Boston High School: Renee Poirier

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

May, 20, 2014
May 20
12:50
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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.”

Recap: No. 10 King Philip 6, No. 16 Hopkinton 0

May, 23, 2013
5/23/13
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HOPKINTON, Mass. -- On paper, it was a marquee match-up. It was a meeting of the champions of the Hockomock League’s Kelley-Rex division and the Tri-Valley League, as well as two teams in the Top 25 in the state.

But, on the field, the game was more about two teams closing out busy weeks and long regular seasons with all eyes on potentially deep postseason runs. In the end, King Philip (16-4) had just a little more gas in the tank and a little more depth.

The No. 10 Warriors cruised to a 6-0 victory on the road at No. 16 Hopkinton (17-3) behind six innings of relief from freshman pitcher Kali Magane. The Warriors No. 3 starter struck out eight Hillers while giving up only two hits. At the plate, she also added a pair of hits and drove in a run.

“She hasn’t been on the mound in three or four weeks so to come in and perform that way goes to show you how tough she is. She’s got a lot of good years ahead of her,” Warriors head coach Norm Beauchemin said.

Magane entered the game in the second inning after starter Anna O’Neill, who has been KP’s ace all season, complained of tightness in her arm. This was O’Neill’s third start of the week and second in as many days (an eight-inning loss to Taunton on Monday and 3-1 win over Coyle on Wednesday) and Beauchemin did not want to take any chances with his top pitcher with the tournament looming.

He remarked with a chuckle, “Anna was a little sore from last night’s game. She pitched Monday and she pitched yesterday and said she had a little stiffness. So, with playoffs coming, we can’t ruin our horse.”

Magane struck out the side in the second inning and the Warriors offense responded in the top of the third.

Lead-off hitter Bre Shaffer began the inning with a walk and shortstop Ashley Hession reached on an error by catcher Erica McBride. With runners at second and third, senior Tori Constantin lined an RBI single to left. Sophomore first baseman Renee Poirier followed with the game’s big hit – a three-run homer that was crushed to right center.

Beauchemin marveled, “She’s been killing the ball all year. She probably has the most extra-base hits for us. She’s a great hitter.”

He added with a laugh, “She struck out for probably the fourth time all season tonight. So, she’s probably more upset about that than happy about the homerun.”

Prior to the game, Hopkinton head coach Dennis Baker Jr. admitted that he was struggling to put together the line-up because of injuries and the fact that the Hillers were playing their fourth game of the week. Hopkinton clinched the TVL title on Wednesday night with a win over Westwood (in conjunction with Bellingham’s win over Norton) and Baker gave a rest to several of his starters.

King Philip essentially put the game away in the top of the fourth when Hession doubled home Shaffer and was then brought home by a Magane single. Hannah Engstrom ended the inning with a perfect throw to the plate to nail Constantin trying to score from second. The Warriors took advantage of the 6-0 lead to use some of the substitutes that have not seen playing time in recent weeks.

It was a comfortable road win over a tough opponent for King Philip but, for both the Warriors and the Hillers, all eyes are on next week and the start of state tournament play.

Recap: No. 9 KP 2, No. 2 North 0

May, 11, 2013
5/11/13
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PLAINVILLE, Mass. – In a game dominated by the two opposing pitchers, it was fitting that one of them would be the player that ultimately decided the outcome.

King Philip senior Anna O’Neill crushed a 1-0 pitch from North Attleborough’s Megan Colleran deep over the fence in straightaway centerfield to give the Warriors a 2-0 walk-off victory on Friday afternoon at the Plainville Athletic League Complex. The win completed a season sweep for KP over North and moves them one step closer to another league title.

“I didn’t want to pitch another inning,” said O’Neill about her mindset in the final at-bat. “When I hit it, I was just thinking, ‘Thank you Anna for ending this game,’ because I really wanted to win.”

After the celebration, first-year KP head coach Norm Beauchemin tried to direct reporters to his star pitcher and, with a big smile on his face, remarked, “She came up with the big hit…the big time. She’s a big-time player.”

Going into the seventh, KP had managed only two hits off of Colleran, who struck out six Warriors. Senior second baseman Tori Constantin, who had hit the ball well for outs in her two previous at-bats, drew a lead-off walk (Colleran’s first of the game). Renee Poirier failed on two sacrifice attempts before lining a two-strike pitch for a base-hit.

