Panthers Prevail In Battle Against Black Knights

Franklin baseball Will Pacheco
Franklin’s Will Pacheco earned the save, getting the final three outs while stranding the tying run at first. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
STOUGHTON, Mass. – Stoughton’s offense came knocking multiple times throughout the game, but in the biggest situations, Franklin’s defense slammed the door shut.

The Black Knights loaded the bases in three separate innings and threatened with the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but three separate Panther pitchers came through to limit the damage, helping the Panthers secure a 5-3 win on the road.

After two quick strikeouts to start the game from Stoughton starter Zak Paquette, the Panthers cashed in. Senior Alex Haba had an infield single and quickly moved into scoring position by stealing second. Haba came in to score on a two-out RBI from senior Jake Macchi to put the visitors up 1-0 after a half inning.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Stoughton loaded the bases in the bottom of the first following a walk to junior George Currier, a single from senior Robbie Seaman, and a catcher’s interference but starting pitcher Liam Dailey induced a ground ball for the third out to keep the Knights off the board.

Franklin capitalized on its chances again in the top of the third. Scott Elliott led off with a single and took second when the hit got by the center fielder trying to make a defensive play. Elliott then stole third and came home when the throw from home was high, giving the Panthers a run without a second player putting the ball in play.

The Panthers struck again with two outs to increase the advantage. Cooper Ross reached on an error, took second on a single from JB Floris, and game in to score on an RBI base hit from Dan Markowski to make it 3-0.

“Two-out RBIs are key, they are clutch,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “This is a good offense, and we’ve found ways to score runs in a number of ways. Today it just happened to be the two-out RBI and not quitting on an inning that made the difference.”

The Black Knights had the leadoff man erased with a double play in the second, and then couldn’t push across any runs when they loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. Currier and Seaman had back-to-back singles and junior James Genest reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with the Black Knights trailing 3-0.

Again, Dailey was up to the challenge, getting a strikeout for the second out and inducing a pop up behind the plate that was caught on a nice play by Macchi to keep Stoughton off the board.

“With some of the plays we made, we didn’t make it easy for Liam,” Brown said. “He gave us a great effort, we’re proud of that effort. When he’s on the hill, we feel pretty good about our chances.”

Franklin increased its lead with another big play from Elliott. Junior Jack Nally drew a one-out walk and advanced to second and third on back-to-back wild pitches.Elliot laced a shot to right center field that went past the fielder. With no fence at the Stoughton field, the ball continued rolling allowing Elliott to round the bases for an inside the park home run.

Stoughton once again put pressure on the Panthers in the bottom of the fifth, this time pushing some runs across with the bases load. Cian Swierzewski led off with a single, Seaman was hit by a pitch, and Genest single to load the bases with one out.

Jacob Kaplan came through with an RBI single to get the Knights on the board, and Michael Nazzaro followed with a base hit of his own to bring another run in, making it 5-2. With the bases still loaded, Brown elected to go to the bullpen and brought in junior Cody Trotin.

Trotin came through for Franklin, getting the first batter he faced to strikeout and followed by inducing a fly ball to center to prevent Stoughton from adding to its total.

“We’re young and Franklin is a good team,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “We didn’t do ourselves any favors today. Zak was locked in to start, you saw it with the two strikeouts, and I felt like we could have done him a little better, we could have made some more plays early on. But at the same time, you have to tip your cap to Franklin. They got the bat on the ball and got a few runs across the dish early that ended up being the difference. But we’re still learning, there’s still room for improvement, but all in all, being a hit away from tying this game we’ll take it.

“We had 11 left on base, but you have to tip your hat to Franklin for making some pitches and getting us out. We’re young, we have some guys that are still getting their feet wet at the varsity level and I think they showed today. Hopefully, we learn from it.”

Genest took over on the mound in relief for the Black Knights, and after the first batter he faced reached on an error, he retired six straight Panthers.

Stoughton brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but again the Panthers got the necessary outs. Seaman led off with a triple and scored on an RBI single from Genest to make it 5-3. Genest moved to second when Kaplan was walked, putting runners on first and second with no outs, forcing Brown to go to his bullpen again.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Junior Will Pacheco got a strikeout and then a fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners for the Knights with two outs. Pacheco then got a soft line drive back to the mound for the third out, stranding the tying run on first to get the win.

“We got some outs when we needed them,” Brown said. “Cody Trotin came into a big spot in his first outing of the year. He really gave us what we needed at the time. And obviously, Will Pacheco has been around the block and he just seems to rise to the occasion in pressure situations.”

Franklin baseball (5-0 Hockomock, 6-0 overall) is back in action on Friday when it hosts one of the top teams in the state in Walpole. Stoughton (3-2, 5-2) is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Foxboro.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/16/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Foxboro, 12 vs. Blue Hills, 0 – Final (4 inn.)Foxboro’s offense exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the first inning, helping the Warriors win big in a mercy-rule shortened contest. The Warriors totaled 12 hits in the contest with senior Brian Duncan leading the way with three hits (one double) and two runs scored. Junior Kyle McGinnis added two doubles and two runs scored and junior James Kaeser had two hits, a run, and two RBI for the Warriors. Michael Develin and Joe Cavaleri each had a double and knocked in a pair of runs in the win. Sophomore Cam Prescott earned the win, allowing just one hit in four innings of work while striking out two. Foxboro will take on Milton in the championship game of the third annual Steven J. Sullivan tournament on Thursday at 2:00.

Franklin, 12 @ Catholic Memorial, 1 – FinalFranklin’s offense plated six runs in the top of the fifth inning, turning a 6-1 lead into a 12-1 win on the road at Catholic Memorial. Senior Scott Elliott blasted a three-run home run to pace the offense while senior Alex Haba went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Joe Lizotte (three RBI, run), Shane O’Neil (run, RBI), JB Floris (double, two runs, two RBI), and Jack Nally (run, RBI) each had a pair of hits for the Panthers. Junior Brennan Rivera tossed a complete game, allowing just one unearned run on two hits and two walks while striking out six to get the win.

North Attleboro, 10 vs. Somerset Berkley, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro burst into the win column behind a strong team offensive performance and a stellar showing on the mound from sophomore Dennis Colleran. The Rocketeers, who trailed 1-0 early, tied the game with a run in the second, plated five runs in the third (all with two outs), tacked on one run in the fourth, and put the game out of reach with three more in the sixth. Colleran allowed just two hits in a complete game effort, striking out seven with no earned runs allowed. Russell Dunlap (four RBI) had a bases-clearing triple with two outs in the third to help the Rocketeers create separation. Jake Palmer led off the fourth with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-1. Jake Carroll added an RBI single in a three-run sixth. Sophomore Jared Penta added two hits in the win.

Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth, 3 – FinalWith the game tied at 3-3, Oliver Ames senior Matt McCormick delivered a two-run single to put the Tigers ahead for good. Senior Reid Latham earned his third win of the season, striking out eight and walking in two with two earned runs allowed in six innings of work. Senior Tyler Avery recorded the save, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning to secure the win. Jake Erlich went 2-for-3 while Cam Perron and CJ Deveau each had a hit and an RBI. Chris Pearsons added three hits, two runs scored, an RBI and was strong in the field defensively, including turning a key double play.

Sharon, 0 vs. Hingham, 4 – Final

Stoughton, 7 @ Brockton, 6 – FinalFor the second time this season, Stoughton junior Jacob Kaplan has delivered a big hit with the bases loaded. After helping the Black Knights beat North in the season opener with a big hit, Kaplan was at it again on Tuesday. This time, with Stoughton holding a 2-1 lead, Kaplan cleared the bases with a two-out double in the top of the fifth and later scored himself to give the visitors a 6-1 advantage. Brockton cut the deficit to one with a four-run fifth, and the teams traded runs in the sixth to make it 7-6. Sophomore Brady Conlin earned the two-inning save with no hits allowed and one strikeout. Senior Evan Jackman picked up the win, scattering seven hits and three walks in five innings of work, striking out two.

Taunton, 8 vs. Durfee, 4 – FinalDurfee cut Taunton’s lead to just one with a run in the top of the fourth inning but the Tigers scored once in the bottom half and added three runs in the fifth inning to conquer the Hilltoppers. Jack Moynihan earned the win on the mound, scattering six hits over six innings of work, striking out five with three earned runs allowed. Logan Lawrence had a hit and two RBI and Colby Lariviere added two hits and two RBI for the Tigers.

Softball
Mansfield, 12 vs. Duxbury, 5 – FinalMansfield pounded out 14 hits in total and scored four runs in each the fourth and sixth innings to earn a win over visiting Duxbury. Mady Bendanillo got the offense started with a home run in the bottom of the first and was a part of the Hornets’ two-out three-run rally in the third. Megan Letendre singled, Mady Bendanillo (two hits) walked, and Mary Muldoon, Caty DeMassi (two hits), and Ella Verheggen (two hits) each had RBI singles. Kara Bendanillo, Casey Mousette, and Sydney Woods also had two hits for Mansfield. Sarah Cahill allowed five hits while striking out seven.

North Attleboro, 7 vs. Dartmouth, 3 – FinalNorth Attleboro prevailed in a battle of unbeatens, handing Dartmouth its first loss with a 7-3 verdict. Junior Bella Erti struck out eight without issuing a walk, scattering six hits in a complete game. Erti did not allow any earned runs in the win. Sophomore Emily Nardelli had two hits, a sacrifice fly, and a walk, junior Ashley Cangiano added a triple, and freshman Mandi Hanewich had a single and a run scored. Junior Annabelle Hebard, junior Abby Gallagher, and sophomore Belle Clarkin each had two walks and a run scored.

