Monthly Archives: May 2021

Last-inning rally earns Amesbury 6-5 walk-off win vs Lynnfield

Shea Cucinotta (white helmet) singled in the game winner for Amesbury
Evan Balian had 3 hits and 3 RBI

(Amesbury MA) Lynnfield gave Amesbury (6-3) too many chances and it finally caught up to them in the last inning.

The Pioneers had issued seven walks and had hit two batters through six innings.  However, they had a 5-3 lead.

That lead vanished after the Indians got two more walks in their half of the seventh.  Senior Tiernan Bentley drove both walkers (Tim Gilleo & Trevor Kimball) in to tie the score.

“I haven’t been hitting all that well this season,” said Tiernan afterwards.  “It felt good to get one.”

Two hit-batsmen followed (Luke Arsenault & Jake Harring) loading the bases with one out and Shea Cucinotta the batter.  Shea had a hit the previous inning.

With a chance to seal the outcome, Shea delivered a shot to the outfield that scored pinchrunner Donovan Landry and the celebrating began for Amesbury’s 6-5 walk-off win.

Pinchrunner Donovan Landry home with the game winner

“I’m not going to lie,” explained Shea, “I was a little nervous coming up in that situation.  My heart was beating out of my chest!  I knew that I just had to put the ball out there somewhere to score the run.  It felt great.”

“Give Amesbury credit,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien post-game.  “They hung in there and got the big hit when they needed it.”

“We just can’t walk people and hit people,” added Coach O’Brien.  “You need to throw strikes and let the guys make the plays.”

Despite the loss, Lynnfield senior Evan Balian had an impressive afternoon.  He came to bat in the seventh inning with a chance to hit for the cycle. 

Evan hit a homer (3rd inning) over the rightfield fence and a triple (fifth inning) over the rightfielder’s head.  He had a single in the first inning. Evan had three RBI. 

A key moment in this game was the Lynnfield seventh.  The Pioneers (3-6) had the two-run lead but Amesbury reliever Tiernan Bentley was able to retire the side in order.  Tiernan got the dangerous Evan to ground out to first to end that inning.

Tiernan Bentley drove in 2 runs in the 7th to tie the score

“Coach (Brierley) told me to go out there and throw strikes and that’s exactly what I did,” said Tiernan.

Lynnfield got two runs in the top of the first.  An RBI by Evan Balian and a wild throw to third on a steal attempt accounted for the LHS runs.

The Indians managed to get both those runs back thanks to six walks and a hit batsman in the first two innings.  They did strand six runners.

“We gave them runs early and we left the bases loaded in the first two innings,” said Coach Joel Brierley.  “We have to do better.”

The Pioneers got out of that second inning on an unusual play.  Tim Gilleo’s popup into short left attracted both 3B Trent Balian and SS Nick Razzaboni.  The fielders collided but Nick was able to stick out his hand and make a diving catch to save multiple runs from scoring.

SS Nick Razzaboni and 3B Trent Balian
Nick Razzaboni makes the catch
Trevor Kimball out at the plate

Tim Pivero started the third inning in relief of starter Blake Peters.  A nice throw (LF Aidan Burke) and tag (catcher Evan Balian) nailed Trevor Kimball at the plate for the final out of that inning.

Lynnfield built their lead to 5-2 in the sixth.  A wild pitch (Drew Scialdone) allowed Luke Martinho to score.  RF Luke Arsenault tossed out Nick Razzaboni at the plate trying to score on Jack Bird’s single, to record the final out of the inning.

Amesbury got that run back with a Luke Arsenault triple and a sacrifice fly by Jake Harring in their half of the sixth inning.

Amesbury then took advantage of the walks and HPB’s in the 7th and rallied to earn a walk-off win.

Pickoff attempt

The Indians collected all their six hits in the final four innings.

“Once we get to see a pitcher for a second or third time, that’s when we score our runs,” explained Coach Brierley.  “Even when we’re down, I know we’ll find ways to score.”

“We wanted the top of our order (Jake Harring, Shea Cucinotta, Jeremy Lopez) to get up in that final inning,” said Coach Brierley.  “The walks and hit-batsmen enabled it to happen.”

