TAUNTON, Mass. — After suffering a tough extra-innings loss on Saturday night, the King Philip softball team showed up an hour early to practice the next morning eager to bounce back.
On Monday night, the Warriors stayed extra late to get the job done against Taunton.
Junior Sarah Cullen clubbed a two-out single up the middle on a full count in the top of the seventh to bring in the tying run to keep the Warriors alive, and King Philip went on to score two runs in the top of the 10th inning to emerge with a key 4-2 win on the road over the Tigers.
With the score knotted at 2-2 since Cullen’s hit in the top of the seventh, King Philip finally broke the deadlock in the 10th inning. Sophomore Ava Kelley led off with a double to the gap in left center and junior Ava Lanza followed with a double to left field to bring in the go-ahead run. Kelley fouled off a bunt on the first pitch but then took a slap approach, finally getting one to fall in fair territory after fouling three consecutive pitches off.
“The plan was if she didn’t get it down on the first one then to take advantage of whatever the defense was giving,” Fallon-Comeau said. “She saw the third baseman was in so she went with the slap and she found a hole to left to bring [Kelley] in.”
Meg Sherwood smacked one to right center that dropped, allowing Lanza to come home to double the lead.
Sophomore Jordan Bennett tossed a complete game for the Warriors and retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, getting her 10th strikeout for the final out.
“I told my assistant Bri [Sebio] before the inning that if we could get to Sarah, we would tie the game,” said KP head coach Kate Fallon-Comeau.
Freshman Liv Petrillo (3-for-5) started the rally in the top of the seventh with a leadoff double but KP couldn’t move her any closer after a bunt was popped up and another bid was caught at shortstop.
That set the stage for Cullen, who ended up in the nine-hole after Fallon-Comeau shuffled her lineup heading into the contest. Cullen was without a hit in her first two at-bats but made solid contact both times and Taunton played good defense both times.
“I just had a feeling, she had been hitting it well so far today,” Fallon-Comeau said. “I moved her out of the leadoff because I wanted to take the pressure off of her, it’s a tough spot. She’s been there since the beginning of the year and got into a little slump so just a chance of perspective, change of pitches…we wanted to get her up to bat with someone on base.
“She had been striking it well all day, it was just about finding a hole at some point. She just needed to believe in herself and get it done, and she did. And then she made that spectacular catch in center field too [in the 8th inning].”
King Philip sophomore catcher Maddie Paschke ended a threat in the bottom of the sixth by throwing a runner out trying to steal third. After that, Bennett allowed just one hit — a leadoff single to junior Ava Venturelli in the bottom of the sixth.
Bennett retired the next three batters she faced and went on to retire the side in order in the final four innings.
“She’s always unfazed, no matter what the score is,” Fallon-Comeau said. “She kind of just chipped away in the circle, they were hitting her early on but I felt like somewhere in the middle of the game she settled down. She was focused and lasered in and really started to hit her spots. I thought she did a great job.”
Taunton jumped ahead right out of the gate. Freshman Cate Larson (10 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) worked around a leadoff single from Kelley to strand a runner at second in the top half of the first, and the Tigers’ offense cashed in on its first chance.
Kyleah Plumb reached on an infield error after a bunt and took third on the same throwing error. Kaysie DeMoura followed two at-bats later with a well-hit ball up the middle for an RBI and an early 1-0 lead.
Larson retired the Warriors in order in both the second and third innings and Taunton took advantage once again after Plumb reached from the leadoff spot. This time it was a single, a sac bunt from Brooke Aldrich, an infield error, and a double steal that brought Plumb home to make it 2-0.
KP cut the deficit in half the next half inning as Taylor Regan reached on a fielder’s choice, took second on a single from Charlotte Raymond, and came around to score on a single up the middle from Petrillo.
“Any time we get to play them, we love it and it’s always a great game,” said Taunton head coach Carrie Consalvi. “We were missing some key players tonight so I’m proud of them for hanging around with [KP] and playing 10 innings with them. [Larson] has maybe pitched a max of four innings in one game this year so for her to go 10 innings was impressive.
“But you can’t expect to score one or two runs and expect to beat KP. They are scrappy and they just keep plugging along. It was the first game in a while our offense went quiet but we’ll look to bounce back.”
Taunton (10-2 Hockomock, 11-2 overall) is back in action under the lights on Wednesday against Franklin. King Philip softball (11-0, 13-2) has the inside track to the Kelley-Rex division title but Fallon-Comeau said the focus remains solely on their next opponent, Mansfield.
“We still have a lot of games left so we didn’t talk about the division,” Fallon-Comeau said. “We have to just keep playing hard, this isn’t it. We still have a lot of Hock games left against good teams so we still have a lot of work to do.”
TAUNTON, Mass. — In a back-and-forth seesaw battle between two of the top teams in the Hockomock League, the Taunton baseball team emerged with a quality win over visiting Franklin.
Franklin built a pair of leads but Taunton erased both of them, using a three-run fifth inning to take the lead for good in a 7-5 win.
The Panthers seized a 2-0 edge in the top of the second inning only for the Tigers to answer with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Franklin’s offense struck for two runs in the third to tie it and took the lead once again with a single run in the fourth, but Taunton rallied for a second time by plating three runs in the fifth.
“We knew we were going to be in for a good one today,” said Taunton head coach Blair Bourque. “Franklin is always a perennial powerhouse so we knew what we were getting into. I told them the guys before the game they might get punched in the mouth, and I wanted to see how they’d respond. I was really proud of them for having good, quality at-bats. We were moving guys over, hitting the ball hard, putting pressure on them.
“It’s a great group, really hard working. I can’t say enough about the camaraderie, really happy to be coaching them.”
Trailing 5-4 and down to the final nine outs in the bottom of the fifth, junioe Dawson Bryce hustled down the first base line and slid in head-first for a leadoff infield single. Two pitches later, junior Ryan MacDougall smacked his second single of the day to put the go-ahead run on base.
Senior Colby DeCouta delivered the biggest of the game, driving a double to the outfield to bring in both runs for a 6-5 lead. An error allowed DeCouta to move up to third and two batters later, junior Brady Boucher laid down the squeeze bunt to bring DeCouta home for a key insurance run.
“It’s about piecing things together, and we had some fundamental baseball with some small ball,” Bourque said. “We work on it quite a bit and even though Brady’s hitting the ball pretty well, we felt like we wanted to make sure we get that run across and he did a great job and it was great execution, both Brady’s bunt, and Colby’s read. Having that two-run lead is huge, that’s really important. That comes from doing the little things.
“I give a lot of credit to Colby, he’s the leader on the team right now. He got them together and got them going, making sure we were confident in our ability to come back. I think we have one of the better offensive teams that we’ve had in a while. Colby’s a leader behind the plate, and on the bench, and he deserves a lot of credit for making sure, mentality-wise and confidence-wise, that they could come back.”
MacDougall, who took over in the top of the fourth inning, stranded a runner on third with a strikeout to end the sixth inning. Franklin kept fighting until the end, as Ben Jarosz (walk) and Henry Digiorgio (single) both reached with two outs but MacDougall ended the game with his seventh strikeout.
MacDougall finished with just one run allowed, as the first batter he faced — Ryan Gerety — singled and scored on a base hit by Evan Raider. The only other hit he allowed was to Digiorgio just before the final out.
Taunton senior Evan Cali started on the mound and pitched three solid innings, allowing four runs but just two earned while striking out three.
“We don’t really have that number one [pitcher],” Bourque said. “Evan’s a great pitcher, Ryan’s a great pitcher but in years past, we’ve had college-level pitching, we don’t have that this year. So we’re going to have to trust our defense, put the ball in play, and help them out as much as we can. We need the pitchers to throw strikes and they did that today.
“Evan did a great job keeping us in the game early, his pitch count started to get a little high. Ryan came in and did really well. We were able to come back and put a couple runs on the board.”
Jarosz laced a one-out double in the top of the second and came around to score two at-bats later on a double from Joe Tirrell. Gerety followed with a hard hit ball over the right fielder’s head for a triple, scoring speedy courtesy runner Luke Sidwell to make it 2-0.
Braden Sullivan led off the bottom half of the inning with a walk and moved to third on a base hit by Shawn Cali, who took second on the throw. A ground ball snuck past third and stayed fair for Boucher, bringing Sullivan home. Jack Gobin followed with a base hit of his own to tie the game, and Andrew Cali reached safely on a bunt.
