Monthly Archives: June 2011

Newburyport Defeats Pioneer Valley 9-4 to Win Massachusetts Division 3 State Baseball Title

Newburyport Clippers – 2011 Massachusetts Division 3 baseball champs

Dave Cusack, Connor Wile, Brett Fontaine, and Jimmy Conway await the championship trophy presentation.

(Lynn) The Newburyport Clippers are the Massachusetts Division 3 state champs in baseball for 2011.

The Clippers (23-5) put together a thirteen game winning streak, including six in the state tournament, to win their first baseball state title ever at Fraser Field in Lynn on Saturday afternoon.

Their opponent in the finals was Pioneer Valley from Northfield – winner of the West.

The final score was, 9-4, but trust me, this game didn’t get “comfortable” until Newburyport survived a scary top of the sixth and then put up two insurance runs in the bottom half of the six to get that final-score, five run lead.

Clipper coach Bill Pettingell arrives for his final game.

Clipper coach Bill Pettingell gets to walk away from a 40-year career with a storybook ending.  The team’s goal to get him his 600th win kept their attention in the early part of the season and the desire to get him a state title kept their attention the rest of the way.

I recall reading that he said that this team was “special” and a great team to finish with.  I passed it off as “coach speak,” figuring you’d expect a coach to be positive about the team he has.  But it turns out that this team was special and showed us all that it had what it takes to end up champions.  Good for them!

Let me get that scary top of the sixth out of the way first.  The Panthers (18-8) were down 7-4.  Derek Thayer started the inning with a bullet down the 3rd baseline.  Clipper third baseman Drew Carter made the play of the game with a backhand stab and a strong throw to first.  Drew’s defense looked real important when Newburyport starter Brett Fontaine walked the next two batters before pinch hitter Nick Peduzzi flaired a single to right to load the bases.  That put Pioneer Valley into “one-swing” territory with the top of their order coming up.  However, Brett (11th win) struck out Jordan Stempel (he had singled the inning before) and got Casey Blanchard (he had tripled the inning before) to fly harmlessly to left and the threat was over.

Brett retired the side in order in the seventh with right fielder Sam Barlow handling Joey Larson’s fly for the final out.

Celebrating begins after the final out.

After that there was a Clipper pile-up, team handshakes, medal handouts, and trophy celebration.  And to think, some folks chose the Bruins parade in Boston over this!

The Clippers put plenty of pressure on the Panther defense all game long.  They ended up with eleven hits but it was their aggressiveness on the base paths that forced Pioneer Valley into, what turned out to be, errors and bad decisions.

In the second inning, Dave Cusack (part of state champion hockey team in 2009-10) singled to drive in one run but rounded first and drew a throw that allowed a second run to score.

In the third inning, Jimmy Conway hit was looked like a double play ball but hustled to first.  The throw to first was dropped by Joey Larson giving Newburyport an unearned run as Matt Mottola scored from second.

Pioneer Valley starter Kyle Platner leads off first after driving in the Panthers first run.

In the fourth inning, more pressure came Pioneer Valley’s way.  Sam Barlow led off with a single and Dave Cusack reached on a bunt single.  With both base runners in motion, Colby Morris also bunted.  Third baseman Tyler O’Brien made a wild throw to first and two runners scored.

There’s three unearned runs in the first five the Clippers scored.

Things started well for the Panthers.  In the first they had a single by Casey Blanchard (2 hits/2 runs/1 RBI).  He reached second on the first of Brett Fontaine’s two balks and scored on a single by Panther starter Kyle Platner.

The Clippers took the lead, 2-1, in the second and later 3-1 in the third on the Panthers’ unsuccessful double play.

Tom Malooly scores on a passed ball in the 4th.

Things got a bit ugly for Newburyport in the fourth inning.  A single (Tom Malooly), a passed ball (Connor Wile), a fielder’s choice, and another passed ball, gave Pioneer Valley its second run.

