Rocketeers Roll To D2 South Title Against Oliver Ames

North Attleboro baseball
North Attleboro’s Nate Pearce (right) is greeted at home plate after his sixth inning home run. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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BROCKTON, Mass. – There’s hot, there’s red hot, and then there’s Big Red hot.

The North Attleboro lineup continued its torrid streak this postseason, belting out 18 hits on its way to a 17-2 win over Hockomock rival Oliver Ames in the D2 South Sectional Final.

It was the second straight game the Red Rocketeers have had double-digit hits and double-digit runs. In its three postseason games, North Attleboro has outscored opponents 42-2.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“They are swinging the bat well, we’re just trying to keep the same approach regardless of what the pitcher is doing out there,” said first-year North Attleboro head coach Mike Hart. “We’re taking it one pitch at a time, one batter at a time. We feel if we take care of ourselves, we can be successful.”

And if the offense wasn’t hot enough, North Attleboro ace Nick Sinacola allowed just two hits and two unearned runs in six innings of work while striking out seven to earn the win.

“I’ll give it to that North Attleboro lineup, they crush the ball,” said Oliver Ames coach Joe Barr. “I’ve never seen a team like that, top to bottom, just go through and square it up. Our guy [Reid Latham] was throwing strikes but I don’t know if the air was a little thin or what but those balls got in the air and kept traveling.”

Once Sinacola set the Tigers down in order in the first inning, North Attleboro’s offense went right to work. Brendan McHugh led off with a double, Zach DeMattio had a one-out walk, and Nate Pearce roped a ground-rule double over the fence for a quick 1-0 lead.

Nick Raneri scored on a fielder’s choice as DeMattio was able to get home before OA’s throw did, and Jeff Gale hit one deep enough that brought Pearce, who was ruled to have tagged up after Mitch Goulet’s spectacular catch in center, home for a 3-0 lead after an inning.

Big Red tacked on four more runs — all with two outs — when it returned to the plate in the bottom of the second inning. McHugh started the rally with a single and moved to third when Sinacola picked up his first hit of the day. DeMattio brought both runners home with a hard hit triple, Pearce knocked a run in with a single, and Raneri drove a run in with a single as well to make it 7-0.

“We’ve all been working together through the winter and the spring and it really just shows how much hard work and coming together as a group can accomplish when you execute,” DeMattio said.

Nick Zwerle reached after forcing an error on his bunt and Sean O’Brien walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Sinacola got the second out but Michael Friel hit a line drive double into the gap in left center to bring both runs in to give the Tigers some life, cutting the deficit to 7-2.

But North Attleboro landed a big counter punch in the form of four runs in the bottom of the third to extend its lead. Aidan Harding walked and pinch runner Kyle Briere took second on a wild pitch and third on a single from McHugh. Briere beat out a throw home on Sinacola’s grounder, DeMattio scored McHugh with a single, Sinacola scored after DeMattio stole second and OA attempted to pick him off, and Pearce doubled in DeMattio for an 11-2 advantage.

“Subconsciously that’s the type of stuff that just creeps into your mind,” Abarr said. “You think you’re back in it — and I think we were in it more most of the game — but that was a deflating experience. I’ve been on that end as a player and a coach, and it’s tough. I tip my cap to North for that, they didn’t let up. They played hard right to the end.”


“I give [OA] a lot of credit, they are an excellent hitting team,” Hart said. “In regards to answering back, I think it just puts us at ease. I think it made it 7-2 then and five runs with these two teams means nothing. So to get those runs back, it helps Nick on the mound.”

Sinacola retired the side in order in each of the first and second innings, and after allowing two runs in the third, only allowed one base runner to reach third base (an error and a wild pitch). It was Sinacola’s second win against OA this year after beating them in his first appearance back in early April.

“I think early in the year, a lot of hitters struggle with the fastball,” Sinacola said. “Once you get to this point in the season, they are a lot better and they have their timing down. So I think we had to change it up and throw a little bit more offspeed then I did the first time and I think it worked.”

Raneri scored on a passed ball and Gale came home on a hard hit ball from Nolan Buckley that was ruled an infield error for the Tigers in the fifth inning.

In the bottom fo the sixth, Sinacola got his second RBI with a single to score McHugh, DeMattio picked up his fourth RBI of the day with a base hit to score Sinacola and at the next at-bat, Pearce launched a two-run home run to cap the scoring.

“We had to pretty much show up and play perfect against that lineup and that pitcher in order to walk out with a win,” Abarr said. “We knew they’d be relentless. But it was an unreal run for us here at the end, with a team that didn’t quite expect to be here. We don’t set hard and fast goals about where a team can get to, we have just shown up and worked on specific things to get better each day. And these guys did a great job doing that.”

North Attleboro’s top four hitters — McHugh, Sinacola, DeMattio, and Pearce — combined for 13 hits, 11 RBI, and 14 runs scored.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

For Oliver Ames (16-8), Friel had two hits and two RBI, Matt McCormack and Nick Bloumbas each had a base hit, and O’Brien and Zwerle each scored once. On the mound, Jay Fruci pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout.

“This is definitely the best group I’ve ever coached,” Abarr said of his team. “From top to bottom, the first guy in the lineup to the last guy on the bench to the team manager…they were tight, always behind each other, and regardless who was in the lineup each day, they were ready to play. It was the most reliable, hard-working, and unified group that I’ve coached and those are the three qualities you look for in a high school team.”

