The Bulldogs (10-1), who won the Davenport division outright this season, capped a historic season with a 30-8 win over the Black Knights (10-1) in the 94th annual Thanksgiving meeting between the neighbors.
It marks just the fourth time in program history the team has won 10 games, joining 1979, 1981, and 1987.
“The kids were disappointed last year, we didn’t play great and Stoughton came to play,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “You see it over there on their sidelines…we had to live with that for a whole year. We didn’t want to let that happen again. I always knew it was important to the program, but that win two years ago and that whole feeling. It was a great day for the program, as is today, and it kind of started this run.
“We have a healthy rivalry. There’s a lot of talk about how the playoffs have taken the luster out of Thanksgiving, but not around here. I know how [Stoughton] values this rivalry, and I know how much we value it. Its two teams with mutual respect. Stoughton has a very good team that is very well-coached. Beating them on Thanksgiving is quite an accomplishment, that’s how we view it.”
Canton scored twice in the second quarter to take the lead and its defense pitched a second half shutout out, holding the Black Knights without a first down for nearly the entire second half.
Not only did the Bulldog defense prevent the Black Knights, who were without star two-way players Christopher Ais and Christian Georges due to injury, from moving the chains after the break, they limited the visitors to less than five yards on its first five series of the second half.
“For this program, for our class, this means everything for us,” said Canton senior David Allen, who had a second half touchdown catch. “We’ve won a lot together from when we were young. Getting knocked out of the playoffs hurt but to be able to take this trophy home to end the season means a lot to everyone on our team.
“It’s such a big rivalry. After a loss, you get to think about it but then it’s on to the next game, and especially with Stoughton, there’s a lot of extra motivation behind playing on Thanksgiving against them. We played very well defensively today, and we just had to grind it out on every play.”
After a scoreless first quarter that saw Canton come up with a stop against a goal-to-go situation for the Black Knights, the Bulldogs started the second quarter with 1st and goal from the 10 after a nice run from senior Kyle Fitzgerald (eight carries, 85 yards, touchdown) and 21-yard pass from Johnny Hagan (5-for-15, 99 yards, two touchdowns) to senior Jace Emma.
But similar how to the Black Knights were denied in the opening quarter, the Bulldogs couldn’t solve Stoughton’s defense. Despite getting down to the one-yard line, Stoughton got a good push up front from the likes of Carlvin LaGuerre, Oluwole Fabikun, Jerry Brisson, and Kelven Rodriquez, and senior Jaden McCall and junior Sproul Derolus combined for a huge tackle for loss on third down, and a fourth down pass fell incomplete.
Despite not scoring, the Bulldogs were able to flip field position, and cashed in on its next drive. On the first play from the Stoughton 35-yard line, Hagan floated one down the middle that Fitzgerald went up and grabbed over the defender and battled his way the final five yards for a touchdown. Owen Lehane’s point after made it 7-0 with 8:14 left in the second quarter.
Stoughton’s next drive didn’t go far thanks to a tackle for a loss on second down from Canton senior Jack Connolly, and a sack on third down from senior Lucas Ragusa. A good punt return from senior Gersom Rivera gave the Dogs the ball at the Stoughton 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Fitzgerald took his second straight handoff on a jet sweep and cut right up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 5:39 left in the first half.
“It was a long break coming off the Holliston game, and you always worry if there will be a hangover from that loss,” Bohane said. “There was a couple of days I was a little worried but once we got back together, I could sense it. They are a very mature group, a lot of them play multiple sports and compete all the time. I could tell by the way they were acting that we’d be alright. The coaches did a great job preparing them and the kids came to play today.”
Stoughton responded with its best drive of the game to make it a one-score contest. Senior Clayton Rahaman (7-for-20, 147 yards) lofted one down the sideline that junior John Burke made a nice adjustment to haul in for a 35-yard catch, earning a first down on 3rd and 20.
Junior Jake Queeney got open and drew a pass interference call two plays later, and then moved the chains with an 11-yard catch. Sophomore Anthony Girolamo (11 carries, 30 yards) scampered for 13 yards to move inside the 10-yard line, and two plays later junior Christian Ais extended at the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown.
Rahaman connected with senior Anthony Pizzano for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 with 1:14 left in the second quarter.
A good return from Rivera and a run from Hagan got Canton into scoring position with under a minute to go, but Ais came up with an interception in the red zone to put an end to the drive.
Neither team moved the ball to open the second half as Canton punted after a three-and-out, and Stoughton did the same after going backward. Field position benefitted the hosts again as they started at the Stoughton 29-yard line. Canton moved into the red zone but a holding penalty pushed them back and Burke broke up a pass in the end zone.
The Bulldogs settled for a 28-yard field goal from Lehane to make it 17-8 with 7:46 left in the third quarter.
While Canton’s offense tried to establish itself in the second half, the defense came it plenty of chances. Stoughton’s first four drives all resulted in punts and totaled -14 yards. Its fifth drive didn’t yield any yards and ended with an interception two plays in.
“The defense has been outstanding all year,” Bohane said. “We played great against Stoughton the first time too. We had a couple of lapses but Coach Eckler did a great job with his adjustments at halftime and we really never had any issues with the defense the rest of the way, it was an outstanding performance.”
Stoughton senior Savion Scott put an end to Canton’s next series with a terrific diving interception but the Bulldogs were back in business on their next series. Starting at their own 47-yard line, the Bulldogs needed just four plays to extend the lead.
Fitzgerald sprinted for a 19-yard gain, junior Cam Sanchez took a handoff for six yards, Hagan kept it himself for 20 yards, and Rivera capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown and a 23-8 lead with 1:41 left in the third.