The Clippers responded with four in their fourth to boost the lead to, 7-2.  The mishandled bunt I mentioned before was followed by a Matt Mottola triple to deep center which drove in the third run (Colby Morris) of the inning.  Brett Fontaine’s infield grounder delivered Matt Mottola with the fourth run.

Now down 7-2, the Panthers picked up two in the top of the fifth.  Jordan Stempel singled and reached 3B on a passed ball.  Casey Blanchard’s triple to right center drove in Jordan.  An infield grounder by Kyle Platner brought in Casey.

Matt Mottola sails home in the third inning.

But that would be the last of the runs for Pioneer Valley.  They seriously threatened in the next inning (sixth) but ended with the bases loaded.

The Clippers put up the “breathe easier” two runs in the sixth inning.  Two walks (Colby Morris and Matt Mottola) off Panther reliever Cory Serviss set the stage for a Brett Fontaine single to left.  Colby scored on that single and Matt reached home when Jimmy Conway singled as well.

Pioneer Valley left Northfield at 8:15AM and arrived at least 1 ½ hours before game time.

Dave Cusack in rundown in second inning that led to a run.

That “game time” thing will be a memory from this contest.  The game was supposed to start at noon.  Everyone was in place at noon except the umpires.  You and I have been to less important games and not had officials show up but this was the state finals!  Three umpires made an appearance eventually and the game started at 12:40.

I asked an MIAA official afterwards about the umpire situation.  He said that he had no idea where the scheduled umpires were.  Could they have gone to the Lowell Spinners park??

He told me that there was an umpire on hand who was working for the MIAA in a different assignment at Fraser so they enlisted him.  Then they made a call to Swampscott and got a father/son team to ump.  The father/son team were college umpires.  The MIAA rep said they (the MIAA) were lucky that these guys were home.

Replacement umpires arrive at 12:40

The umps got a derisive cheer when they arrived but they deserved a warm welcome for filling in on short notice.

The weather was great.  Plenty of sun and a nice breeze.

Matt Mottola was two-for-two, scored three runs, and had an RBI.

Ryan O’Connor warmed up in the bottom of the sixth just in case.

An important part in the Clipper victory was the fact that they played the North final last Saturday after that big rain delay.  The other sections (South/Central/West) postponed their finals and had to scramble to make up the games.  Newburyport was thus able to have its two superb pitchers (Ryan O’Connor and Brett Fontaine) pitch the state semifinal and state final on normal rest.  Pioneer Valley wasn’t able to do that.

(I collect my own statistics, take my own pictures, and draw my own conclusions.  I apologize in advance for mistakes.)

The pictures below are thumbnail size but if you click on them they become normal size.  I do not take pictures for a living and will send (via email) any that I’ve taken for no charge.  Send me an email if you’re interested.

Clippers arrive for Pioneer Valley game

Casey Blanchard loses ball in the sun in first inning

Tyler O’Brien throws bunt away in 4th

Coach Pettingell checks with Ryan O’Connor in 6th.

Bill Pettingell hits flies

Casey Blanchard scores first Panther run.

2011 D3 championship baseball trophy

Colton Fontaine arrives home in a cloud of dust

Dave Cusack on first after bunt single in fourth

Clipper infielders gather at mound before 7th inning

Jimmy Conway at first after RBI single in 6th

Umpire explains balk to Brett Fontaine.

Catcher Tom Malooly

Sam Barlow singles in 4th

Sam Barlow scores in 4th

Sam Barlow out stealing in 5th

Jimmy Conway scores in 2nd

Jimmy Conway steals second in 2nd

PV starter Kyle Platner

Coach Pettingell congratulates Matt Mottola in 4th

Matt Mottola triples in the 4th.

DH Matt Mottola

Clippers line up for medals

Clipper first baseman Ryan O’Connor

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Sarah Palin and Paul Revere

Sarah Palin took a "ride" with Paul Revere.

Barack Obama campaigned in states that didn't exist.

“He who warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms by ringing those bells makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” – Sarah Palin talking about Paul Revere in Boston on June 2, 2011

Bill Maher heard that comment and quipped: “She shouldn’t be on vacation, she should be in summer school!”

