Cape Ann’s baseball, softball and tennis teams officially have a road to the state championship as the MIAA released its state tournament brackets in all three sports on Wednesday. The stock mounts are next on the docket and will be released later this week.
Ten local teams have qualified in all three sports and all 10 teams will host a first-round match.
Here’s a look at who, where and when each team will play and what the future may hold in each bracket.
After finishing the regular season with the best overall record in the Northeastern Conference at 14-6, Gloucester Baseball is the No. 8 seed in the Division 3 state tournament. Entering the top eight is a big deal because it guarantees a home game in the first two rounds if a team is able to advance that far.
Anglers do not yet know their first round opponent as they will meet the winner of the preliminary round match between No.25 Fairhaven (11-8) and No.40 Bristol Plymouth (15-3) at Nate Ross Field (date and time to be determined). If Gloucester exits the first round, which they have done in the past four playoffs (2017-19, 2021), they will host either No. 9 Ashland (14-6), No. 24 Triton (11- 9) or No. 41 Southeast (10-8) in the second round. No. 1 Austin Prep, who finished the regular season at 20-0, is in Gloucester’s side and a potential third-round opponent.
Rockport has its first-round opponent and date set. The Vikings (6-12) are the No. 16 seed in the Division 5 and will host No. 17 Hopkins Academy (10-10), a public school in Hadley, on Monday at Evans Field (5 p.m.). The Vikings used a solid schedule rating to win a first-round home game in their second consecutive state tournament appearance. If Rockport can get past Hopkins Academy, the No. 1 seed will most likely wait in the second round at Hopedale (14-6). The Division 5 baseball backing, especially on the Rockport side, is teeming with teams from the center and west of the mass. So if the Vikings do a deep run, they’ll have to go long runs after the first lap.
Manchester Essex had an up-and-down regular season at 10-9. But competitive games against stiff competition put the Hornets as the No.5 seed in Division 4. Like Gloucester, Manchester Essex will also have to wait until after the preliminary round to find out their first-round opponent. The winner of No. 28 Monmoy (13-7) and No. 37 Lynn Tech (12-6) will meet the Hornets at Gosbee Field in Essex for the Round of 16 (date and time TBD). No 12 Monument Mountain (16-4) or No 21 Lowell Catholic (10-10) are waiting in the round of 16 if Manchester Essex can get past the first round. Cape Ann League Baker Division No. 5 Hamilton-Wenham is also on the Manchester Essex side, as is No. 1 Amesbury, the league champions. If the Hornets make a deep run, they could get a third chance against their rivals, who they have yet to beat this season, going 0-4 against the Indians and Generals in the regular season.
Gloucester Softball enters the playoffs in red having won 13 of its last 16 games after a slow start. The Anglers take a 14-6 record and No. 10 in the Division 3 state tournament and will host No. 23 Dedham (15-4) in the first round at GHS (date and time TBD). The Anglers are looking to continue as they have won at least two playoff games in each of the last three playoffs and four of the last five. If Gloucester exits the first round, No. 7 Arlington Catholic (11-8), No. 26 Pentucket (11-9) or No. 39 O’Bryant (10-7) would be the second-round opponents. Barring an upset from Arlington Catholic, Gloucester will be on the road after the first round. Gloucester is on the other side of the table from No. 1 St. Mary’s, a team that beat the Fishermen twice in the regular season. Familiar faces North Reading, the No.11 seed and No.27 Saugus are on their side of the bracket.
Rockport enters the first Division 5 State Softball Tournament at 10-10 and the No. 11 seed in the pool thanks to one of the toughest schedules in the division. The Vikings host No. 22 Douglas (10-10) Sunday at Rockport High (2 p.m.). Both schools have history this school year as Douglas eliminated Rockport women’s soccer from the state tournament last fall at Douglas. There are several soccer players from the softball team who now have the chance to get revenge, this time on their home field. Hoosac Valley (14-5) is the likely second-round opponent if Rockport advances, but the No. 6 seed must pass No. 27 Monson (14-4) or No. 38 Minuteman (9-6) in the round of 16. first. Division 5 softball also includes a heavy dose of Western and Central Mass.
Fresh off their second consecutive NEC Lynch Division crown, the Gloucester men’s tennis team have won a first-round home match for the second consecutive year. No 15 Gloucester (12-5) hosts No 18 North Reading (8-9) in the Division 3 first round on Monday at GHS (4pm). The Fishermen are looking to advance in the tournament for the second straight year and they face a Hornets team that has a common opponent in Rockport. The Hornets have lost two games to Rockport this season, both 3-2, while Gloucester parted ways with a 4-1 win and a 3-2 loss. Monday’s winner will most likely face No. 2 Dover-Sherborn (17-1) in the second round, barring a major upset from No. 31 Norwell or No. 34 Sturgis Charter.
Rockport saw both boys’ and girls’ teams enter the playoffs and both teams will host first-round matches.
The Vikings boys had their best season since returning as a varsity program in 2017, winning the No. 9 seed in Division 4 with a 9-6 record. Rockport hosts No. 24 Sutton (9-6) Monday at Rockport High School (4 p.m.). The winner advances to the Round of 16 against No. 8 Hopedale and No. 25 Amesbury.
The Vikings girls are the No. 14 seed in the 4 Division after a 7-8 regular season and will host No. 19 Nantucket on Tuesday at Rockport High (2 p.m.). Cape Ann League rival Lynnfield, the No. 3 seed, is most likely waiting in the second round barring a major upset.
Manchester Essex also saw the boys’ and girls’ teams qualify for the Division 4 tennis tournament.
The Hornets boys, fresh off a Cape Ann League Baker Division co-championship, are the No. 3 seed and will host No. 30 Southbridge on Sunday at Manchester Memorial Tennis Courts (4 p.m.). The Manchester Essex boys are one of the group favorites and will face No.14 Bromfield or No.19 Winthrop if he takes care of business in the first round. League rival Lynnfield is the No. 2 seed and on the same side of the group as the Hornets with No. 4 Hamilton-Wenham, the team he shared the CAL title with, on the other side.
The Manchester Essex girls are the sixth seed after an 11-7 regular season. They will have to wait for the winner of Friday’s preliminary round game between No. 27 Stoneham and No. 38 David Prouty. The Hornets will host the winner on Monday at Manchester Memorial Tennis Courts (4 p.m.). There are plenty of familiar faces on their side of the bracket, including No. 14 Rockport and No. 3 Lynnfield. The CAL champ Hamilton-Wenham is the No. 1 seed and on the opposite side of the bracket.