Spontaneous combustion might be the best way to describe the Franklin High’s bats on Monday night.
The top-seeded Panthers erupted for 12 runs on nine hits and three walks in the fourth inning of a 15-1 five-inning win over No. 16 Durfee to advance to the Division 1 South quarterfinals. On Wednesday, Franklin will host No. 8 Norwood, a 4-0 winner over Brookline in the first round.
“I felt like if we stuck with the plan and the guys kept having good at-bats — I obviously didn’t think we’d put up a 12-spot — but I did feel good about our chances of extending the lead,” said Franklin coach Zach Brown.
Nursing a 3-1 lead in the middle of the fourth, Franklin (14-1) rapped out four hits and three walks before the Hilltoppers (6-8) even got an out. The inning started with three straight hits from the Panthers’ seven, eight and nine hitters, who finished the game a combined 7 of 9 with seven runs scored and three RBIs.
“We all just got juiced up, brought it in, said ‘Hits on three’ and we came out and played together and got a run going,” said Henry DiGiorgio, who went 3 for 3 with three runs and an RBI out of the No. 9 spot.
DiGiorgio singled twice in the fourth, knocking in a run and scoring twice.
“I was just sitting back and letting the ball come to me and then executing,” said the freshman shortstop. “I was feeling relaxed tonight up there. I’ve been breathing before I get into the box and that’s been helping me.”
In addition to DiGiorgio’s three-hit day, left fielder Chris Goode finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs and a run. Center fielder Ryan Gerety (1-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs), Hartford-bound catcher Jake Fitzgibbons (1-1, run, 2 RBIs), Jack Marino (2-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, steal) and CJ Jette (2-3, 2 runs) contributed.
Meanwhile, Franklin ace Jacob Jette was efficient on the mound, facing the minimum through three innings before surrendering an unearned run on two hits, a walk and an error in the top of the fourth. Most importantly, he only threw 55 pitches, meaning he’ll be available Friday if Franklin advances to the semifinals.
“Jacob’s been doing a great job for us all year and it was just another quality outing by him,” Brown said.
Franklin, which won the 2018 Super 8 Tournament and played in the Super 8 again in 2019, has a little extra motivation as it plays in the Division 1 tournament for the first time in four years.
The Panthers are playing with #1NICKSTRONG18 decals on their helmets to represent incoming freshman Nick Gaspar, an eighth grader at the Horace Mann Middle School who was diagnosed with a brain tumor on May 14. According to NickGaspar.com, a website set up to assist his family.
“We talked with the team a lot about perspective and how fortunate we all are to have our health and be able to play the game we love together every day,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, this young man is battling and his family is battling and going through some tough times. Hopefully we can bring a little awareness and he knows we’re all pulling for him and rooting hard for him.”
Gaspar, a whiz with a Rubik’s Cube when he’s not playing basketball or lacrosse, had a successful surgery on May 18, but still faces 18 weeks of chemotherapy and up to six weeks of radiation. As of Monday afternoon, a GoFundMe to support the family, including parents Tim and Jen, has raised more than $92,000 of its goal of $100,000.
“He’s a good kid,” said DiGiorgio, whose sister is in Gaspar’s grade. “When we think we have it hard, someone always has it tougher than us. So we’re going to go out and fight.”
BC High 5, Plymouth North 2 — In the only first-round matchup between teams ranked inside the Globe’s final regular season Top 20, the 13th-seeded Eagles (10-7) erupted for five runs in the top of the fourth to break open a scoreless game and secure the victory over fourth-seeded Plymouth North (10-3).
Andrew Manning started the rally with an RBI triple to deep center field and scored two batters later on a passed ball. Then with two outs, No. 9 hitter Chris Capozzi launched an inside the park 3-run homer to left-center field for a commanding 5-0 lead. Senior lefthander Shea Sprague earned the win, scattering four hits and two runs in the complete-game effort. Matt Murphy and Josh Gomes recorded RBIs for North.
“I was shocked by how much power we demonstrated into the wind,” said BC High coach Norm Walsh. “When I first got here and saw the wind, I said to myself this is going to be a 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 game at the most. Andrew’s bomb was impressive and so was Capozzi’s.
“And then Shea just competed, that’s what he does whether he has his stuff or not. He always finds something as the game goes on. Those guys didn’t roll over but Shea shut the door and stopped the bleeding. He was great.”
BC High will have righthander Matt Keene on the mound for its quarterfinal matchup against Wellesley.
Braintree 14, Attleboro 4 — Jordan Gorham fired 3 1/3 innings in relief to earn the win for the sixth-seeded Wamps (13-4) in the first-round win.
Bridgewater-Raynham 2, Catholic Memorial 1 — Kyle Wilcox singled home Colon Ronayne in the bottom of the 11th to send the second-seeded Trojans (13-1) to the quarterfinals. The win also gave B-R head coach John Kearney his 300th career victory.
