Mansfield Drops Extra Inning Heartbreaker To Walpole

Mansfield baseball
Mansfield’s Kevin Dow delivers a pitch against Walpole in a Super 8 game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BROCKTON, Mass. – It was a roller coaster ride for the Mansfield Hornets on Friday night at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

Trailing 7-2 and just one out away from elimination, Mansfield orchestrated an improbable comeback. Seven straight Hornets reached safely, including six hits, resulting in five runs that tied the game and sent the game to extra innings.

But as quickly as the Hornets got back into the game, the roller coaster ride came to a screeching halt.

Walpole bounced right back in the top of the tenth, scoring three runs on three straight hits with two outs, taking a 10-7 decision over the Hornets. With the loss, Mansfield is eliminated from the Super 8 tournament.

“When you get to a certain point to the game, and you’re trailing and you know there’s a lot to be done in order to get back in the game, you stay positive and just take it one pitch at a time,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “These guys just kept battling, that’s the type of team we had. Our motto over the last couple of weeks has been ‘empty the tank’ and while we lost tonight, the boys definitely emptied the tank tonight and I’m so proud of them.”

Walpole scored a run in the fifth, two more in the sixth, and broke the game wide open with a four-run seventh inning to take a 7-2 lead over the Hornets with just two innings to go.

It looked as though the Rebels were ready to celebrate with a 1-2-3 ninth inning when starting pitcher Matt Donato got the first two outs in just five pitches.

Breen called upon Chris Kelleher for a pinch-hit attempt and the senior delivered, giving Mansfield a chance with a single.

“I think Chris has probably six at-bats this year but he’s just a guy that has hits in key situations,” Breen said. “I knew he’d go out there and put a good swing on something. Fortunately, it came with two outs and sparked a rally. That’s just a senior doing the job for his team.”

Junior Mike Hargadon followed up by sending the second pitch he saw over the wall in left field for a two-run home run – the first of his career – to bring Mansfield within three runs with two outs.

“Nothing surprises me when it comes to Michael Hargadon,” Breen said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys we have on the team. He’s a ‘heat and soul’ kind of guys. He’s never played a game where he hasn’t left everything he has on the field and tonight was no different.”

Leadoff hitter Sam Nugent kept the rally going with a single and junior Dan Saraceno followed with his first hit of the game to put runners on first and second. The Hornets executed a double steal and senior Kevin Dow launched the next pitch he saw into left-center field for a two-run double, making it a one-run game.

Walpole elected to walk senior Tyler Dalton (two hits) but senior Justin Pena cashed in with his chance, driving the ball up the middle to bring Dow in for the tying run. With a Dalton at third, Donato finally got the third out with a fly ball to right.

“It starts and ends with our seniors,” Breen said. We had incredible senior leadership this year, especially out captains (Tyler Dalton, Kevin Dow, Cullin Anastasia). Those guys set the tone and the whole team follows. Kevin did a great job on the mound and Cullin has been the best defensive catcher in the state, he’s been incredible with our pitching staff. But it starts with our seniors, they led us the whole way.”

Walpole responded in the top of the 10th with its own two-out magic. Matt Falvey drew a one-out walk but a fly ball to center gave the Hornets the second out. Tyler Page picked up his first hit with a single that got by the Mansfield outfielder, allowing Falvey to score and Page to take second. Bryan Kraus and Chris McLean followed with RBI doubles to give the Rebels a 10-7 advantage.

Kyle Moran reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning but Rebels reliever Matt Chamoun got three straight outs to seal the win for Walpole.

“It was an amazing comeback by Mansfield,” said Walpole coach Chris Costello. “Two outs, nobody on and I think it was seven hits in a row against a pretty good guy [Donato]. They weren’t cheapies either, they can hit, they are a hell of a team. But it just really speaks to our mental toughness. We’ve really grown mentally as a team as the year has progressed. We challenged ourselves and put ourselves in stressful situations for just this reason, so it would pay off in situations like this.”

After four scoreless innings, Walpole took the lead with a run in the top of the fifth. Brett Lavanchy battled to a leadoff walk, took second on a sac bunt, moved to third on a groundout, and scored when Falvey was called safe at first for an infield single.

Mansfield responded right away in the bottom half to tie the game. Cullin Anastasia beat out an infield single to lead off and took second on a groundout. With two outs, Hargadon got a blooper to fall in shallow left-center to plate Anastasia.

Walpole added to its lead with two runs in the top of the sixth. A double from Kraus preceded a triple from McLean that was ruled to have just landed in fair territory. McLean scored on a squeeze play to make it 3-1.