Oliver Ames, 8 vs. Whitman-Hanson, 7 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery from this game.

Stoughton, 5 vs. Brockton, 4 – FinalStoughton sophomore Nicole Baker hit a walkoff solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to cap the Black Knights’ comeback against Brockton. The Boxers held a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth but senior Karly Estremera (two hits) delivered a two-out double to score Sarah McGrath to tie it 4-4. After Baker shut the Boxers down in the top of the seventh from the circle, she gave Stoughton the win with her home run. Senior Brianna Ferrandiz went 2-for-3, junior Lexi Baptista added a double, and freshmen Melody Casna and Sydney Menz each had a hit. Baker earned the win in the circle, striking out 12.

King Philip, 1 vs. Bishop Feehan, 18 – Final

Boys Lacrosse
Attleboro, 2 @ Sharon, 13 – Final

Foxboro, 13 vs. Hanover, 7 – FinalFoxboro held a three-goal advantage at half and entering the final period but the Warriors were able to pull away to get the win over Hanover in Chowda Cup competition. The Warriors led 6-3 at the break, and 9-6 going into the fourth. Foxboro outscored the Indians, 4-1 in the final frame. Brendan Tully had four goals and one assist, Bobby Yerardi added four goals, and Shayne Kerrigan netted a hat trick and added one helper. Pete Conley and Charlie Baughan each scored once for the Warriors, who will take on Marshfield on Thursday at 12:00 at Westwood High.

Mansfield, 3 @ Marshfield, 16 – FinalMansfield trailed by just two after the first quarter and at half but couldn’t keep pace with the Rams in the second half. Connor Quirk and Jake Quirk each scored in the second quarter, helping the Hornets stay within two at half (down 4-2). Jake Quirk added a second goal in the second half for Mansfield, who will play Hanover on Thursday at 10:00AM at Westwood High.

Milford @ Dighton-Rehoboth – Postponed to a date and time to be announced.

North Attleboro @ Silver Lake – Postponed to Wednesday, 4/17 at 4:00.

Oliver Ames, 19 vs. Norton, 4 – FinalSeven different Tigers found the back of the net as Oliver Ames improved to 5-0 with a win over visiting Norton. Junior Frankie Ireland had two goals and five assists, sophomore Remi Creighton added two goals and three assists, and sophomore Ross Carroll recorded a hat trick in his varsity game.

Stoughton, 2 @ Milton, 9 – Final

Girls Lacrosse
Canton, 11 @ Milton, 14 – Final

Foxboro, 11 vs. Natick, 15 – Final

North Attleboro @ Walpole, 11:30

Oliver Ames, 9 @ Pembroke, 10 – Final

Sharon, 14 vs. Cardinal Spellman, 3 – FinalSharon senior Emma Eberhardt and sophomore Jenna Goldstein combined for nine goals as the Eagles rolled to a win over visiting Cardinal Spellman. Goldstein netted a team-high five goals while Eberhardt finished with four tallies. Mia Lappen and Cass Barbera each had two goals, and Bridget McManus scored once.

Boys Volleyball
King Philip, 3 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 0 – FinalKing Philip went on the road and earned its sixth straight win, sweeping D-R (25-18, 25-12, 25-23). Senior Billy Hughes and senior Max Armour both had strong games for KP, with Hughes recording five digs, three kills, and two blocks while Armour added seven kills and six digs. Junior Kyle Desrochers anchored the defense with nine digs while senior Eric Altobello finished with eight kills.

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/11/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Attleboro, 4 vs. Bishop Feehan, 3 – FinalBishop Feehan loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with the chance to take the lead but Attleboro senior Ryan Morry came on in relief and escaped the jam and set the Shamrocks down in order in the seventh to earn the save, securing the Bombardiers win. Junior Max Amaral pitched five innings for Attleboro, scattering three hits with one run allowed in his first varsity start. Senior Mason Houle paced the offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Troy Gamache (RBI), Bailey Camacho (double, run), Tim Callahan, and Robbie Furtado each had a hit for Attleboro.

Canton, 2 @ Franklin, 3 – Final (8 inn.)Franklin senior Cooper Ross drove in the game-winning in the bottom of the eighth inning, his second RBI of the game, to give the Panthers a walkoff win over Canton. Ross singled in classmate Alex Haba, who singled and stole second to get in scoring position. Canton scored in the first inning off an RBI double from Matt Pigeon but Franklin took the lead away with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Scott Elliott drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a double from Haba. Jake Macchi brought the first run home with a sacrifice fly, and Haba scored when Ross reached on an error. Brennan Rivera earned the win for the Panthers, striking out eight in a complete game effort. Rivera walked just one batter (the first of the game) and scattered four hits.

Sharon, 0 @ Mansfield, 13 – FinalLeading 1-0 through two innings, Mansfield plated five runs in the third, three more in the fourth, and four in the fifth to earn a win over visiting Sharon. Hornet senior Jake Gerraughty had a pair of hits, two walks, three runs scored and an RBI to pace Mansfield’s offense, which totaled 11 hits. Dan Saraceno, Eric Longley, and Nick Dumouchel each knocked in two runs for Mansfield. Gerraughty earned the win on the mound, allowing just one hit and three walks in six innings of work, striking out five. Sharon sophomore Justin Brown reached base three times, getting one hit and walking twice

Softball
Attleboro, 0 @ Bishop Feehan, 13 – Final

Sharon, 11 @ Ursuline Academy, 10 – FinalSharon freshman Trinity Payne launched a three-run home run to help the Eagles earn a win on the road.

Taunton, 7 @ King Philip, 0 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery from this game.

Milford, 14 vs. Framingham, 2 – Final (6 inn.)Milford’s April Swain made her season debut starting in the circle and also had a strong day at the plate to help the Scarlet Hawks break into the win column. Swain struck out five in a complete game effort, and then went 3-for-4 at the plate (double, triple) with four RBI and two runs scored. Lucy Creedon added three hits, including a double and a triple, and two RBI, Amanda Wenckus added a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored, and Elise Fauerbach went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Boys Tennis
Oliver Ames, 3 vs. Brockton, 2 – FinalOliver Ames freshman Kylah Ganesh prevailed in a tight match at first singles, earning a 6-4, 7-5 win to help the Tigers get their first win of the season. Junior Yusaf Hameed picked up a 6-0, 6-4 win at second singles for OA.

Milford, 1 vs. Medway. 4 – Final

Taunton, 4 @ Durfee, 1 – FinalTaunton picked up a non-league win on the road over Durfee. Brett Beaulieu won 6-1, 6-0 at first singles while Charlie Fiske earned a comeback win at second singles, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. The team of Ryan Hebert and Alex Pugh didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win at first doubles while Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard prevailed 6-1, 7-6 at second doubles.

Franklin, 4 @ Canton, 1 – FinalFranklin swept doubles play and won two more matches in singles action to pick up a win on the road. Sophomore Liam Marr won 6-3, 6-2 at first singles and junior Rohan Herur won 6-2, 6-1 at second singles. The team of Saketh Saripalli and Vayshnav Malhotra won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles while Shoumik Sompally teamed up with Shoyaib Shaik for a 6-2, 6-0 win at second doubles. Canton’s Ethan Nguyen 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 at third singles.

Mansfield, 3 @ Sharon, 2 – FinalMansfield earned one win in singles action and swept doubles play to stun a shorthanded Eagles squad. Luke Nickerson won 4-1, injury/ret. at first singles, the team of Max Bank and Sethu Odayappan won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles, and Nilay Pangrekar and Sam Donellan earned a 6-3, 6-3 win at second doubles. Sharon’s Rueman Bhattacharyya won 6-0, 6-1 at second singles and Max Brody picked up a 6-4, 7-5 win at third singles.

Girls Tennis
Taunton, 5 vs. Durfee, 0 – FinalTaunton won all five matches in straight sets, defending home court against Durfee. Jillian Pagliuca won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, McKenzie Lucie earned a 6-2, 6-1 win at second singles, and Jocelyn Pagliuca emerged with a 6-0, 6-1 win from third singles. Sam Martin and Brian Fevrier picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win at first doubles while Ogechi Ariguzo and Cayeesha Charles-Marc secured a 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles.

Canton, 5 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalCanton lost a total of just one game in singles action on its way to a sweep on the road over Franklin. Rachel Kuperfman (first singles) and Natalie Keppler (second) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Sarah Hernandez earned a 6-1, 6-0 win at third singles. The team of Stelina Michaelidis and Jamie Cree pulled out a 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 win at first doubles while Alexis Newton and Simela Donovan won 6-0, 6-1 at second doubles.

Sharon, 5 @ Bishop Feehan, 0 – FinalThe Eagles dropped just four games total in the entire match, dominating the Shamrocks for a win. Nupur Shukla (first) and Valeria Barajas (second) each won 6-0, 6-0 in singles action while Charlie Martinez earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of Sophia Fein and Sachi Basin won 6-0, 6-1 at first doubles, and Lauren Glass and Makaila Cheung teamed up for a 6-2, 2-0 (ret.) win at second doubles.

Boys Outdoor Track
Oliver Ames, 78 @ Taunton, 58 – FinalZane Reservitz and Aaron MacDonald each had a pair of first place finishes to pace Oliver Ames to a win over Taunton. Reservitz took first in the 800M (2:05.0) and the 1 Mile (4:58.0) while MacDonal crossed first in the 400M (52.0) and won the long jump (20’3′). Other first place finishes for the road Tigers included Sean Flaherty (110M hurdles, 17.8), Kyle Sarney (2 mile, 10:34.8), Ryan Hilliard (triple jump, 41’0″), Jared Mileika (javelin, 139’0″), and Anthony DeCosta (discus, 108’1″).

