Boston High School: Fairhaven

Volleyball: Barnstable, NDA, Frontier take state titles

November, 16, 2013
11/16/13
10:36
PM ET
NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. -- At the end of that day, there can only be one team standing. And for 10 of the last 11 years, and the fourth consecutive year, it has been the Barnstable Red Raiders. A true decade of dominance.

And the way the Red Raiders are playing right now, it looks as if they are set for a century of dominance.

The scene is all too familiar for Barnstable coach Tom Turco. Clear his schedule for the middle of November, because he has a trophy to hoist. It’s almost become as regular as an annual family reunion.

[+] EnlargeBarnstable volleyball
Phil Garceau for ESPNBoston.comBarnstable beat Newton North in straight sets to capture its 10th Division 1 girls volleyball title in 11 years.
From start to finish, the Red Raiders were quicker, stronger and faster than Newton North, winning in straight sets 25-10, 25-15 and 25-11, capping off a perfect finish to one of the more dominant seasons in recent memory.

Sure, a 23-0 season is pretty impressive. But the Red Raiders took it a step beyond that. Barnstable played a total of 73 sets this season and won 69 of them. Twenty of their wins came via a 3-0 victory, including every match this postseason. Twice they were pushed to a fourth set and only one time did a match go five sets.

“It feels sweet," Turco said following his fourth straight championship season. “These girls go out on a limb, set their goals really high and they sacrifice, they work and they stuck together out there and I’m really happy for them.”

This Barnstable team was not the same as we’ve come to expect from the Red Raiders. This team takes their defense and turns it into offense. They don’t allow the ball to hit the ground and transition quickly from defense to offense. Once they are set up, they don’t attack through the middle, which the Raiders have done for years, and instead attack from the outside.

“”Barnstable forever, we’ve been attacking from the middle, 90 percent of our hits come from the middle,” said Turco. “This year we kept Hannah [Andres] and [Ciara] Bruning on the outside and we knew we had to quicken it up. The quicker you can get the attack off, the less time the defense has and the block has to set up.”

Seniors Bruning and Andres couldn’t be contained on the Barnstable front line. Sophomore Madison Sollows added a third dimension to Raiders attack for which the Tigers had no answer.

“I give all the credit to Barnstable,” Tigers coach Richard Barton said. “It was very cool to watch them play, uncool to be the team losing to them, but we played fine and got nothing out of it."

Three of these Red Raiders, from the time they were freshmen up until Saturday night, were on the floor for each of the four championships. Stephanie Martin, Holly Wilson and Andres saw all four and Martin saw something special about this group of players.

“This team, we’re closer and we spend more time together and we work hard on the court. We bond more off court and on court and it brings the team together.”

The Red Raiders wasted no time establishing themselves as the dominant team, grabbing a 12-1 lead to begin the game. Three times in the opening set the Raiders made runs of six points.

Barnstable got off to anther hot stat in the second set, jumping out to a 15-6 lead before the Panthers, led by Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, found a bit of a rhythm. Newton North lost, 25-15, but matched Barnstable every point for the remainder of the set giving them hope for the third set.

The first eight points were evenly split before Barnstable went on a dominant 11-0 run, giving themselves a 15-4 and a championship coming into sight.

“This is why they’re different this year,” said Barton. “They attack every ball that came over. They’re steadier in every regard. They run offense from all positions instead of the middle, they pass better, nothing hits the floor.”

Junior setter Olivia Brodt set the ball up for all of her hitters, leaving the Tigers defense guessing.

“[Brodt] came into camp in unbelievable physical condition,” Turco explained. “She worked for this and wasn’t going to be denied.”

D2: Notre Dame Hingham 3, Westborough 2
Holding a 18-12 lead and momentum at their backs, Notre Dame Academy had the Division two championship in their sights.

What they weren’t counting on was a Westborough team that refused to give up. The Rangers went on a 15-7 run to force a deciding game five, setting the stage for Notre Dame Academy’s Julia Flynn.

With a championship on the line in a winner take all set, it was only fitting for the senior hitter led her team to claim the state title, just as she had all season.

After a nail-biting back-and-forth battle all afternoon, it was the Cougars that prevailed in the fifth set, taking it 15-12 in front of a capacity crowd at Algonquin High School.

“It was a very very big opportunity for these young women to step up into a moment that big,” Cougars coach Joshua Sheperd said. “After having a lead and letting it slip away in game four, to recapture it and move forward.”

“We had some inspired volleyball tonight. We saw Julia [Flynn] be as advertised both in the front row and back row. Moments carrying her team, and showing them the strength when they needed it."

Trailing 14-12 in the final set, Westborough got what they wanted. A perfect set to Samantha Kehoe, who had carried the Rangers all game. The senior hitter wound up, but a perfectly timed jump from Notre Dame’s Casey Thorbahn blocked Kehoe’s hit and bounced back into play for the championship point.

“Sam did exactly what I told her to do on the last hit,” said Rangers coach Roger Anderson. “I told her to go up and rip it and she did. And I’m so proud of her for that. She got us here and if we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down swinging.”

Notre Dame saw some excellent defense from senior Megan Barrett, but the story of the game was the emergence of sophomore Avery Spaziani. And what better place to make a name for yourself than the state championship game.

“We saw inspired defense from our other captain Meg Barrett,” Shepherd said. “We saw an unbelievable dawning of a new player in Avery Spazeroni tonight. She came to play and played the game with heart that was very admirable.”

With time running out on their season, Westborough seemed to bury themselves in too deep of a hole. In the fourth set, already trailing two sets to one they found themselves down 18-12.

An ace from Kehoe, kills from Maria Hession and Julia Arsenault and a couple of fortunate bounces tied the game at 18 and sent the massive Ranger student section into a state pandemonium.

The teams exchanged points up until 25, where a long serve and a bad hit from Notre Dame sent the game into a fifth set.

“That comeback was built on playing a schedule that is really tough and being in battles all year long,” Anderson said of his team in the fourth set. “We don’t relent to anyone. You can knock us down but we’re going to keep coming back.”

Every match was a closely contended game. In the second match neither team strung together more than two consecutive points until Westborough put together a four-point run to take a 20-15 lead. The Rangers went on to win that set 25-18.

“They sent us a message earlier in the year saying Westborough is for real and we’re going to come with it and they did,” said Shepherd. “They came as advertised.”

Notre Dame took a close first set 25-20, with Julia Marshall sealing the win with an ace, and capping a 5-0 run to close. The Cougars also took the third set 25-18, using a 6-0 down the stretch.

D3: Frontier 3, Fairhaven 1
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Red Hawks. After three consecutive state championships, Frontier lost their star hitter Cassidy Stankowski to graduation, leaving a gaping hole as their team’s leading hitter.

With a new philosophy this year, Frontier had no trouble running the Division 3 tournament this season for their fourth title in as many years.

“It's really special to win when you don’t have an all American on your team,” Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said following the game. “They wanted to show that Frontier volleyball isn’t just Cassidy Stankowski.

“We had that cannon last year, and now we have a bunch of little guns all over the place shooting at you, so we’re a little less predictable.”

After weathering off a ferocious Fairhaven rally in the fourth set, Sarah Woodward clinched the championship with an ace, giving the Red Hawks a 25-22 edge.

The Blue Devils fell behind 20-15 after a 5-0 run from Frontier. The Blue Devils responded with a strong run of their own, but their rally to force a deciding fifth game fell just short and were forced watched the Red Hawks receive the division three championship trophy.

“I thought Fairhaven played pretty well in that set,” said MacDonald. “A couple fluky things and its like okay, things aren’t going our way this set. But we didn’t come in here expecting to sweep Fairhaven.”

After a back-and-forth battle to being the first set, Frontier ended on a 9-3 run, with Cassidy Ciesluk putting the exclamation point on the win with the final kill to give the Red Hawks the all important 25-20 first set victory.

A balanced Red Hawk attack in the second set kept the Blue Devils searching for answers. The Blue Devils offense also had a tough time, as they struggled to find any rhythm. Farihaven never strung together more than two consecutive points in a lopsided 25-15 loss, setting up Frontier with a quick 2-0 lead.

“A lot of it was they needed to relax and they couldn’t get themselves to relax and play their game,” Fairhaven coach Karen Arsenault said. “I don’t think they really did relax, ever, and just play how I’ve seen them play.”

It looked as if Fairhaven was on their way to being swept, falling behind 5-2 and 15-11 and still looking for answers on their offense.

With their backs against the wall, senior Mariah Nicholas led her team back with five kills and a block in final stretch and Fairhaven went on to win 25-20.

“They’ve had this resilience all year,” said Arsenault. “We’ve come back all season, we came back in the semifinals. I knew they could do that, it was just a matter of would it be enough and unfortunately it wasn’t.”

“They had a much quicker game, way quicker game than the semifinal game. They had a lot of go to people and ran a really clean offense. We don’t normally see that. Probably the best team we’ve played all year.“

With Frontier only losing three players to graduation, they look primed to make another run in 2014.

“We have a lot coming back,” said MacDonald. “I feel good moving forward."

ESPN Boston MIAA All-State Baseball Team

June, 28, 2013
6/28/13
12:01
PM ET
STARTING ROTATION

RHP – Tommy McDonald, Sr., BC High
The ace and the workhorse of BC’s rotation, which saw the Eagles make their first D1 South Final appearance since 2009, McDonald often went late into games to pick up a win. He was 7-0 on the season, with a 1.90 ERA, five complete games and just 10 walks. The Quincy resident will continue his career next year at UMass.

LHP – Ben Bowden, Sr., Lynn English
The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, Bowden is a repeat selection, having also made the starting rotation of the All-State Team in 2012. On the season he was 4-2 with 84 strikeouts in 52 innings, with just 10 walks for an ERA of 0.67. He also recorded a .459 on-base percentage at the plate, with 13 RBI. Bowden will play at Vanderbilt next year.

LHP – Scott Tully, Sr., Reading
Another repeat All-State selection, Tully dominated the Middlesex League en route to winning the Liberty division’s MVP. For the season he went 7-1 with 96 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.54. For his career, he has 29 wins and over 400 strikeouts. Tully is headed to Notre Dame next year.

RHP – Evan Flanagan, Sr., Hingham
The Patriot League’s Co-MVP saved his best stuff for the playoffs, as the Harbormen won their first Division 2 state title in school history. On the season he was 6-2 with 79 strikeouts in 56 innings, with five complete games, a 1.75 ERA and a WHIP of 0.93. Flanagan will continue his career next year at the University of Rhode Island.

