MILFORD, Mass. – In last week’s season-opening win, Mansfield’s explosive offense was on full display with five touchdowns.
In week two, it was all about the Hornets’ defense.
Going up a powerful Milford offense that put up 34 points in their first game of the season, Mansfield’s defensive group was near perfect. The Hornets forced four turnovers, limited the Hawks to under 200 yards of offense, and pitched a shutout for the final three quarters to earn a 20-7 win on the road.
It marked the first meeting between the two squads since Milford joined the Hockomock League for football in 2013 with the Hawks making the switch to the Kelley-Rex division at the start of the 2020 school year.
“Story of the day, the defense played lights out,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Redding. “Scoring a touchdown for us, which in this game, was huge. Instead of just a six-point lead, it’s 13. The defense did a great job against a very good collection of receivers and [Brady] Olson can throw the ball. We gave them a few but nothing big, they popped the one run but after that, we were lights out, and thank goodness because this was really one of our sloppiest offensive performances in a long time.”
Mansfield football Milford football Anthony Comer Cincere Gill Brady Olson
Mansfield forced a turnover on Milford’s first possession of the game, Anthony Comer grabbed back-to-back interceptions with the first returned for a touchdown, and Hornets added another pick in the early moments of the fourth quarter.
The Hornets opened the game in style with freshman CJ Bel giving the visitors good field position at midfield after a good return. From there, Mansfield needed just six plays to find the end zone. Cincere Gill (20 carries, 117 yards) broke free for a 16-yard run on third down (his longest carry of the game), and three plays later, Gill — out of the wildcat — handed it off to Comer on a sweep to the left for an 18-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead less than four minutes in.
Milford completed a third down pass on its opening drive but Mansfield corner Nick Bertolino punched the ball free and recovered the fumble, giving the Hornets the ball back at the Hawks’ 20-yard line. But as good as Mansfield’s defense was throughout, the Milford defense had a strong outing as well.
Hampered by a fumble and a holding call (Mansfield was flagged 10 times in the game), the Hornets offense stalled and Milford forced an incompletion on fourth to get the ball back. The momentum carried over to the offensive side of the ball and the Hawks cashed in just two plays later. With the offense spread out with four receivers, Milford handed it off to senior Dom Schofield up the middle and he found a hole and went the distance for a 69-yard touchdown, tying the game 7-7 with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
From that point, there weren’t many offensive highlights for either squad.
Mansfield had to punt on its next two possessions, but the second one off the foot of Gill took a favorable bounce for the Hornets and was downed at the Milford 5-yard line. On second down, Mansfield’s Caden Colby and Mark DeGirolamo came flying in at Milford quarterback Brady Olson (9/28, 91 yards), who fired a short pass to the right side. Comer read the play, stepped in front and intercepted the pass, and sprinted into the end zone for a 14-yard return.
“It was a hard game, it was hard with our penalties, and they have a very good offense but we just executed on defense,” Comer said. “We held our guys to short-yardage and covered our guys. On the pick-six, I saw green. I was just running for the hills, I wanted the touchdown. We watched a lot of film, watching how they execute so we were ready.”
Mansfield football Milford football Anthony Comer Cincere Gill Brady Olson
Milford started to orchestrate a response as Olson hit Max Martin for 13 yards on first down, and then a late hit on the Hornets moved the ball 15 more yards to the Mansfield 39-yard line. TJ Guy stopped the Hawks for a loss in the backfield but a holding call in the secondary once again moved the chains for the hosts, getting to the Mansfield 24-yard line.
Guy helped stuff another Milford run on first down, and on second down Olson’s pass hit off a receiver’s hands and Comer was able to come down with the deflection for his second straight interception, putting an end to another Milford drive.
Mansfield football Milford football Anthony Comer Cincere Gill Brady Olson
“Anthony played a great two-way game for us,” Redding said. “We felt we really needed him on defense today to cover, he’s one of our quicker guys and made some big plays for us. We’ve played two good spread teams and held them each to 7. We still have to get sharper on offense but the next couple of weeks it will be more about defending the running game. Taunton and KP are big, they’re going to try and bang, run the ball.”
Mansfield capitalized on the interception with its best drive of the game. The Hornets traveled 82 yards on 10 plays, taking off five minutes of game clock, and cashed in with another touchdown with under a minute to play in the half.
Gill had three straight runs that combined for over 20 yards early in the drive, and when the Hornets were backed up by a delay of game call, Gill hauled in a 21-yard pass from quarterback Matt Boen, just eluding the Milford defender along the sideline.
Comer turned a broken play into 18 yards, Nico Holmes burst up the middle for 7 yards, and on second and goal from the three, Boen sold the option and kept it himself, leaping across the goal line for a touchdown, giving Mansfield a 20-7 lead with 0:49 left in the first half.
Mansfield football Milford football Anthony Comer Cincere Gill Brady Olson
“That was big, I thought we wasted [an opportunity] before that…we came down and scored, got the ball back but we didn’t convert and they come down and tie the game,” Redding said. “We fortunately got a couple of more before half, and I thought the one right before halftime was a big turning point.
“When we do things right, we’re good but we didn’t do things right very often today. We’re getting way too many penalties and we just really have to work hard on offense getting sharper and executing because we’re too good not to score in a half no matter who we’re playing.”
Carter Scudo had a big return to the Mansfield 33-yard line to give the hosts a final shot before the break, but the Hornets forced four straight incompletions.
“All we ask for today is for them to give us 48 minutes and I thought they did that,” said first-year Milford head coach Dale Olson. “A couple of plays didn’t go our way today, that should have been 7-7 game in the fourth quarter and anybody’s game. But you live and you learn. But this is what Milford football is going to be from here on out, we’re going to contend. We have to get back on the horse because we have to play a very good KP team next week.”
Olson connected with Keithly Sutton on a bubble screen to move the chains on Milford’s first drive of the second half but the Hawks couldn’t capitalize as the Hornets shut the hosts down on the next three plays, including a perfectly-timed pass breakup by Bertolino.
“We feel Milford is as talented as anybody in the Kelley-Rex so if we didn’t beat them here today, they were going to run the table so, for us, it was basically a must-win game,” Redding said. “We want to be in the league race when we’re playing KP and Attleboro so you have to win today. I don’t Milford loses again moving forward, they have good linemen, I think the best QB in the league, great receivers. We’ve won [the Kelley-Rex division] a couple of times in a row but we felt pressure that it was a must-win for us against them on their field.”
Milford’s defense continued to do its part as Mansfield managed just two total yards on its first two drives, both resulting in punts including a third down kick to try and flip field position. The Hawks did a good job bottling up the Mansfield rushing attack, getting key tackles and pushes up front from the likes of Schofield, Scudo, Evan Cornelius, Grant Scudo, Alex McColl, Evan Hazard, Nick Yohn, Mario Lee, and Tyler Lane.
“I think we struggled a little bit today getting off jams at the wide receiver spot, I thought [Brady] pressed a little bit today,” Olson said. “Instead of standing in there a few times, he got out of the pocket when he didn’t need to. But listen, that’s a great football team we just played. I couldn’t be prouder of how our kids handled themselves today.
Mansfield football Milford football Anthony Comer Cincere Gill Brady Olson
“Realistically, I look up at the scoreboard and it should have been 7-7. We had our opportunities, could have had 1st and goal but instead, it was an interception. They ball-controlled us but our defense was outstanding today. All of the film I’ve watched, I haven’t seen a team hold Gill like that. They didn’t really hurt us today with their offense, I thought it was more a matter of our offense couldn’t get going.”
However, the Hawks’ offense just could never get going, punting twice to start the second half and then had its third drive of the second half come to a sudden stop when Gill intercepted a pass at his own 30-yard line.
Mansfield was able to move the ball enough to kill a lot of clock in the fourth quarter and Milford’s final drive ended on downs.
Mansfield football (2-0) is on the road for the second straight week when it travels to Taunton for a 4:30 kickoff on Friday. Milford (1-1) will face another stiff test next week when it hosts King Philip (2-0) on Saturday at 1:00.