But that was what she said, and The Newburyport Current joined those piling on in their June 10th edition via cartoon and article (“Don’t tread on us” – Dan Mac Alpine).

I did a Google search on “Dan Mac Alpine,” and came across an interview he did for a blog called, “Becoming Lois Lane,” given on November 3, 2009.  In the interview he says, “For the average citizen it is too vital and too much work to find out what the real story is when it comes to news.  That’s where a journalist comes in.  A journalist provides that information to the public so that they don’t have to go out and find it on their own.”

Is Mr. Mac Alpine saying that there are experts in our midst ready to supply us with the important information we need because we’re too lazy and incapable of getting it accurately on our own?  How arrogant is that!

These days the internet and its numerous search engines make information gathering easy.  We can hear people making the actual statements we judge them on.  A journalist just interprets what they gather and so can we.

In my opinion, many folks mocking Sarah Palin, made the mistake of relying on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride,” for their history of what happened.  Longfellow was not an eyewitness to the 1775 event, in fact, he wasn’t born until 1807.  He also didn’t write the poem until 1860.  His point of writing it was to rally Americans to take action against slavery as they had against the British.

Longfellow was a widely recognized poet in the United States and his works were read by people such as Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria.  In our area, the hardly-known Paul Revere became well-known because of “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and the town of North Chelsea changed its name to “Revere,” in 1871.

“Paul Revere’s Ride,” is not accurate.  Two of the better know lines in the poem aren’t true.
“One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be.”
The water option was the Charles River, not a sea, but river wouldn’t rhyme.  Also, Revere was in Boston not on the opposite shore when the signal was given.

In another part of his article, Mr. Mac Alpine rejected Sarah’s reference to Revere trying to warn folks so that the British wouldn’t take away their weapons.  The facts are that Revere and several others went to Lexington to tell John Hancock and Samuel Adams to take off.  Going on to Concord was to get stored military supplies moved elsewhere.  The locals had gunpowder stored in common places.  The British realized if they controlled the gunpowder then they could limit the amount of resistance they would face.  In this way, the British troops would be taking away the guns of those they would confront.

Another point of contention was the many instances where people in the Boston area warned each other of British soldiers being nearby.  They did ring bells and sometimes they fired warning shots.

It is interesting that in Paul Revere’s obituary in 1818, there is no mention of any ride he took.  Credit Longfellow for elevating Revere to legend status as he had done to others in poems he wrote.

One “fact” I did agree with was when Mr. Mac Alpine wrote, “Nor was Revere a currier.”  Paul Revere was definitely not someone who prepared tanned hides for use.  He was, however, according to sources beyond Longfellow, a “courier.”

One of the great songs of the past was called “Wonderful World.”  It came out in 1959 and was sung by Sam Cooke.  The first line went:
“Don’t know much about history.”
Then it went on to:
“Don’t know much biology.”

Let’s change “biology,” to “geography,” and revisit a quote by candidate Barack Obama on May 9, 2008 in Beaverton, Oregon.

“It is wonderful to be back in Oregon.  Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States.  I’ve now been in 57 states.  I think one left to go.  Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”

My granddaughter learned the states and their capitals in fourth grade! Is this where I can use Mr. Mac Alpine’s, “at least get a children’s-coloring-book grasp of,” in this case, geography, in reference to the President?  He made a similar mocking reference to Sarah Palin and US history.

Based on candidate Obama’s comment about states he had visited, I doubt that we’d want to hear him talk, away from a teleprompter,  about Paul Revere unless we were looking for a cartoon idea or wanted to ridicule him.

( This article appeared in a June issue of The Newburyport Current. )

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Filed under Barack Obama, Paul Revere, Sarah Palin

Newburyport Defeats Bishop Fenwick 3-0 to Reach D3 North Finals

The scoreboard at Fraser Field at the end of the game Wednesday afternoon.

Pitcher Ryan O’Connor (#14) in the midst of the celebrating Clippers afterwards.

