across the dish early that ended up being the difference. But we’re still learning, there’s still room for improvement, but all in all, being a hit away from tying this game we’ll take it.

“We had 11 left on base, but you have to tip your hat to Franklin for making some pitches and getting us out. We’re young, we have some guys that are still getting their feet wet at the varsity level and I think they showed today. Hopefully, we learn from it.”

Genest took over on the mound in relief for the Black Knights, and after the first batter he faced reached on an error, he retired six straight Panthers.

Stoughton brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but again the Panthers got the necessary outs. Seaman led off with a triple and scored on an RBI single from Genest to make it 5-3. Genest moved to second when Kaplan was walked, putting runners on first and second with no outs, forcing Brown to go to his bullpen again.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Junior Will Pacheco got a strikeout and then a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners for the Knights with two outs. Pacheco then got a soft line drive back to the mound for the third out, stranding the tying run on first to get the win.

“We got some outs when we needed them,” Brown said. “Cody Trotin came into a big spot in his first outing of the year. He really gave us what we needed at the time. And obviously, Will Pacheco has been around the block and he just seems to rise to the occasion in pressure situations.”

Franklin baseball (5-0 Hockomock, 6-0 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts one of the top teams in the state in Walpole. Stoughton (3-2, 5-2) is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Foxboro.

Sunday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/14/19

Today’s game is listed below.

Baseball
Mansfield, 4 @ Franklin, 5 – FinalFranklin junior Liam Dailey shined in relief, tossing four shutout innings to help the Panthers edge visiting Mansfield. The Hornets scored four runs over the first three innings but Dailey was nearly flawless in his four innings of work, allowing no hits, runs, or walks, striking out one with one hit batter. Mansfield went up 1-0 in the top of the second but Franklin responded with two runs in the bottom half. Dan Markowski knocked in Cooper Ross (2-for-3, run) to tie it, and Brennan Rivera plated JB Floris (2-for-2, RBI, run) to make it 2-1. Dan Saraceno blasted a two-run home run in the top of the third, highlighting a three-run inning for the Hornets. But once again, Franklin had an answer with three runs of its own. Jake Macchi plated two with a double to tie the game, and Floris brought Macchi home with a sacrifice fly for the winning-run.

Sunday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/07/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Canton, 7 vs. Attleboro, 6 – Final (8 inn.)Click here for a photo gallery from this gameAttleboro scored twice in the top half of the seventh inning to take the lead but Canton tied it in the bottom half to force extra innings then walked off with the win in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Konzal (2-for-4, run) drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a single from Steve Burbank (2-for-4, run, RBI), and then scored the game-winning run on a hit from Matt Pigeon (3-for-4, two runs, two RBI) for the winning run.

Pigeon was the catalyst for the tying run in the bottom as the seventh as well. Trailing 6-5, Pigeon led off with a double, advanced to third on a fly out from Matt Connolly (double, RBI), and scored the tying run on a two-out double from Rob Sullivan (2-for-3, two RBI).

Each team scored in the first inning but Attleboro seized a 4-1 advantage with a run in the second and two more in the third. Troy Gamache drove in Tim Callahan (3-for-4, two runs) to put Attleboro up 1-0 but Canton responded in the bottom half as Pigeon brought Nate Quan (2-for-4, two runs) home with a sacrifice fly. Attleboro’s Bailey Camacho put the Bombardiers back in front, 2-1, with a sacrifice fly that plated Sam Larkin (double, two runs) in the second inning.

Attleboro extended the advantage to 4-1 when Alvaro Espinal tripled and scored on a wild pitch, and Larkin doubled and came home on an error by the Bulldogs. Canton scored once in the fourth (Rob Sullivan RBI double) to make it a two-run game before putting three on the scoreboard in the fifth to take the lead. Quan, Konzal, and Burbank each singled, the last hit bringing Quan to the plate for a run but Larkin gunned down a potential second run on the play. Canton’s offense continued to battle though, with Pigeon singling to put runners on the corners. A double from Connolly tied the game at 4-4, and an RBI single from Paul Corcoran put Canton up 5-4.

In the top of the seventh, Mason Houle (2-for-4, run, RBI) drove in Callahan with a base hit and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Senior Kevin McGonigle earned the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out one.

Franklin, 5 vs. Milford, 4 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameFranklin trailed 4-1 heading into the fifth inning but scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the top of the seventh to pull out a come from behind victory over neighboring Milford at the Taunton High turf. Alex Haba drove in a pair of runs, including the game-tying run, and scored the eventual game-winner in the seventh, coming home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of JB Floris.

Milford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Nick Marcolini started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, moved into scoring position on a Matt Shaver single. Colby Pires, who also started for the Hawks and struck out four in 4-1/3 innings, plated the opening run with a single to left. Franklin tied the game in the top of the fourth. Haba walked, stole second, and scored on a single to right by Cooper Ross. The Hawks responded in the bottom half with three runs off the Panthers starter Liam Dailey. Danny Corsini started the rally with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Nick Wimette single. Carter Scudo doubled to left to put two in scoring position. Luke Rosa looped a basehit to right to score one and then, after a pitching change, a balk brought in the fourth run.

In the fifth, the Panthers struck for two. Joe Lizotte walked and Jack Nally got hit by a pitch. Scott Elliott loaded the bases with an infield single. A Haba sac fly made it 4-2 and Jake Macchi singled in another to make it 4-3. In the seventh, Elliott walked and stole second before coming around on a Haba single to center to tie the game. With Haba at third, Floris hit a fly ball to left that was deep enough to get in the winning run. Jake Fitzgibbons closed out the game, earning the win with four innings of scoreless relief.

Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 11 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameStoughton scored in each of the first four innings, jumping out to an 11-3 lead and never looking back to get a win over Oliver Ames. Cian Swierzewski, James Genest, and Mike Nazzaro each scored in the first inning to help the Black Knights jump ahead.

After Oliver Ames got on the board in the top of the second (Jake Erlich leadoff double, scored on infield single from Jared Spillane), the Black Knights cashed in on a pair of OA errors and walks to make it 4-1. Chris Pearsons (4-for-4, two RBI, two runs) had an RBI triple and scored on an error in the top of the third to make it a one run game at 4-3, but Stoughton tacked on three runs in the bottom half to regain a multi-run lead.

Three walks loaded the bases for the Knights in the bottom of the third. Stoughton scored on a passed ball, a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Cam Dirosa to make it 7-3. Stoughton pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jacob Kaplan walked, stole second, and came home to score on an infield error that was put in play by Clayton Rahaman. An RBI double from sophomore Brady Conlin made it 9-3. Swerziewski then connected on the first home run of the season for any Hock player, and first high school player to hit a home run at the new Taunton field, with a two-run blast to make it 11-3. Oliver Ames scored single runs in the fifth (Jacob Levine RBI double) and the seventh inning (Pearsons RBI double).

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.”