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MILFORD, Mass. – Milford didn’t get the chance to scrimmage in the abbreviated preseason, so the Hawks needed to work out some of the kinks early in Saturday afternoon’s season opener against Attleboro. Luckily for Milford, its defense was in mid-season form right from the opening kick, giving its offense time to get settled in.
Once things clicked into gear, Milford proved unstoppable, overcoming three first half turnovers by scoring on four straight possessions between the second and third quarters to beat Attleboro 34-0 in the program’s first Kelley-Rex division game.
Attleboro couldn’t have asked for a better start. Alexander Bakowski recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff to give the visitors the ball at the Milford 32, but the Bombardiers went backwards and three plays later punted.
The ball rolled down to the Milford two-yard-line and Attleboro’s defense forced a three-and-out. Milford’s punt hung up in the wind, so Attleboro regained possession at the 23-yard-line. Again Attleboro went nowhere, as Michael Strachan was stuffed at the line of scrimmage on fourth and three.
“The offense didn’t help us out there,” said first-year Milford coach Dale Olson, “and put the defense behind some tough situations but I think the defensive game plan that my brother (Dana Olson) and Coach (Eric) Riley put together, I’d be hard-pressed to think they had over 100 yards of offense today. Defense was lights out today for sure.”
Two more times in the first half Attleboro would get the ball deep in Milford territory, after Milford fumbles recovered by Strachan and Ryan Betts. They started possessions at the Hawks’ 36 and 26, but ran four plays combined after the turnovers and gained no yards.
Attleboro had only two first downs in the game and one came in the final minute of regulation. Dom Schofield, Mario Lee, Tyler Lane, and Angelo Romero, among others were winning every battle at the point of attack and the Bombardiers struggled to find a way through.
“You can’t make the mistakes,” Attleboro coach Mike Strachan said. “I just thought they were more physical than us up front. [Being physical] is our game but they’re good up front. They’re a good football team.”
Milford’s offense was hardly lighting up the scoreboard early, but at the end of the first quarter the Hawks started to move the ball. Brady Olson, who transferred from Bishop Feehan, was able to connect with his talented crop of receivers. He hit Carter Scudo, Schofield, Max Martin, and Keithley Sutton to move into the red zone.
Two plays into the second quarter, he swung a pass to the near sideline for Scudo (six catches, 38 yards), who cut upfield and dove for the goal line. The ball came loose as he landed and Attleboro was sure that he had come up short, but the officials ruled it a touchdown and Milford took a 7-0 lead.
The score stayed the same until late in the half. After Attleboro lost the handle on a snap to give the Hawks back the ball just one play after Milford had themselves turned it over, the Hawks put together a 14-play, 73-yard drive to grab control of the game.
Olson (18-of-33, 296 yards) found Martin sliding across the middle for a 14-yard gain on third and eight inside Attleboro territory. The duo connected again on an out route to the sideline for another 14 yards on fourth and eight down to the Attleboro 25. A personal foul call moved the ball to the 10 and Olson showed off his poise in the pocket, biding time until Jaden Agnew came open in the back of the end zone and then he fired a strike for a 14-0 lead just before halftime.
“They’re big up front, they can sling it, they’ve got good athletes, and you can’t get caught not capitalizing on the turnovers early in the first half,” Strachan said. “That was our chance to really do something. I think defensively we played pretty well…just spent too much time on the field.”
Momentum carried over in the third quarter. Nick Yohn sacked Attleboro quarterback Blake Garzaro (5-of-19, 17 yards) on the first play of the second half and the Bombardiers were forced to punt. Milford struck just two plays later. Olson fired a deep ball to Agnew, who went up between a pair of defenders to pull down a 48-yard completion to the seven and Schofield punched it on the next play.
After completing only 12-of-25 passes in the first half, Olson would complete 6-of-8 in the second. He completed passes to six different receivers in the game. A 15-yard screen to Schofield converted a third and five. Matt Varteresian was next with a 23-yard grab down to the Attleboro 15. After a two-yard run by Kevin O’Connor, Sutton got open on the far sideline for a 13-yard touchdown.
Olson explained, “Both [Attleboro’s] inside linebackers are good football players, the down-four are good football players, and we knew they were young, inexperienced in the secondary so we knew we’d have some opportunities in the pass game. Early, Brady was just off and obviously he got on. That makes us dangerous offensively if we can keep spreading the wealth.”
Attleboro ran nine plays on its first three possessions of the second half. Milford only ran 11 on its first three possessions but scored all three times it had the ball. The third was the highlight, as Sutton beat his man down the seam and Olson hit him in stride for a 62-yard score and a 34-0 lead with 1:15 left in the third.
After earning its first win in the Kelley-Rex division, Milford (1-0) will now get its biggest test. The Hawks will host defending league (and state) champion Mansfield next Saturday. It will be the first-ever meeting between the teams. The Hawks are aware of the challenge ahead and relishing this opportunity.
“We get to see what we’re all about,” said Olson. “That’s it, it’s the opportunity to play a top team in the state, the defending Div. 2 Super Bowl team. To tell you the truth, these kids were ready to play Attleboro but they’re excited to play week two, week three, week four too, and they’re just excited for the opportunity.”
Attleboro (0-1) will host King Philip in its home opener at Tozier-Cassidy Field next Saturday.
Attleboro was able to incorporate a number of underclassmen last season and will be hoping that experience pays off with the junior class being asked to step up all across the field this season, as the Bombardiers look to challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex.
2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview
Size won’t be an issue for Attleboro and the offensive line should be a strength this season led by junior tackles Chris Leonardo (6’3, 275 pounds) and Alvin Harrison (6’3, 255) along with seniors Trainor Sherck and Ryan Grover and junior Adam Struminski. The Bombardiers are going to use that line a lot this season with new quarterback Blake Garzaro, who saw some action as a sophomore, handing the ball off frequently to junior Kaiden Murray, who looks poised for a breakout season, and bruising fullback Michael Strachan. Junior Freddy Wheaton is another physical back who will get touches this year. In the passing game, Garzaro can look for 6’4 tight end Christian Dame, who leads a largely new cast of receivers.
The strengths on offense should mirror the strengths for Attleboro’s defense as well. Leonardo, Dame, and Harrison will be the core of the defensive line with junior Isaac Pereira another big body that will be tough for opposing teams to run against. Strachan leads the linebacking corps. The URI-commit is the program’s all-time leading tackler and he’s a four-year varsity player. Wheaton will join Strachan at inside linebacker and Sherck and Ryan Betts will be on the outside. The secondary will have several new faces, but Murray is a tough tackler at free safety and William Runey will be one of the more experienced cornerbacks on the roster.
Franklin is coming off an impressive run to the Div. 1 South final but the Panthers also graduated a host of important pieces from last year’s team, particularly at the skill positions, and will need some younger players to step in to stay competitive in the Kelley-Rex this season.
2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview
Junior Jared Arone will step in at quarterback this season, hoping to have the same level of success running Franklin’s up-tempo style as Thomas Gasbarro did last year. Junior running back Mack Gulla got some time in the backfield last season but will be getting the bulk of the touches this year. A new receiving corps will also have to learn on the job, including senior Jake O’Brien and junior Shane Kindred, and junior tight end Jonathan Martins, but there is potential for this to be an explosive group. Seniors Brady Duncan and Vincent Lackey will be counted on to provide leadership on the offensive line. The consistency of senior kicker Parker Cheuvront will be a huge boost to a Franklin offense that may have some growing pains early in the season.
Defensively, the Panthers return several players and will rely on that experience to combat the top offenses in the league and to allow time for the younger players to get up to speed. Seniors Xander Honor and Dan Cormier will spearhead the defense from their linebacker positions, while seniors Anthony Quintina and Lackey are stout in the middle of the line. Martins will be a force at defensive end and Griffin is a playmaker at safety.
“We need to focus on getting better every day,” said Franklin coach Eain Bain. “Appreciate, and focus on, the here and now. Don’t look ahead or behind, but stay in tuned to the task at hand. And always, Row the Boat.”
