Shaky start dooms Amesbury 7-5 versus nonleague Concord-Carlisle

Amesbury pitcher Hayley Catania looks for the ball at home in a cloud of Jill Chelton dust

Amesbury pitcher Hayley Catania looks for the ball at home in a cloud of Jill Chelton dust

2B Lauren Fedorchak looks for the handle in the first inning

2B Lauren Fedorchak looks for the handle in the first inning

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury had three errors and a wild pitch in the first inning and never recovered from the consequences losing, 7-5, to nonleague Concord-Carlisle on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Giving up four unearned runs early to a very good Division One opponent was asking for trouble.

Division Two Amesbury (6-2), despite the defensive start, came out swinging early and often and had home runs (Zoe Fitzgerald, Megan Reid) in the first two innings off CC starter Haley McMorrow.

Zoe Fitzgerald congratulated after first inning homer

Zoe Fitzgerald congratulated after first inning homer

The Patriots (6-3) allowed Amesbury to close to 6-5 in the fifth when they had a defensive nightmare of an inning similar to Amesbury’s in the first.  Haley McMorrow, however, was able to end the 5th by getting Maddie Napoli to fly to right with the tying run on second.

Sophomore Catherine Kingman enabled CC to gain two-run separation in the next inning by whacking a home run over CF Megan Reid’s head. Reliever Nicole Small then came on for Concord-Carlisle and, after giving up a single to the first batter she faced (Caity Baker), retired the last six Indians to seal the deal for the visitors.

Catcher Virginia Ryan puts an end to the AHS second

Catcher Virginia Ryan puts an end to the AHS second

Good crowd on hand and why not with sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s.

Without any outfield fences there was nothing cheap about today’s home runs by Zoe Fitzgerald, Megan Reid, and Catherine Kingman.

Both teams had three errors and both teams bunched them into one inning.

In the Concord-Carlisle first, Emma Della-Volpe reached on 2B Lauren Fedorchak’s bobble.  Catherine Kingman flied out and then Scout Boynton got first on 1B Zoe Fitzgerald’s drop.  So instead of three outs, CC had a run in and a runner on base.  Another chance for an out (fly ball to LF Emily Robinson) was dropped and two more runs crossed.  A wild pitch by AHS starter Haley Catania allowed CC’s 4th run. (Note picture above.)

Virginia Ryan slides the ball and glove loose from Amesbury catcher Caity Baker in the Concord-Carlisle first

Virginia Ryan slides the ball and glove loose from Amesbury catcher Caity Baker in the Concord-Carlisle first

There was a point in the first inning when the Patriots had three runs in and AHS catcher Caity Baker in serious pain at home plate after trying to tag out Virginia Ryan.

Things did get better for the home team as they came out swinging with two homers in the next two innings and their defense got better.

AHS starter Hayley Catania allowed just five hits but had eight walks.  Those walks added base runners and helped CC to get single runs in the 3rd and 4th innings.

Ball goes through shortstop Scout Boynton in the 3-run Amesbury 4th inning

Ball goes through shortstop Scout Boynton in the 3-run Amesbury 4th inning

Trailing 6-2, the Indians cashed three runs in their fourth all unearned.  The elusive second out was dropped first by LF Audrey McKennitt and later went through the legs of shortstop Scout Boynton.  The outfield drop produced a run.  Then with two outs, Lauren Fedorchak’s high infield popup got into the sun for SS Scout Boynton and deflected off her glove for two more Indians runs.

Memorable sequences:

  • In the fourth inning Scout Boynton was on third with one out. On a line drive to right she did not tag up and try to score. The next batter made the third out.
  • In the second inning, after Megan Reid had homered, Caity Baker tripled. Good relay by CC forced third base coach Jim Hounam to hold Caity at third.  Starter Haley McMorrow then retired three straight and Amesbury was only able to get one run out of a very promising inning.

 

Emma Della-Volpe

Emma Della-Volpe

Concord-Carlisle is from the Dual County League and have been a powerhouse in that league the same way Amesbury has been in the Cape Ann League.

There will be a rematch between the two teams on Saturday May 21st at Concord.

Emma Della-Volpe was the co-MVP of the Dual County League in 2015.  She was 8-1 with 105 K’s in 97 innings pitched.  Amesbury can be thankful that CC’s four games in six days kept her away from them this time.

Amesbury will be facing Lynnfield on the road on Monday afternoon.  The Patriots visit Bedford tomorrow afternoon.