Dow (no decision) finished with five strikeouts, two walks, six hits, and three earned runs in six innings of work.

The Rebels’ bats came alive in the seventh inning. Aidan Murray singled and a triple from Falvey made it 4-1. Falvey scored on a hit from Hanifan while Page reached (and Hanifan took third) on an outfield error. After a hit batter, a McLean sac fly made it 6-1. Lavanchy came through with a two-out RBI single to make it 7-1.

“The defensive side, unfortunately, was kind of the key with these last two games,” Breen said. Mansfield made a total of seven errors in its two Super 8 games. “We just played probably two of our worst defensive games of the season at the worst time. Unfortunately, and it’s no excuse, but playing one game over the last week and a half…we were playing eight games in 12 days, we had a great rhythm, and then we had the break and I think it threw us off our rhythm. But in the end, no excuses, we have to come out and make the plays for our pitchers.”

Mansfield cut the deficit to five with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Hargadon got things started with a two-out single and went to third on a double from Nugent and came home to score after the ball got by the outfielder.

Sophomore John Carney pitched three innings in relief with five hits, five strikeouts and three earned runs allowed.

Mansfield baseball finishes the season at 19-5.

“We came in four years ago and we knew there was a lot of talent coming through the pipeline,” Breen said. “We wanted to put these guys in the best position possible to be at the top of the Massachusetts high school baseball food chain. And these guys earned the right to be here. While we didn’t come out with the results we wanted, no Mansfield team has been in this spot. It’s arguably the best regular season in program history. We have a lot of guys going to play college ball so this isn’t the end for them and we have a lot of guys coming back and I know they are going to remember this feeling.”

Panthers Pull Away From Mansfield In Second Half

Franklin boys lacrosse
Mansfield’s Joseph Plath defends against Franklin’s Matt Lazzaro in the second quarter. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. It’s tough to rank players in terms of importance on the field, but there is certainly no doubting the value in Franklin junior face off specialist Jacob Alexander.

Alexander’s second half dominance at the face off X translated into a big half for the fourth-seeded Panthers, resulting in a 13-7 win #13 Mansfield.

The two Kelley-Rex division rivals were knotted 4-4 at halftime but Franklin dominated time of possession and scoring chances thanks in part to Alexander’s continued success at the ‘X.’ Those possessions and chances resulted in an 8-0 run over the third and fourth quarters.

“It all starts with Jacob, he’s such a key component to our success,” said Franklin head coach Lou Verrochi. “What can you say? He’s winning 86% of his face offs, he’s such a tough draw for any team. He’s so talented, and for a kid his size, he’s got good wheels, he can really play. He’s got great ground ball skills, great dodge skills…he could be an effective first line middie really.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Mansfield had a strong start, racing out to a 3-1 lead after a quarter of play. But Franklin scored back-to-back goals within a minute span to tie the game. Franklin took its first lead at 4-3 but Mansfield tied it shortly before half.

“We were right in it but Alexander in the face off X, getting them all of those possessions really hurt,” said Mansfield head coach Tim Frias. “[Freshman] Nico [Holmes] is holding his own and he’s done really well but Alexander is a seasoned vet and it shows. I think in that third quarter we had two offensive possessions compared to the first half where it was a lot more back and forth. Franklin did a great job of possessing and making the most of their opportunities.”

Mansfield’s Danny DiGirolamo opened the scoring three minutes into the game and the Hornets nearly doubled it two minutes later but Franklin goalie Connor O’Rourke (12 saves) made a terrific one-on-one save. That save turned into transition for Franklin and senior Eric Civetti buried his shot on the other end to tie it.

The Hornets didn’t flinch though and capitalized on a transition chance of their own when senior Hunter Ferreira came racing down and buried a shot despite being double teamed. Mansfield survived a man-up opportunity from Franklin and drew a penalty in the process.

During the man-up chance, Ferreira went behind the net and then connected on a pass to Brad Grant right in front, who put the Hornets up 3-1 with just over a minute left in the quarter.

Franklin freshman Matt Lazzaro got things going for the Panthers in the second quarter, charging in from a tight angle before bouncing out in front and ripping a shot in. Lazzaro drew a penalty in the process and the Panthers cashed in less than a minute later when Civetti came from behind the net and found just enough space to sneak a shot in to tie the game.

The Panthers capitalized on the momentum and took the lead just over a minute later. Civetti backed his way down and found the slightest of angles to slip his shot inside the post for a 4-3 lead. Mansfield tied the game with three minutes left in the half when Ferreira found Connor Quirk right in front for the tying tally.


