Top overall seed Saint John’s Shrewsbury pushed their game against eighth seeded Belmont High School until tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM. Second seeded Saint John’s Prep exploded offensively behind two home runs from Frank DiOrio as the Eagles cruised to an 18-3 win over seventh seeded Newton North High School. Third seeded Central Catholic defeated sixth seeded Xaverian Brothers 11-2 behind a strong start from Nate Carpenter and offensive contributions from Dom Keegan and Steve Hajjar. Fourth seeded BC High and their ace Mike Vasil proved why he is one of the state’s best pitchers as he held the relentless fifth seeded Braintree Wamps to two runs over nine innings in a complete game 3-2 win for the Eagles. So following today’s results Newton North, Xaverian Brothers and Braintree will all play in the Super 8 losers bracket along with the loser of tomorrow’s St. John’s Shrewsbury vs. Belmont game. The next loss for any of these teams will eliminate them from the tournament. The winning teams St. John’s Prep, Central Catholic and BC High move into the Super 8 winners bracket with no losses as a result of their victories today. Following tomorrow’s last first round game we should have a better idea of what the second round schedule will look like moving forward. The top ranked seeds all held serve today so it will be very interesting to see the next round of play and who will emerge from the losers bracket to challenge the top teams in the tournament.
Given the fact that most college football recruiting classes will usually have about 20 – 25 student athletes per class it is interesting to see how the scholarship offer game plays out each year. Here are the top ten colleges with the most scholarship offers already out to class of 2018 prospects. Needless to say, this will make for a very interesting early signing period come next December when kids can actually sign a National Letter of Intent and officially commit to a college program. Obviously there are top recruits with a pile of offers from many schools but this is a numbers game where a school can be offering many more scholarships than they actually have to give come signing day. (More locally Boston College is 29th in total class of 2018 offers out with 185).
Class of 2018 College Offers:
Tennessee – 332 Total Offers
Iowa State – 331 Total Offers
Kentucky – 298 Total Offers
Syracuse – 297 Total Offers
University of Mississippi – 282 Total Offers
Mississippi State – 279 Total Offers
Rutgers – 276 Total Offers
Indiana – 273 Total Offers
Georgia – 254 Total Offers
Maryland – 237 Total Offers
Let’s take a quick look at the four first round Super 8 baseball games to be played tomorrow. Please note that these games will be played for nine innings as opposed to the seven inning regular season games and players from the Catholic Conference and Bay State Conference will be allowed to hit with aluminum bats which was not permissible in their league play.
(1) St. John’s Shrewsbury vs. (8) Belmont High School – (Thursday , June 1st) 4:00 PM at St. John’s Shrewsbury – A top notch pitching match-up as St. John’s ace Ian Seymour will go head to head with Belmont High ace Nate Espelin.
(2) St. John’s Prep vs. (7) Newton North High School – 4:00 PM at St. John’s Prep – Newton North travels back up to St. John’s Prep where the Eagles recently came away with a home victory over the Tigers. It appears that Casey Bussone will get the start for St. John’s Prep while John Grady should start for Newton North.
(3) Central Catholic vs. (6) Xaverian Brothers – 4:00 PM to be played at Tewksbury High School – It looks like Steve Hajjar will be the starting pitcher for Central Catholic while Dan Chapskie is the likely starter for Xaverian Brothers.
(4) BC High vs. (5) Braintree High School – 3:00 PM at BC High – BC High ace Mike Vasil will get the start for the Eagles and it would appear that Jack Andrews will get the start for Braintree.
ITHMA First Round Game Picks:
We see a very deep St. John’s Shrewsbury team outlasting a gritty Belmont squad in a very competitive game. Newton North travels back to St. John’s Prep once again this season but this time they come home with an upset victory. Red hot Xaverian Brothers continues on the winning path with an upset victory on the road over Central Catholic. Defending state champion Braintree High School gets to the BC High bullpen late in the game and moves on in the winners bracket. This is a double elimination tournament so all of these teams will move on to play at least one more game.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the top players who will have an impact in the first round of Super 8 games that will be played this week.
St. John’s Shrewsbury – Virginia Tech bound Ian Seymour is the heart and soul of this Pioneers’ team capable of winning games pitching from the mound or hitting at the plate.
St. John’s Prep – Sophomore catcher Alex Lane is a physical presence behind the plate and is also capable of delivering big hits for the Eagles.
Central Catholic – A one-two duo of St. John’s University commit Sam Lara and Michigan bound Steve Hajjar will give Xaverian Brothers all they can handle in the first round.
BC High – Bobby DeMeo is a shortstop capable of making big plays in the field as well as being a big bat in the Eagles’ line-up.
Braintree High School – Alex Kennedy leads a scrappy Braintree team that will look to defend their back-to-back state championships.
Xaverian Brothers – Owen Langan will look to continue delivering big hits as well as being a key arm on the mound for the Hawks.