With the bases loaded, Evan Cali brought a run home on a fielder’s choice with the force out at second. Bryce added another single for the Tigers, bringing Taunton’s fourth run of the inning home.
Franklin chipped away at the lead right away as Raider and Eisig Chin both reached on infield errors by the Tigers. Jase Lyons made them pay with an RBI single to right field to cut the deficit down to one. With runners on the corners and two outs, Digiorgio delivered a single to bring the tying run home to make it 4-4.
Franklin starter Jacob Jette (4.1IP, 9H, 4K, 1BB) retired the side in order in the bottom of the third, sandwiching a pair of fly balls to the outfield around a web gem of a catch from Jarosz at third.
Gerety singled, Jack Marino walked, both runners moved up on a ground out from Chris Goode, and Raider drove one up the middle to bring Gerety home to give Franklin its second lead of the game, 5-4.
“This is always a tough place to come play, they have a great club,” said Franklin head coach Zach Brown. “We knew coming into the game it was going to be back-and-forth, you know that’s real competition. They do good things, we do good things. Unfortunately at the end of the pendulum today, they had the upper hand.
“But what I really liked from our guys is they kept fighting. They could have folded but even down to two outs, we were scrapping and clawing to get the tying run on base with a chance there at the end. It didn’t go our way today but we’ll learn from it and hopefully, it will fuel our desire to continue to work hard during practice and heighten our attention to detail.”
Taunton baseball (3-0 Hockomock, 3-0 overall) will hit the road on Wednesday for a trip to Canton. Franklin (3-1, 3-1) is on the road again on Wednesday with a trip to Community Field to take on North Attleboro on tap.
2021 Record: 9-7 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Mark Homer
Last spring, Attleboro was an inning away from upsetting crosstown rival Bishop Feehan and reaching the Div. 1 South quarterfinal. The Bombardiers were also the only team to score on state champ Taunton. That is a good foundation to build on coming into a new season, as Attleboro brings back a strong core of players looking to challenge the top two in the Kelley-Rex and make another state tournament push.
Senior Lindsey Perry, who can also play second base, will be in the circle for the Bombardiers to start the season and will be throwing to sophomore Rylie Camacho, who had an impressive debut campaign at the plate and in the field. Senior Hailey Perry is coming back from a knee injury but should be at shortstop early in the season. Attleboro added pitching depth this season with junior Lily Routhier transferring in from Wheelock School (R.I.). Routhier will also play center field when she’s not pitching.
Sophomore Kayla Goldrick is another player coming off a standout rookie season and she will be at third and in the middle of the order. Junior Lauren Eby will return at the other corner and junior Sarah Maher gives Attleboro versatility by being able to play multiple positions. The Bombardiers have a balanced lineup and will be able to incorporate new faces to the program and players pulled up from JV to find the right combinations.
“The team’s goal is to stay competitive for every practice and game, and qualify for states,” said Attleboro coach Mark Homer. “We must be consistent in every aspect of the game. It’s always a tall order, but this team has the potential and determination to make it happen. We’re gonna have fun doing it.”
2021 Record: 5-11 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Sandy Lombardi
Canton returns seven players from last year’s team, which went on the road to beat Cardinal Spellman in the first round of the state tournament. After Dave Bohane stepped down, Sharon girls basketball coach and former Duxbury softball coach Sandy Lombardi has taken over the Bulldogs hoping to take the mix of experience and new talent on another trip to the postseason.
The Bulldogs will have depth in the circle this season with seniors Gillian Gordon and Sophia Santos bringing experience to the position and sophomore Jess Wright adding another option. Senior Taylor Reynolds brings a strong bat to the top of the order and will play in left field. Senior Emily Ciampa will return at second base, with Wright playing mostly at first, and junior Olivia Mackwell behind the plate. Sophomore Laura Valkanas will be at shortstop.
Freshman Chloe Guerschuny is a new face at third base and classmate Klara Redquest will take over from Liz Bickett in center. Senior Jessica Vo, junior Sam Vrabel, and sophomore Anna Lehan are all newcomers on varsity who will give Canton additional options in the outfield and in the lineup.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
Lombardi said, “We have a good mix of upper and underclassmen. The girls are working hard and we are looking forward to competing in a tough Hockomock League.”
2021 Record: 11-6 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Quarterfinal Coach: Mark Maguire
With two eighth graders in the starting lineup, including one in the circle, no one was quite sure how good Foxboro could be last spring. As it turned out, the Warriors were good enough to make a run all the way to the Div. 2 South quarterfinal. With additional pitching depth and critical varsity experience, Foxboro will try to build on that momentum and make another deep tournament run.
Senior Peyton Feldman was one of the top hitters in the league last season and she will be moving to shortstop while continuing to lead off. Senior Allie Willis will add leadership from the catcher position, as she is in her third year behind the plate. Her experience is critical when working with Foxboro’s young pitching staff. Freshman Emma Callahan had a breakout season as the starter last year and she will get the chance to play some second and third base as well to make sure her bat stays in the lineup. Freshman Vittoria Cuscia and sophomore lefty Angelina Rifai will give Foxboro more options in the circle.
Foxboro will have plenty of speed in the lineup this season. Freshman Jillian Slattery and Natalia Leach are athletic outfielders and will add production from the bottom half of the order. Freshman Ava Hill is back to start at first base after a solid eighth grade season and Fiona Dunn will get the start in right field.
“We are a young team that is looking to compete for the Davenport division,” said Foxboro coach Mark Maguire. “We have some very good athletes that look to take their softball skills to the next level. They are a group of kids who are a pleasure to coach.”
2021 Record: 6-9 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Katie Holbrook
Last season, Franklin showed that it could score runs in bunches, hitting double digits in five of its 15 games, but the Panthers could also allow runs in bunches with teams reaching double digits six times. With seven returning players, second-year coach Katie Holbrook is hoping that experience and depth will carry the Panthers back up the standings and into the postseason.
Franklin will have depth in the circle this season with senior Aislinn Lavery taking the bulk of the innings and junior Kiera Kotwicki able to step in when needed. Both will mix pitches and keep teams off-balance. Junior Hailey Fales will be back behind the plate, adding another layer of experience to the pitching staff. Senior Julia White battled an injury all spring in 2021 but she is back healthy and back in the middle of the infield and the order. Junior Georgia Harvey is a versatile player who can fill in at multiple positions and batted 0.426 as a sophomore.
Sophomore Carly Johnson-Pellegri had an impressive rookie season and will be moving from second to short and senior Hannah Cacciapaglia is back at first, and in the middle of the order, after recovering from an injury that kept her out all of last spring. The outfield looks strong for the Panthers this season. Senior Kelly Moussa has a strong arm in right and juniors Reece Allen and Dana Stott are two newcomers that could play big roles for the team this season.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
“We have a lot of different players who can jump in and be the spark at any given moment,” Holbrook said. “There are a lot of new players in the mix, but they are already showing signs of coming together as a team and leadership is not lacking in this group. If they can remain poised and confident and play their game, we should do well this season.”
2021 Record: 14-3 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Kate Fallon-Comeau
King Philip lost only three games last season and all of those were to league and state champion Taunton. The Warriors bring back a lot of players from last season and that has put high expectations on one of the state’s perennial powers to get back on top not only in the Kelley-Rex division but also once the tournament kicks off.
A year of varsity experience might be most beneficial in the circle where senior Emma Sheehan and sophomore Jordan Bennett give the Warriors a lot of depth for a long season. Both saw plenty of action last year, including in the playoffs and they should be ready for the challenge of the new season. Junior Sarah Cullen will also be back behind the plate for the Warriors after an impressive debut season in which she batted nearly .500.
Infield defense was a strength for the Warriors, even after an injury to junior shortstop Libby Walsh. Senior Mia Bennett returns at second base and sophomore Maddie Paschke will be back at third base, after an impressive playoff run at the hot corner. Senior Meg Sherwood will add leadership in the outfield, while juniors Charlotte Raymond and Ava Lanza provide a spark in the lineup.
KP coach Kate Fallon-Comeau said, “We’re hoping to have a solid season, make the tournament, and see where it goes from there!”
