(Lowell) The Winchester Sachems added seven more shutout innings to their 2012 post-season run as they defeated Newburyport, 2-0, on overcast Thursday night at Martin Field in the Division 2 North semi-finals.
Winchester (16-5) will get either Dracut or Danvers on Sunday afternoon at Martin Field for the D2 North title.
The Sachems have shut out all three opponents in the D2 tournament and it was easy to see during four hitless innings that sophomore pitcher Rachel Smith was part of the reason. Rachel recorded five of her six strikeouts in the first four innings.
Winchester jumped off to a 1-0 lead in the first. Rory Connolly led off with a bunt single and reached third after a sacrifice bunt (Anne DeRosa) and a fielder’s choice (Rachel Smith). Junior Emma Morton ripped a double to right center scoring Rory.
Newburyport (13-10) from the Cape Ann League came to life in the final three innings. All four of their hits came during that segment and they stranded six runners.
During the fifth inning Winchester added a second run. Maddie Lepore reached on a flair behind first with no outs. Andrea Cantalupa came on as a courtesy runner for Maddie. Julia Staffiere delivered Andrea with a hot shot over the third base bag that rolled all the way to the left field corner for a triple. Julia’s RBI gave the #7 seeded Sachems a 2-0 lead heading into the final two innings.
That lead would be severely threatened by the Clippers in the final two frames.
Newburyport (#14 seed) loaded the bases in the sixth. Singles by Kendra Dow and Lea Tomasz were followed by Rachel Smith’s bobble of a Carley Siemasko grounder with two outs. Rachel recovered from the error to retire Beth Castantini on a routine fly ball to center to end the bases-loaded threat.
The Clippers took another run at the Sachems in the seventh. Newburyport had two loud outs (Maddy Stanton liner to center & Casey Barlow’s shot that shortstop Catherine Pitts speared) as well as a walk (Vicky Allman) and a single (Jackie Krusemark). But again Winchester escaped being scored on as Kendra Dow grounded out to second to end the game.
Beth Castantini had a strong outing in her final endeavor as a Newburyport Clipper allowing only five hits. She also struck out five Sachems and walked no one.
Catcher Emma Morton stroked two doubles and had several long-distance foul balls for the team from the Middlesex League.
Kendra Dow hurt her leg lunging for first on the last out of the Clipper season.
Clipper catcher Lauren Singer made a nice catch of a foul pop in the fourth inning.
Maddie Lepore jumped to make a run-saving catch in right field in the third inning. Casey Barlow was on second for the Clippers at the time after reaching on shortstop Catherine Pitts’ two-base throwing error.
The weather? Downpour an hour before game time delayed the ending of the Mystic Valley/Matignon game. By the time the Clipper/Sachem game started the rain had stopped but threatening clouds had me wondering when the next deluge would drop. But thankfully, the rain stayed away.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)