Taunton's Connor Johnson (left) and Matt Nunes pitched the Tigers to their first ever Kelley-Rex title. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
**Denotes Division Champion
*Denotes Playoff Berth
Taunton's Jesse Aleixo is closing in on 150 strikeouts for the season. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com
SOUTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Dartmouth High School Indians came back from an early 5-0 deficit, but would fall short in the end as sophomore Tyler Stowe, pinch running for left fielder Travis Tanguay, scored off of a Sean Curran RBI single in the top of the seventh, giving the Blue Bombardiers their third straight win heading into the final game of the regular season.
Attleboro took the lead early on, as a leadoff triple by center fielder Tommy Burns would be a sign of things to come. Scoring twice in the first and another three in the second, the Bombardiers took advantage of the struggles of Dartmouth starter Ben Katz, who only lasted 1 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and five runs without a strikeout or walk.
But the Indians weren't going down without a fight, as they put their first run on the board in the bottom of the second when left fielder Evan Martins, who advanced on base off of an error by shortstop Pat Dunn, scored on an RBI single by right fielder Mark Medeiros. Medeiros would then send the ball over the center field fence for a two-run homer to bring his team within two in the fourth, which would come from shortstop Connor Tavares and second baseman Nick Paine scoring on a single by Brendan Sullivan and Martins advancing on another error.
Attleboro's Matt Lindsey, the usual closer starting for the first time this season, starting off well but began to show signs of struggle in the second which carried over into a third inning which saw the Indians bat around, though his struggles were aided by three Bombardier errors. He would leave after four full innings, having given up eight hits and five runs, three earned, while striking out two and walking and hitting a batter apiece.
Following Lindsey was Eric Machowski, who played the first half of the season at JV, and left the game with his first win. The junior would go 2 1/3 innings giving up only three hits. On the other side, Dartmouth would hand the ball to Dan Southerland in the third, who limited the Bombardiers to only one hit while striking out two through only 1 2/3 innings, having being pulled to save his arm for upcoming tournament games.
Jackson White moved from third to the mound to finish off the game for the Indians, and despite only giving up five hits through three full innings, also striking out five, he takes the loss for giving up the eventual game-winning RBI single by Curran.
With the save for the Bombardiers was the usual starter Tanguay, who moved over from left. The junior took over for Machowski after the first batter of the seventh, the pitcher White, lead off with a double. The junior would face three batters, striking out the first and last, giving up one hit, and a throwing error to advance the runner on a pick-off attempt, and Curran would send in a quick throw to Tanguay, who threw out Josh Viera, pinch-running for White, at the plate.
"I felt the nerves kicking in on my way to the mound, but I got in there and felt good with my warm up pitches and knew I was all set after I got the lead off hitter out with a strike out," said Tanguay. "It felt great getting the important save because it was so nerve-racking and good for the team as a whole because we can get a better seed for playoffs now."
With a combined total of 23 hits, both teams had some notable offensive performances. For Attleboro, both Bowen and Curran went three for four, Bowen with a pair of singles, a double, and a run, and Curran with three singles and an RBI. Another notable effort came from Burns in the leadoff spot, who went two for four with a triple, single, two stolen bases, two runs, and an RBI.
For Dartmouth, it was Medeiros who lead the Indians offense from the nine hole, going two for four with a single, home run, three RBI's, and a run. Also key in their efforts was the performance of first baseman Sullivan, going a perfect four for four with an RBI.
Both teams return to action Monday, with Dartmouth returning to Old Colony League action against Barnstable at home, while Attleboro will travel to their biggest rival North Attleboro for the last game of the Hockomock season, where the Bombardiers will look to deny the Red Rocketeers a spot in the tournament while themselves winning twelve games for the first time since 2005.
Taunton's Matt Nunes recorded the save. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
FRANKLIN, Mass. – In just their first season in the Hockomock, the Taunton Tigers captured their first Kelley-Rex baseball title with a 3-2 win over Franklin.
Pinch hitter Mike Bunker opened the top of the seventh with a single into right center field and advanced to second on a sacrifice by shortstop Ben Clark. Up stepped junior lead off hitter Brad Alconada, who was 0-3 with three fly outs. The fourth time proved to be the charm for Alconada, who’s hit into left field scored Bunker from second for the eventual game winning run.
“I had been hitting the ball well all day,” Alconada said. “It was about time one of the balls I hit just fell.”