2021 Record: 9-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Quarterfinal Coach: Lori Letendre
Mansfield made a surprising run to the quarterfinal of the South sectional last spring, winning at Needham and at No. 2 seed Natick before falling to perennial power Silver Lake. With seven starters returning, the Hornets will be aiming at another tournament run this year and building the confidence that they can challenge the top teams in the Kelley-Rex.
Pitching will be a question mark for Mansfield this year after graduating last year’s starter Ashlyn Conley. Senior Julia Kelly, better known for her exploits on the volleyball court, will join the team for the first time in her career and will get the chance in the circle. Junior Amanda Schwarz will also be given time in the circle, as she makes the jump up from JV.
The lineup was young and inexperienced last season, but still proved to be dynamic and most of the players who came through with big at-bats have returned. Seniors Alanna Conley, Olivia DeTrolio, and Casey Moussette are all back along with sophomores Molly Kucharski, Callie Lake, Jill Koppy, and Liv Madeira, who all had impressive rookie seasons.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
“It’s been fun to get back on the field and start working with a great group of girls and we are looking forward to the season!” said Mansfield coach Lori Letendre.
2021 Record: 0-14 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Steve DiVitto
The Kelley-Rex division is loaded every year and a young Milford roster is hungry to move past a couple of tough seasons to be more competitive in a difficult league schedule. While the Hawks went winless in 2021, they lost twice to Mansfield by a combined five runs and lost by only two runs to Franklin and Sharon, so the Hawks had opportunities to come out on top. Now, with a year that is closer to normal, Milford hopes to take the next step and turn those close defeats into victories.
While the roster is almost all underclassmen, Milford does return seven players from last year. Only two of the returners are upperclassmen, senior pitcher and outfielder Olivia Morelli and senior third baseman Gianna Cacciola. Both captains are entering their third seasons on varsity and going to be expected to provide leadership for the rest of the lineup, which is almost all freshmen and sophomores.
Also returning this year are sophomores Maddie Burns (catcher and first base), Camille Bonina (first base and outfield), Grace Bonina (middle infield), Maeve Driscoll (pitcher, shortstop, and outfield), and Sarah Wengel (outfield and first base). Each player gained valuable experience as freshmen and provide a lot of versatility in how the team will line up. The Hawks will also look to a trio of freshmen for instant impact as starters or off the bench, including pitcher Cae Pellegrini, outfielder Jianna Fernandes, and shortstop Olivia Baglione.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
“With such a young crew, we will rely on our two seniors, our captains, who have four years of experience to help lead the way,” said Milford coach Steve DiVitto. “We pride ourselves on keeping strong team chemistry; something that will be an important part of this season. We’re hungry to get back on the field!”
2021 Record: 12-4 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Bill Wallace
North Attleboro has won back-to-back league titles for the first time in program history and would love to make it a three-peat before moving to the Kelley-Rex division next season. The Rocketeers graduated four starters, so there will be opportunities for underclassmen to step in and contribute right away, but North also has a strong core, particularly with two strong starting pitchers, to make a run in the Div. 2 tournament.
Juniors Zoey McDonough and Kelly Colleran are back and give North an impressive one-two punch in the circle. Both players were all-stars in their debut seasons, and both are Div. I college recruits. Since they’re also important to the lineup, McDonough will play first and Colleran will play short when they’re not pitching. Senior Mandi Hanewich is battling a hand injury at the start of the season, but the four-year varsity player will add leadership in center, while senior Ally Levine will be behind the plate working with North’s staff. Junior Grace Simmons is the fifth returning starter and the right fielder will also get the chance to produce at the plate as well.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
Senior Shaelyn Burns will take over at third after being the DP for most of last season, while freshman Maryellen Charette gets the nod at short or at first, depending on who the starting pitcher will be. Junior Emma Hanwell and senior Grace Barry will both get chances in the outfield, while juniors Maddie Bailey and Julia Forman will play second and be the DP. Freshman Aryanna McDavitt provides much-needed versatility, as she can play anywhere in the infield and pitch when called on.
“Our goals don’t change – what does change is the approach to get there,” said North coach Bill Wallace. “We’re working at it, let’s see if we retain it. The girls are focused – they know what’s in front of them!”
2021 Record: 4-10 2021 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Lindsey Allison
Despite having no seniors on the roster this season, Oliver Ames has set a goal of getting back into the state tournament picture and moving up the standings in the Davenport division. The Tigers return five players from last year’s team but there is excitement about the underclassmen who will be stepping into the lineup this year and the energy that they’re bringing to the team.
Junior Maddie Homer is the team’s top returning hitter and was also an all-star at shortstop last spring. She will provide leadership in the infield. Junior Katie Melendy has a year of varsity experience in the circle and will look to build on her four wins as a sophomore. Lexi Galsband will be at first base and fellow junior Caitlin Miller returns in center, while sophomore Katherine Farley is stepping in behind the plate.
The underclassmen will give OA important versatility to find the right spots for everyone in the lineup. Sophomores Madison Monteiro, Paige Taylor, Sammy Johnson, and freshmen Emily Martin and Devon Morris will fill out the roster this season. Although young, there is a lot of club experience that they will add to the Tigers.
“Overall, I am impressed with the attitudes, hard work, and teamwork that I have seen so far this season and I am looking forward to watching them grow together as a team,” said OA coach Lindsey Allison. “We expect to be competitive in the Hockomock League and get back to the culture of making tournament an expectation.”
2021 Record: 2-12 2021 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Heather Poliferno
For Sharon to move up the Davenport division standings, the Eagles are going to need to produce more runs this season. Sharon was last in the league with 31 runs scored in 14 games last year, but there is optimism around the team this spring that the combination of returning players and talented new faces is making good contact, being aggressive on the base paths, and look ready to create more opportunities to manufacture runs.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
Senior Trinity Payne will be a second-year captain for the Eagles, and she will need to produce in the circle (60 strikeouts last year) and at the plate (0.343 average in 2021). Senior catcher Ciara McAuliffe can hit for power and is an experienced battery mate for Payne, which will be a key to Sharon limiting the opposition’s base runners. Senior Savannah Gray is another power hitter in the middle of the Sharon order and a leader at first base.
Junior Ally Foulsham gives Sharon important versatility, being able to play solid defense at several positions and even jump in the circle to give Payne a breather. Foulsham, who will start at third base this spring, played third, short, and pitched last year and had a fielding percentage over 90 percent. Sophomore Maddie Hu will be the new shortstop this season and junior Natalie Kessler will start in the outfield but could see time at a few positions, including catcher.
“Our players have worked incredibly hard the last couple of weeks,” Sharon coach Heather Poliferno, “and we are all eager for them to get out on the field and show everyone what Sharon High softball is capable of.”
2021 Record: 8-7 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Deb Parker
After a year off, Stoughton got to experience the postseason in 2021, and a playoff win, and now the Black Knights will enter a normal spring with confidence that they can build on that foundation to make another run for a state tournament spot. With depth and talent throughout the lineup, Stoughton will be hoping to be back in the mix in the Davenport division standings as well.
Senior Sydney Menz will be the anchor for the team in center and as one of the top hitters in the middle of the order. She will be joined in the outfield by classmate Kate Bulger and freshman Angie Berry, who is going to get the chance to step right into the lineup this spring. Pitching is always critical and junior Kerry Driscoll will get the nod as the starter after getting a taste of facing varsity lineups last season.
2022 Hockomock League Softball Preview
The infield will be led by senior shortstop Melody Casna. Surrounded by underclassmen, Casna will give a dash of experience and is a vocal leader. Sophomore Alyssa Edwards is back at the corners, primarily at third, after a freshman season that saw her lead the team with a 0.417 batting average.
“I have so much confidence in this team and I expect big things from them this year,” said Stoughton coach Deb Parker. “They have come together really quickly and have chemistry that I have not seen in a long time. I am excited to see what this team will accomplish together this season, they have talent, depth, and personality, and they are willing to work. They are really fun to coach!”
2021 Record: Won Div. 1 State Title Coach: Carrie Consalvi
Not every team rebuilds in the same way. After graduating five starters from last year’s state championship-winning team, including in the circle and the heart of the order, Taunton will have plenty of new faces stepping into big roles this spring, yet the expectations remain high for the Tigers to challenge for a third straight league title and make another tournament run.