North Attleboro (21-2) advances to the D2 State Final to play North champ Beverly (20-4) on Thursday night at 6:30 at LaLacheur Park in Lowell.

Oliver Ames Answers The Call Against Duxbury

Oliver Ames baseball
Oliver Ames’ Jake Erlich (left) and Reid Latham celebrate after recording the final out to beat Duxbury. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com
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ROCKLAND, Mass. – Any time Duxbury tried to make its way back into the game, Oliver had the answer.

Similar to a boxing match, the Tigers countered any punch that the Dragons landed with a blow of their own. In the end, it was a unanimous decision, 11-7, in favor of the Tigers.

Oliver Ames advances to the D2 South Final to play Hockomock rival North Attleboro.

The Tigers opened the bout by landing a big shot away, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth. But as big as the opening inning was, it was the other two innings in which Oliver Ames scored that mattered most.

Duxbury connected with a jab in the top of the third in the form of two runs, cutting OA’s four-run lead in half. In the bottom half, the Tigers landed a clean shot of their own with their second four-run inning, pushing the lead to 8-2.

And again, when Duxbury landed another attempt in the top of the fifth with two more runs, making it a four-run game with just a couple innings to go, the Tigers responded. The fifth-seeded Tigers quickly striking back for three runs, restoring a comfortable lead at 11-4.

“That’s something that we said is one of our team priorities offensively,” said Oliver Ames head coach Joe Abarr. “When we’re scored on, our goal is to answer back immediately. I know from being around the game that if you’re the team playing catchup, and every time you get on the board, and the other team comes right back, it’s a very uphill battle. I think that was something really positive about our offense today, they did a good job with that.

“We put ourselves in good counts to hit the ball when we needed to and we got a ton of walks that really helped us down the line.”

After Duxbury failed to cash in in the top of the first inning, stranding a runner at third, the Tigers took advantage of their chance in the bottom half.

Senior Matt Muir led off with a single while senior Michael Friel and junior Chris Pearsons followed with walks to load the bases with one out. Mitch Goulet brought in a run when he was hit by a pitch and Jake Erlich smacked a two-run single up the middle for a 3-0 advantage.

CJ Deveau earned a one-out walk to load the bases before Sean O’Brien did the same with two-outs bring Goulet in for a 4-0 lead.

“That was huge and this time we didn’t take our foot off the gas,” Abarr said of the opening offense. “We were able to keep putting runs up there. The top of our order has guys that at any given at-bat can do big things. It’s nice to see them stringing them together consistently.”

OA starter Michael Mulrean (5.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 1 K) ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the third. Not only was he taking on a strong Duxbury lineup, an issue with the mound caused issues for both pitchers. North Attleboro starter Peter Cohen had a similar issue during the game prior.

John Roberts led off the third with a walk but was erased when Sam Reagan reached on a fielder’s choice. A soft line drive from Luke Eggers put runners on the corners and then the ump called a balk, bring a run in and moving Eggers to second. A passed by and a single from Charles Coon brought in another run, making it 4-2. Coon made it into scoring position at second but Mulrean got back-to-back outs on two pitches to escape further damage.

Arguably OA’s most important was the bottom of the third. After Duxbury made a move to get back into it, the Tigers landed a deflating shot in the form of four runs.

Goulet walked and took second on an errant pickoff attempt. Erlich drew a walk and Deveau, who tried to sacrifice them both over, ended up safe at first after his speed down the first base line forced a high throw.

Nick Zwerle delivered a one-run base hit through the left side and O’Brien brought a run home on a groundout. With runners on second and third, Muir roped a hard line drive to right center field for a two-run triple to give OA an 8-2 advantage.

Mulrean was picked up by some solid defense in the fourth inning. A hard hit high bouncing ground ball was picked up by Zwerle on the first base line for an out. After a walk, Muir nearly made a spectacular leaping grab at short. The ball fell down but the senior stuck with it and got the force at second. And Friel snagged a tailing line drive at second for the third out.

“This isn’t a knock on the facilities but that mound was tough, I saw it when I went out for warmups,” Abarr said. “I think both sides really had to deal with that adversity. You could see their guy slipping and sliding. And the way Mulrean pitches, he pushes himself down and really does land in a slide with his front foot. He was almost doing a little split at times. I have to hand it to him, he did a good job hanging in there and gave us a chance to win and that’s all we can ask for.”

A leadoff single from Reagan sparked another comeback attempt for Duxbury in the top of the fifth. Eggers and Coon both walked to load the bases with no outs. Pat Melampy singled in one run and Frank Tower’s sacrifice fly made it 8-4.

Duxbury loaded the bases again but Mulrean got a big ground out to third to prevent any further damage.

True to form, Oliver Ames responded to recreate a comfortable separation. Sophomore pinch hitter Jacob Levine crushed a ball to left center field for a one-out triple and scored on an RBI single from Pearsons. A single from Goulet pushed Pearsons to third after, after Goulet stole second, Erlich walked to load the bases.

It looked as though Duxbury had its second out when Deveau hit a slow roller up the first base line. But once again, his effort down the line forced a second of indecision by the fielder and he slid in safely at first and Pearsons came racing in to score.