This is an atypical season in so many ways, not least of all because King Philip, one of the perennial powers in the Kelley-Rex, is going through a transition. The Warriors will have a lot of new faces this year, using a number of underclassmen who will have to quickly learn the KP style of play through a tough slate of divisional games.
KP returns only two starters on offense from last year’s team that reached the D2 South semifinal. Senior guard Pat Zarba and junior tight end Drew Danson will be the lone holdovers, although several other players did see action at times. Junior Crawford Cantave filled in for an injured Ryan Halliday at running back last year and has the potential to be next in a long line of standout backs at KP. Mike Malatesta will also be in the backfield at fullback and sophomore Ryan Gately is a newcomer to keep an eye on. Junior Charlie Grant is set to be the new quarterback and will have Danson, senior Michael Zagrodney, and junior Nick Viscusi as targets in the passing game. Senior Kevin Pierro will be the center to add some experience to what is otherwise a largely new group on the line.
Defense has always been a priority for KP and this year’s group has a lot of players who will be learning on the job. Zarba and Danson will be on the defensive line, along with junior Hunter Hastings and senior Harry Brown. Malatesta and Gately will be joined by junior Jake Sullivan at linebacker. The secondary is young but has some experience, as Cantave and Viscusi both are coming off strong sophomore seasons at safety.
“I am hoping that our weakness (inexperience and lack of seniors) will be a strength in the fall as we are forced to play a lot of juniors and sophomores now,” said KP coach Brian Lee. “I’m also worried about injuries, as we have not been in our weight room in a year.”
It has been 15 months since Mansfield rolled to a D2 state title at Gillette Stadium and the Hornets are excited to get back on the field, searching for a third straight league title and looking forward to a 90th anniversary game against Foxboro at Alumni Field to close out the season.
2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview
While Mansfield graduated a number of key players from last year’s state championship-winning team, the Hornets return plenty of offensive firepower, especially in the backfield. Senior Cincere Gill will be the focus after racking up nearly 1,000 rushing yards last season, but he will get plenty of help from classmates Anthony Comer and Nico Holmes and newcomer sophomore Rocco Scarpellini. In addition, the Hornets will have Matt Boen and Nick Bertolino back at receiver and Everett Knowlton returns at tight end. Juniors Jake Wall and Dana Johnson will add to the depth in the passing game. The offensive line should be a strength for Mansfield this season with three returning starters, seniors TJ Guy and Jake McCoy and junior Joe Forte. Juniors Jimmy Gilleran and Braedon Veno will fill out the rest of the line.
The Hornets were dominant on defense last season and they remain solid on that side of the ball, particularly in the front seven. With Guy on the end and junior Mark DeGirolamo and McCoy in the interior of the defensive line, Mansfield will be stout up front. Holmes is a standout at linebacker and senior Sean Weber will be a player to watch in his outside linebacker position. The secondary has depth with a handful of players fighting for three defensive back spots.
“Toughest part is mentally, everything’s backward with the weather – feels like November and the end of a typical season, but it’s pre-season,” said Mansfield coach Mike Redding. “Just hoping Friday nights under the lights feel the same once games get going and it feels like we’re starting to finally get into a groove with execution. We’re all thankful to be playing and trying to enjoy every day we can go out and be a team.”
There are a lot of changes at Milford this season, with a new coaching staff taking over and the Hawks making the switch to the Kelley-Rex for the first time, but there is a lot of experience on the field to make that transition with nine starters returning on both sides of the ball.
One of the biggest changes for Milford will be under center, as Brady Olson takes over following his transfer from Bishop Feehan. The UMass-commit will have plenty of targets to aim for, as Milford returns arguably the deepest group of receivers in the league led by seniors Carter Scudo, Max Martin, and Matt Varteresian. They combine deep threat potential with the willingness to make the tough catches in traffic. Up front, Sean Murray and Nick Yohn will lead the protection for Olson and try to open up lanes for a new crop of running backs.
2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview
Experience will be a strength on the defensive side of the ball as well. Dom Schofield highlights a tough defensive line. Another of the team’s UMass commits, Schofield will be a force at the defensive end position, while Mario Lee and Josh Kravets return in the heart of the line. Milford lost a couple of standout linebackers from last year’s squad, Luke Rosa and CJ Cerrella, but Kevin O’Connor and Angelo Romero are playmakers who should be ready for breakout seasons. Grant Scudo and Evan Hazard are back in what should be a strong secondary for the Hawks.
“I have a strong senior class that has played a ton of football and we’ll lean on them to help us compete in the Hock large this year,” said new Milford coach Dale Olson.
With 10 returning starters and 18 returning lettermen, Taunton will be relying on its senior leadership to stay competitive against what has the potential to be a daunting Kelley-Rex division schedule.
The Tigers have plenty of athleticism on both sides of the ball and also versatile players who can line up in multiple positions, making it difficult for opponents to match up. Senior Danny MacDougall moves under center this season, although he has also lined up at receiver in the past. Seniors Josh Lopes and Bretton Heggs give Taunton a pair of dangerous backs, while Trent Santos, Kedrick Santos, Nigel Choate, and Nolan Tomaszycki are weapons in the passing game. Senior Nathan Arieta, at 6-foot-5, is a big target at tight end. Seniors Tommy Ambrose and Jorden Manning are two returning starters on the offensive line. The depth on the line will be tested, as Taunton has several underclassmen with the size to step in but not a lot of experience.
Defensively, Taunton relies on its quickness and athleticism, but also has plenty of size up front. Ambrose, Manning, and Arieta will all play on the defensive line, along with classmate Deandre McPhail and junior Faisal Mass. Lopes, Kedrick Santos, Caleb Nicholson, and Evan Perrotta have experience in the linebacking corps. The secondary is filled with playmakers, including Trent Santos, MacDougall, Heggs, Tomaszycki, and Choate.
2020 (Fall II) Kelley-Rex Division Football Preview
Canton had its best season in recent memory a year ago, but the 2019 squad is aiming to take it one step further.
With starters back at almost every position, Canton is aiming to defend its Davenport division title and get back to the sectional final for the second straight season. Johnny Hagan is back under center this season and has all of his weapons back. The Bulldogs ran a mix of Wing-T and spread offense a year ago so Hagan is comfortable running whatever is needed this year. Kyle Fitzgerald, Gersom Rivera, and Cam Sanchez are all talented backs that can help grind down opposing defenses while Hagan makes a lot of plays with his feet as well. Jace Emma was one of Hagan’s favorite targets last year and he will be joined by David Allen as options in the passing game. The offensive line will be anchored by senior Jack Connolly, who missed a good amount of last season with an injury. Matt Connolly, Derrell Brown, and Lucas Bryant return to the line as well while Carson Campbell and Brandon Baran are in the mix for the final spot.
A lot of the same names will make plays on the defensive end as well with Jack Connolly and Matt Connolly teaming up with Nnamdi Onyemelukwe to provide size on the line. The strength of the defense will once again be with the linebackers as the Bulldogs have James Murphy back in the middle alongside junior Lucas Ragusa. Owen Lehane and Robbie Gallery both had strong seasons coming from the outside. The entire secondary is back for the Bulldogs with Rivera and Sanchez handle the corners and Fitzgerald and Allen provide physicality from the safety spots. And for special teams, Lehane handles kicking duties, Allen returns as the punter, and Rivera and Fitzgerald handle return duties. The Bulldogs will look to build some depth with so many two-way players in the lineup.
“We have a lot of experience with a lot of guys that have played at this level, and we had the playoff run so that should definitely help us down the road,” said Canton coach Dave Bohane. “We are focused on Dighton-Rehoboth, focusing on one game at a time. We have a lot of competitors that don’t quit.”
Foxboro’s biggest win of the season came in its final game, a thrilling overtime win over rival Mansfield at Fenway Park two days before Thanksgiving. If the Warriors are able to carry any of that momentum into the 2019 season, Foxboro will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport division title.
