Behind the the return of eight of nine starters from a year ago, Middleboro is again a premier contender in Div. 3 as it enters the first week in May at 8-0.
Middleboro fell in the 2022 state championship, sparking the determined start.
“We have done a good job this year, coming off last year, realizing that yes we have had a great start but we have not won anything yet,” Middleboro coach Dan Sylvia said. “Our goal is to win the state championship. We’ve gotten close, but each season is new and fresh.”
Over the last three years, the Sachems have been one of the top programs in Eastern Mass. In 2021, Middleboro started 19-0 before bowing out in the Div. 1 South Sectional Final. Last year came up short to Greater New Bedford. Now Sylvia is hoping all the pieces are finally in place.
“These girls started in middle school when I took over six years ago,” Sylvia said. “They got two years under their belt with a coach who I trusted at the middle school, so when they came in as sophomores they already knew what we were trying to do as a program.”
Inside the circle, Middleboro has been dominant courtesy of senior hurler Cassidy Machado. Machado showcased her talents this past week, first striking out 17 in a win over East Bridgewater on Monday before fanning seven more in a victory over Greater New Bedford. She combined to allow just four hits in the two outings.
When Machado is not on the mound, they have received steady contributions from Eva Jenness. Jenness has also provided strong play at second base.
“Eva has taken a huge step forward both in the infield and as our number two pitcher,” Sylvia said. “She’s really come along and helped us have another key piece.”
Offensively, Jenness, McKenzy Colon, Melody Rees, senior captain center fielder Alex Welch, and Machado pace the Sachems. They have scored seven runs or more in five of their wins. Jenness got their lone RBI in their win on Wednesday over Greater New Bedford. Still, despite the success, Sylvia is far from satisfied knowing the ultimate goal is still in the distance.
“We need to work on baserunning and our awareness,” Sylvia said. “Defensively we’re pretty sound but there is still room for improvement. On the mound, I think our pitching is as good as any that you will see in Div. 3.”
There is a steady diet of intriguing baseball matchups on the docket. On Monday, Taunton is set to host Shrewsbury in a battle between two Div. 1 contenders. Wednesday, Merrimack Valley Conference counterparts and state contenders Chelmsford and Central Catholic will go toe-to-toe. BC High and Xaverian, tied atop the Catholic Conference, play Monday.
Walpole’s Sharlotte Staziniski had a Wednesday performance to remember. The sophomore hurler fired a no-hitter, punching out 15 in a win over Framingham.