LHP – Mike Gaughan, Sr., Walpole
One of the state’s most elusive lefties, Gaughan helped lead the Rebels to the No. 1 overall seed in D1 South. He was 10-2 on the season with 117 strikeouts and a 1.88 ERA, and held opponents to a .180 batting average. Gaughan is headed to Division 2 Rollins College (Fla.) next year.

STARTING NINE

C – Joe Freiday, Jr., Bridgewater-Raynham
One of the state’s leaders in runs plated, Freiday finished the year batting .425, with a .573 on-base percentage, 31 RBI and five home runs. He also drew 21 walks and struck out just 10 times. Freiday is fielding interest from an assortment of Division 1 programs.

INF – Nick Bragole, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Part of one of the state’s most prolific hitting lineups, Bragole put up .403/.532/.758 totals with 21 RBI and six home runs, along with 10 stolen bases, as the Eagles captured the No. 1 seed in D1 North, won 22 straight games and made an appearance in the D1 North final. Bragole is headed to Division 2 St. Anselm College (N.H.) in the fall.

INF – Kenny Michael, Sr., Norwood
Michael catalyzed the Mustangs late in the season when they snatched the Bay State Conference’s Herget Division title in the last week of the regular season. He was named the Herget MVP as he hit .429 with 27 RBI and a home run. Michael will continue his career at Division 2 Southern New Hampshire University.

INF – Alex Toomey, Sr., Beverly
Toomey beat out a number of high-profile players to take the MVP in the Northeastern Conference’s Large division, and deservedly so. For the season he his .431 with eight doubles, 31 RBI and five home runs, only striking out five times. On the mound, he went 6-2 with a 1.33 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. Toomey is headed to Salem State University next year.

INF – Brandon Bingel, Sr., St. John’s Prep
This year’s recipient of the prestigious ESPN Boston Mr. Baseball Award, Bingel was a force in all three phases of the game to take Catholic Conference MVP for the second straight year. He batted .302 with 20 RBI and two home runs, and went 9-0 on the mound with 76 strikeouts in 58.2 innings, walking just 10 batters, for a 0.97 ERA. Bingel will continue his career at Bryant University.

OF – David MacKinnon, Sr., Oliver Ames
MacKinnon took Hockomock League MVP honors after hitting .500 with 16 RBI. One of the best pure athletes of the bunch, MacKinnon is also an All-American soccer player, and will play both sports at the University of Hartford.

OF – Ian Strom, Sr., Hopedale
Strom was a monster on both the mound and at the plate as the Blue Raiders reached the Division 3 State Final. He hit .514 on the year with 21 RBI and 15 stolen bases, and didn’t strike out all season. On the mound, he was 9-2 with 107 strikeouts in 67.2 innings, for a 1.45 ERA. Strom will continue his career next season at UMass-Lowell.

OF – Mike Bruemmel, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
The Co-MVP of the Old Colony League saved his best stroke for last, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning to lead the Trojans to their first Division 1 state title in school history. On the season he batted .341 with a .505 on-base percentage, with 21 RBI and 11 stolen bases. On the mound, he was 6-1 with 69 strikeouts in 41.1 innings, with a 1.82 ERA. Bruemmel is headed to Wheaton College next year.

DH – Malcolm Nachmanoff, Sr., Boston Latin
The Dual County League’s MVP of the Large division, Nachmanoff carried a heavy bat, hitting .507 with 26 RBI and five home runs. He also recorded a 1.45 ERA in 53 innings pitched. Nachmanoff is headed to Loomis Chafee (Conn.) next year for a post-graduate season.


BEST OF THE REST

OF – Dan Avery, Sr., Blackstone Valley Tech
Avery excelled both ways for the Beavers, recording .492/.579/.689 totals at the plate with three triples, 26 RBI, 28 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. On the mound, he was 7-2 with a 1.02 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 62 innings, with just eight walks. He will play both football and baseball at Massachusetts Maritime Academy next year.

3B – Ryan Baldwin, Sr., Fairhaven
One of the state’s leaders in home runs, Baldwin hit eight and batted in 34 runs, to finish the season with a .500 average and take South Coast Conference MVP honors. Baldwin will continue his career next year at Barry University (Fla.).

2B – Tommy Buonopane, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Another key cog to the Eagles’ impressive hitting order, Buonopane registered .354/.457/.585 totals with 21 RBI and three home runs, as the Eagles won the Catholic Conference outright. Buonopane is headed to the University of Rhode Island next year.
.354/.457/.585, 21 RBI, 3 HR

2B – Dan Connors, Sr., Danvers
A three-time Northeastern Conference All-Star, Connors captured the Small division’s MVP award after hitting .390, as the Falcons were the top seed in Division 2 North and reached the district final. Connors, a career .365 hitter, will enroll at UMass-Amherst in the fall.

LHP – Mac Curran, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
A repeat selection, Curran was once again a force on the mound, going 5-2 with a 0.98 ERA as the Warriors captured the Eastern Athletic Conference outright. He also batted .402 with a home run. Curran is headed to Niagara University next season to continue his career.

C – Kyle Devin, Sr., Lynn Classical
One of the state's best arms behind the plate, Devin threw out eight of 12 steal attempts and also had 11 pickoffs. He also hit .410 with 16 RBI, five doubles, two triples, a home run and six stolen bases for the Rams. Devin is headed to Stony Brook next season to continue his baseball career.

SS – Isan Diaz, Jr., Springfield Central
One of the top defensive talents outside of Eastern Mass., Diaz showed off quite a bit with his bat as well, plating 19 runs and registering three home runs as the Golden Eagles once again reached the Division 1 West tournament.

RHP – Drew Foster, Sr., Nashoba
One of the steadiest starters in Central Mass., with a 4-1 record and 0.97 ERA, Foster led the Chieftains through a loaded Division 1 Central field to capture their first district title in program history. Foster is headed to Ohio University next year, where he intends to play club hockey.

RHP – Dustin Hunt, Sr., St. John’s Prep
Arguably the state’s top closer, Hunt embraced the role as the Eagles reeled off 22 straight wins before falling in the D1 North Final. On the season he struck out 31 batters in 27.1 innings, with a 1.54 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Hunt, an Andover resident, is headed to Northeastern University next season.

RHP – Thomas Jankins, Sr., Quaboag
Jankins was dangerous on the mound and in the batter's box this season for the Cougars. He hit .473 with 19 RBI and two home runs, and was 5-3 with a 0.53 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 52.1 innings. Jankins will continue his career next season at Quinnipiac University.

OF – Tom Landry, Sr., BC High
Landry registered .348/.378/.493 totals at the plate and added 16 RBI and two home runs for the Eagles, who reached their first D1 South Final since 2009. He also struck out just 11 times and drew four walks. Landry will play for Wheaton College next year.

SS – Steven Lee, Sr., Braintree
Lee manned the middle of the Wamps’ order for the last three years, and put up impressive numbers in his senior season. He batted .376 with 26 RBI, one home run, 27 runs scored and 10 stolen bases as Braintree captured its fourth straight Bay State Carey title. He also committed just five errors in the field. Lee is headed to Stonehill College next year.

RHP – David Longstreeth, Soph., Smith Academy
Longstreeth is already over the 300 career strikeout mark, with 21 wins, in his still-blossoming career for Smith. On the season, he went 11-2 with 132 strikeouts in 80.1 innings, as the Falcons reached the Division 3 West Final.

RHP – Mike Lundin, Sr., Silver Lake
Lundin helped lead the Lakers to a Patriot League Fisher division title with his proficiency on the mound, going 7-2 with 86 strikeouts in 65.1 innings with a 0.67 ERA. Lundin will continue his career at Massasoit Community College next season.

OF – Tyler Lyne, Sr., Agawam
Lyne was a catalyst for the Brownies, who won the Valley League and reached the Division 1 West Final. For the season, he registered 16 RBI and two home runs. Lyne will continue his career at Merrimack College next year.

RHP – Donny May, Sr., Coyle-Cassidy
The other overpowering ace for the Warriors’ staff, May went unbeaten as they captured the Eastern Athletic Conference outright. He was 11-0 on the year, with a 0.44 ERA and 89 strikeouts, along with a .438 batting average at the plate. May is headed to Fordham University next year.

SS – David Murphy, Sr., Plymouth North
The Atlantic Coast League’s MVP helped the Blue Eagles to another league title, hitting .429 with 29 RBI and three home runs. He only struck out twice all year. Murphy will take his talents to Massasoit Community College next year.

SS – Noah Parker, Sr., St. Mary (Westfield)
One of the more underappreciated talents across the state, Parker was the catalyst for the Saints, who reached the Division 3 West quarterfinals. Parker registered 28 hits, 20 RBI and two home runs on the season. He will head to Seton Hall University next season as a preferred walk-on.

OF – Anthony Perriello, Sr., Norwood
A powerful hitter manning the middle of the Mustangs’ order, Perriello led the Bay State Conference in batting average (.507) and added 15 RBI and a home run.

RHP – Alex Person, Sr., Xaverian
The Foxborough resident manned the top of the rotation, as the Hawks tried to defend their D1 state title. On the season he struck out 52 batters in 51 innings, going 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA. Person will continue his career at Southern New Hampshire University next year.

C – Matt Phelan, Sr., Northbridge
Phelan was a force at the plate for the Rams, who reached their fourth straight Division 2 Central Final. On the season he hit .484 with 28 RBI and four home runs, and on the mound was 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA. Phelan is headed to St. Anslem in the fall, where he will play football.

RHP – Brendan Ryan, Sr., Newton North
Ryan earned MVP honors in the Bay State Conference’s Carey division, after going 7-1 with a 1.64 ERA and six complete games. Ryan also batted .347 with 17 RBI. He will enroll at the University of South Carolina in the fall.

RHP – Endy Sanchez, Jr., Holyoke
Another member of the 100-K club, Sanchez had one of the best strikeout-to-ratios in Western Mass., fanning exactly 100 batters in 62 innings pitched for the Purple Knights.

RHP – Kevin Superko, Sr., Wellesley
Following in the footsteps of his brother Tim, Superko carried on the name holding down the front of the Raiders’ rotation. On the season he recorded 67 strikeouts in 49 innings, with a 1.02 WHIP and holding batters to a .184 average. He will do a post-graduate season at Philips Andover next year.