The Warriors return a good amount of talent from last year but will need to find a replacement for Liam Foley, who came on strong at the end of last season. Senior Shayne Kerrigan and junior Cam Prescott have both taken reps this preseason so longtime coach Jack Martinelli and his staff will have two good options to work with under center. Last year’s leading rusher Mike Luong also graduated so there will be an opportunity for someone to take on carries out of the backfield. The Warriors have good skill options in Brian Derba (three touchdown catches last year) and split ends Elijah Lewis and Ryan Hughes. Foxboro has some experience on the line as well as Zach Jenkins and Aidan Dow are both returning starters at the guard position.
Foxboro’s defense has returning players at all three levels so the Warriors will likely rely on that side of the ball, especially early on against two strong non-league foes. Anton George, a HockomockSports Hock 5 selection for defensive line, is back and will be a force to deal with for opponents. Austin Read will be key in Foxboro’s run defense from the defensive tackle spot. Mike Sheehan returns to anchor the linebackers group after a standout junior season. The secondary should be one of the top units in the league with a lot of experienced playmakers. Derba and Kerrigan made a lot of plays defensively last year and Michael Devlin could be poised for a big year for the Warriors.
“With a challenging scrimmage schedule and formidable non-league opponents, we should be prepared for the Hock grind,” Martinelli said “We have several key components returning to make this possible, but it’s one game at a time.”
Milford just missed out on the playoffs last season but the 2019 Scarlet Hawks are determined to get back to postseason play.
There is a lot of experience on both sides of the ball, and maybe most importantly, at key positions both offensively and defensively. The Hawks have Colby Pires back at quarterback after a big junior season that saw him toss 22 touchdowns, second most in the Hockomock League. But the challenge will be developing chemistry with a brand new set of receivers. Brendan White (12), Sean Lehane (5), and Shapel Feaster (5) all graduated so Milford is looking for new names to step up and make plays offensively. Junior Carter Scudo is a terrific athlete and will be one of the top options while Max Martin, Matt Varteresian, Herrick Louis, Kevin O’Connor, and Xavier Hilton are all battling to get reps on the field. Milford does bring back its leading rusher in Luke Rosa (seven rushing touchdowns), a very powerful back that will help the Hawks pound the ball. Juniors Nick Yohn, Dom Schofield, Mario Lee, and Dom Stallbaum provide a physical yet athletic offensive line.
The linebackers will be the heart of the Hawks’ defense this season. CJ Cerrella had a breakout junior year and will be on the top linebackers in the Hockomock League this season. He will be joined by Rosa, Louis, and O’Connor. A lot of the offensive line will see action on the defensive side of the ball as well while Scudo returns as a top defensive back at the safety position. Look for Martin, Varteresian, and Hilton to factor into the secondary as well for Milford this season.
“We have a very focused, determined, and excited team this season,” said head coach Anthony Vizakis. “They are a hard working group of guys with their eyes on one goal, one mission, and they are determined to do it together.”
The Rocketeers have won four straight league titles, the last three in the Davenport division, and will be looking to make it five straight this year.
If North Attleboro does make it five straight, they will need some new players to step up into new roles to do so. The Big Red graduated a lot of talent in almost every position but the Rocketeers are a program that doesn’t rebuild, they reload. The strength of the offensive will start with the offensive line as there are three returning starters. Ethan Mottinger (6’6, 294), who committed to UMass over the offseason, and John Kummer (5’11, 256) man the tackle positions while Ethan Friberg (6’5, 252) adds additional protection from the tight end position. Senior Casey Poirier, junior Matt Penta, and sophomore Tyler DeMattio are locked in a healthy battle at quarterback with each bringing a unique skill set to the offense. North lost almost all of its skill position players but there are a variety of versatile junior backs battling for time. Friberg, Russell Dunlap, and Robbie Donovan will be options in the passing game.
The strong suit of the Rocketeers’ defense will be in the front seven with several returning lineman and senior captain Tom O’Neill anchoring the linebackers. Friberg will be on one end while Montrel Jackson will see time at the other defensive end position. Kummer is joined by Trevor Hewett at defensive tackle to give North a strong, experienced defensive line. Owen Harding and Jacob Silva are in the mix to join O’Neill at linebacker while North will look for some new names to step up in its secondary alongside Jared and Matt Penta. DeMattio returns as the kicker after a standout freshmen campaign (32-for-35 PAT, 3-for-4 field goals).
“We will need to find a way to stay healthy and quickly develop some depth,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “With the inexperience in the skill positions, we expect there to be some early growing pains, but we are hopeful that the great attitude and work ethic that has been displayed in the preseason will help us overcome the lack of experience.”
Sharon might not have as many players as some of the other programs in the league and might not match up in terms of size, but the Eagles have plenty of fight and are looking to showcase that this year.
The Eagles are going to look to capitalize on their team speed this year. Junior Nic Morrero was strong on both sides of the ball last season and will likely feature in the backfield this season for the Eagles. John Saab is another returning play that should pick up carries for the Eagles this year. Junior Kiran Chadrasekaran looks set to take over under center for the Eagles and will have a couple of experienced players to work with in senior receiver Alec Filipkowski and junior tight end Ike Ogbonnanze while junior receiver Owen Conway will likely see an expanded role this season.
Senior Jaden Williams-Thomas returns to anchor both the offensive and defensive lines and will be joined by junior Shea Letendre. Williams-Thomas will handle defensive tackle duties and should be a big part of the Eagles’ defense this year. Marrero anchors the linebackers alongside Saab and Ogbonnanze while Filipkowski and Conway will see time in the secondary.
“We have a great group of relentless players that have the right attitude and understand that they have a ton to prove,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.
Stoughton didn’t have the season it wanted in terms of record, but the Black Knights were competitive in just about every game last year and are hoping to get back in the hunt for the Davenport crown this year.
Despite finishing 4-7, Stoughton beat both Davenport champions in North Attleboro (21-10) and Canton (28-7 on Thanksgiving) during the year. If the Black Knights are able to string together those type of performances throughout the year, they will definitely be competing for their first division crown since 2015. Offensively, Stoughton has a good battle at quarterback with junior John Burke and senior Clayton Rahaman. Both saw time last year so head coach Greg Burke has two experienced options to start under center. The offensive line should be a strength for Stoughton with a good group of seniors that includes Oluwole Fabikun, Jaden McCall, Carlvin LaGuerre, and Jerry Brisson. Having a strong and experienced line will set things up nicely for the Black Knights strong run game, which will feature Savion Scott, Christopher Ais, and Christian Ais. Tight end Anthony Pizzano, junior Jake Queeney, and track star David Peters will provide options in the pass game.
Stoughton is often known for its defense and will be looking for that to continue during the 2019 season. Kelven Rodrigues will be a big part of the defensive line for the Black Knights, joined by Brisson, LaGuerre, and Fabikun. Georges had a very strong season on the end last season but will mostly line up as a linebacker this year, alongside Scott and Christopher Ais. Stoughton will have a hard hitting secondary once again this season with Burke, Pizzano, Christian Ais and Kamari Grant all likely to see time.
“We hope to stay healthy and be competitive in the league, all of our athletes improved their strength and conditioning,” Burke said. “We have many juniors also playing and will be a big part of the team. We will need help from all players and try to improve depth.”
Taunton, 1 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – For the second straight game, Taunton senior Jack Moynihan tossed a gem and this time the Tigers put a run on the board to get the win. Moynihan scattered six hits in a complete game shutout, striking out seven. Taunton scored the lone run of the game in the top of the sixth inning as Lucas Martins singled and came around to score on a base hit from Josh Lajoie. Attleboro’s Ryan Morry was also strong, allowing five hits and striking out three in a complete game effort for the Bombardiers.
Foxboro, 8 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Foxboro junior Michael Devlin shined in his first start of the season on the mound and reached base four times offensively to pace the Warriors to a win over Sharon. Devlin scattered five hits and two walks in a complete game, allowing one earned run with four strikeouts. Offensively, he had one hit, three walks and scored two runs. Joe Cavaleri and James Kaeser (two hits) each added two RBI for Foxboro.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Franklin junior Brennan Rivera allowed just one hit and faced the minimum, tossing his second straight shutout to pace the Panthers to a win over visiting Oliver Ames. Rivera fanned 12 batters and had the one hit erased on a double play against the next batter. Scott Elliott (run), Alex Haba (double, run, RBI), and Jake Macchi (RBI) each had a hit for the Panthers. Reid Latham was strong for the Tigers, allowing four hits over six innings while striking out nine. Latham also had the lone hit offensively for OA.