“It’s stuff like that that you need in these games,” Abarr said of Deveau’s two hustle plays. “That was unbelievable, they were both great hustle plays. We said last night, it’s going to be tough for everyone, so don’t take anything granted, we have to run everything out. And I have to really hand it to these guys, I don’t think I’ve had to talk to anyone about not running a play out, which is awesome.

With O’Brien up, Goulet sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it 11-4.

Duxbury pushed back with three runs in the top of the sixth inning but reliever Tom Parker came in and eventually got the third out – a swinging strikeout – to strand runners at second and third.

OA’s Reid Latham inherited a runner at first when he came in to pitch in the top of the seventh. Latham got a strikeout, fly ball to center field, allowed a two-out walk, but closed the door on a groundout to second base.

“We were here last year, we got knocked out here [by a similar score],” Abarr said, the Tigers having lost 10-6 to Westwood at this point a season ago. “We battled back [in that game] but came up short. We’ve tried to work on specific things throughout the season. And these guys, from top to bottom, have done a tremendous job working on those things in order to get better.”

Oliver Ames baseball (16-7) will take on the Rocketeers in the D2 South Final on Saturday at 10:00AM at Campanelli Stadium.

The two teams opened the season against one another back on April 9th with Big Red prevailing 5-2. The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh before North got the final out to secure the win.

“We faced [Nick] Sinacola, who is the real deal and their catcher [Zach DeMattio] is unbelievable, he crushes the ball, he’s one of the best high school hitters I’ve ever seen,” Abarr said. “Just thinking back, we had a couple of errors, we aren’t on time with our hitters. I’m hoping with two and a half months under our belt now, we’ll come in and give them a better game. I think we lost by three runs but they were just a step ahead. Hopefully we’re even now and have a good game on Saturday.”

OA Advances To South Semis With Win Over Nauset

Oliver Ames baseball
Oliver Ames’ Jake Erlich (left) and Matt Muir celebrate after getting the final out against Nauset. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – With the way the game started, it was looking like it was going to be a blowout win for Oliver Ames.

But by the end, the Tigers were just happy to survive and advance.

OA built a 5-0 lead through the first three innings of play but saw that advantage shrink to just one run after the next two. The Tigers added a big insurance run in the fifth and escaped a seventh-inning threat from Nauset to emerge with a 6-4 win.

“I tip my cap to Nauset,” said OA head coach Joe Abarr. “Their first base coach just kept saying ‘play the game’ which I thought was a cool mantra. You could see their guys stay in the moment and getting hits when they needed to. But we were able to get enough runs across early in the game and protect the lead in the end.”

“As soon [Nasuet] battled back it was like a wake-up call and all the guys got behind each other. I’m hoping they remember that and keep that attitude moving forward because the games won’t be any easier moving forward.”

Some heads up base running in the bottom of the first inning helped the Tigers grab an early lead. Michael Friel (4-for-4, RBI, run) had a one-out single and stole second with two outs. Chris Pearsons (3-for-4, RBI, run) hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield but raced down the line and beat the throw for an infield hit.

With two outs, Friel was off and running, but didn’t stop at first. The senior infielder alertly sped around third and took off for home. The Nauset first baseman held the catch at first while the ump made the call and Friel crossed without a throw home. With no one covering second, Pearsons sprinted to the open bag for a free base but was stranded there.

“My assistant coach was just saying that’s what wins tournament games,” Abarr said of the alert base running. “I really can’t say enough about both of those guys, their baseball instincts are tremendous. But it’s not just instincts, they work at it. We have two rounds during batting practice that you have to run the bases after and those two guys take all their reps very seriously and it pays dividends. We’re hoping to get more guys to buy into that too because it makes a big difference.”

Oliver Ames starter Reid Latham (3.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB) worked around a hit in both the first and second innings. In the first, Nauset’s Stephen Kalnick was gunned down by Sean O’Brien after trying to turn a single into a double. And in the second, Harrison Field’s leadoff single didn’t result in anything when Latham got three straight outs.

Jake Erlich (2-for-4, RBI, run) got the bottom of the second started with a single and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Nick Zwerle. CJ Deveau battled his way through a nine-pitch at-bat, ending it with an RBI single to score Erlich. Matt Muir followed up with a two-out single to bring Deveau in and Muir took second on the throw.

Friel grabbed his second hit of the day with a double to bring Muir home to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.

Pearsons led off the third with a bloop single into left field and made his way all the way to third after a throwing error. Junior Matt McCormack grounded out but Pearsons came in to score to make it 5-0.

Nauset came firing back in the top of the fourth, taking care of some miscues by the Tigers. Latham got the first out with a strikeout but a high fly ball from Kalnick dropped in left center field. Latham bounced back with another strikeout but Chris Beach singled with two outs to put runners on first and second.

Latham induced a ground ball to the left side but miscommunication allowed John Dysart to reach and load the bases. Kurtis Thomas and John Paul LaBarge hit back-to-back singles, though each only scoring one run apiece. Henry Blanchard was then awarded first after a catcher’s interference call, bringing a third run in.

“This was the first time he’s been on the mound in a real game in probably five or six weeks so I have to give it to him,” Abarr said about Latham. “He did a tremendous job. When he had the cast on his hand, he was still the first one at the park each day. As soon as he was able to get the hard cast off, he could throw some and he came straight from the doctors to practice and wanted to throw. I think this was a moment he’s been waiting for and as far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t be deflated about that inning, he just didn’t have some things go his way, and that’s the way baseball goes.”

