(Marblehead) Newburyport reached the Sweet Sixteen of Division 2 North with a tight, 4-3, win over Marblehead on a very hot Thursday afternoon.
The Clippers (15-6) now gets a third try against Amesbury. This time in the D2 North quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon (3PM) at Amesbury Middle School.
Vicki Allman pitched a complete-game, three-hitter for Newburyport in the do-or-die atmosphere of tournament play.
The #10-seed Clippers put four of their nine hits together in the top of the sixth inning to collect two runs and get the lead (4-3) for good.
Marblehead (#7 seed) threatened in the bottom of the seventh. Pinchrunner McKenzie Joyce stole second with two outs but Vicki Allman got Emily Promise to foul out to first baseman Carley Siemasko to end the threat and Marblehead’s season.
Newburyport jumped in front with a run in the first. Lauren Singer drilled a triple off Magician past leftfielder Allison Kapoll. Lea Tomasz singled through the hole between short and third driving Lauren home.
Marblehead (14-7) didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning but that didn’t stop them from getting two runs in the first off a very shaky Newburyport defense in their half of the first inning. A two-out bobble by shortstop Kendra Dow extended the inning. Two batters later, leftfielder Ashley Hodge dropped a fly ball allowing both Anistasia Vainis and McKenzie Joyce to score.
Things got a little weird in the Clippers half of the second inning. Newburyport loaded the bases (a Sarah Bornstein error was in the mix) with one out. Kendra Dow struck out but catcher Emily Messinger dropped the ball and Shelby O’Brien scored from third (barely…….Why didn’t she slide?) to tie the score at 2-2.
Two more Clippers errors in the Marblehead fourth put the Magicians up by a run. Centerfielder Lea Tomasz tried for a two-out shoestring catch but Rachel McKay’s line drive got past her enabling Rachel to reach second. Third baseman Meghan Stanton then threw away Alexa Brown’s grounder allowing Rachel to cross with Marblehead’s third run.
That run started to look like a game-winner after the Clippers went quietly in the fifth and then made an out to start the sixth.
However, Newburyport then had consecutive singles by Casey Barlow, Carley Siemasko, and Shelby O’Brien to tie the score. Shelby sent a 2-strike pitch to center for the RBI. Another single (Vicki Allman) loaded the bases with one out. Jackie Krusemark’s fly ball delivered Carley Siemasko from third (barely……Why didn’t she slide?) with what turned out to be the winning run.
Lea Tomasz, Shelby O’Brien, and Vicki Allman had two hits each for Newburyport.
Rachel McKay had two hits for Marblehead.
Michaela Leblanc was ruled out for interference leading off the fourth inning. Catcher Lauren Singer’s throw on a bunt hit Michaela in fair territory.
Lea Tomasz was ruled out on an appeal play for leaving third base too early on a one-out fly ball in the third inning.
Third baseman Sarah Bornstein made a nice play on a line drive in the fourth inning for Marblehead.
The game was delayed in the fifth inning as Lauren Singer was tended to.
There was a breeze but the heat (high 80’s) was oppressive.
The playing field at the middle school was in excellent condition.
Yes, there were two Newburyport infield errors, but they also handled eleven other infield chances flawlessly.
Emily Messinger popped out to first baseman Carley Siemasko all three times she batted.
A big play in this game was in the final inning. After Rachel McKay singled, Alexa Brown hit a grounder past pitcher Vicki Allman. It looked like Newburyport trouble but shortstop Kendra Dow reacted quickly and got a force play at second.
Two years ago I saw Marblehead eliminate Triton (at Triton) 7-1. Michaela Leblanc pitched that day. Junior Michaela holds the Marblehead school record with 32 wins.
A very good North Reading team went out again in the opening round (5-2 to Reading). Last year the Hornets were the #1 seed and lost to Saugus after having the Sachems down, 5-1, in the last inning. Ouch!
On May 1st, Amesbury put an 18-0 mercy rule game on Newburyport. The Indians had an 18-batter, 13-run second inning in that one. Vicki Allman was hit hard (18 hits) and the Clippers defense was weak. However, the pressure could be on the #2 seed Indians playing at home. The game is sure to be interesting.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)