Senior Kylie Thorpe will be the anchor in the middle of the infield and add strong leadership at the top of the order. Freshman Brooke Aldrich will take over for her sister Hanna at shortstop and has already shown off a strong arm and a strong bat. Junior Kaysie Demoura will give the Tigers vocal leadership from behind the plate and looks set for a breakout season at the plate, while senior Angie Lynch was one of the stars of Taunton’s playoff run as a leadoff hitter and center fielder.
Junior Ava Venturelli is back in the fold this spring and the University of Louisville-commit will bring her big bat to left field, having hit a pair of homers during the preseason jamboree at the PAL fields. It won’t be easy to fill the shoes of Kelsey White in the circle, but senior Olyvia Mendonca will get that assignment and has had a strong preseason.
“We have a great crew this year, very different team from last year,” said second-year coach Carrie Consalvi, noting her team will have plenty of personality and rely on key leaders this year.
PLAINVILLE, Mass. — After missing a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, King Philip made sure to take advantage of its opportunity with the game on the line an inning later.
Senior Meg Sherwood (2-for-4, home run) led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple down the right field line and sophomore Ava Kelley followed with her first hit of the game, a sharp single up the middle to give the Warriors a 5-4 walk-off win over Taunton, snapping the Tigers’ 21-game win streak.
“I think they know how big of a win this is but I told them they can enjoy it from the rest of the night, but we’re right back to work tomorrow,” said King Philip head coach Kate Fallon-Comeau. “We have 20 regular season games to go, we have to take it one game at a time.
“We just put a big bullseye on our back and everybody is coming for us now.”
Taunton took the lead with a three-run first inning only for King Philip to quickly erase it with three runs of its own in the bottom half. The Tigers grabbed their second lead of the game with a run in the top of the fourth inning but once again, the Warriors had the answer and pulled even again.
The host Warriors had a chance to take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning after freshman Liv Petrillo was hit by a pitch and Maddie Paschke reached on an error after a bunt. But Taunton freshman Cate Larson (3IP, 5H, 3ER, 6K 0BB), who came on in relief in the fourth inning, sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around another sac bunt to strand runners at second and third.
King Philip sophomore starter Jordan Bennett (7IP, 8H, 4R, 3ER, 6K, 0BB) fielded a grounder for the first out of the top of the seventh and then got back-to-back outs against the top of the Taunton lineup to set up the Warriors’ walk-off.
“We kind of did it a little bit in the tournament last year where we’d go down and come back so I love that about them, they are very resilient and they don’t get fazed by being down,” Fallon-Comeau said of coming back from a pair of deficits. “They make the plays they need to and know they can dig out of it.
“I wish we didn’t give up the runs first, but that’s softball for you. It should be a back-and-forth, that’s a sign of a great game. But I love that they are so resilient.”
While it ended how KP wanted, it wasn’t an ideal start. Angie Lynch smacked a hard grounder in the infield for a single and then Kaysie DeMoura’s sac bunt wasn’t fielded cleanly, sending Lynch to third. After DeMoura stole second, Brooke Aldrich reached first on a fielder’s choice with Lynch safe at home.
Aldrich followed suit with a stolen base and a ground out from Ava Venturelli brought DeMoura home, and then a hard-hit single to left field from Hayley Krockta brought Aldrich in. Bennett induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
It didn’t take long for King Philip to muster up a response. Junior Sarah Cullen laced a double to right and Ava Lanza reached safely on a bunt to put runners on the corner. After Taunton starter Liv Mendonca (3IP, 5H, 3ER, 6K 0BB) got a strikeout, Sherwood launched a home run deep over the left field fence to make it 3-3.
“We needed this, this team needed like this because we’ve kind of been sleepwalking,” admitted Taunton head coach Carrie Consalvi. “I’m glad we had this moment and it will feed some hunger. [King Philip] is our equal, they are a great team that’s well-coached and I think both teams played hard until the end. I think we needed this.”
Taunton nearly went back ahead in the top of the second after a bunt from Kyleah Plumb and an error allowed Kylie Thorpe to reach to put runners on the corner. But KP catcher Maddie Paschke gunned the runner down at second, and after a dropped third strike, Paschke got the out at first and first baseman Taylor Regan quickly fired it back home to catch the runner in a pickle for the third out.
Krockta started the top of the fourth inning with a bang, launching a 3-1 pitch deep over the fence in center to put the Tigers back ahead. Plumb had a one-out double but Bennett got back-to-back strikeouts to limit the damage.
Paschke got a fly ball to drop in shallow center for a one-out single and Cullen followed with her second double of the game. Bennett came up for her first at-bat as the flex and dropped down the squeeze bunt to bring in the tying run in the form of courtesy runner Olivia Ali. Larson stranded the runner at third with a pop up to left.
“We aren’t leaning on just one player, they are spreading it around. Meg, a senior captain, had the big home run and then of course the triple. I wanted to go with squeeze [for Ava] but didn’t want to go on the first pitch, and they were ready, so you’re playing a little mind game.
“But we still have a lot of work to do and [Taunton] is going to get better, they absolutely are.”
It’s the second time that Fallon-Comeau has snapped a lengthy Taunton winning streak. Back in 2019 as the head coach at Franklin, she led the Panthers to a 2-1 upset win that ended a 28-game win streak. That was also the last time Taunton lost to a division opponent.
King Philip softball (2-0 Hockomock, 2-0 overall) is scheduled to return to action on Thursday with a trip to visit the Black Knights of Stoughton (2-1). Taunton (1-1, 1-1) will look to start a new winning streak on Friday when it visits Sharon.
2021 Record: 5-11 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Steve Dunlea
With a good mix of new faces and experienced veterans, Attleboro is aiming to be in the mix of a loaded Kelley-Rex division. For the Bombardiers, it will lean heavily on a deep pitching staff.
It starts with seniors Billy Saltmarsh, who is committed to UMass Dartmouth, and Cian Kelleher, who is committed to Stonehill. They’ll be joined in the rotation by junior lefty Danny Johnson while senior Jamie Bloch and junior Sean O’Hara lend strength to the relief corps. Sophomore Matt Harvie, sophomore Johnny Pagano, and freshman Tyler Dunlea will also be in the mix to see innings on the mound.
Senior captain Owen Taber (UMass Dartmouth) will be an anchor of the Bombardier defense at second base while juniors Peter DelPozzo and Cooper Johnson, along with Pagano, look to fill in at shortstop as senior captain Evan Houle works his way back from an injury from basketball season. Johnson, DelPozzo, and Dunlea are in the mix for the starting job at third while Bloch (committed to UMaine Farmington) and Christian Dame provide depth at first base.
In the outfield, senior Nate George will cover a lot of ground from his spot in centerfield, and the Bombardiers will rotate between Parket Sacket, Hayden Hagerty, Ben Hochwarter, Danny Johnson, Brody McKenna, and Harvie for the other two outfielder spots. Junior Aidan Hochwarter provides a steady presence both at the dish and behind the plate at catcher.
“The strength of this team is its chemistry,” said Attleboro head coach Steve Dunlea. “We have a great group of returning players who have really worked hard to build a team bond through the pandemic. I give a lot of credit to the captains from last year and this year. Despite the challenges they faced with COVID, they were able to rebuild the chemistry of the Attleboro baseball program that was lost when the 2020 season was canceled.”
2021 Record: 8-7 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Ben Shuffain
Canton got off to a great start to the 2021 campaign, winning six of their first seven games but ended up with a first-round exit in the playoffs. With a strong core of returning players plus a couple of promising young players, the Bulldogs are aiming to get back to the postseason again this season.
The Bulldogs certainly have some holes to fill with the loss of a talented senior class and the departure of ace Andrew Middleton. Fourth-year head coach Ben Shuffain will lean on captains Andy Butler and Matt Chafin to lead the charge this season, along with three-year players Nico Bonanno, Matt Quan, and Zach Peters. Chafin was one of the best offensive players in the league last year, finishing second with a 0.442 average.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Shuffain has a lot of options for pitching, with at least a dozen choices to fill out the rotation and relief corps. Jay Kelleher, Hayden Rose, and Owen Lane will all be in the mix for innings on the mound. Matty Lesser, James Young, Jack Digirolomo, and freshman Kyle Redquest will work the infield while the catching duties will fall to Sean Sullivan and Matt Hart.
