North Attleboro, 42 @ Sharon, 14 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Russell Dunlap fumble recovery in the end zone, Tyler DeMattio XP good; (NA) Brendan McHugh 2-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (NA) B. McHugh 3-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good; (S) Jeremy Ruskin 26-yard pass to Chris Gong, Mitchell Director XP good; (NA) Nick Raneri 17-yard pass to Ryan Gaumond, T. DeMattio XP good; (NA) N. Raneri 24-yard pass to R. Gaumond, T. DeMattio XP good.
3rd Quarter: (NA) Brett Labonte 4-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
4th Quarter: (S) J. Ruskin 4-yard pass to C. Gong, M. Director XP good.
Canton, 2 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Twice Canton took a one-goal lead and twice Foxboro responded in a quick manner to earn a draw at home. Paul Corcoran converted a sliding shot in the 2nd minute to give the visitors an early advantage but Nic Beigel brought Foxboro level, converting a penalty drawn by Matt Garcia. In the second half, Simon Cruz made a nice near post run in the 59th minute and hit a one timer to make it 2-1 in favor of Canton. But just four minutes later, Beigel grabbed his second with a nicely placed shot from outside the area.
Canton, 2 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final – Foxboro built a 2-0 lead but Canton scored twice in the final 20 minutes to earn a draw. Sophomore Katelyn Mollica put the hosts up 1-0 in the 10th minute, an advantage Foxboro took into halftime. Ten minutes into the second half, Kaitryn Franchino scored her second goal in as many games to make it 2-0. But Canton scored on a penalty kick in the 62nd minute and tied the game in the 71st minute to earn a point on the road.
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 9 – Final – North Attleboro’s Ashlyn Gaulin recorded four points and sister Emma Gaulin had three points as the Rocketeers rolled at home. Ashlyn Gaulin scored three goals and had one assist while Emma Gaulin scored once and had two helpers. Olivia Bishop, Lauren Pezzi, Lexi Sinacola, Tess Collins, and Emma Noreck all scored once for North Attleboro.
Canton, 0 @ Walpole, 4 – Final – Canton sophomore Riley O’Connor made 16 saves in goal, but the Bulldogs fell on the road to the Porkers.
North Attleboro, 0 @ Taunton, 4 – Final – Taunton scored a pair of goals in each half to pick up a win over visiting North Attleboro. Alana Tavares scored both goals in the first half to give the Tigers the lead. Seniors Lauren Torres and Cierra Bartel each scored once in the second half for Taunton while Emma Sheehan made five saves in goal. THS head coach Liz Hathaway said Jillian Pagliuca, Jocelyn Pagliuca, and Kathryn Robinson all played well for the Tigers.
Oliver Ames, 2 vs. West Bridgewater, 1 – Final – Oliver Ames scored once in each half to pick up a win over West Bridgewater. The Tigers had 13 corners and peppered the West Bridgewater net with 21 shots. Meaghan Rockey scored OA’s first goal on an assist from Maggie Woods. Rockey then set Maura Kiernan up for the game-winning goal at the midway point of the second half.
Boys Cross Country Ocean State Invitational – Mansfield’s Patrick Heavey earned a third place finish to help the Hornets take a third overall as a team. Heavey clocked in at 16:33.8 for third while Paxton Howard (17:30.9, 38th), Mike Mullahy (17:31.5, 40th), and Cullen Lancaster (17:32.3, 42nd) all had top 50 finishes for the Hornets. Oliver Ames was fifth as a team led by Zane Reservitz’s (16:51.1) 10th place finish and Rory McLaughlin’s (16:54.9) 12th place finish. North Attleboro senior Liam Monahan was 11th overall, crossing the finish line at 16:54.7. In the other varsity race, Foxboro’s Ryan Proulx finished in 17:33.1, taking 22nd overall.
Girls Cross Country Ocean State Invitational – Foxboro had two runners finish in the top 10 of the Division 1 Varsity race, helping the Warriors earn a fourth place finish. Junior Abby Hassman was fourth overall at 19:28.4 while senior Lexi Quinn took seventh at 19:34.5. Lindsey Nelson was the third Warrior to cross, taking 17th overall in 20:41.4. In the Division 2 Varsity race, Mansfield girls were 20th overall. Senior Margaret Riley (20:50.3) and sophomore Tessa Lancaster (20:51.7) took 43rd and 44th respectively. North Attleboro was 22nd overall with junior Olivia Forbes having the top time, taking 80th in 21:41.1. Attleboro junior Shea Jamieson had the top finish of any Hockomock runner, clocking in at 20:41.1 for 37th.
Attleboro, 21 @ Dartmouth, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (D) Dylan Pacheco 8-yard pass to Nathan Oliver, XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (A) Jason Weir 1-yard rush, 2pt failed; (A) Isaac Gudiel 55-yard interception return, Justin Cote 2pt rush.
4th Quarter: (A) J. Cote 4-yard rush, Colby Briggs XP good.
Foxboro, 0 @ King Philip, 17 – Final First Quarter: (KP) Cole Baker 35-yard field goal.
Second Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 1-yard rush, C. Baker XP good.
Third Quarter: No scoring.
Fourth Quarter: (KP) R. Halliday 3-yard rush, C. Baker XP good.
Mansfield, 14 vs. Everett, 41 – Final 1st Quarter: (M) Nick Marciano 4-yard rush, Nico Holmes XP good; (E) Dillon Doherty 2-yard rush, XP good.
2nd Quarter: (E) D. Doherty 37-yard pass to Tyrese Baptiste, XP blocked; (E) D. Doherty 51-yard pass to Mike Sainristil, 2pt conversion good; (E) D. Doherty 36-yard pass to M. Sainristil, 2pt failed.
3rd Quarter: (E) D. Doherty 10-yard pass to Eli Auguste, XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Vinnie Holmes 1-yard rush, N. Holmes XP good; (E) Jaden Mahabir 1-yard rush, XP good.
North Attleboro, 19 vs. Bishop Feehan, 23 – Final 1st Quarter: (NA) Nick Raneri 70-yard pass to Ryan Gaumond, Tyler DeMattio XP good; (BF) Safety.
2nd Quarter: (BF) Tim Ambrosia 5-yard rush, XP blocked; (NA) T. DeMattio 25-yard field goal; (NA) T. DeMattio 28-yard field goal.
3rd Quarter: (BF) T. Ambrosia 1-yard rush, T. Ambrosia 2pt pass to Nick Norko.
4th Quarter: (BF) T. Ambrosia 1-yard rush, William Lynch XP good; (NA) Brendan McHugh 8-yard rush, XP no good.
Oliver Ames, 18 vs. Silver Lake, 28 – Final
Sharon, 7 @ Ashland, 14 – Final
Stoughton, 7 vs. Catholic Memorial, 20 – Final 1st Quarter: No scoring.
2nd Quarter: (CM) Darius LeClair 1-yard rush, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (CM) Owen McGowan 7-yard rush, O. McGowan 2pt rush; (CM) Barrett Pratt 2-yard rush, 2pt failed; (S) Jeff Grier 18-yard rush, Josh Cocchi XP good.
4th Quarter: No scoring.
Taunton, 27 vs. Durfee, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (T) Noah Leonard 15-yard pass to Brayden Merrill, Coby Adams XP good.