Modern equipment: You watch football and see armbands.  Now softball teams have them.  They have numbers on them and coaches use them for offensive and defensive situations.  So a coach yells out a number and all the players look at their armbands.  It will be very hard to miss a signal under this arrangement!

One coach in my (very) distant past would yell things like, “This is your existential moment.”  He taught philosophy.

It was good to see Augie the Amesbury mascot on hand.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Teammates celebrate Catherine Kingman's HR in the sixth inning

Teammates celebrate Catherine Kingman’s HR in the sixth inning

1B Zoe Fitzgerald tags out Emma Della-Volpe

1B Zoe Fitzgerald tags out Emma Della-Volpe

Shortstop Maddie Napoli fires to first base

Shortstop Maddie Napoli fires to first base

Patriots reliever Nicole Small prepares to throw to first base

Patriots reliever Nicole Small prepares to throw to first base

Emma Della-Volpe scores the first CC run

Emma Della-Volpe scores the first CC run

Close play at third

Close play at third

Scout Boynton

Scout Boynton

Starter and winner Haley McMorrow

Starter and winner Haley McMorrow

The sun gives Scout Boynton trouble in the 4th inning

The sun gives Scout Boynton trouble in the 4th inning

RF Jill Chelton looks for a fly in right

RF Jill Chelton looks for a fly in right

3B Adrienne Harris settles under a popup in the 2nd inning

3B Adrienne Harris settles under a popup in the 2nd inning

Megan Reid smiles after her second inning homer

Megan Reid smiles after her second inning homer

 

 

 

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North Reading dominates formerly undefeated Amesbury 7-0 in softball

North Reading pitcher Julia Perrone tossed a 4-hit, 7K, gem against Amesbury

North Reading pitcher Julia Perrone tossed a 4-hit, 7K, gem against Amesbury

Sophomore Tara Driver smiles her way around the bases after hitting a 3-run homer in the sixth inning

Sophomore Tara Driver smiles her way around the bases after hitting a 3-run homer in the sixth inning

(North Reading MA)  This was a surprise.

North Reading (5-1) dominated Amesbury to the tune of 7-0 with terrific pitching (Julia Perrone) and nonstop hitting on Monday afternoon in Cape Ann League action.

This was the first loss for the Indians (5-1).  The shutout was a real surprise since Amesbury had rattled five opponents with forty-five runs before running into NR junior Julia Perrone.

The Hornets’ righty allowed only four singles and struck out seven Indians.  Julia ended the 2nd and 3rd innings with K’s after the visitors had runners in scoring position in each of them.

It was easy to miss the Hornets excellent pitching with all the hitting they did.  The word “squibber” would not describe any of those hits.  NR hit the fence on a line, hit one over the fence (Tara Driver), and had four doubles.

The only starter without a hit was leadoff batter Carly Swartz but Carly’s terrific defense at second more than made up for her not getting a hit.

Senior Lily Malloy drove in NR’s first two runs with a single in the second and a double to center in the third.

It was a very busy afternoon in the Amesbury outfield

It was a very busy afternoon in the Amesbury outfield

North Reading would get two more runs in the fifth inning on sophomore Guiliana Peppe’s two-out, bases-loaded double to left field.

The Hornets carried that 4-0 lead into the sixth.  After two quick outs, Abby Paine singled.  3B Emily Robinson handled the grounder of next batter Julia Perrone okay but looked first to second and then threw wildly to first allowing Julia to reach and extend the inning.  That was unfortunate for Amesbury because next batter Tara Driver lofted a high fly to right that cleared the fence for a 3-run homer.

Pitcher Julia Perrone throws to first as teammate Cassidy looks on

Pitcher Julia Perrone throws to first as teammate Cassidy looks on

This was Tara’s fifth home run of the season.

Starter Julia Perrone now has 46 strikeouts over 37 innings.

Amesbury starter Hayley Catania had three strikeouts but as the thirteen hits would indicate was not missing many bats on this afternoon.

With both teams in Division 2 you can almost be certain that to get where they want to get in the post-season they have a good chance of meeting again.

The Indians had defeated North Reading three straight years by one run each time.  I was expecting a close game but NR on this afternoon would have none of that.

Cassandra Pascucci was one of four Hornets with two hits

Cassandra Pascucci was one of four Hornets with two hits

Julia Perrone, Cassidy Gaetta, Cassandra Pascucci, and Guiliana Peppe each had two hits for North Reading.

Lauren Fedorchak, Hayley Catania, Adrienne Harris, and Chloe Kramer singled for Amesbury.

Next game for North Reading is on the road Wednesday versus Ipwich.

