Milford won back-to-back Division 1 girls’ softball titles in 2012-13 with hard-throwing Shannon Smith in the circle. The latter crown came in the school’s first year competing in an Eastern Mass. league, the Hockomock, after a long run in the Midland-Wachusett.
Capping their 25-1 season in this year’s Division 1 state final, the Scarlet Hawks erased a 3-0 deficit against one of their former Central Mass. rivals, Wachusett Regional, for a 7-3 victory.
Milford, ranked third in the Globe’s Top 20 at the start of the tourney, beat No. 1 Silver Lake in the South final and then No. 2 Newton North in the state semifinals.
The Scarlet Hawks finish the season No. 1, followed by Newton North (21-4), Silver Lake (25-1), and Division 2 state finalist Dracut (21-5).
“We see competition day in, day out [in the Hockomock League],” said Steve DiVitto, Milford’s fourth-year coach. “When we get into a playoff run those tough league games start to pay dividends.
“This team never had any form of panic. Whether we were up or down this team was level-headed. Everyone can play at peaks but champions can play even when it’s not going well for us.”
St. John’s Prep did not win the Super 8 title, but the Eagles advanced to the final for the third straight year to earn the Globe’s final top ranking.
Prep was foiled by St. John’s Shrewsbury, 5-4, in the Division 1A final but overcame the loss of standout second baseman Michael Yarin (wrist) to finish 19-7, winning its final nine games vs. EMass opponents.
Prep is followed by BC High, which advanced to the Super 8 semis led by junior ace Mike Vasil. BC High knocked off two-time defending champion Braintree twice in the Super 8 to end their season, but the Wamps finished at No. 3.
Previously unranked Wellesley finishes the season at No. 5 after entering the Division 1 South tournament at 11-9 as a No. 13 seed, before going on a run to the state final.
Division 2 state champion Greater New Bedford finishes at No. 10. State runners-up Dover-Sherborn (Division 3) and Archbishop Williams (Division 4) finished 13th and 16th, respectively.
Three-time Division 1 East champion Lincoln-Sudbury (19-1) went wire-to-wire as the Globe’s top-ranked team. Led by a senior class headlined by Hayden Frey, Jack Sutherland, and Brett Williams, along with goalie Trevor van Leer, the Warriors held off BC High in the final, 8-7.
Division 2 champion Hingham (23-3) is ranked second, followed by BC High (19-4), which knocked off Duxbury in the South final to advance to the state final for the second straight season.
Division 3 champion Ipswich (20-2) soared to ninth, its highest placement of the season.
The Needham girls leaned on their defense to close out a 23-3 season with an 8-5 win over perennial power Longmeadow in the Division 1 state final. The Rockets finish atop the Globe’s Top 20 after their first title since 2002.
Needham received a lot of help from skilled sophomores Callie Hem and Maeve Barker, but ultimately it was the seniors that won the day.
Sarah Conley, and Kendall Milligan got the Rockets firing on offense, while sisters Gabby and Caroline Walsh were fierce in scooping up ground balls and draw controls in front of goalie Liz Vallatini.
Franklin (22-2) and Division 2 champion Cohasset (20-2) finish at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
It was a banner year for Wayland, which won its first North title with a 3-0 sweep of Andover, before knocking off previously undefeated Needham and its star tandem of Brady Orozco-Herman and Eli Wallace in straight sets to advance to the state final.
The Warriors (23-3) eventually fell to Westfield, but senior outside hitter Jack Fletcher set a new standard of excellence as he was named player of the year, and his father, coach Rod Fletcher, retired alongside his graduating son after guiding the program to four playoff appearances in his seven years at the helm.
The Warriors finish at No. 1, followed by once-beaten Needham and Newton South (19-3).
Correspondents James Duffy, Ryan Hathaway, Marisa Ingemi, and Dan McLoone contributed to this report.