Abarr went to the bullpen and brought in junior Tom Parker (2.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 K, 3 H). The lefty needed just one pitch to get a fly ball to right to leave the bases loaded for Nauset.

“I give Tommy credit, coming in there and throwing that one pitch to get us out of it, which I thought was a huge momentum changer for us,” Abarr said.

A single from Friel and a walk to Mitch Goulet put runners on first and second for OA in the bottom half of the fourth but an infield pop up ended the threat.

Kalnick helped get Nauset one run closer with a one-out triple in the fifth inning. Harrison Field followed with a triple of his own to bring Kalnick in but Parker didn’t let Field get any further, getting two ground balls to end the inning.

OA got the insurance run it needed in the bottom of the fifth. McCormack led off with a walk and took second on a passed ball. Erlich hit a hard grounder down the third base line for an RBI double to plate McCormack to put the Tigers up 6-4.

After Zwerle was hit by a pitch, Deveau’s sac bunt moved the runners to second and third with one out but Kalnick, Nauset’s third pitcher of the day, prevented any further damage with a strikeout and 6-3 ground out.

Parker worked around a one-out error in the top of the sixth, getting back-to-back strikeouts after the runner reached. OA had a chance to blow the game open when it loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth behind three straight singles from Friel, Pearsons, and McCormack.

But this time it was Kalnick with back-to-back strikeouts to prevent any further damage.

Nauset threatened in the top of the seventh behind a one-out single from Kalnick and a walk to Field. Abarr brought in Muir to close the game out and the senior did just that, getting a line drive to center and a ground ball to short for the final two outs.

“[Parker] kept himself really composed when their three and four hitters had those triples,” Abarr said. “He was able to get out of that inning with just the one run which I’ll take all day. He was jacked up for that last inning and then we had that pause for the base runner and I think that hurt his momentum. And Matt Muir has probably been our most consistent guy out of the pen this season.”

Oliver Ames baseball (15-7) advances to the D2 South Semifinal for the second straight year. The Tigers, seeded sixth, will take #7 Duxbury (14-8) on Wednesday at 7:00 at Rockland Stadium.

Friday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/20/18

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Milford, 2 @ Canton, 3 – FinalCanton senior Robbie Wilkinson allowed just two runs on five hits in 6.1 innings of work and added an RBI on offense to help the Bulldogs edge the Hawks. Milford loaded the bases in the top of the seventh against reliever Paul Cocoran but the junior got the final two outs to escape the jam. Wilkinson had an RBI double in the third while Jake Aronson had two doubles and an RBI for the Bulldogs. Aidan Wilde went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk for the Hawks while sophomore Luke Rosa allowed just one earned run in five innings of work, striking out four.

Taunton, 2 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Mansfield, 6 vs. Bishop Feehan, 1 – FinalMansfield broke open a tie game with a five-run sixth inning to beat Bishop Feehan. The Shamrocks had a total of just two hits and no walks but plated the first run in the first inning. The Hornets tied the game in the top of the third and then pulled away in the sixth. Sam Nugent and Kevin Dow each had two hits and scored a run for the Hornets while pinch hitter Jake Gerraughty knocked in a pair of runs. Connor Sheehan earned the win on the mound, striking out eight with just two hits in six innings of work. Sophomore John Carney struck out one in a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Oliver Ames, 6 @ Stoughton, 1 – FinalOliver Ames pushed across four runs in the top of the third inning and tacked on solo runs in each the fourth and seventh innings to beat Stoughton. Michael Friel went 3-for-3 with an RBI while Reid Latham struck out five and allowed six hits in six innings of work to get the win. Stoughton’s Ruben Gonzalez allowed just one earned run in three-plus innings of work and went 3-for-4 at the plate.

Softball
Attleboro, 5 @ Mansfield, 4 – FinalAttleboro took a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and the third innings but Mansfield scored three in its half of the third to jump in front. Sarah Cahill, who struck out three in six innings in the circle, led off with a single and scored on a base hit by Kara Bendanillo. Mady Bendanillo made it 3-2 with a two-run homer. Attleboro rallied with a pair of runs in the fifth to get the lead back and then added the eventual game-winner in the sixth. The Hornets got within one in the sixth after Mady Bendanillo (3-for-3) tripled and was brought in by Caty DeMassi, but couldn’t find another run. Mansfield coach Lori Letendre called it a “good back and forth game” and said the Hornets had chances late but “couldn’t come up with the timely hit we needed.” Freshman Ashlyn Conley went 2-for-3 in her varsity debut for Mansfield.

Milford, 19 @ Canton, 6 – Final (6 inn.)Milford scored 10 runs in the top of the second inning to earn a big win on the road at Canton. Sabrina Haarstick (three-run), Jess Tomaso (3-for-5, triple five RBI), and Maddy Bonvino (3-for-4, three RBI, three runs) each had a home run in the win for the Hawks. Shannon Cormier added two hits and four runs, Emily Piergustavo reached base four times and scored four runs, and Kate Irwin (2-for-4) had a double, stolen base, and three runs scored. Kelley Reichert struck out eight with one hit allowed in three innings of work in a relief appearance.