Girls Outdoor Track
Oliver Ames, 57 @ Taunton, 79 – Final

Boys Volleyball
Taunton, 2 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip rallied from an 0-2 deficit to stun the visiting Tigers with a 3-2 (23-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-12) win. “It was such a great game to watch I’m so proud of the boys,” said KP head coach Emily Tkowski. “The team had great chemistry and never gave up, as a coach I couldn’t ask for anything else.” Max Armour had 14 digs and added five kills while Kyle Desrochers paced the defense with 19 digs.

Milford, 3 vs. Norwood, 0 – Final

Sunday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/07/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Canton, 7 vs. Attleboro, 6 – Final (8 inn.)Click here for a photo gallery from this gameAttleboro scored twice in the top half of the seventh inning to take the lead but Canton tied it in the bottom half to force extra innings then walked off with the win in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Konzal (2-for-4, run) drew a two-out walk, advanced to second on a single from Steve Burbank (2-for-4, run, RBI), and then scored the game-winning run on a hit from Matt Pigeon (3-for-4, two runs, two RBI) for the winning run.

Pigeon was the catalyst for the tying run in the bottom as the seventh as well. Trailing 6-5, Pigeon led off with a double, advanced to third on a fly out from Matt Connolly (double, RBI), and scored the tying run on a two-out double from Rob Sullivan (2-for-3, two RBI).

Each team scored in the first inning but Attleboro seized a 4-1 advantage with a run in the second and two more in the third. Troy Gamache drove in Tim Callahan (3-for-4, two runs) to put Attleboro up 1-0 but Canton responded in the bottom half as Pigeon brought Nate Quan (2-for-4, two runs) home with a sacrifice fly. Attleboro’s Bailey Camacho put the Bombardiers back in front, 2-1, with a sacrifice fly that plated Sam Larkin (double, two runs) in the second inning.

Attleboro extended the advantage to 4-1 when Alvaro Espinal tripled and scored on a wild pitch, and Larkin doubled and came home on an error by the Bulldogs. Canton scored once in the fourth (Rob Sullivan RBI double) to make it a two-run game before putting three on the scoreboard in the fifth to take the lead. Quan, Konzal, and Burbank each singled, the last hit bringing Quan to the plate for a run but Larkin gunned down a potential second run on the play. Canton’s offense continued to battle though, with Pigeon singling to put runners on the corners. A double from Connolly tied the game at 4-4, and an RBI single from Paul Corcoran put Canton up 5-4.

In the top of the seventh, Mason Houle (2-for-4, run, RBI) drove in Callahan with a base hit and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Senior Kevin McGonigle earned the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit and striking out one.

Franklin, 5 vs. Milford, 4 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameFranklin trailed 4-1 heading into the fifth inning but scored two runs in the fifth and two more in the top of the seventh to pull out a come from behind victory over neighboring Milford at the Taunton High turf. Alex Haba drove in a pair of runs, including the game-tying run, and scored the eventual game-winner in the seventh, coming home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of JB Floris.

Milford jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Nick Marcolini started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, moved into scoring position on a Matt Shaver single. Colby Pires, who also started for the Hawks and struck out four in 4-1/3 innings, plated the opening run with a single to left. Franklin tied the game in the top of the fourth. Haba walked, stole second, and scored on a single to right by Cooper Ross. The Hawks responded in the bottom half with three runs off the Panthers starter Liam Dailey. Danny Corsini started the rally with an infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Nick Wimette single. Carter Scudo doubled to left to put two in scoring position. Luke Rosa looped a basehit to right to score one and then, after a pitching change, a balk brought in the fourth run.

In the fifth, the Panthers struck for two. Joe Lizotte walked and Jack Nally got hit by a pitch. Scott Elliott loaded the bases with an infield single. A Haba sac fly made it 4-2 and Jake Macchi singled in another to make it 4-3. In the seventh, Elliott walked and stole second before coming around on a Haba single to center to tie the game. With Haba at third, Floris hit a fly ball to left that was deep enough to get in the winning run. Jake Fitzgibbons closed out the game, earning the win with four innings of scoreless relief.

Oliver Ames, 5 vs. Stoughton, 11 – FinalClick here for a photo gallery from this gameStoughton scored in each of the first four innings, jumping out to an 11-3 lead and never looking back to get a win over Oliver Ames. Cian Swierzewski, James Genest, and Mike Nazzaro each scored in the first inning to help the Black Knights jump ahead.

After Oliver Ames got on the board in the top of the second (Jake Erlich leadoff double, scored on infield single from Jared Spillane), the Black Knights cashed in on a pair of OA errors and walks to make it 4-1. Chris Pearsons (4-for-4, two RBI, two runs) had an RBI triple and scored on an error in the top of the third to make it a one run game at 4-3, but Stoughton tacked on three runs in the bottom half to regain a multi-run lead.

Three walks loaded the bases for the Knights in the bottom of the third. Stoughton scored on a passed ball, a wild pitch, and an RBI single from Cam Dirosa to make it 7-3. Stoughton pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jacob Kaplan walked, stole second, and came home to score on an infield error that was put in play by Clayton Rahaman. An RBI double from sophomore Brady Conlin made it 9-3. Swerziewski then connected on the first home run of the season for any Hock player, and first high school player to hit a home run at the new Taunton field, with a two-run blast to make it 11-3. Oliver Ames scored single runs in the fifth (Jacob Levine RBI double) and the seventh inning (Pearsons RBI double).

Thursday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 04/04/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Attleboro, 0 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalMansfield junior John Carney pitched a complete game shutout and scored the game’s lone run to help the Hornets open the season with a win. Carney allowed just two hits without issuing a walk, striking out six to get the win. In the second inning, Carney singled and moved to third on a double by Eric Longley (2-for-2). Carney then scored the lone run on a passed ball. Attleboro’s Eoin Kelleher only allowed two four hits in 5.2 innings of work, striking out four with one walk. Sam Larkin had a double (and a terrific catch in right field) and Mason Houle had a single for Attleboro.

Canton, 14 @ Foxboro, 12 – FinalIn a game dominated by offense, Canton prevailed with a 14-12 victory over Foxboro. The Bulldogs scored three runs in each the first, third, and fourth innings, and then tacked on five runs in the top of the fifth to take a 14-5 lead. Foxboro scored two runs in the first, three runs in the third, and rallied for seven runs in the fifth to make it a two-run game. Canton sophomore Steven Burbank went 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored while sophomore Matt Connolly had three hits, three RBI, and three runs scored. Junior Nate Quan added two hits and four RBI for the Bulldogs. Foxboro junior Kyle McGinnis went 3-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored, Michael Devlin was 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored, and Adam Lanctot added two hits, two RBI and a run scored for the Warriors. Phil Thomas pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Foxboro.

Franklin, 11 @ King Philip, 1 – FinalFranklin opened its season in style with an 11-1 win on the road against King Philip. Junior Brennan Rivera earned the win on the mound, scattering five hits with no walks over six innings of work. Rivera also struck out three without allowing an earned run. Jack Nally had two hits — a double and a triple — with two RBI and three runs scored while Scott Elliott added three hits, an RBI and a run scored. Alex Haba (RBI, run), Jake Macchi (two runs), Cooper Ross (two RBI), JB Floris (RBI), and Joe Lizotte (two runs) each had two hits apiece for Franklin.

Milford, 9 @ Sharon, 0 – Final Milford went on the road and picked up a shutout win in its first game of the 2019 season. Senior Danny Corsini tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out six to earn the win. Offensively, senior Matt Shaver went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, junior Nick Wimmete had three hits and a run scored, and senior Justin Applebee had two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored for the Scarlet Hawks.

North Attleboro, 3 @ Stoughton, 6 – FinalStoughton junior Jacob Kaplan connected on a two-out, bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 3-3 tie, giving the Black Knights a win over the defending D2 State Champions in the season opener for both teams. Junior George Currier added two hits for the Black Knights. Stoughton senior Zak Paquette earned the win, tossing a complete game with four strikeouts, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits.

Softball
Mansfield, 6 @ Attleboro, 8 – Final Natalie Mansur gave Attleboro the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pinch-hit, two-run homer. The Bombardiers had jumped out to a 5-2 lead only to have Mansfield respond with four runs in the fifth to take back the lead before Mansur’s big hit. Makenzie Killough continued her hot start to the season with a double and a home, while McKenzie Bergdoll had a pair of hits for the second straight game and drove in a pair. Jenna Gittle pitched the opening 4-2/3 inning and Emily Gittle grabbed the win with 2-1/3 innings of relief. Mady Bendanillo had three hits, including a homer, and drove in four runs for the Hornets in the loss. She plated Kara Bendanillo with a first-inning single, blasted a solo homer in the third and drove in a pair with a single in the fifth. Mary Muldoon also drove in two with a fifth inning single, as the Hornets scored four in the frame to regain the lead at 6-5. Mansfield coach Lori Letendre said, “It was a great back and forth game.”

Canton, 7 @ Foxboro, 6 – FinalCanton held off a late charge by the Warriors, who got a run in the bottom of the seventh and the tying run in scoring position before Caroline Hughes snared a line drive to end the game. Hughes threw a complete game with a pair of strikeouts, allowing three earned runs. Sarah Kelly went 2-for-4 with four RBI to power the Canton offense and Jackie Morrissey was 3-for-4 with an RBI.