Canton started its next drive at the Stoughton 33-yard line, and back-to-back runs from Sanchez and Rivera moved the sticks. Back-to-back penalties put Canton into 1st and 26, but Hagan delivered a pass to Allen right to the marker for a first down. Three plays later, Hagan hit Allen on the slant for a 7-yard touchdown and a 30-8 lead.
“When we lost last year, it was tough,” Gallery said. “Throughout the year, we were all looking forward to the Thanksgiving game and getting payback, that’s what it’s all about. It was a good win and it’ s nice to go out on a high note.”
This article was updated on Saturday, November 30th to include the 1987 Canton team as a 10-win team.
CANTON, Mass. – Last season, the Canton football team had its dream of heading to Gillette Stadium vanish on a rainy night in Scituate in the D5 South Final.
With the same goal in mind for this year, the Bulldogs exacted revenge in the opening round of the 2019 tournament with a convincing 34-14 win over the defending state champion Sailors.
After a defensive battle in the opening half, Canton scored four touchdowns in the final 24 minutes of the game and put on another defensive showcase. The Bulldogs blanked the Sailors for three quarters before Scituate scored on a long pass play with under six minutes to play. Scituate’s second touchdown came in the final minute against the second unit.
“It’s awesome [to get revenge],” said Canton senior Kyle Fitzgerald, who rushed for 167 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. “Last year they beat us 21-0 and go on to win the state championship and handle every other team. This year we knew we had to take care of business. And they aren’t [a typical] eight seed.”
While Canton talked about last year’s matchup, the focus was on fixing what went wrong in that game.
“We didn’t play particularly disciplined [last year], or fundamentally sound,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “We learned some lessons in that game, so it had to be talked about because we didn’t play great. But as far as revenge, motivation…I don’t know if that played into it too much. The kids know [Scituate] pretty well, they have respect for them. They were the state champions last year, they did it with class. I think there’s mutual respect and both teams played hard. Fortunately this year we came out on top.”
Canton’s defense yielded just 20 yards combined between Scituate’s first three drives, all resulting in punts. But the Dogs didn’t have much success on the offensive side either, turning it over on downs on the opening drive and then back-to-back punts.
Scituate’s first drive of the second quarter resulted in yards but not much else as the Bulldogs’ defense forced back-to-back incompletion to force a turnover on downs. The Canton offense was able to connect on its first play on the ensuing drive.
On the second play, senior quarterback Johnny Hagan (4/10, 102 yards passing; 12 carries, 32 yards, two touchdowns rushing) led Gersom Rivera perfectly with a throw down field, going for 57 yards all the way down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Hagan plunged up the middle for a touchdown. Owen Lehane’s first of four successful extra point attempts made it 7-0 with 5:13 left in the second quarter.
Scituate’s fifth and longest drive of the opening half went for 39 yards on 10 plays but came to an end after failing to convert on third down and fourth down. The Sailors were 1-for-10 on third down in the game and 0-for-4 on fourth down.
A big return from Fitzgerald on the second half kickoff put the Dogs in good position, and four plays later they marched to the red zone. But on the first play from within the red area, Hagan’s pass ended up in the hands of Scituate’s Nate Gould at the 2-yard line.
Canton’s defense came up with a big answer though. After the Sailors moved out near midfield, a bad snap on third down resulted in a fumble and Jahmi Aldin raced to recover the loose ball and get Canton the ball back.
That pressure paid off as Fitzgerald went up and hauled in an interception on the third play of the ensuing drive.
The turnover proved costly for the Sailors as Fitzgerald took the first play up the middle for a 40-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 5:27 left in the third quarter.
“He’s our leader, he’s the guy we lean on as much as anybody,” Bohane said of Fitzgerald. “He was dialed in all week, as were all the kids, but Kyle he really appreciates the big stage. He’s an excellent student, a great kid, very well respected by the kids in the school. He gets it, he gets the magnitude of these games.”
Scituate’s next drive didn’t get off the ground before the Bulldogs’ defense had another takeaway. This time it was Gallery in coverage, keeping pace with his man down the sideline before leaping up and hauling in an impressive interception.
Canton marched 48 plays on nine plays (most plays in a series for the game) to extend the lead. Hagan connected with junior Jack Albert for 16 yards and Fitzgerald had an 8-yard run to make fourth down manageable.
The Bulldogs face fourth and four to open the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get the Sailors to jump offside with a hard count. But after sending a player in motion and going with another hard count, a Scituate defender did cross the neutral zone for a 5-yard penalty and a first down.
Three plays later, Hagan battled his way through a pile for a 2-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead with 10:26 left to play.
“The offense needed a jumpstart a little bit, we just couldn’t get a rhythm going,” Bohane said of the turnovers helping the offense get going. “I give [Scituate] a lot of credit, Coach Devine does a super job with his players. They were very prepared both last year and this year. We had to digest a lot and we have kids who can make big plays. A lot of guys contributed.”
Scituate’s offense continued to struggle gaining traction with four straight incomplete passes to give Canton the ball back. Five plays later, Fitzgerald was in for his second score on a 7-yard rush, bowling over a defender at the goal line for a 28-0 lead.
Up until this point, the Dogs limited the visitors to 146 yards of total offense. Sheskey, one of the top backs in the area, was held to 12 yards on seven carries.
“We were concerned, debating on how many guys we wanted to bring,” Bohane said. “And we were really concerned about [Will] Sheskey so we had to figure out how to get a pass rush. Coach [Jeff] Eckler, our defensive coordinator, dialed up some creative things. But we’re very fortunate to have Matt Connolly, Jack Connolly, Nnamdi [Onyemelukwe], and Jahmi Adlin, the defensive line did a great job. They created a lot of pressure on their own.
“We have 11 really good defensive players out there, to be honest, we don’t really have a weakness. Our secondary is very good, our linebacker play is outstanding, and our line has a lot of size. I think Coach Eckler does a really good job of preparing them every week. And the offense has helped too.”
