The latest guest on The Base Path Podcast is fresh off a MIAA D1 state championship. Taunton High coach Blair Bourque joined host Dan Guttenplan to discuss his team’s state championship, which included a 2-1 victory over Hockomock League rival Franklin in the D1 state championship game at LeLacheur Park in Lowell.
Franklin entered the game riding a 20-game winning streak as the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 Tournament. No. 2 Taunton split the regular-season series with Franklin, with each team winning on its home field.
“I looked at (Franklin coach Zach) Brown at the end-of-season league meeting and said, ‘It would be really nice to see you in a couple of weeks,'” Bourque said. “We’d both be in the finals, and sure enough, we were on a collision course all year. They were phenomenal team, great players, good fan base and phenomenal coaching. So, we both knew each other. There wasn’t a whole lot of secrets or scouting.
‘If we faced each other 10 times, I think we’d split right down the middle. We battled it out, and it was a very entertaining game. I’m proud of our guys and how they competed. I’m proud of Coach Brown’s team. I wouldn’t expect anything different from his squad. Those are the games you look forward to, you circle on your calendar because Franklin is a perennial powerhouse. We know that going in, you’re going to get their best stuff.”
Taunton last won a state championship in 2019. Bourque talked about how he’s been able to sustain success as a public school program during a pandemic.
“We don’t talk about winning,” Bourque said. “In fact, I don’t say it all year. We pride ourselves on being prepared and making sure that we’re ready to go. Next year’s class, we have a lot of talent coming back. It’s going to be an entirely different team, but we’re bringing back some core players in Dawson Bryce, Braden Sullivan and Ryan MacDougall. Other guys are going to have to step up. But our goal is never to win a state championship. It’s just to be successful, whatever that is, whether you become a starter, or whether you’re hitting .600, or just being part of the program and making us better from the bench by bringing energy and enthusiasm to practices and games.”
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