RHP – Ryley Warnock, Sr., North Reading
Warnock was dynamic both on the mound and on the basepath for the Hornets, who captured the top overall seed in D3 North. On the mound he was 10-1 with a 0.44 ERA and 72 strikeouts, and at the plate he was .360 with 17 stolen bases. Warnock will continue his career next year at the University of Rhode Island.

LHP – Cody Younger, Sr., Middleborough
Younger came on in the second half of the season and led the Sachems through a gauntlet en route to the Division 3 state title, their first since 1997. On the mound, he was 4-2 with 53 strikeouts and a 1.90 ERA, and delivered wins over the top two seeds in D3 South. At the plate, he had .415/.482/.507 totals with 27 RBI. Younger will do a post-graduate season at Bridgton Academy (Maine) next year.

RHP – Zach Zona, Sr., St. Peter-Marian
Zona led the top of the Guardians’ rotation as they came on late in the regular season to make the Division 1 Central tournament. On the season he was 5-2 with 64 strikeouts in 46.2 innings, with a 1.05 ERA and two no-hitters. Zona will continue his career next season at UMass-Lowell.

SCC baseball All-Stars announced

May, 31, 2013
5/31/13
12:23
PM ET
Per Dighton-Rehoboth head coach Bill Cuthbertson, below are the baseball All-Stars for the South Coast Conference.

League all-stars can be sent to either Brendan Hall (bhall@espnboston.com) or Scott Barboza (sbarboza@espnboston.com)

Matt Michael, Soph., Apponequet
Josh Ficker, Jr., Apponequet
Zack Correll, Jr., Case
Trevor Brown, Sr., Dighton Rehoboth
Brandon Shileikis, Sr., Dighton Rehoboth
Justin Jacobsen, Soph., Fairhaven
Ryan Baldwin, Jr., Fairhaven - League MVP
Jake Carvalho, Sr., Fairhaven
Peter Perry, Jr., Greater New Bedford
Eric Genereux, Sr., Greater New Bedford
Kurtis Dreher, Sr., Greater New Bedford
Cody Hinchcliff, Jr., Greater New Bedford
Luke Matar, Sr., Old Rochester
Zack Perry, Sr., Old Rochester
Jared Archambeault, Sr., Seekonk

AC, Apponequet enter softball Top 25

May, 19, 2013
5/19/13
2:49
PM ET
With many teams suffering losses in the last week, there was plenty of shakeups in this week's MIAA softball Top 25 poll.

This week's changes are marked by plenty of up-and-down movement, in addition to four teams entering the poll this week, including a couple of newcomers.

Both No. 24 Arlington Catholic and No. 25 Apponequet make their first-ever Top 25 showings, after some critical league wins. The Cougars claimed their first Catholic Central Large crown after beating Archbishop Williams last week. Meanwhile, the Lakers now stand atop the South Coast Conference standings, thanks to an extra-innings, walk-off win over Fairhaven.

Also moving back into the poll this week was No. 15 Bellingham and No. 20 Taunton on the heels of significant divisional victories. The Blackhawks split their season series with defending Tri-Valley League champion Hopkington while the Tigers nipped former No. 2 North Attleborough in an extra-innings Hockomock League battle.

(Editor's note: Records are as of Friday.)

Preseason MIAA softball All-State Team

April, 9, 2013
4/09/13
11:19
PM ET
MilfordBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comReigning ESPN Boston Miss Softball Award winner Shannon Smith hopes to lead Milford to back-to-back Division 1 state titles.
STARTING ROTATION
Megan Colleran, Jr., North Attleborough
Anna O'Neill, Sr., King Philip
Lauren Ramirez, Sr., Dracut
Kendal Roy, Jr., Grafton
Shannon Smith, Sr., Milford

STARTING NINE
Tori Constantin, Sr. 2B, King Philip
Stephanie Cornish, Sr. 3B, Abington
Alexis DeBrosse, Sr. SS, New Bedford
Caroline Fairbanks, Sr. 3B, Milford
Nicole Lundstrom, Sr. C, Dighton-Rehoboth
Bella Picard, Sr. SS, Blackstone Valley Tech
Madi Shaw, Jr. SS, Bridgewater-Raynham
Dakota Smith-Porter, Sr., P/SS, Turners Falls
Reilly Weiners, Sr. C, Agawam

WATCH LIST
Olivia Antczak, Soph. P, Central Catholic
Allie Colleran, Jr. SS/OF, Concord-Carlisle
Megan Cook, Jr. P, Bellingham
Haley Currie, Sr. 3B, Burlington
Sara Dawson, Soph. P, Bridgewater-Raynham
Kaleigh Finigan, Sr. 3B, St. Mary's (Lynn)
Bridget Furlong, Sr. 2B, Malden
Courtney Girouard, Jr. P, Fairhaven
Galen Kerr, Sr. P, Concord-Carlisle
Taylor LeBrun, Soph. C, Milford
Rachel Levine, Sr. CF, Milford
Michaela Mazure, Soph. INF, Burlington
Shannon McLaughlin, Jr. P, Tewksbury
Paige Mulry, Jr. C, Boston Latin
MacKenzie Navarro, Jr. 1B, Taunton
Alicia Reid, Sr. CF, Abington
Kelsey Saucier, Jr. P, Holy Name
Rachael Smith, Jr. P, Winchester
Lauren Tuiskula, Sr. P, Leicester
Jurnee Ware, Sr. P, Hudson

Bay State Games: July 9 recap

July, 9, 2012
7/09/12
9:58
PM ET
Bay State Games communications coordinator Craig Kaufman sends along results from today's action, which included the first games of baseball and softball:



WOBURN, Mass. –- The opening day of scholastic competition saw the softball and baseball tournaments of the 2012 Bay State Summer Games get underway from the campus of Bentley College and the Veterans Field Complex in Waltham, Mass. Three baseball games and six softball games began the showpiece events of the 31st Bay State Games.

BASEBALL

Southeast 7, Metro 2
Metro took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a two-run single by Malcolm Nachmanoff (Boston), but Southeast scored the next six runs, with pairs in the third, fifth and sixth. Pinch hitter Sean Roche (Rockland) scored twice and Southeast took advantage of two late errors to score three unearned runs.

Patrick Hurley (West Roxbury) was dominant in relief for Metro, striking out five in two innings but was victimized by those miscues. Third baseman Cameron Hanley (Walpole) was on base twice for Southeast, scoring a run, stealing a base and driving in a run with a single to left field in the third.

Northeast 4, Coastal 3
Northeast clinched a walk-off victory in the bottom of the seventh when pinch hitter Colby Ingraham (Georgetown) delivered a bases loaded single up the middle to score pinch runner Mike Driscoll (North Reading).

Coastal shortstop Jimmy Gamache (Mattapoisett) was 2-2 on the afternoon, scoring two of Coastal’s runs and swiping a base in the process. He hit a triple in the fourth inning and crossed the plate on an RBI single by Ryan Kowalski (Taunton).

Andrew Deloury (Andover) had himself a 2-2 day and drove in a run in the fifth, scoring Brendon Canavan (Carlisle) to give the Northeast a 3-2 lead, before Coastal re-tied the game a half-inning later.

Coastal starter Matthew Peterson (South Dennis) went three innings of work, yielding two hits and no earned runs, while not issuing a walk and striking out three. Victor Molle (Peabody) got the victory for Northeast.

Coastal had a chance to take the lead in the top of the seventh, but Drew Wethington (Fairhaven) was tagged out trying to score from third base on a passed ball.

Mike Bruemmel (Bridgewater) and Ian Chaney (Fall River) also drove in runs for Coastal.

West 2, Central 0
Andrew Ringie (Pittsfield) rocked a triple to left center field in the fifth inning to score catcher Dan McGuill (East Longmeadow) and break a scoreless tie. The West added another run in the bottom of the sixth when Justin Carey (Shutesbury) walked, stole second and advanced on a groundout before scoring on a wild pitch. McGuille almost made the score 3-0 with an RBI double, but Liam Nolan (Pittsfield) was called out on an appeal play for missing third base and the teams went to the seventh inning with the West up 2-0, where pitcher Asher Young (Amherst) closed the door.

The West pitching was superb, holding Central hitters to three hits, one by Mike Woll (Millbury) in the fourth, who reached second base but was caught stealing trying to swipe third, ending the best threat for the Central on the day.


SOFTBALL

Coastal 3, Southeast 1 (10 am)
Coastal scored first in the 4th inning by Julia Sullivan (Sandwich) who also scored in the 6th by an in the park home run by Ashley Truman (Berkley). Sullivan had 2 hits in the game. Southeast got there only run in the 7th taking advantage of two errors by the Coastal team. Danielle Burgess (Millis) who was on base 3 times had the only run for the Southeast team.

Northeast 7 Metro 0 (10am)
After a slow start for both teams Northeast was the first team to score in the 5th inning. Marissa Cammarano (Bedford) came across the plate for Northeast to score their first run followed by Mikayla Wallace (Peabody) and Courtney Green (North Andover). In the 6th the Northeast bats came alive again erupting for 4 more runs to seal the win. Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham) scored twice along with Danielle Moran (Lynn) and Terri Ferrazzani (North Reading) each scored one run. Metro had three hits in the 5th inning but had one runner cut down and left the other two on base.

Metro 5 Central 0 (noon)
Metro came out on fire in the 1st inning scoring two runs by Courtney Leddy (Cambridge) and Marlene Sullivan (Waltham). Sullivan started things off in the 3rd by hitting a single following Allison Caloggero (Medford) hitting a double who both came into score in the 3rd. In the 5th to seal their win, Alexandria Craig (Waltham) hit a single and came into score. Central put up a fight the whole game. Nicole DeFazio (Northbridge) hit a single for them along with Alicia Wagner (Uxbridge) also having a single. Their efforts came up short with Metro getting the win.

West 9 Southeast 1 (noon)
West started things off in the first inning with an inside the park homerun by Tasha Polaner (Orange). Sami Stolar (Hampden) then followed with a double and was driven in by Mary Greco (Hatfield) who hit a double. The West bats came alive again in the 4th where Polana hit her second in the park home run of the day. Stolar and Greco followed with singles. An additional three runs where scored by Rebecca Carkhuff (Amherst), Brooke Fairman (Huntington), Courtney Newsome (Sunderland). Stolar also scored in the 6th. Southeast battled with two hits by Danielle Burgess (Millis) and Meghan Shay (Abington) a piece along with Caroline Shay (Abington) having one hit on the day. Christine scored the Southeast only run off of a double by M. Shay. Due to their efforts they fell short to West.