The Sailors finally connected on a long pass play on their next series to get on the board. Matt Scibilio (14/36, 232 yards) connected with Nate Gould for a 65-yard touchdown with 5:41 to play.
Canton recovered the onside kick and answered Scituate’s first score with an immediate touchdown of its own. Fitzgerald found space up the middle and sprinted the entire way for a 56-yard touchdown.
Scibilio connected with Gould for a 48-yard touchdown against Canton’s second defensive group with under a minute to go for the Sailors’ second score.
“This one felt a lot better than walking off that field in Scituate last year,” Fitzgerald said. “Obviously it was a much better outcome. Now it’s on to Foxboro, a rematch, it’s one of the only teams that gave us a really hard game. We have to correct a lot of mistakes [from that game], it starts by coming in at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning. So it’s a short memory on this win.”
Top-seeded Canton football (8-0) will now host Hockomock League Davenport division rival and fourth-seeded Foxboro, who knocked off Norton in their opener. The two teams clashed in league play in the second week of league action with the Bulldogs prevailed 26-20. It’s the most points Canton’s defense has surrendered to an opponent this year.
The game is set to kick off from Canton High on Friday night at 7:00.
Canton’s defense continued to shine, posting its second shutout in league play. The Bulldogs limited Milford to 53 yards of total offense and six first downs, with the majority of those yards and conversions coming on the final drive of the game with a running clock.
“We were looking at the weather all week and we were thinking it might work in our favor,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “[Milford] has such a good passing attack, they can throw the ball so well, so dynamic. Their slot [receivers] really got our attention. Sometimes our defense, we have to play the physical aspect against good running teams like Stoughton, and tonight we were challenged in the passing game. I’m very proud of the defense.”
The Bulldogs made life difficult for the Hawks, limiting the visitors’ potent passing game to just three completions in its first seven drives. But four of those drives ended in punts, another in an interception, a turnover on downs, and the end of the first half. The final drive, which spanned 66 yards on eight plays, was denied at the goal line to end the game.
“The conditions were advantageous with how we play defense,” Bohane said. “The defense has played any style we’ve asked them to play. I thought the coaches did a good job preparing, mimicking Milford’s offense and how they go about it — and they are very good, very explosive. We have some pretty big guys up front so we thought we’d be able to hold up against the run. It’s tough to get to their quarterback because he gets rid of it so fast, so we felt we had to have a body on a body, just accounted for everyone.”
Milford’s defense was equal to the task to start the game, forcing a turnover on downs on the opening series and then a three-and-out on Canton’s second offensive possession.
But Canton senior Jace Emma read a hitch route perfectly on Milford’s first play of their second series, jumping in front for an interception and giving the Bulldogs terrific field possession.
From there on out, Canton’s offense was unstoppable, scoring on its final five possessions of the game.
Following Emma’s pick, Canton needed just six plays to go 35 yards to take a first quarter lead. Highlighted by a 31-yard dash from senior Kyle Fitzgerald (19 carries, 109 yards), the Dogs punched it on fourth down when senior quarterback Johnny Hagan (11 carries, 56 yards, three touchdowns) kept it himself for a three-yard score and a 7-0 lead with 2:14 left in the opening quarter.
“Jace has been so good for us for so long,” Bohane said. “We lost one of our corners to injury and Jace stepped in. I was telling him that he belongs out there, I think he was up for the challenge. He stepped up and made that pick, and it was all him, he read it right in man coverage.”
After getting the ball back after a quick three-and-out, Canton marched 58 yards on 11 plays to double its advantage. An offside call shortened a fourth down and the Dogs gave the direct snap to Robbie Gallery on a fake punt to move the chains.
Fitzgerald converted another fourth down on the drive, and two plays later Hagan kept it himself and got around the edge to find the end zone for a 21-yard score.
Canton wasn’t done in the half though, with its defense once again forcing a three-and-out while pushing the Milford defense backward.
This time it took just seven plays to go 44 yards for the Bulldogs, After a healthy mix of Fitzgerald, Hagan, and Gersom Rivera (nine carries, 39 yards) on the ground, Canton caught the Hawks’ defense with a pass play as Hagan delivered a perfect pass to Emma on a slant for 22 yards.
On the next play, Hagan kept it himself for another three-yard touchdown, giving Canton a 21-0 lead heading into halftime.
Bohane and his staff were well aware the game was far from over, and with the firepower that Milford possesses, the Bulldogs’ put a big emphasis on the opening drive of the second half.
With its defense on the field, everything continued to go the Dogs’ way. An incomplete pass was followed by a second down sack from junior Matt Connolly, and a tackle from Jahmi Aldin for no gain on third down.
“We felt like the first series in the third quarter was going to be very important,” Bohane said. “The kids came out and played hard. I can’t remember how exactly it went down but we continued to play well on both sides of the ball. Everyone stepped up and contributed, it was overall a good night for us.”
The first offensive possession of the second half didn’t go exactly as the Bulldogs had planned but still ended up in points nonetheless. Hagan dumped a screen pass off for Fitzgerald, and he took it 45 yards to the end zone but the Bulldogs were whistled for a hold.
That meant Canton had to punt for the first time all night, but the Milford returner couldn’t field it cleanly and the Dogs pounced on the muffed ball.
Again, Fitzgerald found the end zone on a rushing play but again, a holding call negated it. Canton took advantage of a personal foul on the Hawks’ defense, as Rivera took it up the middle from three yards out to make it 28-0 with 5:12 to go in the third quarter.
But a couple plays later, Jack Connolly, Lucas Ragusa, and Gallery combined for a big sack on first down. And Ben Guerini delivered a third down sack two plays later, and the Bulldogs forced an incompletion on fourth down to get the ball back.
