WRENTHAM, Mass. – Some days the ball seems to always find the barrel of the bat and hits and runs are easy to come by. On other days, especially in the postseason, you need to find different ways to get runs home. It doesn’t always have to be exciting, just effective.
King Philip did just that in Saturday morning’s Div. 1 South preliminary round game at Lombard Field. The Warriors got two sacrifice flies and scored on a groundout, and also got stellar performance from sophomore starter Rudy Gately, to beat Quincy 4-0 and end a 12-year wait for a playoff win.
“Just get contact on the ball, make things happen, move people around, and you get runs there,” said KP coach Jeff Plympton, Jr. “That’s what we try. Sometimes the bats are hitting them over the outfielders’ heads and sometimes they’re not. You’ve just got to work with what you’ve got on the day.”
After putting two runners on with two outs in the first but not being able to bring one in, KP was able to score the opening run in the second. Matt DiFiore was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning. He then stole second and advanced to third on a balk by Quincy starter Zach Donaghue. Mikey Malatesta drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run with a fly ball to center.
In the third, the Warriors doubled the lead in similar fashion. Gately (2-for-4) doubled to right to start the inning. Shawn Legere followed with a single to put runners at first and third. Legere reached second on an errant pick-off attempt on Gately at third, but then was promptly picked off at second for the first out. After Conor Cooke walked and stole second, Dan Nineve got his first RBI with a grounder to second.
“We try to win each inning,” Plympton explained. “Rudy goes out there and throws a hell of a game each inning, so it’s important to get that one, two, three, and then get back in and start hitting.”
As it turns out, that was all the offense that KP would need. Gately allowed at least one base runner in every inning, but never really felt in danger of giving up any runs. He struck out eight and got some help from his defense, especially his senior catcher Cooke, who threw out runners trying to steal second in both the second and the fifth.
“He’s had an absolute hell of a year,” Plympton said about Gately. “He’s got three pitches that just work for him and he keeps people off-balance.” Plympton also praised Cooke and the Brown University-commit’s work with the pitchers. “We have a pretty young staff and he’s done a fantastic job on just keeping them under control.”
The Warriors put the game away in the fifth with a pair of important insurance runs. Gately helped his own cause again with a leadoff single and stole both second and third. Legere walked and then Cooke followed with his second walk of the day, this one against Quincy reliever Joe Hennessey, to load the bases with no outs.
Nineve knocked a single through the drawn in infield to make it 3-0 and DiFiore drove in a run with a line out to center that scored Legere.
Although KP missed a chance to hang a big number on the Presidents, they continued to get the pitching and defense to make that lead hold up. After a one-out, infield single by Hennessey, third baseman Sean Sullivan was able to dive to his left and make a nice play across the diamond for the second out. Gately closed the door on the sixth by freezing the hitter with curve for his seventh strikeout of the day.
Quincy got a one-out hit in the seventh as well, but a soft liner to Brendan Weddleton at second put the Warriors on the brink of the win and Gately closed it out in style, dropping another nasty curveball for the strikeout that ended KP’s long wait for a playoff win.
King Philip (8-7) will travel to third-seed Xaverian on Monday afternoon. The Warriors are the fifth Hockomock League team, all from the Kelley-Rex division (Milford opted out of the playoffs) to reach the round of 16 in D1 South.
“I’ve always said that the Hock is probably one of the best leagues in the state,” said Plympton. “When I woke up and saw all those [scores], I thought, it sounds about right. It’s good to see, it’s good for us. We know we’re playing good competition.”
Below are the official 2021 (Fall 2) Hockomock League Football All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Kelley-Rex Division MVP
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Kelley-Rex Division All Stars
Michael Strachan, Attleboro
Chris Leonardo, Attleboro
Jake O’Brien, Franklin
Mack Gulla, Franklin
Patrick Zarba, King Philip
Mikey Malatesta, King Philip
Crawford Cantave, King Philip
TJ Guy, Mansfield
Jake McCoy, Mansfield
Cincere Gill, Mansfield
Nico Holmes, Mansfield
Anthony Comer, Mansfield
Nick Bertolino, Mansfield
Mario Lee, Milford
Carter Scudo, Milford
Dominic Schofield, Milford
Kedrick Santos, Taunton
Trent Santos, Taunton
Davenport Division MVP
Christopher Ais, Stoughton
Davenport Division All Stars
Jack Albert, Canton
Matt Connolly, Canton
James Kraus, Foxboro
Jon Moses, Foxboro
Luis Sulham, Foxboro
Mike Norvish, Foxboro
Sean Ferguson, Foxboro
Harry Bullock, North Attleboro
Jacob Silva, North Attleboro
Jared Penta, North Attleboro
Matt Penta, North Attleboro
Tyler DeMattio, North Attleboro
Ike Ogbonnanze, Sharon
Christopher Ais, Stoughton
Christian Ais, Stoughton
Jake Queeney, Stoughton
John Burke, Stoughton
Sproul Deroulos, Stoughton
Below are the official 2021 (Fall 2) Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league. Below are the official Hockomock League Football All Stars and honorable mentions, selected by the coaches in the league.