Mansfield, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip scored once in the second and tacked on two more in the third, holding on the rest of the way to beat Mansfield. The Hornets scored once in the fifth and made it a one-run game with a run in the seventh inning. KP sophomore Jake Silveria earned his first career win, tossing a complete game with just three hits allowed, two walks, and three strikeouts. Silveria also paced the offense with two hits and two RBI. Chris Daniels also had a hit and an RBI for the Warriors. Matt Scibilia and Nick Dumouchel each drove in a run for Mansfield.
Stoughton, 2 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Stoughton tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the top of the sixth but the Hawks answered with a run in the bottom half to take the lead back and earn a win over the visiting Black Knights. Danny Corsini (2-for-3, run), Tyler Almeida (2-for-3), and Carter Scudo (2-for-3, run, RBI) had consecutive singles, the latter scoring the first. Corsini went five innings on the mound, allowing two runs on three hits and four strikeouts. Sophomore Mario Lee earned the win in relief, striking out one with one hit allowed in two scoreless innings. Jacob Kaplan had two hits for Stoughton while Kyle Gagnon and George Currier each scored a run.
Canton, 2 @ North Attleboro, 12 – Final – Bella Erti struck out 11 and allowed only one earned run for the Rocketeers. She also had a pair of hits at the plate and drove in a pair of runs. Ashley Cangiano led the way offensively with four hits, while Annabelle Hebard (two RBI), Olivia Capobianco, and Emily Nardelli each had three hits. Abby Gallagher and Alex Moulson each had two hits in the win.
Sharon, 0 @ Foxboro, 12 – Final – Alli Small went 2-for-3 for the Eagles and Penny Rabatsky added a triple in the fourth inning.
Franklin, 16 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final (5 inn.) – Franklin’s Emily Valentino allowed three hits, struck out five and issued one walk in a shutout performance, helping the Panthers win on the road. Maddy White paced the offense with three hits, a walk, two runs, and four RBI while Kylie Bouzan went 2-for-2 with an RBI for Franklin. OA sophomore Emma Varella had a pair of doubles while junior Katie Abreu also had a double for the Tigers.
King Philip, 3 @ Mansfield, 10 – Final – The Hornets took the lead in the fourth inning, added two more runs in the fifth, and then broke the game wide open with six runs in the bottom of the sixth to secure a win over defending league champ KP. Kara Bendanillo drove in four runs and the Hornets pounded out nine hits as a team. KP jumped in front with a run in the first and the lead lasted until the fourth inning when Mady Bendanillo homered. Caty DeMassi singled, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Ashlyn Conley, took third on a passed ball, and then scored the go-ahead run on a grounder to second. Mansfield added to its lead with two runs in the fifth. Mary Muldoon led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sac bunt by Sydney Woods. Kara Bendanillo drove her in with a single and, after making her way to third, aggressively came home to score when a pitch got away. In the sixth, the Hornets’ offense put the game away. Conley, Ella Verheggen, and Casey Mousette hit three straight singles. Muldoon drove in a run with a walk, Woods reached on an error, and Kara Bendanillo cleared the bases with a double. DeMassi made it 10 runs with a two-run single. Sarah Cahill earned the win in the circle, striking out five. Mansfield coach Lori Letendre said, “Mansfield played with a lot of energy today and I’m so proud of the total team effort.”
Milford, 3 @ Stoughton, 6 – Final – Stoughton senior Karly Estremera had a double, a triple, and scored three runs to help the Black Knights beat Milford. Estremera and Jordan Lyons (two RBI, two runs) each had three hits total, Lexi Baptista added a pair of singles and an RBI, and Brianna Ferrandiz, Nicole Baker, and Sydney Menz each had a hit for Stoughton. Baker struck out 13 to earn the win. For Milford, April Swain (run) and Lucy Creedon (run, triple, RBI) each had two hits.
North Attleboro @ Attleboro, 3:45
Oliver Ames, 4 @ Foxboro, 9 – Final – Foxboro held Oliver Ames scoreless in the first quarter and built a 6-2 lead at halftime that it never relinquished. The Warriors held the Tigers to just one goal in each the third and fourth quarters as freshman goalie Matt Tully made nine saves to help earn the win. Senior Pete Conley paced the Foxboro offense with five goals and one assist while junior Aidan Stapleton scored once and had two helpers. Senior Colin Bourne scored twice for Oliver Ames while junior Frankie Ireland netted one goal and had one assist. Junior Nick Gillis made 14 saves in net for OA.
Stoughton, 1 @ Franklin, 17 – Final
Mansfield, 9 @ King Philip, 17 – Final – King Philip senior Chris Longobardi won 22 face offs and senior Colin DeVellis recorded 10 points to help the Warriors knock off visiting Mansfield. DeVellis had seven goals and three assists, Robbie Tartaglia and Kevin Riggs each scored a hat trick, Andrew Sajdak had two goals and an assist, Sam Mattson recorded two helpers, and David Lawler and Matt Meehan each scored once. Junior Andrew McKinney made six saves in net. For Mansfield, Aidan Sacco (assist) and Connor Quirk each had a hat trick while Brady Kessler and Jake Quirk each found the back of the net once.
Milford, 5 @ Sharon, 12 – Final
Attleboro, 10 @ North Attleboro, 19 – Final – For Attleboro, Rylee Fontes netted a team-high three goals, Sydney DiLiddo and Kyra Lyons each added two goals, and Ashley Piazza, Bella Salviati, and Campbell Compton scored once each.
Taunton, 10 @ Canton, 9 – Final – Canton held Taunton to just one goal in the second half but couldn’t complete the comeback. Caroline Tourgee paced Canton with four goals and an assist, Kaitlyn Goyetch netted two goals, and Leah McClellan, Allie McCabe, and Ally Reddish each scored once.
Foxboro, 16 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – Final
King Philip, 19 @ Mansfield, 9 – Final – Caroline Klim led the way for the Warriors on the road with eight goals and also added nine draw controls. Jess Sullivan added five goals and an assist and Caroline Watson held down the defensive end with 14 saves for KP. The Warriors also got a hat trick from Olivia Tormey, a pair of goals from Mackenzie Mazur, one goal from Ali Wilson and three assists from Victoria Tormey. Dana Truini also grabbed six draw controls for the visitors.
Sharon, 19 @ Milford, 5 – Final – Sharon coach Shara Ginthwain called it a “great team effort” and praised the Eagles for racking up 10 assists on 19 goals. Emma Eberhardt continued her strong playmaking season with five goals and four assists, while Jenna Goldstein added five goals of her own and an assist. Bridget McManus had a hat trick and an assist, Mia Lappen had two goals and two assists, Cass Barbera scored twice, and Maeve Barbera had a single goal. Athena Merck recorded her first varsity goal and Hailey Roseman added a pair of helpers.
Attleboro, 0 @ Taunton, 5 – Final – Taunton’s Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard battled back from a one-set deficit to win the next two and complete the sweep against Attleboro. Hodgson and Goddard earned a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 win at second doubles while the team of Trevor Hart and Alex Pugh picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at first doubles. Brett Beaulieu won 6-3, 6-4 at first singles, Charlie Fiske notched a 6-3, 6-2 win at second singles, and Dylan Kullas won 6-2, 7-6 at third singles.
Canton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final – The Rocketeers won all five matches in straight sets to pick up a victory over Canton. Sophomore Jonah Manson won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, junior Alex Pfeffer picked up a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and sophomore Sam Gallagher secured a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of seniors Vikram Senthilakumaran and Tomas Bentley earned a 6-1, 6-1 win at first doubles and junior Justin Strom and senior Saketh Uppuluri prevailed 7-5, 6-3 at second doubles.