2nd Quarter: (T) Tryton Zavala 11-yard rush, C. Adams XP good; (T) T. Zavala 4-yard rush, C. Adams XP good; (T) N. Leonard 18-yard pass to Wesner Charles, XP failed.
3rd Quarter: No scoring.
4th Quarter: (D) Elijah Concepcion 8-yard rush, XP good.
Attleboro, 4 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Attleboro scored three times in the second half to earn a win on the road. The Bombardiers had four different goal scorers on the day. Will Halben opened the scoring on an assist from Mike Russo but Stoughton’s John Neves tied the game going into halftime. Alex Naughton (from Joey Soucy), Justin Lurssen (from Russo), and Hugo Henriquez (from Soucy) scored in the second half for Attleboro.
Franklin, 0 @ Canton, 2 – Final – Canton scored once in each half to secure two points with a win over visiting Franklin. Simon Cruz opened the scoring in the 32nd minute as the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead into the break. Paul Corcoran made it 2-0 just five minutes into the second half. Alejandro Correal notched his first career shutout.
Taunton, 2 @ Foxboro, 5 – Final
King Philip, 1 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Milford’s Lucas Da Silva scored twice in a two minute span to help the Scarlet Hawks complete the comeback. KP took the lead at the midway point of the second half on a goal from Justin Wilson but Da Silva tied it two minutes later, finishing off a flick from Walisson de Oliveira to make it 1-1. Just two minutes later, Joey Madden’s long throw was flicked on by Leo Coelho and finished by Da Silva to make it 2-1. de Oliveira, Anthony Salvador and Cam Doherty played well for Milford.
Mansfield, 1 @ Sharon, 1 – Final – Mansfield’s Owen Mullahy scored in the final seconds of the game to help the Hornets grab a point on the road. Sharon took the lead in the first half off a free kick but Mansfield cashed in on a long throw to get the tie. Sharon’s Brian Higgins gave the Eagles the lead with a left-footed shot off a free kick. In the final sesconds, Mansfield’s Cam Eddy’s throw was kept in the box by Sam Nugent, and he found Mullahy in close for the tying tally. Nugent, Ethan Brill-Cass, and Colin Caridi had strong games for the Hornets.
Stoughton, 0 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Attleboro scored three times in the second half to pull out the win. Isabella Salviati scored a goal and assisted on another and Jess Gates had a pair of assists for the Bombardiers. Briley Harnois opened the scoring off a Salviatie assist. Salviati added the second from Gates and then Sam Fasoldt made it 3-0 with a header off a Gates corner. Attleboro coach Steve Santos is Gates controlled the midfield and Sophia Salviati played well in defense. Ashley Macia earned the clean sheet. Stoughton goalie Brianna Buckley had a strong first half, according to head coach Tara Daniels, to keep the game scoreless. Daniels added that moving Gabi Diaz from midfield to sweeper also helped organize the defense.
Canton, 1 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Olivia Rodman opened the scoring for the Bulldogs but Franklin responded within five minutes on a tying goal by Halle Atkinson. Freshman Stella Regan gave the Panthers the lead and then late in the game Sydney St. Marie added an insurance goal to seal the win.
Sharon, 0 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final – Steph Kemp had two goals and an assist and Cassidy McMahon had a brace for the Hornets. Melissa Reef, Sydney Mulkern, and Karina Gemiani each had an assist in the win.
Milford, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – Final – Chloe Layne scored twice and Avery Snead had a goal and an assist to keep KP perfect in the league. Snead scored the eventual game-winner with a header off a Faye Veillieux corner after 15 minutes. Nine minutes later, Layne scored from the penalty spot to double the lead before halftime. With 20 minutes left, Layne volleyed in a Snead cross to end the scoring. Taylor Butler made five saves for her third clean sheet of the season.
Attleboro @ Stoughton – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – The Rocketeers took the lead on a goal by Abby Calistra, but the Tigers scored three straight in the second half to get the win. Hannah Stryke tied the game off a penalty corner, with Maggie Woods picking up the assist. Kayla Lozzi completed a three-on-one break to give OA the lead and Woods added a goal to her earlier assist when she knocked in a rebound off the goalie’s pads. OA coach Sharon Lawrence also praised the midfield play of Meaghan Rockey and Brynna Courneen and the defending of Emily Han. Kara Ostrander made three saves to preserve the win.
King Philip, 5 @ Milford, 0 – Final – King Philip raced out to a 3-0 lead at halftime and never looked back in a win over Milford. Nicole Connor opened the scoring with an unassisted tally (23:51), Dana Truini converted a pass from Kate Lindmark (13:32), and Alli Meehan made it 3-0 off of a pass from Connor (1:39). In the second half, Lindmark scored on an assist from Meehan (16:24) and Meegan capped the scoring with 11:50 on a pass from Olivia Kulesza. Grace May and Mackenzie Manning combined for the shutout in net for KP.
Attleboro, 0 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – The Black Knights stayed unbeaten with a three-set win (25-10, 25-19, 25-22). Stoughton coach Erica Batchelder said the team “played together and shared the ball.” Mia Bennett had a strong game in the back row and Alexa Quinones had a great overall performance in the win. Attleboro’s Chelsea Calcagni had seven aces and two kills while Hailey Thake added two kills and a block.
Franklin, 3 @ Canton, 1 – Final – Franklin picked up an impressive win over a good Canton team, taking a 3-1 decision (25-21, 13-25, 25-21, 25-9) over the Bulldogs. For Canton, Julia Minichello played great defense with 14 digs and three aces and Nicole Brown was fantastic with 22 assists, 24 digs and four kills.
Taunton, 3 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Taunton secured its second win of the season with 3-1 (25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20) win on the road at Foxboro. Jaime Brown paced the offense with 16 assists, five aces and a block while Sam Martin added five kills, an ace and a block for the Tigers. Sam Silveira had a strong all around game with three kills, two blocks, and 11 aces while Mckenzie Lucie solidified the back row with strong serve receive and defensive play (six digs).
King Philip, 3 @ Milford, 1 – Final – King Philip went on the road and picked up a 3-1 win over Milford (25-23, 21-25, 25-9, 25-14). Grace Ely paced the offense with nine kills and two aces while Catherine Waldeck added nine kills and two blocks, Nicole Coughlan chipped in with five kills, three aces four blocks, Emma Brooks added six aces, and Lillian Carlo led the defense with five digs.
Oliver Ames, 2 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – The Rocketeers took the final set 15-6 to earn a hard-fought 3-2 (25-17, 15-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-6) victory. Tatian Sotelo led North with eight kills while Emma Gunn added seven kills. Hayley Gaskin had 15 assists, Joanna Collins-Bilyeu added 12 assists and Lizi Buron anchored the defense with 13 digs. Junior Jordan Bosse led the Tigers with 10 kills and three aces in defeat. OA also got 28 digs and three aces from Sadie Homer and four kills, four blocks, and two aces from Jackie Raymond.
Mansfield, 1 @ Sharon, 3 – Final – Mansfield won the third set to prevent the sweep but Sharon finished off the match to earn a 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 16-25, 25-22) win. For Mansfield, Greenly Kelly had 14 kills, Emily Dardinski added 10 kills, and Sam Sternberg had 14 digs.