King Philip, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – King Philip took a lead on three different occasions, the final time coming in the sixth inning and that one held as the Warriors scored a win on the road. KP took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Eli Reed walked, stole second and scored on a single by Shawn Lagere but Attleboro answered with a run in the bottom half, Owen Taber coming around to score after a leadoff walk. In the top of the fourth, Lagere singles again and scored on a triple from Grayden Lawrence for a 2-1 lead, but the Bombardiers once again answered. This time in the bottom of the fifth on a solo home run from Jake Gorman to make it 2-2. KP pushed across the winning run in the sixth as Conor Cooke drew a walk and eventually scored on a sac fly from Mikey Malatesta.
Oliver Ames, 4 @ Canton, 3 – Final – Christian Papasodero came in to strike out the final batter of the game, earning the save, and a big win for OA. The victory keeps the Tigers just one back of North Attleboro in the win column heading into the final three games of the season. Nick Clark picked up the win for OA, going 6-2/3 innings and giving up four hits and three runs and striking out six. Jadon Ricci and Patrick Finnerty each went 2-for-4 with two runs scored to spark the OA offense. Jake Waxman, Nate Carpentier, and Nate Fulford each drove in a run.
North Attleboro, 12 @ Foxboro, 6 – Final – North Attleboro jumped out to a 10-1 lead through five innings and then held off a late Foxboro rally to secure the win, moving half a game ahead of Oliver Ames in the Davenport title race. Danny Curran went 5-1/3 innings with eight strikeouts, allowing three runs, to pick up the win. Joe Hartnett went 1-2/3 innings of relief, allowing only three unearned runs. Curran also helped himself at the plate, going 2-for-4. Gavin Wells also went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while the bottom third of the order came up big for the Rocketeers. The 7-8-9 hitters accounted for six hits, five runs scored, and seven RBI. Tyler Bannon and Aidan Conrad each went 2-for-4, with two RBI and two runs and Justin Vecchiarelli went 2-for-2 with three RBI. Ryan LeClair, Jack Watts, and Sean O’Leary each had two hits for the Warriors and accounted for four of Foxboro’s six runs.
Sharon, 1 @ Stoughton, 16 – Final (5 Inn.) – Stoughton had its best offensive day of the season, exploding for 16 runs on 15 hits in a win over visiting Sharon. The Black Knights scored in each of the five innings with Ben Zola (two hits, two runs) setting the pace from the leadoff spot. Kyle Doolin had a pair of walks, two runs, and an RBI, Jake Queeney added two runs, one walk, and one RBI, and Jonah Ly chipped in with two runs and three RBI in the win. A day after coming up with a clutch two-out hit to force extras, Brandon Mantilla-Mercado had two hits and drove in four runs. Freshman Hunter Malkin earned his first career win on the mound, allowing one run on four hits and three walks, striking out five in five innings.
Foxboro, 4 @ North Attleboro, 7 – Final – For the first time in program history, North Attleboro has repeated as league champion. The Rocketeers clinched the outright Davenport crown after sweeping the home-and-home with the Warriors. Foxboro made it tough, leading 2-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth, but the North offense exploded for five runs to grab the lead for good. Emily Nardelli’s two-run homer tied the game and Kelly Colleran put North in front with a solo shot. Colleran added her fourth homer in two days when she knocked one out in the sixth and also picked up the win in the circle, striking out eight. Colleran and Zoey McDonough each finished with three hits and Belle Clarkin had two hits for North. Morgan Sylvestre had a homer for the Warriors.
Franklin, 4 @ Mansfield, 5 – Final – Mansfield won for the third straight time and moved within a game of .500 on the season. The Hornets scored the winner in the bottom of the sixth, after Franklin had rallied from three runs down to tie it. Ashlyn Conley (3-for-3) doubled and then came around to score on a Nicole Kobasa (2-for-3) single. In addition to driving in the winning run, Kobasa also came up big in right field, throwing out a pair of runners at first. Franklin jumped in front in the second, but Mansfield scored three in the fourth inning to lead 3-1. Casey Moussette (2-for-3) started it with a single, Molly Kucharski reached on a fielder’s choice, Conley singled, and another fielder’s choice from Kobasa scored the first run. Abby DeCoste (2-for-3) tripled to score one and then came around when the throw got away. The Hornets tacked on a run in the fifth on a walk by Jill Koppy, a stolen base, and then an RBI-single from Moussette. Live Madeira also had a hit for Mansfield.
Canton, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 8 – Final – Canton grabbed the lead, scoring four of its five runs in the top of the third, but the Tigers rallied, answering back with two in the bottom half, three in the fourth, and then a big insurance run in the sixth. Katie Melendy went the distance in the circle to pick up the win. Offensively, Maddie Homer (2-for-3, three runs, and three steals), Emma Varella (2-for-3, three runs scored), and Taylor Lake (2-for-3, two runs, and two RBI) each had a pair of hits. Grace Simone drove in a pair and Caitlin Miller added one RBI. Amanda Vrabel went 3-for-3 for the Bulldogs and drove in a pair of runs. Ellie Bohane added three hits and scored twice, while Taylor Reynolds went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Liz Bickett and Steph Trendell made two great plays in the field for Canton.
Stoughton, 13 @ Sharon, 3 – Final – Nicole Baker allowed eight hits and struck out 11 in a complete game win that moves the Black Knights into a tie with Foxboro for second in the Davenport division. Stoughton had 18 hits as a team, including a 4-for-4 game from Julia Driscoll. Sydney Menz went 3-for-5 with two triples and Melody Casna went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer. Alyssa Edwards and Baker also had multiple hits in the win.