Sharon, 4 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Sharon swept singles action and took one more match in doubles action to hand Foxboro its first loss of the season. Senior Danujan Thirumavalavan won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, freshman Rueman Bhattacharyya earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at second singles, and freshman Max Chen prevailed 7-6 (7-1), 6-1 at third singles. Junior Alberto Olivei and Max Brody paired together for a 6-3, 6-1 win at first doubles for Sharon while Foxboro’s Noah Hicks and Justin Neale took a 6-1, 6-3 decision at second doubles.
Franklin, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – Franklin lost a total of four games in four matches in a road win at Oliver Ames. Liam Marr and Rohan Herur each won 6-0, 6-0 at first and second singles, respectively. Vayshnav Malhotra picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at third singles and the team of Saket Gandham and Shoumik Sompally won 6-0, 6-1 at first doubles.
Milford, 0 @ Stoughton, 5 – Final – Four of the five matches went to either a third set or a super tiebreaker and the Black Knights won them all, plus a straight set win at first singles, to beat Milford. Sophomore Waseem Sablon picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at first singles, senior Erik Anderson rallied for a 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 win at second singles and freshman Anish Sinha secured a 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 win at third singles. Juniors Brendon Buckley and Jacob Khang battled to win 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 at first doubles while seniors Hassan Khan and LJ Ferrandiz prevailed 7-6 (7-0), 0-6, 10-6 at second doubles.
King Philip, 2 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – Mansfield junior Nilay Pangrekar overcame a one-set deficit at third singles, recording a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win to help the Hornets edge King Philip in a battle of two of the top teams in the league. Senior Luke Nickerson picked up a 6-4, 6-1 win at first singles while Sam Donellan and Dheeraj Valluru recorded a 6-0, 6-4 win at second doubles for the Hornets. King Philip’s Marco DiStefano won 6-0, 6-2 at second singles while the team of Jack Cannon and Nate Ihley picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at first doubles.
Taunton, 4 @ Attleboro, 1 – Final – The Tigers swept all three singles matches and grabbed one more win in doubles play for a victory on the road. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles, McKenzie Lucie picked up a 6-3, 6-1 win at second singles and Jocelyn Pagliuca prevailed 6-1, 6-0 at third singles. The team of Sam Martin and Brianna Fevrier recorded a 6-2, 6-1 win at first doubles. Attleboro’s Rena Danho and Jordan Bernardo emerged with a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5 (7-3) win at second doubles.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Canton, 5 – Final – Canton emerged with a 5-0 in a match that was played much closer than the final score makes it appear. Rachel Kupferman (6-0, 6-1) and Natalie Keppler (6-0, 6-0) both had strong showings at first and second singles, respectively. Sarah Hernandez battled to a 6-4, 5-7, 10-8 win at third singles for Canton. Stelina Michaelidis and Rose Hazam won 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles while the team of Kiara Cerruti and Lily Hazam picked up a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win at second doubles.
Foxboro, 1 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – In a battle of Davenport powerhouses, Sharon earned a 4-1 win over previously unbeaten Foxboro. Senior Nupur Shukla picked up a 6-0, 6-1 win at first singles while freshman Valeria Barajas won 6-1, 6-1 at third singles for the Eagles. The team of senior Sophia Fein and sophomore Charlize Martinez won 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles while junior Lauren Glass and senior Sachi Basin teamed up for a 6-0, 6-0 win at second doubles. Foxboro senior Julia Muise recorded a 6-2, 6-2 win at third singles.
Oliver Ames, 4 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – The Tigers won all three singles matches and added one more win in doubles play to notch a victory on the road. Sarah Leger won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles, Maura Kiernan picked up a 6-0, 6-1 win at second singles, and Sarah Barron rallied for a 3-6, 6-2 10-7 win at third singles. OA’s first doubles team of Eva Belanger and Morgan Vasiliou won 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Franklin’s Ashvika Boopathy and Vagmi Kantheti won 6-2, 4-6, 5-7 at second doubles.
Stoughton, 0 @ Milford, 5 – Final – The Scarlet Hawks defended home court by sweeping singles action in straight sets and getting two more wins in doubles play. Ashlyn Oliveri won 6-0, 6-2 at first singles, Juliana France picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles, and Olivia Marshall earned a 6-0, 6-0 decision at third singles. The team of Caroline Middlecoat and Francielly Rodrigues won 6-0, 6-1 at first doubles while Cristielly Prado and Ketny Sousa rallied for a 4-6, 6-1, 10-8 win at second doubles.
Mansfield, 1 @ King Philip, 4 – Final – King Philip won all three singles matches and added a fourth point with a win at second doubles to defeat Mansfield. Erin Regnier won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, Katarina Schneider picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at second singles, and Mia Valencia earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Isabelle MacMeans and Meghan Powers notched a 6-1, 6-0 win at second doubles for KP. Mansfield’s Hannah Podolske and Samantha Sternburg won 6-3, 6-4 at first doubles.
Taunton, 1 @ Barnstable, 3 – Final
King Philip, 2 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final (12 Inn.) – In a game continued from Tuesday, Attleboro earned a walk off win on a sacrifice fly in 12 innings to beat King Philip. In the bottom of the 12th, Robbie Furtado walked, stole second, moved to third on a single from Sam Larkin and scored the winning run on Troy Van Vliet’s sacrifice fly. Eoin Kelleher pitched three scoreless innings in relief on Wednesday, which started in the top of the 10th inning after the game was called through nine innings due to darkness on Tuesday. Ryan Morry had a strong outing, going 6.2 innings while Max Amaral tossed 2.2 scoreless innings in relief.
Sharon, 6 @ Canton, 21 – Final – Canton senior Matt Pigeon went 5-for-5 with an RBI and five runs scored to pace the Bulldogs to a big win over visiting Sharon. Matt Connolly added three hits, three RBI and two runs scored for Canton, which totaled 19 hits as a team. Paul Corcoran knocked in a team-high four runs on two hits and three runs scored.
Stoughton, 8 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Stoughton pounded out 12 hits and scored at least once in each of the first five innings, including three runs in the fifth to jump out to an 8-1 lead over Foxboro. Junior George Currier led the way with three hits, an RBI, and a run scored while Robbie Seaman (RBI, two runs) and Michael Nazzaro (two doubles, RBI, run scored) each had two hits for the Black Knights, who had seven stolen bases on the day. Anthony Mollica and Joe Cavaleri each had two hits for Foxboro. Stoughton’s Evan Jackman earned the win on the mound, allowing two runs (one earned) in five innings of work with five hits, five walks, and three strikeouts.
Mansfield, 7 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – Mansfield uses a five-run fourth inning to create the necessary separation in a win on the road at Frothingham. The Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third and added another single run in the fifth inning. Chris Jenkins had a team-high three hits out of the nine hole, adding an RBI and two runs scored for the Hornets. Dan Saraceno (RBI), John Carney, and Nick Dumouchel (two runs, RB) each had two hits for the Hornets. Carney got the win, allowing just four hits and two walks in six shutout innings, striking out eight. Nick Boudreau had a strong relief performance for the Tigers, allowing one unearned run on six hits, three strikeouts and no walks in 3.1 innings of work.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Milford, 3 – Final – North Attleboro broke a tie game with a run in the top of the fifth and added an insurance run in the seventh to get a win on the road at Fino Field. The Hawks scored in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead but North Attleboro plated three runs in the top of the third to jump ahead. Jared Penta reached on an infield error, stole second, got to third on a ground out and scored on a Todd Robinson fielder’s choice. Brendan McHugh drew a two-out walk, stole second, scored on a Nick Raneri single to right. Raneri advanced to third on a Dennis Colleran double and scored on an infield single from Jake Palmer to make it 3-2. Milford tied the game in the bottom of the fourth but the Rocketeers jumped back ahead a half inning later. After North loaded the bases with no outs, Milford sophomore Mario Lee came in and limited the Rocketeers to just one run on an infield error. Milford nearly had the tying run in the bottom of the sixth but a terrific relay throw from Shawn Watters was in time for the out at home. Matt Seavey came on in relief for North Attleboro, getting two outs with the tying run at third.