North Attleboro, 4 vs. Dartmouth, 2 – FinalBella Erti allowed three hits and one walk, while striking out one to pick up the win for North. Katie Daby (2-for-3) broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth inning with a solo homer and North added a fourth run in the following inning when Abby Gallagher scored on an Erti fielder’s choice. Katherine Munley and Gallagher each made nice catches in the outfield, according to North coach Bill Wallace, and Olivia Capobianco robbed Dartmouth of a homer in the seventh that would have cut the lead to one.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Walpole, 12 – Final (5 inn.)

Stoughton vs. Milton, 11:00

Sharon, 0 @ Taunton, 17 – Final (5 inn.)Alexa and Kelsey White combined to strike out 10 batters with three hits allowed and no walks in five innings of work to lead Taunton to a win. Alexa struck out eight, scattering three hits in four innings of work to get the win. Kelsey struck out two of the three she faced in the fifth inning. Offensively, Alexa White went 3-for-3 with a triple and a pair of doubles, knocking in three runs. Mackenzie Handrahan had three hits, including a home run, and four RBI while Kya Enos (2-for-3) and Abbie McDonough (2-for-3) each had a double and two RBI.

Boys Lacrosse
Sharon, 1 @ King Philip, 9 – Final

Girls Lacrosse
Franklin, 11 vs. Bishop Feehan, 4 – FinalClick here for a Recap from this game.

King Philip, 13 @ Sharon, 5 – FinalKP used seven different goal scorers and allowed only one goal in the second half (head coach Kourtnie Wilder described it as a “huge defensive effort!”) to pull out the non-league victory. Caroline Klim was the top scorer for the Warriors with five goals. Jess Sullivan and Lauren Anderson each tallied twice, while Alli Meehan (five draw controls), Olivia Tormey, Mackenzie Mazur and Dana Truini (four draw controls) each had one for KP. Shayla Weirzman had an assist. The Warriors also got 13 saves from Caroline Watson. Abbi Solomon and Sabrina Robbins each scored a pair of goals and Emma Eberhardt scored a goal, had a pair of assists, and five draw controls for the Eagles.

Mansfield, 16 @ Oliver Ames, 13 – Final Ann Maher scored six goals to pace the Hornets, including the game-winner with just over two minutes remaining. Coming out of a timeout in a tie game (13-13), Maher scored her fifth goal of the game to give Mansfield the lead for good. Katy Garvin and Maher each added another goal in the closing minutes to seal the win. Olivia Murray had a hat trick for the Hornets, while Hayleigh Crawford, Lauren Whitman, and Garvin each scored twice. Hannah Sternburg made 14 saves in the win.

Milford, 5 vs. Nipmuc, 14 – Final

Boys Tennis
Franklin, 5 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalFranklin continued its perfect start with a sweep on the road at Taunton. Rohan Herur won a battle at first singles, emerging with a 7-5, 6-4 win while Liam Marr (6-2, 6-0) and Saketh Saripalli (6-0, 6-0) also picked up wins to sweep singles play. The team of Tyler DiPalma and Derek Wu won 6-1, 6-1 at first doubles while Tony Calderone and Dan Angermeier didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at second doubles.

Stoughton, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 2 – FinalStoughton junior Erik Anderson stepped into the first singles spot and picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win, helping the Black Knights edge neighboring Oliver Ames. Hassan Khan added 6-3, 7-5 win at third singles and Brendon Buckley and Mike Veliotis notched a 6-1, 6-2 win at second doubles. Oliver Ames’ Henry Simone won 6-1, 6-1 at second singles and the team of TJ Clifford and Liam McMorrow rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win at first doubles.

Girls Tennis
Mansfield @ Attleboro – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.

Milford, 1 @ Canton, 4 – FinalCanton swept doubles play and picked up two more wins in singles to earn a victory over visiting Milford. Rachel Kupferman didn’t drop a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at second singles and Sarah Hernandez won 6-0, 6-2 at third singles. The team of Jena Moyle and Stelina Michaelidis picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at first doubles and Canton’s pairing of Caitlin Matthews and Sophie Le earned a 6-3, 6-2 win at second doubles. Milford’s Julie Rabinowitz won 7-5, 6-4 at first singles.

Taunton, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalTaunton dropped just two games total in four matches to get a win on the road. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Vanessa Rosa picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca won by forfeit at third singles. Samantha Martin and McKenzie Lucie (first singles) and the team of Amanda Pugh and Kayla Parrett (second doubles) both won without losing a game.

Stoughton, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 5 – FinalOA sophomore Sarah Barron made her varsity debut at third singles and came away with a 6-1, 6-1 win to help the Tigers sweep Stoughton. Sarah Leger picked up a 6-2, 6-0 win at first singles and Tate Hadges won 6-2, 6-0 at second singles. OA’s pairing of Kristin Bloumbas and Emily Yu won 6-4, 6-3 at first doubles and Olivia Groebe and Rachel Stryke paired up for a 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles.

Boys Outdoor Track
North Attleboro, 45 vs. Bishop Feehan, 35, @ Attleboro, 24 – Final

Outdoor Track
North Attleboro, 61 vs. Bishop Feehan, 38 @ Attleboro, 5 – Final

Boys Volleyball
Milford, 1 vs. Lawrence, 3 – Final

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2018 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Attleboro

2017 Record: 6-14
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Matt Bosh

After missing out on the postseason a year ago, Attleboro head coach Matt Bosh believes his team’s depth and versatility will help the Bombardiers get back there.