Amesbury’s next game is hosting Masco on Friday.

Danny Ventura of the Boston Herald was in the house.

A wild throw to first by 3B Tara Driver found my ankle.  That comes with the territory when you try to get action shots and have the reflexes of a sidewalk.

North Reading box

Amesbury box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Zoe Fitzgerald

Zoe Fitzgerald

Megan Reid

Megan Reid

2B Carly Swartz fields the final out

2B Carly Swartz fields the final out

Adrienne Harris connects

Adrienne Harris connects

3B Tara Driver fires toward first ......and finds my ankle.

3B Tara Driver fires toward first ……and finds my ankle.

Hayley Catania

Hayley Catania

CF Abby Paine sights a fly ball

CF Abby Paine sights a fly ball

Caity Baker

Caity Baker

2B Lauren Fedorchak tries to track down a hit up the middle

2B Lauren Fedorchak tries to track down a hit up the middle

Hayley Catania caught stealing by shortstop Cassandra Pascucci

Hayley Catania caught stealing by shortstop Cassandra Pascucci

Catcher Caity Baker applies the tag at home to Jessica Ferrazzani

Catcher Caity Baker applies the tag at home to Jessica Ferrazzani

Amesbury nearly turned two.

Amesbury nearly turned two.

1B Zoe Fitzgerald set to tag Carly Swartz

1B Zoe Fitzgerald set to tag Carly Swartz

 

 

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Top Colorado Rockies prospects found on Hartford Yard Goats roster

Hartford's Kyle Freeland (top Colorado pick in 2014) picked up a win versus Portland pitching seven solid innings

Hartford’s Kyle Freeland (top Colorado pick in 2014) picked up a win versus Portland pitching seven solid innings

Portland starter Aaron Wilkerson pitched a 2-hit shutout in his six innings of work

Portland starter Aaron Wilkerson pitched a 2-hit shutout in his six innings of work

(Portland ME) Nice matchup between Portland’s best pitcher (Aaron Wilkerson) and Hartford’s top pitching prospect (Kyle Freeland) on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

The Sea Dogs (4-7) ended up losing this one, 8-1, because the Portland bullpen (Simon Mercedes & Mitch Atkins) gave up eight runs on eight hits in the final three innings.  That’s ugly!

Speaking of ugly, the defense on both teams was very weak with a total of nine errors.  It was a surprise to see throws to first, from the left side, be such an adventure.

I was a bit disappointed when the Portland roster was released a couple of weeks ago because none of the top prospects were there.  Almost all of them seem to be in Salem (A).  The top Red Sox prospect at Portland (second baseman Wendell Rijo) is rated 11th.

Meanwhile Hartford, which is the AA farm team of the Colorado Rockies, has #3 (David Dahl), #5 (Ryan McMahon), #8 Raimel Tapia, and #9 Kyle Freeland on their roster.

And as it turned out, all four of those top prospects were involved in today’s game.  Suspecting this I chose to spend this gorgeous April afternoon taking pictures of the prospects.

Derek Miller recorded his first AA hit today

Derek Miller recorded his first AA hit today

This is the Hartford Yard Goats first season after moving from New Britain.  I visited New Britain for a game a few years ago and got several good shots of Altoona’s young pitcher Gerrit Cole.  Boston’s Brock Holt was also on that Altoona team.

Hartford could easily be called the “Road” Goats.  Their stadium won’t be ready until the end of May so every game before then is a road game.  Nice planning!

The Goats (8-3) have plenty of highly regarded pitching and don’t appear to be intimidated by the non-stop road games.  It helps that AA crowds are very different from major league fans.  The players are a mystery to most minor-league attendees so they don’t react strongly to miscues and/or hits.  In other words, there is a lot less pressure.

One evidence of unknowing fans was a time I was at Portland in August for a Sea Dogs game versus Harrisburg.  The Senators had the #1 prospect in all of baseball on their roster………Bryce Harper.  He came across the field just before game time in a warmup jacket and hardly caused a stir in the crowd.  I had seen pictures of him so I knew what I was looking for and ended up with quite a few good shots of him in the Harrisburg dugout.

Jacquelyn Davis with David Dahl before the game

Jacquelyn Davis with David Dahl before the game

I had seen David Dahl (first round CR pick – #10 –  in 2012) last year in the New Britain dugout at Portland.  I knew what he looked like.  This time around he was in uniform and on the field early.  It wasn’t actually any baseball activity that got David on the field early.  It was Jacquelyn Davis.

