Below are the official 2019 Hockomock League Boys Soccer All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Leo Coelho, Milford
Hockomock League All Stars
Michael Russo, Attleboro
Joshua Smith, Attleboro
William Keefe, Canton
Joseph Cusack, Foxboro
Dylan Barreira, Foxboro
William Morrison, Foxboro
Samuel Stowell, Franklin
Donald Tappin, Franklin
Jacob Cummings, Franklin
Matthew Clarke, King Philip
Evan McEvoy, King Philip
Evan Eames, Mansfield
Leo Coelho, Milford
Pedro Araujo, Milford
Jordan Borges, Milford
Daniel Santos, Milford
Anthony Salisbury, Mansfield
Kyle Briere, North Attleboro
James Sales, North Attleboro
Matthew Mordini, North Attleboro
Colin Milliken, Oliver Ames
Matthew Nikiciuk, Oliver Ames
Kevin Louhis, Oliver Ames
Isaiah Stessman, Sharon
Nolan Gerome, Stoughton
Nolan Melo, Taunton
Sharon, 4 @ Milford, 6 – Final – Milford built a 3-0 lead with a strong first half but had to survive a wild second half to earn a win over visiting Sharon. Junior Lucas Da Silva scored the first two goals of the game with Pedro Araujo and Jordan Borges earning assists. Borges then set up Araujo to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead at the break. Sharon’s Brian Higgins scored from Bryce Nathan to begin the second half, Nathan grabbed a goal of his own to make it 3-2. Araujo (from Leo Coelho) restored Milford’s two-goal lead only for Higgins to bring the Eagles back within one on James Zhang’s second assist. Coelho set up Da Silva for his hat trick and Araujo completed his hat trick on a pass from Joao Pedro Da Silva to make it 6-3. Nathan bagged his second of the game to get Sharon within two.
Taunton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Taunton keeper Nolan Melo made save after save to keep the visiting Tigers in the game but Oliver Ames was able to solve him once, and that was enough for two points. “Their keeper was ridiculous, he was great,” said OA head coach John Barata. OA junior Matthew Nikiciuk scored in the 60th minute on a shot from outside of the area to put the hosts ahead. OA’s defense of Harry Ahearn, Matthew Nosalek, Jon Freeman, and Brady deVos played well in front of keeper Drew Nickla (sixth shutout).
Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 2 – Final – Franklin keeper Breanna Atwood was terrific in net for the Panthers but King Philip scored a pair of first half goals to earn the win. Chloe Layne finished off a corner from Makayla Griffin in the 22nd minute to give the hosts the lead, and Avery Snead doubled the advantage four minutes later, heading in another corner from Griffin. Atwood made eight great saves to keep Franklin in the game. King Philip’s defense of Grace Lawler, Paige Varvarigos, and Griffin along with keeper Taylor Butler earned their 12th shutout of the season.
Boys Cross Country
Milford, 25 @ Canton, 35 – Final
Girls Cross Country
Milford, 25 @ Canton, 30 – Final
North Attleboro, 165 @ Canton, 149 – Final – Canton earned a win over North Attleboro to finish unbeaten in division action this season, going 10-0, and improving to 13-0 overall this season. The Bulldogs had a trio of golfers share match medalist honors with Chris Lavoie, Conor Hunter, and James O’Keeffe all finishing with a 37. Will Gefteas and Mike Leonetti each shot 38 in the win. North Attleboro’s Jake Gaskin had a team-low round of 38, Jillian Barend and Jared Bankert each shot 42, and Aidan Weir chipped in with a 43 for the Rocketeers.
Oliver Ames, 160 @ Mansfield, 149 – Final – Mansfield picked up some momentum heading into the league championship meet, earning a win over Oliver Ames at home. Brian See fired an impressive three-under par round of 33 to earn match medalist honors. Ryan Dow added a 35, Jason See shot a 40, and Cian Goulet finished with a 41 for Mansfield.
Milford, 179 vs. Nipmuc, 188 – Final
Foxboro, 156 @ Milford, 179 – Final – Foxboro earned a win on the road to close out its division schedule, finishing 8-2. Noah Hicks led the way for the Warriors, firing a round of 37 to earn match medalist honors. Matt Lathrop added a 39 for Foxboro while Jack Rounds and Dylan Quinn each shot 40. Tyler Wetherbee and Wes Murdock each carded a 42 for the Hawks.
Taunton, 174 @ Stoughton, 181 – Final – Taunton earned a win on the road at Easton Country Club over host Stoughton. Kyle Robinson and Dillion Schofield led the way for the Tigers, each shooting 42 in the win. Stoughton’s Max Huminik was the match medalist with a 39.
“This is a great tie for us,” said Taunton coach Taylor Whitters. “We’ve been struggling a little bit with some finishing and hustling, and in the second half they showed what they are capable of, and they are capable of a lot. They were great teammates today and they worked hard, and going forward that’s what we need to keep doing.”
Franklin scored just under five minutes into the game and added a second tally in the final minute of the first half to take a comfortable 2-0 advantage into the halftime break. The Panthers carried some of that momentum into the second half but couldn’t find the final touch to add a third goal in the second half.
“This was a very bad tie for us as far as I’m concerned, we should have put them away,” said Franklin head coach Fran Bositis. “I thought we had some chances to put them away and didn’t take them. Their goalie played recklessly but he played well. But there’s no way this team should be giving up two goals in a half, let alone the last 15 minutes of the game.”
The Panthers found success playing through balls behind the Tigers’ defense throughout the first half, including junior Ethan Cain played Donny Tappin in alone in the 5th minute, and the senior striker calmly finished his chance to put the visitors up 1-0.
In the second half, Taunton goalie Nolan Melo made tough for Franklin to connect on those chances. Melo was quick off his line and often came out to clear the ball played through.
“He reads the game incredibly well,” Whitters said of Melo. “He’s willing to take risks, and sometimes it’s a big risk, but he anticipates very well. And that is a huge help when teams are trying to play those through balls or the ball over the top.”
Franklin did have its chances though, as Lucas Moura beat a defender one-on-one but his service through the six-yard box just missed Tappin. Six minutes later, Tyler Powderly looked to have given the Panthers some breathing room when he got a piece of a cross from Tappin, but Melo grabbed the ball before it could completely cross the line.