Canton, 155 @ North Attleboro, 160 – Final – Four Bulldogs shot sub-40 rounds to earn the Davenport win. Tommy Dimock shot a medalist round of 38 to lead the way, while Chris Lavoie, Mike Gobbi and Thomas Singleton each shot rounds of 39. Marcus Costa had North’s low score of the day with a 39. Jillian Barend and Matt Wanless each shot rounds of 40 and Justin Strom shot a 41 for the Rocketeers.
King Philip, 169 @ Franklin, 166 – Final – Matt D’Errico shot a 38 to lead the way for the Panthers in a close match at Franklin Country Club. Franklin also got a round of 41 from Quintin Faro and a 42 from Jake Blaney. KP was led by Kayla Shuberth, who shot a 40.
Attleboro, 178 @ Oliver Ames, 153 – Final – Thomas Walsh shot a medalist round of 35 in wet conditions to lead the Tigers to their first win of the season. Tate Hadges shot a 38, Liam Barry shot a 39, and James Walsh finished with a 41 for OA. Attleboro’s low round belonged to Ethan Johnson, who shot a 42.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – One team came into the game having won three straight league titles, making a Super Bowl appearance, and was inaugurating a new turf field, while the other team came in after back-to-back league and state titles and was riding a 25-game win streak. These were the two most successful programs in the Hockomock League over the last two seasons.
It was a game that was destined to come down to one play; to be decided by inches. That was exactly what happened.
Brendan McHugh broke a few tackles and tiptoed down the sideline to put North Attleboro in front for good with 1:33 remaining in the fourth quarter but King Philip drove inside the Rocketeers red zone and had two shots at the end zone before a last second pass was broken up at the goal line. North held on for the 14-7 victory to christen the newly-upgraded Raymond E. Beaupre Field and hand KP its first defeat since the penultimate game of 2015.
“I have no idea what happened,” McHugh admitted when asked about the game-winning touchdown. “I was staring at the ground and I thought I was going to fall, but I just stayed on my feet and just got to the end zone. I was close but I wasn’t out of bounds.”
When asked what this win meant for the team, he replied, “My senior year, we wanted to get them and we got them. So much confidence, that’s a hell of a team, that defense is legit and we grinded out a win.”
It was a battle of attrition, which both coaches had expected coming into the game. Both defenses were in control and both offense were finding their feet with a number of new faces. In the end, both coaches saw the positive from facing tough competition to kick off a new season.
“They came to play today against a very, very good team,” said KP coach Brian Lee. He joked, “I don’t know why we thought of playing them instead of scheduling someone easy a long time ago, but the truth is we learned so much about our team tonight. Playing a team like that in these conditions, they grew up fast tonight.”
North coach Don Johnson added, “We had to earn it. We had to work hard and earn it on both sides of the football. I think it’s a good confidence booster for those guys who are playing in their first game tonight.”
North took the lead just before the end of the first quarter with an eight-play, 67-yard drive. Senior quarterback Nick Raneri got the Rocketeers going with a 34-yard keeper that moved the ball down to the KP 29. Three plays later, Raneri barely eked out two yards on fourth down to keep the drive alive. Two plays after that, McHugh took a jet sweep to the right side of the line and was untouched for a 16-yard score.
The Rocketeers scored with 19 seconds left in the first. The Warriors scored 19 seconds later. Junior tailback Ryan Halliday (22 carries, 181 yards) bounced back from a fumble on his first carry of the game, bursting through the left side of the line, keeping his feet despite a diving attempt at a tackle by Luke LaBonte, and racing 80 yards for the tying score.
KP tried to keep the momentum going when senior corner Deric Casado made a highlight-reel, one-handed interception right in front of his bench, but the North defense was just as strong, forcing a three and out.
The game stayed tied coming out of halftime. KP started the half by continuing to put the ball into the hands of its new workhorse back, running Halliday into the North defensive line that was led by senior Ryan Clemente and junior Trevor Hewett.
North finally managed a long drive against the KP defense at the end of the third quarter with Raneri narrowly missing Ethan Friberg in the end zone after the junior got free down the seam.
“We felt pretty confident on that one and I think Raneri saw him so wide open that he just didn’t get enough on the football,” Johnson said of the missed opportunity. “He lofted it instead of just putting it on his hands and it seemed to take forever to come down.”
On the first play of the fourth quarter, freshman kicker Tyler DeMattio missed a 32-yard kick wide left and the game remained even.
KP’s next drive stalled at its own 46 after a holding call on third down. Cole Baker’s punt drove Ryan Gaumond back to his own 10, but the North senior scrapped for 24 yards on the return to give North at least a little cushion with which to start the drive.
After working a first down near midfield, North turned to McHugh (16 carries, 95 yards) again. The senior went for six yards to the right and then broke a sweep to the left for 14 yards down to the KP 33. After a timeout, McHugh took the ball around the left side in front of his own bench and the Warriors appeared to have him wrapped up only to stop thinking he had gone out of bounds. McHugh kept going, inches from the sideline for the go-ahead score.
“He’s that kind of guy,” Johnson said of McHugh. “He doesn’t even know he’s doing it half the time but he’s a threat to break anything at any time so there are times we say just give it to McHugh because he can create so much on his own.”
The Warriors took advantage of a new rule on the ensuing kickoff, calling a fair catch inside the 10 and automatically getting the ball at the 25. Junior Robbie Jarest rolled out to the far side and hit David Morganelli for 12 yards. Andy DeMattio nearly had a game-ending interception but could not hold on and the drive extended on a pass interference call on third down.
A 10-yard screen pass to Casado was followed by a 21-yard pass to Morganelli and suddenly KP was down to the North 17-yard-line with and the clock was stopped with eight seconds remaining. A false start backed KP up five yards, but Jarest just missed Morganelli in the back of the end zone on second down.
Here is the final play of the game as the pass is picked off by Matt Penta at the goal line with no time remaining, lifting North Attleboro to the win in the season opener #hockomockpic.twitter.com/PQOzcRL5wO
As the final horn sounded, the last gasp pass was picked off by Matt Penta at the goal line to seal the North win.
“I told them the second series is going to be better for you than the first and the third series will be better and the fourth and you settle down and confidence grows,” Lee said about what his team learned from that final drive regardless of whether or not it ended in a score. “They definitely believed they were going to win it at the end.”
North Attleboro (1-0) will be back on the Beaupre Field turf next week when it hosts rival Bishop Feehan. King Philip (0-1) will play another Davenport division team next Friday in its home opener, as Foxboro travels to Macktaz Field.
Outlook: After playing plenty of sophomores last season, the Bulldogs will be looking to boast a balanced, experienced team aiming to compete for the Davenport division title in 2018.
Canton brings back six starters on offense and seven starters back on the defensive side of the ball. The Dogs are one of the few teams with their starting quarterback returning as junior Johnny Hagan continues under center after a solid sophomore season. He showed the ability to pass and run with the ball, and he has almost all of his running back options back to work with. Gersom Rivera had a terrific sophomore year and will be counted on to be a big piece of the offense during 2018. Rivera’s athleticism and speed will be complemented by the hard nose running and blocking of junior Kyle Fitzgerald and senior Brendan Albert.
Junior Jack Connolly will anchor the offensive line and will be joined by senior Brian Campagna and junior Lucas Bryant at the center position. Ryan Lentol, who came on strong at the end of last year, picked up right where he left off and will be a top option at split end.