King Philip, 0 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalFranklin edged out a pitcher’s duel against the defending league champions thanks to a dominant start from senior Jackie Cherry. She allowed no hits to the potent KP lineup and struck out 10 batters. Cherry allowed only four base-runners, three on walks and one batter reached on an error. Faith Turinese was almost as good for the Warriors, limiting the Panthers to just one earned run. Anna Balkus led-off the bottom of the first with a single, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Gabby Colace and to third on a single by Allie Shea (2-for-3 in the game). Maddy White drove in what turned out to be the game-winning run with an RBI-single. Franklin added a second run in the fifth. Colace doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a groundout, before scoring on a wild pitch. Peyton Arone went 2-for-3 for Franklin and made a pair of great catches in left.

Sharon, 12 @ Milford, 7 – FinalSenior Rebecca Clayman went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and freshman Savannah Gray went 2-for-4 and drove in four runs as the Eagles beat the defending division champs and picked up their first win under head coach Heather Poliferno. Freshman Trinity Payne pitched in relief, getting out of a jam in the fourth by striking out two and going 3-2/3 innings with 5 Ks. She also went 2-for-4 at the plate and hit a fifth inning homer. Meg Hart had an RBI-triple and Taylor Waldrup had two hits for the Hawks.

Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 2 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Taunton, 21 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final (5 inn.)Taunton scored 21 runs on 17 hits in its season opener. Hanna Aldrich powered the offense with a pair of homers, three RBI, and four runs scored. Mckenzie McAloon (three runs), Payton Ceglarski, Riley Murphy (three RBI), and Skylar Rheaume (three RBI) all had two hits for Taunton. Kelsey White earned the win with four strikeouts over three innings with Alexa White and freshman Olyvia Mendonca each taking one inning in the circle. Katie Abreu drove in Emma Varella with a fifth inning double for OA’s lone run. Katie Mills and Colleen Larson each had hits for the Tigers.

Boys Lacrosse
Mansfield, 3 vs. St. John’s Shrewsbury, 19 – Final
Milford, 13 @ Northbridge, 15 – Final

Girls Lacrosse
Foxboro, 12 vs. Wellesley, 15 – Final
Milford, 11 @ Assabet Valley, 3 – Final

Boys Tennis
Mansfield, 5 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalMansfield picked up a sweep on the road, winning all five matches in straight sets. Senior Luke Nickerson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, senior Luke Devine earned a 6-1, 6-0 decision at second singles, and junior Nilay Pangrekar won 6-1, 6-1 at third singles. The team of Sethu Odayappan and Max Bank won 6-1, 6-2 at first doubles and Sam Donellan and Sam Schirmacher picked up a 6-0, 6-0 victory at second singles.

King Philip, 3 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalKing Philip’s second doubles team of Tyler Dowd and Jake Mager pulled out a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 win to give the Warriors a 3-2 win over rival Franklin. The Warriors also got wins from Nick Putney (6-3, 4-6, 6-3) at second singles and Jack Cannon (6-4, 6-0) at third singles. Franklin’s Liam Marr won 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 at first singles and the team of Saketh Saripalli and Vayshnav Malhotra won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles.

Stoughton, 1 @ North Attleboro, 4 – FinalStoughton sophomore Waseem Sablon won at first singles but North Attleboro won at the other four matches to get the win at home. Junior Alex Pfeffer won 6-1, 6-0 at second singles and sophomore Sam Gallagher earned a 6-0, 6-1 decision at third singles for the Rocketeers. The team of Vikram Senthilakumaran and Saketh Uppuluri pulled out a 6-1, 6-3 win at first doubles while Tomas Bentley teamed up with Justin Strom to pick up a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles. Sablon earned a 1-6, 6-3, 10-8 win at first singles for the Black Knights.

Taunton, 5 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – FinalTaunton didn’t drop a game at first or second singles as well as first doubles in a win on the road at Oliver Ames. Brett Beaulieu (first singles) and Charlie Fiske (second) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Dylan Kullas earned a 6-4, 6-1 win at third singles. Taunton’s Ryan Hebert and Alex Pugh won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles.

Sharon, 4 @ Milford, 1 – FinalSharon swept doubles play and earned two more wins in singles action to defeat Milford. Danujan Thirumavalavan (first singles) won 6-2, 6-3 while Ruemon Bhattacharya (second singles) earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory. The team of Max Chen and Max Brody won 6-2, 6-2 at first doubles and the team of junior Jake Ross and freshman Deyan Kassev won 6-0, 6-2 at second doubles. Milford senior Riley Lynch won 6-4, 6-0 at third singles.

Girls Tennis
Attleboro, 3 @ Mansfield, 2 – FinalAttleboro senior Bri Aronne overcame a one-set deficit to win the next two and help the Bombardiers clinch a 3-2 win over Mansfield. Aronne won 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 while the first doubles team of Nicole Matheson and Lauren Anthony won 6-0, 6-4 and the duo of junior Rena Danho and junior Jordan Benardo earned a 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 win at second doubles. Mansfield’s Lizzy Elsner won 6-1, 7-5 at first singles and sophomore Aryann Khosravani picked up a 6-0, 6-2 win at third singles.

Canton, 0 @ Foxboro, 5 – FinalFoxboro picked up a win over division rival Canton, winning all five matches in straight sets. Pam Nelson won 6-0, 6-0 at first singles, Sarah Prag earned a 6-1, 6-1 decision at second singles, and Julia Muise won 6-0, 6-0 at third singles. Foxboro’s first doubles team of Kendall Milender and Paige Krockta won 6-1, 6-1, and the Warriors’ second doubles team of Maggie McAuliffe and Lindsey Young won 6-1, 6-2.

Franklin, 0 @ King Philip, 5 – Final

North Attleboro, 5 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalNorth Attleboro earned a sweep on the road, winning all five matches in straight sets. Tara Nair won 6-0, 6-1 at first singles, Mae McLoughlin earned a 6-1, 6-4 decision at second singles, and Jayli Carmichael prevailed 6-1, 6-3 at third singles for the Rocketeers. North Attleboro’s first doubles team of Olivia Willis and Sam Martino won 6-3, 6-1 and the second doubles team of Hayley Strom and Brotiti Nandi didn’t lose a game in a 6-0, 6-0 win.

Oliver Ames, 0 @ Taunton, 5 – FinalTaunton defended home court, winning all five matches in straight sets. Jillian Pagliuca (6-2, 6-2), McKenzie Lucie (6-1, 6-2), and Jocelyn Pagliuca (6-1, 6-0) won at first, second, and third singles, respectively. The team of Sam Martin and Briana Fevrier won 6-1, 6-0 at first doubles while Ogechi Ariguzo and Kayla Parrett secured a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles.

Milford, 0 @ Sharon, 5 – FinalSharon didn’t drop a single game in singles play, winning all three 6-0, 6-0 and all five matches in straight sets to beat Milford. Senior Nupur Shukla (first), freshman Valeria Barajas (second), and sophomore Charlize Martinez swept singles play for the Eagles. The first doubles team of Sachi Bhasin and Sophia Fein won 6-3, 6-4 while the duo of Lauren Glass and Makaila Cheung won 6-0, 6-1 at second doubles for the Eagles.

Boys Volleyball
King Philip, 3 @ Millis, 1 – FinalKing Philip picked up its second win of the season, earning a 3-1 (25-20, 26-24, 22-25, 25-9) win on the road at Millis. The Warriors rode the strong serving of Max Armour (11 service points) and Kyle Desrochers (16 service points), both of whom went on big runs at the service line. Desrochers added 10 digs and Alex Bernhard had a strong game with seven digs. Senior middle Jimmy Peterson paced the net defense with seven blocks.

Milford, 3 vs. Nipmuc, 0 – Final

2019 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Oliver Ames baseball
Oliver Ames’ Jake Erlich (left) and Reid Latham celebrate after recording the final out to beat Duxbury in 2018. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com

By HockomockSports.com Staff

2019 Hockomock League Baseball Preview

Attleboro

2018 Record: 9-11
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Steve Dunlea

After missing out on the playoffs by just one game last season, the Bombardiers are hoping to their experience will help them reach the state tournament this year.

Attleboro has experience in its pitching staff, behind the plate, and both in the infield as well the outfield. The Bombardiers pitching was a strength last season and should be again this year. Eoin Kelleher, the 2017 HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, returns for his senior season and will be the anchor on the staff. Junior Ryan Morry impressed during his outings last season and lefty Camden Fitzpatrick will be in the mix as well.

The Bombardiers will be very strong on the left side of the infield. Senior captain Mason Houle will man third base while junior Tim Callahan, a starter last season, takes over at shortstop. Junior Lorenzo Wilson is slated to take the job at first base while Morry and junior Nick McMahon will split time at second base. While it’s a strong group defensively, all four will be relied upon to step up offensively. Attleboro had just 80 runs total last year, least in the Kelley-Rex division.

Another big part of the offense will be center fielder Alvaro Espinal. Espinal is arguably the best fielding outfielder in the league and will also bring a spark to the Bombardiers lineup at the plate. Senior captain Robbie Furtado will fill in at left field while Sam Larkin and Troy Gamache will both see time in right as well as designated hitter. Behind the plate, Troy Van Vliet gives the Bombardiers some experience while sophomore Bailey Camacho gives first-year head coach Steve Dunlea some flexibility at the position.

“The strength of this team is its senior class leadership and team chemistry,” Dunlea said. “We really have a well-balanced team that is strong in all phases of the game. It’s going to be a fun group to watch this year.”

Canton

2018 Record: 5-15
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Ben Shuffain

A strong core of returning players along with some young talent should make for a fun season for the Bulldogs in 2019.