It took eight plays to cover the 35 yards, the longest play of the drive coming on Rivera’s 13-yard run up the middle as he bounced between defenders for a score and a 35-0 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
Canton football (5-0 overall, 3-0 Hockomock) visits North Attleboro next week while Milford (3-2, 2-1) hosts Stoughton in a potential playoff preview.
CANTON, Mass. – The teams were so similar that it was destined to be a close game. Canton and Stoughton both have speed in the backfield, strong offensive and defensive lines, and athletes all over the field. It was like looking in the mirror. So, it came down to turnovers and one drive that decided the game.
Having managed only five first downs to that point, including one drive stuffed inside the Stoughton 10, the Bulldogs took over possession with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. The drive started at their own 35 and nine plays later resulted in the game’s lone touchdown.
Senior quarterback Johnny Hagan (17 carries, 125 yards on the ground and 9-of-18 for 80 yards passing) had the big play on what turned out to be the game-winning drive, breaking free of the Stoughton defense for a 31-yard gain down to the one. Two plays later he got the last yard to give the Bulldogs the lead with just 14.4 seconds to go before halftime of their 10-0 victory in the 100th meeting between the Thanksgiving Day rivals.
“It was definitely a long two weeks,” said Hagan about having a bye last week. “We were itching to play last week, but just to get out here with the crowd and everyone was very fun.”
“I thought they’d be good,” Canton coach Dave Bohane said about his defense, which has now allowed only seven total points in three games. “To beat these guys 10-0, to play well against a very quality team, they maybe exceeded my expectations but we have good speed and some experienced guys. Experience really showed up tonight.”
The Canton defense allowed only three first downs and no points to a Stoughton offense that came into the night averaging 41 points per game. The Bulldogs held talented running backs Christopher and Christian Aiss to a combined 46 yards, while recovering three fumbles. Linebackers Owen Lehane, Lucas Ragusa, Robbie Gallery, and James Murphy were all over the field, making plays from sideline to sideline.
“We play five of them and that’s the strength of our team,” Bohane explained. “There was one play where Ais had the ball and Murphy came out of nowhere. Sometimes James finds another gear on big plays and he was really impressive on that. A lot of kids have had those guys tackled this year and it takes two or three people to bring them down so really credit to our kids tonight getting those guys on the ground.”
On its second possession, Canton came close to making the breakthrough. Hagan had the big play, a 47-yard keeper down the far sideline that got the Bulldogs to the Stoughton 24. They got as close as the two, but Carlvin LaGuerre stuffed Kyle Fitzgerald (21 carries, 64 yards) on third down for a one-yard loss and then Jerry Brisson and Oluwole Fabikun stuffed him again on fourth down.
“We battled,” said Stoughton coach Greg Burke. “They did a good job. Their big player is the quarterback, no doubt. He’s the key and we practiced all week trying to get him but it’s hard to duplicate him.”
It took until its fourth possession for Stoughton to manage a first down. Christian Ais finally got a seam and he broke a 33-yard run down to the Canton 15, but two plays later quarterback Clayton Rahaman couldn’t get a clean hand-off away and Matt Connolly pounced on the loose ball to end the drive.
Burke said, “I thought we hung in there but we fumbled down here and then fumbled down there. Without having the ball, you can’t score. We got the ball back a bunch of times but we didn’t do anything, so back to the drawing board.”
The game seemed destined to be scoreless at the break until the Bulldogs finally succeeded in finishing a drive. It was a huge momentum swing coming in the final seconds before halftime.
“It was huge because it wasn’t really materializing there and then all of a sudden we hit a couple plays and I was like we may put one in here,” said Bohane. “Obviously, we’ve got to work on our short-yardage stuff because that was frustrating to not put them in but Johnny kind of stepped up there.”
He added, “But, we were up 7-0 on Thanksgiving, so that came up a lot in the locker room.”
Canton got the ball to start the second half and marched into Stoughton territory, but stalled at the 36. Bohane elected to punt and David Allen’s effort was dropped at the 10. Murphy dove on top of the fumble to give the Bulldogs new life. A holding penalty denied Hagan his second touchdown, but Canton came away with points on a 27-yard field goal by Lehane.
Hagan said, “That was huge going into half and then coming out third quarter we needed to have a big third quarter. Making it a two-score game was definitely huge for momentum.”
It wasn’t what the hosts were hoping for, but a two-score lead felt insurmountable with the defense continuing to shut the Black Knights down.
The biggest play of the second half for Stoughton was a screen pass from John Burke to Christopher Ais for 15 yards but the ball was pried loose and Lehane recovered. Ais would answer by recovering a Gersom Rivera fumble eight plays later, but by then the clock was winding down and there was no chance for Stoughton to come back.
Canton (3-0, 1-0) will continue its league title defense next Friday night against Foxboro, while Stoughton (2-1, 0-1) will try to bounce back on Thursday night in Sharon.
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.”
Attleboro, 5 @ King Philip, 1 – Final (8 Inn.) – Attleboro junior Nick McMahon had a day to remember, scoring both the tying and game-winning runs to lead the Bombardiers to a key road win. McMahon went 3-for-3 at the play, stole three bases, and played stellar defense at second base for Attleboro. King Philip scored in the fourth to take the lead but Attleboro tied the game in the bottom of the sixth. McMahon singled, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice fly from Camden Fitzpatrick and hustled home on a passed ball to make it 1-1. McMahon was the catalyst for a four-run eighth inning for Attleboro. After leading off with a single, McMahon stole second and then stole third when Alvaro Espinal drew a walk. Fitzpatrick delivered an RBI single to bring McMahon home, and Lorenzo Wilson had a two-run double to push the lead to 4-1. Wilson came home to score on a sac fly from Troy Van Vliet. Eoin Kelleher started and went four innings giving up one run while Max Amaral pitched four shut out innings in relief to pick up his fourth win of the season.