Hartford’s Matt Carasiti, from Berlin CT and St. John’s, had family on hand.

Another reason why I drive up to Hadlock Field is to cheer Slugger on.  I know he’ll race a little kid and every time I’ve been there he has come in second.  That didn’t change today.  He always has a costly breakdown in the races I’ve seen.  This time he had the lead early but chose to engage his young opponent in a conversation as they both went over second base.  By the time the Big Guy got himself facing the right direction the young speedster had put him away.  Slugger was devastated and rolled in the first base coaching box sobbing.  It brought tears to my eyes too.  Maybe next time!

Aaron Wilkerson stays warm.

Aaron Wilkerson stays warm.

Aaron Wilkerson was one of those undrafted pitchers that had to make a name for himself in independent leagues to get the attention of major league teams.  I like his chances of getting to AAA Pawtucket this season.

Kyle Freeland pitched seven strong innings for Hartford giving up only five hits.  The Rockies selected Kyle in the first round (8th pick) of the 2014 draft.

This was a special day for the Sea Dogs’ Derek Miller because he got his first AA hit.

I liked the idea that the vehicle that transported Slugger around the field had a snowplow on the front of it.  It wasn’t that long ago that the white stuff was on Hadlock.  Today’s weather (60’s and sunny) was about as good as it gets this time of year.

Thanks to media relations director Chris Cameron for arranging my visit on short notice.  I flew back from Turks and Caicos on Saturday.  Now there’s a nice place!

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Raimel Tapia (#8 prospect of CR)

Raimel Tapia (#8 prospect of CR)

Tzu-Wei Lin

Tzu-Wei Lin

Jason Witte

Jason Witte

Jose Vinicio dives back into first

Jose Vinicio dives back into first

Derek Miller slides in on Pat Valaika

Derek Miller slides in on Pat Valaika

Wendell Rijo

Wendell Rijo

David Dahl in Hartford dugout

David Dahl in Hartford dugout

Slugger devastated after yet another loss

Slugger devastated after yet another loss

Kyle Freeland between innings

Kyle Freeland between innings

Kyle Freeland and Ryan McMahon

Kyle Freeland and Ryan McMahon

Rosell Herrera and Hartford manager Darin Everson

Rosell Herrera and Hartford manager Darin Everson

Ryan McMahon

Ryan McMahon

Jacquelyn Davis

Jacquelyn Davis

Aaron Wilkerson

Aaron Wilkerson

Slugger plows past the fans

Slugger plows past the fans

David Dahl (first round CR pick in 2012)

David Dahl (first round CR pick in 2012)

Matt Carasiti

Matt Carasiti

Colorado's #5 prospect third baseman Ryan McMahon

Colorado’s #5 prospect third baseman Ryan McMahon

 

 

 

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Bernie Sanders for President

I am officially today endorsing Bernie Sanders for President.

Bernie and I go back a longggggggg way together.  He, in fact, is only eighteen days older than I am.

One thing that 74 year-old’s would like is some respect.  How often do we hear things like, “Dad, what were you thinking?,” and/or “Grandpa, what are you doing?”  I know that when Bernie becomes President he’ll get that deserved respect.

Another thing about Bernie is that he is fascinated with weather and I share his interest.  Worrying about the weather is what we oldsters do.  Are all doctor’s appointments intentionally scheduled on rainy or snow days?  Bernie has promised to fix the weather and that will surely help us get where we have to get.

I am with Bernie in his attitude about foreign affairs: Let them take care of themselves.  Our memories of the rest of the world are highlighted by the Titanic and Pearl Harbor.  We just can’t let those bad things happen to us again.

Bernie learned a lot living all these years in Vermont.  The best thing he learned was how to lead.  You deal with cows and sheep and you have to know how to get them to where you want them.  How do you do it? You give them what they want, which is food.  Bernie has carried that insight over into politics.  You want people to follow you, offer them what they want.  Offer free education and free this and that.  Bernie figured out that what worked with cows and sheep will work just as well with room temperature IQ’s.

I am glad that the campaign has gotten Bernie away from Vermont and DC.  Some of the places the campaign has taken him are new to him.  He supposedly asked an aide if the land out West was stilled claimed by the Spanish.

You will notice that Bernie wears a button on his wardrobe with his first and last name on it.  It doesn’t just say, “Bernie.”  When you get our age it is nice to have a handy reference just in case the old memory takes a sudden stumble.

Those of you who have read so far are surely suspecting that the calendar date and this entry are certainly connected……and they most definitely are!