After losing a few key pieces from 2018, there is a good mix of experienced players and talented youth for first-year head coach Ben Shuffain to work with. The Bulldogs will look to three senior captains to the lead the way: Matt Pigeon, Paul Corcoran and Robert Sullivan. Pigeon is a three-year starter behind the plate who batted .368 last season. Corcoran and Sullivan will anchor a deep pitching staff that has looked solid in the preseason.

The pitching staff will also include seniors Kevin McGonigle, Nick Murray, and Joe Bates. Along with them Shuffain will also lean on junior Chris Rota and sophomores Nate Hewitt and Matt Connolly on the mound.

The infield has a double play duo that has shown to work well together featuring senior Mike Konzal and returning second baseman Nathan Quan. Offensively Canton will look to senior Max Macort along with juniors Owen Lahane and Lucas Bryant, and sophomore Steven Burbank.

“We have been very fortunate to have a lot of work outside so far this spring and I think it is going to help us start off on a positive,” Shuffain said. “The team is coming together and we have a great group of kids who really want to turn this program around.”

Foxboro

2018 Record: 5-16
2018 Finish: Reached D3 South First Round
Coach: Derek Suess

Foxboro graduated 10 seniors from last year’s squad but there are 12 Warriors returning with varsity experience looking to make another trip to the state tournament.

The Warriors will be relying on their pitching staff this year to lead the way. There is a lot of optimism surrounding the rotation with senior Anthony Mollica and sophomore Sean Yoest each possessing plenty of varsity experience. Those two will be the top guys in the rotation while sophomore Cam Prescott has impressed during the preseason and could fit into the third starting spot. Seniors Guy Quartarone, Brian Duncan, and Philip Thomas as well as juniors Michael Devlin and Joe Cavaleri will be in the mix as well.

When he isn’t on the mound, Mollica will be the anchor of the defense from the shortstop position. He will be joined by sophomore Michael O’Toole at first base, Cavaleri will man third, and Thomas will take over at second base. Senior Adam Lanctot will also see time at second base this season for the Warriors.

In the outfield, Duncan — a senior captain that missed all of last season — will be the anchor, with Devlin handling center field duties and junior James Kaeser rounding out the Warrior outfield. Junior Zach Jenkins will also be in the mix for time in the outfield while junior Kyle McGinnis takes over behind the plate and will be relied upon as a key piece of Foxboro’s offense.

“Mentally, we have to have the same focus, energy, and intensity every single game,” said Foxboro coach Derek Suess. “There are no easy games in the Hockomock League. We must be consistent in our everyday approach in order to have a chance to compete for a league title.”

Franklin

2018 Record: 21-5
2018 Finish: Division 1A (Super 8) State Champions
Coach: Zach Brown

Coming off the program’s first-ever Super 8 state championship, Franklin is going to have a big target on its back — and the Panthers know it.

Franklin lost its top three pitchers in Jake Noviello, Bryan Woelfel, and Jason Ulrickson. Those were the only three pitchers to play during the Panthers’ Super 8 run. This season, the Panthers will turn to the experience of Ben Guzman, Brennan Rivera, and Will Pacheco. All three made appearances a year ago with Guzman and Pacheco registering wins. Guzman is currently recovering from an injury suffered in the preseason but the Panthers are excited for his contributions when he returns. Juniors Liam Dailey and Cody Trotin will also be in the mix after starting for JV last season.

While the pitching staff gets settled in, the Panthers will rely on its defense and offense. After an up-and-down regular season last year offensively, Franklin will be trying to carry over the success it had in the state tournament. Senior Alex Haba is back at shortstop and is one of the best two-way players in the Hockomock. Jake Macchi had a terrific postseason and will be looking to carry that over into his final year starting at catcher for Franklin. Scott Elliott will be the veteran in the outfield for the Panthers as well as a top offensive weapon. All three players — Haba, Macchi, and Elliott — are committed to playing baseball at Merrimack.

Cooper Ross is coming off a strong postseason and will start at third base while junior Jack Nally had a standout sophomore campaign in center field and will move up to the top of the order to set the table for the Panther offense. JB Floris will move from the designated hitter spot to first base and brings an experienced bat with him. Senior Joe Lizotte should see time in the outfield while senior Shane O’Neil’s versatility gives Franklin a lot of options defensively.

“We know this isn’t last year, this is a totally different team with different dynamics,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “We like the makeup of our team, with guys working hard and the seniors being good leaders. I think we could be pretty good defensively, and we’ve shown at times in the preseason to be pretty versatile on offense.”

King Philip

2018 Record: 7-14
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Greg Kessler

King Philip is returning a lot of experienced players from last year’s squad and is hoping that will turn into an improved season and berth in the state tournament.

One big reason for optimism is a seasoned pitching staff, which features seniors David Morganelli and Terry Murray. Morganelli posted a 1.99 ERA last season along with 43 strikeouts in 38.2 innings pitched. Murray will be the second starter for the Warriors while juniors Chris Sawyer and Robbie Jarest are expected to factor into the rotation as the season progresses.

“David’s size, strength, and velocity make him a formidable pitcher,” said KP’s second-year head coach Greg Kessler. “His slider and ability to locate his fastball are one of the best in the league. David has an opportunity to be one of the best pitchers in the Hock. He is competitive and has improved a lot in terms of accuracy.”

Sawyer and Jarest will handle the left side of the infield again this year, with Jarest returning as the starting shortstop and Sawyer back manning third base. Both players will be key pieces at the top of KP’s batting order. Senior Ian Zimmerman returns at second base while senior Jake Anderson and sophomore Conor Cooke will both see time behind the plate.

Timmy Nault (.311 last year) will lead the way in the outfield while Zachary Zarba will figure in as well. There is a lot of competition for some open spots in the KP lineup as well.

“We have a lot of work to do this season, we need to improve on our hitting and driving the ball,” Kessler said. “We have a great group of seniors who are dedicated and excited to compete for a Hock Title. This senior group is a collection of great student-athletes and really represent KP well. They are leaders on and off the field”

Mansfield

2018 Record: 19-5
2018 Finish: Super 8 First Round
Coach: Joe Breen

Mansfield had a very successful 2018 season that saw the Hornets win the Kelley-Rex division and earned a berth into the Super 8 tournament. But the Hornets enter the 2019 campaign hungrier than ever.

After seeing an early exit from the Super 8, Mansfield is aiming to get back and make some noise in the tournament this year. There will certainly be holes to fill after graduating two top pitchers in Tyler Dalton and Kevin Dow, as well as the steady bat of Justin Pena and the terrific defense of catcher Cullin Anastasia. However, there are 11 players due back from last year’s team and a handful of new faces ready to make an impact of their own.

Junior John Carney and senior Kevin Moran will anchor the rotation; the Hornets unfortunately lost ace Connor Sheehan for the season to an injury. Both Carney and Moran have experience though, and Mansfield is looking to seniors Jake Gerraughty, Matt Scibilia, Aidan Angland, Connor Smith, and sophomore Greg Coyle to fill the relief and spot start roles.

Mansfield brings back two of its three outfielders from last year with centerfielder Sam Nugent and right field Dan Saraceno both returning. Speedy shortstop Mike Hargadon is also back so the Hornets have three key pieces from the top half of the lineup back to pace the offense this year. Look for Eric Longley, Jenkins, Smith, Gerraughty, and Scibilia to also factor into to the Hornet lineup this year.

“It’s been a wild offseason here between losing some of our top guys and coming down with the injury bug but we have a great group of self-motivated returning players that we will look to keep our program going in the right direction,” said Mansfield head coach Joe Breen. “There are a lot of positional battles and innings on the mound to be sorted out, but the staff is excited to see the boys compete over the first couple weeks of the pre-season to get ourselves ready for [the first game]. While we had some great success last season, the boys know that we are 0-0 and they are ready to carve their own path.”

Milford

2018 Record: 5-15
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Alex Dion

After having a relatively young, inexperienced group in 2018, the Scarlet Hawks have flipped the script, bringing back six starters and eight total players and will be looking to ride that experience to an improved 2019 campaign.

Half of the returning starters are the three starting pitchers from last year, including senior Danny Corsini and juniors Colby Pires and Luke Rosa. Despite a 1-3 record last year, Rosa had a solid 2.97 ERA in 30.2 innings of work with 19 strikeouts. Corsini logged over 35 innings while Pires had over 24, so there is plenty of experience in the Hawk’s rotation.

Senior captain Matt Shaver returns to his shortstop position and will anchor the infield. Corsini and Pires will both see time at third base when they aren’t pitching, Justin Applebee is back for another season at second base, and Tyler Almeida continues his duties as the starting catcher for the Hawks. Senior captain Nick Marcolini gives the Hawks a left-handed option on the mound. Sophomores Carter Scudo (outfield) and Mario Lee (first, pitcher) will also factor in this year.

“I’m looking forward to the 2019 baseball season and am excited about the players that are on our team,” said Milford head coach Alex Dion. “This is a tough league with a lot of good teams and good coaches. I think we have an opportunity to be very competitive this year. I will lead on our returning seniors and captains to push this team in the right direction and I am excited about the young players we have in our program.”

North Attleboro

2018 Record: 22-2
2018 Finish: Division 2 State Champions
Coach: Mike Hart

North Attleboro is looking to replicate its success from last season, the best year in program history that resulted in the D2 State Championship. And with a solid group of returning players, there is optimism but the Rocketeers know it certainly won’t come easy.

“We are a team with a decent amount of returning players, but we will need everybody contributing to be successful,” said North Attleboro coach Mike Hart. “We are looking for guys to be more consistent, especially on the offensive side of the game.”

