The Xaverian High baseball team navigated through the difficult Catholic Conference and captured the league’s regular season and tournament titles before defeating Globe Top 20 stalwarts Braintree, Taunton, Franklin, and St. John’s Prep, along with Leominster, en route to the Division 1 state title to earn the top ranking at season’s end.
The Hawks finished 18-1 and allowed just one earned run per game behind the three-man rotation of Ryan Douglas, John Connolly, and Marc Cedrone.
“I knew we were going to be a dangerous team to score runs off us and that’s a testament to our pitching staff and defense,” said Xaverian coach Gerry Lambert. “We were a good team in April but we are a better team today and that’s a testament to our players.”
Franklin and St. John’s Prep, which both saw their seasons end at the hands of Xaverian, finished No. 2 and No. 3, while Division 3 state finalist Medfield and Division 2 state champion St. Mary’s round out the top five.
Here’s a look at which teams finished atop the final Globe rankings in other spring season sports:
Taunton overtook Lowell for the top spot in the Globe rankings on June 2 and never looked back.
The Tigers went 20-0 with a whopping plus-201 run differential and were the only unbeaten team in Eastern Mass., although it took 5 days to finish off Wachusett, 1-0, for the Division 1 state title. Taunton took down defending D1 South sectional champ Bridgewater-Raynham and Hockomock League rival King Philip along the way.
Averaging 10.2 runs per game, the Tigers featured a dominant 3-4-5 part of the lineup with Hanna Aldrich, McKenzie McAloon, and Kelsey White. When the runs were harder to come by in the postseason, White — who allowed just two runs all season — was magnificent and threw a 15-strikeout one-hitter against Billerica in a 2-0 state semifinal win and fanned 13 against Wachusett in the final.
Everything was worth the wait for St. John’s Prep.
The Eagles snapped an 11-year title drought, which included a lost season in 2020, a delayed start to this spring, and a lightning delay that forced the Division 1 final against BC High to be suspended for a night and completed the next day.
“Hats off to the guys, the boys, the seniors did it,” Prep coach John Pynchon told the Globe after his team’s 11-7 victory over its Catholic Conference rival.
Concord-Carlisle reached the apex of Division 2 once again, securing its fifth championship and first since 2012 as it got past powers Medfield, Reading, and Longmeadow during its tournament run.
In Division 3, Dover-Sherborn won its sixth title — all since 2012. It was the second straight championship for the Raiders, who sandwiched the pandemic-lost campaign with wins over Grafton and Norwell, respectively, in the state final.
Division 1 state champion Westwood (24-0) was the only team to make it through the season without a loss, thanks to some last-second heroics by Ava Connaughton. With 12 seconds on the clock in the Division 1 final, the sophomore netted a shovel-style shot to propel her team to a win over No. 2 Franklin (18-1).
All season, teams in Eastern Mass. played catch-up to Westwood — the Wolverines won 18 of their games by double digits, three of which were shutouts. A balanced attack featuring Connaughton, Kate Deehan, Lindsey Diomede, and Ashley Mackin was backstopped by rock-solid goaltending from Anya Holland.
The top eight in the Top 20 remained largely unchanged. But with a win over Bromfield in the Division 2 state title game, Dover-Sherborn shot up the rankings, replacing Notre Dame Academy (Hingham) at No. 3.
Needham left no doubt with a 22-0 season, including sweeping all 66 sets, and won Bay State Conference, South sectional, and state championships. Led by All-Scholastics Owen Fanning, Ben Putnam, and Eli Blumenstein, Needham attacked relentlessly.
Coach Dave Powell’s squad asserted itself in a tough conference, dismantling each opponent and winning the BSC tournament final against Brookline, 25-11, 25-14, 25-12. The Rockets faced some of their strongest challengers in the state tournament, but they blew through three consecutive Top-10 foes in Brookline, Westford, and Lincoln-Sudbury to claim the state title.
Westford, Winchester, and others put together compelling cases, and spots within the top 20 shuffled throughout the season. But from the start, the No. 1 ranking was the Rockets’ to lose — and they never lost.
“We’re really lucky to have players and athletes and kids of high-level character like we do. It just feels really, really rewarding,” said Powell.
Ethan Fuller, Emma Healy, Jake Levin, and Steve Sousa contributed to this report.