Winning pitcher Tiernan Bentley is a senior.  “I plan to go to UConn in the fall and play rugby.”

Lynnfield starter Blake Peters collected two hits.  “Blake has pitched three or four really nice games,” said Coach O’Brien.  “It wasn’t his day today.”

Trevor Kimball started for Amesbury.

Weather was good with low 80’s and a breeze.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Shea Cucinotta up with the bases loaded in the 7th
Trevor Kimball scores the tying run in the 7th
Evan Balian retired in the 7th inning
Pitcher Tim Pivero beats Drew MacDonald to 1B
Luke Arsenault scores the 3rd Amesbury run
Play at second
Tim Gilleo and Danny Dorman
Blake Peters had two hits and scored two runs
Jake Harring on base four times
Aidan Burke scores the first Lynnfield run
Aidan Burke and Shea Cucinotta
Trevor Kimball started for Amesbury
2B Jack Bird

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Amesbury scores ten runs in the first inning and defeats Ipswich 15-5

Shortstop Shea Cucinotta saw his first action today in Amesbury’s big win
Evan Stein scores the second Ipswich run

(Amesbury MA) Ipswich was coming off their first win.

Amesbury was coming off two tough late-inning losses.

Two teams trending in opposite directions.

And Ipswich kept trending in a positive direction with a three-spot in the top of the first inning.

But that’s where it ended for the Tigers.

Amesbury responded with ten runs in their half of the first inning and cruised from there to a 15-5 victory.

Luke Arsenault had 3 hits and 2 rbi

The mercy rule kicked in during the Amesbury fifth inning.

“We needed this after last week,” said AHS coach Joel Brierley afterwards.  “However, we didn’t plan on beginning the way we did today.”

“We started today thinking that we would win,” said shortstop Shea Cucinotta post-game.  “You just can’t take a team for granted.  But we did pull together and get a victory.”

Special game for Shea because it was his first of the season.  The Cape Ann League All-Star has been missed by the Indians (5-3) for sure.

“Now we have Shea back as well as our senior catcher (Tim Gilleo),” said Coach Brierley.  “So we have a couple of weeks to put everything together before the tournament.”

The Amesbury hitting has been good and continued to be just that today.

The Indians had fourteen hits to go with the fifteen runs in only 4+ innings.

Drew MacDonald started for Amesbury

Eight of the nine AHS starters had hits.  Luke Arsenault had three hits, while Trevor Kimball and Jake Harring added two hits.

The biggest hit in the game may well have been Jeremy Lopez’s in the big first inning.  The Amesbury senior cleared the bases with a two-out triple to right.

That opening inning had all sorts of nightmarish ingredients for the Tigers (1-8).  There were two outfield errors, two hit batsmen, and two walks.  That’s a mix that will get a team in serious trouble for sure………and it did in the visitors.

Ipswich was coming off an exciting 9-8, last-inning, win over Pentucket.  Their bats were still hot at the outset of today’s game. 

Two batters in they had a run after Finn MacLennon doubled and Evan Stein singled.  A few batters later Wes Smith drove in another run with a single.  A fielder’s choice (Jake Reily) led to the third run.

Jeremy Lopez drove in 3 runs and scored 2 runs

Great start for Ipswich but it didn’t continue.  AHS starter Drew MacDonald pitched clean innings in the 2nd and 3rd innings.  Tiernan Bentley took care of things in the 4th and 5th innings.

The Indians needed a run in their fifth inning to activate the mercy rule.  They got what they needed.  Will Arsenault doubled.  Josh Sorgini’s fielder’s choice moved Will to 3B.  Tiernan Bentley’s single brought home the game-ending run.

“We came out here and we wanted to have some fun today and that’s what we did,” explained Drew MacDonald.

Drew claimed that he knew the source of Amesbury’s good hitting.  “We’ve been having Jeremy’s older brother throw some BP.  I think he’s our good-luck charm now.”

Cade Wetter pitched for IHS

Shea Cucinotta was excited to be playing again after being injured playing football.  “It was great to go out there with the boys.  I missed it.  Getting in for the next half of the season is going to be real good.  I was a little rusty out there today, but it feels good to be moving again.”

Ipswich finished with six hits.  Wes Smith had two of them to go with an RBI.