Junior Eoin Kelleher is back to lead the pitching staff after a stellar sophomore season in which he earned HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year honors. Kelleher posted a 1.00 ERA in 35 innings of work, including throwing a no-hitter against rival North. Senior captains Jason Weir and Jon Candiales, senior Drew Pagano along with junior Sam Larkin will all see time on the mound for Big Blue as well.

Candiales and Weir also anchor the offense with the former patrolling shortstop and the latter seeing time in both the outfield and first base. Candiales gives the Bombardiers power from the left side of the plate while Weir is a three-year starter that gives Bosh flexibility in the lineup. Larkin will be in the outfield when he isn’t pitching and can use his speed to hurt teams. Corey McKenna returns as the starting second baseman while senior Dakota Kirby is back behind the dish after a year off. Kirby will add pop to the lineup as he hit 0.425 as a sophomore with 10 RBI.

“The biggest improvement that I see from last year is our team speed and athleticism,” Bosh said. “We have a lot of guys that can play multiple positions and we’re very athletic. We have a high number of kids who can play anywhere.”

Canton

2017 Record: 6-12
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Greg Digirolamo

A strong core of returning players and a good amount of depth will be keys for the 2018 Canton Bulldogs baseball team.

After losing just four players from last year’s team, there is a good mix of experienced players and talented youth for head coach Greg Digirolamo to work with. The Bulldogs will look to three senior captains to the lead the way: Matt Casamento, Robbie Wilkinson, and Tommy DeLello. Casamento is a three-year starter in center field, DeLello will man first base and Wilkinson will try to carry over the momentum from an impressive junior year into 2018. Wilkinson went 3-1 last year with a 1.58 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched.

Wilkinson will be joined in the pitching staff by seniors Austin Maffie, Niko Donovan, and Ryan Hickey, along with juniors Paul Corcoran, Robbie Sullivan, and Kevin McGonigle. Freshman Matt Connolly will also figure into the mix on the mound.

Casamento anchors the defense from the center field spot while junior catcher Matt Pigeon and sophomore shortstop Nate Quan bolster the defense up the middle.

“It’s a good group of kids that like to compete every day, what else can you ask for as a coach?” Digirolamo said. “For us the biggest thing will be seeing live pitching. If we’re to have any success this year we’ll need to do a better job at the plate.”

Foxboro

2017 Record: 7-14
2017 Finish: Reached D3 South First Round
Coach: Derek Suess

New Foxboro head coach Derek Suess sees a little bit of the past in his first team as head coach. Suess, a former Warrior himself, said the 2018 version of Foxboro reminds him of a team that won 15 games during his senior year just over a decade ago.

“This team is hungry to put the program back on the map,” Suess said. “I couldn’t ask for a better senior group to lead us. They remind me of the senior group I was a part of in 2007 in which we won 15 games. With a good mix of underclassmen, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s hard work pay off on the field.”

After losing a painful eight games by just one run a season ago, including a near upset of third-seeded and D3 South Finalist Norton in the playoffs, the Warriors will be looking to turn those losses into wins this time around.

“We need to make more winning plays to put those tallies in the win column,” Suess said.

Junior Anthony Mollica will spearhead the offense after leading the Warriors with a 0.367 batting average a year ago. Senior Chad Bearce and sophomore Joe Cavaleri will bolster the middle of the lineup, freshman Sean Yoest has shown flashes early on at the dish, and seniors Joe Freitas, Matt Rongione, and Jack Franceschelli provide the Warriors with some speed.

Senior Steve McLaughlin returns after an impressive 2017 season. Despite posting an 0-6 record, McLaughlin struck out 24 batters in 32.2 innings of work and posted a 1.73 ERA. McLaughlin will be joined by Cavaleri, Yoest, and junior Guy Quartarone in the rotation while senior Robert Theriault returns behind the dish after getting a year of experience last season.

Franklin

2017 Record: 18-6
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Quarterfinal
Coach: Zach Brown

Focusing on pitching and defense, the Panthers will be looking to get better each and every day as they try to replicate the success from a season ago.

Franklin won the Kelley-Rex division last year, its first league title since 2012. And the mix of pitching and offense put the Panthers in some conversations for Super 8, but the Panthers ended up in the D1 South and bowed out in the quarterfinals after being forced to play on back to back days.

The arms that helped the Panthers have so much success last year as almost all back, starting with staff ace senior Jake Noviello. The Fairfield-commit struck out a Hockomock-best 61 batters a year ago, going 6-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 55.1 innings of work. Noviello is complemented by lefty Jason Ulrickson (7-0, 0.80 ERA, 35 K), Bryan Woelfel (3-2, 0.91 ERA, 4 SV, 31 K) and senior James Leofanti.

The defense will be anchored by a pair of returning starters in junior shortstop Alex Haba (0.360, 12 runs) and junior catcher Jake Macchi.

“While we are returning a number of experienced arms we are also turning over a number of positions last season,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “So, we will be young or inexperienced at a number of positions. Offensively, my hope is that as the season progressing we will be able to develop an identity and find a way to manufacture runs.”

King Philip

2017 Record: 10-11
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round
Coach: Greg Kessler

After just squeaking into the postseason a year ago, first-year KP head coach Greg Kessler is hoping his team will be in contention for a Kelley-Rex division title in 2018.