Attleboro @ King Philip, 3:45
Canton, 2 @ Oliver Ames, 14 – Final – Jake Manthous and Ross Carroll had the goals for OA.
Foxboro @ North Attleboro, 6:00
Stoughton, 1 @ Sharon, 10 – Final
King Philip, 14 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – KP won its fifth straight and got to 10 wins on the season. The Warriors used a balanced attack with two players accounting for five points, Julia Marsden and Morgan Cunningham, and two accounting for four points, Lily Brown and Haley Izydorczak.
North Attleboro, 4 @ Foxboro, 19 – Final – Paige Curran (two assists) and Lilly Vey each scored four goals, as Foxboro swept a two-day series with North Attleboro and, in the process, clinched the outright Davenport division title for the ninth straight season. The Warriors continue to fire on all cylinders offensively, with eight different players finding the back of the net. Mya and Ella Waryas each scored three times and assisted on another. Kate Collins scored twice, while Mary Collins had a goal and two assists and Dylan Rappoli had a goal and an assist. Val Beigel added a goal. Maddie Maher had another strong game in goal for the Warriors, making seven saves.
Franklin, 23 @ Mansfield, 6 – Final – Franklin secured at least a share of its eighth straight league title, beating Mansfield for the second time in as many days, and extending its lengthy league win streak by another game. Katie Jones powered the Panthers with six goals and an assist, but Franklin showed off its balance on offense. Jackie O’Neil scored four times and assisted on another and Stella Regan scored twice and had five assists. Jamie Tanner had a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Lindsay Atkinson had a strong game in the Franklin midfield, winning 10 draws.
Attleboro, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – King Philip won all three singles matches in straight sets and that was enough for a 3-2 win over visiting Attleboro. Nick Putney (first singles) and Jon Cohen (third singles) both won without dropping a game while Brady Jannell scored a 6-4, 6-0 win at second singles. The Bombardiers won both doubles matches with Alejandro Jimenez and Kevin Rebelo taking a 6-4, 6-3 win at first doubles and freshmen Kyle Neuendorf and Tyler Rocchio secured a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win at second doubles.
Canton, 4 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Canton kept alive its hopes of sharing the league title with a win at OA. Minh Duong battled cramps in a marathon match against Kylash Ganesh at first singles, but managed to pull out a win. He took the first set 6-4, lost 7-5 in the second, and won a third set tiebreaker 10-4 to grab the point for his team. Ethan Nguyen won 6-1, 7-5 at second singles and Elias Jabbour and Huy Hung won 6-0, 6-1 at first doubles. In second doubles, Shawn Welch and Jackson Santos fell behind 5-2 in the first set but rallied to win 7-5 and then closed out the match with a 6-2 second set. Freshman Nick Westerbeke won OA’s lone point at third singles with a 6-2, 6-2 win.
Stoughton, 1 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon swept doubles and won a pair of singles matches to stay unbeaten in the league and clinch at least a share of its second straight Davenport title. Ridhuik Neti and Deyan Kassev (first doubles) and Alex Budovaloev and Ben Levinson (second doubles) both won their matches 6-0, 6-1. Max Chen took his match at second singles by a score of 6-3, 6-4 and Matthew Lally won 6-1, 6-0 at third singles. Waseem Sabion grabbed Stoughton’s lone point, winning the first set 6-0 and then bouncing back from an 0-6 loss in the second to close out the match with 6-3 third set.
Foxboro, 0 @ North Attleboro, 5 – Final – North Attleboro kept up its pursuit of first-place Sharon with a sweep of Foxboro. The Rocketeers are two games back of the Eagles and will face them twice next week. Sam Gallagher (second singles), Will Folan (third singles), and the team of Brody Carter and David Marroquin each won their matches 6-0, 6-0. Jonah Manso won his match at first singles 6-3, 6-0 and the second doubles team of Niteesh Saravanan and Visruth Chavalam won 6-1, 7-5.
King Philip, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – King Philip made it a sweep of Attleboro to remain unbeaten and sealed at least a share of its fourth straight Kelley-Rex division title. Ahunna James and Shea Mellman (6-3, 6-0) and Resha Ajoy and Amanda Van Roon (6-1, 6-0) won their doubles matches in straight sets, as did Katarina Schneider (6-0, 6-2) at first singles. Sammie Taylor also won in straight sets at third singles, but had to battle in a second set tiebreaker before pulling out a 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) win. Mia Valencia lost her opening set to Lauren Anthony in a tiebreak but then won the next two sets 6-4, 6-4 to seal the fifth point for the Warriors.
Mansfield, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Canton, 2 – Final – The first doubles team of Morgan Vasiliou and Caroline Peper won 6-3, 6-1 to earn OA its third point and to seal the first league win of the season for the Tigers. OA also got points from Mia Corradini at third singles and from Celine Souaidan and Courtney Lake at second doubles, both matches finishing 6-1, 6-0. Canton won the top two singles matches, as Rachel Kupferman didn’t lose a game in a straight sets win and Laura Correal won 6-2, 6-4 at second singles.