“That’s the type of team that all they need is a chance,” Bositis said. “If we had scored that third goal, I think that would have been it. But allowing them to get the next goal, even with only 15 minutes left, that gave them life. And we just weren’t playing smart at that point anyway.”
Moura had Franklin’s best chance of the half in the 62nd minute, dribbling his way past a defender to get an open shot but Melo made the point-blank save to keep the deficit at 2-0.
That saved proved even bigger as Taunton got on the board just five minutes later. After a long clearance, the Tigers developed a quick 2-on-1 up the middle and junior Donovan Hibbert played senior Alec Nunes onto his right foot, and the striker buried a low shot into the bottom corner of the goal to make it 2-1.
“I think we were building towards it in the second half,” Whitters said. “We were using some high pressure, and once they saw that something was coming from their hustle and their effort, they started to believe, and they started to see some results from it.”
Taunton continued to press, and a free kick service fell into the area and bounced around. The referee at midfield called a handful on the Panthers, awarding the hosts with a penalty kick. Senior Colton Madeira buried the chance from the spot to make it 2-2 in the 75th minute.
Franklin had the majority of chances in the opening half. Tappin flashed a header at the near post off a service from Moura in the 23rd minute but Melo made the stop. Jeff Yelle and Charlie Amante nearly connected in the 28th minute but Melo was quick off his line.
Taunton’s best chance of the first half came when Nunes won a challenge and fired a shot from 25 yards out but Franklin keeper Jack Rudolph made the save on the bounce.
The Panthers made it 2-0 just before the halftime whistle when Ben Moccia played a low service and Tappin made a terrific run to the near post and simply one-timed the cross into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Taunton boys soccer (0-3-3 Hockomock, 0-3-3 overall) entertains Milford on Friday while Franklin (3-1-2, 3-1-3) will host North Attleboro on the same day.
Canton, 0 @ Stoughton, 3 – Final – Stoughton grabbed its first league win of the season with a 3-0 decision over visiting Canton. Ryan Reis had a goal and an assist for Stoughton while Mateo Eschleman and Ted Lucas each scored once. Nolan Gerome made six saves to earn the shutout in goal.
Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 2 – Final – Milford’s Joao Pedro Da Silva scored in the final seconds of the game to help the Hawks earn a tie against visiting Foxboro. The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the first half when Dylan Barreira headed in a corner kick from Will Morrison. Leo Coelho knotted the score with an early goal in the second half but Joey Cusack finished off a quick give-and-go with Barreira to put the visitors back ahead. Da Silva headed in a corner kick in the final seconds to make it 2-2.
Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 1 – Final – It was a tale of two halves between the visiting Hornets and hosts Panthers on Monday evening. Franklin controlled the first half and scored the lone goal of the game as sophomore Terry O’Neill finished off a corner from senior Donny Tappin in the 10th minute. The Hornets had a strong second half but couldn’t find the back of the net.
King Philip, 1 @ Taunton, 1 – Final – Taunton took the lead in the first half but King Philip found the equalizer in the second half as the teams split the points. Alec Nunes put the hosts on the board in the 21st minute but King Philip’s Evan McEvoy (assisted by Tadhg Keller on a corner kick) scored in the 60th minute to bring the Warriors level. Taunton goalie Nolan Melo had a strong game in net for the Tigers.
Stoughton, 2 @ Canton, 7 – Final – Eliza Diletizia and Mia Gilmore each scored twice, as the Bulldogs’ offense exploded for a big division win. Gabby Herivaux, Jenna Parrella, and Lauren McCabe also scored for Canton. Stoughton freshman Shayla Ford scored twice with Samantha Tran and Mackenzie Manning recording assists.
Milford, 2 @ Foxboro, 2 – Final
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – Final – Sara Sacco scored the game’s only goal midway through the first half. Katie Miller got the assist for the Hornets and Olivia Salisbury made five saves to record the shutout. Maria Sevastos, Erin Dooling, Anna Darlington, and Abby Oppenheim all played well in the Mansfield back line, as Franklin continued to pressure throughout the second half.
Taunton, 0 @ King Philip, 7 – Final – King Philip’s Makayla Griffin factored into three first half goals while the Warriors tacked on four more in the second half to beat visiting Taunton. Griffin assisted on goals from Chloe Layne (18′) and then Kiera Lindmark (28′) before scoring on a free kick from 25 yards out in the 34th minute. Layne (from Ally Stanton in the 56th minute), Stanton (from Lindmark in the 58th minute), Paulina Baczkowski (from Ella Pisani in the 70th minute), and Molly MacDonald (from Pisani in the 75th mintue) all had second half goals for KP.
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Haley Gilman scored a pair of goals and Cassie Gennis added one goal and one assist, while goalie Kara Ostrander had to make a series of saves to give the Tigers a narrow win. Georgia Costello and Hannah Stryke also recorded assists, as OA jumped out to a 3-0 lead with lethal transitions. Attleboro had a lot of the pressure in the attacking half of the field and finally made the breakthrough with 14 minutes to play. Anna Beck smacked a shot through traffic and then a minute later her goal-bound shot was tapped in by Emelia Westwater to set up a frantic final 10 minutes.
Canton, 8 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Meg Aldrich scored a pair of goals in the win for the Bulldogs.
Foxboro, 6 @ Milford, 0 – Final
Mansfield, 2 @ Franklin, 7 – Final – Franklin raced out to a 3-0 lead at halftime and added four more in the second half to knock off visiting Mansfield. Hanna Richardson scored twice in the opening half and added one more in the second half to finish with a hat trick. Olivia Rondeau scored twice and had two assists for the Panthers, who scored twice in a two-minute span in the second half after the Hornets’ Gabby Devlin cut the deficit to 3-1 less than a minute into the second half. Freshman Kaitlyn Carney had three assists for Franklin, Neilee Hess made three saves in net, and Kendall Jones came up with two big defensive saves for the Panthers.
King Philip, 0 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – King Philip peppered the Tigers’ net with 19 shots but Taunton goalie Emily Gannon stood tall to earn a shutout and a point. Senior Sammy Robison, sophomore Christina Gifun, and sophomore Haley Izydorczak all had strong outings for the visiting Warriors. “She played amazing,” said Taunton coach Liz Hathaway on Gannon’s performance.