(Lynn) Newburyport is on its way to the D3 North finals on Saturday at LeLacheur Park in Lowell at 2PM after defeating Bishop Fenwick, 3-0, on sunny Wednesday afternoon at Fraser Field.

The Crusaders (18-7) were limited to four hits by Ryan O’Connor and only one of their runners reached second base.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth.

The Clippers (20-5) run came as Sam Barlow singled up the middle, stole second, and scored on Colby Morris’ single to right center.

Newburyport added two insurance runs in a wild sixth inning.  Brett Fontaine and Jim Conway started the inning with singles.  Drew Carter tried to sacrifice bunt the runners along but ended up with a single when the catcher (Gianni Esposito) chose to go for the force at third and was unsuccessful.  That loaded the bases.

Drew Carter’s sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a key hit in the Clipper 6th.

Connor Wile fouled off a number of pitches before drawing a walk that forced in Run #2 (Brett Fontaine).

With one out, David Cusack tried a safety squeeze that nearly worked but went foul.  Then the runner (Jim Conway) he was trying to squeeze got picked off third.  Now taking a normal swing, David singled through the right side of the BF infield and speedy Drew Carter scored from second with Run #3.

With Ryan O’Connor pitching, those three runs held up.  Ryan had six strikeout victims including the last batter of the game – Gianni Esposito.

Yankee Hall-of-Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez was credited with saying, “The secret of my success was clean living and a fast outfield.”  That quote came to mind when I reflected on this game.  Newburyport outfielders David Cusack and Sam Barlow made running catches that saved runs.

David Cusack had a great catch in the second and an RBI in the 6th.

David’s was in the second.  Mike Cipriani was on first when Jake Bugler hit one deep into the right center gap.  David brought that shot in on the dead run.  On the Fraser Field turf that ball could easily have been a double with a run scored.

Sam’s turn for a great catch was in the seventh.  This time it was a liner by Mike Cipriani that Sam speared on his way toward center field.  If that ball gets into the gap it’s a double and possibly a triple.  That catch was especially  important because the next batter (Jake Bulger) hit a single.

In my opinion, those two outfielders saved at least two runs.  In a 3-run win those plays were crucial to say the least.  David Cusack was back at the top of the order after missing two games with an ankle injury.

Colby Morris, Brett Fontaine, and Jim Conway had two hits apiece for Newburyport.

Jake Bugler singled in the 7th

Dave Ruggiero, Mike Davis, Jake Bugler, and Kevin Church had the hits for Bishop Fenwick.

Ryan O’Connor is 9-2 for the season and has 109 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings.  He’ll be attending Bentley University this fall.

The last time the Clippers played at LeLacheur Park was two years ago and I was there.  They played Georgetown and lost a heartbreaker.  This link is to my pictures from that game. Georgetown is in Division 4 this time around.

(I put together my own stats and take my own pictures.  Mistakes happen ….. unintentionally.

Mike LaChance – BF starter

Colby Morris reaches 3B in the fifth inning

Matt Mottola tagged out at 3B in first inning

David Cusack and Brett Fontaine after game

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Six-Run Fifth Gets Newburyport into the D3 North Semis over Austin Prep 8-3

Brett Fontaine collects his batting helmet after a collision with catcher Joe Barry at home in the fifth inning. Brett pitched a four-hitter and drove in two runs for Newburyport.

Ryan O’Connor congratulates Coach Bill Pettingell for a win in his last home game.

(Newburyport) Newburyport broke open a 2-2 game in the bottom of the fifth with six runs and went on to defeat Austin Prep, 8-3, on Lower Field at NHS on Monday afternoon.

The victory in the quarter finals puts the Clippers (19-5) into the D3 North semi-finals against Bishop Fenwick on Thursday at a neutral site.

Junior Brett Fontaine had a lot to do with the win as he pitched a complete-game four hitter and drove in two runs in the game-deciding fifth inning.

That fifth inning will be remembered as very good or very bad depending on where your loyalties were located.  The Clippers will remember the six runs, five hits, and the successful execution of a suicide squeeze.  For the Cougars (13-9), it’ll be the wild pitch, four walks, and mishandling the suicide squeeze.