Sharon, 4 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final
North Attleboro, 1 @ Foxboro, 4 – Final – The Warriors beat North Attleboro for the second time in as many days to remain unbeaten and clinch at least a share of the Davenport title for the first time since 2015. Athena Li continued her dominant rookie season, remaining unbeaten with a 6-0, 6-0 victory at first singles. Pam Nelson also won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles and Sarah Prag won 6-1, 6-1 to make it a clean sweep of singles. At first doubles, Maggie McAuliffe and Abby Costa battled with North’s Anoushka Banerjee and Julia Curran and pulled out a hard-fought, straight-sets win, 6-4, 7-6 (2). North’s point came at second doubles, as the team of Lauren Consentino and Kyna Shah won 6-0, 6-4.
Mansfield @ Canton, 4:00
Oliver Ames, 31 @ North Attleboro, 40 – Final – The dual meet came down to the final match, as Keysun Wise was able to hold off Jaden Hinton 6-4 at 285 to seal a win for the Rocketeers. North now moves one game up in the win column on Foxboro and sets up a final match with the Warriors to decide the Davenport title. Tanner Ferguson (113), Kyle Dumke (132), Ethan Smith (145), and Griffin Gouck (160) each had pins for North. Kyle Hardie remained unbeaten for the Tigers with a pin at 120, while Giovany Juste (170), Anthony Hoffman (182), and Onye Nwadiugwu (195) also had pins for OA.
Taunton, 3 vs. Quincy, 0 – Final – Taunton swept Quincy in three sets (25-18, 25-20, 25-23). Tyler Stewart had another big match for the Tigers, leading the team with 17 kills but also adding three aces and seven digs. Faisal Mass chipped in with six kills and three blocks and Jakob Thorpe had eight kills and two blocks. Mattia Casagrande (six kills) and Colin McDougal (three kills) added to the Taunton offense, which was spearheaded by setter Daniel Medina, who finished with 36 assists. Travis Nunes had 12 digs and was a key in Taunton serve-receive game.
North Attleboro, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – North Attleboro senior Dennis Colleran tossed a complete game one-hitter to help the Rocketeers earn a split with the Tigers on the season. Colleran allowed a total of three baserunners with a walk and one batter hit by a pitch but struck out 11 in the win. North scored one run in each the first and second innings, OA halved the deficit with a run in the third, but the Rocketeers scored twice in the fifth and added another insurance run in the seventh. Sophomore Derek Maceda had three hits, including a triple that he eventually scored on a single by Tyler Bannon in the seventh. Evan Vigorito knocked in three runs, driving in two of those with a triple in the fifth while Aidan Weir had an RBI single in the second.
Mansfield, 4 @ King Philip, 7 – Final – Mansfield took the lead with a run in the top of the third but King Philip responded in a big way, plating six runs in the bottom half and never looked back to earn head coach Jeff Plympton his first career win. Senior Conor Cooke collected two of his three RBI in the third with a base hit, adding another with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Sophomore Tommy Martarano also drove in two runs in the big third inning while Mikey Malatesta and Nick Viscusi each had one RBI. Sophomore Rudy Gately earned the win, allowing just one run through six innings before Mansfield tried to mount a last-inning comeback. Jack Mullen came in and struck out two to close the door. Luke Urban (RBI) and Eric Sullivan (two RBI, run) each registered a pair of hits for Mansfield.
Franklin, 16 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Franklin’s offense stayed hot and got contributions throughout the lineup in a win on the road at Milford. Senior Gabby Colace had three hits, including a home run, while driving in three runs and scoring four times to pace the Panthers. Freshman Carly Johnson-Pellegri (two hits) also had a home run with three RBI, Georgia Harvey drove in four runs on three hits, and Lauren Cote had two hits and three RBI for Franklin. Aislinn Lavery, who added two hits and an RBI, struck out five in six innings of work.
Canton, 16 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final
Foxboro, 14 @ Sharon, 8 – Final – Foxboro had a strong first half, outscoring the Eagles 7-0 and never looked back to get the win in the first meeting of the two teams. For the Eagles, Drew Litner, Jace Neatler, and Brady Daylor each scored a pair of goals while Ben Shocket won 18-of-26 faceoffs. Adam Rabb made 12 saves in net for Sharon.
Franklin, 19 @ Milford, 0 – Final
King Philip @ Mansfield, 3:45
Oliver Ames, 3 @ North Attleboro, 13 – Final – For Oliver Ames, sophomore Ben Reardon had a goal and two helpers, Ben Cohen scored his first career goal, and Wes Tower found the back of the net once.
Taunton, 11 @ Attleboro, 7 – Final – Taunton senior Alana Tavares found the back of the net eight times to help the Tigers score a win on the road. In their second win over the Bombardiers this week, Taunton also got two goals from Tasia Lajoie (one assist) and one from freshman Cali Melo. Emily Gannon made eight saves in net for Taunton.
Sharon, 4 @ Foxboro, 19 – Final – Tess Letendre had a great game in goal for the Eagles, making 15 saves. Jenna Goldstein scored three of Sharon’s four goals. Athena Merck had the fourth, assisted by Molly McAlevey.
Milford, 3 @ Franklin, 20 – Final – Sydney Hawkins and Riley Cross each registered their first goals of the season for the Panthers while Brigid Earley made six saves in net.
Mansfield, 1 @ King Philip, 12 – Final – King Philip raced out to an 8-0 lead by halftime and never looked back in a win over visiting Mansfield. Julia Marsden and Haley Izydorczak each scored a hat trick to pace the Warriors’ offense, Peyton Mellman and Lily Brown each scored twice, and Ally Donovan and Morgan Cunningham (assist) each found the back of the net once. Emily Campbell turned aside eight shots to get the win in net for KP.