The Rocketeers have three returning starters in the infield, so that will certainly be relied upon as the season gets underway. Senior Nick Raneri started at third last season but will move over to first this year while seniors Shawn Watters and Ryan Warren will take care of business up the middle. Hart says there is a lot of competition for the final spot in the infield with a handful of players possibly seeing time. Brendan McHugh returns as the starting left fielder while Kyle Bolger, Russell Dunlap, and Kyle Briere are all in the mix.

Behind the plate, senior Todd Robinson and junior Owen Harding are battling for the starting spot.

While the Rocketeers look to get the offense going, they will rely on their pitching staff early on. Matt Wanless had a very strong junior year and will be counted on heavily this season while seniors Matt Seavey, Jake Palmer, Jake Carroll, as well as Dunlap and Briere, should be in the mix for innings. Sophomore Dennis Colleran will see an increased role this season and could emerge as a top option for the Big Red.

“We will rely heavily on our pitching staff to lead us, and with smart, mistake-free defense, we will be able to win some games,” Hart said. “I really like the competitiveness our team brings every day. If we can learn from our failures and grind through the tough parts of the season that are sure to come, I believe we can win some ball games.”

Oliver Ames

2018 Record: 16-8
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South Final
Coach: Joe Abarr

Oliver Ames is coming off one of its most successful seasons, reaching the D2 South Final last year. The Tigers graduated some key pieces but there is a lot of players back that gives OA hopes at replicating last year’s success.

Senior Chris Pearsons will be a leader on and off the field for the Tigers, moving over from third base to take over the starting shortstop spot. Pearsons is one of the top players in the league, earning HockomockSports.com First Team honors last year after belting out 30 hits for an impressive .448 average. Not only is he a dangerous offensive player, he’s one of the top defensive players in the league as well.

Another key returner for the Tigers is catcher Jake Erlich, who will begin his third year starting behind the plate. Erlich is one of the top defensive catchers in the region and OA is looking for him to have a breakout season at the plate. Junior Jacob Levine showed flashes last season with some timely hits as a pinch hitter. This year, Levine takes over at first and the Tigers will be looking for him to bring a consistent bat to the lineup.

Reid Latham, who went 2-1 last season with a 2.85 ERA, focused heavily on pitching this offseason and will take over as the top starter in the Tigers’ rotation.

“We have an established lineup of varsity hitters with a handful of underclassmen that will be filling in gaps for us,” said Oliver Ames coach Joe Abarr. “Our pitching rotation should be solid as long as everyone stays healthy. Last year, the Hock proved to be one of the best leagues in the state. We need to show up and compete every day if we want to be successful.”

Sharon

2018 Record: 6-14
2018 Finish: Missed playoffs
Coach: Kee Arguimbau

After a couple of seasons of being on the outside looking in, the 2019 Sharon Eagles are looking to make strides towards a state tournament berth.

Although it will be a relatively young group, there is strong senior leadership. Head coach Kee Arguimbau is hoping that a nice mix of veterans and new faces will result in a successful season.

Tarlin was also the ace of the staff for the past couple of seasons but senior Noah Kamens should be ready to step into the top spot after some real strong outings last year. A lefty, Kamens does a nice job mixing up his pitches and will be a key part of Sharon’s defense. Kamens will be complemented by 6’6 righty Max LeBlanc, who burst onto the scene a year and had some impressive outings. Jared Reef returns behind the dish and the Eagles are looking for him to have a breakout year offensively.

Junior Alec Filipkowski is moving in from the outfield to second base while sophomore Justin Brown returns to shortstop after picking up valuable experience last season as a freshman. Noah Martinez, who recently returned to Sharon after living in Florida, could be a key piece of the offense while playing the hot corner defensively.

Seniors Dairell Martinez and Matty Jacobsen will be doing their part for the Eagles in the outfield while = senior Ben Reinbold looks to have an impact for Sharon on the mound.

“This year’s team is young. Luckily, what we lack in experience, we make up for in solid leadership,” Arguimbau said. “The seniors have done a phenomenal job in establishing the culture for the team this season. The young guys in the program have followed their lead and have been working hard in the offseason and are ready to continue to put the work in every day.

Stoughton

2018 Record: 10-9
2018 Finish: Reached D2 South First Round
Coach: Mike Armour

Stoughton had a solid season a year ago, but an early exit from the state tournament has left the Black Knights hungry for more in 2019.

It starts with the two co-captains for the Black Knights: senior Zak Paquette and senior Robert Seaman. Paquette emerged as Stoughton’s top option on the mound last season and will be counted on to take on a lot of innings again this season. Paquette isn’t the most flashy pitcher but he helps put Stoughton in position to win games. Seaman will start at shortstop and the Black Knights are looking to him for a big bat in the middle of the lineup.

Last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year George Currier is looking to pick up where he left off last season, giving the Black Knights flexibility with his ability to play anywhere on the field defensively. Seniors Cian Swierzewski, Kevin Dixon, and Kyle Gagnon are all experienced outfielders, James Genest III gives Stoughton a nice presence at the plate offensively, and Mike Nazzaro will handle catching duties.

Newcomers Clayton Rahaman and Jacob Kaplan should log some innings in the outfield, along with Cam Dirosa in the infield and Brady Conlin in the infield and on the mound. Senior pitcher Evan Jackman has impressed so far this preseason and will be a key piece of Stoughton’s starting rotation.

“The goal this season will be to compete every time we set foot on the field, playing sound fundamental baseball and doing the little things to put us in a position to win some ballgames,” said Stoughton head coach Mike Armour. “The boys have been working hard and I expect us to have some fun this year and play the game the right way.”

Taunton

2018 Record: 1
2018 Finish: Reached D1 South First Round
Coach: Blair Bourque

There is a lot of excitement in Taunton with its new turf field, but the Tigers are hoping it’s their performance on that field that will have people talking by the end of the year.

It all starts with pitching for Taunton this year. With two DI commits in Jack Moynihan (Siena) and Josh Lajoie (St. John’s), the Tigers will certainly be boasting one of the top pitching groups for another season. Moynihan posted a 1.44 ERA with 43 strikeouts while Lajoie fanned 36 batters and had a 1.52 ERA.

Both Moynihan and Lajoie provide a lot of offense as well, but the Tigers will need others to step up to fill some voids from graduation. Tyler Medeiros (.375) and Trevor Pietrzyk (.373) both graduated some Taunton’s offense so head coach Blair Bourque will be looking for some new faces to step up.

The Tigers will be looking to senior Evan Melo to give the offense a spark. Melo will patrol center field and set the table to the offensively from the leadoff spot. Junior Logan Lawrence impressed last year batting .336; Taunton will need his bat to provide pop in the middle of the lineup in 2019.

“We’re certainly excited about having the opportunity to showcase our new turf field,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “It’s really a dream come true. There’s something special about this year’s team, the senior leadership and camaraderie are substantial.”

Franklin Skates Past Catholic Memorial Into South Final

Franklin boys hockey
Franklin’s Shane McCaffrey celebrates his empty net goal that sealed the win over Catholic Memorial. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOURNE, Mass. – Just when it looked like everything was going right for the Panthers, it nearly went all wrong.

The 11th-seeded Panthers built a two-goal lead after a period and appeared to add another over halfway through the second period.

Just before Shane McCaffrey released his shot, a referee blew his whistle on a delayed penalty against seventh-seeded Catholic Memorial. While Franklin was heading onto the power play, it had a clear goal taken away.

And then the Knights used an aggressive penalty kill to score a shorthanded goal. And just minutes later, Catholic Memorial scored another shorthanded goal, and suddenly the game was 2-2 late in the second period.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

But these Panthers have seen just about everything this season, and found ways to fight back. That’s just what they did, going back in front with less than a minute to go in the second period.

Franklin tacked on an insurance goal early in the third and scored an empty netter in the final minutes to secure an upset 5-2 win over Catholic Memorial in the D1 South Semifinals.

“It’s a credit to the boys in the locker room, how hard they fight, they never gave up,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “The seed doesn’t matter, it’s what you do on the ice that matters.”

The Panthers, who qualified for the state tournament by winning the Hockomock League’s Kelley-Rex division, will take on top-seeded Duxbury in the D1 South Final. Franklin previously knocked off #6 Falmouth and #3 Mansfield while the Dragons defeated #5 Barnstable, 3-2, in double overtime.

It was evident from the start that the Panthers were ready to play. Just over a minute in, Scott Elliott connected with a streaking Zac Falvey but his shot was turned aside.

At the midway point of the first, the Panthers went on their first power play but only managed one shot before getting whistled for an interference call to make it four-on-four. Franklin didn’t let its penalty kill the momentum.

Falvey found sophomore Joe LeBlanc at the blue line, and he shuffled the puck over to junior Tom Tasker. Tasker ripped a hard shot through traffic and past CM goalie Henry O’Brien, with Elliott providing a screen in front. Franklin led 1-0 with 6:27 left in the first.

Just two minutes later, the Panthers doubled their lead behind a terrific hustle play by senior CJ Spillane. Spillane blocked a shot at the blue line from one CM defensemen, beat the other CM defenseman in a foot race to the loose puck, and went in alone on a breakaway before depositing his wrist shot past O’Brien’s blocker for a 2-0 advantage with 4:11 to play in the first.

The Panthers nearly had a third in the final seconds of the period but O’Brien was able to get just enough of his pad onto a low shot from the blue line off the stick of Matt D’Errico. And on the rebound. Kyle Hedvig tossed a shot towards goal from the corner, and the puck bounced off the inside of O’Brien’s leg and out the other side.

Franklin goalie Ray Ivers (30 saves) had a strong game throughout, including a big save just a minute into the second. Franklin’s defensemen slipped allowing CM junior Owen Brady a chance in close but Ivers stood tall.