“We are a very experienced team with a lot of guys with a lot of innings pitched from last season and wins under their belt,” Shuffain said. “With a few of last year’s backups moving into starting roles and the addition of a few younger guys and the experienced upperclassmen this team should have a good season as they will continue to work hard on the field and in the weight room.”
2021 Record: 5-10 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 3 South Preliminary Round Coach: Derek Suess
Foxboro has some of the top returning talents in the league but will look for some of its younger players to provide the depth needed to compete for a division title this season.
Junior captain Sean O’Leary is one of the top arms in the league and has a lot of varsity experience under his belt already. He will be the ace of the staff that will also feature junior Mathieu Sullivan, who made his varsity debut last season, and freshman Nolan Gordon, who has impressed during the preseason. Pitching depth will come from seniors Andrew Peterson, Tom Marcucella, Liam Mulkern, and junior Alex Stern.
Senior captain Tom Marcucella is one of the most experienced players in the league and his versatility gives head coach Derek Suess a lot of options in the infield. Marcucella can play at any of the four infield spots but will spend the majority of his time at first base. Junior Ryan LeClair is back in the mix at shortstop after a breakout season a year ago, sophomore Tyler Prescott is back for his second year with the squad, and freshman Ryan O’Leary offers a solid bat and glove. Senior Kyle Smith and junior Josh Connolly provide solid depth in the infield.
Senior captain and three-sport star Jack Watts will patrol center field for the Warriors and will be flanked by juniors Kenny Mello and Louis Carangelo, all three looking to make an impact with their bats this season. When not pitching, Gordon will also be in the mix for some innings in the outfield and sophomore Shane Henri gives Suess another solid option. Mulkern is the starting catcher with freshmen Ben Angelini and Mike Marcucella in the mix as well.
“We have great leadership from our captains and upperclassmen which has set the tone for the rest of our guys,” Suess said. “The underclassmen have bought in and can contribute right away. We must embrace the daunting challenge of playing in the Hock, and compete with confidence to give ourselves the best chance to reach our goals.”
2021 Record: 16-2 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Final Coach: Zach Brown
Franklin graduated some of the best players in the league after last season, but the Panthers still have a loaded lineup and a deep and talented pitching staff that could result in a very deep playoff run.
Not many teams could lose one of the best hitters in the league (Nate Cooke, 0.429) and one of the best catchers in the league (Jake Fitzgibbons, 0.353) and still boast one of the best lineups in the league but that’s how deep the Panthers are. Jack Marino, Ben Jarosz, and Chris Goode were all among the league leaders offensively a season ago, and Franklin also has sophomore Henry Digiorgio and junior Eisig Chin back after picking up a year of varsity experience. Junior Ryan Gerety, a Northeastern commit, is one of the best fielders in the region and is very dangerous at the plate.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
And after surrendering a league-low 40 runs last season, Franklin returns its entire rotation. Jacob Jette had a great junior season and will be one of the best pitchers in the Hock while junior Alfred Mucciarone will look to build upon a solid sophomore campaign. Relievers James Kuczmiec and Ethan Voellmicke dominated last season, coming in time after time and shutting opponents down.
2021 Record: 8-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Jeff Plympton, Jr.
It was a good start for head coach Jeff Plympton as the Warriors won eight games last season and went to the playoffs, bowing out to eventual state champions Xaverian.
King Philip has the majority of its lineup back and will be looking to make some noise in a very competitive Kelley-Rex division. After averaging almost five runs a game last year, the Warriors have some key bats back in the lineup this year. Senior Shawn Legere is a returning league all star that starts at shortstop and is coming off a season in which he hit 0.386 and scored a league-best 16 runs. Rudy Gately had a breakout sophomore season and will be a key bat in the lineup again this year.
Gately will also be a go-to option on the mound for Plympton after going 4-0 last season, striking out 33 in 34.1 innings of work with an impressive 1.03 ERA. Tommy Martorano also gained a lot of experience last year as a sophomore and will give the Warriors a solid 1-2 punch for its starting rotation.
“We have a lot of arms to roll out if we need them which is great,” Plympton said. “Shawn Legere provides great leadership to the team and demands hard work at practice and games. Our fielding should be strong this year but I’m looking forward to watching our offense. Last year we struggled at the plate but this year looks promising. Last season we notched our first playoff win in over a decade and we look to keep those strides moving forward this year.”
2021 Record: 8-8 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South First Round Coach: Chris Hall
With a talented and experienced pitching staff and a list of players eager to make a name for themselves at the dish, Mansfield enters the season with the goal of challenging for the Kelley-Rex division title.
The Hornets were young last spring, and a lot of players earned their first varsity starts on the mound and at-bats. Mansfield has the majority of its team back and will be looking to turn that valuable experience into a successful 2022 campaign. They certainly aren’t shying away from testing that talent with defending state champions Xaverian, Maryland powerhouse Archbishop Spalding, and other top teams on its schedule along with a loaded Hock schedule.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Seniors Anthony Sacchetti, Aaron Blinn, Jimmy Gilleran, and Colby Geddis highlight a deep and talented pitching staff for the Hornets. All of those arms got their feet wet during last year’s season and now give head coach Chris Hall a lot of flexibility with his rotation. There won’t be a drop off as the games go on with four solid options.
The big challenge for the Hornets a season ago was offense, scoring a division low 57 runs. With a strong offseason under their belts, there are a lot of names eager to step up and improve that number. Sacchetti, Gilleran, Geddis, and classmates Andrew Slaney and Jared Fraone will try to lead the way while juniors Conner Zukowski, Sam Martin, Caden Colby, Aidan Jones, and Rocco Scarpellini are all in the mix. Sophomores Connor Curtis and Jake Maydak both played varsity last year and could be impact players right away. Behind the dish, Aidan Jones and Wyatt Bolduc are battling for the starting spot at catcher after the Hornets lost senior Liam Anastasia to an injury.
“The keys to success this season rely heavily on every player doing their job,” Hall said. “The Hornets bring a well-rounded roster to the table and expect to compete all season long. Pitching and defense continue to be a strength for the Hornets. Offensively, the Hornets look to use a variety of talent to score runs and win baseball games.”
2021 Record: 5-9 2021 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Alex Dion
There were some growing pains for the Hawks a season ago with a young squad, but with just five players graduated from a year ago, the Hawks are hoping to be a contender in a deep Kelley-Rex division.
Head coach Alex Dion plans to get contributions from all four classes this season, starting with a strong group of seniors that cover the field. Tyler Lane and Grant Scudo will see time in the outfield, Justin Luchini mans first base, Alex McColl can play in a number of spots in the infield, Cole Forrest is a versatile weapon, and John Denegris is an option on the mound.
The rotation will be anchored by junior Evan Cornelius, junior Tyler Caldon, and sophomore Anthony LaPierre. Cornelius started every game for the Hawks last season and will play at first when he’s not on the mound. Caldon and LaPierre, both right-handed pitchers, are up from the JV squad and have impressed in the early going.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
Offensively, sophomore Keith Lee picked up valuable experience after starting nine games as a freshman last season. He will start behind the dish and be one of the most important bats in the lineup. Sophomores Damien Carter and Sean McGee also started last season and will make up Milford’s middle infield.
“I am excited about the potential that this group has,” Dion said. “With strong senior leadership and varsity players in all four grades we have an opportunity to compete this year and for years to come. This is a great league and I have a lot of respect for the other teams in it. It starts on the mound and if we can get quality pitching out of the arms that we have here we have a chance to compete. We will have to win games in a variety of ways and I believe that we have the athletes to do that.”
2021 Record: 12-5 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Semifinal Coach: Mike Hart
After splitting the division title a season ago, the Rocketeers enter the 2022 campaign with a chance at winning back-to-back division titles for the first time in 30 years.
Replacing ace Dennis Colleran won’t be easy but North Attleboro has some solid arms on the mound including senior Danny Curran and senior David Floyd, who missed last season. Curran went 2-0 last year and struck out 22 in 23 innings of work with a 3.65 ERA. Head coach Mike Hart also has pitching options in senior Anthony Wescott, and juniors Jordan Paradis, Derek Maceda, and Ayden Delaney.