The Indians added three runs to their ten runs in the second inning.  Jake Harring’s double brought in two of the runs.

AHS coach Joel Brierley

Ipswich had single runs in the fourth (Finn MacLennon rbi) and the fifth (Drew Lane rbi).

Jake Harring, Shea Cucinotta, Jeremy Lopez, Drew Scialdone, Aidan Donovan, and Luke Arsenault each scored twice.

Jake Reily started for Ipswich and gave way to Drew Lane in the first inning.

The weather was splendid.  Temperatures were in the 70’s with a nice breeze.

There will be a tournament at the end of the season.  “It will be different this year because any team, no matter what their record is, can be in the tournament,” said Coach Brierley.  “We want to be over .500 and deserve to be there.”

The tournament won’t START until June 15th.  Amesbury gets out of school on June 17th.  “Our guys are completely okay will playing after school is over,” said Coach Brierley.

Amesbury faced Ipswich at Ipswich a week ago.  Drew MacDonald pitched a complete-game three hitter with seven strikeouts.  AHS won, 11-0.

Nice running catch by Amesbury CF Cam Stanley.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Ipswich dugout
Tiernan Bentley did some late-game pitching and hitting
Donovan Landry pitched for AHS
Drew Scialdone had a hit and scored two runs
Amesbury dugout
Cam Stanley makes a nice catch in CF
Trevor Kimball had two hits and an rbi
Both teams wait for the new pitcher
Tim Gilleo
Drew MacDonald scores the 4th Amesbury run
Shortstop Nate Baise and baserunner Jake Harring
Shea Cucinotta
Shortstop Shea Cucinotta and baserunner Evan Stein

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Prospect picturing in Manchester NH

Triston Casas is Boston’s top prospect
Austin Martin was chosen 5th in last year’s draft

(Manchester NH) Minor league baseball is back!

And I’m glad.

I enjoy going.

What do I like about minor league ball? 

Maybe it’s the nonstop whiffs of food that I shouldn’t be eating but crave.

More likely, it’s how hard the stadium staff and the players work to make it enjoyable. 

I’m walking along at today’s Fisher Cats’ game and a staff member cautions me about an untied shoelace. 

Players were warming up near the stands in rightfield.  A throw went into the stands. It didn’t come close to anyone, but it startled several of them.  The players involved rushed over to apologize and gave a baseball to one of the spectators.

Gabriel Moreno is Toronto’s 7th prospect

These are little things, but they make you glad you’re there and you want to come back.

I go to minor league games as a photographer.  I never plan to cover the games the way I do with high school sports.  There won’t be interviews with anyone post-game.

I did interview Tyler Murray pre-game today.  He’s the radio voice of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

I have only interviewed one minor league player.  I wanted to try it.  I got Mike Antonellis (then radio voice of the Portland Sea Dogs) to set me up to interview Bobby Dalbec.

Ronoldo Hernandez is Boston’s 11th prospect

I admit I was a bit nervous going into it because I hardly knew Bobby.  I don’t recall what I asked him but I do know that I got him to pose for a picture when the interview was over.  The picture IMO was a good one.

The only problem with the Bobby Dalbec interview was that I had forgotten to turn my digital recorder on!  Embarrassing, to say the least.  Maybe that’s why I stick to pictures when I go to minor league games.

When I saw that the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox farm team) were the opponent for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this afternoon, I made the arrangements to attend.

I NEVER go to a minor league game without knowing the names (numbers) of the top prospects on both teams.  I certainly want Red Sox prospects but often the other team has future stars as well.

My prospect chasing actually started in Portland when 19-year-old Bryce Harper was a late-in-the-season addition to the Harrisburg Senators.  When the Senators came to Portland I was able to find, and picture Bryce, even though he wasn’t playing. 

Triston Casas had a 3-run homer

I was after Triston Casas today.  The 20-year-old is Boston’s top prospect.  The first baseman is tall and powerful.  He had a three-run homer this afternoon. 

The Fisher Cats had numerous prospects on their roster.

“According to MLB.com, the Fisher Cats have the third-most, loaded roster in minor league baseball,” Tyler Murray told me.

Simon Woods Richardson is the second-best pitcher in the Toronto minor league system.  He pitched last night.