North Attleboro, 11 @ Oliver Ames, 12 – Final – Oliver Ames scored twice in the final 30 seconds to steal a win away from North Attleboro. Emma Pereira set up both goals, coming up with a loose ball in her own half before finding Emma Sharkansky, who quickly dished off to Catie Wilson for a goal with 12 seconds left to make it 11-11. Pereira won the ensuing draw for the Tigers, sprinted up the field and passed to Sharkansky who ripped a quick shot in for the game-winner with three seconds to go. Head coach Gen Rogan praised the defensive work of Taylor McAndrew, Emilee Nuss, and goalie Emma O’Donnell.
Taunton, 3 @ Quincy, 0 – Final – Taunton continued its unbeaten start to the season with a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-16, 26-17) on the road at Quincy. Daniel Medina had a strong game distributing the ball offensively, dishing out 33 assists to go along with three aces. Jakob Thorpe put down 10 kills for the Tigers while Tyler Stewart had another strong all around game with 18 kills, nine digs, and a pair of blocks. Mattia Casagrande (nine digs) and Travis Nunes (seven digs) both played well defensively and in serve receive for the Tigers.
2019 Record: 14-10 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final Coach: Steve Dunlea
Two years ago, Attleboro made a run to the Div. 1 South final, only to run into league rival and eventual state champ Taunton. While the Bombardiers only return three players with varsity experience, Attleboro will be looking to replicate some of that momentum and challenge the top teams for the Kelley-Rex division title this spring.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Senior catcher Bailey Camacho caught half the innings during his sophomore season and will be the starter this spring, as well as an important presence in the lineup. Seniors Jake Gorman and Matt McMahon will both be part of the rotation and play corner infield spots when they’re not on the mound building off the experience they got two years ago. Senior Cam Foster adds speed at short and will be the closer, while juniors Billy Saltmarsh and Cian Kelleher, and sophomores Dillon James and Danny Johnson are part of what should be a deep staff for the Bombardiers. Speed should also be a strength for Attleboro, including outfielders Ben Hochwarter, Nate George, Hayden Hegarty, and Packer Sackett, and middle infielders Owen Taber and Evan Houle. Junior Christian Dame is a versatile player who can step in at multiple positions.
“We’re excited to get our players out there to see what we can accomplish,” said Attleboro coach Steve Dunlea. “Our guys have worked very hard during the off-season and have come a long way in the past few years. We are particularly proud of our senior leadership. It’s been a tough year and we are so grateful to the MIAA and ADs for making this season happen for our seniors.”
2019 Record: 6-14 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Ben Shuffain
Canton had a great start to the 2019 season under then first-year head coach Ben Shuffain, including an impressive win over Wellesley. But almost all of the Bulldogs’ wins came in the first half of the season. Now Canton will look to start strong and continue that throughout the year as they look to challenge for the Davenport division title.
The Bulldogs are one of the teams that have a good number of players that played back in 2019 so there is a lot of optimism surrounding the experience on the roster this season. Canton has four starters back for this year’s campaign: shortstop/right-handed pitcher Steve Burbank, outfielder Cam Sanchez, catcher/outfielder Sawyer Julier-Albert, and right-handed pitcher Nate Hewit. Both Burbank (0.328) and Julier-Albert (0.395) were among the league leaders in batting average as sophomores so they will be key pieces for the offense this year. Shuffain will also look for contributions from outfielders Andy Butler and Zach Peters, infielder Nico Bonanno, and utility option Matt Quan — all four could also see time pitching.
Burbank will also see time on the mound and Hewit will be an important piece of the pitching staff this year. Junior Andrew Middleton, who tossed a perfect game in the season-opener, will obviously be a major part of the rotation as well, giving the Bulldogs solid depth. Behind the pitching staff, there will be a lot of players who have experience at the varsity level so Shuffain hopes mistakes will be at a minimum.
“We are lucky to have a good number of players who have varsity experience from 2018 and 2019,” Shuffain said. “They have been preparing for 18 months for this season and this group has tremendous leadership and a ton of talent. I am excited to see what they can do on the field.”
For the 2021 season, it all starts with pitching for the Foxboro Warriors. The 2019 squad graduated six players, and there were nine juniors on that team that missed out on their senior season a year ago. That means Foxboro has four players coming back for this spring, and almost all picked up a lot of valuable experience the last time out.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Seniors Cam Prescott and Sean Yoest will headline the Warriors’ rotation, bringing a lot of experience to the staff. Prescott logged over 26 innings as a sophomore, allowing just four walks with a 1.86 ERA. Yoest had a lot of success at the plate as a sophomore and will be looking to replicate that on the mound this year. Sophomore Sean O’Leary will likely be a key piece on the mound when fully healthy and the Warriors will look to seniors Dylan Quinn, Mike O’Toole, Ryan Jacobs, and Sebastian Ortiz, as well as juniors Liam Mulkern and Tom Marcucella to provide pitching depth.
Yoest will patrol the outfield when he’s not on the mound and will be a key piece offensively after hitting 0.346 as a sophomore with 11 runs scored and 11 RBI. Yoest will be joined in the outfield by junior Jack Watts, a three-sport athlete who has excelled in golf and hockey, and sophomore Kenny Mello. Marcucella will also see time in the outfield while senior Griffin Morse is a solid depth piece that can play all three spots in the outfield.