Attleboro, 3 @ King Philip, 6 – Final – King Philip erased a 3-0 deficit, plating three runs in each the fifth and sixth innings to secure a win over the Bombardiers. Paige Berdos and Ryan Stagg had singles to start the fifth and both scored on a single from Meg Gorman. Gorman stole home to tie the game 3-3. Gorman came up big in the sixth, knocking in Grace Kelley and Stagg, who had both singled. Faith Turinese pitched a solid game, striking out 6 with six hits allowed and one walk.
Taunton, 1 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Franklin junior Sarah Jackson hit her second home run in as many games, this one a solo shot that broke a 1-1 tie to give the Panthers an upset win over Taunton, snapped the Tigers’ 28-game win streak dating back to last April. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Hanna Aldrich drove in Jaime Brown (two hits, two walks). Ally Shea led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and moved to second on an infield error. Courtesy runner Molly Collins scored on a two-out single from Maddy White to make it 1-1. Jackson broke the tie with a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Jackie Cherry earned the win, allowing five hits while strikeout out four. Kelsey White was solid in the circle for Taunton, striking out six.
Oliver Ames, 0 @ Mansfield, 12 – Final (5 inn.) – Sarah Cahill tossed a five-inning shutout and Ella Verheggen paced the Mansfield offense with three hits and five RBI to help the Hornets extend their win streak to four games. Cahill allowed only three hits and struck out six. Kara Bendanillo also had a pair of hits for Mansfield. Katie Abreu hit a double and Emma Varella added a single for the Tigers.
Milford, 0 @ North Attleboro, 16 – Final (5 inn.) – North Attleboro junior Bella Erti struck out 14, recording her 300th career strikeout, to lead the Rocketeers to a win over visiting Milford. Erti, Mandi Hanewich, Katie Daby, and Annebelle Hebard each had two hits to pace the North Attleboro offense. Abby Gallagher scored three runs and Alivia Byrne scored twice for North.
Stoughton, 2 @ Canton, 13 – Final – Canton scored less than a minute in, raced out to a 6-0 lead after a quarter, and never looked back in a win over Stoughton. Tommy Vaughan led the way with six goals and one assist for the Bulldogs. Griffin Roach, Andrew Canto, and Brendan Clifford each scored two goals and Dan Cohen added one as well.
Attleboro, 5 @ Mansfield, 14 – Final – Mansfield built a 7-2 lead at halftime and carried that momentum in the second half to earn a win over Attleboro. Brady Kessler paced the offense with a team-high seven goals while Connor Quirk had four goals and Jake Quirk finished with eight assists. Aidan Sacco and Brian Grant each scored once and had one helper and Jake DiSangro scored once for the Hornets. Joe Plath made seven saves in three quarters of play.
Sharon, 2 @ Franklin, 25 – Final
King Philip, 11 @ Oliver Ames, 7 – Final – Oliver Ames opened with a pair of leads (1-0, 2-1) but King Philip answered to take a 3-2 lead at the end of one quarter and never surrendered the advantage after that. The Tigers got within one, down 5-4, in the second but KP rattled off three straight goals, including a final tally from Robbie Tartaglia (two goals) with under a minute to go that was set up by a tremendous defensive play by Sean Cullugh. Colin DeVellis led the way with three goals, Andrew Sajdak added two goals and an assist, and Brian McCarthy scored one and had one helper. Tyler Bartlett, Matt Minkwitz, and Kevin Riggs each scored once for KP. Shane Kilkelly led Oliver Ames with three goals while Nick Gillis had a strong game in net for the Tigers.
North Attleboro, 9 @ Milford, 1 – Final
Mansfield, 21 @ Attleboro, 9 – Final – Katy Garvin scored seven times and also recorded seven assists to power Mansfield to a road win and its second straight game with 20-plus goals. Lauren Whitman added six goals and Olivia Murray had a hat trick for the Hornets. Kerry McCabe, Grace Fernandez, Annemarie McCoy, Maggie Danehy, and Paige Peterson all scored once for Mansfield.
Taunton, 7 @ Foxboro, 18 – Final
Franklin, 19 @ Sharon, 6 – Final – Annie Walsh had nine points, five goals and four assists, to lead Franklin to the win. It was the third straight game that the Panthers had held an opponent to six goals or fewer. Kelsey MacCallum added four goals and Jackie O’Neil had a goal and three assists in the win. Franklin goalie Gianna Cameron made six saves. Sharon was led by Emma Eberhardt, who scored four of the team’s six goals. Jenna Goldstein and Bridget McManus each scored for the Eagles and McManus also had a pair of assists. Rose Wald came up with 12 saves against the Franklin attack.
Oliver Ames, 6 @ King Philip, 19 – Final – KP continued its strong start to league play with a convincing win on home turf. Olivia Tormey was the top scorer for the Warriors with five goals and a pair of assists. Mackenzie Mazur and Caroline Klim each had hat tricks and Jess Sullivan added a two goals and an assist for KP. Victoria Tormey (two goals) and Shayla Weitzman (goal and an assist) each scored two points and Haley Izydorczak, Dana Truini, and Lily Brown each had a goal. Weitzman also scooped five ground balls and Ava Tormey had a strong defensive game for the Warriors, according to KP coach Kourtnie Wilder. Caroline Watson had four saves in the win. Oliver Ames’ Olivia Piazza had two goals and three assists while Maddie Kullen made 15 saves in net for the Tigers.
Milford @ North Attleboro, 3:45
Canton, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip won all five matches in straight sets, earning a win over visiting Canton. Nick Putney won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, Jack Cannon earned a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles, and Zak Ryan prevailed 7-5, 6-2 at third singles. The team of Nate Ihley and Tyler Dowd picked up a 6-1, 6-2 win at first doubles while Jake Mager and Max Goreham secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Foxboro, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Franklin, 5 – Final – Franklin’s Liam Marr prevailed in a battle with Stoughton’s Waseem Sablon in a battle of two of the top sophomores in the league, securing a 6-4, -5 win to complete the Panthers’ sweep. Rohan Herur won 6-3, 6-2 at second singles, and Vayshnav Malhotra didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. Saketh Saripalli and Lucas Gulick won 6-1, 6-0 at first doubles while Saket Gandham and Shoumik Sompally didn’t lose a game at second doubles.
Sharon, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Sharon won all five matches in straight sets to sweep the Tigers on the road. Danujan Thirumavalavan won 6-2, 6-4 at first singles. Alberto Olivei earned a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles, and Rueman Bhattacharyya won 6-0, 6-1 at third singles. The team of Max Brody and Max Chen secured a 6-2, 6-1 win at first doubles while Alex Aspel and Jake Ross teamed up for a 6-4, 6-3 win at second doubles.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – North Attleboro earned a win over Milford, winning all five matches in straight sets. Jonah Manso prevailed 7-5, 6-1 at first singles, Alex Pfeffer earned a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles, and Sam Gallagher won 6-1, 6-1 at third singles. Vikram Senthilakumaran teamed up with Tomas Bentley for a 6-1, 6-1 win at first doubles while Will Redding and Isa Siddiq secured a 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles.
King Philip, 1 @ Canton, 4 – Final – Canton won a pair of matches in both singles and doubles action to secure a win over visiting King Philip. Rachel Kupferman picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win at first singles while Natalie Keppler won 6-4, 6-4 at second singles. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Rose Hazam notched a 6-4, 6-4 win at first doubles while Kiara Cerruti teamed up with Lily Hazam to win 6-3, 6-2 at second doubles. King Philip’s Mia Valencia won 6-2, 3-0 (injury) at third singles.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – Foxboro swept doubles action and won two more matches in singles action to take down visiting Oliver Ames. Pam Nelson didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first singles while Julia Muise secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta prevailed 6-4, 7-5 at first doubles while Maggie McAuliffe and Neha Jammula won 6-0, 6-2 at second doubles. Oliver Ames’ Maura Kiernan recorded a 6-0, 6-4 win at second singles.
Franklin, 2 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final
Taunton, 1 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon swept singles action and earned one more win in doubles play to get a win over visiting Taunton. Nupur Shukla was impressive in her match, winning 6-0, 6-0 at first singles. Charlie Martinez added a 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) win at second singles and Sophia Fein picked up a 6-2, 6-4 win at third singles. The team of Lauren Glass and Maikala Cheung secured a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win at first doubles. Taunton’s Ogechi Ariguzo and Kayla Parrett earned a hard fought 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win at second doubles.