One reason for that is the senior class and the handful of returning players that have plenty of experience at the varsity level. Ben Furfari returns as a key piece of the Warriors’ outfield and lineup. He hit 0.298 last season and will provide the power on offense. Senior Pat Limerick, committed to play at St. Joseph’s (ME), will set the tone as the leadoff hitter.

On the mound, senior Jeremy Rhines (2-1, 1.45 ERA) and junior David Morganelli will be the main options while hard-throwing senior Liam Rohan will also be in the mix. Nolan Bradley returns behind the plate as one of the top catchers in the league while sophomore Robbie Jarest will step in to take over at shortstop.

“We have a great group of senior this year,” Kessler said. “They have been dedicated to the weight room and leading our underclassmen. They continuously strive to build a team that will compete for the Hock championship. They deserve to have a great year. I guarantee that will be the most vocal and most energetic team in the Hock. We pride ourselves on being positive and enthusiastic every pitch.”

Mansfield

2017 Record: 14-8
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Joe Breen

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Mansfield baseball program this season. And with the arms they have back, there’s good reason for it.

Senior Tyler Dalton, a UMass Amherst commit, returns after missing the majority of his junior year with an injury. Dalton was tremendous during the 2016 season as a sophomore, posting a 6-2 record while striking out 35 batters and posting a 1.78 ERA. He will be joined on the Hornets’ staff by senior Kevin Dow (UMass Amherst commit, 4-1, 1.93 ERA), junior lefty Connor Sheehan (2.82 ERA, 28 K), and junior Kyle Moran (three saves). Sophomore John Carney will also likely see time on the mound for the Hornets.

Senior catcher Cullin Anastasia returns after being named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com Second Team. Anastasia had 19 hits a year ago, knocking in 10 runs and scoring 10 runs as well. Sam Nugent will give the Hornets a spark in center field and on the base path with his speed, Moran picked up plenty of experience at third base last season, and Eric Longley will provide Mansfield with some pop in the middle of the lineup.

“We will rely heavily on our pitching staff this season to keep us in games and look to make the plays behind them and be aggressive with our offensive and baserunning approach to get those guys a few runs per game,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “As always, we will turn to our senior class to set the tone and for our underclassmen to blossom under their leadership.”

Milford

2017 Record: 12-10
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Quarterfinals
Coach: Alex Dion

Milford baseball starts a new chapter in its historic history as longtime assistant Alex Dion takes over the reigns of the program.

Dion’s first challenge will be having to overcome the loss of a dozen seniors, including team ace Alex Macek, reliable infielders Zack Tamagni and Anthony Arcudi, and hard-hitting outfielder Ryan Goncalves. However, the good news is that Dion has one of the best players at his disposal in Stonehill-commit Aidan Wilde. Wilde had 59 hits between his freshman and sophomore years and added 21 more in the regular season a year ago. After seeing time as a catcher last season, Wilde will mainly man the corner infield positions in 2018.

Wilde will be complemented by junior Matt Shaver, who picked up some experience a year ago at both shortstop and on the mound. The Hawks will rely on Shaver to anchor the defense from short and give the offense a spark from the leadoff position. Junior Tyler Almeida will step in behind the dish and will provide some offense from the left side of the plate. Sophomores Luke Rosa and Colby Pires look to be in the mix as well as junior Nick Marcolini, who will pitch and patrol the outfield.

“We graduated a strong senior class this past year and are now in a situation where we have a lot of new players who we will look to take advantage of new opportunities,” Dion said. “I am excited about the athleticism that we have on our roster and the energy that these guys bring to practice each day. I think our philosophy is simple, but we preach a team-first mentality to our guys and strive to get quality pitching, play clean defense and get timely hits to win games.”

North Attleboro

2017 Record: 8-10
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Mike Hart

North Attleboro didn’t have to go far to find its new coach. Mike Hart takes over for Paul Tobin and Hart truly bleeds Big Red – a graduate from the school and three-sport coach.

And expectations are high for the Rocketeers after just missing out on the postseason a year ago. Senior captain Nick Sinacola returns after having an MVP-caliber junior season. Big Red will rely on Sinacola on both sides of the plate, leading the offense (he batted 0.415 last year with 15 runs scored) and being the ace of the staff (48.1 IP, 49 K, 2.01 ERA). Senior captain Zach DeMattio is also back after being named to the 2017 HockomockSports.com First Team, batting 0.333 with 15 RBI and three home runs. Big Red also gets senior Nate Pearce (0.371) back after a strong junior year.

Senior Peter Cohen (24 IP, 0.29 ERA) will look to build upon a superb junior year while Nolan Buckley and Jeff Gale bring experience to the outfield. Aidan Harding also has varsity experience and will be in the mix to get innings on the mound along with juniors Matt Wanless, Jake Palmer, Matt Seavey, Nick Raneri, and Ben Arrighi.

“We have a truly industrious group of players,” Hart said. “We’re going to keep moving guys around until we find the lineup that works for us. Some may have to play multiple positions, depending on whose pitching on any given day. We had a decent season last year, with many guys getting some varsity time, but we’re still unproven. We need to continue to improve every day and only worry about the things we can control. Guys will be competing every day all season, which will only make us better. We will approach each day, with a great attitude, high effort, and a steadfast approach.”

Oliver Ames

2017 Record: 14-9
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South Semifinals
Coach: Joe Abarr

A lot of the players that helped Joe Abarr have a successful first season as head coach last year are back, which means the Tigers are aiming to replicate that success.