Sharon, 0 @ North Attleboro, 7 – Final
Oliver Ames, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this match. – Oliver Ames earned a 3-0 (25-9, 25-10, 25-17) win on the road over Attleboro behind a strong defensive performance from junior Allie Zwerle, who had eight serve receptions and seven digs. Allie Kemp dished out 28 assists, Alison Barth notched 19 digs, and senior Ryley McNeeley added six kills and three aces.
Canton, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – The Bulldogs earned a win on the road in their first trip to the new Stoughton High School, with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-21) decision. Taylor Harris led Canton with 17 kills, five digs and two aces, Shannon Malloy had a good day in the middle with seven kills while Liz Bickett was strong at the net with three blocks, five kills, and great defense. Taylor Reynolds did well in her first start of the year, putting up 17 assists while Jackie Morrissey added 11 assists, four digs and two aces.
Foxboro, 2 @ Milford, 3 – Final – Foxboro rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force a fifth set but Milford earned a win in the final game for a 3-2 win (25-17, 25-15, 20-25, 23-25, 15-6). Sara Addeche, Pam Nelson (four kills), and Kelsey Treweek each had 11 digs for Foxboro, Grace Fortune added 10 digs and two aces, Maddie O’Brien dished out 17 assists, Shannon McDonald registered five blocks, and Grace Boudreau paced the offense with 13 kills and two aces.
Mansfield, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final – Franklin emerged with wins in tight first and third sets to pick up a 3-0 (23-25, 13-25, 23-25) win over the Hornets. For Mansfield, Julia Kelly had six kills and seven service points, Alina Nowakowski added five kills, and Olivia McGrath and Emily Dardinski each chipped in with four kills.
King Philip, 3 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – King Philip went on the road and picked a 3-0 win (25-8, 25-13, 25-6) over the Tigers. Catherine Waldeck (11 kills) and Nicole Coughlan (nine kills, two aces) continued to pace the Warriors’ offense while Ali McNamara had a strong game with six kills for KP.
Sharon, 0 @ North Attleboro, 3 – Final – North Attleboro defended home court with a clean sweep, taking a 3-0 (25-11, 25-3, 26-24) decision over the visiting Eagles. Brooke Street (six digs) had a 16-point service run in the second game that helped the Rocketeers earn a convincing win in the second set. Middle Eliza Dion had seven kills, outside hitter Kylie Melanson added five kills, and Joanna Collins-Bilyeu had a great defensive performance for North Attleboro.
Milford, 220 @ Stoughton, 228 – Final (5 cards) – The match was tied at 175 through four cards but the Hawks prevailed on the fifth card to split the season series with the Black Knights. Tyler Wetherbee and Wes Murdock each shot 43 to pace the Scarlet Hawks. Stoughton senior Max Huminik earned match medalist honors with a low-round of 41 while Jake Curtis (42) and Anthony Hearn (43) also scored for the Black Knights.
Game of the Week – Football
North Attleboro, 7 @ King Philip, 25 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (NA) Tyler DeMattio 9-yard rush, T. DeMattio XP good.
2nd Quarter: (KP) Robbie Jarest 54-yard pass to Alex Behling, XP no good.
3rd Quarter: (KP) R. Jarest 20-yard pass to A. Behling, Conversion no good.
4th Quarter: (KP) Ryan Halliday 3-yard rush, Conversion no good; (KP) R. Halliday 27-yard rush, Dylan Conti XP good.
Canton, 28 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 7 – Final 1st Quarter: (C) Kyle Fitzgerald 7 yard rush, Owen Lehane XP good; (C) Johnny Hagan 37 yard pass to David Allen, O. Lehane XP good.
2nd Quarter: No scoring.
3rd Quarter: (C) K. Fitzgerald 20 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good.
4th Quarter: (C) Gersom Rivera 4 yard rush, O. Lehane XP good; (DR) Jared Ramos 1 yard rush, Adam Peirera XP good.
Mansfield, 31 vs. BC High, 10 – Final – Click here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game. 1st Quarter: (M) Cincere Gill 29 yard rush, Michael DeBolt XP good; (BCH) Cormac Kennelly 25 yard field goal good.
2nd Quarter: (M) M. DeBolt 26 yard field goal good.
3rd Quarter: (M) C. Gill 64 yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
4th Quarter: (M) Jack Moussette 48 yard pass to M. DeBolt, M. DeBolt XP good; (BCH) Bobby Wiesenhahn 34 yard pass to Louis Timmins, C. Kennelly XP good; (M) M. DeBolt 79 yard rush, M. DeBolt XP good.
Sharon, 14 vs. Nauset, 33 – Final
Taunton, 13 vs. New Bedford, 24 – Final
Mansfield, 0 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final – Foxboro senior Dylan Barreira converted a penalty kick in the first half for the goal of the game.
Taunton, 0 @ North Attleboro, 1 – Final – North Attleboro’s James Sales scored on a penalty kick in the 5th minute to give the Rocketeers two points in their season opener. Taunton’s Colton Madeira, Riley Rebello, and Shane Froio played well defensively in front of Nolan Melo (seven saves).
Oliver Ames, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – Final – Junior Colin Milliken picked up where he left off last season, scoring twice and adding one assist to lead the Tigers to a win on the road. Senior Nick Farley netted his first career goal and assist in the win for the Tigers, who also got goals from Jimmy Keane and freshman Hector Bucio. Ben Cohen and Dillon Cupples each had assists.
Canton, 2 @ Attleboro, 3 – Final – Briley Harnois scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with nine minutes left to play, helping Attleboro start the season with a victory. Kat Dennehy scored the first goal for the Bombardiers. Ashley Macia played well in goal, according to head coach Steve Santos, who called the win a “great team effort.”
Foxboro, 2 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final – Click here for a Photo Gallery from this game. Jordyn Collins scored a second half brace to lift the Warriors to a win in the battle of last season’s league champions. Foxboro dominated the ball throughout the game, holding the Hornets without a shot on goal. Collins hit the post in the first half, but opened the scoring 12 minutes after the break when she was played through by sophomore Jordan Carman. In the final minutes, Collins wrapped up the points when Lizzy Davis hit a free kick from inside her own half that was allowed to bounce just outside the Mansfield penalty area. Collins outran two defenders and slipped a shot inside the post.
Milford, 1 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Despite Milford controlling large portions of the game and pressured the Panthers, goals by Sydney St. Marie and Stella Regan (assisted by Carly Alston) lifted the hosts to a win in the season opener.
