(Newburyport) Until that final fly-out landed safely in centerfielder Ali French’s glove this game was anyone’s game. But Ali’s catch signaled a 10-9 Amesbury win in nonleague softball action at Cashman Park in Newburyport on Monday afternoon.
This was a long way from being a pitchers’ duel as hits flew around the field like sea gulls chasing a fishing boat on the nearby Merrimac River. The Clippers (3-2) had ten hits while undefeated Amesbury (6-0) totaled seventeen.
This was also a game in which, despite the nineteen runs, the clutch hits were in short supply as Newburyport stranded twelve while the Indians left eleven.
The biggest example of the missing clutch hit was in the hectic bottom of the seventh. Amesbury looked ready to self-destruct as error (Carolina Merrill throw), bunt single (Taylor Summit), and error (Cassie Schultz) put Newburyport within one run (10-9).
With runners on first and second and no one out and ten hits already, you liked the Clippers’ chances of pulling this one out. But Amesbury recorded three straight outs and escaped.
The key play was the first out. Eleni Kacher hit a line drive to center that CF Ali French raced in on and snagged on the bounce. The runner on first ended up forced at second. So instead of bases loaded with no outs the Indians had an out. Eleni eventually got to second on a wild pitch with the potential winning run. However, Carolina struck out Madison Stanton looking and Ali took in Lea Tomasz’ outfield fly to preserve the win.
This game was tied 4-4 after three and 7-7 after five.
Newburyport picked up a go-ahead run in the bottom of the 6th as a Kendra Dow single drove in Madison Stanton. The Clippers, however, ran into an out on that run-scoring hit as Lea Tomasz also tried to score (from second) but Amanda Schell’s relay home was on time for the final out of the sixth inning.
Four batters into the top of the seventh, the Indians had no outs and the run back (Carolina Merrill rbi) to tie the game. Ali French followed shortly with the biggest hit of the game – 2-run double over Kendra Dow’s head in left.
The Indians would go on in the 7th to load the bases with one out but Beth Castantini retired the next two batters to; end the threat, keep her team’s deficit at two runs, and set up the exciting ending described above.
Taylor Summit, Cassie Davis, Kendra Dow, and Lea Tomasz each had two hits for Newburyport.
Laura Kaminski and Cassie Schultz each had three hits for the visitors. Ashley Valme, Janine Fatal, Amanda Schell, and Anna Kate Webber had two apiece.
The weather continues to be uncooperative. This one was low 50s and overcast with rain a continual threat. Throw in no seating, and no scoreboard, and you know that the crowd was made up of close friends and relatives.
(I collect my own information and take my own pictures. Errors will surely happen unintentionally in this arrangement.)