Taunton southpaw Connor Johnson – 6.0 innings pitched, 7 hits and just one earned run – emerged the winner in a great pitchers dual against Franklin’s Brendan Kuzio, who went 6.1 innings and struck out six with just two of the three runs charged to him.
“I thought both pitchers were pretty good,” Franklin head coach Dave Niro said. “We just came up short, that’s all. They were the better team today.”
The Tigers improve to 12-6 overall and an 11-4 league record with the season split with Franklin. With their 11th win, no team other large school can match their record and they win the Kelley-Rex outright.
“It means a lot,” Taunton head coach Jeff Sylvia said. “I can’t down play this at all. It meant we are the first Taunton team to win the Hockomock – that meant a lot to us. These kids have fought [and] they work hard everyday. I can’t be more proud of them as a team.”
Franklin got on the board first in the bottom of the second when designated hitter Neal Hart tripled to lead off the inning. Drew Inlesgi’s pop fly into right was caught, but right fielder Matt Nunes’ overthrew catcher Zach Bowden and the ball got through Johnson, who was backing up his catcher, allowing Hart to score.
Taunton took the lead in the top of the third on a Sam Moor RBI and a Franklin error. Ben Clark singled before advancing on a wild pitch. Kuzio retired Alconada, but walked center fielder Connor Ladino. Moor’s hit into centerfield caused an indecision by the centerfielder and the ball bounced by him, allowing Clark and Ladino to score.Franklin's Neal Hart
The Panthers tied it up in the bottom of the fifth, and might have been looking at more offense if not for a great defensive play by Ladino. Freshman Nick Santucci led off with a double before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt from Anthony Chaiton. After Taunton elected to intentionally walk Bryan Abbott, second baseman Tripper Rowean ripped one into centerfield.
Ladino quickly chased after it and was able to leap into the air and catch the ball on the run, limited the Panthers to just one run.
Nunes, who is also a starting pitcher for the Tigers, came in to close the game in the bottom of the seventh, despite having just pitched on Wednesday.
“He started yesterday lobbying to pitch today,” Sylvia said. “There’s nobody better out there in the last inning with a one-run lead.”
Nunes recorded two strikeouts to record the save for Taunton and to secure the Kelley-Rex title.
“We play with heart,” Alconada said. “We’re always battling, no matter the score.”
Franklin will close their season with a home-and-home series with Mansfield and then a memorial tournament at Natick High School. Taunton hosts King Philip for their final Hockomock game before traveling to both Durfee and New Bedford.
Here are today's Hockomock games. Game of the Week - Baseball
Taunton, 3 @ Franklin, 2 - Final Baseball
Foxboro, 11 @ Dedham, 0 - Final - Tim O'Halloran pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits and striking out right. Foxboro qualifies for the tournament.
Mansfield, 2 vs. Hingham, 5 - Final
Milford, 9 vs. Catholic Memorial, 1 - Final
Stoughton, 17 @ Brockton, 3 - Final Softball
Attleboro, 2 @ Dartmouth, 7 - Final
Milford, 8 @ Braintree, 0 - Final
- Shannon Smith tossed her 10th no hitter of the season with 15 strikeouts. Rachel Levine was 4-4 with a double and RBI. Taylor LeBrun had a two-run homerun and Smith added to her cause with 3 RBIs.
North Attleboro, 1 vs. Durfee, 4 - Final
Stoughton, 3 vs. Quincy, 1 - Final
Taunton, 12 vs. New Bedford, 1 - Final - Jordan Wade had three hits and four RBIs and Alicia Pavadore had three hits and an RBI. Jesse Aleixo picked up her 13th win.
King Philip, 7 vs. Bishop Feehan, 8 - Final
Mansfield, 8 vs. Catholic Memorial, 19 - Final
Milford, 14 @ Marlborough, 4 - Final Girls Lacrosse
King Philip, 11 @ Bishop Feehan, 8 - Final
Mansfield, 13 @ Milton, 10 - Final
Milford, 15 vs. Marlborough, 7 - Final
North Attleboro, 14 vs. Bellingham, 10 - Final Boys Tennis
Foxboro, 5 vs. Dedham, 0 - Final
Mansfield, 5 vs. Milton, 0 - Final
North Attleboro, 4 @ Durfee, 1 - Final
Taunton, 5 @ New Bedford, 0 - Final Girls Tennis
Franklin, 1 @ King Philip, 4 - Final
North Attleboro, 5 vs. Durfee, 0 - Final
Taunton, 5 vs. New Bedford, 0 - Final Volleyball
Milford, 3 vs. Marlborough, 0 - Final
Attleboro comes together after a big win over Dartmouth. (Cameron Merritt/HockomockSports.com)
By Cameron Merritt, HockomockSports.com Contributor
ATTLEBORO, Mass. - The Attleboro High School Blue Bombardiers finally broke through Dartmouth Indians starter Ryan Gaydou's no-hitter in the sixth inning, scoring two runs, and took an important late season win to clinch a tournament berth for the third year in a row and keep their hopes of tying Taunton for a share of the Kelley-Rex Division title alive on "Senior Day" Thursday afternoon.