The strength of Canton’s defense is its linebacker group, which is full of experience and talent. Albert is back at one of the outside spots after earning Hock All Star last year while senior Ben Seaman is back on the other side. Junior James Murphy will fill in the middle after impressing last season and junior Robbie Gallery has impressed early on as the other inside option. Canton will also rely on a seasoned secondary with Fitzgerald and David Allen returning as starters. Ryan Colby should see time in the secondary and Owen Lehane is in the mix for the defensive line.
“We’re very excited for the season,” said Canton head coach Dave Bohane. “The kids have put the work in, we think we can play with anyone in the league but its a very good league so you have to be on your ‘A’ game every night. Every team is well coached and competitive so any time you can win in the Hock, its a success. We have to take it game by game, do the best we can, and keep plugging.
Outlook: The Warriors are aiming to make it two straight years in the postseason and will use a mix of returning players and new faces to try and get it done.
Foxboro graduated 35 seniors last year so there are some spots that need to be filled, but the Warriors are off to a good start with Liam Foley back in the fold at quarterback. The senior saw time under center last season along with Devin Hassett. And Foley will be in good shape as the Warriors have a lot of experience on the offensive line. Senior Tom Cullen is back in the middle of the line as the center, senior Andrew Longa and sophomore Sean Ferguson take on the tackle positions, and senior Hunter Williams and junior Aidan Dow will fill out the interior of the line.
Mike Luong got touches as a junior out of the backfield last season and will be a main part of the offense this season. Pat Stapleton is a returning split end, classmate Rob Fay will step into the same role, and junior Shayne Kerrigan will a top target for Foley.
The Warriors have experience and good size up front on defense, led by returning starting tackles Shawn Teixeira (6’4, 260) and Bill McNeil (6’0, 265). Senior William Ogbebor and Anton George will be called upon to fill out the defensive line on the ends while Williams and Martin McElroy will be joined by Mike Sheehan at linebacker. Russell Neale is back as the place kicker after a strong junior season.
Outlook: After reaching the quarterfinals last season, the 2018 version of the Scarlet Hawks are aiming for a deeper run into the postseason. And not just that, the Hawks are looking to be serious contenders for the Davenport crown.
Milford has a strong core of returning players back, a group of eager new faces looking to make an impression, and big new piece on the line. Kevin Pyne (6’8, 280) transferred to his hometown high school and will anchor what looks to be a big, physical line. Pyne is rated as the top recruit for his class and holds D1 offers from over a dozen schools including Notre Dame and Michigan. Senior Josh Ligor returns as a starter on the line while sophomore Nick Yohn will also be a two-way lineman.
The Hawks bring back both their quarterbacks: senior Ryan Pearl handled the team’s ‘WAR’ package while junior Colby Pires stepped in when Milford spread it out. Junior Luke Rosa will step in as an option at halfback along with sophomore Dominic Schofield. Brendan White (WR/S) brings toughness to both sides of the ball for the Hawks.
Shapel Feaster is one of the most experienced defensive backs in the Hockomock League and should be an important piece of the 2018 Hawks’ defense. Junior CJ Cerella will step in to anchor the linebacking group. On special teams, Sean Lehane is one of the strongest kickers in the area and will try to give Milford a spark at wide receiver this season.
“The goal of the 2018 football season for the Milford Scarlet Hawks is simple: start fast, play physical, and be the toughest team on the field on Friday nights,” said Milford head coach Anthony Vizakis.
Outlook: The target on North Attleboro’s back continues to grow. Coming off their third straight league title, including two straight Davenport titles, the Rocketeers made it all the way to the D3 State Final before falling, 35-33, to St. John’s Shrewsbury.
Big Red is hopeful it can continue its string of success but knows it will be tested with a difficult schedule, including a non-league game with two-time defending state champion King Philip. The biggest challenge will be finding a replacement for three-year starter Chad Peterson, who graduated with a handful of program records and three Hock titles as the starter. Seniors Nick Raneri and Luke LaBonte are both in the mix, and both saw time last year throughout the season. Raneri started all 13 games at tailback but also filled in at QB at times.
Whoever ends up getting the nod at quarterback will have one of the best offensive linemen in the entire state with senior Ryan Clemente anchoring the protection unit. Clemente is joined by senior Jack Puccio as returning starters on the line while seniors Joe Larkin and John Nally, and juniors John Kummer, Ethan Friberg, Trevor Hewitt, Montrel Jackson, and Ethan Mottinger are all competing for time. The Rocketeers also have solid skill options back with senior Brendan McHugh (14 total touchdowns) back at the starting slot back. Omar Jasseh offers size and speed at split end while Ryan Gaumond’s quickness gives the Rocketeers another option down field.
North Attleboro returns six starters on the defensive end, including McHugh, Gaumond, and Jasseh in the secondary. Clemente will be a big piece of the defensive line while Raneri and captain Jonathan James, who will also see time at tight end, will lead the linebacker unit. Russell Dunlap, Puccio, Mike Carty, Friberg and Jackson are all in the mix for defensive end spots while Ryan Boyle, Tom O’Neill, Duane Bryant, and Owen Harding are competing for time at linebacker.
“We expect a very challenging schedule, opening with KP on our new turf field and then an improved Bishop Feehan team in Week 2,” said North Attleboro head coach Don Johnson. “The Davenport division will be extremely competitive this year, with several teams able to beat anyone on any given night. We have a nice core, but if we are going to compete at a championship level, then we are going to need several new faces to mature very quickly. There’s a lot of work still to be done, and not a lot of time to do it.”
Outlook: For the first time in Sharon, there will be football on Friday nights.
With the installation of lights at the high school field, the Eagles will be hosting teams on Friday nights instead of Saturday afternoons. And the 2018 Eagles are hoping to put a show under those lights. Sharon brings back a handful of key returning starters on both sides of the ball, and with one more year experience under their belts, will be looking to compete in what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons top to bottom in the Davenport.
Sharon averaged nearly 20 points per game in its six non-league games last year and is hoping to carry that over into Davenport play this season. Senior quarterback Jeremy Ruskin (six total touchdowns) is back under center to lead the offense and last year’s starting running back Aaron Strong (three touchdowns) also returns to give the Eagles a solid 1-2 punch on offense right away. Coleman Loftus’ size and strength will be a vital part of the line on both sides of the ball while Chris Gong and Alec Filipkowski return as Ruskin’s main two targets.
Not only goes Gong give Sharon options on offense because of his speed, he is one of the most dangerous kick returners in the state. He had an 80-yard punt return touchdown and a 99-yard kickoff return last season so opposing special team units will have to pay a lot of attention.
Despite the numbers, the Eagles had a strong defense last season. This season, Sharon boasts a lot of speed (on both sides of the ball) and is looking to use that to be more aggressive. Juniors Kiran Chandrasekaran will step in to be a big part of the secondary while classmate Nic Marrero will be relied on to anchor the linebackers.
“With a lot of returning starters and a sprinkle of new talent, I am expecting this team to take a huge step forward from last year’s inexperienced team,” said Sharon head coach Dave Morse.
Outlook: It feels like a fresh start for the Black Knights after graduating a bunch of players that had multiple seasons of experience under their belts.
