Favorites: St. John’s Prep (19-1), Peabody (18-4), Newton North (17-3)
Contenders: Medford (17-3), Central Catholic (15-5), Everett (15-5), Billerica (14-6), Westford Academy (13-7)
Dark horses: Chelmsford (14-6), Lawrence (15-7), Lincoln-Sudbury (13-7), Andover (10-10)
Overview: As winners of 19 straight and holders of the No. 1 spot in ESPNBoston.com’s statewide poll since mid-April, St. John’s Prep figures to be the favorite in the vast field here. The Eagles, of course, were favorites last year as well, only to lose to No. 22 seed Newton North in the quarterfinals. Quality front-end pitching anchors both Peabody (Pat Ruotolo) and Newton North (Brendan Ryan), but the depth will be put to the test. A number of first round matchups are of interest –- Chelmsford-Lawrence, Everett-Westford, and Billerica-Waltham, in particular.
Hall’s Pick: St. John’s Prep over Peabody, Newton North over Medford in semifinals; Prep over Newton North in Finals.
Favorites: Danvers (18-2), Burlington (14-4), Beverly (15-5)
Contenders: Gloucester (12-8), Masconomet (15-5), Reading (12-8), Arlington (14-6)
Dark horses: Boston English (16-0), Latin Academy (14-4), Belmont (11-9), North Andover (7-13)
Overview: Danvers comes in as the favorite in this bracket, but the seedings sure have made this a tough route. The Falcons could potentially see Reading in the quarterfinals, then either Burlington, Beverly or Belmont in the semifinal round. The left side of the bracket, where top overall seed Boston English lies, is up for grabs from anyone.
Hall’s Pick: Danvers over Burlington, Masconomet over Gloucester in semifinals; Danvers over Masconomet in finals.
Favorites: North Reading (18-2), Bishop Fenwick (16-4)
Contenders: St. Mary’s of Lynn (14-6), Stoneham (13-7), Arlington Catholic (15-5)
Dark horses: Greater Lawrence (14-4), Whittier (14-6), Newburyport (13-7), Lynnfield (12-8)
Overview: Defending D3 state champ North Reading is overwhelmingly the favorite here, with two-stay star David McAulife leading the way. But an interesting first round matchup looms potentially in CAL rival Newburyporty, which played the Hornets tough in a 3-1 loss. Elsewhere, don’t sleep on Bishop Fenwick, which challenged itself with an ambitious non-league schedule that included Peabody (W, 7-5), Everett (W, 4-3; L, 6-2), Central Catholic (W, 4-3), Danvers (L, 2-1) and St. John’s Prep (11-2).
Hall’s Pick: North Reading over Whiiter, Bishop Fenwick over St. Mary’s in semifinals; North Reading over Fenwick in finals.
Favorites: Georgetown (13-7), Boston International (13-4)
Contenders: Mystic Valley (12-8), Lowell Catholic (15-5), Dorchester (8-8), West Roxbury (10-8)
Overview: A bit of a thin field, but Georgetown has the horses in the stable to repeat as D4 North champs. The Royals finished in the middle of the pack of the Cape Ann League’s second tier, but receives passing marks for their 5-2 loss to defending D3 state champ and CAL power North Reading.
Hall’s Pick: Georgetown over Boston International in finals.