Milford, 2 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – The Rocketeers took two wins in singles action and one more in doubles play to defend home court against Milford. Tara Nair won 6-3, 6-2 at first singles and Olivia Wills earned a 6-3, 6-2 win at at third singles for North, while the team of Sam Martino and Hayley Strom picked up a 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 win at first doubles. Juliana France (second singles, 6-1, 6-4) and the team of Cristielly Prado and Ketny Sousa (second doubles, 3-6, 7-6 [7-5], 10-6) won for Milford.
King Philip, 3 vs. Keefe Tech, 0 – Final – King Philip defended home court on Wednesday evening, earning a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-19, 25-15) over visiting Keefe Tech. Kyle Desrochers had a strong day serving with 13 service points and anchored the defense with a team-high eight digs. Max Armour added seven digs and Cam Corey (24 assists) added six digs. Eric Altobello (nine kills) and Jimmy Peterson (eight kills, five blocks) anchored net play for KP.
Taunton, 3 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 0 – Final – Taunton’s Alex Tavares (eight kills), Damir Santiago (seven kills), Tyler Stewart (six kills), and Gage Kingman (five kills) combined for 26 kills in a well-balanced attack, leading the Tigers to a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-21, 25-19) of Dighton-Rehoboth. Tavares also had a block and three aces, Santiago chipped in with a block, Stewart was strong with four blocks, and Kingman finished with 10 digs and two aces for the Tigers.
King Philip, 7 @ Bishop Feehan, 9 – Final – Tim Crowley and Zack Zarba each had a pair of hits and drove in a run for the Warriors but King Philip fell on the road to Feehan.
Mansfield, 3 vs. Braintree, 1 – Final – Mansfield senior Kyle Moran had a no-hitter through 6.2 innings, leading the Hornets to a win over visiting Braintree. Moran (five walks) struck out 10 in a complete game, not allowing the Wamps a hit until the seventh inning. Offensively, the Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh and then added two more in the third. Sam Nugent went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Eric Longley had a pair of RBI doubles, and John Carney added two hits and a run scored.
Milford, 10 @ Hopedale, 0 – Final – Milford’s offense came alive, plating 10 runs in a win over non-league rival Hopedale. Luke Rosa paced the offense with a pair of hits, including a home run, two RBI, two runs, and a walk. Dan Corsini (2-for-3) added an RBI and a run scored and Carter Scudo had a hit, a walk, two stolen bases, and two runs. Colby Pires got the win, tossing four scoreless innings allowing just one hit while striking out three. Sophomore Mario Lee pitched two scoreless innings in relief with four strikeouts.
North Attleboro, 6 vs. Natick, 8 – Final – North Attleboro answered each time that Natick scored, but couldn’t keep pace as the RedHawks picked up a win on the road. Natick went ahead with a three-run home run in the top of the first but North got on the board in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Jake Palmer. Natick extended the lead to 5-1 in the top of the fifth but North made it a one-run game by plating three in the bottom half. Ryan Warren (two hits) led off with a hit and scored on another RBI from Palmer, who scored on a fielders’ choice from Dennis Colleran (3 RBI). Kyle Briere scored on a single from Jake Carroll to make it a one-run game. Natick padded its lead with three runs in the top of the seventh. Colleran belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Taunton, 6 vs. New Bedford, 5 – Final – Taunton turned patience at the plate into 10 walks and capitalized on three Whaler errors, eventually walking off with a win. With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, Sean Quinlan reached on an error. Pinch runner Nolan Melo advanced with a single and then came home to score the winning run on a wild pitch. Lucas Martins had two hits, a walk, and an RBI for the Tigers. Josh Lajoie scattered four hits, four walks, and four runs over five innings of work while striking out five. Sophomore Danny MacDougall got the win in relief, allowing just one run on two hits in two innings with three strikeouts.
Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Walpole, 10 – Final – Oliver Ames kept pace with the Rebels for five innings before the visitors pulled away with six runs over the final two innings. Sophomores Emma Varella (2-for-3, double) and Grace Simone each scored a run for the Tigers while Katie Abreu added a hit.
Stoughton, 13 vs. Milton, 0 – Final (6 inn.) – Nicole Baker had another impressive start for the Black Knights, striking out 10 and allowing only three hits to earn the win. She also had a pair of hits at the plate. Karly Estremera led the Stoughton offense with four hits, while Lexi Baptista and Nikki Coppola both added two hits apiece.
Taunton, 15 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final (5 inn.) – Taunton clicked on all cylinders, belting out 17 hits while senior Alexa White got 13 of the 15 outs via strikeout. White allowed just one hit, walked two and didn’t allow a run to earn the shutout victory. Sophomore Kelsey White shined at the plate, hitting two home runs and knocking in four runs. Payton Ceglarski (double, home run, four RBI), Rylie Murphy (two doubles, RBI), Abbie McDonough (two RBI), Alexa White (double, RBI), Hanna Aldrich (two runs), and Jaime Brown each had two hits for Taunton.
Mansfield, 16 @ Sharon, 0 – Final (5 inn.) – Mansfield jumped out to a big lead, with 10 runs in the opening two innings, and never looked back to pick up the road win. The Hornets scored seven runs in the first on seven singles, added three runs in the second inning and then tacked on five more in the fifth. Mansfield finished with 16 hits as a team. Ella Verheggen went 3-for-4 with four RBI, while Kara Bendanillo, Mady Bendanillo, Mary Muldoon, Caty DeMassi, and Sarah Cahill each recorded two hits apiece. Cahill also earned the win in the circle, striking out six and facing just two batters over the minimum.
Canton, 9 @ Scituate, 7 – Final – Tied at four apiece at halftime, Canton outscored the Sailors 3-2 in the third to take a lead into the fourth, and the Bulldogs limited Scituate to just one goal in the final frame to get the win. Senior Griffin Roach led the way with three goals and three assists while Dylan Coyne had a strong game in net with seven games. Head coach Bill Bendell noted the strong defensive efforts of Brendan Albert, James Murphy, George Kent, Nick Mackay, Jack Albert, and Carson Campbell.
Mansfield, 8 vs. Bridgewater-Raynham, 15 – Final
North Attleboro, 9 @ Sharon, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 5 @ Quincy/North Quincy, 12 – Final
Foxboro, 19 @ Hingham, 9 – Final
Sharon, 15 @ North Attleboro, 11 – Final – Emma Eberhardt had seven goals and an assist to lead the Eagles to a non-league win over North. Mia Lappen added three goals and a pair of assists and Cass Barbera and Jenna Goldstein each scored twice in the win. Maxine Gordon also got a goal for Sharon. Eagles coach Shara Ginthwain said, “I’m so impressed with how we played together today, everyone did their job on the field to earn this big win!”
Taunton, 13 @ Plymouth North, 11 – Final
King Philip, 4 @ Bishop Feehan, 1 – Final – King Philip won two matches in singles action and swept both doubles matches to earn a victory over Bishop Feehan. Sophomore Nick Putney didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles while junior Jack Cannon secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Nate Ihley and Tyler Dowd picked up a 6-2, 6-1 win at first doubles while Jake Mager and Max Goreham rallied for a 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles.
King Philip, 4 vs. Bishop Feehan, 1 – Final
King Philip, 3 vs. Millis, 0 – Final – King Philip won its fifth straight match with a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-17, 25-15) at home against Millis. Alex Bernhard had a strong day with 13 service points and one ace while Mike O’Brien paced the offense with 10 kills.
Taunton, 3 vs. Quincy, 2 – Final – A shorthanded Taunton team survived a five-set thriller against visiting Quincy. For the second straight match, the Tigers took a 2-0 lead but had to go to a fifth set. After falling to KP on Thursday, Taunton prevailed in five against the Presidents. Damir Santiago stepped up into the setter position and played well for the Tigers. Gage Kingman, Tyler Stewart, and Liam Bunker all played well at the net for Taunton.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 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”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”