A minute later, the Knights had a two-on-one break, and Jack Curran elected to shoot but Ivers made the glove stop without giving up a rebound.

CM went on the power play with 8:54 left in the second but the Panthers got the kill. Falvey killed some time with a trip into the offensive zone, and Colin Hedvig had a clearance to kill off more time. The Panthers nearly grabbed a shorthanded goal when Spillane forced a turnover in the offensive zone, but O’Brien made a terrific glove save in close.

Kyle Hedvig and Joey Lizotte combined in the offensive zone, finding McCaffrey in front and he buried his chance but it was waved off in favor of a delayed penalty against CM. The Panthers couldn’t get a clean clear from the defensive zone, and Chris Rooney linked up with Will MacNeil to get the Knights on the board with 4:15 left in the second.

Franklin went on the power play with 3:42 left and cross check on CM was going to set up a 5-on-3 but the Panthers were whistled for a matching penalty to cancel the cross check out. The Knights got the offensive zone faceoff and Rooney made them pay, winning the faceoff then roofing his shot to make it 2-2 with 2:18 left in the second.

Back-to-back slashing calls within10 seconds gave Franklin a 5-on-3 opportunity for the final minute of the second. The Panthers took advantage as Tasker’s rebound fell in front of goal and Kyle Hedvig poked the loose back through the five-hole to put Franklin back up, 3-2, with 46 seconds left in the second.

“I think we found a team identity [down the stretch],” Spillane said. “For the past month, this is pretty much the team we’ve had. Where it was for the first month and a half, I couldn’t tell you but I’m glad we found it. It wasn’t pretty all the time tonight but it was effective. We don’t have a lot of pure goal scorers so we have to grind every inch of the ice and I thought we did that well minus the two shorthanded goals. Five on five, I thought we pretty much eliminated their quality opportunities, I thought we did a nice job.”

Franklin got an insurance goal just over three minutes into the third period. LeBlanc fired a shot from the blue line and Lizotte got just enough of his stick on the high shot to redirect it in as he skated past the front of the net.

“I just put my stick up, I saw it at the last second,” Lizotte said. “Luckily I’m so short it wasn’t a high stick.”

“Even that fourth goal, smallest kid on the team, he’s got that stick up by his shoulders, it’s a good goal,” Spillane said. “Anyone else on the team, it’s probably a high stick, so we’ll take it.”

Catholic Memorial had a chance to pull within one when it went on the power play a minute later but the Panthers didn’t surrender any big scoring chances and forced the Knights to take a penalty with 10 seconds left.

Franklin didn’t muster much up on the man advantage as O’Brien handled Franklin’s one good shot off the stick of Cam Cassella.

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Ivers came up big again with 4:16 left, making a nice stop on Curran and then handling the rebound bid from Brady.

With the goalie pulled at 2:38, Colin Hedvig got a clearance for the Panthers, Falvey had a shot go just wide of the net and Ivers made a stop on Tommy Rooney.

After a battle in the neutral zone, McCaffrey came away with the puck and deposited a shot from distance to make it 5-2.

“One of the last games of the season we played LaSalle, we were down two goals and we came back and won it,” Lizotte explained. “That was a big confidence boost and every since then we’ve gone with it. I love this team. We’ve been through it all year, we’ve had a tough schedule from the start of the year. We got each other’s backs, and that’s what we did tonight. It felt really good.”

Franklin boys hockey (12-9-4) will square off with #1 Duxbury (20-4-0) on Sunday, back at Gallo Ice Arena, at 6:15.

Elliott, Franklin Edge Mansfield In Overtime

Franklin boys hockey Scott Elliott
Franklin senior Scott Elliott sets up for a shot against Mansfield in the second period. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOURNE, Mass. – Three periods wasn’t enough to separate Mansfield and Franklin boys hockey when the two met in the regular season.

It wasn’t enough in the playoffs either.

After finishing level in their Hockomock League showdown back in January, the Panthers and Hornets were deadlocked at 2-2 through 45 minutes in their D1 South Quarterfinal clash.

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Franklin senior Scott Elliott emerged as the hero, scoring the game-winning goal with just 1:24 to go in the four-on-four overtime period, giving the 11th-seeded Panthers a 3-2 win over third-seeded Mansfield.

“There was a battle behind the net and I was able to get their guy off of me,” Elliott said. “I saw the goalie go the other so I just tried to spin around the other way and go five-hole it worked.

While Mansfield got the first shot in the six-minute overtime period, a bid from Jack Garland that was denied by Ray Ivers (24 saves), the rest of the extra frame belonged to the Panthers.

Defensemen Cam Cassella and Tom Tasker had low shots denied by Mansfield junior goalie Sean McCafferty (25 saves) just seconds apart. Then McCafferty prolonged the game with back-to-back stops, denying Shane McCaffrey with a point-blank pad stop, and then turning away a bid from Colin Hedvig.

The Panthers finally solved McCafferty in the overtime period when Elliott took a feed from CJ Spillane and was able to shake off a defenseman behind the net. Elliott faked to wrap around to the left but instead went back to his right, stuffing a backhand attempt in for the winner.

“Our guys had an extra gear in that overtime,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “Shane McCaffrey played a great game, Scotty Elliott was outstanding as well. It was a great hockey move to win a game, he’s played like that all year long for us so it was good for him to get that.

“We had a really slow start [to the season], we didn’t have any confidence and we were inconsistent. About midway through the season, they started believing in themselves. I think playing our strength of schedule from start to finish really helps us when we get here for sure.”

After a back-and-forth start to the game, the anthers were able to grab the lead just over the midway point of the first. Tasker whipped a clearance up the right side of the ice, and the puck eluded the Hornet defenseman at the blue line, leading to a two-on-one chance for the Panthers.

McCaffrey jumped on the puck and carried it into the offensive zone, tossing a pass to senior Joey Lizotte. The past was a little behind Lizotte, forcing him to pivot to gain possession, but it didn’t stop him from returning the pass back to McCaffrey, using a nifty backward pass. McCaffrey hit a one-timer from in close to put Franklin up 1-0.

Mansfield responded less than four minutes into the second period to tie the game. Freshman Brian Grant made a nice play at the blue line to prevent a Panther clearance and batted it down the walls to Garland. Garland turned a whipped a low shot towards that that found its way in to make it 1-1 with 11:15 left in the second.

After a clean first period, the Panthers were plagued by penalties in the second period and the ice tilted in favor of the Hornets.

Mansfield didn’t convert on their first power play chance when the Hornets were whistled for a hook with 10:10 to go in the middle period, but the Hornets did cash on when given a second opportunity five minutes later.

Jake Lund had a chance right on front that was denied but the Hornets continued to apply pressure. Grant fired two straight shots from the blue line that were over the net, but his third chance about a foot off the ice and sophomore Matt Copponi redirected the puck as he skated across the middle, giving Mansfield a 2-1 lead with 4:10 to go in the second.

The Hornets went on the power play for the third time in the period with 2:40 left but couldn’t increase their lead.

Franklin knotted the score at 2-2 with its first real chance of the final period. Kyle Hedvig carried the puck behind the goal before dropping the puck in front for a one-timer from Lizotte to tie the game with 9:41 to play in the third.

“It was a hell of a game, it really was,” said Mansfield head coach Mike Balzarini. “We were tired there in overtime, maybe too long of a shift. We tried a couple of different looks but with that long change, it was tough. But I thought we played well, we killed off that late penalty, we had a couple of chances shorthanded, and we seemed to have the momentum, but in the end we just didn’t have enough.

“I thought we responded well after they tied it. We’ve been in those situations before, both ahead and behind. It was a back and forth game and when it came down to it, whoever capitalized first was going to win.”

McCaffrey nearly put the Panthers ahead at the midway point of the third. On two occasions, the junior took the puck the length of the ice, beating a pair of Hornet defensemen on the first trip but his wrist shot was turned away.

Mansfield took its first penalty of the game with 3:03 left on an interference call, but the Hornets were able to prevent Franklin from going ahead in regulation.

Brad Grant blocked a shot early, leading to a clearance from Lund. McCafferty came up with three straight saves, including one on a blast from Tasker. After a shot from Cassella, Kevin Belanger came up with back-to-back clearances to kill time.

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The Hornets earned an offensive zone faceoff with four seconds left in the game but Spillane won it straight back, and regulation came to a close.

In overtime, the Panthers had the edge on experience after playing in similar situations twice during its holiday tournament at Mount St. Charles. Along with the experience from in-season, Franklin has practiced for overtime since the beginning of the tournament, including getting the defense involved in the offense.

“That was part of practice, we’ve worked on it the last couple of practices, engaging our defensemen,” Spillane said. “Forget about the five-on-five hockey, it’s an open ice mentality…there are no defensemen, there are no forwards. As long as you have coverage and space, take it. We don’t practice it a lot but we know when you get to the tournament there’s a chance of 4-on-4 or 3-on-3, so it paid off.”

Mansfield finishes the season at 14-6-3. Franklin boys hockey (11-9-4) will take on #7 Catholic Memorial in the D1 South Semifinal on Wednesday, at 5:30 back at Gallo Ice Arena.

Franklin Rides First Period Goal Past Falmouth

Franklin boys hockey
Franklin’s Zac Falvey sets up for a shot in the third period against Falmouth. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
BOURNE, Mass. – The 2018-2019 Franklin boys hockey team has seen it all.

Despite their record, which earned them the lowest seed in the D1 South tournament, there aren’t many teams that are as battled tested as the Panthers.

The gauntlet of a regular season, which featured wins over inaugural Super 8 selections Marshfield and St. Mary’s, paid off for Franklin in its first postseason game of the year, earning a 1-0 win over #6 Falmouth in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate.