I continue to wonder if the burn I feel has something to do with Bernie Sanders or are my hemorrhoids acting up again?

 

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Manchester Central escapes with the D1 title 60-58 in OT over Merrimack

Manchester Central realizes that they are the 2016 New Hampshire Division 1 champions

Manchester Central realizes that they are the 2016 New Hampshire Division 1 champions

Was the shot good or not?

Was the shot good or not?

(Durham NH) This game was so close that the losing team celebrated after the game ended.

But that celebration by Merrimack was short-lived as they learned that Noah Beygelman’s 3-pointer had not beaten the buzzer.

Manchester Central, thereby, escaped (barely) with a 60-58 overtime win and claimed the New Hampshire Division 1 title for the second time in three years.

The Saturday encounter at UNH was a delight to watch and there were plenty on hand at the Lundholm Gym doing exactly that.

Jaylen Leroy (25 points and 10 rebounds)

Jaylen Leroy (25 points and 10 rebounds)

The Little Green (15-4) started fast riding three-pointers by Evan Macdonald, Jaylen Leroy, and Osiah Lewis to a 20-12 advantage one minute into the second quarter.

The Tomahawks (13-6) used the next 3+ minutes to run nine unanswered points and take the lead (21-20).  Ian Roberts and Ian Cummings put all the points together for Merrimack.

The rest of the game was tight….very tight.  How tight was it?  Neither team led by more than four points.  There were sixteen lead changes and nine ties the rest of the way.  That’s tight!

The 2016 Player-of-the-Year (Jaylen Leroy) led all scorers with twenty-five points.  The 6-3 senior added ten rebounds and three steals.  He also found himself at the free throw line sixteen times, including late in regulation and late in overtime.

Jaylen drained two freebies with 32 seconds left in regulation to get Central to overtime.  His 3-of-6 in the final minute of OT gave the Little Green the stay-ahead points in crunch time.

Be certain that the outcome of this tense struggle was not decided until the referees ruled off substitute Noah Beygelman’s 3-point shot, after the game ended.

Andrew Wojciak fires and hits a three late in OT

Andrew Wojciak fires and hits a three late in OT

In the final nineteen seconds of the four-minute overtime, Zack Kerr (21 points) and Jon Makori (14 points) tallied two free throws each.  Jon’s two gave MC a 59-55 lead with sixteen second left.

In the next possession Zack looked as if he wanted the shot but instead found teammate Andrew Wojciak wide open in the left corner.  Andrew (11 points) fired a three.  The shot hit the rim, went straight up, and fell through.  Now the Tomahawks were within one with eight seconds left.

You knew a foul was coming with five seconds to go and Jaylen Leroy was fouled.

Jaylen missed the first and made the second to up MC’s lead to two (60-58).

With no timeouts left, and five seconds to work with, Zack Kerr hurried up the left side with freshman Osiah Lewis covering him.

Zack Kerry guarded by Osiah Lewis in the last five seconds of OT

Zack Kerry guarded by Osiah Lewis in the last five seconds of OT

My pictures suggest that Zack wanted to drive but Jaylen Leroy slid into the lane as an extra defender.  So Zack put on the brakes, intent on going up long range.  However, defender Osiah deflected the ball out of Zack’s hands and it caromed over to Noah Beygelman.  Noah took a dribble toward the middle and had an open look at a three. mema-A9-Osiah-Lewis-deflects-the-ball-away-from-Zack-Kerr

mema-A8-Noah-Beygelman-about-to-shootNoah’s shot went up and the shot went in but the red light on the backboard had gone on before Noah’s release.

Evan Macdonald and Jaylen Leroy celebrate

Evan Macdonald and Jaylen Leroy celebrate

You never saw such a mood swing.  One moment the Merrimack team/crowd was screaming and jumping in ecstasy and the next thing it was Manchester Central’s turn.

I can guarantee you that Noah was not the designated last-second shot taker because he had only come into the game for the very first time with just five seconds left.  I have no doubt, however, that the senior is a 3-point shooter or Coach Goodridge wouldn’t have inserted him. Noah was a split-second away from being a huge hero.

Ian Roberts (11 points/10 rebounds) had a double/double for Merrimack.  Jaylen Leroy (25 points/10 rebounds) did the same for Manchester Central.

Impressed with Jaylen Leroy and Zack Kerr.  Jaylen had a terrific demeanor.  Didn’t get overly excited, just let the game come to him.  When he had the ball one-on-one you guessed that he could get a shot off from anywhere with a good chance for it to go in.  Zack (6-1) had all the shots and was not afraid to dart to the hoop.