Coastal 4 West 3 (2pm)
Megan Logan (Westfield) West started things off in the 4th by walking, where she was then driven by MacKenzie Yelle (Belchertown) who hit a double. In the 5th inning, Polana hit a double followed by Stolar hitting a single both players scored in that inning. Coastal came alive in the 7th, where Jackie Kielty (Middleboro) got on base due to a third baseman error. Meghan Riley (North Reading) then came up to the plate; hit a single, which scored Kielty. Mickayla Cobb (Middleboro) hit a single followed by Juliana Fergurson (Sandwich) getting walked. Katie Wood (Westport) and Sullivan both hit singles to score Cobb and Fergurson to win the game.

Northeast 9 Central 1 (2pm)
Northeast started things off in the 2nd scoring three runs by Rachel Couto (Chelmsford), Meaghan Leary (Andover) and Jordan Day (Andover). In the 3rd and 4th inning they scored Olivia Brothers (Peabody) and Couto. In the 5th Leary, Cori Simmons (Salisbury), Day, She Carney and Couto to put the Northeast in good standing to clench the win. Central put up a fight having hits by Olivia Peterson (Westford), Nicole DeFazio (Northbridge), Mackenzie Brisbois (Douglas) and two hits by Samantha Wise (Uxbridge) who was also the only one to score for Central.



ESPN Boston MIAA softball All-State team

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
2:21
AM ET
Starting Rotation – First Team
All-StateKiara Amos, Sr., Malden
The Providence College signee led the Golden Tornadoes to their first-ever state finals appearance after claiming the Eastern Mass. title. Amos went 15-1 for Malden, notching 195 strikeouts in 105 innings thrown all while boasting a 0.47 ERA. The right-hander set another first for Malden’s program as its first-ever Div. 1 college scholarship player.

All-StateMeghan Rico, Sr., King Philip
Rico concluded her high school career as one of the most decorated players in the state, a winner of two state championships and last year’s ESPN Boston Miss Softball. The George Washington signee went 17-3 for the Warriors this season, striking out 274 in 142 innings thrown while surrendering just 10 earned runs all season.

All-StateSarah Ropiak, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
Headed to Brown University next year, Ropiak was a three-time Dual County League All-Star and earned MVP honors in the large division this season. The right-hander posted an ERA of 0.69 while leading the Colonials to a Division 1 North final appearance.

Kendal Roy, Soph., Grafton
The second-year sensation lifted the Indians to their first-ever state championship with a win over Abington in the Div. 2 final. Roy went 18-1 with an ERA of 0.72 in 126 innings thrown with 176 strikeouts while allowing just 11 walks.

All-StateShannon Smith, Jr., Milford
The University of Kentucky commit was near unhittable this season while leading the Scarlet Hawks to an undefeated season and the Division 1 state title. This year’s ESPN Boston Miss Softball Award recipient was also named Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year for the second time (2010, ’12) in her career.

Starting Nine – First team
Katie Caruso, Sr. SS, Newton North
Caruso won the Bay State Conference’s triple crown, leading the league in batting average (.662), home runs (10) and RBI (47) while also clubbing a conference-best 51 hits. The Bay State MVP was also a standout on the Tigers’ hockey team. The four-year starter will continue her playing career next year at Southern New Hampshire University.

Lexi Gifford, Sr. SS, Natick
While Caruso may have been named Bay State Conference MVP, Gifford has been the league’s most valuable lead-off hitter during the last four years. The UConn signee hit at a .615 clip while driving in 33 runs for the Red & Blue this season. Gifford was also a true three-sport athlete at Natick, as a four-year letter-winner in soccer, basketball and softball.

All-StateBri Chiusano, Sr. CF, Mansfield
One of the most feared lead-off hitters in the state and a superb slap hitter, the Hockomock League All-Star showed off her power as well with four home runs this season. The Coastal Carolina signee finished second in the Hock in hitting with a .521 batting average.

All-StateOlivia Godin, Sr. C, King Philip
The UMass-Amherst signee was a four-year starter for the Warriors, helping guide the program to back-to-back state titles in 2010-11. The backstop hit .299 this season with three home runs and 18 RBI.
All-StateAlexis DeBrosse, Jr. SS, New Bedford
Already a three-time New Bedford Standard-Times Player of the Year award winner, the three-time Big Three All-Star hit .521 for the Whalers this season. The three-sport athlete also hit five home runs with 26 RBI and a slugging percentage of 1.099.

All-StateJulie LeClair, Sr. 3B, Coyle-Cassidy
Comprising one half of the state’s best left side of the infield, along with shortstop Patty Borges, the St. Anselm signee led the Warriors to the EAC crown with a league-best .527 average. The three-sport athlete also clubbed a league-leading five home runs along with 32 RBI.

All-StateBella Picard, Jr. SS, Blackstone Valley Tech
The nation’s leading hitter resided in Upton this year with the Beavers’ shortstop hitting an astounding .877 (57-for 65). The converted soccer player also tied for the state lead in home runs with 10 while driving in 43 runs.
All-StateMadi Shaw, Soph. SS, Bridgewater-Raynham
The second-year shortstop powered the Trojans to their first-ever Division 1 South sectional crown. Shaw hit .471 with eight home runs and 34 RBI for the Old Colony League champions.

Reilly Weiners, Jr. C, Agawam
Weiners helped lead the Brownies to the Division 1 West sectional title this season. The backstop led all Div. 1 players in Western Mass. with 35 RBI while knocking out 38 hits on the season, including three home runs.

Bullpen – second team
Megan Colleran, Soph., North Attleborough
Megan Cook, Soph., Bellingham
Mackenzie Coopinger, Sr., Lynn Classical
Audrey Dolloff, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
Courtney Girouard, Soph., Fairhaven
Trish Hansen, Sr., Mansfield
Shelby Higgins, Sr., Lowell
Kelly Norton, Sr., Abington
Shannon Orton, Sr., Case
Lauren Ramirez, Jr., Dracut
Jurnee Ware, Sr., Hudson

Bench – second team
Patty Borges, Sr. SS, Coyle-Cassidy
Tori Constantin, Jr. 2B, King Philip
Caroline Fairbanks, Jr. 3B, Milford
Courtney Hoban, Sr. OF, Boston Latin
Emily Hoffman, Sr. C, Malden
Nicole Lundstrom, Jr. C, Dighton-Rehoboth
Michaela Mazure, Fr. INF, Burlington
Kelsey Perron-Sovik, Sr. CF, Fairhaven
Christina Raso, Sr. SS, Burlington
Dakota Smith-Porter, Jr. P/SS, Turners Falls

COACH OF THE YEAR
John Furlong, Malden

D2 South softball: Abington 3, Fairhaven 1

June, 10, 2012
6/10/12
11:11
PM ET


TAUNTON, Mass. -- A year ago, the Abington softball team was in the midst of a comeback bid against Coyle-Cassidy in the Div. 1 South semifinals when third baseman Stephanie Cornish slid into second base and broke two bones in her leg.

After undergoing surgery and not being able to walk for two and a half months, Cornish missed the fall soccer season while rehabbing. She was able to get back in time for basketball in the winter, but when spring rolled around, Cornish and her Green Wave teammates felt they had some unfinished business to take care of.

With Cornish playing a pivotal role in what was a stellar defensive performance, No. 1 Abington finished what they tried to do last year by capturing the south sectional title with a 3-1 victory over No. 3 Fairhaven Sunday at Taunton High School.

"Last year I broke my ankle. We were in the middle of a comeback too," Cornish recalled. "We were playing Coyle-Cassidy and I slid into second base and I broke my ankle - but I was safe though so that was good. But I think that kind of slowed our comeback a little and we ended up losing. Making it all the way this year is a great feeling. I can't describe it."

Cornish recorded a putout and three big assists in the later stages of Sunday's contest, emblematic of the way the Green Wave (22-2) settled down defensively after committing a pair of first inning errors that led to Fairhaven's (20-3) only run.

The defense provided a big boost behind Abington ace Kelly Norton, who scattered four hits and struck out six while setting down 16 of the last 17 hitters she faced from the third inning on.

"Since I have been at Abington Kelly has won 43 games and only lost four," said Green Wave coach Ernie Ortega. "That will tell you what kind of competitor she is and she does not let things get her down. It was very easy for them to get down after being down 1-0.

"We weren't making contact but once we tied the game and then took the lead, there was no looking back" he continued. "It's only the second time we've been down since I think the beginning of May. That was a testament to these girls. They showed they can play with the best of them."

A bit of nervousness played a role in a choppy start for Abington as the Lady Blue Devils put together a run when Kayli Moniz led off the game with a double and scored two batters later on a throwing error.

The Green Wave were to cash on mistakes as well, as Liz Morgan tied the game in the second, scoring after a double and a throwing error. Abington took the lead for good in the third when both MacKenzie Gillis and Jill Marella came all the way around after a pair of errors on Marella's bunt attempt.

Norton slammed the door shut from that point on, shaking off the nerves and allowing just a sixth inning double over the final five innings.

"Everyone just needed to take a deep breath because we always get nervous," Norton admitted. "Everyone's on the bus freaking out and jittery and we all just need to remember its just a game. We've played what, 23 times before this game? Everyone just relaxed and got back at it and collectively we did our job."

Norton added, "After the first two innings, I could tell I wasn't fully warmed up. Yesterday I was on it, I could feel I was in the zone. But after those first couple of innings I got down to basics and it just worked I guess."

Roundtable: Predicting the MIAA tournaments

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
11:45
AM ET
Today, with the MIAA Baseball and Softball tournaments set to begin, the lacrosse tournament in its first action, we roll out predictions from ESPNBoston.com staff and correspondents.

BOYS LACROSSE

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


DIVISION 1 EASTERN MASS.

Final - Duxbury over Acton-Boxborough
Why this pick: Really?

DIVISION 2

Eastern Mass.
Final - Concord-Carlisle over Hingham

Central
Final - Algonquin over Grafton

West
*Brackets to be released

State Final
Concord-Carlisle over Algonquin
Why this pick: The Patriots defend better than just about anybody in the state, save for No. 1 Duxbury. While C-C might not overwhelm with offense, they're still talented up top with Will Blumenberg and Jackson Finigan.

Division 3 EMass
Final - Dover-Sherborn over Norwell
Why this pick: Because it has to be the Raiders' year eventually, right?