Sharon, 0 @ King Philip, 9 – Final
North Attleboro, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – Final – Alex Moulson scored twice and assisted on the other two goals to lead the Rocketeers to a division win. Moulson opened the scoring in the 12th minute on a free kick and then she doubled the lead on an assist by Ari Rice. Abi Slaney scored a second half goal off a Moulson corner and the Olivia Wills followed suit minutes later. Regan Fein held a clean sheet for 70 minutes and Caitlin Echeverri finished the final 10 minutes. North coach Bill Wallace said that Lily Cameron, Steph McKenna, and Alex Hardy were strong in North’s transition game and Lydia Hershey and Collette Petit were strong in the back line.
Stoughton, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 6 – Final – Stoughton scored first but Oliver Ames knotted the score before halftime and scored six straight to get the win. Freshman Jenna Gilman scored four goals for the Tigers while Erin Holmberg (assist) scored twice. Allison Evin, Katie Gibson, Catie Wilson, and Cam O’Connor each had an assist for OA. Stoughton freshman Shayla Ford put the Black Knights ahead before OA cashed in with a flurry of goals before half. Freshman Emma Tremblay had a strong game defensively for Stoughton, Mackenzie Manning was strong in center mid, and senior Briana Buckley played well in net.
Canton, 1 @ Norwood, 2 – Final
North Attleboro, 171 @ Foxboro, 169 – Final – Foxboro’s Dylan Quinn carded six pars, finishing with a team-low round of 41 to lead the Warriors to a close win over North. Matt Fosella (four pars) added a 42 while Noah Hicks (two pars) and Matt Lathrop (three pars) both shot 43. North Attleboro’s Jillian Barend was the match medalist, shooting a low round of 40.
2018 Record: 5-10-3 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Peter Pereira
The Bombardiers have put last year’s season in the rearview mirror and are aiming to get back to the state tournament in 2019.
Attleboro will rely on its eight returners from last year’s squad plus a good amount of new faces to try and make a push for the playoffs. Senior captains Mike Russo, Nathan LaPlume, and Josh Smith will provide leadership both on and off of the field for the Bombardiers. All three have a good amount of varsity experience with LaPlume and Smith tasked with anchoring the Bombardiers’ defensive unit. Both started a season ago so the defense should be a strength to start the season. Russo started in the midfield a year ago and will be in charge of leading that unit. Attleboro will have to fill the shoes left by leading scorer Will Halben (seven goals, five assists) but there is a strong group of forwards that includes Joey Soucy, Justin Lurssen, and Hugo Henriquez — all of whom have varsity experience — that is ready to pace the offense. Patrick Raczkowski and Kevin Raczkowski should give Attleboro help defensively, junior Jackson Singer bolted academy and should give the Bombardiers a boost in the midfield while junior Zackary Brown takes over in goal.
“I am looking to get some leadership and good play from my tri-captains and I’m hoping for a better season [than last year],” said longtime head coach Peter Pereira. “The team’s attitude has been great and we are working hard.”
2018 Record: 10-7-2 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round Coach: Fran Bositis
Franklin was one of the hottest teams in the league over the second half of the season last year and the Panthers are hoping to carry that momentum into 2019.
When the calendar turned to October, the Panthers finished the regular season 7-1-1. Longtime head coach Fran Bositis has the pieces to continue that success to begin this year and contend for a league title. A strong suit for the 2019 squad will be the defensive unit, featuring returning keeper Jack Rudolph and center backs Sam Stowell and Jacob Cummings. Anytime a team returns two center backs and its keeper, especially a unit that allowed just three goals in its final nine regular seasons, it’s a big positive. Matt Szczepanowski and Trevor O’Neill, both seniors, will factor in defensively as well. Sophomore Terry O’Neill anchors the midfield from the center of the pitch after a successful freshman campaign while the addition of junior Ethan Cain should give Franklin one of the top midfielder duos, and sophomore Tyler Powderly will likely play in a variety of roles. The challenge for Franklin this season will be finding a consistent offense but there is experience up top with Donny Tappin and Lucas Moura back.
“I think we have the potential to be pretty good, but it all comes one game at a time,” Bositis said. “I think if we can score some goals consistently, we can be pretty dangerous this year.”
2018 Record: 4-12-2 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Mike O’Neill
King Philip begins a new chapter in program history as Mike O’Neill takes over after Nick Gale stepped down following a successful stint with the Warriors.
O’Neill will be looking to help the Warriors bounce back from a four-win season, the first time the squad missed the state tournament in over a decade. King Philip graduated nearly a dozen seniors from last year’s squad but have some key players back in key positions. Senior captain Brian McCarthy has a lot of varsity experience and O’Neill will lean on him to organize the midfield. Senior captains Wes Orzell and Matt Clarke anchor the back line and will be tasked with helping the Warriors keep possession by playing out of the back. Behind the defense, senior Grant Orzell and junior Aidan Lindmark are both strong options in goal. Juniors Evan McEvoy and Camron Lawrence both begin their third season on varsity and are poised to have big years at midfield.
“The team is eager to get started, the seniors want to make their mark after a tough season last year, and the juniors and sophomores are hungry to prove themselves,” O’Neill said. “We will need to stay organized and committed to team defending if we are going to be able to compete in the difficult Hockomock League.”
2018 Record: 13-3-5 (Kelley-Rex Division Champions) 2018 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Steve Sheridan
The Hornets have won two division titles in the past four years and took second place in the other two seasons, so it’s safe to assume Mansfield will be in the mix once again this year.
In that span of success, Mansfield has been one of the best defensive teams year in and year out, average under a goal against in each of those seasons, including just 0.67 goals against in 2018. The big challenge this season will be replicating that stingy defense because the Hornets graduated their entire back four. The good news is that Mansfield has Anthony Salisbury back in net after he set the program record for shutouts while Cam Bovey serves as the backup keeper, though he is pushing for minutes this season. The strength of the 2019 squad will be in the midfield where senior captains Peter Oldow and Colin Caridi will be. Both have a good amount of varsity experience and will be joined by fellow returners Robbie Healey, Raffi Marzella, Tommy Lanzillo, Colin True, and Evan Eames. Sophomore Dylan Buchanan made a strong impression during his freshman season and will be joined up front by senior Owen Mullahy, who also picked up some valuable minutes a year ago.
“Our biggest question will be, ‘Who’s going to take over our defense that graduated?”, said head coach Steve Sheridan. “That is what I’m trying to figure out and hopefully it will iron itself out during the preseason.”