On February 16th Manchester Central had a 69-53 win over Merrimack.  Jaylen Leroy had twenty-two in that one.

Zack Kerr (21 points)

Zack Kerr (21 points)

Manchester Central now has nineteen state titles.

This was the third time the two teams have met in the title game in the last six years.  Merrimack won in 2012.

Both teams were content to weave the ball on the exterior looking for openings.

I am used to a 30-second clock but there was never a need for one in this game.

The fans were loud and both teams had a flag carrier.

Game Box

I am deeply indebted to the UNH stat crew.  They provided the stats that made this write-up possible.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jaylen Leroy fouled by Ian Roberts

Jaylen Leroy fouled by Ian Roberts

Zack Kerr guarded by Evan Macdonald

Zack Kerr guarded by Evan Macdonald

Jaylen Leroy elevates for two

Jaylen Leroy elevates for two

Zack Kerr, Mike Dudash, Andrew Wojciak, Ian Roberts

Zack Kerr, Mike Dudash, Andrew Wojciak, Ian Roberts

Ian Cummings (14 points) defended by Osiah Lewis

Ian Cummings (14 points) defended by Osiah Lewis

Ian Roberts (11 points) looks for room against Jaylen Leroy

Ian Roberts (11 points) looks for room against Jaylen Leroy

Jon Makori

Jon Makori

Noah Beygelman

Noah Beygelman

March to the foul line

March to the foul line

Jon Makori (13 points)

Jon Makori (13 points)

Merrimack celebrates but notice the referee

Merrimack celebrates but notice the referee

Evan Macdonald, Coach Wheeler, Jaylen Leroy with D1 trophy

Evan Macdonald, Coach Wheeler, Jaylen Leroy with D1 trophy

Manchester Central team picture

Manchester Central team picture

 

 

 

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Katie Nelson (31) and Lauren Manis (21) carry Bishop Feehan to D1 title game with 70-57 win over Woburn

Lauren Manis (21 points)

Lauren Manis (21 points)

Katie Nelson (31 points)

Katie Nelson (31 points)

(Boston MA) Bishop Feehan gets to the D1 state title game after defeating Woburn, 70-57, on Monday night at the TD Garden.

Katie Nelson (31 points) and Lauren Manis (21 points) carried the Shamrocks not only by scoring plenty of points but they also assisted on baskets, rebounded, and blocked shots.

Nicole Pacheco tries to block Lauren Manis

Nicole Pacheco tries to block Lauren Manis

Teams that get places in the MIAA tournament have to have go-to players. The Shamrocks (23-1) are blessed to have two such players.

Katie, only a junior, is a verbal commit to BU while senior Lauren will go to Holy Cross.

The Tanners (22-3) went down by fourteen (22-8) early in the second quarter. The BF lead was fifteen (32-17) in the last minute of the second quarter.

You suspected that Woburn might be heading for the wrong end of a lopsided score in the second half. You would be wrong!

Mya Blazejowski (14 points) made three 3's in the third quarter

Mya Blazejowski (14 points) made three 3’s in the third quarter

The Tanners put seven straight points together (rebound baskets by Kelsey Qualey and Mya Blazejowski, plus a 3 by Kelsey) and pulled to within four (43-39) with seven minutes of game left.

You suspected that Woburn might have enough to catch and pass the South champs. You would be wrong….again!

If Katie Nelson and Lauren Manis were tough to stop for three quarters, you should have seen them in the final quarter.

And if you were at the Garden, you would add, you should have seen Woburn’s Marissa Gattuso in the same quarter.

Marissa Gattuso (21 points including thirteen in the 4th quarter.

Marissa Gattuso (21 points including thirteen in the 4th quarter.

Marissa (21 points) began to find openings to get off floaters and runners and had a 13-point quarter. Good thing Marissa got hot for Woburn because Katie Nelson scored twelve and Lauren Manis added eleven for Bishop Feehan.

As I said, Woburn was within four points with 7 minutes to go.

The next four minutes of game-time did in the Middlesex League champions. The Shamrocks put a 13-5 segment together and back down went the Tanners by twelve (56-44) and they did not recover.

Where did Bishop Feehan’s thirteen points comes from? Katie Nelson hit a long-distance three and then added an old-fashioned three. Then came Lauren Manis to add an old-fashioned three, a jump shot, and two free throws.

Sometimes fouling a team late in the game works but not this time for Woburn. Katie was 7-for-7 and Lauren was 5-for-5.

