(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)