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The Panthers pounded the Clippers with chance after chance, registering 38 shots on goals while limiting the hosts few quality chances. But despite the dominance, missed chances left the door open for the Clippers and Franklin had to hold in the final seconds to preserve the win.

“We talked about our schedule, our last four or five games were against quality opponents and not only did we hold our own, we beat most of them,” said Franklin head coach Chris Spillane. “Falmouth wasn’t that physical tonight, we had a good scout on them based on the film we saw and I thought our kids responded well to what we wanted to do.”

Franklin came out flying in the opening period, applying a lot of pressure in the offensive zone that resulted in early scoring chances. Five minutes in, senior Brendan Sicchio found classmate CJ Spillane but his backhand chance was turned away.

Just seconds later, senior Zac Falvey sent a pass across the crease to classmate Dan Magazu, but Falmouth goalie Kevin Duarte made a terrific save to rob Magazu of the opening goal.

While Magazu had his chance taken away, the Panthers were able to capitalize on the faceoff that it earned. First it was senior Scott Elliott that blasted a shot that was turned aside. The rebound found its way out to junior Tom Tasker, who blasted a shot through traffic. Duarte again made the save, but the rebound popped out to senior Joey Lizotte.

Lizotte had the chance to try and put a shot on goal from in close but instead made a terrific unselfish play, sliding the puck across to junior Kyle Hedvig for an easy tap in to make it 1-0.

While that was Franklin’s lone goal of the game, it was far from the last chance for the Panthers.

Four minutes after the goal, Elliot came flying in but his wrist shot hit off the crossbar and stayed out. Franklin earned a power play opportunity with under a minute in the first, and took 1:38 of the man-up chance into the second, but couldn’t convert.

The Panthers were whistled for a slash three minutes into the second period but the defense prevented the Clippers from any dangerous chances. First it was Elliot coming up with an early clear, and then Falvey made a nice play near the blue line that forced a turnover and led to a clear.

Franklin junior goalie Ray Ivers (21 saves) made two stops on the power play to preserve the lead.

A crosscheck call put Franklin back on the power play with 7:40 left in the second, and the Panthers went on a 5-on-3 opportunity for 28 seconds after an interference cal, but the Panthers were unable to get a good look on goal.

The best chance of the period came at the end of the second penalty when junior Colin Hedvig passed up on a shot to deliver a pass through traffic but Duarte was able to get his pad to the puck just before Elliot could connect.

In the final couple of minutes of the second, Colin Hedvig found Shane McCaffrey but his bid hit off the post, and Kyle Hedvig’s follow up chance was somehow stopped by Duarte. In the final minute, Cam Cassella blasted a slap shot that handcuffed Duarte but the senior goalie was able to keep the puck out.

“A whole lot of missed opportunities by the Panthers, had a couple of open nets we missed on,” Spillane said. “I thought we did very well with our forecheck, but the story of our season is lack of finishing. We had some beautiful tick-tack passing just didn’t find. But the effort was there, they were grinding hard so that’s something we can definitely build on. Overall a good team win for the kids.”

Chances were sparse in the final period, with Casella getting a shot through traffic with Kyle Hedvig and McCaffrey in front trying to bat in the rebound. With just under three minutes to go, Spillane used a self pass to beat the defense but Duarte came flying out of goal and made a diving poke check to thwart the chance.

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Franklin came within inches of scoring an empty net goal when the Clippers pulled Duarte in favor of an extra attacker in the final two minutes, but shots from their own defensive zone ended up as icing. After matching minors, the Falmouth bench was called for a misconduct and Franklin finished the final 40 seconds on the power play.

The Panthers will now renew acquaintances with league rival Mansfield, the third seed in the D1 South tournament, Franklin boys hockey will play the Hornets on Saturday at 3:30 at Gallo Arena. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie on January 21st.

“We’re capable, but we haven’t put together a big run,” Spillane said. “The last four or five games, it’s been consistently there for us and we’re building on that. Anytime you get the first win the tournament, that builds a whole lot of confidence. All of a sudden, everyone is a believer and the game is election. Now playing Mansfield, it’s a devil we know. It’s going to be a lot more physical compared to this one, there won’t be much time and space. We’re going to have to match their grit and grind. It will be a fun game.”

North Attleboro Notches First Ever Win Over Franklin

North Attleboro boys hockey Ryan Warren
North Attleboro’s Anthony Zammiello (left) joins Jeff Baker and Matt McSweeney celebrating with goalie Ryan Warren following the game. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
ByRyanLanigan_2016FollowRyanLanigan_2016
 
 
FRANKLIN, Mass. – The North Attleboro boys hockey team didn’t take any points from its game against Canton this past weekend, but it might have skated away with something more valuable: confidence.

The Rocketeers skated with, and arguably outplayed, the top team in the Hockomock on Saturday before the Bulldogs grabbed a late winner. While North Attleboro didn’t win, it learned that they can play with top teams in the area when playing at the top of their game.

That confidence was on full display on Wednesday night in Franklin as the Rocketeers raced out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, skating to a 5-2 decision over the Panthers.

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“We’ve kind of compared ourselves to the 2001 Patriots,” said North Attleboro head coach Ben McManama. “They played the Rams in the regular season and they realized they could play, that they could hold their own. And it was about getting that next big victory and I think we got that today. Guys are realizing we’re good enough but we still have a lot to work on because we can’t rely on Ryan Warren giving us performances like that every game, it’s too much to ask for him.”

Despite the loss, Franklin clinched its eighth straight Kelley-Rex division title with other results around the league. The Panthers (6-6-4 overall) finish 5-2-2 in league play for 12 points, one ahead of both Mansfield and Oliver Ames. A division title also gives the Panthers a berth in the state tournament.

Senior Anthony Zammiello scored a hat trick to pace the offense, and senior Ryan Warren (29 saves) was terrific in net, helping North Attleboro record its first-ever win over perennial power Franklin.

“That one feels good,” McManama said. “Franklin was coming with everything, they were really working hard and Ryan Warren stood on his head. He absolutely kept us in that thing. But for the school, for the town, that’s the first time we’ve ever beat Franklin so we’ll definitely take it.”

Before gaining the lead, the Rocketeers had to withstand a strong push from the Panthers to begin the game, including a power play opportunity less than two minutes in. Warren set the tone for the night with a terrific save late in the man-advantage opportunity, denying a one-timer from Scott Elliott after a nice feed from junior Colin Hedvig.

North Attleboro took the lead a minute into its first power play opportunity. Just when it looked like the Panthers had killed it off, junior Jake McNeany snuck a shot from a tough angle into the net, giving the Rocketeers a 1-0 lead with one second left on the power play.

From there, the Rocketeers finished the period off strong. North Attleboro continued to apply pressure and found the back of the net less than a minute later. Senior Brendan McHugh pounced on a loose puck at the top of the circles and blasted a shot through traffic. The rebound fell to the stick of Zammiello and he tucked it in for a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

The Panthers once again came out with a lot of energy to begin the period and had another solid opportunity less than two minutes into the game. After a scrum in front, a North Attleboro defenseman covered the puck in the crease resulting in a penalty shot.

Warren was up to the task again, getting the pad to the post to stop a low shot to his left.

Minutes later, Franklin’s Joe LeBlanc blasted a frame that was kicked aside, with the rebound falling to Zac Falvey but his bid somehow went straight through the crease and stayed out.

After a strong first five minutes, a turnover in the defensive zone hurt the Panthers. Zammiello was able to latch onto the turnover, deked past a defenseman and then slotted his shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.

Warren turned aside two good Franklin chances a minute apart after the Big Red took a three-goal lead. First, it was against a rebound chance from CJ Spillane after a shot from Hedvig, and then it was a diving stop on Shane McCaffrey after Matt D’Errico put one on frame.

Franklin got on the board when it converted on its third power play of the game. The Panthers needed just 13 seconds as Joey Lizotte maneuvered his way past the North defense and slid a pass over to freshman Declean Lovett for an easy tap in to make it 3-1.

“I don’t think we handled taking the lead very well, especially in the second period, it was all Franklin that period,” McManama said. ”We were battling with some penalties, trying to get away from some of that old North Attleboro mentality. But we battled back, it was an up and down kind of game, and we got a couple of breaks but I’m really proud of the kids.”

North Attleboro started the third on the power play but couldn’t convert. The Rocketeers did get a break five minutes into the final frame and took advantage of their opportunity. On a breakout, a Franklin defenseman slipped, and Zammiello went in on a partial break, firing a wrist shot into the back of the net to make it 4-1.

“He finished his chances too,” said McManama about Zammiello. “He worked his butt off tonight, he worked from the drop of the puck for the entire game. He’s been an unbelievable captain for us this year. He’s the guy that I thought would be the guy to step up he did. Him and Ryan Warren really stepped up tonight.

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Franklin went on a power play with 8:10 to go but it was the Rocketeers the found the back of the goal. After a pass trying to cycle in the offensive zone was missed, the puck came out of the zone, and Zammiello quickly grabbed onto it, skated in, and passed across to Todd Robinson who redirected the puck into the net for a 5-1 advantage,

Franklin added a power play goal when Spillane found Falvey, and the latter picked out a spot to make it 5-2.

North Attleboro boys hockey (6-2-1 Hockomock, 8-6-1 overall) finishes second in the Davenport division with 13 points and second overall in the Hockomock League. It marks the first time in league history that the top two teams in the league are from the Davenport. North continues its push for a playoff spot when it hosts Beverly on Saturday. Franklin hosts a talented St. Mary’s (Lynn) team on Saturday.