It was truly a remarkable display by the BF stars. You would like to think that Bishop Feehan’s opponent for the state title on Saturday, either Natick or Chicopee Comp, could be in for a long game. But, you never know.

Nicole Gallagher guarded by Marina Rufo

Nicole Gallagher guarded by Marina Rufo

Woburn had a brief 4-2 lead after a drive by junior Mya Blazejowski (14 points).

The team from Attleboro took the lead for good with eight unanswered points. Two jumps shots by Katie Nelson and layups by Lauren Manis and Emily Miccile provided the points.

In the last ten seconds of the first quarter BF got a layup (Katie Nelson) after a pass from Nicole Gallagher and a three by Nicole Gallagher from Lauren Manis. The Shamrocks led, 17-8 after a quarter.

Nicole Pacheco tries to slow down Katie Nelson

Nicole Pacheco tries to slow down Katie Nelson

The Eastern Athletic League champs put another five-pack together to start the second quarter. The damage was done by Marissa Fontaine (3-pointer) and a rebound basket from Lauren Manis. This action put the BF advantage to 22-8.

How did Woburn get back to within in four? They got long-range hot. Mya Blazejowski started the third quarter with one and later would add two more. Kelsey Qualey drained her own 3-pointer to end the quarter with a 43-37 score.

Kelsey’s opening rebound basket, starting the final quarter, lessened Woburn’s deficit to four but that was as close as they would get on this evening.

Both teams took good care of the ball. Woburn ended up with eleven turnovers while Bishop Feehan had ten.

Kelsey Qualey and Lauren Manis

Kelsey Qualey and Lauren Manis

Lauren Manis (6’2”) had the size to block shots without fouling.

Katie Nelson (5’9”) made all the shots: 3’s, jumpers, layups, and free throws. She also reached 1000 points in this her junior year. Katie did not force her way to tonight’s thirty-one points. The total tied a career high in points for her.

This was my second look at Woburn’s junior point guard Marissa Galluso. She reminds me so much of Pentucket’s Kelsi McNamara. Lack of size does not prevent her from getting to the basket and from making shots in traffic.

It was interesting to watch BF defensively covering Marissa. When a Woburn screen was set, to give Marissa some clearance, the Shamrocks ignored the screen setter entirely and tried to keep Marissa from going either direction.

Always fun to cover a game in the Garden. You can’t beat the Garden lighting as well as the crowd reactions to game situations.

Woburn box

Bishop Feehan box

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Two talented juniors (Marissa Gattuso and Katie Nelson)

Two talented juniors (Marissa Gattuso and Katie Nelson)

Cassie Palmisano

Cassie Palmisano

Woburn waits for the player introductions

Woburn waits for the player introductions

Emma Forbes

Emma Forbes

Lauren Manis blocks Kelsey Qualey's shot

Lauren Manis blocks Kelsey Qualey’s shot

Katie Nelson jump shot

Katie Nelson jump shot

Elle Brennan defends Lauren Manis

Elle Brennan defends Lauren Manis

Mya Blazejowski

Mya Blazejowski

End of Woburn season

End of Woburn season

Marissa Gattuso faces two defenders

Marissa Gattuso faces two defenders

Lauren Manis block

Lauren Manis block

 

 

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Marissa Gattuso (28 points) takes Woburn to D1 North title 58-46 over Revere

Woburn (2016 Division 1 North champions)

Woburn (2016 Division 1 North champions)

Marissa Gattuso (28 points) was the difference maker for Woburn

Marissa Gattuso (28 points) was the difference maker for Woburn

(Haverhill MA) Dazzling show by junior Marissa Gattuso.

The Woburn junior dominated Revere and led the Tanners to a 58-46 win and the Division 1 North title on Saturday afternoon at Whittier.

Woburn now gets Bishop Feehan in the D1 state semifinals at the TD Garden on Monday at 5:45PM. The Shamrocks (22-1) were the #2 seed in the South.

Marissa (two-time Middlesex League All-Star) displayed the full package of shooting range collecting 28 points. To get to that lofty total she drove for layups, hit jump shots, hit a three, made thirteen free throws, as well as three floaters. There didn’t seem to be a shooting spot she didn’t hurt the Tanners from!

Marissa Gattuso about to be fouled by Ally Hinojosa

Marissa Gattuso about to be fouled by Ally Hinojosa

Those floaters were the ones that impressed me. No heights were given for #2 seed Woburn in the program but I’m guessing that Marissa is 5’6”. Revere had 6’2”, 6’1” size in close and getting a shot blocked was a real possibility. But the floater is the answer. You shoot the ball on the run over the bigger defender without charging. Isaiah Thomas does it all the time for the Celtics.

