Standing on the second base bag in the biggest game of her young varsity life, Madi Shaw just wanted to play it smart.
The sophomore slugger from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High had done what few have done against King Philip Regional senior ace Meg Rico : she got on base. Now, with two outs in the 12th inning of a scoreless Division 1 South final, Shaw wanted to be aggressive.
“In the back of my head, I’m always hoping for a passed ball, but it’s never expected,” said Shaw.
But with B-R hurler Audrey Dolloff at the plate, Rico’s pitch got away from catcher Olivia Godin . Shaw sprinted to third. And when Godin’s ensuing throw to third was not corralled, she headed home, sliding across the plate for the go-ahead run for a 1-0 lead. It was the first run KP had allowed in the postseason.
“I wasn’t sure how far the ball got,” said Shaw. “All I saw was [the ball] go out of the infield, and I booked it home. I was expecting a throw, so I went all out.”
Dolloff then wrapped up the South title with a perfect frame in the bottom of the 12th, her 35th inning in four days. Bridgewater-Raynham fell in the state semifinals, 5-4, to Malden, but it was a memorable run for Shaw, Dolloff, and the rest of the Trojans.
“The way the game was going, I had a feeling it was going to be the first team to not make an error that was going to win,” said Dolloff.
Eight other storylines emerged during the MIAA baseball and softball tournaments from high school programs south of Boston.
Sharon baseball survives, on one hit
The Sharon High baseball team mustered just one hit in its Division 2 first-round matchup against Wellesley, but that one knock — a two-out single in the third inning by Jake Fishman — plated Michael Birschbach from third with the go-ahead run.
The Eagles, the 12th and final seed in the Division 2 South bracket, made that single run stand up against Wellesley’s Tim Superko , who struck out 11 batters in seven innings of work but issued six walks. Fishman went the distance for the win, allowing three hits and no walks while fanning six.
Cohasset’s reign clipped by Harwich
The two-time defending state champion Cohasset baseball squad seemed poised for another title run, entering the South Sectional as the top seed.
Following a 7-2 victory over Millis, Cohasset faced Harwich in the quarterfinals, a team the Skippers had beaten twice during the regular season en route to their third consecutive South Shore League title. Cohasset had runners in scoring position in four of the seven innings, but managed just a single run on five hits against Harwich’s Mike Mahar in a 2-1 defeat.
a second chance
In athletics, second chances are rare. Stephanie Cornish is thankful for hers.
The Abington High junior broke her ankle in the 2011 Division 2 semifinals against Coyle & Cassidy High.
She was unable to walk for two and a half months after surgery, but in her return to the diamond this spring, she hit .500 with two home runs and 29 RBIs during the regular season.
Her defense at third was a key factor in the Green Wave capturing their first South sectional title. “It was really tough to leave my team like that in the middle of a comeback’’ against Coyle, “but it made me want to come back and do really well this year,” said Cornish.
“We had a great game against them, which is why I was so excited for tournament play this year. I knew we had it in us to go far.”
a gem for Archies
It took the Archbishop Williams softball team five years to make a return appearance to the Division 3 South tournament, and junior Christine Chase made that appearance one to remember.
On the road against Nantucket in the sectional quarterfinals, the Bishops’ ace threw a no-hitter, striking out 10 and allowing only one walk in a 14-0 win. ABW was then ousted by Case in the semis, 9-0.
Marshfield 9 ends
The Marshfield baseball program is on the rise, from a 9-11 mark in 2008 to a 16-4 run this season.
But the Rams entered this year’s tourney seeking their first postseason victory since 2006.
That streak was halted thanks to a fantastic outing by Southern New Hampshire-bound Kevin Kwedor , who hurled a three-hit shutout against Brookline, fanning 11 in a 3-0 win. Marshfield, however, was ousted by Norwood in the next round, 11-10.
the job done
The chatter around the Oliver Ames baseball program before the season was on Central Michigan commit Ryan O’Shea and the strength he would bring to the front end of the Tiger pitching rotation. But with O’Shea out the majority of his senior year with a shoulder injury, other players stepped forward.
In the quarterfinals of the Division 2 South tourney against second-seeded Hingham, junior David MacKinnon fired a one-hitter in a 6-0 win.
Flaherty delivers for Stoughton softball
After facing some of the region’s best pitchers during the regular season — including Meg Rico (King Philip), Tricia Hansen (Mansfield), and Megan Colleran (North Attleborough) — Stoughton was well prepped for the Division 1 South tournament.
The only team in the bracket with a below-.500 record (8-11), the 24th-seeded Black Knights scored one of the biggest upsets of the tourney with a 5-4, eight inning victory over Marshfield.
The game changer: explosive junior Megan Flaherty , who was 3 for 4 on the afternoon with two doubles, a triple, and two runs scored. In the eighth, she cracked a two-out triple and the Black Knights took the lead for good when senior captain Nicole Burton knocked in Flaherty with a double of her own.
Starting pitching carries Xaverian
Xaverian Brothers coach Gerry Lambert has a firm belief on pitching: don’t overuse arms early, and they will be there late. His plan of attack may have been costly during the regular season, when the Hawks suffered through a five-game slide.
But in Xaverian’s run to the Division 1 state title, senior Nick Ahearn and junior Alex Person each pitched two complete games, and senior Tim Duggan pitched 15 of a possible 18 innings over two outings for a staff that compiled a stifling 1.76 earned run average.
Person’s final complete game was a 133-pitch effort against Algonquin Regional in a 7-1 win in the state final.
“I generally don’t overuse pitchers in the regular season so they can go out and throw 133 pitches in June,” said Lambert after the Hawks clinched the title.
“You can probably argue I overused him today’’ against Algonquin, “but I don’t think anyone is going to care too much.”