SOFTBALL

Scott Barboza
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


Division 1

North
Final - Malden over Boston Latin

South
Final - King Philip over Bridgewater-Raynham

Central
Final - Milford over Shrewsbury

West
Final - Agawam over Minnechaug

State final - Milford over King Philip
Why this pick: The Scarlet Hawks have been the most consistent team box to wire. And there's Shannon Smith, who's been unreal this season.

Division 2

North
Final - Dracut over Burlington

South
Final - Coyle-Cassidy over Fairhaven

Central
Final - Grafton over Notre Dame Academy

West
Final - Hampshire over Wahconah

State Final - Dracut over Grafton
Why this pick: The Middies beat up on a deep Merrimack Valley Conference schedule this season. That'll make the postseason seem a little easier.

Division 3

North
Final - St. Mary's (Lynn) over Greater Lowell

South
Final - Greater New Bedford over Avon

Central
Final - Blackstone Valley Tech over Assabet

West
Final - Turners Falls over Franklin County Tech

State final - Greater New Bedford over Blackstone Valley Tech
Why this pick: As mentioned in my bold prediction, I think the Bears will enter well adapted to playoff softball.

BASEBALL

Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


DIVISION 1

North: Lowell
The No. 1 seed Red Raiders have one of the state’s toughest draws to start, in a pairing I like to call the “Group of Death” in the upper left quadrant of the bracket. To get to the semifinals, the Raiders have to face the winner of tonight’s Westford-Salem matchup, followed by the winner of Chelmsford and Malden Catholic. Should they make it to the semifinals, the presumptive opponent would likely be Peabody -– and you have to think the Tanners will roll out ace Pat Ruotolo in that matchup.

If the Raiders can survive all of that -– which they can, with a deep stable of hitters and one of the state’s best rotations in Matt Tulley, Chad Gens and R.J. Noel –- why shouldn’t they win this bracket?

South: BC High
“Group of Death 1-A” might be the lower left quadrant in this bracket –- Barnstable, Catholic Memorial, Framingham and the Eagles. A win over Framingham would pit the Eagles against either CM or Barnstable –- neither of which is an easy out by any stretch – and after that, you have to think there is vengeance on their minds at the possibility of facing Franklin again in the semifinals (the Panthers crushed BC High last year, plating 17 runs). A BC High-Xaverian final isn’t out of the question here.

Central: St. John’s of Shrewsbury
No team in the state has been as consistent as the Pioneers, who swept St. John’s Prep, didn’t allow a run in two games against Burncoat, and came back around to clobber their lone losses (BC High, New Bedford) the second time through. Look for Ben White, Mike Badjo and company to beat Milford in a much-anticipated final.

West: East Longmeadow
This is the last chance for the Spartans, who have been placed with lofty expectations since the town won the state American Legion title two summers ago. If Steve Moyers, Matt O’Neil and company can’t get it done this year, then when?

State Champion: Lowell
One of the state’s great baseball cities gets a state title to call its own, while Tulley and Gens go down as two of the Mill City’s best ever.

DIVISION 2

North: Danvers
North Andover is the No. 1 seed for the second straight year, but Danvers has the big-game experience to overcome everybody else in this bracket. Potential semifinal matchups with either Lynn Classical or Reading will be must-see.

South: Plymouth North
This is my bold prediction of the playoffs. Few teams across the state have a track record like Eagles skipper Dwayne Follette when it comes tournament time, and if they can get by Dennis-Yarmouth in the quarterfinals –- a team they lost to twice this season –- I can see them overcoming Hingham or Oliver Ames. Top seed Dighton-Rehoboth lost to the Eagles in last year’s final, by the way –- could we see this again in 2012?

The Eagles are aggressive on the basepaths and at the plate, in a unique brand of baseball my loyal legion of Twitter followers have dubbed “DwayneBall”. How this hasn’t become a hashtag until 2012 is anyone’s guess, but let’s get this trending, fellas.

Central: Auburn
Rockets have the clearest path to the final, whereas No. 1 seed Northbridge might have to avoid an upset from feisty Hudson in the quarterfinals. The Rockets also hold the advantage over Northrbridge in the regular season.

West: Monument Mountain
More than Pittsfield or Taconic, everyone out west says this is the best team in the Berkshires. And the fact the Spartans have been doing it all without Columbia-bound shortstop John Kinne, who has been out all season, is even more impressive.

State Champion: Plymouth North
A seven-loss state champion? Better believe it. I like the Eagles’ chances in any given year, to be honest.

DIVISION 3

North: Lynnfield
Or to put it more bluntly, I like any team from the Cape Ann League taking this field.

South: Coyle-Cassidy
Mac Curran gets most of the attention, but this is a squad that dominated the Eastern Athletic Conference, has won 10 of its last 11, and is among the state’s stingiest defenses (2 runs allowed per game). A potential semifinal matchup with Wareham is very intriguing.

Central: Maynard
Bryant University commit Mike Marshall has been as good as advertised for the Tigers, but he’s not alone. The Tigers have five starters batting over .375, led by Marshall, and will dole out ace righty Ben Chiasson, a Franklin Pierce commit who has been one of Central Mass.’s best (7-1, 51 IP, 83 K, 12 BB, 0.96 ERA).

West: Frontier
Frontier and Pioneer Valley (the top two seeds in this field) split the regular-season series, but I’m going to go with Frontier unseating the defending Division 3 runners-up. Quality bats in the Frontier lineup, let by Keith Spencer, Rylan Baronas and Niko Ames -– those three have a combined 64 RBI between them.

State Champion: Coyle-Cassidy
We could end up with a heck of a pitchers’ duel at Fitton Field if it’s Coyle’s Curran against Maynard’s Chiasson, but for now that’s just wishful thinking of course.

Andy Smith
Correspondent


Division 1 North: St. John’s Prep
Coach Pat Yanchus said Saturday his team isn’t hitting the way he’d like them to be going into the tournament, but they have enough strong pitching and defense to carry the bats if needed. Plus, given the way the bracket is laid out, it’s hard not to see Prep cruising to at least the semi-finals. I think they can win the final two games and take the North.

Division 1 South: Norwood
8-0 over its last 8 games. Call it a crazy pick, but I never bet against the Big Mo...mentum.

Division 1 Central: St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
Hard to find a team that has played as well as SJS has against against a schedule as tough as SJS had this season. I can’t see any team taking SJS down in this bracket. I think this is a state finals team.

Division 1 West: Springfield Cathedral
Cathedral went 18-2 and won four games all year by more than 3 runs. That type of experience with small deficits can only help in the playoffs, where most games are the tightly-contested, grind-it-out type.

Division 1 State Champion: St. John’s (Shrewsbury)
If I think long enough, I could talk myself into Prep winning D1, but SJS has been playing too well for too long for me to think someone will take them down in these playoffs.

Division 2 North: Danvers
The Falcons have outscored opponents 33-14 in the past five games. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say Saturday night’s 8-2 loss to St. John’s Prep was a reminder of the difficulties that lie ahead in the playoffs. I look for them to go all the way.

Division 2 South: Dennis-Yarmouth
Same rationale as D1 South: D-Y is 10-0 in its last 10 games. I’ll take the team with the most momentum going into the playoffs and feel good about it.

Division 2 Central: Northbridge
Important rule to follow: If you want to keep getting assignments, don’t bet against ESPNBoston.com Editor David Lefort's alma mater. Northbridge it is.

Division 2 State Champion: Northbridge over D-Y
I can’t see a team from the West making it to the state title game. Ultimately, I don’t think Danvers has enough pitching to make it to the finals. I’m taking Northbridge here because of nothing more than a gut feeling. I could very well be wrong here. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Division 3 North: Newburyport
They won Division 3 last season. Their longtime coach retired at the end of last year, but here they are again. This veteran team was two wins away from the No. 1 seed in this bracket. Give me the team that’s been there before. I trust them to do it again.

Division 3 South: Coyle-Cassidy
This bracket is Coyle's to lose. Two of its three losses this season came against Dartmouth, and that team isn’t in this bracket. C&C is an easy pick here.

Division 3 Central: Oxford
This team is capable of putting up a lot of runs when it needs to (scored double-digit runs eight times this season). I like teams with firepower, so I’m picking Oxford here.

Division 3 State Champion: Newburyport
For all the reasons mentioned in the bold prediction.

John Botelho
Staff Writer, Brockton Enterprise


South Section Champions:

Division 1: BC High
The offense has been top notch all season, and probably features more future NCAA D1 hitters than any lineup affiliated with the MIAA. Put metal bats in their hands after using wood all year, and the Eagles will bash their to a South crown.

Division 2: Oliver Ames
Hall of Fame coach Leo Duggan seems to have a knack for developing pitching. Ryan O'Shea, a Central Michigan commit who was supposed to be the staff ace, has thrown four innings this year because of a shoulder injury. The Tigers didn't miss a beat early and raced out to a commanding lead they never relinquished in the Hockomock League Davenport Division. Their path won't be an easy one, but David Holmes (4-0, 1.35 ERA) is as good as any pitcher in this sectional. If he beats Pembroke, one of the Tigers' younger pitchers will have to find a way to pitch OA past a very good Hingham team but this team is capable of playing with anyone, and comes into the tourney battle tested from Hockomock League play.

Division 3: East Bridgewater
The Vikings and Coyle & Cassidy will get a lot of play here, but E-B just seems to have the clearest bracket. Coyle will have to go through Apponequet or Rockland in the quarterfinals before squaring off with the likes of a string Wareham or Middleboro team just to reach the finals. The Warriors are loaded with pitching, led by Mac Curran and Donny May, who both sports sub-1.00 ERAs this year, but they have less room for error than East Bridgewater does. A match-up featuring these two teams in the final would be ideal, as they're probably the two most complete teams in this sectional.

State Champs

Div. 1: BC High beats Lowell in EMass final, then takes out Steve Moyers and East Longmeadow in the state title game.
Div. 2: Danvers beats Monument Mountain in state title game.
Div. 3: Lynnfield beats Pioneer Valley in state title game.

Updated MIAA softball Top 25 poll

May, 14, 2012
5/14/12
11:09
PM ET
There were plenty of shakeups to this week's softball Top 25 poll.

Four new teams snuck into the top 10, including Hudson (No. 6), Fairhaven (8), Central Catholic (9) and Bellingham (10).

Four more teams found their way into the poll for the first time as well. Minnechaug checks in at No. 15, following a comeback win over Agawam. Shrewsbury climbed back in at No. 18 while Newton North (21) and Grafton (24) each made debuts.