Taunton 6, Walpole 4 — Danny MacDougall hit a two-run walk-off home run in the eighth to lead the No. 7 Tigers (12-4) past the No. 10 Timberwolves (11-7) in the first round. Taunton will travel to No. 2 Bridgewater-Raynham for the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Division 2 South
Dighton-Rehoboth 6, Duxbury 5 — Hendrix Pray smacked a two-run, two-out double in the bottom of the seventh to propel the fourth-seeded Falcons (9-2) to a walk-off win in the first round over the 13th-seeded Dragons.
Milton 11, Greater New Bedford 1 — Shay Donovan and Marcus Ollivierre each batted in two RBIs to lead the Wildcats (15-2) to a first-round victory.
Plymouth South 4, Canton 0 — The sixth-seeded Panthers (12-4) won their first-round matchup thanks to a complete-game shutout from Adam Maher (7 strikeouts, 2 hits allowed) who received run support from Brycen Tetler (1-for-2, 2 RBI home run), Jack Obert (2-for-4, RBI), and Matt Cassidy (1-for-3, RBI).
Whitman-Hanson 2, Dartmouth 0 — With brothers Bobby and Tommy Marshall teaming up for a shutout, the Panthers (12-2) plated single runs in the second and sixth innings with two-outs hits for the first-round win. Senior TJ Whitman drove in Cole Levangie for the first, and Levangie plated the second to send the third-seeded hosts to the quarterfinals.
Division 3 South
Bishop Stang 9, Cardinal Spellman 2 — Junior Seamus Marshall (5 innings pitched, 9 strikeouts), sophomore Aiden Cardoza (1 inning pitched, 2 walks, 2 earned runs), and Senior Max Brulport (1 inning pitched, 2 strike outs) tossed a collaborative no-hitter to send the sixth-seeded Spartans (12-5) to the quarterfinals.
Dedham 4, Dennis-Yarmouth 3 — Jo Powers registered the winning hit and earned the win on the mound after the No. 7 Marauders (9-6) took down the No. 23 Dolphins in an eight-inning first-round matchup.
Falmouth 3, Scituate 2 — Max McDonald’s plate discipline showed in the most important moment of the game when he drew a bases-loaded walk on a full count to plate the winning run advance the No. 8 Clippers (8-5) to the quarterfinals.
Medfield 19, Old Rochester 0 — Seniors Sam Palmer, Ben Leonard and Sam Kornet all homered for the third-seeded Warriors (16-1), with Kornet driving in six runs in all in a five-inning win over the 14th-seeded Bulldogs. Palmer also got the win.
Medway 6, Apponequet 4 — The 20th-seeded Mustangs (6-11) were held scoreless for six frames before a clutch two-out double from sophomore Luke Frauton scored the tying runs in the top of the seventh inning. In extra innings, the the visitors scored four runs in the eighth to eliminate the No. 4 Lakers in the first round.
Division 4 South
Abington 22, Bishop Connolly 0 — Aaron Siegal completed the cycle, and freshman Adam Nash belted an RBI double in his first varsity at-bat to help the high-powered offense of the No. 4 Green Wave (9-3) advance to the quarterfinals.
West Bridgewater 2, Archbishop Williams 1 — In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the seventh, pinch-runner James Harris stole second and then advanced home on an errant throw on Drew Raphel’s sac bunt attempt to give the top-seeded Wildcats (7-0) to the first-round win.
Division 2 North
Concord-Carlisle 9, Arlington 0 — The third-seeded Spy Ponders (10-3) were ousted by the No. 14 Patriots (6-8) behind Liam Harrington, who held the hosts to just one hit in the Division 2 North first-round shutout.
Masconomet 5, Woburn 4 — Freshman Sam Nadworny delivered a two-out walk-off RBI single in the ninth to lift the 8th-seeded Chieftains (11-5) to the D2 North first-round win over No. 9 Woburn (7-5).
Division 3 North
Stoneham 3, Amesbury 0 — Senior Ben Donovan was brilliant on the mound for the fourth-seeded Spartans in their first-round win over the 13th-seeded Indians, pitching a complete game one-hitter with 12 strikeouts.
Watertown 2, Northeast 0 — Robert Iannetta tossed a complete game shutout to power the No. 23 Raiders (6-8) to victory in the first round of the D3 North bracket.
Division 4 North
Rockport 7, Matignon 2 — Senior Jake Engel earned the win with a 14-strikeout complete game, laced three hits and knocked in two runs as the No. 7 Vikings (7-9) earned the first-round win.
Division 1 Central
St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 9, Tantasqua 2 — Zach Amero (2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 3 runs) was responsible for more than half of the visitors’ runs as the ninth-ranked Pioneers (8-7) eliminated the No. 8 Warriors and advanced to a D1 Central quarterfinal against top-seeded Leominster.
Matt Doherty reported from Plymouth.