Boston High School: Jesse Aleixo

Recap: No. 23 King Philip 4, No. 3 Taunton 3

May, 20, 2014
TAUNTON, Mass. - When King Philip lost four out of five games in one stretch during the middle of the season, including losses to Hockomock rivals North Attleborough and Taunton, it seemed as though the Warriors’ run of league championships would come to an end this spring.

But with wins over the Rocketeers on Sunday and a 4-3 win over Taunton on Monday night at Jack Tripp Field, King Philip (14-4, 14-2) closed out its Hockomock League schedule with nine straight victories and earned at least a share of another Kelley-Rex division title.

“It was gut check for them, but they’ve got tradition and they know all about it,” said KP coach Norm Beauchemin, who has won titles in each of his two seasons at the helm. “It was up to them to break the tradition or to carry it on and they stepped up. I’m very proud of them.”

“It’s always great living up to that legacy,” said junior Renee Poirier, who go the final five outs on Monday night. “We have such high expectations to live up to but that’s what we strive for to be more successful than those that came before us. We just left it all out there -- we had nothing to lose.”

The Warriors jumped out early on Taunton (17-2, 13-2) starter Jesse Aleixo and were aided by several uncharacteristic defensive mistakes by the Tigers to build a 4-0 lead after three innings.

“An early lead is always awesome,” said Poirier. “Once you get one [run], it seems like the rest are easier to follow and then it gives more confidence out in the field because you have a little cushion. “

With one out in the first, third baseman Shannon Jones and starting pitcher Kali Magane had back-to-back singles. Aleixo struck out Poirier for the second out but shortstop Ashley Hession stepped up with a base hit to right that slipped under the glove of Kelly Reading to bring home both base runners. Hession would advance to third on the error and would score on a single by Brianna Sebio.

In the third, Poirier led off with a double and would come home to score when Hession’s ground ball found its way past shortstop Jordan Wade. Taunton head coach Dave Lewry credited Poirier for great base running to distract Wade on the play, but admitted that those early mistakes turned out to be the difference.

He said, “We’ve been a good defensive team all year -- it’s been one of our strengths -- and we made a couple of mistakes early on and that amounted to four runs and that’s the ballgame.

After a perfect first three innings, Magane ran into some trouble in the bottom of the fourth. A lead-off single by Kailey March gave Taunton its first hit and base runner of the game and Reading followed with a walk. McKenzie Navarro laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move March to third and Wade hit a sac fly to right to get the Tigers on the board.

In the fifth, a two-out triple to right center by eighth grade catcher Kya Enos led to a run for the Tigers when March beat out a grounder to short. Taunton would claw another one back in the sixth when Wade singled with one out to knock Magane out of the game and Poirier hit Aimee Kistner with a pitch. Two wild pitches later and Wade scored to make it 4-3.

Poirier would escape the jam and preserve the lead by striking out Kim McCone.

“I came in trying to be calm and thinking one pitch at a time,” Poirier said. “I had complete confidence in the defense behind me. There’s always nerves in that situation but that’s what helps you thrive.”

After the game, Beauchemin explained his reasons for making the switch in the sixth, saying, “[Magane] threw a lot of pitches [Sunday] night and it looked like she was running out of gas. It was the third time through the order and they were starting to catch up to her … and we have Renee, who threw well at the beginning of the year, so why not utilize what you have?”

As Taunton was starting to make noise offensively against Magane, Aleixo was settling into a groove. The senior didn’t allow a base runner after the fourth inning and retired the final 11 hitters that she faced.

Lewry said, “None of her pitches were really working and every time we threw a breaking pitch they tattooed it, so the last four innings we went strictly fastballs and located and that seemed to do the trick. She kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win tonight.”

Poirier pitched a perfect seventh to wrap up the victory for KP, which has the chance to avenge its other two losses with games against Coyle-Cassidy and Bishop Feehan remaining in the regular season.

Taunton will face a trip to Mansfield on Tuesday knowing that a win will earn the Tigers a share of the Hockomock title, which would be the program’s first and just the school’s second team title since entering the league.

Lewry remarked, “Not exactly what we were shooting for but at this point it’s our best shot so we have to do what it takes to get it done.”
PLAINVILLE, Mass. – As a tight race has once again formed at the top of the Hockomock League Kelley-Rex division’s standings, the balance of the league regular-season championship will likely be decided by a matter of a few moments.

And, in the case of Monday’s duel between No. 5 King Philip and No. 15 Taunton at the Plainville PAL, the difference came down to just one-half of an inning. The Tigers sent 10 hitter to plate and scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning, en route to a 6-1 win over the Warriors.

On the flip side, Taunton ace Jesse Aleixo took care of the rest with a complete-game, three-hitter, striking out seven and walking three.

“That’s a nice offensive show for us,” Tigers coach Dave Lewry said. “That’s our best offensive game of the year – might not have been the most runs, but it came against a quality opponent.”

Taunton (8-1, 5-1 Kelley-Rex) took advantage of a pair of lead-off walks from MacKenzie Navarro and Jordan Wade in its pivotal fourth-inning rally. Third baseman Giovanna Diminico got the Tigers on the board with a one-out single dumped into center field off of Warriors starter Renee Poirier. Kim McCone followed with a sacrifice fly to center, before Tigers lead-off hitter Kailey March delivered the big blow of the inning, sending a two-run double to the gap in right-center field.

Right fielder Kelly Reading capped the five-run outburst with an RBI single to right.

“We’re starting to come around offensively,” Lewry said. “We chip away, we get a run here, a run there. Today, it was nice to see us string them together.”