Triston Casas heads for the dugout after signing a lot of autographs
Ball loose on a play at second base

Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans are former first-round picks.  Austin was chosen 5th last year while Jordan was chosen 12th in 2018.

Jordan was injured but I did get to see Austin.  He was in center this afternoon.  He is listed as the 22nd best prospect in the minors.  Jordan is a shortstop and he’s the 46th best prospect. 

Austin didn’t get any hits today, but he did have two outfield assists.

Gabriel Moreno is a catcher (He was the DH today) and is #7 on the Blue Jays prospect list.  He had a hit and an RBI today.

I saw two other Top Thirty prospects for Boston; Ronaldo Hernandez (11th) and Jeisson Rosario (21st).

The Sea Dogs won today’s game, 7-2, getting six runs off two relievers in the 8th and 9th innings.  Triston and Joey Menesses homered during the six-run rally.

Triston Casas takes a practice swing

Josh Winckowski started for the Sea Dogs.  He came from the New York Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City last year.

The Fisher Cats starter (Elvis Luciano) went out with an injury unable to finish the first inning.

Minor League Baseball has been keeping the media away from the teams.  “It’s been difficult to get to know the players personally because we’ve been separated from them,” said Tyler.

Those restrictions impact how close photographers can get too.  I now own a 600m lens and it came in handy today.

Tyler on how things are going: “Last night we had an awesome crowd.  We’ll be near to 100% capacity on June 1st.  Vaccinated fans don’t need to wear masks anymore.”

Jeisson Rosario in the Portland dugout

Tyler on how the stadium was used with no baseball last season: “We didn’t have baseball so we ended up hosting twenty special events, mostly high school and college graduations.  We have the room.  People had such a good time that we now have more graduations booked than last year.”

The scheduling is different.  The teams now play Tuesday-Sunday in the same city.  Monday is a travel day.

“I love the scheduling,” said Tyler.  “It saves travel.  We’d have a game end in New Jersey at 11PM and then have to drive to Maine.  We’d get in about 5AM.  It was tough with no days off. One city with consistent days off has been great so far.”

Austin Martin stretches pre-game

Tyler was excited about the future.  “It’s good to have the whole staff back.  Many staff members were furloughed during last season.”

More than 134 former Fisher Cats have appeared in the big leagues.  There are plenty of good players going through here.

Two years ago, I trekked to Manchester (NH) numerous times to see Vladi Guerrero, Bo Bichette, and Caven Biggio.

I would encourage folks to check out the Fisher Cats.  The stadium is a 42-minute ride from Amesbury via 495, 93, and 293. 

Being close to the action is guaranteed. Book a date, do your homework, and bring a camera.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Pitcher Willy Gaston
Vinny Capra (3 hits) leads off first base
Triston Casas returns to Portland dugout
Triston Casas at first base
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
Roldani Baldwin being checked out after being hit by a pitch
1B Nick Podkul
LJ Talley 3B
SS Kevin Vicuna
Portland starter Josh Winckowski
Players interact
Jeisson Rosario batting
2B Grant Williams
Gabriel Moreno batting
Fisher Cats starter Elvis Luciano
Catcher Chris Bec
Austin Martin
Pitcher Andrew McInvale

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs

Undefeated Newburyport gets 7-6 walkoff win over Amesbury

Amesbury catcher Will Arsenault can only watch as Luke Stallard crosses with the winning run
Clippers celebrate

(Newburyport MA) If it wasn’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all.

Nice song but today we could apply it to the Amesbury Indians.

Twice in three days Amesbury has been close to a win only to have their hopes dashed in the late innings.

On Thursday it was a loss in extra innings to Hamilton-Wenham.

Today, it was a, 7-6, walk-off loss to Newburyport at Pettingell Park.

The undefeated Clippers (7-0) are into a remarkable season.

“Our team never feels as if they’re out of any game,” said NHS coach Mark Rowe afterwards, “There is something special going on.”

This game definitely required some of that “special” stuff for Newburyport because Amesbury was up, 6-0, after 4 ½ innings thanks to a five-run fifth inning.

Jeremy Lopez had a solo home run

“The third time through the lineup we started hitting the ball and we scored some runs,” said AHS coach Joel Brierley afterwards.