Despite finishing in a tie for third in the Kelley-Rex, the Tigers put together the best playoff run of any Hock team, knocking off #2 Dighton-Rehoboth on the road to reach the sectional semifinals. Junior Matt McCormack is back after earning a spot on varsity late in the season this year, and along with classmate Tom Parker, should give OA a solid 1-2 punch. With a handful of capable arms in the mix, the third spot in the rotation is still up for grabs.

Abarr won’t have to worry much about anything hit to the left side of the infield as the Tigers return third basemen Chris Pearsons and shortstop Matt Muir, two of the top defensive players at their positions. Both are capable hitters as well and will provide some pop to the lineup. Another returning starter is senior Mitch Goulet. Goulet had a breakout junior campaign in center field (0.347, 7 RBI), catching fire in the second half of the year. Abarr is hoping that momentum will carry over to this season.

The Tigers have a battle for the spot behind the plate as both junior Jake Erlich and junior Reid Latham are back, both with experience behind the dish.

“We have a great core of returning players that will be the backbone of the program,” Abarr said. “We have to fill positions in the outfield and at first. If we have some guys step up in that role we should have a decent lineup from top to bottom.”

Sharon

2017 Record: 6-14
2017 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kee Arguimbau

Sharon is aiming to improve on its six-win season in 2017, and will be looking to ride its senior leadership to do so.

Senior captains Max Tarlin and Drew Naisuler are two of the most experienced players in the league and will be spearheading the Eagles’ offense and defense this year. Tarlin (5-4, 46 K, 1.11 ERA) is the anchor of the pitching staff, picking up five of Sharon’s six wins last season. When he’s not on the mound, expect to see Tarlin patrolling shortstop. Naisuler returns as the team’s No. 4 hitter to provide some pop to the lineup and will be a key defensive piece at both center field and first base.

The Eagles will also rely on senior Ben Schwartz, who will mainly be catching this year as well as being a major offensive contributor. Junior Noah Kamens will be a major piece of the pitching puzzle after impressing during his sophomore year. Similar to Tarlin, Kamens will be a major player in the offensive lineup and will see time off the mound spent in the outfield. Spencer Singer is transitioning to the outfield and will continue to be one of the players the Eagles look at for offensive production.

“I have a lot of guys who are multifaceted baseball players and I can foresee a lot of games being played with straight nine in the lineup,” Arguimbau said. “We have great senior leadership and some very promising sophomores that are going to play a major role in our season’s success.”

Stoughton

2017 Record: 15-6
2017 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Mike Armour

There are a lot of questions to be answered for this year’s Stoughton baseball team, but head coach Mike Armour is excited for his players to rise to the challenge.

The Black Knights graduated nearly their entire team (10 of its 13 rostered players), which won its second straight Davenport division title. So not only will Armour be leaning heavily on his three returning players, he is looking for new faces to seize the opportunity.

“This is an exciting year for our program,” Armour said. “It’s an awesome opportunity for our younger guys. The JV and freshmen teams both over 15 or more games last year, so we’re looking for them to carry that winning attitude into this season. I expect our team to play with heart and execute the fundamentals to make us a competitive team.”

2017 HockomockSports.com First Team selection and senior captain Ruben Gonzalez returns as one of the top players in the league, both defensively at shortstop and offensively at the plate. Senior Matt Hadley and junior Evan Gibb, both captains, are the other two returning players for the Knights. Gibb has plenty of varsity experience behind the plate and Hadley, although he will miss some time with injury, will be key piece in the outfield.

Meanwhile, Armour is looking for sophomores James Genest (first base) and Michael Nazzaro (third base/catcher) to step up and play important roles both offensively and defensively this season. Juniors Kyle Gagnon, Kevin Dixon, and Cian Swierzewski will see time in the outfield and classmate Robbie Seaman will be in the mix for middle infield.

For pitching, Gibb will see time on the mound as well as behind the play. Senior Will Eckhart has some varsity experience and junior Zak Paquette will likely log some meaningful innings for the Knights. Seniors Tim Kellogg, Talyor Atkinson, and Mike Anderson provide infield depth and Jack Brown and Ryan Semler will be in the mix in the outfield.

Taunton

2017 Record: 12-10
2017 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Blair Bourque

There are a lot of good pitchers in the Hockomock League this year, and it looks like the Tigers’ staff could be right near the top of the list.

Taunton returns senior Tyler Medeiros, who had a terrific junior campaign and will get junior Jack Moynihan back on the mound. Moynihan was impressive during his freshman year two seasons ago but an injury limited his action on the mound last season. Medeiros fanned 68 batters in 56.1 innings of work, posting a 1.98 ERA to anchor the staff. Look for senior Trevor Pietrzyk and juniors Griffin Tomaszycki and Josh Lajoie to get some meaningful innings on the mound as well.

“Tyler clearly emerged as our top pitcher last year,” said second-year head coach Blair Bourque. “Fortunately, he’s a big kid and was able to put us on his back and carry us. Hopefully, we’re able to provide more support for him this year.”

Moynihan will also play a big role in Taunton’s offense this year. While patrolling third base, Moynihan will try to provide some pop in the middle of the lineup. The Tigers also get their top two batters back with senior shortstop Jacob Crawford (0.350, 15 runs) and senior Christian Simoes (0.340, 12 RBI).

Taunton will carry nine seniors and eight juniors this season so experience will be key.