But the focus remains the same for the Black Knights, who are aiming to be in contention for the Davenport title and make another appearance in the state tournament. Similar to previous seasons, Stoughton will have talent in the backfield and that will be the focal point of the offense. Jeff Grier is one of the fastest players in the league and will make defenses pay when there is space. Alex Iverson is a shifty option out of the backfield, Malachi Green-Hightower brings power to the run game, and sophomore Chris Ais could emerge as a playmaker for the Black Knights.
Junior George Currier and sophomore John Burke will battle it out for the starting quarterback position while Matt Piana, Ali Awad, and Evan Jackman have solidified spots on the offensive line. Frank Derbes will factor into the offense as a tight end and junior Ajahn Rue is back as a receiver.
Defensively, Iverson and Green-Hightower will be right in the heart of the lineup as linebackers while Grier will help as a member of the secondary. Cian Swierzewski has impressed throughout the offseason and the preseason and will be a key piece of the defense from the safety spot. Stoughton is looking for other names to step up and help anchor its hard nose defense.
Last fall was somewhat of a rebuilding season for the Bulldogs, who had a roster loaded with underclassmen, and this season the expectations will be much higher as Canton looks to make a push for the postseason. On defense, Albert will be expected to make the difference from his linebacker position, stuffing the run or showing off his athleticism to make plays outside the tackles and against the passing game. Albert’s leadership and reading of the game will be important, as Canton continues to be a relatively young team, and he will be expected to make plays all over the field, chasing down runners or getting into the backfield to harass opposing quarterbacks. Defense has been a priority under head coach Dave Bohane and Albert gives Canton another centerpiece to build around this season.
Mansfield senior Khristian Conner was one of the league’s top defensive backs last season and is one of the reasons the Hornets are expecting to have one of the best defenses in the league. Conner is one of the quickest players in the league so its not easy for receivers to get away from him. If they are able to get some space and make a catch, Conner is a solid tackler so its rare to see a big play happen his way. His experience will give him and advantage as he looks to build upon a strong junior campaign (31 tackles, four pass breakups, and one interception). Conner’s ability to stick with his man is going to allow the Hornets’ front seven to cause a lot of havoc in the backfield.
Despite having his 2017 season cut a couple of games short, Driscoll was one of the top defensive players for the Panthers and also one of the best cover guys in the league. He made 35 tackles, two for loss, last season, broke up four passes, and had one interception from his cornerback position. He also chipped in on offense, catching 23 passes, and his speed and athleticism will be important for Franklin’s defense this fall, as he regularly lines up against the opponents’ top threat in the passing game but also steps up against the running game. Franklin coach Eian Bain called him the team’s “most explosive athlete” at the end of last season and Driscoll will be counted on again to make plays, force turnovers, and help the Panthers stifle opponents to make another playoff push.
Attleboro senior Nick Evans uses the combination of size, strength, and speed to cause headaches for opposing offenses. Whether he’s lined up on the left or ride side, or has a hand on the ground not, Evans is a versatile hybrid of a defensive end/outside linebacker. Evans is very aggressive and if he gets a head of steam, can be a nuisance in the backfield, against both the pass and the run. His speed and strength allow him to get into the backfield to cause issues while his size and length factor in when disrupting the passing game at the line of scrimmage. Even if the play runs away from him, he can use his athleticism to to track the ball down and make a play.
Milford knows that it can always count on the infectious energy that Feaster brings to the field, whether he is making plays in the secondary or snagging passes on offense, but he is also one of the top ball-hawks (no pun intended) in the league. Feaster was Milford’s team leader in pass deflections last season and picked off three passes, while also being willing to step up into the running game to make tackles. Fast, with good hands and solid positioning, Feaster can close quickly on passes and makes plays even when it looks like he may be beat. He will typically be stationed over the opponent’s best receiver and his ability to lockdown on the outside allows Milford to be aggressive in other parts of the field even against some of the top passing attacks, such as North Attleboro or Duxbury.
Mansfield has long been one of the premier football programs in the area, so it is big news when a sophomore just gets a starting role in the linebacker corps…let alone set a new program record for tackles in a season and emerge as one of the top defensive players in the Hockomock League. That is exactly what Holmes did last fall, with 108 tackles for the season, including 18 tackles for a loss. His speed and strength made him tough to block at the line of scrimmage and he showed an impressive ability to read the play, find a seam, and make plays. He also added four sacks, a forced fumble, and broke up two passes and was named the HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year. As he showed during an impressive winter on the wrestling mat, Holmes is tenacious and he is a tough player to move off the spot he is trying to get to, which should only get tougher for opponents as he gets more experienced. With Holmes back in the middle, Mansfield should once again have one of the league’s top defensive units as the Hornets try to unseat King Philip at the top of the league standings.
Stoughton has developed a reputation for having a hard nosed defense and will be trying to fit that description during the 2018 season. Senior Alex Iverson is a throw back type of player that fits in nicely with head coach Greg Burke’s style. The Black Knights are in need of some names to step up after graduating a strong class. Iverson plays both inside and outside the box. The senior isn’t the most flashy but gets the job done using toughness and intensity. He isn’t the biggest player on the field but he’s the type of player that will be all over the field making plays. Whether it’s defending the pass, stuffing the run, or getting downhill to get at the quarterback, Iverson is in a position to make big plays for the Black Knights.
Despite playing more games than any team in the league last year (13), North Attleboro was tied for third in fewest points allowed, giving up only 173 total or a little more than 13 points per game. Senior linebacker Nick Raneri will be one of the players that the Rocketeers will be counting on to continue that defensive strength as they go after a fourth straight league title and a return to the Super Bowl. Raneri, who is also stepping in at quarterback this season, is an athletic linebacker, who can cover ground outside the tackles but also step in and make plays up the middle. Never one to shy away from contact, Raneri is a vocal leader for the North defense. He is also capable of following receivers out of the backfield and making plays in the passing game. Raneri could be the quarterback on both sides of the ball and will be looking to fill big shoes after the graduations of last year’s quarterback Chad Peterson and linebacker Zach DeMattio.
King Philip has been defined by its defensive performances under head coach Brian Lee and that has led to back-to-back Kelley-Rex division titles, a pair of Super Bowl crowns, and 25 straight wins. Webster was the lynchpin of the Warriors defense last season, stepping into the linebacking corps and making an instant (and title-winning) impact. His strip sack in the Super Bowl led to the game-winning field goal. Webster was a presence all over the field, making 46 tackles (16 for loss), six sacks, five pass breakups, and even two interceptions. He reads the game like a much more experienced player and a motor that does not stop, which allows him to make big plays at the end of the game when KP needs it most. Webster is in the mold of previous KP linebackers and his attitude on both sides of the ball gets the rest of his teammates going. With him back in the middle, KP remains the team to beat in the Kelley-Rex.
When you talk about kids who did it all on the field last year, Hunter Williams is certainly on that list. Williams was apart of the Warriors’ offensive line, linebacker group, and the kick off coverage unit. This year, it looks like Williams will be a vital part of the Foxboro front seven on defense. The combination of speed and strength is what makes him an effective guard on the offensive line and those same traits are what help him stand out at linebacker. He can get down hill and help stop the run, or as he showed last year, can drop off in coverage and make a play. Williams’ work in the offseason has him in position to possibly be one of the top linebackers in a league that is very deep at that position.
