Xaverian rides rotation to No. 1
Amos, Hoffman lift Malden to top spot
The Xaverian baseball team finished the season right where it started, No. 1 in the Globe Top 20. Thanks to the sterling rotation of Tim Duggan, Nick Ahearn, and Alex Person, the Hawks captured the Division 1 state title.
It was an up and down season for the Hawks. After starting the season atop the rankings, Xaverian was knocked completely out of the Top 20 after a 5-7 start which included a five-game losing streak from April 23 to May 2. But the Hawks showed signs of life in a three-game stretch in mid May, defeating Top 10 teams BC High, Peabody, and St. John’s Prep.
As the 15th seed in the South tournament, Xaverian opened with a 9-3 win over Walpole, which finished the regular season No. 1.
Coach Gerry Lambert said before the season he likes to start the pitchers slowly, even if it means sacrificing wins, so they will not be burned out come tournament time. The strategy paid off as Lambert didn’t need to make a mound visit, let alone a pitching change, as the Hawks starters threw four straight complete games to begin the tournament.
Lambert finally had to go to the bullpen against North champion Lowell, but Chris Hoyt’s two-run single was the difference as the Hawks advanced to the state final against Algonquin. In that game, Hoyt was the star again, going 2 for 5 with four RBIs as the Hawks beat the Tomahawks, 7-1.
Throughout six tournament games the pitching (11 runs allowed), hitting (35 runs), and coaching by Lambert proved that Xaverian’s mix of strategy and talent was the best in the state.
Lowell finished No. 2, followed by Division 3 state champion North Reading.
Malden claimed the top spot in the final Globe softball Top 20, finishing at 24-2. The Golden Tornadoes won their first EMass championship before falling to Milford, 1-0, in the state title game. Senior pitcher Kiara Amos and catcher Emily Hoffman, both All-Scholastics, were a tough battery to beat.
Bridgewater-Raynham finished at No. 2, closing at 21-4. The highlight of the Trojans’ season was their 1-0 12-inning victory over defending state champion King Philip in the South sectional championship game. All-Scholastic sophomore shortstop Madi Shaw will return next year to help the Trojans attempt to have to another fantastic season.
King Philip (23-3) finished No. 3. The two-time state champs couldn’t repeat again but still had a strong season.
Senior Meg Rico ended her stellar career at 43-3 with 628 strikeouts and a 0.31 ERA. Rico will play at George Washington next year.
Abington jumped to No. 4, making an appearance in the Division 2 state final. Riding the arm of Kelly Norton, the Green went 23-3, capturing the South Shore League, Division 2 South sectional, and EMass crowns.
Globe correspondent Colleen Casey contributed to this report.