Constantin tried to stretch from first to third on the play but was gunned down on a perfect throw by North centerfielder Sam Moody. In the process, Poirier moved into scoring position with one out. Two pitches later, it did not matter, as O’Neill hit her second homerun of the season off of Colleran.

“Meg is a great pitcher. She’s going to UMass [in two years] and to say that I got two good hits against her feels pretty good,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill was also dominant on the mound, despite having to rush from Dean College where she and third baseman Shannon Jones were taking an Advanced Placement exam. The game time was pushed back and North coach Bill Wallace allowed extra time for O’Neill to warm-up after she arrived. It may not have been her usual pre-game routine but she showed no ill effects, striking out the first two hitters on her way to a nine strikeout, three-hit shutout.

Prior to the final inning, each team only managed to get a runner into scoring position twice. Poirier led-off the second with a base-hit and made it to second on a passed ball, but was stranded and in the sixth Jones was bunted to second but Colleran induced a comebacker and a grounder to first to end the inning.

“Megan has really hit her groove now. Those are the first runs that she has given up in regulation in three weeks,” Wallace said.

Beauchemin spoke about his team’s struggle at the plate. He said, “Offensively, everybody struggles against good pitching, plain and simple. Hopefully, we come around and start swinging the bats better against good pitching because we’re taking way too long of a swing.”

North Attleborough had its first base runner in the fourth inning on a lead-off single by Rose Mooney, who was bunted to second but stranded there. Jill Costello, who also had four assists at shortstop, led-off the sixth with a single and made it to third on a wild pitch before O’Neill struck out Marissa Gifford and Colleran to end the inning.

The Rocketeers have had a difficult week since being moved to no. 2 in the ESPN Boston statewide rankings. North lost to Taunton (the Tigers had also beaten KP previously this season), 1-0, in 11 innings on Monday before the walk-off defeat to the Warriors.

Wallace acknowledged that it was a tough loss, but argued, “We’ll be better for it.”

He added, “We’re playing good defense; we just need to get the bats going. Hey, what are you going to do? We’re seeing great pitching, you know.”

Prior to the season, there was some talk that the turnover at King Philip (losing eight seniors and head coach Jim Leonard) could make this the year that North Attleborough overtook the Warriors for the league title. Instead, O’Neill’s hit continued nearly 10 years without a win for the Rocketeers in the series.

“People have been talking that we’re not going to be as good this year as we have in the past, but I think that tonight just proved that we all have it in us and we still have a really good team,” O’Neill said.

Beauchemin said that games like this will be big for the Warriors as they prepare for another run at a state title.

“You don’t have too many cakewalks [in the Hockomock], which is good because it get s you ready for the playoffs,” he explained. “This team here, they’re concerned about the playoffs. They want to go deep, so these games hopefully build our character.”

Recap: No. 5 King Philip 6, No. 4 North Attleborough 1

April, 18, 2013
4/18/13
3:51
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NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. – Heading into the match-up between North Attleborough and King Philip, there was some talk that this might finally be the year that the Rocketeers take the Hockomock League title from the Warriors. Following Wednesday afternoon’s game, it is clear that there is still some work to be done to catch KP.

The Warriors scored four runs in the first three innings and got an impressive pitching performance from senior Anna O’Neill (nine strikeouts) to beat North 6-1 and take an early first step towards another Kelley-Rex division title.

“Obviously, that’s a good team and anytime you play a good team, you want to come out on top,” said King Philip’s first-year head coach Norm Beauchemin. “It was an important game for us because you want to be on top of the league. You don’t want to be chasing someone; you want them to be chasing you.”

The Warriors took the lead on the first batter of the second inning. O’Neill, who drove in a pair of runs in addition to her dominating work in the circle, crushed a 2-2 pitch deep over the fence in straightaway center.

KP broke the game open in the very next inning.

Clean-up hitter Renee Poirier plated Breanna Shaffer with an infield single to make it 2-0. O’Neill followed that with a sacrifice fly on a hard hit line drive to right that brought home Tori Constantin. Casey Hutnyan followed with a single to right that brought home Poirier to make it 4-0.