ROCKLAND, Mass. – Even though it was very early, things weren’t looking good for the top-seeded Rocketeers.
Dartmouth had its first four batters reach on three straight walks and a double, resulting in a quick 1-0 advantage. But that was all the damage the Indians did as catcher Zach DeMattio erased the leadoff walk trying to steal second and starting pitcher Peter Cohen settled in to get two outs with runners on second and third.
And in the bottom half, North had a swift answer. The Rocketeers scored three runs, assuming a lead that they never relinquished, and sparked what would be an offensive showcase that resulted in a 20-2 win.
North Attleboro advances to the D2 South Final to play Hockomock rival Oliver Ames.
Big Red senior starting pitcher Peter Cohen not only had to face the top of a talented Dartmouth lineup to start the game but also had to deal with a hole near the rubber on the pitching – a mound issue that also gave Oliver Ames starter Michael Mulrean issues in the nightcap.
Cohen walked Dylan Pacheco to start the game but he was erased at second by a perfect throw from DeMattio. But Dartmouth’s Brett Abreu and Hunter Pimental also drew walks. Eric Sylvia sent one to the outfield for a double to bring one run in and put runners on second and third.
But Cohen finally settled in, getting a pair of popups in the infield to end the top of the first down just 1-0.
“It wasn’t a matter of Peter’s ability, he was really struggling with the mound,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “He figured it out and battled, that’s the senior in him. I’ve said it before, he’s a bulldog. I knew he’d find a way to figure it out to stay in the game, he was excellent from there on out.
“I think you feel great after [the top of the first]. They got one run but it could have been worse the way that first inning was going. But again, Peter has been in that same exact spot before and he’s gotten out of it. So we have a lot of faith in him.”
The momentum the Rocketeers seemed to get from allowing just one run seemed to carry over to the offensive side. Brendan McHugh reached on an error – one of seven miscues for the Indians on the day – and Nick Sinacola walked to quickly put runners on first and second for North.
As he has done all season, DeMattio delivered at the plate but crushing a two-run triple to right center field. Two batters later, DeMattio came home on a hard hit ground ball from Nick Raneri to make it 3-0.
“If you want to pick a defining moment in the game, I think that was it, even though it happened early, that was huge,” Hart said. “Just because of the struggles in the top of the first with a couple of walks and a run. Then we come back and get those three runs, that was huge. I think that Peter at ease and let him kind of figure out the mound and pitch his game.”
Cohen showed he had settled in by needing just 11 pitches in the top of the second inning, striking out the side. And North Attleboro kept things rolling in the bottom of the second, exploding for seven runs.
Three straight singles from Aidan Harding, Shawn Watters, and McHugh loaded the bases with no outs. Sinacola’s hard-hit grounder allowed two runs to score and put runners on the corners. DeMattio followed with an RBI single to plate McHugh, and Sinacola came home on a sac fly from Pearce.
Raneri reached on an error, allowing DeMattio to score to make it 8-1. North’s offense kept rolling with a single from Kyle Bolger, who then stole second. Harding then reached on an error and two runs came in for a 10-1 advantage.
“I think we did a good job putting the ball in play,” Hart said. “Obviously it helps if the other day has some errors. We’ve done well offensively this year but we just try to focus on our at-bats and attacking the baseball instead of what’s happening in the field.
“It’s a good time for everybody in the lineup to be putting in that effort.”
Dartmouth added a second run in the top of the third. Pacheco singled, advanced to second after a walk, took third after Cohen induced a double play, and scored on a wild pitch.
North’s offense went down in order (for the only time in the game) in the bottom of the third but was right back at in the fourth. Nate Pearce struck out but raced to first on a dropped third strike and forced a high throw, allowing him to take second. A line drive double from Raneri made it 11-2, and a two-out single from Harding scored Raneri in from third.
The Rocketeers continued to stay hot at the plate and pushed across five more runs in the fifth inning. Sinacola doubled and DeMattio reached on an error to put runners on the corners. After DeMattio stole second, Pearce was intentionally walked and Raneri made the Indians pay with a two-run single through the right side.
Bolger was intentionally walked to load the bases again and Harding delivered with a two-run single. Watters followed with an RBI single to make it 17-2. The teams came off the field and started to leave the dugouts because of the 15-run mercy run.
The umps called both teams back saying the rule did not apply. A 30-minute delay occurred as officials figured it out. In the end, it was decided that the MIAA 15-run mercy run does not apply past the quarterfinal round.
After the long break, freshman Dennis Colleran took over on the mound for Cohen (5 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 5 BB, 4 K). Colleran retired the side in order in his first varsity experience.
North tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ryan Pasquel was hit by a pitch and took second on a hit from Matt Seavey. Todd Robinson’s bloop single pushed Pasquel to third but Dartmouth got the force out at second. Bolger drove Pasquel in, Jake Palmer brought Robinson home with a single, and Harding scored Bolger with a base hit.
Ben Arrighi worked around a one-out walk, striking out a pair in the top of the seventh to end the game.
“Our guys came ready to play, they were really excited to get after it today,” Hart said.
North Attleboro baseball (20-2) will take on Oliver Ames in the D2 South Final on Saturday at 10:00AM at Campanelli Stadium.
Mansfield, 6 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – Mansfield scored in each of the first four innings on its way to a win over King Philip, clinching the Kelley-Rex division title with the result. The Hornets scored two runs in the first and third innings while tacking on single runs in the second and fourth. Tyler Dalton earned the win on the mound, allowing just three hits and one unearned run in the seventh inning, and struck out 12. Dalton helped his cause at the place by going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs. Cullin Anastasia added two hits and an RBI for Mansfield.
North Attleboro, 7 @ Taunton, 3 – Final – North Attleboro plated four runs in the third inning, including what turned out to be the winning run, to conclude the regular season with a victory on the road at Taunton. Brendan McHugh (three runs) started the third with a leadoff walk and scored on a double from Zach DeMattio (2-for-4). DeMattio scored on a two-out double from Jeff Gale, and Nick Raneri (HBP) scored on an errant throw. Gale came in to score on a base hit from Nolan Buckley. Taunton scored two in the fifth behind three straight singles from Jack Moynihan, Evan Melo, and Tyler Pietrzyk, and then a sacrifice fly from Jacob Crawford. But North put the game away with two more runs in the top of the sixth. Shawn Watters (double) scored on a triple from McHugh, and McHugh came home on a sacrifice fly from Nick Sinacola.
North Attleboro, 7 @ Milford, 4 – Final (9 inn.) – North Attleboro struck for three runs in the top of the ninth inning, all with two outs, to hand Milford its second straight loss. Olivia Capobianco drove in Katherine Munley and came around to score herself on a base hit from Abby Gallagher. Gallagher scored on a hit from Ashley Cangiano. Annabelle Hebard had two doubles and scored a run for North. Bella Erti struck out five in the win.
North Attleboro, 7 vs. Walpole, 18 – Final
“We knew we’d face Sinacola and he’s a great pitcher, and we knew it’d be a great game,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “So we talked about competition, and I think sometimes people forget that competition is back and forth — they answer, then you answer, back and forth. So that was the message prior to the game. We knew there’d be a lot of swings, we just had to stay the course and trust each other. North Attleboro is a great baseball team, they made it really difficult for us today, so hats off to them.