In that decisive fifth inning, Austin Prep coach Steve Busby opted to have starter Ryley MacEachern intentionally walk Matt Mottola to load the bases and pitch to Brett Fontaine.  That didn’t work out so well for the Cougars as Brett singled to right and the Clippers fourth (Colton Fontaine) and fifth (Ryan O’Connor) runs came in.

Later in the fifth, Connor Wile put down a suicide squeeze bunt with Brett Fontaine heading full-speed from third.  Cougar catcher Joe Barry blocked Brett away from the plate before he had the ball and the umpire awarded Brett home.  Sam Barlow followed with a walk driving in the sixth run (Jim Conway) of the inning and boosting Newburyport’s advantage to, 8-2.

Ryley MacEachern breaks into a home run trot after his shot over the left field fence in the sixth inning.

Ryley MacEachern led off the sixth with a homer over the left field fence to make it 8-3 but the Cougars went quietly (one hit) the rest of the way.

This was the last home game for Newburyport’s 600+ win coach Bill Pettingell.  You could see/hear that he was fired up during this game.

The weather was excellent with plenty of sunshine although I’m not sure that the left fielders for each team were that thrilled with the sun being directly in their eyes.

Austin Prep put up a run in the first inning.  Bobby Batchelor walked and reached third after a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice.  He scored easily on Ryley MacEachern’s double to right center.

Sam Barlow tallies Newburyport’s first run in the third.

Newburyport received two gift runs in the third inning.  A two-base throwing error by left fielder Mark Mezzina followed Clipper singles by Sam Barlow and Colby Morris.  Sam scored on the error and Colby reached third.  He later crossed the plate on a MacEachern wild pitch.

The Cougars got a gift run in the fifth inning.  The visitors from Reading, loaded the bases on a single (Chris Bundock) and two walks.  Jon Saurman (pinch running for Chris Bundock) reached home on a Fontaine wild pitch.

Newburyport erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth and that was enough to carry them in with an 8-3 win.

Catcher Connor Wile made a nice play on a popup in the fourth inning.

Brett Fontaine – complete game 4-hitter

Winning pitcher Brett Fontaine had seven strikeouts to go with three walks.

Newburyport had eight hits including two each by leadoff batter Colby Morris and left fielder Jim Conway.  Colby also scored two runs.

Ryley MacEachern had two of the four Cougar hits, including the long home run to left in the sixth inning, and two RBI.

Austin Prep stranded five runners.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  Inaccuracies happen unintentionally.)

Ryan O’Connor reaches home in the fifth

Newburyport viewers

Bobby Batchelor scores AP’s first run

Matt Mottola beats the throw home in the fifth inning

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Newburyport Rallies Over Arlington 6-5 in D2 North Softball With 3-Run Seventh

Sam Wahlgren get congrats from JV teammate Casey Barlow at game’s end after Sam delivered a key hit in the final inning.

Taylor Summit heads home with the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh.

(Newburyport) Plenty of excitement at Cashman Park on Saturday afternoon as Newburyport defeated Arlington, 6-5, in the first round of Division 2 North softball.

There were five lead changes and the Clippers (17-4) entered their last at-bats trailing, 5-3, after the Spy Ponders (there is a pond in Arlington called Spy Pond!) had grabbed the lead with three runs in the top of the 7th.

Lea Tomasz led the final inning with a single to right.  She reached second on a fielder’s choice and third on a passed ball.  Rachel Webster earned a 2-strike walk on a pitch that went past the Arlington catcher.  Lea scored Newburyport’s 4th run on that wild pitch.  Kendra Dow reached on a fielder’s choice but the Clippers were down to their last out.  The Clippers, in fact, got down to their last strike with their next batter (Taylor Summit) before she singled to center sending Kendra to 3B with two outs.

Still with two outs, junior varsity call-up Sam Wahlgren drilled a shot to left easily scoring Kendra from third with the tying run.  The other runner on the bases, (Taylor Summit) was off from first on contact with two outs and looked content to pull up at third on Sam’s hit but when Arlington botched the relay Taylor flew home with the game winner and scored standing up.

