Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Boston High School [Print without images]

Friday, June 14, 2013
ESPN Boston MIAA Baseball State Finals Picks

By ESPNBoston.com

DIVISION 1
Nashoba (21-3) vs. Bridgewater-Raynham (20-5)


Brendan Hall: Assuming Nashoba will go with Drew Foster, hero of the Central Mass. Final, on the hill, the B-R bats are in for a difficult time. Foster can pound with the best of them, and he's been tough to pick up from the second half of the season on. Still, this B-R hitting order is deep, and has seen some of the top pitching in Eastern Mass. to get to this spot. I like another big day for Mike Bruemmel, Joe Freiday and that nasty middle of the order. Pick: B-R

Chris Bradley: B-R makes great defensive plays, they have a deep bullpen, and everybody in their order has the ability to come through with a clutch hit. Nashoba's pitching staff is deep too, so B-R isn't going to have the wiggle room to make three errors like they did against Billerica. But expect the Trojans to break this one open late in the game. Pick: B-R

***

DIVISION 2
Hingham (20-6) vs. Auburn (20-4)


Hall: Hingham's Evan Flanagan delivered one of the best pitching performances of the playoffs, striking out 16 in a D2 South semifinal win over Nauset, and he's sure to give the Rockets some trouble early on. But this is the same Auburn team that one month ago took care of Plymouth North with ease, plating 12 runs on them in their own unfriendly confines. That same Plymouth North team very nearly eliminated Hingham early in the D2 South tournament. Pick: Auburn

Bradley: Auburn has now won eight games in a row after a few tough losses in the middle of the season. I'll take the Rockets in a close one, look for their offense to try to jump on Hingham's pitching early -- as they've done so well all season. Pick: Auburn

***

DIVISION 3
Hopedale (21-3) vs. Middleborough (20-5)


Hall: I'm not sure how many times this season Hopedale faced a curveball as sharp as the one thrown by Middleborough lefty Cody Younger, but I'm not sure it's going to matter. Dan Mantoni will have a full tank, and potential All-State candidate Ian Strom can mash with the best across any team in D3 statewide. Pick: Hopedale

Bradley: The Blue Raiders have given up just four runs over the course of their five game run to the state final. Dan Mantoni will have had six days rest by the time Saturday rolls around--expect a big game from him on the mound with a stingy defense behind him. Pick: Hopedale