Not only did Alexander change the game with his face off wins in the second half, he set the tone early with a goal less than a minute into the second half.

After winning the opening face off, Mansfield nearly forced a turnover but Alexander scooped up the loose ball. He was able to spin between two defenders and fired a bound shot in to put Franklin up 5-4 just 18 seconds into the third quarter.

Mansfield almost had the tying goal in transition but O’Rourke came up with another one-on-one save to preserve the lead. From there, it was all Franklin.

“Connor really came up big for us a couple of times in big moments,” Verrochi said. “If [Mansfield] gets those goals where he came up with brilliant saves, it’s a different game. He made a huge save when it was 3-1 too and if it gets to 4-1, you never know.”

Just 30 seconds after O’Rourke’s save, Franklin cashed in when Chase Tanner ripped a hard shot that bounced just before the goal line and in. Out of a timeout, junior Patrick Morrison found a cutting Ben Greco in front for a 7-4 lead.

With just 12 seconds left in the third, Civetti again worked his way from behind the net in front and found the top corner with his shot for an 8-4 advantage heading into the final quarter.

“I think the offense settled down,” Verrochi said of the second half. “Everything was a little tight in the first half. Once they settled down and looked for good possessions, things started to go our way. We stopped throwing the ball away which we did a couple of times which is uncharacteristic. But it’s a playoff game, emotions are high, but we settled down in the second half. The long possessions helped us and defensively we extended them a bit.”

Alexander continued to win at the X and Franklin’s offense continued to manufacture goals. Lazzaro converted on a breakaway after the Panthers forced turnover near midfield. Mansfield goalie Jack Munroe (13 saves) made a nice stop on a shot but Jonathan O’Glishen cleaned up the rebound for a 10-4 lead.

Sophomore Owen Palmieri made it 11-4 with a goal midway through the quarter and Civetti netted his fifth just a minute later for a 12-4 lead, capping the Panthers’ 8-0 run that started in the third quarter.

Mansfield’s Michael Reed snapped the scoreless drought with a nice individual effort with 4:23 to go. It marked the Hornets’ first goal since the 3:15 mark of the second quarter.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“We felt like we needed to extend on them so we did and I think it kind of took them out of the comfort zone that they were in during the first half,” Verrochi said. “We started to cause some turnovers and did better on the ground balls. We got some nice breaks and some nice finishes from Eric and Matty Lazzaro.”

Tanner answered for Franklin on a nice feed from Kyle McEniry to cap Franklin’s scoring. Joe Cox and DiGirolamo scored in the final two minutes for the Hornets.

Franklin boys lacrosse (16-3) advances to the D1 South quarterfinal round to take on #5 Xaverian (15-4), who beat Marshfield 11-4 in the first round. The game is scheduled for Saturday but a time has yet to be determined. Mansfield finishes the season at 9-9.

Mansfield, Franklin Selected To Super 8 Tournament

Super 8
Mansfield’s Tyler Dalton (left) and Franklin’s Jason Ulrickson will be key pitchers for their respective teams. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Hockomock League is invading the Super 8 tournament.

For the first time in its five year existence, the Super 8 will include a Hockomock team; two teams, in fact, as both Mansfield and Franklin were selected by the tournament committee at the MIAA offices on Sunday evening.

Mansfield was the fourth team nominated in the first round and Franklin was put up for discussion three teams later. Both received a 5-2 vote from committee members, which put them into the second round for reconsideration.

BC High and St. John’s Prep were the only two teams of the 14 nominated that received unanimous 7-0 votes in the first round to get automatic bids. Franklin and Mansfield were joined by Central Catholic, Wachusett, Walpole, Austin Prep, St. John’s Shrewsbury, Catholic Memorial and Lexington up for consideration in the second round.

In the second round, the vote goes one-by-one to each committee member and the first school to get four votes is in. Wachusett and Central Catholic were the first two teams to get the required votes, putting them into the Super 8 field.

Mansfield, which got three votes in the round that Central Catholic was put in, picked up four straight votes in the third go around to secure it’s spot in the Super 8, resulting in a big sigh of relief from head coach Joe Breen.

“I was less nervous proposing to my fiancé,” Breen said. “We’re excited for our boys, they’ve worked really hard and this has been a goal of their’s, not just this year but for the last couple of years. We’re happy to get an opportunity to compete against the best and that’s what we’ll have the chance to do with the teams that are in with us.