For much of the game though, as can be imagined, control was in the hands of Gaydou, the junior southpaw tossing five hitless innings, with only a walk to catcher Ryan Bowen denying him the prospect of a perfect game. Going into the sixth inning, he also had struck out four.
But left fielder Travis Tanguay would hit an infield single, beating out the throw from the Indians shortstop, Tavares, which sailed over the first baseman, allowing Tanguay to reach second. Sophomore Matt Elliot then came on to pinch run for the junior.
While they had wiped away the no-hitter, the Bombardiers still needed to put themselves on the board. Right fielder Brandon Clark would strike out and Brant Greenleaf pinch hit for the second baseman Brandon Tetu, hitting a short grounder to the pitcher and advancing Elliot, now standing 90 feet from home with two outs.
Center fielder Tommy Burns would then put his team on the board in the next at-bat when he singled to left field, scoring Elliot. Shortstop Pat Dunn singled next, and a throwing error by Gaydou to try and get Dunn went low and past first baseman Sullivan allowed time for the speedy Burns to score all the way from first for the eventual game-winning run.
Gaydou finished the game throwing all six innings, giving up two runs, three hits, a walk, and striking out six, and took the loss in an other wise very good game.
The biggest reason he took the loss was the strong showing by his opponent Sean Curran, the usual Attleboro closer who pitched the full seven innings giving up three hits, two walks, and a run, which came in the second when left fielder Evan Martins, who had singled through the infield and stole second, scored off of a single by center fielder Thomas. The senior also struck out two for the afternoon.
Martins would have the best afternoon at the plate for the Indians, going one for three with a single, a run, and a strikeout. For the Bombardiers, it was Burns, whose stats were identical with Martins, with the addition of the RBI.
After the game, Attleboro coach Matt Bosh presented outgoing Dartmouth coach Thomas McDermott, a man whom he said he admired so much as a coach and someone who "treated [him] like an equal" back when Bosh started as a young coach when Attleboro was in the Old Colony League, for his 30 years of service.
The two teams will play each other again on Saturday in Dartmouth, which had originally been scheduled as an Attleboro home game, but was switched to a road game so that Thursday's game, originally scheduled for April 19, could be played in Attleboro.
Here are today's Hockomock games.
Attleboro, 2 vs. Dartmouth, 1 - Final
Oliver Ames vs. Weymouth - Postponed to 5/24
Sharon, 0 vs. Ursuline Academy, 5 - Final
North Attleboro, 8 @ Bellingham, 1 - Final
Oliver Ames, 9 @ Canton, 21 - Final - Meg Lennon scored 6 goals for Canton.
Franklin, 2 @ King Philip, 3 - Final
Mansfield, 5 @ Medway, 0 - Final
Franklin, 3 @ Milford, 2 - Final
Mansfield, 5 vs. Medway, 0 - Final
Oliver Ames, 2 @ St. Joseph's Prep, 3 - Final
Taunton, 3 @ North Quincy, 1 - Final
Alicia Cuoco (no. 9) and Marta Vesprille. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
By Josh Perry, Managing EditorAshley Avery.
WRENTHAM, Mass. – The Kelley-Rex division champion Panthers have not been a free-scoring team this season, but every game it seems as though someone new steps up to grab the goals that they need to get the victory. On Wednesday night at King Philip it was Mackenzie Pleshaw.
The freshman attacker buried a hat trick to lead Franklin to convincing 9-3 victory over its league rivals, ruining the Warriors Senior Night celebrations and continuing its perfect run through the Hockomock under first-year head coach Kristen Igoe.
