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Wave, Hawks eye States

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #6 Edward Tsai, lays down a bunt in the bottom of the 7th inning.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #6 Edward Tsai, lays down a bunt in the bottom of the 7th inning.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. The Greenfield catcher #12 Jacob Elwell, has a word with the Greenfield's pitcher #9 Garrett Hudson during the Div. II MIAA Baseball Championship game at UMass Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. The Greenfield catcher #12 Jacob Elwell, has a word with the Greenfield's pitcher #9 Garrett Hudson during the Div. II MIAA Baseball Championship game at UMass Lorden Field.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. The Greenfield 1st baseman #13 Michael Duclos, waits for the throw to 1st as Mt Greylock's #10 Ian Brink hustles up the 1st baseline in the bottom of the 5th inning at UMass Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. The Greenfield 1st baseman #13 Michael Duclos, waits for the throw to 1st as Mt Greylock's #10 Ian Brink hustles up the 1st baseline in the bottom of the 5th inning at UMass Lorden Field.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #6 Edward Tsai, connects for a double in the bottom of the 5th inning.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #6 Edward Tsai, connects for a double in the bottom of the 5th inning.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's Head Coach Charles Holt, gives instructions to his players during the game at Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's Head Coach Charles Holt, gives instructions to his players during the game at Lorden Field.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #15 Ryan Hoara, fields the ball then fires to 1st base to get the runner in the top of the 5th inning at Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #15 Ryan Hoara, fields the ball then fires to 1st base to get the runner in the top of the 5th inning at Lorden Field.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #9 Jared Allis, makes a leaping catch in righ field in the top of the 4th at Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

    Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #9 Jared Allis, makes a leaping catch in righ field in the top of the 4th at Lorden Field.
    photo by J. Anthony Roberts

  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #6 Edward Tsai, lays down a bunt in the bottom of the 7th inning.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts
  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. The Greenfield catcher #12 Jacob Elwell, has a word with the Greenfield's pitcher #9 Garrett Hudson during the Div. II MIAA Baseball Championship game at UMass Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts
  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. The Greenfield 1st baseman #13 Michael Duclos, waits for the throw to 1st as Mt Greylock's #10 Ian Brink hustles up the 1st baseline in the bottom of the 5th inning at UMass Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts
  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #6 Edward Tsai, connects for a double in the bottom of the 5th inning.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts
  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's Head Coach Charles Holt, gives instructions to his players during the game at Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts
  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #15 Ryan Hoara, fields the ball then fires to 1st base to get the runner in the top of the 5th inning at Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts
  • Lorden Field UMass 6/9/13. Frontier's #9 Jared Allis, makes a leaping catch in righ field in the top of the 4th at Lorden Field.<br/>photo by J. Anthony Roberts

Franklin County is well represented in the MIAA State Baseball Tournament.

Of the final three western Massachusetts teams still playing this season, our neck of the woods is home to a pair as Greenfield High School and Frontier Regional School won the WMass Division II and III crowns over the weekend.

Both teams begin what they hope will be successful state-tournament runs today, weather permitting, in the semifinals against central Mass. champs. With rain in the forecast for today, check miaa.net for any postponements, which should be announced by 12:30 p.m.

Greenfield vs. Auburn

Greenfield will take on Auburn High School in the Division II semifinal this afternoon at 4 at Western New England University in Springfield.

Auburn went 16-4 during the regular season and earned the third seed in the CMass tournament. After a pair of blowouts in the quarterfinals and semifinals that saw Auburn outscore Gardner High School and Worcester Vocational Technical High School 22-7, the Rockets, who wear blue and gray uniforms, edged Northbridge High School, 5-4, in the central Mass. championship game.

Auburn will likely throw pitcher Mike Vaitkunas, who is No. 2 on the team behind Tyler Lamonda, who pitched in the win over Northbridge. Vaitkunas went 7-2 this season.

The Rockets are also a deep-hitting team led by Zach Tower, who is going to UMass Lowell next year and hit .519. Leadoff hitter Tyler Desjardins is another dangerous hitter with a .481 average.

If Greenfield wins, it will likely again come as a result of dual ace pitchers Mike Duclos and Garrett Hudson. Duclos, who is expected to start today, defeated Southwick Regional High School, 5-3, in the semifinals, with all three runs he surrendered unearned. The senior struck out five and allowed six hits and three walks in that win.

Hudson, meanwhile, has not allowed a run, earned or otherwise, in two tournament wins this spring, shutting down South Hadley High School, 1-0, in an eight-inning quarterfinal win before holding Mt. Greylock Regional High School to one hit in a 2-0 victory in Sunday’s WMass championship game.

Auburn has been one of the most successful baseball programs in the state over the past six years, winning four central Mass. titles (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013) and qualifying for the state finals in 2008 and 2009. Auburn took on Plymouth North High School in each of those state-title games, losing in 2008 and winning it the next ear.

Greenfield is celebrating its first western Mass. championship since 1992. Coincidentaly, Greenfield went on to defeat Auburn, 5-3, in the semifinals that season, before falling to Braintree Archbishop Williams, 6-5, in the finals.

Frontier vs. Hopedale

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Frontier was taking on Hopedale High School in the Division III state semifinals.

The two teams last met in 2008 when Frontier earned a 9-5 win to advance to a state-championship game it wound up losing to Westwood High School, 12-6. The two teams will meet in the state semifinals for the second time in five years when they face off today at 4 at Tivnan Field in Worcester.

The Blue Raiders, who wear royal blue and white, went 16-3 this season and were the No. 2 seed in the CMass Division III tournament. Hopedale then pitched its way to four tourney wins, outscoring opponents 16-3 in the four games. The Raiders shut out both Tyngsboro High School (6-0) and Uxbridge High School (2-0) in the quarterfinals and semifinals and then knocked off Oxford High School, 4-1, in the Division III title game on Sunday.

The team is led by pitchers Dan Mantoni and Ian Strom, both of whom went 5-1 this season, giving Hopedale a pick-your-poison pair of arms. Mantoni struck out 64 this season and led the club with a 1.26 earned run average. Strom struck out 63 and featured a 1.43 earned run average. Mantoni pitched a complete-game three-hitter and also had a two-run double in Sunday’s win over Oxford, so Strom is likely to get the nod against the Red Hawks.

Although Hopedale has potential at the plate, he hasn’t scored more than six runs in any tournament game this spring. Strom leads the team at the plate with a .530 average.

Frontier has won every way imaginable during its four-game postseason winning streak, but the biggest contributions have come at the plate. The Red Hawks have plated 31 runs in four tourney games, helping make up for a pitching staff that has allowed 15 runs in the four games. The team hits up and down the lineup, something it’s done all season. In Sunday’s 8-7, 10-inning win over Smith Academy in the WMass title game, the Red Hawks had 10 hits, seven players with at least one, and six players with at least one RBI.

The Red Hawks have options on the mound after Sunday’s game. Senior ace Peter Watroba did not fare well in the start Sunday but has been battling back pain recently. If he is feeling better, he could get the start. Junior Ben Ruddock is another option after allowing just one run against St. Joseph’s-Central High School in the semifinals. Senior Sam Tillona also pitched well in relief on Sunday, but after 5 2-3 innings of relief on Sunday, likely will be limited.

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