One of the big reasons the Rocketeers had such success last season was their offense, which scored a Davenport division 110 runs. Maceda was one of the best bats in the league and will patrol the outfield for the Big Red along with Curran, Paradis, and senior Christian Bates. In the infield, Floyd will be joined by classmates Brody Rosenberg, Gavin Wells, and Nik Kojoian, and senior Tyler Bannon will patrol shortstop. Junior Aidan Conrad had a breakout season starting behind the dish a year ago.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
“We’re going to look to put a lot of pressure on other teams offensively,” Hart said. “We have many capable pitchers who can provide quality innings. We feel our defense will limit mistakes and not give many runs away. If we want to have a successful season we will need contributions from everybody on the roster on a daily basis. We will rely on our senior leadership and experience to guide us through the season. We need guys to excel in their role and focus on the job at hand.”
2021 Record: 9-6 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South First Round Coach: Joe Abarr
After earning a share of the Davenport title last season, the Tigers have the pieces in place to make another run at the division crown this year.
A combination of veterans and new faces eager to make an impression gives head coach Joe Abarr a nice mix to work with. Offensively, the Tigers will look for their senior captains to lead the way. Jake Waxman will play first base and potentially some outfield and is one of the best bats in the Hockomock League while Joe Cicchetti could also see time at first as well as the outfield, and is a strong two-way player. Patrick Finnerty is back in the mix after a strong junior season.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
On the mound, OA has a pair of lefties at the top of the rotation. Nick Clark (3-0, 2.78, 32K) and Jack Richardson (2-2, 2.07, 21K) are both coming off great junior seasons and will give the Tigers a solid 1-2 punch on the mound this year. Richardson will also see time in the outfield and will be a key piece of the lineup offensively.
“We have a good mix of returners and young talented players looking for opportunities to help our team win,” Abarr said. “We are excited for a full ‘normal’ season back in the Hock.”
2021 Record: 3-12 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 2 South Preliminary Round Coach: Andrew Poliferno
Sharon enters the season with a roster eager to compete among the Hockomock League’s top teams, but the Eagles will have to do so all on the road this season. With the construction of the new high school currently underway where Sharon’s field was, it will be all road trips for the Eagles this season.
It will start with the 10 seniors on the team, including captains Dan Okstein and Dylan Labbe. Okstein is back after an injury limited his time a year ago and will be a key piece in the lineup offensively. He will be the anchor of the outfield, playing mostly in left but could also see time in center. Labbe has a ton of varsity experience and will be the ace of the pitching staff this year. Also on the mound returns sophomore Luke Meixel, one of the league’s breakout players last year as a freshman. junior Alex Coughlin, Ryan Baker, Zach Loomis, Jack Broughton, and Okstein will also be in the mix for innings on the mound.
Offensively, Nate Yaffe is back after a great year at the dish a year ago and will take over at shortstop. Not only is Yaffe consistent with the bat, but he’s also very dangerous on the base paths. Another speedy option at the dish will be Palash Raina and the Eagles are hoping to get key contributions at the plate from Okstein and varsity newcomer Connor Blaney. Liam Conway takes over behind the dish and Will Hippler, Owen Kevorkian, Eli Greenfield, Josh Tolentino, and Jake Loomis are all in the mix for spots in the lineup as well.
2022 Hockomock League Baseball Preview
“As a second-year varsity coach, I couldn’t be prouder to see how ready our players are to play their 2022 season,” said Sharon head coach Andrew Poliferno. “It is evident our players worked hard during the off-season to prepare to compete in the Hockomock. Our players are gritty, determined, and not afraid to put in the hard work that it takes to improve. In addition to their drive to succeed, the team vibe is positive and players go out of their way to encourage one another. I believe we have the makings of a very talented and passionate group of players ready to make noise for their 2022 season.”
2021 Record: 4-10 2021 Finish: Missed Postseason Coach: Kevin Carty
There will be a lot of new faces in the Stoughton lineup this season, and that goes for the dugout too as Kevin Carty takes over for Mike Armour, who was the longest-tenured coach in the Hockomock League.
Carty is going to lean heavily on his seniors, who make up over half of the Knights’ roster. There is a lot of versatility among the senior class as well with players like Joe McNulty and Jonah Ly, who could see time in the outfield, the infield, on the mound, and in McNulty’s case, even behind the dish. Brad Franey, Anthony Girolamo, Anthony Tilton, James Price, and Owen Wiesnberger are all seniors that are in the mix for infield spots.
Girolamo, Ly, and Price will be joined by sophomore Will Worsley, junior Jeriel Cuello, junior Sean Farley, junior Joe Rush, and sophomore Hunter Malkin as options on the mound for Carty.
“We have a deep group of seniors that will carry us this year,” Carty said. “These seniors are very athletic and can play anywhere on the field. They have the ability to be great leaders for the younger players. We will go as far as they carry us.”
2021 Record: 13-5 2021 Finish: Reached Div. 1 South Semifinal Coach: Blair Bourque
Replacing a league MVP is never an easy task as the Tigers have to do with Danny MacDougall, but Taunton has a lot of depth and a lot of new faces looking to make a name for themselves as they help Taunton challenge for the Kelley-Rex title.
The strength of the 2022 Tigers will be offense and defense. Taunton has already lost some pitchers to injury so it will be a group effort on the mound this season. Coming off a season in which they scored 119 runs (nearly 7 runs a game), the offense will once again be a key component. Dawson Bryce had a breakout year after hitting 0.341 and driving in 12 runs a season ago, and junior Ryan MacDougall is one of the best power hitters in the league.
Seniors Evan Cali, Colby DeCouta, Colin Botelho, and junior Braden Sullivan are all very experienced at the varsity level and head coach Blair Bourque will lean on their leadership this season.
“Unlike in years past, we don’t have any true pitchers; our pitching staff consists of position players who will need to step up and give us an opportunity to compete,” Bourque said.”Offensively, we’ll look to have productive at-bats, be patient, and take advantage of mistakes. We should have one of the more productive offenses Taunton has had in some time. Although we’ll continue to play fundamental baseball, we hope to be able to capitalize when opportunity presents itself.”
2021 Record: 2-13 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Chrissy Quinn
Attleboro will continue rebuilding this season, but the Bombardiers also feel like there is talent and experience on the roster to improve on the results of 2021 and possibly climb a spot in the division standings. Last season was a struggle, Attleboro had the fewest goals scored and most goals allowed in the league, but so much of the roster was getting its first taste of varsity play. With that year of experience, the Bombardiers are expecting more at both ends of the field.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
Senior midfielder Olivia Calderone will lead the Bombardiers in attack. Sophomores Molly Moore and Addison Papagolos are back to provide a threat around the cage, while seniors Corrine Whiting and Kelsey Sherry and junior Jordan Mooney give Attleboro a lot of depth in the attack. Freshmen Isabella Cavallini and Ryann Mooney are a pair of talented newcomers who are going to get the chance to boost Attleboro’s scoring punch.
In defense, senior Avery Vieira and junior Ally Haigh are back to protect the goal. Both are strong presences in the defensive area with their athleticism and reading of the game. Sophomore Kristen Vasquez-Trudeau and junior Ella Stromfors also return and have shown great progress during the preseason. Attleboro will have a pair of new goalies this season with senior Alex Insani and freshman Peyton McCauliffe.
“I am excited to watch this talented group of athletes come together on the field this season,” said Attleboro coach Chrissy Quinn. “They have great potential and I think our program is making positive strides in the right direction.”
2021 Record: 5-9 2021 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Casey Bradley
Canton got off to a decent start in 2021, winning five of its first seven games, but the Bulldogs closed with a tough stretch, losing each of the last seven, including overtime losses to Oliver Ames and Whitman-Hanson to end the season. Former Bulldog Casey Bradley steps in as the head coach and she is confident that a year of experience will be the key for a lineup that is largely unchanged from last spring and has the potential to move up the standings.
The Bulldogs will have a strong midfield group. Senior Allie McCabe is a three-sport star and gives them energy and leadership alongside junior Ella Yeaton and sophomore Devan Spinale, who had an impressive rookie season as an attacker. Freshman Annie McLean will step in and add a new dimension to the midfield. Senior Carly Fitzgerald and junior Emily McCabe give Canton a lot of depth at that end of the field.
Defensively, seniors Tess Khoury and Sydney Gallery will hold down the middle of the field in front of classmate Elyse Broderick, who is stepping into the cage after four seasons as the goalie on the soccer team. Broderick’s athleticism will be important to help Canton’s defense hold off the opposition.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
Bradley said, “As a first-year head coach, I couldn’t be more excited to work with this group. These girls love the game and love working with one another every day. We have great leaders. I believe as long as we work hard and spend our time together efficiently, we will be a really strong team this year and may surprise some people.”