“I thought Jake did a great job just setting the tone. Each time we needed him to settle us back down, he was able to do that.”
North Attleboro’s Zach DeMattio connected on a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to put Big Red ahead 1-0.
But Franklin sophomore Jack Nally answered in the top half of the second, ripping a line drive solo shot down into the bleachers in left field to make it 1-1.
“[Nick] pitched his tail off, there’s not much more to say,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “He did everything we asked him to. The kids have been behind him all year. He’s a great leader for us too. We knew scoring chances would be tough to come by for both teams. You have to take them when you have the opportunity.”
Those would be the only runs that the starting pitchers gave up, though each team had a golden chance to take the lead late in the game.
North had its best chance in the bottom of the seventh when Nick Raneri reached on a one-out single, and pinch runner Nolan Buckley went all the way to third after an errant pickoff attempt. The Rocketeers tried for a suicide squeeze to bring the winning run in, but Franklin’s defense was prepared.
Noviello purposely pitched high and junior catcher Jake Macchi fired down the third base line. Shortstop Alex Haba made a nice play to get back to the bag, took the throw, and then ran down the runner for the second out. Noviello struck out the next batter to end the inning.
“We had talked about it and how we wanted to defend it,” Brown said. “We decided that if they were going to do it, it’d be the first pitch so we went pitch out there and we were fortunate enough to get it done. And our shortstop did a great job coming over the top of that play, because that’s not an easy play. The guys did a great job executing it.”
“We’ve been aggressive all season, I’m not going to make any excuses for doing it,” Hart said about the decision. “I thought it was the time to do it…that’s the way we play the game and that’s how we’re going to continue to do it.”
That momentum carried into the top of the eighth for the Panthers. Evan Wendell (walk) and Scott Elliott (single) reached and then advanced a base on a throwing error. After going up 3-0, Haba was intentionally walked to load the bases.
That put an end to Sinacola’s day but senior Ben Arrighi came in and got the job done. The senior made a nice play on a grounder near the first base line to get the force out at home and got a swinging strikeout for the third out to escape the inning without any damage.
“That’s his spot right there,” Hart said of Arrighi. “His innings are down because our starters have been able to go deep into games. I give him a lot of credit. He came in with some serious guts and got the job done for us in that inning.”
Noviello didn’t slow down in the bottom of the eighth, sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around a pop up to keep the momentum on the Panthers’ side.
Nally got things started in the top of the ninth with a leadoff single and then stole second. Shane O’Neil laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Nally over, and the sophomore scored on a base hit from senior Michael Langmeyer to make it 2-1.
Langmeyer stole second, took third on a groundout, and crossed the plate on an RBI single from Colby Fitzgibbons. Elliott followed with a walk to put runners on first and second and then Haba — who had a two-run home run taken away by a leaping grab from North’s Nathan Pearce in the sixth inning — delivered the knock out blow with a three-run bomb over the press box at Community Field to give Franklin a 6-1 lead.
“[Alex] has been real steady for us,” Brown said. “He really stepped up big and delivered in a big spot for us. We really needed those insurance runs to beat a team like that because North is capable of scoring in bunches.”
Franklin senior Bryan Woelfel needed just 10 pitches to set North down in order in the ninth inning to close the door.
Franklin baseball finishes the regular season 17-5 overall and 12-4 in the Hockomock. If King Philip defeats Mansfield on Thursday, the Panthers will share the Kelley-Rex title with the Hornets. Franklin will find out its postseason fate June 3rd (Super 8) or June 5th (D1 South). North Attleboro (16-2 overall, 12-2 Hock) is back in action on Wednesday against Milford.
Mansfield, 8 @ Walpole, 1 – Final – Mansfield continued to improve its resume for the postseason with a win over Walpole. The Hornets’ offense scored in every inning but the sixth inning and after the Rebels tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second, Mansfield responded with three runs of its own in the bottom half. Tyler Dalton (RBI, run) and Mike Hargadon (two RBI, run) each had two hits for the Hornets while Dan Saraceno was responsible for driving in two more runs. Kevin Dow earned the win, striking out 10 with four hits allowed and two walks.
North Attleboro, 8 vs. Bishop Feehan, 3 – Final – North Attleboro scored three runs in the fifth inning to break open a 2-2 game and never looked back to beat Feehan. Brendan McHugh scored from first after a throwing error on a sac bunt, Nick Sinacola scored on a Zach DeMattio double, and DeMattio came across on a sac fly from Nick Raneri. The Rocketeers added insurance in the sixth inning when Nate Pearce launched a three-run home run to make it 8-3. Feehan took a 2-0 lead in the first inning but North tied it in the bottom half on Pearce’s two-out two-RBI single. Pearce finished the day with five RBI, DeMattio had a pair of doubles, and Sinacola went 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Matt Wanless earned the win, allowing one earned run in 6.1 innings of work while striking out five.
Taunton, 6 @ Durfee, 2 – Final – Taunton’s Tyler Medeiros dazzled on the mound, striking out 11 to earn the win for the Tigers. Medeiros allowed one earned run on three hits and no walks in a stellar performance. Jacob Crawford had a three-run triple for the Tigers while Medeiros added two hits, a run scored, and two RBI.
Stoughton @ Canton – Postponed to Tuesday, 5/29 at 3:45.
King Philip, 19 @ Foxboro, 0 – Final (5 inn.) – King Philip’s offense accounted for 21 hits as the Warriors rolled to a big win on the road over Foxboro. Elise Pereira launched a three-run home run while Brooke Taute and Jess Bonner each added a solo shot in the game. Taute, Meghan Gorman, and Faith Turinese each had three hits while Marjorie Guerrier and Hailey McCasland each belted two hits. Pereira and Turinese combined to throw a two-hit shutout.
Mansfield, 2 @ Holliston, 4 – Final – Mansfield had the tying run on second base in the top of the seventh inning but a nice play in right field robbed the Hornets of a hit and put an end to the visitor’s rally. Sydney Woods had a pair of hits for the Hornets while Kara Bendanillo, Mady Bendanillo, Kerran Holmes and Caitlin Gomes each had one hit. Mansfield pitcher Sarah Cahill struck out six and allowed four hits.
North Attleboro, 9 @ King Philip, 4 – Final
Taunton, 2 @ Mansfield, 16 – Final
Sharon, 14 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 7 – Final
Mansfield, 16 @ Attleboro, 8 – Final
Stoughton, 2 @ Canton, 3 – Final – In a rematch from earlier in the week, Stoughton once again took wins at first and second singles but Canton won the match with a sweep of doubles play and a win at third singles. Freshman Minh Duong won 6-2, 6-4 at third singles, the team of Justin Luk and Tyler Duffy picked up a 6-3, 6-4 win at first doubles and Charlie Malloy and Aidas Jakubenas earned a 6-7, 6-4, 14-12 win at second doubles to seal the win. Stoughton freshman Waseem Sablon, who finished his rookie year at 10-6, won 6-4, 6-2 at first singles and junior Erik Anderson prevailed 6-1, 6-3 at second singles.
