Hockomock League MVP Ryan MacDougall has another year of high school baseball ahead of him before he sets off to play D1 college ball at the University of Dayton. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound two-way standout from Taunton High undoubtedly has many more baseball highlights in his future.
But he may never have one as memorable as the game-winning home run he smashed on an 0-2 count to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning of the MIAA Division 1 state championship game against Franklin.
The state tournament is made for career-defining highlights, and those are not reserved exclusively for super-sized D1 college prospects like MacDougall. What about Taunton’s pitcher of record in three state tournament wins – 5-foot-10, 165-pound right-hander Evan Cali? The D3 commit at Keene State College shut down top-seeded Franklin – a lineup loaded with college prospects – in the D1 title game at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, marking the second time in state tourney play that he outdueled a senior widely recognized as one of the state’s top pitchers (Franklin’s Jacob Jette, Braintree’s Jordan Gorham).
The crafty Cali had no business emerging as the most dominant D1 pitcher over a two-week stretch of the tournament. Yet, he allowed only two runs in 19 innings, giving Taunton its second D1 championship since 2019.