Taunton Continues Shutout Streak to Win South Title

Taunton softball Hanna Aldrich
Taunton senior Hanna Aldrich runs home after hitting her team-record 15th home run of the season against B-R. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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TAUNTON, Mass. – In the second game of the season against Attleboro, Taunton senior Kelsey White gave up two runs to visiting Attleboro. Sixteen games later, those remain the only runs allowed by the Tigers this season. Taunton is outscoring its opponents 200-2.

The shutout streak extended to 16 straight games on Saturday night, as Taunton blanked Bridgewater-Raynham 4-0 at Jack Tripp Field to continue its unbeaten season and win the Div. 1 South title for the second time in three seasons. White was dominant in the circle yet again, striking out 15 batters, allowing only three hits, and not allowing a single ball to leave the infield.

First-year Taunton coach Carrie Consalvi said of White, “For me this is kind of tough to have your first playing season like this because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime player. We are literally spoiled by her dominance and perseverance and no emotion, it’s like a machine out there. She actually leaves me speechless. She’s just brilliant to watch.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

White struck out at least two batters in every inning. She also had three assists, showing her ability to field her position. Over the first four innings, she personally accounted for 11 of the 12 outs. The two-time league MVP and Villanova-commit deflected praise onto catcher McKenzie McAloon and the way she called the game against the Trojans.

“She plays with my travel team too so she knows me, how I pitch, my pitches that work well, and when to throw them,” White said. “We have a great relationship and coach actually let McKenzie call the whole season and it’s just been working really well. I give her a lot of kudos for my success.”

B-R came in with the game plan of attacking White and the Taunton defense with small ball. Riain Keefe started the game with a bunt down the third base line and reached on a throwing error. White struck out the next batter and then was able to back pedal and field Taylor Feist’s bunt to get the force at second. A perfect changeup got the second strikeout to end the first.

 

Consalvi said, “All we did is work bunt and slap defense, over and over and over, so we were prepared for the little game and I think that showed. The mindset was try to take that away from them and just have the defense be there with the gloves and come up with some timely hits.”

Taunton has flipped the pressure on its opponents by getting early runs throughout this playoff run. The Tigers did it again on Saturday.

Angie Lynch has been the spark plug for the offense, leading off the final with a single to right. She moved to second on a sac bunt by Kaysie Demoura and then stole third. Lynch got an easy trip to the plate because Hanna Aldrich, who set a program record for homers in a season, blasted a shot halfway up the trees beyond the left field fence for a 2-0 lead.

“It definitely take a little pressure off of me because I get a little nervous in the beginning when it’s a tie game,” White admitted. “When we get those runs, it takes a little pressure off my shoulders.”

The score stayed the same into the bottom of the third. Lynch, who reached base three times for the second straight game, started the inning by taking a pitch off of her arm. Demoura had another perfect sac bunt, and Lynch took advantage to go first to third. Aldrich was hit by a pitch and then McAloon drove fly ball to center to get the run home.

“Angie Lynch is that key, when she does that, we just roll right off that,” said Consalvi. “Angie sets us up and then you’ve got one of those big bats and one of them is going to come through. Hannah, Kelsey, McKenzie, they’re just going to be irreplaceable.”

In the fifth inning, the Tigers missed a chance to break the game wide open. Olyvia Mendonca battled to draw a one-out walk, pinch hitter Kyleah Plumb beat out a bunt single, and, after a strikeout, Lynch hit a grounder into the hole between short and third. Mendonca beat the throw to third, loading the bases. B-R pitcher Lily Welch was able to get her third strikeout of the inning to escape the jam.

White has not only been outstanding in the circle this season, but also at the plate. With two outs in the sixth, she belted a solo shot to left, helping her own cause and giving Taunton an extra insurance run.

Meanwhile, White was also dealing against a B-R lineup focused on bunting and trying to put the ball in play. She struck out the side in the second, freezing the third batter with a pitch on the corner, added two more in both the third and fourth and added a comebacker to close out the frame.

In the fifth, Riley Sroczinski led off with a grounder to deep short. The infield single was the first hit allowed by White. After fielding a sac bunt, White then struck out the final two batters to end B-R’s best threat to that point. After a one-out infield hit in the sixth, White struck out the next batter and got a pop up to Aldrich at short to end the inning.

B-R tried to rally in the seventh, taking advantage of a second Taunton error and another infield hit to put two runners on with two outs, but White seemed unfazed by the noisy visiting dugout, striking out the final batter to secure another title.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

It has been four years since White pitched Taunton to a state title as a freshman. Despite all that has gone on since then, including a season lost to Covid (and a knee injury), she explained, “It doesn’t feel any different, but it’s a new team, a new philosophy, so it feels really good.”

Consalvi said, “[Kelsey] did a great job tonight, like she has all season. You have to remember this is her fourth game this week. After coming off a Covid year and an injury, she’s still a machine, so it’s really a true testament to her strength.”

Taunton (18-0) will host North champion Billerica (the No. 17 seed) in the state semifinal on Monday night at 7:00.

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