June 22, 2024

The Needham Channel

Your Town…Your Neighbors…Your Television!

Rockets Complete Saturday Playoff Home Sweep

June 1, 2024 ***Updated June 4, 2024***

• Boys Volleyball, Baseball, Boys Lacrosse and Softball all advanced with strong victories.

After Girls Lacrosse beat Boston Latin on Thursday in their postseason opener, four more Needham teams won Saturday playoff contests to continue their spring seasons. It started with a three set sweep by Boys Volleyball over Weymouth, then continued with an 8-4 win by Baseball over Malden, an 11-5 victory by Boys Lacrosse over Shrewsbury, then finished with a 9-2 win by Softball over Andover.

In their playoff opener, three time defending state champion Needham Boys Volleyball hosted their Bay State Conference rivals, the Weymouth Wildcats at the A Gym in the Round of 32. The Rockets came in ranked #1 in the MIAA Division 1 bracket, with Weymouth #32.

Although the Wildcats started off strong, it didn’t take Coach Dave Powell’s team long to take control, winning set one 25-12. The Rockets took little time getting control in the second set, winning it 25-11. The third set took a bit longer, with Needham going deep into their roster, but still dominating and completing the sweep 25-16.

Eleven different Rockets recorded kills, with Senior Brian Cloonan leading the way with six. Junior Jeremy Bullard-Smith and Senior Luke Lorence also added five apiece. Needham advances to the Round of 16, where they will host #17 Andover.

The second win of the day for Needham came from #26 ranked Baseball, who trailed Malden 2-1 in the bottom of the third of their Preliminary Round Game. But the Rockets exploded with five runs in the inning, taking a 6-2 lead and held on thanks to the pitching of Jason Waarich and Will Saratella. Needham will now go to #7 St. John’s Prep for a first round game on Monday, June 3rd at 4pm.

On the opposite field from Baseball, #7 Boys Lacrosse had a 5-2 lead at halftime on #26 Shrewsbury, but had a big second half, scoring six more goals and limiting the Colonials to just three in their Round of 32 matchup. The Rockets now advance to the Round of 16, where they will host #10 Winchester.

The final playoff game of the weekend in Needham was #10 Softball, who hosted #23 Andover in the Round of 32. The Rockets struck first, in the bottom of the first inning, when reached on an error, bringing Senior Maddie Baker home.

The Golden Warriors tied it in the top of the third, but Needham put some crooked numbers on the board in both the fourth and fifth innings to take control. It started in the fourth, when Kelsey Pittman and Olivia Kirschner scored on a throwing error. Morgan Kraft then knocked home Stephanie Sucher, but was called out on interference with Evie Ritterhaus, who was playing first for Andover.

In the fifth inning, Needham put on an incredible offensive display, with Baker and another Senior, Sarah Deroian, pounding a pair of long home runs out of McLeod Field back to back. Both were solo shots, but later in the inning Morgan Kraft hit a towering blast of her own, this time with Kirschner and and Sucher both in scoring position.

The five run fifth inning gave Needham Softball its first ever playoff victory at their new home, as well as the first time they’ve made it out of the first round in recent history. The Rockets advance to the Round of 16, where they will visit #7 St. Paul Diocesan on Tuesday, June 4th at 4pm.

TNC Sports Producer Kristen Connors has highlights from Softball and Boys Volleyball and more on a special “Rockets Roundup” here:

For full brackets of each sport, head to the tournament section of the MIAA website: https://miaa.net/tournament-central/ To keep updated on the Rockets playoff journey, check out our X page: @tnc_sports

NEED MORE NEEDHAM SPORTS? KEEP UP TO DATE WITH OUR SPORTS FEED!