Sharon, 10 @ Canton, 13 – Final – Canton’s offense came alive for 17 hits, resulting in 13 runs and a win over visiting Sharon. Nate Quan set the table for the Bulldogs, going 5-for-5 with four runs and an RBI from the leadoff spot. Canton scored three runs in each the first two innings and then plated five in the third inning. Sharon scored six runs in the sixth inning to make it a three-run game. Steven Burbank (three runs, three RBI), Sawyer Julier-Albert (two runs, two RBI), Matt Connolly (RBI), and Mike Konzal (two runs, RBI) each had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs. Sharon’s Justin Nault went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run, and Justin Brown (run, RBI), Hank Ward (two RBI, run), and Max LeBlanc (run) each had two hits for the Eagles.
Foxboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Foxboro’s Joe Cavaleri had a strong day on the mound, limiting the Black Knights to just five hits in a complete game effort. Cavaleri allowed one run in the third inning, finishing with one walk and four strikeouts. After Stoughton took the lead in the third, Foxboro responded with a pair of runs in each the fourth and fifth innings, tacking on an insurance run in the seventh. Cavaleri led the charge offensively with three hits and two runs scored while Kyle McGinnis (two RBI) and James Kaeser (RBI) each had two hits for the Warriors. Stoughton junior George Currier had two hits while Jacob Kaplan drove in Zak Paquette with a sacrifice fly.
Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 8 – Final – Franklin junior Liam Dailey tossed a complete game shutout and senior Jake Macchi uncorked a grand slam as the Panthers swept the season series against the Tigers, clinching at least a share of the Kelley-Rex division title with the win. Dailey needed just 63 pitches, allowing three hits with no walks, striking out four in an efficient performance. Macchi finished with six RBI total, Alex Haba also had an RBI and a run scored, Jack Nally scored twice, Scott Elliott had a hit and two runs scored, and Joe Lizotte and Brennan Rivera each scored once.
Oliver Ames, 1 @ Mansfield, 15 – Final – Mansfield built a 3-1 lead over the first three innings but then exploded for seven runs in the fourth and added five more in the fifth to pull away with a big win over visiting Oliver Ames. Juniors John Carney and Chris Jenkins combined for a one-hitter with no walks allowed. Nick Dumouchel was the lone Hornet with multiple hits, recording six RBI on two hits for Mansfield, which totaled nine hits as a team. Kyle Moran (run) drove in two runs while Carney, Connor Fitzpatrick, and Michael DeBolt each drove in one run. Carney struck out eight in five scoreless with one hit allowed (and one hit batter) while Jenkins tossed two scoreless innings.
Milford, 6 @ North Attleboro, 8 – Final – North Attleboro seniors Brendan McHugh and Todd Robinson each hit a home run as the Rocketeers knocked off visiting Milford for a season sweep of the Hawks. After trading runs in the first inning, North Attleboro had its biggest inning with four runs in the second. After an RBI double from Kyle Bolger (three hits), McHugh launched a three-run home run to give the Hawks a 5-1 lead. An inning later, Robinson (two hits) smashed a two-out solo shot to extend the advantage to 6-1. The Hawks battled back with two runs in the fourth and again in the fifth to make it a one-run game at 6-5. But Nick Raneri and Jake Palmer each drove a run in in the sixth inning to give the Rocketeers the cushion they needed. Sophomore Dennis Colleran got the win on the mound while senior Matt Seavey earned the save. Sophomore Jared Penta added three hits and two runs scored.
Sharon, 1 @ Canton, 13 – Final (6 Inn.) – Caroline Hughes went 3-for-3 at the plate and drove in a run, while Steph Trendell went 2-for-3 and brought in three runs to power the Bulldogs to a division win. Taylor Reynolds helped break the game open for Canton with a two-run double. Sophia Santos earned her fourth win of the season, allowing one run and striking out three. Ally Chin and Katy Lynch both went 3-for-4 in the win.
Stoughton, 13 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final – Stoughton jumped out to a 7-0 lead and then scored six unanswered after the Warriors cut the deficit to two with a five-run third inning. Freshman Sydney Menz paced the Black Knights with three hits (two singles, triple, RBI), Nikki Coppola also had a triple, a single, and an RBI, and sophomore Nicole Baker had a single, a double, and drove in two runs. Brianna Ferrandiz (two RBI), Sarah McGrath (two RBI), Melody Casna (RBI) and Lexi Baptista each had two hits for Stoughton. Foxboro scored all five of its runs in the third with Maria Dunn hitting a triple and Allie Willis driving in two runs. Baker earned her 11th win of the season, scattering six hits, one walk, and striking out six.
Mansfield, 8 @ Oliver Ames, 5 – Final – Mansfield rallied in the final three innings to pull out a road win that clinches a playoff berth for the Hornets. OA scored all five of its runs in the third inning, but Sarah Cahill (10 strikeouts) settled down to hold the Tigers off the board for the final four innings and the Hornets offense got going. In the third, Emma Varella squeezed in Colleen Larson (double) and both Katie Abreu and Taylor Lake launched two-run home runs for the Tigers, who played terrific defense. In the fifth, Mansfield rallied to tie the game. Caty DeMassi and Mary Muldoon both had two-RBI singles in the frame. In the sixth, the Hornets grabbed the lead. Mady Bendanillo and DeMassi singled and both scored on a Muldoon double. Cahill came into score an insurance run in the seventh when she scored from first on a double by Kara Bendanillo. Mansfield had 15 hits as a team, including a 3-for-4 day for Megan Letendre.