Kaleigh Tomaszewski reaches third on Courtney Sacca’s double in the second inning.

This was a game with plenty of hitting (each team had ten hits) and plenty of opportunities to score (runners were stranded by both teams in every inning).

Arlington (12-9) picked up three runs in the top of the seventh on five hits.  A key piece of strategy was when NHS coach Peter Murray’s opted to walk the very dangerous Courtney Sacca (two doubles) to load the bases with two outs.  Pitcher Beth Castantini got the next batter (Kayleen McLaughlin) to pop to second to limit Arlington to three runs and a 2-run (5-3) advantage.

Another piece of strategy that also worked was Coach Murray’s willingness to use the sophomore from the JV’s (Sam Wahlgren) in the last two innings.  She delivered hits in both innings and had plenty to do with extending Newburyport’s season into Monday when they will travel to play #4 seed Reading (18-3) in the D2 North quarter finals.  The MIAA site currently has game-time listed at 3:45 AM!  I suspect that time will be changed.

Kayleen McLaughlin out at home in the second.

Cassie Davis out at home in the first.

Sophomore leadoff batter Kaitlyn Morse led Arlington hitters with three singles.  She also scored a run.  Courtney Sacca had two doubles and also scored a run.

For Newburyport, Lea Tomasz, Taylor Summit, and Sam Wahlgren had two hit’s apiece.  Each of them had a key hit in the crucial seventh inning.  Lea ended up scoring three times while Taylor reached home twice including the seventh inning game winner.

Newburyport opened the scoring in the first as Cassie Davis’ triple to left drove in Maddy Stanton who had singled.  Later in the same inning Cassie was thrown out at the plate attempting to score in a delayed fashion after Kendra Dow had bunted.

Leah Tomasz – two hits and scored three runs

Arlington jumped into the lead in the second inning with two runs, one of them unearned.  Kaleigh Tomaszewski walked, went to third on Courtney Sacca’s double and scored on Kayleen McLaughlin’s single.  Courtney came around to score when Taylor Summit dropped a throw covering first.

Newburyport tied the score with a single run in the 4th.  Taylor Summit singled to center, reached second on a passed ball, and scored on Eleni Kacher’s single on the ground into right field.

The Clippers pulled ahead (3-2) in the fifth inning with another single run.  Lea Tomasz reached on an infield single and advanced to third on two ground outs.  Kendra Dow hit a ground single to left to score Lea.

The Ponders collected five hits in a bat-around top of the seventh.  Natalie Tarantino (double), Michelle Reilly (single), and Kaleigh Tomaszewski (single) had the RBI for Arlington.  Three runs were scored and the visitors left the bases loaded.  Those runs, and the 2-run lead they gave Arlington, looked to be enough but weren’t as Newburyport rallied in the bottom of the seventh.

Eleni Kacher steals second base in the 4th inning.

Kayleen McLaughlin was thrown out at the plate to end the second inning.

The weather was fabulous – sunny with a light breeze.  Certainly not what we’ve been used to over the past two months!

Both pitchers (Beth Castantini and Erica County) pitched complete games.

Newburyport AD John Daileanes delivered timely rosters for the good-sized crowd on hand.  Some potential spectators were probably watching the NHS baseball team in action about the same time at the high school.

That roster was especially helpful for identifying Sam Wahlgren.

#1 seed Amesbury lost today to Marblehead.  I wasn’t totally surprised by that because I had seen Marblehead defeat Triton on Thursday.  The Magicians didn’t use their top pitcher versus Triton so she was available for Amesbury.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  Inaccuracies can result for which I apologize for in advance.)

Leadoff batter Kaitlyn Morse (reaching third) paced Arlington with three hits.

Natalie Tarantino – a hit, an RBI, and a run scored

Shortstop Kendra Dow catches a popup to end the sixth inning.

Courtney Sacca smiles after fourth inning double.