Prescott will see time at either third or shortstop when he’s not pitching. Beyond Prescott, the Warriors will have some inexperience around the infield with freshman Tyler Prescott (second base) and sophomore Ryan LeClair (shortstop) impressing early on. Mulkern and O’Toole will provide the infield with some senior leadership from first while Marcucella and Ortiz providing depth. Mulkern will also be an option behind the plate while junior Mike LaVita will step into the starting role at catcher.
“We are excited for the opportunity to get back on the field and compete every day,” head coach Derek Suess said. “Having our top two arms still here is comforting, but we will need contributions from many different guys. We have a good mix of seniors and underclassmen who have bought in to our vision for the season.”
2019 Record: 22-3 2019 Finish: Reached Super 8 Coach: Zach Brown
While Franklin won’t be able to make it three straight appearances in the Super 8 with the tournament not happening this year (and possibly for a couple of years), there is something the Panthers can do: defend their Kelley-Rex division title.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
The Panthers were nearly perfect in league action during the 2019 season (15-1) and will be one of the favorites for the title again this year. But it will be almost an entirely new cast of players doing so. Franklin had 10 seniors on that team plus another seven juniors that graduated last year, meaning just a handful of players from the roster are back. Of that group, just one starter is back in senior Jake Fitzgibbons, who played second base at the time.
Now Fitzgibbons moves behind the plate and will be in charge of handling a pitching staff that is new to the varsity level. Having him behind the plate should make it easier for the likes of junior Jacob Jette and sophomore Alfred Mucciarone, who figure to be two of the key components of Franklin’s rotation this season. And when needed, Fitzgibbons will switch out from behind the plate and take the mound himself.
Seniors Nate Cooke and CJ Jette serve as captains alongside Fitzgibbons and will provide leadership both on and off the field. Cooke is slated to start at first base and will bring a big bat to the lineup while Jette will see time both in the outfield and at designated hitter. Seniors Luc Boudreau (outfielder) and Nick Quinn (right-handed pitcher) have impressed early on as well.
“As always the cornerstone of our program is pitching and defense,” said head coach Zach Brown. “We believe we have the right mix of athletes and arms to compete daily this season. Offensively, we believe that our line-up can be pretty athletic. Obviously, we are all in the same boat missing last season so it will be an exciting season to get back out onto the field. I know the players and our coaching staff are really excited for the games to start up.”
2019 Record: 8-12 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Jeff Plympton
There will be a lot of new faces on the mound, in the field, in the batter’s box, and even on the bench for the King Philip Warriors this season. Looking back at the 2019 season, only one name is back in action for the Warriors this season. And on top of that, there’s a new coach in the dugout in Jeff Plympton.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Both Conor Cooke and Jack Silveria saw plenty of action during their sophomore seasons but Silveria will miss his senior campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery. That means that Plympton and the rest of the Warriors will lean heavily on Cooke, a three-year starter who will guide KP from behind the plate. Cooke, who is committed to play at Brown University, is a rock behind the plate and that will be important as KP deploys a pitching staff that is new to the varsity level. That rotation will feature junior Nick Viscusi and sophomore Rudy Gately, with seniors Jack Mullen, Grayden Lawrence, Harry Brown, and Jake Burns all providing depth.
Cooke will be a key part of the offense as well, slated to hit from the clean up spot. Viscusi will set the tone from the leadoff spot and can cause some damage on the base paths with his speed. Junior Shawn Lagere will start at shortstop and bat third in the lineup, providing the Warriors with some power while Gately will see time at third when he isn’t on the mound. Seniors Ethan Hurwitz and Mikey Malatesta provide outfield depth and Plympton has 10 juniors on the roster to help fill out the lineup.
“Looking forward to getting the season going and watching the team play together,” Plympton said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had high school baseball and most of our guys, like many teams, are new to the varsity level. We have some good talent on our team. Plenty of good throwing arms to get us through the new pitching restrictions. The infield is solid with very dependable fielders around the diamond. The outfield is fast and does a great job tracking fly balls. I believe defense will be our best strength this season. The players have been putting in a lot of hard work during practices.”
2019 Record: 18-7 2019 Finish: Reached Super 8 Coach: Chris Hall
Joe Breen had a very successful run at the helm of the Hornets, and his successor is one that the program is very familiar with. Chris Hall, who served as Breen’s assistant, takes over and is aiming to continue the success that Mansfield has had in recent seasons.
Coming off one of their best seasons in program history that culminated in a second straight Super 8 appearance, the Hornets will try to rebuild their lineup with a strong core of seniors. Eric Sullivan will move into the starting role behind the plate and will be a vocal leader both on and off the field for the Hornets. Three-sport athlete Jack Colby is slated to take over at first base, Luke Urban looks to take over at second base, Ben Mintz can slot into a variety of roles, including in the field or on the mound, and Greg Coyle, the lone returner from the 2019 team, will be an option on the mound for the Hornets. Juniors Jared Fraone and Liam Anastasia will help round out the lineup.