Newton North High School – Keep an eye on the Tigers’ center fielder Thomas Byrne who has been one of the best defensive players in the state this year.
Belmont High School – Pitcher Nate Espelin is a junior lefty who will give St. John’s Shrewsbury all they can handle in the first round of the Super 8 tournament.
As predicted correctly by ITHMA the eight teams to qualify for the 2017 MIAA Super 8 baseball tournament are as follows:
- St. John’s Shrewsbury
- St. John’s Prep
- Central Catholic High School
- BC High
- Braintree High School
- Xaverian Brothers
- Newton North High School
- Belmont High School
Our quick take on the final Super 8 field to be announced tomorrow.
St. John’s Shrewsbury – Lock and the top seed in the Super 8 tournament.
St. John’s Prep – Lock
BC High – Lock
Braintree High School – Lock
Central Catholic High School – Lock
Xaverian Brothers – A late surge including a win over Bishop Hendricken (RI) and an excellent schedule get the Hawks in as one of the last teams to make the Super 8 tournament.
Belmont High School – Earn their way in with some key wins including a win over Reading High School late in the season while having some of the top players in the state.
Newton North High School – Bay State Conference champions with a brutal schedule and key late season wins over Braintree and Walpole get the Tigers the last spot in the Super 8 field.
ITHMA 2017 MIAA Top Twenty-Five Preseason Football Poll
Let’s take an early Memorial Day look at the 2017 MIAA football field with one hundred days left to go until kickoff.
- Everett High School – The defending Division 1 state champions return a ton of talented playmakers on both sides of the ball and they are the clear top overall team.
- Saint John’s Prep – Quarterback Mike Yarin leads a talented group of Eagles who will look to be the Catholic Conference favorite this coming season.
- Boston College High School – Top running back Danny Abraham and H-Back Will Bowen will operate behind a talented offensive line that should tilt the game clock heavily in BC High’s favor.
- Xaverian Brothers High School – The Hawks always seem to reload after losing a number of top players and linemen like Dom DePaoli are always a strong foundation on which to build.
- Saint John’s Shrewsbury – A very talented Pioneer team led by tight end Hunter Gorgas and linebacker Liam Doran will be a top team representing central Massachusetts.
- Catholic Memorial High School – The Knights lose some key players but on the defensive side of the ball they return some top players including defensive end Luke Folan, free safety Jarrett Martin and cornerback Khari Johnson.
- Marshfield High School – The Rams return a number of talented players including Jack McNeil, Brendan Ward as well as Jackson and Casey Phinney.
- Central Catholic High School – Quarterback Bret Edwards and running back Max Faro will lead a high powered Raider offense.
- Bridgewater-Raynham High School – Linebacker duo Bryce Shaw and James Hanafin along with quarterback Corey Sullivan return for a BR team that made it deep into the playoffs last season
- Brockton High School – Quarterback Jose Monteiro and running back Edmund Kelsey will lead the Boxers offense for a very competitive Brockton team.
- Lexington High School – A prolific offense led by quarterback Sal Frelick, running back Ben Quint and wide receiver Anthony Bianchi should produce a lot of points for the Minutemen this season.
- Mashpee High School – The defending Super Bowl champions return explosive running back Devaun Ford and linemen Ben Bohnenberger and Xavier Gonsalves to a loaded Mashpee team.
- Tewksbury High School -Wide receiver Masyn Lorick and running back Brandon Winn lead a Redmen offense that should make them competitive in any game.
- King Philip High School – The defending Division 1A Super Bowl champions return a number of players including running back / linebacker Shane Frommer and linebacker Max Armour.
- Falmouth High School – The Clippers triple option will return behind a new quarterback and will be led by talented linebacker / fullback Gates Kelliher.
- North Attleboro High School – Quarterback Chad Peterson will lead a North Attleboro team which should challenge for a Hockomock League championship.
- Duxbury High School – The Dragons lose a lot on offense but return linemen Quinn Murphy and Chris Chaisson who help form one of the best lines in the state.
- Holliston High School – The departure of Spencer Aronson hurts but lineman Scott Elliott anchors what should be a very good Holliston line.
- Andover High School -The loss of EJ Perry hurts the Andover offense but they do return top wide receiver Cedric Gillette.
- Marblehead High School – Returning top players Aidan Gillis and Derek Marino will try and take Marblehead back to another Super Bowl appearance.
- Mansfield High School –Hunter Ferreira and the Hornets will challenge other top teams including North Attleboro in the Hockomock League.
- Natick High School – Rising sophomore lineman Josh Atwood will be a key force in the middle for the Redhawks along with running back / linebacker Malik Williams.
- Attleboro High School – Talented wide receiver Elvin Sam and linebacker Nick Evans will try and lead Attleboro back to prominence.
- Braintree High School – The Wamps return a number of talented players including lineman Trumayne Guy and athletic running back Zach Harris.