North Attleboro, 17 @ Milford, 0 – Final (6 Inn.) – Bella Erti struck out 10 in six innings and allowed only five hits to lead North to a road win. Mandi Hanewich had three hits, three runs scored, and three RBI for the Rocketeers. Olivia Capobianco, Abby Gallagher (four RBI), and Alex Moulson all had two hits for North. Katy Daby drove in one with a sac fly and Emma Bailey drove in two in the win.
Attleboro, 2 @ Canton, 13 – Final – Canton raced out to an 8-0 lead by halftime and never looked back in a win over visiting Attleboro on Senior Night. Seniors Griffin Roach (three goals, two assists), Dan Cohen (two goals, assist), Matt Martin, and Brendan Albert each scored for the Bulldogs while George Kent and Sam Walsh anchored the defense. Junior Tommy Vaughan added three goals and three assists.
Foxboro, 5 @ Franklin, 12 – Final – Franklin used a strong performance to pick up a convincing win over visiting Foxboro. The Panthers took a 9-1 lead into the fourth quarter to win the Kelley-Rex division title outright. Jake Davis scored four goals and had two assists, Matt Lazzaro scored a hat trick and had two helpers and Jacob Alexander (14-for-21 faceoffs) scored twice with one assist. Foxboro’s Brendan Tully and Shayne Kerrigan each scored twice while Aidan Stapleton found the back of the net once. Freshman Matt Tully made 12 saves for Foxboro.
King Philip, 18 @ Milford, 6 – Final
Mansfield, 7 @ North Attleboro, 10 – Final – Mansfield had a terrific first half, building a 4-2 lead at halftime but North Attleboro scored eight second half goals and limited the Hornets to just three to get the win. Connor Quirk led Mansfield with four goals and two assists while Aidan Sacco, Mike Reed, and Jake DiSangro each scored once.
Sharon, 9 @ Oliver Ames, 13 – Final – Trailing 9-6, Oliver Ames scored the final seven goals of the game to earn a comeback win over the visiting Eagles. Colin Bourne had three timely goals for the Tigers while Shane Kilkelly (three goals, one assist) and Sam Stevens (two goals, two assists) each had four points. Remi Creighton added a pair of goals and an assist and Frankie Ireland chipped in with three helpers for OA.
North Attleboro, 19 @ Mansfield, 9 – Final – The Rocketeers kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win on the road. Katie Lindstrom scored seven goals and assisted on two others to lead North and Lexi Sinacola added a pair of goals and five helpers. Lindsay Spratt had a hat trick, and Maggie O’Brien and Siobhan Weir (assist) both scored twice, while Regan Fein (assist), Lily Cameron (assist), and Taylor McMath all scored once in the win. Faith Graveline preserved the win for Big Red with 15 saves.
Oliver Ames, 6 @ Sharon, 14 – Final – Jenna Goldstein (five goals) and Emma Eberhardt (four goals and an assist) combined for nine goals and 10 points to lead the Eagles to another league win. Mia Lappen added three goals and an assist, Maxine Gordon had a goal and two helpers, and Bridget McManus scored once and assisted on another in the victory.
Milford, 3 @ King Philip, 17 – Final – The Warriors had 11 different goal scorers to earn their 10th win of the season and clinch second place in the Kelley-Rex division. Caroline Klim and Mackenzie Mazur both scored hat tricks and Klim added an assist as well. Olivia Tormey and Ali Wilson both scored twice, while Victoria Tormey, Shayla Weitzman, Emma Izydorczak, Jess Sullivan, Ava Tormey, Dana Truini, and Lily Brown each scored once.
King Philip, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – King Philip won twice at singles and once in doubles, losing just two games between the three matches in a win over Attleboro. Marco DiStefano (first singles) and Nick Putney (second) each won 6-0, 6-1 while the team of Nate Ihley and Jack Cannon didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles. Attleboro’s Ryan Gordon won 6-3, 7-5 at third singles while the team of Tyler Evans and Ryan Solari picked up a 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) win at second doubles.
Sharon, 5 @ Canton, 0 – Final – Sharon went on the road and earned a sweep, winning all five matches in straight sets to beat Canton. Senior Danujan Thirumavalavan won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, junior Alberto Olivei picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles, and freshman Rueman Bhattacharyya didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. Sharon’s first doubles team of senior Max Brody and freshman Max Chen won 6-1, 6-1 while Alex Aspel and Deyan Kassev teamed up for a 6-1, 6-4 win at second doubles.
Stoughton, 2 @ Foxboro, 3 – Final – Foxboro swept doubles play and got another win at third singles to squeak by visiting Stoughton. Sean McAvoy and Justin Neale earned a 6-2, 6-1 win at first doubles while Noah Hicks and Bo Canfield secured a 6-2, 6-1 win at second doubles. Senior Brian Gardner picked up the third point with a 6-2, 6-2 win at third singles. Stoughton sophomore Waseem Sablon won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles and senior Erik Anderson prevailed 6-4, 6-2 at second singles.
Franklin, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – The Panthers won all five matches in straight sets to get the sweep, picking up their 11th victory of the season. Liam Marr won 6-2, 6-0 at first singles, Rohan Herur earned a 6-2, 6-1 win at second singles, and Sameen Shaik emerged from third singles with a 2-6, 6-3, 10-6 decision. The team of Vayshnav Malhotra and Lucas Gulick won 6-3, 6-0 at first doubles while Saket Gandham paired up with Shoumik Sompally for a 6-0, 6-2 win at second doubles.
Milford, 0 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final – The Rocketeers dropped just one game total in three singles matches and four in the two doubles matches in a win over visiting Milford. Jonah Manso won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles while Alex Pfeffer (second) and Sam Gallagher (third) both won 6-0, 6-0. North’s first doubles team of Tomas Bentley and Vikram Senthilakumaran secured a 6-2, 6-0 win while Saketh Uppuluri and Justin Strom walked away with a 6-1, 6-1 decision at second doubles.
