(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.
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’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.
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.