It was a big inning for the Warriors, but the hardest hit ball off Rocketeers starter Meg Colleran was the line drive out by O’Neill. After the inning ended, North Attleborough head coach Bill Wallace brought his team together and told them that reaching the next level means making those types of plays.

Four runs was enough for O’Neill, who allowed only three base runners (two of them on walks) through the first five innings. Although North started to have better at bats in the later innings, Beauchemin was nonchalant about the effort of his senior.

He explained, “Anna was on. She threw the ball well. If they put the ball in play, hopefully we make the plays.”

The Warriors added a pair of runs with two outs in the sixth inning. Shannon Jones lined a base hit to right that tipped off the webbing of North first baseman Allison Paquin’s glove. That was followed by a triple down the leftfield line by pinch-hitter Christa Wagner. Wagner scored on a single by Shaffer to make it 6-0.

With six runs against North, KP has scored 30 runs in the three wins that followed its shutout loss to Milford. Beauchemin credited the Warriors’ success to a more disciplined approach at the plate.

“We were undisciplined that day and the girls know it,” he remarked. “These girls swing the bat well. They actually like to see pitchers like this, top pitchers; it makes for a more interesting game. Everybody’s level of play goes up.”

North got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Leadoff hitter Rose Mooney beat out a grounder to third and two batters later advanced to third on a single by Colleran. She came home to score on a grounder up the middle by catcher Meghan Wynn that was bobbled by KP shortstop Ashley Hession but right to Constantin to get the force at second.

Despite the loss, Wallace was proud of how his team battled. North were without middle of the order hitter Jackie Del Bonis, who injured her ankle playing field hockey, and played freshman Mycala Moody at third base for the first time. Also, Colleran made the start despite battling illness.

“We probably had seven or eight 3-2 counts, Marissa Gifford had an 11 or 12-pitch at-bat her first time up, so I thought that was good today,” Wallace remarked. “Those are two of the best pitchers in the league and I thought both teams did a good job with their plate approach.”

He added, “Just a lot of stuff fell in today. Tip your hat to them and move on.”

Both teams step outside the Hockomock League in their next games. King Philip will host Shrewsbury on Friday, while North Attleborough travels to Durfee on Saturday.
NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. – Consider it a declaration that the Hockomock League still runs through King Philip.

In the course of the last week, upstart North Attleborough softball knocked off rival Mansfield, before the Hornets then went on to scare the living daylights out of King Philip on their own diamond.

So were the Warriors ripe for an upset? Hardly.

No. 1King Philip’s resounding 9-1 victory over No. 12 North on Thursday was a return to the status quo.

“I think we’re finally feeling more comfortable at the plate, we’re having more quality at-bats,” Warriors head coach Jim Leonard said. “We were aggressive against a good pitcher [North’s Megan Colleran] and we put the ball in play. We’re starting to find our stride offensively.”

KP’s 11-hit barrage was balanced and saw five players drive in runs, including Meg Carnase, Tori Constantin and Renee Poirier who each had two RBI.

North (3-1) took their cuts against Warriors ace Meghan Rico and came away with seven hits. However, the Red Rocketeers left 10 runners stranded and had bases loaded situations in both the fifth and seventh, but were unable to score.

Kim Hallahan knocked in the Red Rocketeers’ lone run in the sixth with an RBI double.

VERSATILITY AND DEPTH SHOWCASED
The Warriors lost one of their top players for the afternoon and perhaps much longer on a pivotal play in the home half of the second.

KP shortstop Alyssa Siegmann charged a smash hit off the bat of North left fielder Erin Melaney. While making a stab at the ground, Siegmann collided with North’s runner, who was breaking for third. The potential base hit was wiped out by the umpire’s call of interference and Siegmann was shaken up (with what Leonard fears is a separated shoulder), not to mention it ended North's rally with the third out.

The Warriors could rest easy knowing that second baseman Tori Constantin could move over to short while Leonard inserted sophomore Rory Baraiolo at second.

Not only did Baraiolo provide some sharp leather work in the field, she also knocked in a run during the Warriors’ two-run fifth.

“It was great that we had two [first-year players] step in and contribute,” Leonard said. “[Baraiolo] had an RBI and Renee Poirier, a freshman, had a clutch RBI. I thought was a bit of a turning point.”

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