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Middle Innings’ Explosion Big in Beverly’s Win Over Andover 8-1 in D1 North Softball

Ashley Chalifour (#4) backs up third and prevents a run in the Andover first. At the bat, Ashley had three hits and drove in three runs.

Beverly celebrates victory at dusty Innocenti Park.

(Beverly) The Beverly Panthers exploded in the fourth and fifth innings and defeated the Andover Warriors, 8-1, in the preliminary round of the Division 1 North softball tournament on Friday afternoon.

The game was played at dusty Innocenti Field in Beverly on a sunny, breezy afternoon.

#16 seed Beverly (12-9) advances to the first round with the victory and gets to play #1 seed Chelmsford (19-1) at Chelmsford on Monday afternoon at 3:30 PM.

Enough of the potential bad news ahead.  The good news for Beverly was the way they played in this game, especially in the 4th and 5th.  Andover entered the 4th a run up but when those innings were over they trailed, 8-1.

Aimee McKenna (#2) chases Alex Coults (#8) around second in Beverly’s four-run 5th.

The Panthers batted around in both innings and collected ten hits.  They also benefited from two Warrior miscues.

The bottom of the Beverly batting order was huge.  Kate Silvestri, Natalie Shea, Jen Ashton, and Ashley Chalifour were a combined eight-for-eleven, drove in seven runs, and scored four runs.

In fact, everyone in the Panther starting lineup, except Monica Cassola, had hits.

Jen Powers started for #17 seed Andover (10-11) and cruised 1-2-3 through the first two innings.  In the third, the first three Panthers reached but Jen escaped by retiring the next three batters.

In the 4th, a Jen Ashton sacrifice fly tied the score and was the second out of the inning.  However, Ashley Chalifour followed with a 2-run single up the middle.  Later in that inning Ashley was driven home by Erin Silvestri’s single to left.

In the 5th, Aimee McKenna’s double put runners on second and third.  Kate Silvestri drove in the two of them with a triple.  Jen Ashton followed with a triple to drive in Kate and later Ashley Chalifour’s single delivered Jen.

Nicole Ericson singled and later scored Andover’s only run in the first inning.

Andover arrived late (Beverly traffic) but started hitting right away.  Nicole Ericson hit a hard single to right in the first inning that got by Hannah Pitman for a 2-base error.  Shannon Tully followed with a long triple over center fielder Jen Ashton’s head.  The triple drove in Nicole with the only run the Warriors would get.

On that triple, there was a high throw to third. However, left fielder Ashley Chalifour alertly backed up third and prevented a second run from scoring by catching the overthrow.

Andover ended up with eight hits for the game with Dina Hagigeorges leading their attack with two hits.

The Warriors stranded ten runners.  They were also unable to take advantage of four Beverly errors over the last four innings.

Beverly had errors by 3B Monica Cassola and 2B Natalie Shea in the seventh after two were out to load the bases but shortstop Erin Silvestri’s seventh assist prevented any runs from scoring.

There were several excellent fielding plays in the game.  Beverly catcher Jenna LoVasco made a nice catch on a foul pop.  Andover second baseman Molly Awiszus went a long way to get a foul pop outside the first baseline.

The middle of Beverly’s double play in the fifth inning.

Most memorable play?  Watching Beverly turn a 6-4-3 double play in the fifth.  It went Erin Silvestri to Natalie Shea to Kate Silvestri.

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  I apologize in advance for any mistakes made on my part.)

Rachel Willwerth – complete game winner

Jen Powers – Andover starter

Nicole Ericson reaches in the 7th

Meg Leary out at first in the first. Mariah Dodd takes throw.

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Opportuntistic Marblehead Gets Past Triton in Softball Tourney Opener 7-1

Emmy York brings in the final out as Alexa Gross waits to congratulate her.

Kathryn Digiammarino – two runs, two RBI, two triples

(Byfield) Opportunistic Marblehead bested Triton, 7-1, in the preliminary round of the MIAA softball tournament on Thursday afternoon and will now face top-seed Amesbury (18-2) on Saturday afternoon (4PM) at Amesbury in a First Round match.