Mansfield, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – Final – Mansfield had impressive performances in all four matches, winning a fifth by default. Luke Nickerson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles while Luke Devine served up a 6-1, 6-2 win at second singles. The team of Sam Donellan and Jonah Fine won 6-0, 6-2 while Nikhil Lankipalle and Diwakar Sandhu teamed up for a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles.
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final – King Philip won all three singles matches in straight sets on its way to a victory over Attleboro. Erin Regnier picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at first singles, Katarina Schneider added a 6-0, 6-1 win at second singles, and Mia Valencia didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Grace Ely and Meghan Powers emerged with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 win at first doubles while Laura Davenport and Katie Welch won 6-4, 6-2 at second doubles.
Canton, 1 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon picked up three wins in singles action, all in straight sets, and added another point at first doubles to knock off the visiting Bulldogs. Nupur Shukla won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, Valeria Barajas picked up a 6-4, 6-4 win at second singles, and Charlie Martinez earned a 6-1, 6-1 decision at third singles. The team of Sachi Bhasin and Lauren Glass dropped just one game at first doubles, winning 6-1, 6-0. Canton’s Rose Hazam and Nyah Claiborne picked up a 6-4, 6-0 win at second doubles.
Foxboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
Taunton, 4 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – The Tigers won in straight sets in all three singles wins as well as the point from first doubles to pick up a victory on the road. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-1, 6-1 at first singles, McKenzie Lucie secured a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Brianna Fevrier and Kayla Parrett picked up a 6-4, 6-2 decision at first doubles. Franklin’s Ashvika Boopathy and Vaquri Kantheri earned a 6-2, 4-6, 12-10 win at second doubles.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Milford, 1 – Final – North Attleboro won in straight sets in its four victories, picking up a win on the road at Milford. Tara Nair won 6-1, 6-1 at first singles and Olivia Wills picked up a 6-4, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Sam Martino and Haley Strom earned a 6-1, 6-2 win at first doubles while North Attleboro’s second doubles pairing of Jayli Carmichael and Liana Nichols won 6-0, 6-3. Milford’s Juliana France emerged with a 6-0, 4-6, 10-7 win at second singles.
Oliver Ames, 2 @ Mansfield, 3 – Final – Mansfield punched its ticket to the state tournament with a 3-2 win over visiting Oliver Ames. The Hornets’ first doubles team of Hannah Podolske and Sam Sternburg prevailed 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to secure the win for Mansfield. Lizzy Elsner added a 6-1, 6-4 win at first singles and Aryana Khosravani secured a 6-3, 6-2 win at third singles. Oliver Ames’ Maura Kiernan won 6-1, 6-1 at second singles and the team of Kate McCormick and Sarah Morley emerged 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 at second doubles.
Taunton, 3 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 2 – Final – Taunton inched within one win of a state tournament berth, battling to a 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 21-25, 16-14) win on the road over Dighton-Rehoboth. Jason Khang had a strong game defensively with 21 digs and Edward Paiva dished out 33 assists. Tyler Stewart paced the offense with 16 kills and five blocks while Fabio Goncalves and Alex Tavares each put down 13 kills and had two blocks.
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.
Canton, 5 vs. Wellesley, 3 – Final – Wellesley tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the top of the fifth inning but the Bulldogs took it right back with two in the bottom half to earn the win. Sophomore Matt Connolly went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Nate Quan (two runs), Rob Sullivan (RBI), and Chris Rota each had a hit for Canton. Mike Konzal, Steve Burbank, and Matt Pigeon each had a walk and a run scored. Sullivan got the win for Canton, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six innings of work. Rota didn’t allow a hit in one inning of work to get the save.
Milford, 7 @ Concord-Carlisle, 2 – Final – Milford senior Danny Corsini allowed just one hit in four winnings of work, allowing just one unearned run while striking out three to help the Scarlet Hawks get a win over Concord-Carlisle. Matt Shave had one hit and scored three runs while both Colby Pires (double, two runs, two RBI) and Tyler Almeida (two RBI) had two hits apiece. Luke Rosa struck out one with one hit allowed in two innings of relief.
Stoughton, 3 vs. West Bridgewater, 0 – Final – Stoughton sophomore Brady Conlin shined on the mound, throwing a complete game shutout to lead the Black Knights to a win. Conlin scattered four hits and three walks while striking out 11. Stoughton scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning. Robbie Seaman (reached on error) scored on an RBI single from James Genest, Jacob Kaplan used heads up base running to score on an infield hit from Mike Nazzaro, and Kyle Gagnon had a single that bought Nazzaro home.
Canton, 4 @ Boston Latin, 11 – Final – Canton sophomore Nikki Desjardins went 2-for-4, including hitting a home run, but the Bulldogs fell on the road. Freshman Sophia Santos pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
Milford, 1 @ Hopkinton, 13 – Final (6 Inn.)
Sharon, 3 vs. Duxbury, 4 – Final – Despite the loss, Sharon coach Heather Poliferno called it a “great game” against the Dragons. The Eagles rallied with two runs in the sixth inning to close the gap and added one in the seventh but couldn’t find the tying run. Emily Botvin was strong in the circle, throwing a complete game with four strikeouts and just one walk. She threw first pitch strikes to 29 of the batters she faced. Poliferno said that the Eagles made solid contact all game.
Taunton, 16 vs. Moses Brown, 5 – Final – After Moses Brown cut Taunton’s lead in half with five runs in the fifth, the Tigers responded with six runs in the sixth inning to pull away. Jaime Brown had a big day at the plate with four hits, including a pair of triples and five RBI. Hanna Aldrich (two RBI), McKenzie McAloon (double, RBI), and Ava Venturelli (double, triple, two RBI), each had two hits. Winning pitcher Kelsey White pitched the first five innings, allowing five unearned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Alexa White came in for the final two innings, striking out five while allowing two hits.