2018 Record: 8-4-5 2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round Coach: John Barata
A lot of people learned last year what we already knew: Under head coach John Barata, Oliver Ames doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. The Tigers had to replace their entire starting lineup last season but still had a shot at the division title heading into the final week.
Oliver Ames has a healthy amount of returning players that either started or saw valuable minutes at the varsity level last year starting with seniors Jon Freeman and Matthew Nosalek, who will be key pieces along the back line for the Tigers. Senior Harry Ahearn is another experienced player that will factor in defensively, senior Josh LaBrosse could see time in the midfield or defense, and seniors Nick Farley and Andrew Hanna could get minutes up top. OA has a strong junior class that learned a lot during last season. Colin Milliken, last year’s HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year, will organize the Tigers from the midfield while Anthony DaCosta, Kevin Louhis, and Jimmy Keane are all strong attacking options. Drew Nickla will take over as the starting keeper this year.
“It is too early to tell what we will look like but I’m looking forward to a great season with the boys,” Barata said. “We are excited for the opportunity to compete this season in the Hock. There are lots of talented teams coming back, from the defending champions to the schools with new coaches ready to make a mark. It’s going to be one of the toughest seasons in my tenure and we hope to be competitive.”
2018 Record: 3-12-4 2018 Finish: Missed playoffs Coach: Taylor Whitters
While the record might not reflect it, it felt like Taunton took a step in the right direction last year, and the Tigers are expecting to take another one this season.
One area of improvement that head coach Taylor Whitters is excited about is the defensive group. The Tigers had the most goals allowed in the Kelley-Rex division but have a reinforced back line ready to fend off the top offenses the Hockomock League has to offer. Senior Colton Medeiros, who had a terrific freshman year before missing time to academy and injury, will anchor the defense in the middle alongside freshman Riley Rebelo. Khalil Ba, a transfer in from Tolman, gives Taunton an outside back that can join in on the attack, while Nolan Melo returns as the starting keeper. Alec Nunes and Colby Fernandes are two dynamic, experienced players that can play both in the midfield or up front. Junior Travis Nunes returns from injury and classmate Hunter Cabral is a versatile player that will play in various roles.
“We have a lot of versatility this year, we’re going to be able to move guys around based on each game,” Whitters said. “No one is locked into a position, we’re going to take it game by game this season.”
LOWELL, Mass. – Every championship team has a strong pitching staff with at least one ace, a handful of dangerous hitters, and a couple of defensive wizards in the field that will grab all of the headlines.
But every championship team needs a player like Evan Melo.
The Taunton senior captain wasn’t one of the team’s leaders offensively during the regular season and he doesn’t make any appearances on the mound, but the intangibles and leadership he brings to the table are irreplaceable.
Those traits were on full display as Melo played a major role in Taunton winning six postseason games, the final one a 5-3 win over Shrewsbury at LeLacheur Park to win the MIAA D1 State Championship.
“We never give up, we went three and a half innings without a hit and then all of a sudden we just explode because we keep grinding,” Melo said. “We never give up one any pitch, any at-bat, any inning. This just brings to fruition everything we worked for. It’s unbelievable.
“I really can’t put it into words, it still hasn’t hit me that we’re state champions. I can’t believe it, especially after last year losing in the first round. That’s really where it started. We’ve been grinding since that day to make sure it didn’t happen.”
There were times when Taunton coach Blair Bourque toyed with the idea of replacing Melo in the lineup as the senior’s offensive numbers dipped throughout the year. But as a reliable center fielder and a true leader, Bourque couldn’t replace Melo.
“Evan is a great leader and he does whatever it takes for the team to win,” said fellow captain Jack Moynihan. “When it comes to sacrificing to move a guy over or get a guy in, everyone on the team can do it but Evan is 100% the type of guy you want there, he’s really important for us.”
Melo, who also captained the Tigers’ boys soccer team in the fall, rewarded his coach’s faith with a remarkable postseason. Not only did he provide the leadership as a captain, he delivered in the biggest moments on the field. He looked like a different player at the plate, hitting a team-best .429 in the postseason.
“Evan Melo, who struggled for most of the season offensively, has been phenomenal this postseason,” Bourque said. “The kid has been on fire, has been huge with bunting, base hits, stealing bases, great catches in the outfield. He almost lost his spot in the season but he worked his way back into the lineup and we’re really fortunate he did because he was big for us.
“He seemed to come up when guys are on and he knows what to do, he came up clutch,” Bourque said. “He battles, he fouls off a lot of tough pitches so he’s a tough out even though his batting average isn’t great. The little things, the intangibles that he brings to the table is off the charts. He plays a great center field, he’s usually the first one here and last one to leave, I’m extremely proud of here. This postseason he’s been nothing but phenomenal.”
He hit safely in five of the six playoff games and knocked in a run in five of the six tournament games as well. He scored five runs and walked three times, putting up a .529 on-base percentage.
When it mattered the most, under the bright lights on the biggest stage, Melo knocked in the game-winning run in the state final.
An inning after Shrewsbury scored three straight runs to tie the game, Melo came up and brought home the go-ahead score for the Tigers. Junior Jared Roderick reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on an error that allowed Andrew Gomes to reach.
With a runner at third and Melo at the plate, Bourque didn’t need to give any instructions to Melo. In fact, he didn’t even need to send a sign. Even as the team’s leading hitter in the tournament, Melo was ready to sacrifice his at-bat for a run.
Melo laid down a squeeze bunt up the first base line that ended up going for a single that brought in Roderick to put the Tigers ahead 4-3.
“I just want to get that run in,” Melo said. “A lot of times [Bourque] doesn’t call it, I just give him a nod and we both know. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a single, as long as we get the win, that’s what matters.
“Our main goal this year was to keep everyone connected. We really do love each other like brothers. We just had to make sure that we took everything one step at a time…win a pitch, win an at-bat, win an inning. If you take it one step at a time, great things are going to happen like this.”
It was the second straight game that Melo brought in a run from third with a bunt. In the state semifinals with the Tigers trailing 5-4, Melo stepped up to the plate with runners on the corners with no outs.
While most players would want a chance to hit the ball and drive in the run, Melo said all that matters is that the team gets the run. Fellow senior captain Josh Lajoie said there’s no one better for that spot.
“We have all the faith in the world in him,” Lajoie said. “He’s the definition of a team player and he’s helped us out throughout the entire season, it was great to see him succeed in a big game.”