KP (5-4, 5-2) broke up Aleixo’s shutout bid in the home half of the fifth, as shortstop Ashley Hession took a 1-1 offering over the left field fence for a home run.

But the Warriors were unable to establish any consistent traffic on the basepaths, despite striking some soundly-hit outs.

“They all swing a really good bat, it’s just a question of us putting it together,” KP coach Norm Beauchemin said. “There was one inning, we hit three balls right on the nose and they were three outs. That’s the way the game is though. It’s not how many hits you get, it’s when you get them.”

Lewry attributed Alexio’s successful outing to her ability to mix and match pitches, while establishing the inner portion of the strike zone.

“She had everything working today – the screwball, the curve, the rise, early in the game, was working,” Lewry said. “She was working the corners beautifully. If you do that, I don’t care how good the hitters are, you’re in good shape.”

The Tigers tacked on their final run in the sixth, when Diminco scored on an infield error.

Poirier was tagged with the loss, despite pitching effectively and sitting down nine of the first 10 batters she faced. But, as has become a frustrating trend, it just came down to one inning.

“We just can’t seem to keep away from that one inning,” Beauchemin said. “It’s happened I think in three games now, and we’re not scoring enough runs to offset it.”

D1 South softball: Taunton 2, North 0

June, 1, 2013
TAUNTON, Mass. – When two teams are evenly matched, it is one bad hop, one mistake or one bloop hit that can decide the outcome of the game.

Taunton took advantage of each of those on Friday night for a 2-0 win against North Attleborough in a Division 1 South first round game.

In a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth inning, Kailey March’s grounder took a bad hop off the chest of North second baseman Marissa Gifford and the leadoff hitter hustled for an infield single. The next batter, freshman Meg Navarro, tried to sacrifice, but third baseman Daylin Rhilinger could not field it cleanly. Navarro’s sister Mackenzie followed with another sac bunt, which moved both runners into scoring position.

Rocketeers pitcher Meg Colleran induced a weak liner from freshman clean-up hitter Jordan Wade and walked the catcher Alicia Pavadore, who had a base hit off Colleran in the second inning, to load the bases. Up stepped senior Katelin Morrissey and she dropped the first pitch just in between the shortstop and the left fielder to bring home the only two runs of the game.

Taunton head coach Dave Lewry noted that in a pressure situation like that, he was grateful to see one of his more experienced players at the plate.

“She’s gotten her swing back the last week or two,” he explained. “She’s been a three-year starter for us. You hope to see your senior up in that situation because you know that they’ve been there before.”

Following the game, North Attleborough head coach Bill Wallace could only shake his head at the struggles that his team has had at Taunton’s field in the past few years, including a loss to the Tigers (17-6) earlier this season.

“This is our house of horrors, I think we’re 0-6 here in the last three years,” he reflected.

Wallace continued, “In a game like this, in a game where both pitchers are dealing, it’s going to take a bloop here or a lucky bounce there and she couldn’t have thrown it in a better place. That was the Bermuda Triangle.”

Lewry admitted that he said just that to Wallace when they shook hands at home plate following the game. He remarked, “Like I told Bill afterwards, you knew there was going to be a mistake and then there was going to be a bloop hit. Fortunately, it happened for us and we were able to pull it out.”

The game finished in barely over an hour, mostly due to the strength of the two pitchers that stepped into the circle.

Jesse Aleixo did not allow a base runner for 3 1/3 innings before a swinging bunt single by Rose Mooney, who was thrown out stealing second two pitches later. Following the hit, Aleixo retired the final 10 North Attleborough batters that she faced.

“Jesse is our key obviously,” Lewry said about the junior hurler. “Meg Colleran is a tremendous pitcher but Jesse can hang with her and keeps us in the game.”

Aleixo was modest about her pitching performance and passed much of the credit on to her batterymate.

“Honestly, my catcher Alicia [Pavadore] calls all of the pitches and she’s so good,” Aleixo said. “She just called the right pitches and they worked every time.”

Colleran was also solid. She gave up only five hits (only two of which were hit hard) and struck out four batters. Aleixo finished with five strikeouts but, unusually for a top-level softball game, neither pitcher recorded a strikeout after the third inning. Both defenses came up with big plays.

Gifford, in particular, came up big for North. The second baseman made a sliding stop to rob Pavadore of a hit to end the fourth and started the fifth with a leaping grab of a soft liner by Morrissey. The middle of the Rocketeers order tried to get something going in the fifth, but Meg Wynn lined out hard to center and right fielder Lauren Mitsairis made a sliding grab on a sinking liner by Jackie Del Bonis.

When the brackets were released, the groans of disappointment could be heard from both North Attleborough (14-7) and Taunton, as the two league rivals were hoping to avoid each other until later in the tournament. This was the third meeting between the Hockomock League sides this season and they have combined for 25 innings and a cumulative score of 4-2 in those three games.

Lewry commented, “We’d played 18 innings against them already this season and we each scored two runs. I don’t think that you’ll find two teams more evenly matched. Neither one of us were thrilled when we saw the match-up in the first round.”

Wallace echoed those sentiments, “They’re a very good team and I’m sure he looked at the draw and said, ‘Oh no,’ just like we did.”

Taunton now awaits the winner of top seeded Bridgewater-Raynham and No. 16 seed Dighton-Rehoboth.

The Tigers are on a roll, having won 14 of the last 16 games that they have played (since a 3-4 start) and Aleixo believes that Taunton can compete with any team in the sectional.

“We have a lot of confidence,” she said. “We still have to play really tough and stay really focused, but I think we can beat anyone that we play.”