2021 Record: 11-2 2021 Finish: Reached D2 East Quarterfinals Coach: Kathleen McCullough
Last season, the first under new head coach Kathleen McCullough, Foxboro lost its season opener against Franklin then rolled through the next 11 games before falling by a goal against Bedford in the state tournament. Over that 11-game win streak, the Warriors outscored teams 204-44. Foxboro’s schedule looks a little tougher this year to help build up towards a potential tournament run, as the nine-time defending Davenport champs return a loaded lineup on both ends of the field.
The Warriors should have one of the most potent attacks in the league this season with a junior class that is loaded with talent and now has a year of varsity experience as well. Senior Kate Collins gives the team leadership up front, while junior Paige Curran was second in the league in scoring as a sophomore. Junior Mya Waryas and sophomores Valerie Beigel and Mary Collins would be the headliners in most teams’ attacking units.
While the offense will draw a lot of headlines, Foxboro’s defense is experienced and difficult to score on. Seniors Hannah Blake and Meghan Burke will be the leaders ahead of classmate Lilli Jones, who is stepping into goal this year after having a strong fall for the field hockey team. Junior Grace Riley and Jennifer Gallagher make this one of the deeper defensive groups in the Hock. Freshman midfielder Cate Noone is a newcomer to watch, who could make an instant impact all over the field.
“Our biggest strength is that we have a large returning group this year,” said McCullough. “My hope is that their playing experience and the fact that they have been playing together since youth level will develop the confidence needed to compete well against our opponents. We have put together a strong schedule this year and we look forward to challenging ourselves as a team and program.”
2021 Record: 18-1 2021 Finish: Reached D1 State Championship Coach: Kristin Igoe Guarino
There is no hiding that the goal for Franklin this season is to return to the state championship game and bring home the program’s first title. Even just a quick look at the roster shows why. The Panthers return the vast majority of last year’s team that was seconds away from overtime in last year’s final and added a few new faces that could be impact players. Franklin has experience and depth at every position. With a league win streak that has extended beyond 80 games, Franklin’s next goal is to be the best in the state.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
While those are lofty expectations, Franklin has a lineup filled with college commits. In the midfield and attack, seniors Stella Regan, Jackie O’Neil, Kate O’Rourke, Maura Cogavin, and Kenzie Baker are entering their third seasons as starters and all can be playmakers. Katie Peterson and fellow junior Kaitlyn Carney are both coming off impressive sophomore seasons and junior Lindsay Atkinson and Jamie Tanner can be threats anywhere near the cage.
Defensively, Franklin will be aggressive and athletic. Senior Anna Grasso will be the leader at the back in front of classmate Brigid Earley, who was the star of the final with a series of great saves. Juniors Riley Cross and Payten Crandall make a group that works well together. Freshman goalie Ella Mahoney is a new face that will get some time this year and gives Franklin depth at that position as well.
“I am really excited for this season, as this is one of the most talented and cohesive Franklin teams I have ever coached,” said Franklin coach Kristin Igoe Guarino. “Everyone is all in and it is our goal to win a state championship!”
2021 Record: 12-3 2021 Finish: Reached D1 East Quarterfinals Coach: Kourtnie Wilder
Overall, King Philip had a strong season in 2021. The Warriors only lost three games and two of those were to state finalist Franklin and the other to Div. 1 East finalist Concord-Carlisle. Still, KP can look at it as a season to build experience, get players back into the groove of varsity lacrosse, and prepare for more this spring. With a strong returning corps. KP will be eyeing a tournament run.
Experience will be important up front where Saint Anselm-commit Julia Marsden is back after a 50-goal junior season and will be joined by fellow senior Lily Brown, who had 55 points last year. In defense, senior Haley Izydorczak is in her third year on varsity and gives KP a strong presence in the crease.
In goal, KP has a pair of talented juniors who will both see time. Emily Campbell and Haley Bright give the Warriors enviable depth in the cage. Senior Colleen Crowther is another experienced defender that will help out at the back. There are plenty of talented underclassmen who can step in this season, including four freshmen, Abby MacDonald, Sammy Cloutier, Makenzie McDevitt, and Sierra King.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
“Our greatest strength is we have a lot of returners that we are going to rely on heavily this year,” said KP coach Kourtnie Wilder. “The players we have are experienced and excited to play together again this season. We also have a few new ninth graders that are going to give us more depth on the field this year.”
2021 Record: 8-6 2021 Finish: Reached D1 East Preliminary Round Coach: Mary Kiley
Mansfield has a third coach in as many years with Mary Kiley taking over this spring. Kiley is a former league MVP and a four-time league champion with King Philip and she’ll be looking to push Mansfield into contention in its final spring in the Kelley-Rex. The Hornets will have experience in defense but looking for new faces to step up and contribute to the attack to make a push for the postseason.
Junior goalie Caitlin Zajac impressed in her debut season and she will be back between the pipes to provide leadership to the back line. The rest of the defensive unit is also experienced with seniors Grace Bertolino, Gabriella Geminiani, and Kayla Doherty adding intensity and aggression at that end of the field, while also looking to spring the Hornets in transition.
The attack is largely new this season. Juniors Ava Adams and Brooke Butler have looked solid in the preseason and sophomores Lola Varricchione and Cammy Shanteler will look to build on solid rookie seasons. Sophomores Keira Fitzpatrick and Ella Souza are two newcomers in the Mansfield attack who will be looking to make immediate impacts.
“On attack we have great discipline and patience with the ball, waiting for just the right opportunity to score,” said Kiley. “We’re looking forward to a competitive season this year.”
2021 Record: 1-12 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Kacey Abbriano
With 28 players on the roster this spring, Milford will have the numbers to try and make a push up the division standings, but only eight of those players are returning from last year. There will be a lot of new faces for first-year head coach Kacey Abbriano to try and get up to speed with the new defense she is implementing.
Midfield is an area of experience for the Hawks with senior Aislinn Bennett and junior Carly Haley and Emily Croteau all back from last season. The hope is that their athleticism and leadership will help Milford improve the number of scoring opportunities that it is able to create this season with an eye on improving on the one win from 2021.
Junior goalie Caitlyn Bangert is another returning player from last year who will be counted on to provide a dose of experience in the defensive end of the field. Although many of the players are new to the varsity level this year, Milford is largely led by upperclassmen with only two sophomores, attackers Ryara Madruga and Rhea Mathew, on the roster.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
“Besides the obvious of trying to win games, we’re trying to build confidence in our player’s skills and ability, work together with one another, and just have a fun season together,” said Abbriano. “I’m excited for this season and look forward to getting started!”
2021 Record: 7-6 2021 Finish: Reached D1 East Preliminary Round Coach: Amanda Welch
North Attleboro has had several coaching changes in the past two seasons but still managed to finish second in the Davenport division last spring. New head coach Amanda Welch will look to build on that this year with a solid returning corps. North lost six times in 2021, but all of those were to teams that qualified for the postseason and the Rocketeers will look to continue their success against the teams around them in the standings to get back in the postseason mix.
Leading scorer Taylor McMath is back to spearhead the North attack. The senior finished with 24 goals last season, and she will have help up top from junior Ava McKeon. Their speed and stickhandling make them tough to stop around the cage. North will also count on seniors Kelsey Briere and Morgan Eaton to add punch to an attack that was fourth-best in the league last year (behind only Franklin, Foxboro, and King Philip).
Defensively, North is counting on the leadership and athleticism of senior Summer Doherty to keep things solid at the back. Senior Zoe McKeon is another quick, athletic defender that gives North a strong foundation in front of senior goalie Avery Beale. Welch is hoping that some of the underclassmen will be ready to make instant impacts this season, including freshmen Lily Ramm and Ellie Regan.
“Overall, this 2022 season will look a lot different than last year,” Welch said. “We had some rough patches in the past but now we are back, focused, and ready to show the league what we have.”
2021 Record: 6-6 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Rylie Dalzell
After a 2-6 start to the 2021 season, which included half of those losses coming to Foxboro and Franklin, the Tiger roared down the stretch, winning the final four games to finish at .500. New head coach Rylie Dalzell, who played at King Philip, is hoping that momentum will carry over this spring with an experienced group that sees seniors taking important roles in every position.