Of course, Evan Melo delivered in the semifinals as well, dropping down the sac bunt that also scored Roderick to tie the game. Taunton went on to win in nine innings to advance to the state final.
“That’s something we practice a lot on,” Bourque said of the bunting. Taunton scored another run on a squeeze earlier in the state final when Roderick brought in Nolan Melo. “We work on first and thirds, we work on our bunt defensively. We’re working on it offensively and defensively. We knew going into the postseason, if we had a chance to generate some offense, we would take advantage of it.”
Melo was also responsible for another run earlier in the game. He led off the top of the fifth with a double and scored on the next at-bat on a single from Ty Cali that put Taunton up 3-0 at the time.
“Evan’s hard work and leadership that he’s exuded all year long has kept him in the lineup,” Bourque said. “He bought himself four or five extra starts, and he struggled at times, but he was a guy we looked to for leadership.”
And that’s why every championship team needs an Evan Melo.
LOWELL, Mass. – It was fitting that the final out bounced to sophomore shortstop Ty Cali. He jumped into the lineup in the playoffs after starter Danny MacDougall suffered an injury in the first game of the postseason. Cali had two hits and an RBI in Saturday night’s Div. 1 state championship game at Lowell’s LeLacheur Park and was an example of the way the whole Taunton program came together to send the Tigers on an improbable championship run.
That run came to a climax on Saturday, as Taunton (21-7) got four hits and a pair of RBI from the bottom three in its lineup, got four strong innings from senior Josh Lajoie, who was making his first start of the playoffs, and rallied with a pair of runs in the final two innings after seeing a 3-0 lead slip away.
The Tigers found a way to win, a common thread throughout the tournament, pulling out a 5-3 victory against Shrewsbury to secure the program’s first-ever state championship.
“We knew it was going to be another tough game,” said Taunton coach Blair Bourque. “That’s a great team over there and they gave us everything we could handle. We were able to put some at-bats together. It’s a team effort.”
Senior pitcher Logan Lawrence, who picked up the win with three innings of relief, said, “It almost feels too good. First time in history winning sectionals, never mind winning states.”
A state championship seemed farfetched in April. The Tigers stumbled out of the gates, going 4-4 in their opening eight games, but they stayed the course and eventually things turned around. Taunton finished the season by going 17-3 over its final 20 games. Its only losses in that span were to Super 8 participants Mansfield (twice) and Franklin.
“At the beginning of the year we all talked about it in the weight room about how nice it would be, but we also knew how difficult it would be and all the hard work it would take, and how much better we’d have to get throughout the year,” said senior Jack Moynihan.
“We knew we’d have to keep fighting and everyone in the program has busted their butts.”
Bourque said, “This season we had a lot of adversity early and I think that helped us down the road. Obviously, the Mansfields and the Franklins are the teams we want to compete with. This is a step in the right direction.”
On Saturday, the Tigers faced Shrewsbury ace John West. The 6-foot-8 junior has already committed to Boston College and he lived up to the billing the first time through the Taunton order. He struck out five, held the Tigers hitless, and allowed only one base runner over the first three innings.
West may have drawn the headlines prior to the game, but he was matched over the first three innings by Lajoie. The St. John’s University-commit got the ball for the final and allowed only two hits through four innings. An error and a walk gave Shrewsbury its only rally in that stretch, but Lajoie responded with a strikeout and induced a pop up to get out of the jam.
Taunton grabbed the lead in the fourth. Colby Lariviere drew a one-out walk and would come all the way around to score when Lawrence’s line drive skipped past the centerfielder and turned into a triple. Nolan Melo came in to run at third base and he would score on a perfectly placed safety squeeze by Jared Roderick.
The Tigers tacked on another run in the fifth. Evan Melo led off the inning by drilling a double into the corner in right and he was quickly brought home by a Cali single. Gavin Leahy drew a walk and Lucas Martins had an infield single to load the bases with one out but a double play ended the inning.
“It’s great because as a pitcher you look at the bottom of the order and you think just breeze through them,” said Lawrence about Taunton getting production from its full lineup. “When you know for a fact that other teams aren’t going to be able to breeze through the bottom of your lineup, that helps you a lot mentally. A lot of confidence comes from that.”
Shrewsbury did not go quietly. In the bottom of the fifth, the Colonials had three straight singles, including a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Lajoie was pulled for Lawrence, who gave up an RBI-single on his first pitch.
The next batter hit a shot down the first base line but Lariviere made a diving stop and got the lead runner at home. The batter had slipped so a return throw to first turned into a double play. With a chance to get out of the inning with the lead, Lawrence gave up a single to West, which scored a pair and tied the game.
Rather than letting their heads drop, the Tigers got right back to the plate and promptly grabbed back the lead. Roderick reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a wild pitch, and then took third on an error that allowed Andrew Gomes to reach. For the second time in the game, Bourque called for a squeeze and this time it was Evan Melo who dropped it down, pushing it up the first base line for a single and an RBI.
“We have confidence in ourselves and our ability to generate a couple of runs here and there,” Bourque explained. “There was no panic, we’ve been down before. Last game, we were down twice, so we had the confidence in our ability to generate some offense.
Taunton loaded the bases with one out for the second straight inning but both times failed to score a run. Lawrence made sure that it wouldn’t hurt too much by throwing a perfect sixth inning.
In the seventh, Taunton added an important insurance run. Nic Notarangelo, who’s inclusion in the starting lineup coincided with the Tigers’ improvement, started the inning by drilling a triple to the wall in right. Two batters later, Lariviere made it 5-3 with a sacrifice fly to left.
As it turned out, the Tigers didn’t need the extra run. Lawrence got back to the mound for the seventh inning and threw another clean inning. He got a grounder to second, a strikeout, and then a grounder to short to seal the win and the championship.
“Nothing, just strictly adrenaline,” said Lawrence about what was going through his mind in the seventh. “When it was a 3-2 [count] and everyone was screaming, oh my god…” Lawrence shook his head, chuckled, and smiled.
Lajoie added, “It’s a dream come true. You dream of this at the beginning of the season and then you go through the season with your team, battling, and you see the pieces falling together…It’s unbelievable; I’m speechless.”
Notarangelo, who has been the Tigers’ hottest hitter down the stretch, was 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, so Lawrence and Melo decided to deliver a vote of confidence right before he headed to the plate.