“The kids we’ve coached over the last couple of years are just as much apart of this. We’re just happy for everyone in the program.”

Walpole and Lexington each picked up four votes to bring the Super 8 field to seven. With just one spot left, Franklin received the first two votes only for St. John’s Shrewsbury to get the next two. But the Panthers picked up the next two votes to earn the final spot in the tournament.

“I’m just excited to get back over the field tonight, our guys are waiting to scrimmage so it’s going to be a great moment to go share with them,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “They’ve worked really hard. They wanted to be the first Franklin team to make the Super 8, it was definitely a goal that they set out for. We tried to make sure scheduling wise we gave them an opportunity to make that a reality.”

While Mansfield will hold the bragging rights for being the first Hockomock team in the Super 8, albeit by three minutes, Breen was equally excited when the Panthers secured the final spot.

“I’m jacked up for Coach Brown and the Franklin boys,” Breen said. “Obviously they are our biggest competitors during the season but I respect the heck out of their team, players, and staff. I was really excited they got in, they certainly deserved it.”

Brown was quick to reciprocate the respect.

“We’re really excited for Mansfield,” Brown said. “Joe’s done such a great job at Mansfield and I have so much respect for their program and everything that they’ve done for the Hock.”

After the teams were selected for the Super 8, the committee voted on the seeding. Mansfield earned the #5 seed and will play at #4 Central Catholic. Franklin was seeded at #7 and will travel to play #2 Wachusett. Both games are scheduled for Wednesday at 4:00 PM.

“They have a lefty, and he’s nasty,” Breen said of CC. “But we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do against [Central Catholic].”

“I know they are extremely talented and it’s going to take a great effort on our part to go to their place and get a ‘W.’” Brown said of Wachusett. “We have a lot of respect for them and what they’ve accomplished so we’ll go and do our best.”

The Super 8 tournament is double-elimination. Mansfield and Franklin will play their second game either Friday or Saturday at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

Mansfield Walks Off With 1-0 Win Over OA In Extras

By Brian Hines, HockomockSports.com Contributor

MANSFIELD, Mass. – With runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Mansfield’s Justin Pena had the chance to play hero — and that’s exactly what he did.

Pena dropped a bloop single over the first base bag to drive in Dan Saraceno to give Mansfield a 1-0 walk-off victory over Oliver Ames.

“We kind of had tabbed [Pena] coming into the season as a pitcher only, and he’s taken on a whole new life as a designated hitter,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “He’s just been unbelievable the last few weeks, so I’m just really happy for him. He’s worked his butt off the last few years and he deserved that one.”

The eighth inning rally by Mansfield didn’t come easy, as Oliver Ames starter Michael Mulrean quieted the Hornets’ bats the majority of the afternoon. Mulrean pitched 7.2 innings, allowing just one run and seven strikeouts.

“I’m not sure we ever did figure [Mulrean] out,” Breen said. “He pitched a heck of a game, you got to tip your cap to a kid who goes out there and busts his butt like he did.”

But in the eighth, a strong at-bat by Saraceno and a single by Kevin Dow provided the spark the Hornets needed. A sacrifice fly was able to advance Saraceno to third, where he then scored on Pena’s walk-off single.

“We just got one more, one hit, that’s all we needed there in the end there,” said Breen. “Dan Saraceno obviously started up the rallying, getting that leadoff guy on with a great two-strike at-bat and then just keeping the inning alive. Getting him to third from Tyler’s sac fly and then Justin Pena.”

As brilliant as Mulrean was for Oliver Ames, Tyler Dalton was just as good on the hill for Mansfield. The senior right-hander pitched an eight-inning complete game shutout, piling up 11 strikeouts throughout.

“[Dalton’s] kind of hit his groove here,” said Breen. “The last few games he’s basically just taking the ball and refused to give it back to me until the game is over and we win.”

Dalton was able to retire 24 of the 27 batters he faced over his eight innings of work. Oliver Ames’ only real threat came in the fourth when leadoff batter Michael Friel reached first and proceeded to advance all the way to third.

The inning ended without Frier scoring, and it was the only player the Tigers’ saw reach third base all game.

With the win, Mansfield stays in control of the race for the Kelley-Rex division championship. The Hornets are currently tied with Franklin for league wins but have two league games left compared to just one for the Panthers.

“Honestly at this point just every win, doesn’t matter who you play, how you get the win, there all huge at this point,” said Breen. “We just got to keep battling and keep being led by our seniors, and hopefully we can pull a few more out.”