Coyle will be joined by juniors Aaron Blinn, Anthony Sacchetti, and Jimmy Gilleran on the Hornets’ staff. That group brings a lot of baseball experience and a range of knowledge, and Hall is hoping all of that will translate to the varsity level. Mintz, Colby Geddis, and Brayden Purtell will look to provide additional innings in relief.
“With two years off due to COVID-19, and few players having varsity experience, I expected tryouts to be exciting,” Hall said. “Our players knew they had to come in and earn everything to gain a spot in the starting lineup. There continues to be daily position battles daily and it pushes players to improve. The talent we have in the program is consistent from top to bottom. The team brings energy and enthusiasm to everything they do and it truly makes the atmosphere on the field second to none. We cannot wait to get out on the field and compete against some of the best competition in the Hockomock League.”
2019 Record: 11-11 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Alex Dion
Milford will be the new kids on the block this season in their first year apart of the Kelley-Rex division, which features two teams that went to the Super 8 last time out and another that won the D1 State title.
The Hawks are going to rely on their pitching as they compete for the division title. Senior right-hander Mario Lee and classmate Wes Solomon, another righty, both picked up valuable experience as sophomores during the 2019 season and will anchor the Milford pitching rotation. Lee, who is committed to playing both football and baseball at Wesleyan, pitched in 10 games out of the bullpen in 2019 while Solomon appeared in five games with a 2.33 ERA.
Sophomore Evan Cornelius is a “big, physical kid” according to head coach Alex Dion, and he will round out the Hawks’ rotation this season. When he isn’t on the mound, Cornelius will be behind the plate and the same goes for Solomon, who could also see him in the middle infield. Lee will also be in the lineup when he’s not on the mound, playing at either first or third. Senior Carter Scudo burst onto the scene as a sophomore, hitting 0.352, and will be the catalyst to the offense this year, batting in the leadoff spot. He will anchor the outfield defense from center field.
“I’m excited to start our 2021 season,” Dion said. “It has been great to get back out on Fino Field for the first time since 2019. I have a good group of young men this year with players from all four classes making the varsity roster. This is a great league with quality teams, players, and coaches throughout. We will go out and compete to the best of our ability on a daily basis. I am optimistic about what this group has to offer this year and in the future.”
2019 Record: 11-10 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Mike Hart
North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart has the best arm in the Hockomock League in senior Dennis Colleran and the 2019 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year Jared Penta as the catalyst for the offense so the Rocketeers will certainly be in the mix for the Davenport title this season.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Colleran, who is committed to pitch at Northeastern, has been a member of the Rocketeers since his freshman year, making his first appearance in North’s D2 South Semifinal win over Dartmouth back in 2018. He logged 37.1 innings as a sophomore, posting a 3-4 record with a 2.63 ERA during the 2019 season. Since then, Colleran has honed his skills on the club scene and is poised to lead the Rocketeers this year. Senior Joe Hartnett and junior Danny Curran look to fill out the rotation while the Rocketeers have plenty of depth pieces including Tyler Bannon, Dan Pedro, Derek Maceda, and Aidan Weir.
Penta will hit from the leadoff spot and set the tone for the offense. Weir and classmate Justin Vecchiarelli will anchor the infield Maceda, a sophomore, could be poised for a breakout season at shortstop. Curran will also see time in the outfield when he isn’t pitching while senior Evan Vigorito, and juniors Brody Rosenberg, and Gavin Wells will be in the outfield mix. Bannon and Nik Kojoian will be options behind the dish for the Rocketeers.
“Just like other teams in the league, we are curious how our players will make the jump to varsity baseball,” Hart said. “We will do our best to be fundamentally sound and keep things simple. Our pitching staff has a handful of competitive guys who are looking for an opportunity to help the team. The boys are excited about the season and hope we can bring a consistent approach to all our opportunities this year.”
2019 Record: 12-13 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal Coach: Joe Abarr
After reaching the D2 South Sectional Final in 2018, the Tigers fielded basically an entirely new squad during the 2019 campaign. Two years later, Oliver Ames looks to be in the same boat as there minimal varsity experience on the roaster.
Senior Nate Fulford is one of the few players that did see varsity action two years ago, emerging as a go-to option offensively as a pinch-hitter as a sophomore. Now Fulford will be a key piece in the lineup each game, manning third base and bringing a big bat to the heart of the lineup. Senior Jadon Ricci will take over at shortstop and is slated to hit near the top of the lineup.
Junior Jack Richardson was a part of the Tigers’ varsity squad as a freshman and is now in position to anchor the rotation. He’ll be in the lineup even when he’s not on the mound, patrolling the always tricky outfield at Frothingham Park for the Tigers. When it comes to new faces on the squad this year, junior Jake Waxman brings a big bat to the lineup and can bring some pop to the offense; he will start at first base defensively. Junior Joe Cicchetti has impressed early on in tryouts and the preseason both offensively and defensively, and he is slated to start in center for the Tigers.
“We should have a solid lineup,” said OA head coach Joe Abarr. “We have depth at most positions and decent options on the mound. With so little practice time prior to the first game, there are still a lot of questions to be answered, but we have a great group of guys that are really looking to compete this year.”