Notarangelo delivered, smacking a hard hit double to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Ty Cali from second and the Tigers walked off with a 6-5 win in over Lincoln-Sudbury in a D1 State Semifinal, sending Taunton to its first ever state championship.
“Nic came into the lineup about midway through the season and since then, he hasn’t stopped,” Lawrence said. “He knew he had a rough couple of at-bats, but we just wanted to let him know that we believe in him. He didn’t need us to do that but we wanted to show him support.”
It was Taunton’s only lead of the game as the Tigers trailed 3-0 after just a half inning and had to erase a two-run deficit in the sixth inning.
“They were telling me there was no one better,” Notarangelo said of the on-deck conversation. “The fact that they have confidence in me gave me confidence in the box. It’s a team game and we’re the most passionate team that I know. Whenever we’re down, you can’t count us out. We fight to the last out, the last pitch, you can’t count us out.
“I had seen the pitcher before and he wasn’t throwing anything funny so I was just waiting for one that was in my zone and luckily I got it.”
Final: Taunton 6, Lincoln-Sudbury 5. Who else but Nic Notarangelo with the walk-off hit to drive in Ty Cali and the Tigers are headed to the D1 State Final, their first ever appearance. #hockomockpic.twitter.com/TzqQa2qA3g
Sophomore Ty Cali legged out a one-out double and sophomore pinch hitter Alyjah Marshall earned a walk to bring Notarangelo to the plate. Three pitches later, Notarangelo delivered the game-winning hit to bring Cali in, sending the Tigers into a frenzy.
“They don’t quit,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “It’s something that from early on, we’ve played some really tough games and faced a lot of adversity. It’s tough to beat a team that doesn’t quit, and these guys don’t quit, they have each others backs. They work hard, they play hard, and I’m really proud to manage them. I can’t say enough about the camaraderie, hard work, and determination…you name it. It’s been there all year.
“Nic has been our guy, I was hoping he’d get a chance to swing the bat in the last inning. He had a difficult game so far so it was huge for him. It was only a matter of time until he broke out and put the barrel on the ball.”
While Notarangelo delivered the winning hit, the Tigers might not have been in position to do so without the work of Lawrence. Not only did Lawrence club a two-run home run in the first inning the stemmed the tide, he came on in relief and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and escaping a bases-loaded situation in the sixth to earn the win.
“He saved us, he’s been great throughout the whole tournament, the whole year,” Notarangelo said of Lawrence. “I couldn’t be more proud of what he’s done this year.”
Lawrence came on after five innings of work for Tiger ace Jack Moynihan, who struck out six and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and one walk.
“Jack [Moynihan] has picked us up all season long, he’s picked me up if I had a bad game,” Lawrence said. “You have to reciprocate that energy. He does good for me all the time so I’m going to do my best for him.”
L-S, who had lost just two games all season on its way to a North sectional title, jumped on the Tigers with three runs in the top of the first inning. Connor Lachman doubled, Jesse McCullough and James Dillon singled, and an RBI groundout from Andrew Cahill put the Warriors ahead 3-0.
But the lead was short lived as the Tigers offense answered immediately. Lucas Martins drew a one-out walk, stole second, and then scored after a single from Colby Lariviere. Lawrence smashed the fourth pitch he saw over the left field fence for a two-run home run, tying the game 3-3 after one.
“Our plan was to just chip away,” Obviously you don’t want to go down but we have faith in Jack being able to keep us in the game. [Lincoln-Sudbury] hit the ball really well, that’s a good team over there. We knew we were in for a dog fight and we were hoping to keep the damage to a minimum and Jack did a great job of doing that for us. Logan came in and pitched phenomenal, that was a gutsy effort from him. His home run got us back in the game and kind of took the edge off. That let us know we could compete with them.
Moynihan settled in, striking out the side in the second inning but the top half of L-S’ lineup struck again in the third inning. Lachman doubled again, advanced on a ground out, and Dillon walked to put runners on the corner. Dillon attempted to steal second, forcing a throw but it ended up in centerfield, allowing Lachman to score. But Taunton limited the damage as Dillon tried to go from second to home. Evan Melo fired to Martins and he fired to Andrew Gomes at home for the tag.
Lachman surprised the Tigers with a bunt to lead off the fifth, advanced to second on a passed ball, stole third, and scored when the throw from home on the pickoff attempt got past the third baseman.
Taunton had momentum in the third when Martins singled and advanced to second on an error. Lawrence walked and the Tigers executed a double steal but Martins was then called out for supposedly coming off the bag at third.
In the top of the sixth, Milind Lele reached on an error, advanced to second on a ground out, Matthew Ray was hit by a pitch, the Tigers intentionally walked Lachman to load the bases but Lawrence induced a grounder to first to prevent any damage.
Lawrence reached second on a two-base error to start the bottom of the sixth and took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball that was also ball four for Jared Roderick. Roderick stole second, Nolan Melo was hit by a pitch, Roderick stole third, and then scored on a squeeze bunt from Evan Melo up the first base line to make it 5-5.
“Execution has been huge for us all year, and those are the fundamentals we practice day in and day out. It’s one of those things, when it works its great because we spend a lot of time on it. For Evan to come through was huge, it’s still difficult to execute and he came through.
“What’s happened before doesn’t faze these guys. They cheer for each other. Even when I told Gavin [Leahy], a senior, that’d he be pinch hit for [by Marshall in the ninth], he said OK. It’s fun to be able to coach a team that isn’t selfish and cheer for each other, even if they lose their spot. The bottom of the order has been different each game and it’s been someone different game.”
L-S had its lone hit against Lawrence to leadoff the seventh inning, but Gomes erased him at second on a steal attempt.
Taunton baseball (20-7) will play Central sectional champion Shrewsbury in the D1 State Final. Currently, there is no date or time listed on the MIAA website but it’s scheduled to be played at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.
“We’ve got one to go, might as well win it,” Notarangelo said.
BROCKTON, Mass. – Taunton junior Nic Notarangelo joined the Tigers’ starting lineup on his birthday on May 16th in the City Championship against rival Coyle & Cassidy.
After going a perfect 3-for-3 that day, Notarangelo stuck in the lineup and hasn’t stopped doing damage since.
Notarangelo, patrolling left field for the Tigers since that game, had two hits and drove in three runs on Saturday, including the game-winner in the second inning with a triple, to pace fourth-seeded Taunton to a 6-1 win over #11 Attleboro in the D1 South Sectional Final at Campanelli Stadium.