Marissa not only had the full selection of shots she also controlled the ball as point guard. Revere put a number of different defenders on her. I thought senior Maritza Scott was the best at it but Maritza fouled out with four minutes left. The Tanners had only one turnover in the final quarter because, led by Marissa, they took good care of the ball. Revere was forced to foul and Woburn gathered fourteen points from the charity stripe in the final quarter.

Revere (20-6), from the Northeastern Conference, was tied with Woburn twice in the early going. Maritza Scott and Pamela Gonzalez had consecutive layins to knot the score at 6-6 with 2 ½ minutes left in the first quarter.

The next 3 ½ minutes of playing time were all Woburn. The Tanners (22-2) ran ten unanswered points together to gain separation, 16-6.

Mya Blazejowski zips to the hoop

Mya Blazejowski zips to the hoop

Woburn had six three’s in the game and got two of them (Andrea Schiavone, Nicole Pacheco) in the breakaway segment. There were two Marissa Gattuso floaters in the same mix.

#4 seed Revere was never able to get closer than three points (24-21) the rest of the way.

Credit the undersized interior defense of Woburn. It was clear that Revere wanted to dominate the glass on both ends of the court. That just didn’t happen. There were few second attempts and there were few entries passes where one-on-one defense was in place.

Crowd under the basket

Crowd under the basket

Sophomore Valentina Pepic (10 points) did find some layup room late in the game but by then Woburn was trying not to foul.

Woburn did a terrific job of containing Revere point guard Pamela Gonzalez (12 points). Pamela always had defenders to deal with in her attempts to get to the basket. Pamela had twenty-seven points in the Patriots’ win earlier in the tournament so holding her to twelve was a key to the D1 title win.

Ally Hinojosa starts the 3rd quarter with a three

Ally Hinojosa starts the 3rd quarter with a three

As I mentioned earlier, the Patriots did get within three points. That happened at the start of the third quarter after senior Ally Hinojosa drained a three-pointer from the left.

The lead enlarged to six (35-29) with two minutes left in the third quarter.

The next six minutes of playing time did in Revere. They tallied just one point (Ally Hinojosa free throw) while the Tanners garnered eight points from two layups (Nicole Pacheco, Kelsey Qualey), a jump shot (Marissa Gattuso), and free throws by Marina Rufo and Mya Blazejowski.

Now the teams were separated by thirteen points (43-30) with four minutes left in the game. Twelve made free throws later the Tanners had a 58-46 victory and the D1 North title.

Good crowd on hand. The Woburn student section had some bright colors on.

The foul shooting could have been better for both teams: Woburn (20-for-34), Revere (10-for-21). Too many high school players are spending too much time practicing 3-pointers. Revere was 2-for-8 from the foul line in a quarter (3rd) when they got within three points of the lead!

Revere's Adanna Hector

Revere’s Adanna Hector

Getting the D1 North title probably erases Woburn’s painful memory from last year’s tournament when their #1 seeding didn’t do a bit of good as they went out to #16 Arlington.

When I saw that Revere had lost to St. Mary’s (Lynn) twice I feared they could be in trouble vs Woburn. The time I saw the Spartans (they lost to Bishop Fenwick) they had size and persistent pressure. So I figured that if that had bothered Revere (twice) then Woburn might cause problems. This was before I had ever seen Marissa Gattuso in action.

Woburn boxscore

Revere boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Pamela Gonzalez (12 points) in the middle of the Woburn defense. (Note the arm grab.)

Pamela Gonzalez (12 points) in the middle of the Woburn defense. (Note the arm grab.)

Revere (Division 1 North finalist)

Revere (Division 1 North finalist)

Mya Blazejowski and Coach Steve Sullivan

Mya Blazejowski and Coach Steve Sullivan

Marina Rugo pressured by Meaghan Gotham

Marina Rugo pressured by Meaghan Gotham

Marissa Gattuso and Kelsey Qualey

Marissa Gattuso and Kelsey Qualey

Point guard Marissa Gattuso

Point guard Marissa Gattuso

Little room for Meaghan Gotham

Little room for Meaghan Gotham

Maritza Scott (10 points) finds an opening

Maritza Scott (10 points) finds an opening

Junior Marissa Gattuso

Junior Marissa Gattuso

Marissa Gattuso goes down after a foul in the last minute

Marissa Gattuso goes down after a foul in the last minute

 

 

 

 

 

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