Franklin, 1 @ Sharon, 4 – Final – Sharon picked up a win in a clash of two of the top teams in the Hockomock this year. The Eagles swept singles play with Fred Bondar (first singles, 6-2, 6-3), Andre Olivei (second, 6-3, 6-2), and Danujan Thirumavalavan (third, 6-0, 6-0) all picking up wins in straight sets. Ashwin Sreevatsa and Arie Chinnappin earned Sharon’s fourth point with a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles. Franklin’s Derek Wu and Tyler DiPalma were victorious, 6-4, 6-4, at first doubles.
North Attleboro, 4 @ King Philip, 1 – Final – North Attleboro swept singles play and notched another win in doubles to earn a non-league victory over King Philip. Senior Richard Bermudez prevailed with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win at first singles, senior Christian Bermudez won 6-1, 6-1 at second singles, and freshman Jonah Manso notched a 6-0, 6-3 win at third singles for the Rocketeers. The team of sophomore Alex Pfeffer and Sam Gallagher won 6-2, 6-4 at second doubles. KP’s Sean Desroches and Nate Ihley won 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 at first doubles.
Canton, 4 @ Stoughton, 1 – Final – Canton concluded its season with a win over Stoughton, dropping just one game among its three singles matches. Natalie Keppler won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles to finish off an impressive rookie season. Fellow freshman Rachel Kupferman won 6-0, 6-0 to cap her strong debut season while Sarah Hernandez also won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles. The team of Nyah Claiborne and Rose Hazam prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 at second doubles. Stoughton’s Ellie Kashian and Alex Soto emerged from first doubles with a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 10-8 win.
North Attleboro, 5 vs. Bishop Feehan, 0 – Final – North Attleboro picked up its 13th win of the season with a clean sweep of Bishop Feehan, taking all five matches in straight sets. Jordan Willis won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Emily Chiasson notched a 6-1, 6-0 win at second singles and Katie Ovoian earned a 6-4, 6-3 win at third singles. Azka Siddiq and Leah Marceau recorded a 6-4, 6-1 decision at first singles while Shurobhi Nani and Tara Nair emerged with a 6-3, 6-1 victory at second doubles.
Sharon, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – Final
Taunton, 3 @ Greater New Bedford, 1 – Final – Taunton went on the road and picked up a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-11, 25-13) win over GNBVT to finish the season undefeated at 18-0. Malik Charles stepped up to deliver a big performance for the Tigers, finishing with six kills, 12 assists, and 16 digs. Lance Law added 14 kills, nine digs, four blocks and two aces, Lens Esquil chipped in with 10 kills and one block, Collin Hunter added six kills, two blocks, and 10 digs, and Ricardo DaFonseca finished with 28 assists and chipped in with a pair of kills.
NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – Last year it was North Attleboro that came into the rivalry game under the lights against Attleboro at Community Field needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Bombardiers pulled out that win to keep North out of the postseason, but on Wednesday night the roles were reversed and the Rocketeers exacted a measure of revenge.
Behind a complete game, four-hitter from senior Peter Cohen and a pair of RBI from senior catcher Zach DeMattio, the Davenport division champion Rocketeers pulled out a 3-1 victory, bringing home the Blue-Red Cup for the first time in three years and officially knocking their rivals out of tournament contention.
“I think that was in the back of their minds,” admitted North coach Mike Hart. “We knew they were going to come out jacked up and we had to match it and exceed it. I definitely think we matched the excitement and the energy. It’s probably the most energetic I’ve been this season and I think it’s the same with them.”
Offense was in short supply, as the two teams only combined for eight hits. Cohen kept the Bombardiers off-balance and junior Eoin Kelleher limited the high-powered North offense to just four hits as well.
“We’ve been in this situation before and came through,” said Hart. “We just stuck to our approach and believed that we could do it. I think it helps us coming towards the playoffs. It’s the Hockomock League and every game’s going to be a fight, no matter who it is.”
Attleboro coach Matt Bosh added, “That was a great game, two good teams, great crowd, rivalry, atmosphere, you know, and it was 3-1. That’s an awesome baseball game. Cohen pitched outstanding. He made good pitches when he had to. It was a great pitcher’s duel.”
The visitors took the lead in the top of the first. Tim Callahan led-off with a double into right center and, with one out, Alvaro Espinal drew a walk. Nick Raneri made a great barehand play on the run on a swinging bunt up the third baseline by Jon Candiales, but both runners moved into scoring position.
Corey McKenna singled to left, scoring Callahan, but Brendan McHugh came up firing and threw a strike to DeMattio at the plate, who managed to get the tag on Espinal just before the runner touched home.
The lead was short-lived. North answered back in the bottom half of the inning. McHugh started it with a single to left and then stole second. Nick Sinacola moved him to third with a grounder to the right side and DeMattio roped a line drive to right to bring McHugh home. McKenna ended the inning with a barehand pickup and throw on the infield grass to get Raneri.
Neither team would manage another hit until a two-out single by Sam Larkin in the top of the fourth. Both went in order in the second after Jeff Gale was caught stealing by Dakota Kirby and both had base runners in the third on a couple of walks, but the pitchers and the defenses were keeping scoring chances to a minimum.
That changed in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, nine-hole hitter Ryan Warren dropped down a perfect bunt up the third baseline for North’s first hit since the first. McHugh followed with a walk. Sinacola hit a grounder to second but Attleboro couldn’t complete the double play to end the inning, as the University of Maine-commit hustled down the line to keep the inning alive.
“Ryan does a very good job with that,” said Hart. “We were just trying to keep Attleboro on its toes too and it does spark some energy on the bench.” About Sinacola beating out the double play grounder, Hart added, “He’s been a great leader just hustling down there.”
DeMattio ripped a single through the left side for his second hit and second RBI of the night to put North back in front. After Nate Pearce walked to load the bases, Raneri took one off the top of his helmet to give North an insurance run.
Hart said, “Zach’s a special player. He’s definitely become a better hitter since last year. He may not have all the home runs that he’s had in the past but he’s definitely become a better hitter.”
Bosh joked, “I was kidding with DeMattio that’s why he hasn’t seen a pitch in four years because he hammers it every time.”
Attleboro went into the seventh down by two trying to keep its playoff hopes alive and Kirby gave the Bombardiers some added energy with a lead off single. Troy Van Vliet came up next and hit a soft liner that North first baseman Aidan Harding was able to snare at full stretch.
Cohen fed off the big defensive play and was able to bear down, closing the game out with a strikeout and then a grounder into the hole at short that Shawn Watters not only got to but was able to fire a strike to second to get the game-ending force.
“Peter’s a bulldog. He’s out there and he’s battling every single pitch,” Hart said. “He has good stuff and he trusts his fastball, which has got a little movement on it. He just gets out there and battles and I think that’s really what a lot of our seniors and our whole team bring to the table.”
This has been the type of loss that has defined Attleboro’s season. The Bombardiers have lost six games by three runs or less this spring, including four by just a single run.
“Our kids battled but yeah it’s been the story of our season. We lose games like that,” said Bosh. “Our pitching has been great…but late in the year a lot of teams are pitching well so your runs aren’t going to be in bunches. I’m proud of my kids, they fought hard.”
North Attleboro (15-1, 12-1) will continue to prepare for the state tournament on Friday night against Bishop Feehan, again under the lights at Community Field. Attleboro (8-11, 6-9) will close out its season on Thursday at home against Stoughton.