It’s the first sectional title in program history for the Tigers.
“This feels great, it’s all my team, my team is always there to back me up, I always hear them cheering,” Notarangelo said. “It gives me adrenaline, it gives me confidence at the plate. We were great in the field, our pitching was outstanding but we had some trouble getting the hitting going at the beginning of the year. But it’s all about practice, we all feed off each other. Every day, we’ve been in the cages whether we’ve had practice or not and now it’s all paid off.”
Notarangelo, who has hit safely in all but two games since joining the lineup (with eight multi-hit games), smoked a two-out triple to deep left centerfield to bring in Sean Quinlan (single) and Evan Melo (single) and put Taunton up 3-0, a lead it never relinquished.
One game that Notarangelo didn’t have a hit was the Tigers’ playoff win over Xaverian. But instead of a hit, he had arguably the biggest play of the game with a diving catch in the first inning, stranding two Hawks on base. Taunton went on to win 2-0.
“Nic had that diving catch against Xaverian that really changed the momentum even it was the first inning,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “And then he came up huge again this game. Those were huge runs for us to get. He’s a kid that is quiet, does the right things, works hard, stays after. I’m really proud of him, he’s come a long way this year. He started to get some at-bats later in the season and was doing some damage and hasn’t looked back since.”
Three runs was plenty for right-handed pitchers Logan Lawrence and Josh Lajoie. Lawrence, a junior, earned the win by allowing one unearned run in four innings of work, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six.
Lajoie, a senior, allowed just three bases runners (one hit, two walks) in three innings of work while recording four strikeouts. None of the three Bombardiers advanced past first against Lajoie.
“Logan was great, he came up big and executed pitches when he needed to, which was important,” Bourque said. “He was scrapping and thew the ball well, his location was a little off today that got him in some trouble. Then Josh did a phenomenal job coming in and shutting the door, making sure they didn’t get too many guys on.
“Last year we lost to Durfee in a playoff game after beating them twice in the regular season. We knew it’d be tough coming in today, especially the second game against Attleboro when we were able to hit the ball pretty good but they had played five games in five days so we kind of threw that game away. We knew they are a good team, they are here for a reason. We knew the challenge that was ahead of us and we met that challenge and I’m really proud of these guys.”
Taunton’s Jared Roderick, Andrew Gomes, Quinlan, and Melo all clubbed consecutive singles to lead off the second inning, with Melo’s hit bringing Gomes home (Roderick was picked off at second by Attleboro starter Ryan Morry [5IP, 8H, 2BB, 6ER, 2K). After Morry got a ground out, Notarangelo smacked his third triple of the season to bring in two more runs.
“I think early on, we might have been pressing, I’m not sure what it was exactly,” Bourque said the offensive turnaround this season. “But as the weather warmed up, so did our bats. I think there were some games we needed the offense when the pitching wasn’t there and it came through. It’s a team game and I think we’ve proven that.”
Attleboro had a chance to respond right away as they loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third. Both Troy Gamache and Nick McMahon singled and Tim Callahan reached on an error after a bunt. It looked like the Bombardiers would bring at least one run in on a bloop single to shallow left, but Taunton sophomore shortstop Ty Cali, who joined the starting lineup for the playoffs after the Tigers lost Danny MacDougall to injury, sprinted and made the catch on the run to hold the runners in place.
“That was the play of the day there,” Bourque said. “He played in the New Bedford game when Danny pitched so he had a couple of innings of varsity experience but not much. We were just asking for him to make the routine plays and he’s done a great job stepping in for us.”
After the first out, Lawrence came back with back-to-back strikeouts against the heart of the Bombardiers’ lineup to escape without any damage done.
Lawrence’s momentum carried to the plate as he clubbed a one-out triple in the bottom of the inning, and beat the throw on Roderick’s squeeze bunt to make it 4-0.
The Bombardiers had another chance to cut into the lead in the top of the fourth but only managed to put a dent into it. Troy Van Vliet reached on a one-out error, Gamache singled with two outs, and McMahon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Van Vliet to score but Lawrence induced a ground ball up the middle that Cali fielded and fired to first for the third out.
“They were definitely lacking,” Attleboro head coach Steve Dunlea said of timely hits. “Part of that is on us, part of it you tip your cap because they made some good pitches.
“That’s a talented pitching staff [Taunton] has, really talented. I was just saying to the kids how this is the farthest an Attleboro team has been in quite some time. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished this year, this senior group. None of them had played in a tournament game before and made it all the way to here, that takes leadership. We started 0-2, kind of a tough 0-2, but we pulled together as a family and that’s how they played the rest of the season.”
Taunton canceled that run with one of its own in the bottom half. Evan Melo drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a chopper to second, and Lucas Martins brought the run in, slicing a single to right field just fair to make it 5-1.
The Tigers tacked on another insurance run in the sixth inning as Gomes led off with a walk, ending Morry’s day. Eoin Kelleher, the Bombardiers’ ace, came on in relief on just two days rest. Kelleher got a fly out to left before Evan Melo’s single put two on. A fielder’s choice advanced Gomes to third and Notarangelo singled to bring in pinch runner Nolan Melo in to make it 6-1.
Cali erased a leadoff single in the top of the seventh by turning a double play and Lajoie got the last out on called strikes to send the Tigers into a big celebration.
“I don’t think its hit home yet but it’s something I’m really proud of the kids and what they’ve accomplished so far,” Bourque said. “You couldn’t ask for a better group of guys, of hard workers. The camaraderie they’ve had all season. The offseason weight room, the captain’s practices, you name it. They deserve everything they get.”
Attleboro finishes the season at 14-10, concluding a terrific postseason run that saw the Bombardiers knock off Barnstable on the road, Bridgewater-Raynham, and second-seeded Durfee.
“I think they are starting to figure what they’ve accomplished and obviously it hurts right now,” Dunlea said. “You want to continue on but for me, it was just a great experience with an unbelievable group of seniors. They really cared about the program, they had goals for this team, and it was just really fun to be a part of that.”
Taunton baseball (19-7) advances to the D1 State Semifinal and will take on North sectional champion Lincoln-Sudbury (21-2), the top seed in that bracket. The Tigers will take on the Warriors on Tuesday at Alumni Field in Lowell at 7:00.