2019 Record: 2-18 2019 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Andrew Poliferno
The last time the Eagles hit the field, they had one of the youngest teams in the Hockomock League. Now that means there is a lot of returning players back in the dugout this year and Sharon should be one of the most experienced groups in terms of baseball played.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Sharon has a new head coach in alum Andrew Poliferno, who is no stranger to the program after coaching at each level over the past few seasons. Poliferno takes over for Kee Arguimbau, who had been with the program as a coach for nearly 20 years including the last four as head coach. Poliferno has 10 seniors at his disposal this year including two of the most experienced players in JD Rittenberg and Justin Brown, who both started as sophomores in 2019. Playing at second and short, respectively, the Eagles will have solid defense up the middle of the field. Sharon expects strong defense to come with the experience it has.
Junior Dylan Labbe pitched some innings as a freshman so the Eagles will lean on him as one of the anchors of the pitching staff. Senior Justin Nault and junior Ryan Baker will also see time on the mound while freshman Luke Meixel is slated to be a part of the starting rotation right away. Offensively, Rittenberg and Brown will lead the way once again. Baker and classmate Nate Yaffe should slot into the lineup in their first year on varsity, playing third and outfield, respectively. Poliferno is also looking for contributions from Damien Bonner and Daniel Zagoren offensively.
“After a missed season, it’s wonderful to see our players back out on the field,” Poliferno said. “Despite the year off, I was impressed with the growth and progress our players made since they last played high school baseball. It was clear to me we have a program of players who work hard during the off-season and I look forward to seeing their hard work translate to wins this season.”
2019 Record: 14-9 2019 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal Coach: Mike Armour
Like most schools, Stoughton has a limited number of players with varsity experience on the roster this season. It will be baptism by fire for a lot of new faces as head coach Mike Armour will look to get the most out of his lineup to try and compete for the Davenport division title.
The players that do have any varsity experience will be key, especially early on in the season as the rest of the Black Knights get used to the varsity level. Senior Brady Conlin will anchor the Stoughton staff on the mound this year and also hit in the heart of the lineup. Conlin has experience both pitching and at the plate and could be one of the most dangerous all-around players in the league. Senior captain Kyle Doolin will anchor the infield and is an option to pitch as well. He is slated to hit near the top of the lineup and could also see time behind the plate defensively.
Jake Queeney, another senior captain, will patrol center field for the Black Knights and hit from the leadoff spot. Queeney’s speed has been on display on both the basketball court and football field, so his legs could cause some damage on the base paths. Senior captain Brandon Mantilla-Mercado will take care of the pitching staff this year as the starting catcher and will bring some power to the plate offensively. Junior infielder Anthony Tilton has impressed early and figures to be a top bat in the lineup, juniors Jonah Ly and James Price will both see innings in the infield and on the mound, and junior Brad Franey is slated to take over at second. Seniors Joe McNulty, Colby Andrews, Andrew Scardina, and junior Colin Alessi provide lineup depth. Freshmen Hunter Malkin and Ben Zola will likely make an immediate impact for Stoughton.
“The kids are excited to play baseball,” Armour said. “They have brought a positive attitude and willingness to work to practice, which is all I can ask for as a coach. We are excited to get a little bit better every day, and put ourselves in a position to win some ballgames this season.”
2019 Record: 21-7 2019 Finish: Won Div. 1 State Championship Coach: Blair Bourque
It seems like just yesterday the Tigers were celebrating their Division 1 State Championship at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. Yet at the same time, it somehow also feels like a lifetime ago.
2021 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
The Tigers are one of the teams that will “what if” when it comes to the 2019 season, as they were set to have eight starters back to try and defend their first-ever state championship. Now for the 2021 season, there is just one Tiger starter back from that regular season. That is senior pitcher/infielder Danny MacDougall, who will anchor the pitching staff and also return to his shortstop position. Ty Cali, who took over for MacDougall after an injury sidelined him for the postseason, is also back to give Taunton a solid 1-2 punch up the middle of the field. Cali can also slide over and play short when MacDougall, who is committed to playing at the University of Hartford next year, is on the mound.
Sophomore Ryan MacDougall is set to finally make his varsity debut this year. A verbal commit to the University of Dayton, Ryan MacDougall was on the playoff roster for the state championship team as an eighth-grader. Not only does he bring a big bat and power to the lineup, head coach Blair Bourque described his plate discipline as “well beyond his years.” If the Tigers want to compete at a high level, Bourque noted the importance of senior pitchers Conor Quinlan, Bretton Heggs, and Matthew Ferrara. In total, Taunton boasts a dozen seniors on the roster.
“My expectation for this season is for us to compete as a team and individually every day as best we can, but ultimately, I will be grateful I get to spend time on the field with my players,” Bourque said. “It is always about the relationships formed with your players throughout the course of a year, you don’t always appreciate how good you have it until it’s gone. Losing last season really made me appreciate my role as the head coach for the Taunton High baseball program.”
Franklin, 10 @ King Philip, 14 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (F) Parker Cheuvront 32-yard field goal.
4th Quarter: (KP) Mikey Malatesta 2-yard rush, Matthew Kelley XP good; (F) Mack Gulla 10-yard rush, P. Cheuvront XP good; (KP) Charlie Grant 10-yard pass to Danny Clancy, M. Kelley XP good.
Mansfield, 12 vs. Marshfield, 9 – Final 1st Quarter: (Mar) Safety.
2nd Quarter: (Mans) Anthony Comer 2-yard rush, XP blocked; (Mans) Nico Holmes 49-yard rush, conversion no good.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (Mar) Sam Sullivan 77-yard fumble return, Ethan Grindle XP good.