Roundtable: Darcey vs. Stamatov, Best Lefties

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
11:41
AM ET
We're back with another installment of "Roundtable", our weekly takes on the hot topics of the spring season. This week, we discuss who is the best boys' lacrosse goalie in the state; which lefthanded pitchers will make the most noise; the state's best slap hitter; and who had the best individual performance of the season's first two weeks.

Joining us this week are correspondent Bruce Lerch, New England Prep Stars founder and editor Ryan Kilian, MassLive.com producer Ben Larsen, and Brockton Enterprise staff writer John Botelho. Without further ado:

1. BETTER GOALIE –- WELLESLEY’S CONNOR DARCEY OR FOXBOROUGH’S GREG STAMATOV?

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Scott Barboza: That's a tough one. In many regards, they're similar players in that they're both not afraid to step up into the play when its warranted. They're not going to just clear and retreat when the opportunity presents itself. Stamatov had one clearing pass to the midfield during the third quarter against Barnstable that was a thing of beauty. And, of course, we all know that Darcey is capable of scoring when he carries the ball past midfield. This all makes no mention of their ability to stop the ball either. Either way you dice it, they're among the very best in a deep field of MIAA goaltenders along with Duxbury's Henry Buonagurio, Concord-Carlisle's Doug Gouchoe and Billerica's D.J. Smith.

Ryan Kilian, New England Prep Stars: Connor Darcey is the best goalie I have seen in New England Public High School lacrosse over the past two years. Darcey is the real deal. He possesses confidence, quickness, and exceptional hand-eye coordination.

The goalie position in Massachusetts in the Class of 2012 is as strong as it has been in many years. Doug Gouchoe of Concord-Carlisle (Air Force), Greg Stamatov of Foxborogh (Villanova), Jared Fong of Weston (Gettysburg), and Miles McCarthy of Catholic Memorial (Williams) are all exceptional athletes with bright futures at the next level and all have a unique set of skills that they bring to the table.

Darcey is also a born leader and that is an essential trait that all great goalies, like the above mentioned, share.

Bruce Lerch, correspondent: Both players have excelled for their respective teams and made a big splash over the summer participating in the Warrior 40 at Harvard Stadium. Both have also drawn the attention of Division colleges, as Darcey is committed to play for Penn State while Stamatov will take his talents to Villanova. Darcey was a key factor in Wellesey's 16-0 regular season a year ago, while Stamatov helped propel Foxborough to its best season ever by reaching the Division 2 semifinals. Darcey was rated eighth in ESPN High School's national goalie rankings back in February, but even if you have the second pick in this draft, you won't come away disappointed as Stamatov was not too far behind at No. 14.

2. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE SO FAR?

ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall: I think any time you throw a perfect game at any level, you should be highly commended as such. So here’s my kudos to Lynn English’s Ben Bowden, who had a clean sheet for the Bulldogs in their 5-0 win over Marblehead. Bowden struck out 14 in the full seven innings, and got some assistance from the infield behind him late to seal the deal. He is an imposing player to watch at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, equipped with a high-80’s fastball, so it’s hardly the last time we’ll hear from him.

That said, I’m always impressed when a pitcher goes into the triple-digits in pitch count this early in the season – and even moreso when it’s as efficient as Milford’s Jarrod Casey was on April 3. In the Scarlet Hawks’ season-opening 3-1 win over Westborough, the reigning Mid-Wach A MVP and returning ESPNBoston All-Stater threw 125 pitches and struck out 15 batters; he also belted an inside-the-park, two-run homer to give them all the insurance they needed.

John Botelho, Brockton Enterprise: The Bridgewater-Raynham softball team has shown plenty of early fireworks this season. Senior Audrey Dolloff twirled a four-hitter and struck on eight on opening, all while going 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and four RBI for the Trojans. Freshman Emily Kurkul has homered in all three games so far. Most recently, Dolloff tossed a no-hitter against Durfee, and her performance might not have even been the best one on the field that day for B-R. Sophomore Madison Shaw went 4-for-4 with two homers, a double and seven RBI as the Trojans cruised.

Ryan Kilian: The best individual performance that I have seen on the lacrosse field so far was Westford Academy attack Jay Drapeau scoring six goals and dishing out one assist in a 12-11 opening day win over Billerica. The sophomore scored the game winner in the fourth quarter and was exceptional dodging from X all afternoon. Drapeau also did this against a very formidable defense led by Tommy McLaughlin (UMass) and one of the state’s best goalies in DJ Smith (UMass).

Ben Larsen, MassLive.com: It would be hard to top this one. Noah Parker, a terrific talent hidden at St. Mary’s of Westfield was perfect in a six-inning game against Pioneer Valley Christian. He threw only 57 pitches, striking out 14. At the plate, he narrowly missed hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI.

Bruce Lerch: On the lacrosse fields, several players have produced nine-goal games in the early going. Kobie Sullivan had seven, nine and eight goals in Fairhaven's first three games. On the girls side, Wayland's Amy Cunningham, Amy also struck for nine against Bedford. But my top effort goes to Masconomet's Jake Gillespie, who potted nine in the Chieftans' second game of the year against a BC High defense that includes a pair of Division 1 recruits.

3. A LEFTHANDED STARTER CAN BE INVALUABLE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. WHICH LEFTIES WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE MOST?

Brendan Hall: The Class of 2012 is littered with Division 1-bound lefties, between Oliver Ames' Ryan O'Shea (Central Michigan), East Longmeadow's Steve Moyers (Rhode Island), Pentucket's Alex Ministeri (Coastal Carolina), Auburn's Connor Fuller (Fordham), Xaverian's Tim Duggan (Fairfield) and Acton-Boxborough's Ryan McDonald (Bryant). One we might be adding to that list in a year's time is Wellesley senior Tim Superko.

Superko is already off to a great start in 2012, with wins in his first two starts in dominant fashion -- 23 strikeouts in 12 innings, an ERA of 0.75, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly four, and a strike percentage of 67. I'm obviously working with a stat system pretty sophisticated for the high school level, but I can assure you Superko could care less. He's a competitor, unafraid to challenge hitters in the middle of the order, but also very coachable. Raiders coach Rob Kane raves about Superko's curveball, and he sets it up well with his heat. From the plate, he's not that bad either; so far he's hitting .500/.562/.786 with five RBI, two triples, seven runs and three stolen bases.

Superko is heading to Philips Andover for a post-graduate year next season. I expect him to have a Division 1 scholarship offer in his lap by this summer's end.

I'd also keep an eye on the aforementioned Ben Bowden from Lynn English. He's got an ideal power pitcher's frame, and if the reports about him topping out at 89 miles per hour in his perfect game are true, then he has a chance to rise quickly on the radar. But to be a reliable starter at this level, you need a quality changeup, and Bowden's is pretty nice.

Boston Latin sophomore Pat Naughton is certainly another one to look out for over the next two years. He fanned 17 Wayland batters in an outing last year as a freshman, and is already off to a good start this year with 14 K's in the Wolfpack's season-opening win over Latin Academy. Also keep an eye on Reading junior Scott Tully, who committed to Notre Dame last February, as well as Malden Catholic junior Joe Velozo.

John Botelho: One of the best lefties in the state hasn't even thrown a pitch yet. Oliver Ames' Ryan O'Shea, a 6-foot-3 southpaw already signed on to play at Central Michigan next year, will take to the mound for the first time next week. Hall of Fame coach Leo Duggan aired on the side of caution as O'Shea was battling shoulder soreness. He has a chance to come back and be the best pitcher on an O-A team that has still gone 3-0 without him in the lineup.

Brockton's Joe Sever has a live arm and features impressive off-speed stuff. The ace of the Boxers' staff this year, he has a chance to catch a lot of eyes with the schedules Bill Maloney's squad plays.

Bridgewater-Raynham features a pair of hard-throwing lefties who should cause problems for hitters throughout the regular season. Senior captains Pat Chalmers and Shane Holmes have more varsity experience than many of the guys they'll square off against this year - Chalmers was pitching on varsity at B-R as a sophomore and Holmes spent his freshman and sophomore years on the varsity squad at East Bridgewater before transferring to B-R as a junior. Chalmers took a no decision in his first start, but struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings. Holmes picked up the first win for the Trojans, a complete-game two-hit 12-strikeout performance against Milton.

Ben Larsen: Undoubtedly, Steve Moyers is the guy to follow. He has been unbelievable in his first three years as the ace of the East Longmeadow rotation and he’s hoping to reach the 30-win plateau for his career, which is no small feat in the short Massachusetts season. That said, Michael Walkowicz of Amherst has been the Cy Young in the early going. In two starts, he has a 17-strikeout, one-hitter and 12 Ks in a loss to Northampton.

Bruce Lerch: I find myself greatly intrigued by the seemingly rubber of Franklin southpaw Tyler Buck. As a junior, Buck tossed multiple gems during the Panthers run to the Div. 1 state championship game, including a 166-pitch effort to upset BC High in last year's D1 South semifinals. After starring for Franklin's Legion team over the summer, I'm interested to see how far the Panthers ace can take them once again.

4. WHAT WILL BE THE MOST COMPETITIVE LEAGUE IN GIRLS' LACROSSE THIS YEAR?

Brendan Hall: I'm going with the Dual County League. Four members of the 10-team league currently sit in our MIAA Top 25 poll, including No. 1 Lincoln-Sudbury. And we're not even including Acton-Boxborough, which began the season as our preseason No. 10 before dropping to 0-5. Talk about a misnomer -- the Colonials' five losses are to No. 1 L-S, No. 5 Needham, No. 6 Notre Dame (Hingham), No. 17 King Philip, and No. 23 Walpole. Also throw in unranked Wayland, which has one of the state's best goalies in Quinnipiac-bound senior Rachel Massicotte.

Let's now throw in the DCL's other three currently-ranked teams -- Concord-Carlisle, Weston and Westford -- and we're talking six teams that can be troublesome. I expect L-S to rise above it all, but the rest of the way down may or may not be a crap shoot.

Bruce Lerch: While most league's across the state in girls lacrosse are fairly top-heavy, I would say that top to bottom, the Middlesex League's large division may have the largest number of competitive teams as all five made the playoffs in 2011. Winchester is annually among the state's top programs and is among the favorites to challenge for the Div. 2 crown once again. Reading went 15-5 before running into state finalist Lincoln-Sudbury. Lexington is a perennial tourney team who, aside from last season, routinely rolls up 15-plus wins a year. Belmont also won 15 games in 2011, and Woburn qualified for the postseason as well. As of the time I am writing this, the five teams hold a combined record of 8-0-1 through the first two weeks of the season.