“That’s just confidence,” said the coach about Pleshaw’s performance. “She’s not afraid to go to net and start ripping corners. This is the perfect time for her to be coming on, so good for her.”
Igoe was also thrilled for her players, who clinched a league title with a win at North Attleboro on Monday afternoon.
She remarked, “I’m just really happy for the girls to accomplish something that they wanted and that they worked really hard for. It feels good.”
King Philip actually held an early lead at 2-1 on the 100th career goal for junior Alicia Cuoco, but Franklin stormed back with six straight goals (five before halftime) to take control of the game. Pleshaw scored twice before the break and midfielders Stephanie Pisani and Marta Vesprille each added one. The Panthers midfield of Pisani, Vesprille, and senior Kristi Kirshe was dominant and prevented KP from creating any breaks.
“They can run it forward and they can chase them down,” said Igoe about the strengths of her midfielders. “So, yeah it’s hard for teams to get forward because they’re hustling their butts to get back, which is awesome.”
At halftime, King Philip honored the five seniors on this season’s squad. It has not been the year that many expected from the Warriors, but head coach Julie Pasquantonio was proud of the leadership and dedication of her graduating players.
She said, “These girls worked particularly hard in the off-season and they’re really good defenders. They’ve really wanted it this season; they wanted the Hock and to make the tournament, but because of a bunch of things that happened this year we have been focusing on having fun, working hard and getting intense.”
Following a Pisani goal 10 minutes into the second half, one of those KP seniors, Malorie Knowlton put away a finish off a free position to close the gap to 7-3. It would be the last good chance that the Warriors would get.
Igoe credited her defenders for the great results that the team has had this season. Excluding the early loss to Notre Dame Academy, Franklin has only allowed more than five goals in a game once this season and that was last week to Mansfield.
“We don’t score a lot, but we don’t let a lot of goals in,” explained Igoe. “The four defenders that start are all seniors and they just know to talk, they know not to foul, they know how to do all the little things right and I just think they are the rock to this team.”
She added, “If you don’t let the other team score a lot, then you don’t have to score a lot. It works for us.”
With 4:08 remaining Pleshaw notched her hat trick with a shot that was fired into the top corner and three minutes later Tara Doherty wrapped up the scoring making it 9-3.
The Panthers (14-2, 11-0) will finish up the regular season with games against Mansfield and Walpole as they prepare for the playoffs. KP (7-10, 7-5) will need to win its final three games to join Franklin in the postseason. The Warriors finish up with challenging games against Bishop Feehan, Notre Dame, and Hopkinton.
Allie Peter (no. 22) and Jaqueline Merrigan (no. 30) take a draw. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)
By Josh Perry, Managing Editor
CANTON, Mass. - In the end, clinching the title was in sort of anti-climactic. At the final whistle, both sets of coaches approached the officials about playing an overtime period to decide a winner, but with the rules as they stand, the game had to finish as a tie.
Canton and Foxboro perennially the top teams in the Davenport division, battled to a 9-9 draw in the rain and wind on Wednesday afternoon at WWII Veterans Memorial Field. Although it was hard to tell from the reaction of the visitors, the result was enough to clinch the league title for the Warriors (14-1-1, 9-1-1), who still have only one loss this season.
“We were really excited about playing Foxboro again. It seems like every time we play them it comes down to a game like this,” said Canton head coach Chris Murtagh, who was clearly the happier of the two coaches at the end of the game.
He added, “We won the Davenport the first year and they won it the second and we always find it comes down to Foxboro and us in the league. It was a tie, but you know we think we played well and maybe they’ll make changes in our league so that we won’t have ties anymore.”
Neither team was able to build more than a two goal lead at any point in the game. Foxboro junior Kate Notarangelo opened the scoring with the first of her three goals in the game. Canton responded with a pair of goals, including the first of senior Meg Lennon’s four scores (she also added and assist).
With Canton leading 3-2, sophomore Marybeth Sweeney got Foxboro level with 10:47 left in the half. Five minutes later Sweeney found Jaimee Lutz to make it 4-3 Warriors, but the Bulldogs tied the game just before halftime on a free position finish by Erin Proctor.
One of the reasons that Canton (7-7-2, 7-3-1) stayed close in the first half was the play of goalie Isabelle Hegland, who recently came up from the JV squad. She stepped in and made several solid saves, including a trio of great stops with Canton trailing by a goal that allowed the Bulldogs to get back even.