Canton, 7 vs. Natick, 10 – Final – Canton stayed close with Natick for the entire game but couldn’t close the gap. Tommy Vaughan scored four goals and Griffin Roach netted three for the Bulldogs, who trailed 6-3 at the break.
North Attleboro @ Silver Lake, 4:00
Attleboro, 7 vs. Dartmouth, 17 – Final
Franklin, 10 @ Notre Dame Academy, 15 – Final
Mansfield, 4 @ Norton, 1 – Final – Mansfield swept doubles action and added two more wins in singles action to knock off Norton. Lizzy Elsner won 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 at first singles while junior Samantha Sternburg didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of senior Hannah Podolske and sophomore Alex Burnham earned a 6-4, 6-2 win at first doubles while sophomores Ally McDeuitt and Alex Wendland secured a 7-5, 6-2 win at second doubles.
Canton, 7 vs. Attleboro, 6 – Final (8 inn.) – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Attleboro scored twice in the top half of the seventh inning to take the lead but Canton tied it in the bottom half to force extra innings then walked off with the win in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Konzal (2-for-4, run) drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a single from Steve Burbank (2-for-4, run, RBI), and then scored the game-winning run on a hit from Matt Pigeon (3-for-4, two runs, two RBI) for the winning run.
Pigeon was the catalyst for the tying run in the bottom as the seventh as well. Trailing 6-5, Pigeon led off with a double, advanced to third on a fly out from Matt Connolly (double, RBI), and scored the tying run on a two-out double from Rob Sullivan (2-for-3, two RBI).
Each team scored in the first inning but Attleboro seized a 4-1 advantage with a run in the second and two more in the third. Troy Gamache drove in Tim Callahan (3-for-4, two runs) to put Attleboro up 1-0 but Canton responded in the bottom half as Pigeon brought Nate Quan (2-for-4, two runs) home with a sacrifice fly. Attleboro’s Bailey Camacho put the Bombardiers back in front, 2-1, with a sacrifice fly that plated Sam Larkin (double, two runs) in the second inning.
Attleboro extended the advantage to 4-1 when Alvaro Espinal tripled and scored on a wild pitch, and Larkin doubled and came home on an error by the Bulldogs. Canton scored once in the fourth (Rob Sullivan RBI double) to make it a two-run game before putting three on the scoreboard in the fifth to take the lead. Quan, Konzal, and Burbank each singled, the last hit bringing Quan to the plate for a run but Larkin gunned down a potential second run on the play. Canton’s offense continued to battle though, with Pigeon singling to put runners on the corners. A double from Connolly tied the game at 4-4, and an RBI single from Paul Corcoran put Canton up 5-4.
In the top of the seventh, Mason Houle (2-for-4, run, RBI) drove in Callahan with a base hit and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
Senior Kevin McGonigle earned the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out one.
Franklin, 5 vs. Milford, 4 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Franklin trailed 4-1 heading into the fifth inning but scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the top of the seventh to pull out a come from behind victory over neighboring Milford at the Taunton High turf. Alex Haba drove in a pair of runs, including the game-tying run, and scored the eventual game-winner in the seventh, coming home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of JB Floris.
Milford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Nick Marcolini started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, moved into scoring position on a Matt Shaver single. Colby Pires, who also started for the Hawks and struck out four in 4-1/3 innings, plated the opening run with a single to left. Franklin tied the game in the top of the fourth. Haba walked, stole second, and scored on a single to right by Cooper Ross. The Hawks responded in the bottom half with three runs off the Panthers starter Liam Dailey. Danny Corsini started the rally with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Nick Wimette single. Carter Scudo doubled to left to put two in scoring position. Luke Rosa looped a basehit to right to score one and then, after a pitching change, a balk brought in the fourth run.
In the fifth, the Panthers struck for two. Joe Lizotte walked and Jack Nally got hit by a pitch. Scott Elliott loaded the bases with an infield single. A Haba sac fly made it 4-2 and Jake Macchi singled in another to make it 4-3. In the seventh, Elliott walked and stole second before coming around on a Haba single to center to tie the game. With Haba at third, Floris hit a fly ball to left that was deep enough to get in the winning run. Jake Fitzgibbons closed out the game, earning the win with four innings of scoreless relief.
Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 11 – Final – Click here for a photo gallery from this game – Stoughton scored in each of the first four innings, jumping out to an 11-3 lead and never looking back to get a win over Oliver Ames. Cian Swierzewski, James Genest, and Mike Nazzaro each scored in the first inning to help the Black Knights jump ahead.
After Oliver Ames got on the board in the top of the second (Jake Erlich leadoff double, scored on infield single from Jared Spillane), the Black Knights cashed in on a pair of OA errors and walks to make it 4-1. Chris Pearsons (4-for-4, two RBI, two runs) had an RBI triple and scored on an error in the top of the third to make it a one run game at 4-3, but Stoughton tacked on three runs in the bottom half to regain a multi-run lead.
Three walks loaded the bases for the Knights in the bottom of the third. Stoughton scored on a passed ball, a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Cam Dirosa to make it 7-3. Stoughton pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jacob Kaplan walked, stole second, and came home to score on an infield error that was put in play by Clayton Rahaman. An RBI double from sophomore Brady Conlin made it 9-3. Swerziewski then connected on the first home run of the season for any Hock player, and first high school player to hit a home run at the new Taunton field, with a two-run blast to make it 11-3. Oliver Ames scored single runs in the fifth (Jacob Levine RBI double) and the seventh inning (Pearsons RBI double).
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.”