Ben Larsen: The Valley Wheel in Western Mass. is off to a strong start with no team worse than 2-0, including Agawam on top with four wins already. Perennial power Longmeadow and last year’s upstart Minnechaug are bound to contend with powerful Agawam in this loaded league but don’t count out East Longmeadow and South Hadley from at least making some noise.

5. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SLAP HITTERS. WHO ARE THE ONES TO PAY ATTENTION TO?

Scott Barboza: I'm looking no further than Mansfield's Bri Chiusano. The Coastal Carolina signee is the most dynamic lead-off hitter in the state and, as she showed earlier this week against King Philip, she also has some pop in the bat while taking a full swing. You have to take pause and applaud anybody who can launch a home run off of Meghan Rico after all.

Bruce Lerch: Bri Chiusano of Mansfield, who showed Tuesday that she can do a bit more than slap by cranking a three-run homer off of King Philip ace and reigning Miss Softball Meghan Rico. A four-year player for the Hornets manning centerfield and batting at the top of the lineup, Chiusano makes life miserable for opposing pitchers with her quick hands and tremendous speed and has an uncanny ability to survey how the defense is playing her and place the ball accordingly. The senior was named to ESPN Boston's preseason All-State team and will play for Coastal Carolina next year.

Ben Larsen: Typically a speedy singles hitter who uses his speed to get on and wreak havoc on the basepaths, Westfield’s Billy Smith got into the power game Monday, blasting a three-run homer in the Bombers’ rout of Belchertown. Smith, who also served as the Westfield football team’s quarterback this past season, has started out slow but is undoubtedly a player to watch moving forward.

6. WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST SURPRISING UPSET OF THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF THE SEASON?

Brendan Hall: My brethren on the Cape will call me Captain Hindsight with this one, but maybe Dennis-Yarmouth baseball is better than we've given them credit for after knocking off Plymouth North 8-2 on Wednesday. I think it was universally agreed that North, routinely one of the best hitting teams in Division 2, would be the favorite again in the South region even after losing key bats like Matt Walsh. But maybe D-Y should get more notice, with talented players like Matt Montalto, Matt Peterson and Miles Tuohy-Bedford. The Dolphins (2-1) got off to a hot start last season, including coach Paul Funk's 100th win, before coming back to Earth. Can they keep the hot start going this year?

Scott Barboza: If I told you I'd called Reading boys' lacrosse's overtime win over Westford Academy, I'd be lying. The Grey Ghosts entered this season with a lot of attention, particularly with the addition of Alex Eaton, in an already loaded Dual County League and the No. 6 ranking in our preseason Top 25 poll. Meanwhile, Reading was tough to read coming in because the Rockets lost some key cogs from last year's squad. What the Rockets did is prove that they should again challenge for the Middlesex League title.

Bruce Lerch: In boys lacrosse, certainly the most eye-opening result of the early season came when Melrose upset Lexington, 11-6. This is just the fourth year of the Red Raiders program, and in their first three years Melrose went a combined 9-44. Meanwhile, Lexington is an annual state championship and Middlesex League contender and reached the postseason in each of the three years since Melrose started its team. It was certainly a program defining victory for the Red Raiders.

Video: Breaking down EMass Girls Finals

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
1:10
AM ET
BOSTON -- ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall and correspondent Tom Layman break down the action from tonight's four MIAA Girls Basketball Eastern Mass. Finals, at TD Garden.

Video was shot and edited by correspondent Lucas Shapiro:


Div. 3 Girls: Pentucket 53, Fairhaven 39

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
11:53
PM ET



BOSTON -– Pentucket slowly build its lead quarter by quarter before pulling away with a 53-39 victory over Fairhaven in the MIAA Division 3 Girls Eastern Mass. Final tonight at TD Garden.

Led by the charge of senior forward Sarah Higgins, the Sachems outscored the Blue Devils in every quarter except the second, where each team struggled and only produced five points apiece.

“I definitely did not want to see us lose,” said Higgins, whose score line (20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, four steals) spoke this sentiment loud and clear. “Especially because when I’m older and I look back at one of these games and think, ‘Oh, I could’ve done that differently… I really wish we had won’ because winning the state championship sounds way better than losing the state championship.”

Higgins had a strong first quarter, as did Pentucket’s Nicole Viselli (two 3-pointers), but the star of the first set in this series was Fairhaven’s junior guard Ashley Brown. Having accumulated two rebounds and seven points, her last coming on the completion of a three point play, Brown put Fairhaven (22-3) ahead by one at 13-12 late in the first.

[+] EnlargeSarah Higgins
Brendan Hall for ESPN.comSarah Higgins (20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals) led Pentucket to its second Division 3 state final appearance in three seasons.
With 1:16 left in the first though, diving for a loose ball, Brown hit the scorer’s table next to the court, falling to the ground and grabbing at her face and neck. She was surrounded by staff and medical technicians for several minutes before being put into a brace, lifted onto a gurney. She did not to return to the court.

Pentucket (22-4) took the lead in the last minute of the quarter, however, to lead 14-13. The second quarter saw the teams knot up at 16 briefly, but Pentucket went up by one going into the half at 19-18. The only player to score for Fairhaven in the second was senior forward Kara Charette, who ended the game with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

“We settled down at halftime,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara. “For the first minute we were still a little flustered but once Sarah got a few easy baskets and we were able to put our press on, I think we did a great job in containing them in the second half.”

By the end of the third quarter, the Sachems were able to stretch the lead out to six at 34-28 and the start of the fourth quarter indicated that they were going to elongate that stretch by any means necessary. With 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, Higgins executed a three-point play to extend the lead out to nine with 7:40 left in the game.

Fairhaven would come within eight at 43-35 midway through the fourth quarter, but the damage had been done, and the Blue Devils fight turned into a bard to be sung for the defeated brave, while Pentucket’s star is still on the rise.

Long Shot: According to the roster and the bent necks in the media room, Pentucket’s 5-foot-5 freshman guard Kelsie McNamara is the shortest person on the team. But when McNamara drained three pointers in the fourth quarter, and added a 1-2 free throw showing to round out her ten points, she seemed colossal, even in the middle of the famed parquet floor.

“It was a little nerve-wrecking at first," she said. "But once the game starts going, I get more used to it and get more in control playing.” McNamara was active without the ball as well, racking up a steal, a block and a rebound as well.

Father Knows Best: “Last night, my dad told me that I should always envision myself finishing and staying positive,” Higgins beamed after the game. “So that’s all I was thinking about before I went to bed, and today when I was at school I was thinking, ‘Righty lay-ups, lefty lay-ups, foul shots’. Now that I went out there, I didn’t think about it too much and it just came to me.”


D3 South Girls: Fairhaven 62, Archies 59

March, 10, 2012
3/10/12
4:42
PM ET
BOSTON –- Entering the fourth quarter trailing Archbishop Williams by two, Fairhaven put the game in the hands of senior captain Kara Charette, whose seven free throws helped the Blue Devils escape, 62-59 in the Division 3 South Sectional Finals at UMass-Boston's Clark Athletic Center.

“Everyone was getting frantic, so they threw me the ball, and they happened to foul me, so I just went to the line, and did what I had to do at the end,” said Charette, who finished with 24 points.

Fairhaven (22-2) began the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run, but Archies (20-6) rallied, as junior Sara Ryan connected on back-to-back triples with 10 seconds remaining before sophomore teammate Olivia Conrad fouled Charette immediately on the ensuing possession.

“I thought it was any other free throws,” Charette said of her final two free throws. “If I think ahead, it will mess me up. I just [had] to think its one free throw [at a time].”

Charette then sank shots from the stripe before Archbishop Williams’ Conrad attempted a last-second heave from beyond the arc, which didn’t reach the iron.

“[Charette] did what we thought she would do, and we couldn’t stop her,” Archbishop Williams head coach Jim Bancroft said. “We tried to double-down on her, but they played a great game today, we just weren’t there mentally all the way through.”

“Kara Charette’s not a surprise to anybody this late in her career, and no matter who we play,” said Fairhaven head coach Jeff Perry.

Both teams swapped leads throughout a majority of the first two frames, but it wasn’t until the third quarter when Fairhaven gained a little momentum with a three-pointer by senior Kayli Moniz, as well as a pair from Charette at the stripe, which provided the Blue Devils with a 34-30 advantage.

Although, the Blue Devils' lead was quickly erased, as the Bishops tallied 11 points and ended the third frame with a 41-39 lead before Fairhaven earned the lead for good from senior Kelsey Perron-Sovik’s jump shot.

“No matter who we play, I think what happens is [our opponent] underestimates the supporting cast. We have a lot of people that can finish and we can actually enjoy the double team at times because we’re working off of that,” said Perry.

“They played a solid game, they didn’t do anything wrong,” said Bancroft. “They rebounded well, they scored, they defended, and they were just better today.”

No Momentum for Archies: Despite a rather back and fourth three quarters, along with numerous lead changes, Bancroft didn’t believe his team gained any sort of momentum.

“I didn’t feel any momentum at all this game,” he said.

The Bishops ended the first half with a one-point advantage, as well as a two-point lead once the third quarter concluded. But missed shots, rebounds and turnovers hampered Archbishop Williams’ pursuit to preserve a lead.

Charette Appreciated the Physical Play: Both teams began the game recording numerous fouls and exhibiting physical play, but that didn’t seem to bother Charette, who claimed it somewhat helped her get in a groove and become more comfortable on the court.

“It’s great to be pushed around because I haven’t had that all season,” she said. “Getting pushed around is what it’s about, it’s the playoffs, and this is what’s supposed to happen.”

Even Perry agreed that the physical play somewhat helped his team, as well as get rid of the pre-game jitters out of the Blue Devils system, too.

“I think both teams were feeling each other out, nerves at this point, but I thought we fought through it,” added the head coach.

Next Stop -- TD Garden: Fairhaven will return to the hardwood on Tuesday when the Blue Devils face Pentucket in the MIAA Div. 3 State Semifinals, which certainly is something Charette is looking forward to playing in.

“It’s like a little redemption for Kara. She gave a couple speeches the last few weeks what it meant to the town, and what it mean to [her sister’s team four years ago],” said Coach Perry.

Charette seemed focused after Saturday’s game concluded, and explained that she’d like to finish this particular season with a championship for her sister’s team, which lost in the Div. III South semi-finals in 2008 to Cardinal Spellman.