In the attack, seniors Georgia and Ava Costello will be back to provide the scoring punch that the Tigers hope will keep them in the running for the postseason. Junior Catie Wilson and Olivia O’Rourke will also chip in offensively, while also providing cover for the defensive group.
Senior midfielder Hailey Bourne returns in the midfield, giving OA a dose of athleticism and providing defensive effort. The defensive group will be a lot of new faces as the only returning defenders from last year’s team are sophomore Taylor McAndrew and senior Alyssa Kiff. Senior Jessica Widdop is the team’s returning goalie.
“This year the team has many strengths,” Dalzell said. “Something that has been great for us is our senior leadership across the field. We have seniors in all positions across the field. The team is very athletic and dynamic, and every player on the field could play in any position. There are many contributors on this team and I expect big things from many different individuals.”
2021 Record: 2-11 2021 Finish: Missed postseason Coach: Shara Ginthwain
After graduating three Div. I commits in the past three seasons, it was inevitable that Sharon would have a rebuilding season. After winning twice in 2021, the Eagles bring back five players from last year’s team and an exciting group of underclassmen that will jump right into the lineup and could provide the energy to get the Eagles back up the Davenport standings.
Senior Athena Merck will provide leadership at the back for Sharon this season, while classmate Kaitlyn Galeota will do the same in the attack. Junior Tess Letendre is an important returning player, as she had a solid season in goal as a sophomore and adds vocal leadership for the defensive unit. Sophomore Anna Hertzel could be poised for a breakout season as the team’s playmaker.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
The freshmen class has a lot of skill and is expected to be a big boost to the team’s depth. Bailey Garf and Ava Jacobson are newcomers in the midfield that could provide goals this year, while Serene Bien-Aime will try to prevent goals in the defense.
“From just the first week of the season, I can see that this team is made up of really driven players who work hard to improve every day!” said Sharon coach Shara Ginthwain. “We are so excited to get the season started and see what we can do!”
2021 Record: 4-10 2021 Finish: Reached D1 South Preliminary Round Coach: Adilson Galvao
After graduating the program’s all-time leading scorer Alana Tavares, Taunton will head into a new season with a new coach and a lineup filled with new faces in hopes of getting the Tigers back into the postseason. First-year coach Adilson Galvao is hoping that his seniors will provide leadership for a young crew that is looking to continue Taunton’s being competitive across the Hock.
Taunton will turn to a core of returning players that the Tigers hope will make new connections and keep the attack flowing. Sophomore Cali Melo is a quick, athletic player that they are hoping has taken a leap this spring. Senior Aria Cordero, Samantha Crowley, and Sarah Clark will give the team a lot of experience on both ends of the field.
In addition to the returning players, Taunton has a few new faces that will be looking to make a quick impression at the varsity level. Melissa Jesus will step into goal this year after playing on JV last year, while Alanna DeJesus and Maddison Szala have both stood out in the preseason.
2022 Hockomock League Girls Lacrosse Preview
“The team has a mix of new and young faces that look poised to get better as the season progresses and lineups get figured out to maximize our potential,” Galvao said. “Our seniors on the team have been doing a great job leading practices and getting the team ready for this year.”
TAUNTON, Mass. — Three years ago, Trent Santos, Tristan Herry, and Faisal Mass were thrust onto Taunton’s varsity team and right into the lineup after the Tigers lost nearly all of its anticipated starters due to disciplinary issues.
Taunton boys basketball
Since then, they’ve been one of the best trios in the Hockomock League, capped by the program’s first outright Kelley-Rex division title this season.
That wild journey came to an end on Wednesday after as the Tigers couldn’t overcome a cold stretch that spanned the second and third quarters, and a relentless effort on the offensive glass from visiting Wachusett. The 11th-seeded Mountaineers emerged with a 62-51 win to end Taunton’s season.
“It was a great stretch,” said Taunton head coach Charlie Dacey of the past three seasons. “They measured up in every aspect. Practices have been great. They come in, full effort, they are committed. The off days, they don’t have to be here but they are. Just the right attitude, it’s been a real good three years.”
That trio led the Tigers to 34 league wins in the past three seasons, second only to Mansfield. Santos became the first 1,000-point scorer for the Tigers since 2014 and the trio combined to score over 2,100 points and played in four postseason games together, even without playoffs last year.
It was a game of runs in the first half, each team taking a turn with the wind in their sails. A 9-2 burst from the visitors to open the game was answered with a 14-7 run from the Tigers. Santos quickly matched his output from the first round in the opening minutes and drained a three inside the last minute but Wachusett’s Adam Bates was equal to the task with one of his own to make it 16-16.
Taunton boys basketball
Taunton carried some of its offensive momentum into the second quarter and quickly built on it. Santos (19 points, three rebounds) ignited the offense, dropping in a floater and then finishing through contact for a traditional three-point play while senior Jordan Costa contributed to the run from the free throw line. He was then fouled on a three-point shot and made all of his free throws. Mass (17 points, nine rebounds) then got one to go from the block and the Tigers had an 11-0 run to start the second.
After trading some buckets, including a strong take from Herry (eight points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals), Santos picked up his second foul and was forced to the bench midway through the quarter. Taunton’s offense stalled while Wachusett responded with its own 11-0 run to finish the quarter, including a three-point play and a three-pointer from Tucker McDonald.
That run put Wachusett ahead by a point, 30-29, at the halftime break.
Wachusett’s run didn’t stop with the buzzer though. The Mountaineers opened the third with a 9-1 surge, taking advantage of three offensive boards and two forced turnovers. In total, it was a 22-1 run for the visitors as the Tigers went without a field goal for nearly eight minutes.
And to make things worse for the Tigers, Wachusett hauled in nine of their 13 offensive boards in the second half.
“We came back, we were up 11 and thought we could turn the corner,” Dacey said. “We missed a free throw, gave up a couple of threes, and all of a sudden the momentum was right back in their hands. It was simple mistakes that doomed us, stuff that has hurt us all year long. A missed block out, a bad closeout, bad decision making…stuff you can’t come tournament time and we paid for those mistakes tonight.
“[Offensive rebounding] was the game. They didn’t outsize us really but those are hustle points, that’s just hustle and effort. They committed to that and we didn’t match it. We didn’t respond to what we had to, I didn’t think it was a matter of size. Giving up those extra possessions just killed us.”
Taunton boys basketball
Taunton refused to go without a fight despite the long cold stretch. Santos drained a three just before the midway point of the third. Minutes later, Mass had a three-point play and then scored off a feed from sophomore Troy Santos and the Tigers trailed by just three, 41-38, going into the fourth.
Taunton boys basketball
The Tigers cut it down to one point on a pair of occasions in the fourth. A putback from Herry early on made it 41-40 before McDonald sliced down the lane for two. Herry then found Mass for two to get it back to one, 43-42 as the clock ticked under five minutes to go.
Wachusett got a huge three from Jake Chaisson, just his first bucket since a layup gave the Mountaineers a 4-2 lead in the opening minutes. Taunton came up empty on a take to the rim and Wachusett answered with another triple, this one from Nick Ciccone for his first points of the game, and suddenly the Mountaineers surged ahead 49-42.
Taunton cut it down to five twice, both on points from Mass, and the Tigers had three looks on one possession after a pair of offensive boards but couldn’t get a shot to fall. A stop led to a free throw from Mass to make it a four-point game, 51-47, with just under two minutes to go but McDonald went iso and sank a fadeaway three from the corner for the nail in the coffin.
“We went 19-3 and won the Hock championship, and like I told them, it ends this way for all but five teams,” Dacey said. “It’s too bad but that’s the reality of tournament play.”
As for the new tournament format, Dacey was in favor of the new matchups that it brings. A handful of early-round games wouldn’t have happened under the old sectional format, including this game and Franklin’s clash overtime clash with CM last night.
“I don’t have a problem with [the new format],” Dacey said. “There’s so much media out there, we got a good look at them and we had a scout at their last game. And just playing different people, that’s certainly more interesting than playing the same guys you play in the season. I kind of like the format…I’m not going to like the drive to Springfield some day but it makes it more interesting.”
Taunton boys basketball finishes the season at 19-3 and as back-to-back Kelley-Rex division champions, the latter their first-ever outright crown.