Mansfield baseball (11-3 Hockomock, 15-3 overall) returns to action on Wednesday, as they travel to take on Bridgewater-Raynham. Oliver Ames (9-5 Hockomock, 11-6 overall) retakes the field Tuesday at home against King Philip.

Oliver Ames Outlast Mansfield In Offensive Battle

Oliver Ames junior Kayla Georgeu hit a three-run triple and scored a run as a pinch hitter in the Tigers 9-7 win over Mansfield Monday afternoon. (Cameron Merritt/HockomockSports.com)
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor

MANSFIELD, Mass. – The Oliver Ames softball team outlasted the Mansfield Hornets in an offensive showdown Monday afternoon at the East Street Fields.

“I think it was a really great team win,” Oliver Ames coach Lindsey Allison said, praising her team for never giving up. “Everybody kind of had a piece of it, which was really nice, and we just battled through adversity.”

Most of the Tiger runs came during an offensive burst in the top of the fourth, where they put up six runs and batted through the lineup. The Hornets a six-run inning of their own in the sixth inning, but the Tigers added on two insurance runs in the seventh to get the win.

On the mound, OA freshman pitcher Emma Varella tossed 5.2 innings, giving up four runs and on six hits and seven walks while striking out three for the win. In relief, senior Lexie Campbell moved over from second and gave up a run and two hits in 1.1 innings.

Oliver Ames broke through first in the top of the second, as a walk to sophomore shortstop Katie Abreu was turned into a run by a single to left from senior third baseman Rachel Han two at-bats later to give the visitors the run advantage.

The game remained much of a pitcher’s duel up until the top of the fourth when the Tiger offense roared to life as seven straight batters made it on base. A leadoff single by senior designated hitter Caroline Mahoney was followed by a walk to junior first baseman Katie Mills and a single by Abreu loaded up the bases for Oliver Ames. A walk to senior right fielder Sarah Tetrault drove in Mahoney to make it 2-0, and Han drove in Mills for her second RBI of the afternoon.

With the bases still loaded and no outs, Allison called on junior Kayla Georgeu to pinch hit.

“[Georgeu] has a serious power stick, so I can always count on her to swing for the fences almost every time she’s up there,” Allison said.

Her decision was proven right as the junior sent a shot into deep left field, clearing the bases with a three-run triple and doubling her team’s lead.

“It was just a good hit,” Georgeu said. “I got all of it and it was great for the team.”

Senior catcher Antonia Peretti drove Georgeu home on a single in the next at-bat, extending the lead to 7-0.

The scoreline remained the same until the bottom of the sixth when Mansfield staged a comeback effort with a six-run inning of their own. Junior third baseman Kara Bendanillo and junior second baseman Megan Letendre drew back-to-back two-out walks and the pair advanced into scoring position on a couple of wild pitches.

With two outs, junior catcher Caty DeMassi drove in the pair of juniors for the first two Hornet runs and would come home herself via a single by infielder Grace Benton to make it 7-3. After Sarah Cahill walked, a single down the right-field line from Felicity McMullin allowed Benton and Cahill to score, bringing the hosts within two.

Varella, who was coming off 10 innings of work in her previous outing, was replaced by Campbell, and after McMullin came home through a wild pitch and a throwing error to first , the inning ended with the Hornets trailing the Tigers by just a run, 7-6, with another inning left to play.

The Tigers, however, were quick to respond as Mahoney, Mills, and Abreu all singled to start off the inning. While OA grounded into a double play at first that denied a run at the plate, Han hit a double into deep left field to bring in Mills and Abreu for two more runs, and the Tigers headed into the bottom half of the inning with a three-run advantage.

Kara Bendanillo lead off the bottom half for Mansfield with an infield single and may have very well scored off Letendre’s gap shot the next at-bat had it not been grabbed in a diving catch by senior center fielder Marissa Guarino. Junior center fielder Mady Bendanillo drove her in off a single, but the Hornets comeback effort would fall short as Campbell sealed the deal for the Tigers.

Though her team is out of tournament contention, Allison felt the win was still very important to the team overall.

“We’re just trying to catch some more people off guard,” she said. “We just want to finish out the season strong, finish it positive, enjoy our seniors for the last couple games and also make sure we’re getting people in to get them ready for next year.”

Oliver Ames (2-12 Hockomock, 2-16 overall) returns to action Tuesday as they host Kelley-Rex co-leaders Taunton while Mansfield (3-12 Hockomock, 5-12 overall) travels to Duxbury Wednesday for a non-league outing against the Dragons.