“She has a great attitude about learning the game,” said Murtagh. “She’s going to make mistakes, but works hard on improving.”
The coach was less pleased by the team’s passing in the first half and he noticed a significant improvement after the break.
Murtagh remarked, “We had to work on some issues with our passing because Foxboro is the type of team that is going to pressure you all over the field. We find that, if we move the ball down the field with passes, we can match anybody.”
Following a yellow card to Jackie Merrigan early in the second half, Foxboro regained the lead on a free position goal by Notarangelo. After Canton tied it again at 5-5, Allie Peter and Ellen Decker hit for quick back-to-back goals to give the Warriors their first two-goal lead. Lennon got one back but them Decker found Peter to make it 8-6 with under nine minutes remaining.
Canton did not panic and continued to chip away. With Lennon running at the Foxboro defense, the Bulldogs posed a constant threat. Proctor’s second made it 8-7 and then Meg McKenna found Lennon to complete her hat trick and tie the game at 8-8. Notarangelo got her hat trick goal with 3:11 on the clock, but again Canton responded and again it was Lennon.
“Meghan Lennon has a lot of confidence and a great stick,” said Murtagh. “She’s an athlete that’s able to take aspects of her other sports (soccer and hockey) and bring it to lacrosse and it’s beautiful to watch. She beats people and she can shoot.”
Both teams had possession in the final minute but neither created a clear-cut scoring opportunity.
Canton closes out the season with a non-league game against Norwood, while Foxboro travels to Sharon and Ursuline Academy.
Canton's Dexter Green and Foxboro's Alex Pacitti. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
By Ryan Lanigan, Editor-in-Chief
FOXBORO, Mass. - The Foxboro Warriors scored four first halftime goals and added one more in the third quarter before withstanding a late Canton rally, to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season, 5-4.
Tyler Ames, Drew McGeary, and Alex Pacitti - all senior captains - scored in a six minute period in the first quarter to give Foxboro an early lead, with Canton's offense struggling to find any rhythm.
Senior Jackson Hurley made it 4-0 for the home team with a goal with 9:28 left in the second quarter. After an offensive lull by both teams, Canton found themselves with possession on the attack and called timeout with 27 seconds left in the first half.
Senior Kurt Leavitt took the ball from the whistle and patiently beat two defenders before scoring Canton's first goal with 11 seconds left in the first half.
Ames added a fifth goal for Foxboro, his second, in the third quarter that ended up the game-winning goal due to a rapid Canton rally.
With 8:40 left in the game, sophomore Paul Swart scored with Canton up a man to make it 5-2. Then just over five minutes later, senior Pat Ward scored - again with the man advantage - to make it 5-3.
After Foxboro goalie Tyler Elfman stopped an initial shot, it was Ward on the door step with an open net that brought Canton within one at 5-4 with 1:40 left in the game. The Bulldogs again had possession in their attack with 27 seconds left, but unlike the end of the first half, they were unable to convert and were handed their first defeat of the season.
"We came out, we knew what we had to do, we had a good week of practice," Ames said. "We came out hot and had a couple of early goals."
Foxboro head coach Matt Noone had his team fired up from the start, something he felt had to do with the first time the two teams met.
"The boys were angry that we didn't do well in the last game," Noone said. "I think they brought it today. That's a great that, that was an undefeated team. I think my defense rose to the occasion today."
Canton coach Bill Bendell pointed to their sloppy start as one of the reasons they weren't able to pull out another win.
"They’re tough to beat here on their home field," said Bendell. "We started off sloppy, I thought they were the aggressive team in the beginning and they won every loose ball, but the good thing was – we’re a good team and we showed that and fought back and came up a little short."
Big Time Battle
One of the best match ups of the game was Canton attack Pat Ward and Foxboro defender Luc Valenza, both tops at their position in the league. For the majority of the game, Valenza kept Ward in check, not allowing the dangerous scorer to get going.
"That kid Pat Ward is a stud," Noone said. "That kid's a phenomenal player, he wills his team to win. Last time we played him he had five goals. We wanted someone else to beat us."
Ward finally did get going, scoring twice in the fourth quarter with under four minutes to go. On the final possession, the ball ended up with him but the clock expired before he could fire a final shot.
"Valenza's tough, he's a great player," Bendell said. "We knew [Pat] was going to get his hands free that he's going to get a goal. He just works his tail off. He didn't have the game he wanted but he made some nice plays that kept us in it so that's clutch."