The conditions at Triton?  It was the familiar (cold and cloudy) and the unfamiliar (gusty winds).  Early spring weather continues!

Marblehead (13-10) had only five hits off of Triton starter Marion Dullea but three of those hits were for extra bases.  The Magicians stranded only two runners.

Triton (11-10) was all over the base paths with nine hits but stranded ten runners including at least one runner in six of the seven innings.

Marblehead leadoff batter Kathryn Digiammarino blasted two triples, scored two runs, and drove in two runs.  The Northeast Conference All-Star shortstop was solid in the field as well.

Cori Simons reaches third and Jenn Delaney second but the Vikings couldn’t score in the first inning.

The Vikings had a major squander in the first inning.  They loaded the bases on two hits (Cori Simons & Jenn Delaney), and an error (3B Lucia Chalek), with only one out.  However, Marion Dullea’s fly ball to left field turned into a double play when LF Olivia Vener’s strong throw home easily nabbed Cori Simons.  Catcher Carly Score had the ball waiting by the time Cori arrived.

The Magicians didn’t get a hit until the top of the third inning but it was a big one.  Alexa Gross and Rachel McKay had just reached on Marion Dullea’s only two walks of the game before Marblehead’s first hit (Kathryn Digiammarino’s long triple to right center) brought in both of them.  The next hitter (Olivia Vener) bunted and Kathryn was caught in a rundown between third and home.  Triton executed the rundown poorly and Kathryn scored Marblehead’s third run.  Olivia reached second during the rundown and scored on Lucia Chalek’s double to center.

The Magicians added to that 4-0 lead with another run in the fifth.  Rachel McKay singled, was sacrificed to second (Olivia Vener), and came home when right fielder Cori Simons dropped Lucia Chalek’s fly to right.

Julia Lothrop beats the throw home in the sixth inning to score Marblehead’s sixth run.

Another unearned run came in the sixth.  Sarah Hastings reached on Brook Jamison’s error (grounder went through her legs).  Julia Lothrop ran for Sarah.  Julia stole second and was sacrificed to third by Emmy York.  Carly Score’s sacrifice fly to center brought Julia home with Marblehead’s 6th run.

Kathryn tripled to center in the seventh and came home when the Triton infield bobbled the relay throw from the outfield.

Triton’s lone run came in the bottom of the seventh.  Cori Simons singled and later went to third on a 2-base throwing error by catcher Carly Score.  Cori scored on a Jenn Delaney grounder to pitcher Michaela LeBlanc as the pitcher’s throw home was late.

Cori Simons had three hits for Triton.

Rachel McKay scored two runs for Marblehead.

Michaela LeBlanc – Magician freshman was complete game winner.

Freshman pitcher Michaela LeBlanc gave up nine hits but no walks.  Triton starter Marion Dullea walked two and both scored in the third inning.

Marblehead coach Jon Gold didn’t have to use his usual starting pitcher (Sarah Hastings) in this one.  Look for her to start at Amesbury on Saturday.

The Magicians are seeded #17 in Division 2 North.  They have made the tournament five of the last six seasons.

Getting confused at a high school softball game is easy with no scoreboards or rosters.  Trying to keep track of players is an adventure even if you have the rosters and know the score. The Marblehead 6th is the classic example.  Sarah Hastings reached on an error and so Coach Jonny Gold put in a pinch runner.  The runner’s number was #12.  I had a copy of Coach Gold’s lineup for the game and #12 (on his card) was Julia Lothrop.  Julia would end up stealing a base and scoring a run.  However, a program was given out at the game by Triton AD Donna Andersen.  I checked it afterwards and see that #12 on it is Kathleen Reilly.  Julia Lathrop (different spelling) is listed as #8.  And some folks wonder why reports of softball games aren’t accurate???

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  Mistakes can happen and I take ownership for my part.)

Kathryn Digiammarino reaches third in the seventh

Julia Lothrop steals second as Brooke Jamison takes throw.

Olivia Vener – threw out a runner at the plate in the first inning

weather conditions at Triton

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