“This is all about revenge for me, so this is awesome,” said Charette.

MIAA Sectional Hoop Finals: Picks Reset

March, 9, 2012
3/09/12
6:22
PM ET
Last month, prior to the MIAA Basketball Tournament seedings, I listed a number of teams in each division to be considered true contenders for the state championship. One week later, on the first day of the MIAA tournament, I went a little deeper and made my predictions for each of the 14 boys basketball brackets.

Conveniently, this has been one of the wildest MIAA tournaments in recent years. Last night, No. 1 seeds Central Catholic and North Andover went down in their respective brackets; that adds to a number of other contenders getting knocked out, including King Philip, Cardinal Spellman, Falmouth, Catholic Memorial, BC High, Holy Name and Manchester-Essex.

The next 48 hours figure to be just as crazy. We'll be covering all 12 of Saturday's North and South sectional finals, as well as Sunday's Division 1 Central final between St. John's (Shrewsbury) and St. Peter-Marian, so be sure to stick with us throughout the weekend.

For now, I've gone back and hit the reset button on my pre-tournament picks. Here's how I think Saturday and Sunday's slate will turn out.

(NOTE: Division 4 Finals are being played tonight)

BOYS PICKS

Division 1 North
Charlestown (19-4) vs. Lexington (17-7)
Nobody could have predicted this for a final -- and if you did, I have a time warp I'd like to sell you. After some early struggles, the Minutemen have picked up the slack under second-year coach Reggie Hobbs, beating Boston Latin, Westford and Acton-Boxborough in succession to get here. But with Central Catholic and A-B out of the way, the Townies have a clearer path. Expect another big game from Tyrese Hoxter and Co. Pick: Charlestown

Division 2 North
Wakefield (17-6) vs. Brighton (19-4)
Reports of Brighton's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Once thought to be stumbling following the loss of star forward Nick Simpson and subsequent early exit from City Championships, the Bengals have roared to life behind Daivon Edwards and Malik James. Ditto for Wakefield, which came into this tournament a mystery, but has suddenly put the state on notice after knocking off No. 1 overall seed North Andover last night. Pick: Brighton

Division 3 North
Danvers (18-4) vs. Saugus (14-9)
I said this was Danvers' bracket to lose at the beginning of this tournament, and the Falcons have done nothing to prove me otherwise. Saugus beat red-hot Arlington Catholic by 16 last night to advance to the finals, but I still think George Merry will provide too much of a matchup problem. Pick: Danvers

Division 1 South
Brockton (21-2) vs. Madison Park (19-2)
True, the MP Machine is the No. 2 seed in this bracket, but how many predicted the Cardinals would make it this far? Brockton has had some close calls, such as Wednesday's semifinal win over Newton North. But as they showed in their quarterfinal against Catholic Memorial, they can turn it on in a snap. The key here might come down to depth, where I think the Boxers hold an advantage. Excited to see the big-man matchup between Brockton's Sayvonn Houston and MP's Dakim Murray -- two true post players who are among the region's most physical. Pick: Brockton

Division 2 South
Stoughton (19-4) vs. Hopkinton (17-6)
Beware Hopkinton's dribble-drive motion. Just ask King Philip, which succumbed to the Hillers in last year's D2 South Final and again in this year's quarterfinals. We all know about Stoughton's athletic prowess, spearheaded by one of the state's best backcourts in juniors Aaron Calixte and Marcus Middleton. But do not sleep on the Hillers' point guard Barrett Hanlon, a two-time Tri-Valley League MVP who has been terrific this postseason. Pick: Stoughton

Division 3 South
Wareham (23-0) vs. Martha's Vineyard (21-2)
Between Wareham's dogged waterbug point guard Darien Fernandez and Vineyard's electric junior Jack Roberts, this could be one of the day's fastest games. The Vikings are constantly uptempo -- and have one of the state's best lead guards in Fernandez, to do the damage -- while the Vineyarders can run off points in bunches pretty quickly. The key might come down to foul trouble -- Tyler Gomes was the star for Wareham in the semifinals, but they can't afford to have Fernandez on the bench for long stretches again. Pick: Wareham

Division 1 Central
St. John's of Shrewsbury (18-5) vs. St. Peter-Marian (19-5)
If St. John's wins again, for an unprecedented fifth straight Central Mass. title, they may have to rename this tournament the Bob Foley Memorial Bracket. Again and again, Foley's troops have proven that no matter the personnel, bodies graduated, or overall record, they can win out as long as they get in. SPM's Matt Mobley will likely command a sophisticated defensive look, which is why the Guardians' bigs like Steve Flynn and Brian Foley are going to need to be in peak form. Pick: St. John's

Division 2 Central
Quabbin (20-3) vs. St. Bernard's (14-10)
Once one of the state's few remaining unbeatens, Quabbin lost three games but won the Clark Tournament to give themselves some momentum headed into this bracket. It's paid off, as the Panthers have beaten opponents by an average of 24 points in the tournament. Either way, this should be a terrific coaching matchup, between Quabbin's Dennis Dextradeur and St. Bernard's Mark Pierce. Pick: Quabbin

Division 3 Central
Whitinsville Christian (16-5) vs. Littleton (18-6)
Another bracket where I initially pegged a top seed as an overwhelming favorite, and nothing has convinced me to think otherwise. Sorry Littleton, but WC has been playing some of its best basketball, beating each of its opponents by 17 points or more in this tournament. Pick: Whitinsville Christian

Division 1 West
Springfield Central (21-1) vs. Springfield Commerce (16-6)
In these two teams' first matchup, Central survived a tough one, 52-43. When they met three weeks ago, Tyrell Springer nailed four 3-pointers in the second quarter and Central blew out the Red Raiders by nearly 40. I don't think that will happen again, but like Brockton, Central can turn it up in a hurry -- just ask West Springfield, which led Central by three after the first quarter of Wednesday's semifinal, only to lose by 27. Pick: Springfield Central

Division 2 West
South Hadley (13-9) vs. Mahar (19-3)
South Hadley's nine losses are misleading. They earned the No. 2 overall seed in this field, and beat their first two opponents by an average of 17 points. Can Mahar, which survived an overtime thriller to get here, buck the Tigers' trend? Pick: South Hadley

Division 3 West
St. Joseph Central (18-5) vs. Lee (18-5)
This is a St. Joe's team that nearly beat Holy Name back in December, and while I admit I haven't seen too much of this field, I like their chances. An average margin of victory of 26 points so far in this tournament backs this assertion up. Pick: St. Joseph Central

GIRLS PICKS

Division 1 North
Andover (24-0) vs. Masconomet (20-3)
Again, as good as Masco has been in this tournament -- getting Super Team production out of William & Mary signee Brooke Stewart, and great complimentary play from junior Claudia Marsh -- the freight train that is Andover and All-Everything guard Nicole Boudreau will continue to roll its way through. But unlike some of the Golden Warriors' earlier tournament results, I expect the Chieftains to throw haymakers and take the Warriors to the ropes. Pick: Andover

Division 2 North
Reading (22-0) vs. Arlington Catholic (21-3)
Another juggernaut matchup in the fold here. Both teams have gone through some dominant stretches, and AC is the defending state champion here. But the Rockets are a year wiser after last season's disappointing end, and behind Olivia Healy and Morgan O'Brien this team rattles off points in bunches. Pick: Reading

Division 3 North
Pentucket (20-4) vs. Ipswich (18-4)
Win or lose, this is a major step forward for the Ipswich program under head coach Mandy Zegarowski. Unfortunately, their reward is running into the Pentucket machine. Sachems are rolling on defense, allowing just 28 points per game in the playoffs with an average margin of victory of 27 points. So tell me...what's new? Pick: Pentucket

Division 1 South
Franklin (21-2) vs. Braintree (21-2)
Led by senior Paige Marshall, Braintree is playing arguably the state's most inspired defense. Consider the Wamps allowed just eight points -- that's eight points total -- in their first-round win, and are allowing just 22.6 points per game and the playoffs. Will that be enough for Catie Phelan to overcome, or are the defensive stats misleading? Pick: Braintree

Division 2 South
Scituate (23-0) vs. Natick (18-5)
Will Lady Luck run out on Natick, or are the Red and Blue better than we projected? Either way, this is one tough Scituate squad they're about to encounter. The Lady Sailors haven't allowed an opponent to get out of the 30's in nearly a month, and routinely pick up 40 or more rebounds a game. Pick: Scituate

Division 3 South
Archbishop Williams (20-5) vs. Fairhaven (21-2)
Kara Charette will get her points for Fairhaven, but we have to wonder if it it will be enough to overcome Archies' size, which is among the state's biggest. The Bishops are green, but talented, and are playing some terrific defense right now. Pick: Archbishop Williams

Division 1 Central
Holy Name (22-0) vs. Wachusett (17-5)
After some close calls, Holy Name's magical season lives on. The Mountaineers might be Holy Name's toughest opponent to date, and are one of the region's longest. Look for the Naps to key on Bri Schnare and Shannon Holt. Pick: Wachusett

Division 2 Central
Tyngsborough (21-1) vs. Nashoba (20-2)
The top two seeds of this bracket go head-to-head, and it's hard to tell which team has been more dominant so far. The Tigers, who have allowed just 30 points a game in this bracket; or Nashoba, which has had an easier path but has won each game by double-digits. Probably can't go wrong with this one. Pick: Tyngsborough

Division 3 Central
Sutton (19-4) vs. Hopedale (18-4)
Another matchup that is even on paper. But when you knock off Quaboag, that's big points in my book. Pick: Sutton

Division 1 West
Holyoke (20-2) vs. Longmeadow (15-7)
5-foot-2 point guard Monique Heard is the most exciting player nobody in Eastern Mass. is talking about, and a potential Super Team candidate for Holyoke. I like a good story as much as the next scribe. Let's keep this one rolling. Pick: Holyoke

Division 2 West
Mahar (21-1) vs. Palmer (18-4)
Another matchup pitting the bracket's top two seeds against one another. Mahar has survived some gutsy close calls to get here, but beware of Palmer's stingy defense, which is allowing 32 points per game. Pick: Mahar

Division 3 West
Lenox (18-4) vs. Sabis (19-5)
Sabis no doubt has revenge on its mind -- and some unfinished business -- after coming up short in this bracket last year following a dominant regular season. But any time you knock off Lee -- the region's top seed, and the golden standard for Western Mass. small-school basketball since the 1980's -- that's big points in my book. Pick: Lenox

SPONSORED HEADLINES