King Philip (20-0) wonít have any real trouble reaching the finals. Its pitching is just too strong. The duo of Meg Rico (0.09 ERA) and Meg Carnase (0.00 ERA) has been sensational. The Warriors have only surrendered three runs total this season, holding their opponents to a meager .2 runs per game.
The three runs allowed is the lowest total in recent EMass softball history as far as we can find out. If you know of a better season share it in the comments section.
At 7.4 runs-per-game the Warriors donít score a ton, but they havenít needed to.
Apologies to Sandwich (16-2), Oliver Ames (12-7), and Bridgewater-Raynham (17-3). They're each solid, but no one's getting past the Warriors.
On the other side of the D1 South bracket itís going to come down to Norwood (18-0) and Mansfield (18-2).
The Mustangs are led by Ali Maloof (9-0, 129 strikeouts, 0.35 ERA) and Lauren Duggan (9-0, 101 strikeouts, 1.03 ERA), who comprise the second-most formidable tandem in Eastern Mass. Duggan also leads EMass in home runs with seven.
The Hornets only two losses of the season came to KP, the second a, 1-0, defeat in eight innings. Trish Hansen (18-2, 177K, 0.35 ERA) can throw with the best of them, but sheís going to need her defense to buckle down.
To the Hornets advantage, they have Bri Chiusano atop their lineup. The speedster is hitting .470 and is as close to an automatic steal as it gets.
The North is Chelmsfordís to lose. The Lions (19-1) have four starters hitting at or above .500. (Alex Burgess, Meghan McNamara, Rachel Couto, and Allison Couch). Meghan Rich (12-1, 1.07 ERA) has again been excellent in the circle, and the Lions took care of business against Central Catholic twice in the regular season.
However, if Catholic (15-3) has some revenge in mind, itíll have to start with Briana Martin, who finished the season leading the Merrimack Valley with a .549 average and three home runs.
Boston Latin (15-5) played well all season, only to watch their DCL title slip away in the last week of the season to Acton-Boxboro. If Emily Berardi (13-2 1.05 ERA) can keep the game close the Wolfpack have the power to score in a hurry. (Mary DeMoura, Paige Mulrey, and Berardi each have .500-plus averages and three home runs).
Monica Diercks (.575) and Allie Colleran (.516) have been the table setters for Concord-Carlisle (17-3) this season, but a, 7-1, loss in the last game of the season to St. Maryís may have killed CC's momentum.
Lynn Classical, with their 22-2 record looks impressive, but who have they really played? Itís tough to buy in on them just yet. Itíll be interesting to see how MaKenzie Coopinger (8-1, 0.48 ERA) fairs against stronger lineups.
Acton-Boxboro (15-5) is stronger than its record suggests, (keep in mind they started the season 1-4) Sarah Ropiak has been excellent and the teamís had high expectations entering this tournament before. For more on A-B, check out last weekís notebook.
The North is full of teams that can mash the ball. Amesburyís (18-2) Laura Kaminski sports the second highest average in Eastern Mass at .680.
Reading (17-3) is going to be one of the most exciting teams to watch. Second basemen Meg Kelly leads all of EMass in RBI with 35. If Nicole Cafazzo can avoid issuing free passes (31 walks) and allowing easy runs the Rocket offense (10.1 runs-per-game) should be enough to keep it in any game.
At 6.1 runs-per-game Saugus (17-3) just doesn't have the offensive firepower to hang in this bracket.
Without exaggeration, there are seven different teams that could come out of the South. But if all goes to plan we could be looking at a Middleboro (17-3) vs. Hanover (17-3) final. The two played neck-and-neck all season in the Patriot League.
For Hanover, Alex Alicea (.536) and Ericka Stearns (.509, 4 HR) provide the offense for Deanna McMahon (13-3, 123K), who sports the lowest ERA in the league at 0.51, while Middleboro looks to Marissa Linehan (.485) and Jackie Kielty (0.84 ERA).
With wins over Division 1 contenders Lynn Classical and Concrod-Carlisle to close out the season, you can just pencil in St. Maryís to take the North.
The South is a little more interesting. Nantucket (17-3) has maybe the best pitcher no one has ever heard of off the Islands. Kelly Reid has gone 15-3, with an EMass-best 223 strikeouts to go with her 0.37 ERA. The Cape & Islands League isnít necessarily known for its success come tournament time, however Reid could help to change that.
Case (14-6), which just missed a South Coast Conference title this season, and Avon (16-4) should be contenders as well.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
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- Jake Fischer | @GlobeFischer | Boys basketball
- Michelle Fenelon | @michfenelon | Girls basketball
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Boys hockey
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls hockey
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