- Millis High School – The Division 4 Super Bowl Champions return the top 2020 recruit in the state as rising sophomore lineman Kevin Pyne is a force to be reckoned with in the trenches.
The Boston College baseball team played their final game of the season down in the ACC tournament this week but they have a very exciting future with a beautiful new stadium complex currently being built in Brighton and their next two recruiting classes contain many top Massachusetts’ prospects. For the 2017 recruiting class the Eagles will welcome right-handed pitcher Nick Couhig from Falmouth High School as a top player who also helped the Clippers win a Super Bowl in football as a standout quarterback. Chris Galland was a top outfielder at state powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury High School before playing a year at Cheshire Academy (CT) and he will join the Eagles this coming fall. Sal Frelick is another standout quarterback at Lexington High School who will join Boston College as a middle infielder in 2018 after one more year at Lexington. Chicopee High School’s Ramon Jimenez is another top middle infielder who will also join the Eagles in the fall of 2018. Right-handed pitcher Travis Lane stands 6’3″ and 220 pounds and currently plays for Phillips Academy and when he joins the BC program in 2018 he could form an excellent battery with Austin Prep star catcher Peter Burns who will also be in the 2018 class. The Boston College baseball team had an amazing run in the 2016 NCAA tournament and with their new stadium coming on line next year along with very talented recruiting classes over the next few years look for BC to be back on the national stage in the very near future.
Anyone from Boston knows how tight our community is, how we rally together in tough times and how we love to support great causes. We also know how much we love our athletic heroes and we have been blessed with many of the greatest to ever play sports over the years. We have also been blessed by three tremendous human beings who exemplify Boston, our common sense of unity and our desire to help others in need. Honestly, can any other sports city in the world say that they have inspirations such as Travis Roy, Denna Laing and Pete Frates to look up to? These true profiles in courage are unique to our city and they all have deep ties to our community. All three were dealt a tremendous blow at the very pinnacle of their sports careers and not only handled it with incomprehensible courage but they have also turned it into an opportunity to raise awareness and research funds. Travis Roy came to Boston University from Maine with a stop at Tabor Academy before suiting up for the Terriers hockey team. Denna Laing is from Marblehead and went to Noble and Greenough High School (where she won five ISL Championships) before playing hockey at Princeton University and then went on to sign with the professional Boston Pride women’s hockey team. Pete Frates is from Beverly and played football, hockey and baseball at St. John’s Prep before going on to play baseball at Boston College. Frates has raised tens of millions of dollars for ALS research as a result of the Ice Bucket Challenge and Roy has raised millions of dollars for spinal cord research in large part due to his annual wiffle ball tournament that is played up in Vermont. Laing has made tremendous progress in her recovery efforts. As citizens of Boston we love to watch our sports and it is heartbreaking to see athletes dealt such awful blows at the peak of their careers but the way these three have lived their lives and have inspired others is truly unique to our city and they are three Boston profiles in courage that help define our community.
As always these prospects are listed in no particular order as we will continue to rank the class of 2018 at a later date.
Seamus Lambert – QB – North Andover High School / Brooks School – At 6’0” and 185 pounds Lambert is a solid quarterback with good mobility and displays good footwork in the pocket. Lambert moves well and evades pressure and he can also make plays outside of the pocket with his arm and legs. Look for Lambert to have a productive senior season throwing to top targets including senior tight end Patrick Freiermuth and junior wide receiver Preston Santos.
William Jean – WR / FS / ATH – Brighton High School – Jean is a solid receiver at 6’0” and 190 pounds while running a reported 4.65 forty yard dash. Jean lines up in the slot or out wide and from both positions he runs crisp routes and is fast enough to get behind defenders. He has good hands and also displays good strength running with the ball after the catch. Jean also contributed on special teams for the Bengals.
Ian Britt – RB / ATH – Cheshire Academy / Kingswood Oxford School – At 5’6” and 174 pounds Britt is an elusive running back who hits gaps quickly and finds space to run. Britt has top speed running a reported 4.5 forty yard dash and the Springfield, MA native already holds offers from Boston College, Princeton and Villanova with growing interest from Penn State and other football programs.
Noah Neville – WR / ATH – Newton North High School – Neville stands 6’0” and 165 pounds and is a sure handed wide receiver who runs good routes. Neville is a good athlete who also plays basketball and he has good footwork and running ability and could project at either receiver or safety. Neville recently picked up an offer from Sacred Heart.
Tyler Roberts – OLB / DE / ATH – Wilmington High School – Roberts is a 6’2” and 210 pound edge rusher who lines up as a hybrid defensive end / outside linebacker for Wilmington High School. Roberts needs to continue to add size and explosiveness as he plays well in space and consistently wraps up ball carriers. On offense Roberts contributes well lining up as a productive tight end or as a wide receiver. Given his size and reported 4.76 forty yard dash time he could also project as a safety given he is very athletic. Roberts also plays on the Wilmington lacrosse team and he has received interest from FCS schools in recent months.