Newburyport, however, answered with five runs in the bottom of the 5th.  Jake Buontempo’s 3-run, two-out homer was the big shot.

“I was down 2-2 so I had to protect the plate,” explained Jake.  “I choked up on the bat.  I think it was a fastball away.  I got all of it.”

“Jake’s homer was huge,” said Nick White.  “The momentum after a home run is like nothing else.  It gets the whole dugout fired up.”

The Clippers tied the score in the sixth.  Quinn Fortuna (two hits) started the inning with an infield single.  Freshman Connor Stick was inserted as a pinch-runner. Connor stole second and came home on Ryan Archer’s single up the middle.

Jake Buontempo (gold helmet) had a 3-run shot during the Clippers’ rally

The Indians (4-3) had the go-ahead run on second with one out in the top of the seventh, but reliever Charlie Forrest got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.

Newburyport won the game in their half of the seventh inning.

Luke Stallard singled off reliever Josh Sorgini and stole second.  Jake Buontempo walked.  Quinn Fontana’s deep grounder to short would have loaded the bases but a wide throw to second allowed Luke to score from second with the game-winner.

Charlie Forrest had the win in relief

“That last play was a hit,” recalled Coach Brierley.  “The throw probably should have gone to third base because it was in front of him.  He’s a good kid.  He’ll learn from it.”

Amesbury took a 1-0 lead in the 4th inning on a Jeremy Lopez home run over the rightfield fence.  It was the senior’s first varsity homer.

“Jeremy’s our leader on the field, on the mound, and at the bat,” said Coach Brierley.

The Indians had five runs in the fifth inning on five hits.  Tim Gilleo cleared the bases with two-out double.  Before Tim’s hit, Drew MacDonald had singled in a run.  After Tim’s hit, Trevor Kimball drove in a run.

Quinn Fontana had two hits

Amesbury looked in good shape, with a six-run lead, to pin a loss on Newburyport, but the Clippers rallied and remain undefeated.

“We have a lot of good hitters,” said Coach Rowe.  “I now kind of expect something good will eventually happen.”

Drew MacDonald and Trevor Kimball paced Amesbury with two hits each. Will Arsenault, Jeremy Lopez, Tim Gilleo, and Drew Scialdone each had a hit.

Quinn Fortuna led Newburyport with two hits.  He also got the “cooler” treatment after his single contributed to the winning run being scored. 

Tim Gilleo had a 3-run double

It was hot and humid enough that we all could have used some cooling off.

Newburyport’s other hits were by Jax Budgell, Tony Lucci, Luke Stallard, Jake Buontempo, and Ryan Archer. Jax, Luke, and Ryan each had an RBI.

Luke Stallard started for the Clippers and went 4 2/3.  Charlie Forrest took it from there.

Charlie came on in the fifth inning with two-on, two-out, and five runs already in for Amesbury.  He got a ground out to end the inning.

“It hurt us to leave those two runners on,” said Coach Brierley.

Jeremy Lopez went five innings for Amesbury.  Josh Sorgini followed and pitched into the seventh. 

“It was great to catch sophomore Charlie Forrest,” said Nick White.  “I think it was his first time pitching varsity.”

Nick will be attending Clemson in the fall.  He assured me that it had nothing to do with the weather!  “I have family down there, and they have a good business program.  I might try to play club baseball.”

Pickoff attempt

Jake will be playing baseball at Framingham State next year.  “I will be majoring in criminology,” he said.

Coach Brierley: “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but we’ll bounce back.”

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Luke Stallard started for NHS
Jeremy Lopez started for Amesbury
Aidan Donovan
Luke Arsenault chases a popup
Brady Ford chases a popup
Tiernan Bentley congratulated after scoring
Tim Gilleo scores as catcher Nick White corrals the throw home
SS Tony Lucci throws to first
Tyler Cowles
Ryan Archer scores
Jake Buontempo had a 3-run homer
Drew MacDonald swings
Connor Stick ties the game
Josh Sorgini
Celebrating the win begins for the Clippers

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Newburyport stays undefeated (5-0) after 2-0 win over Lynnfield

Sophomore Owen Tahnk allowed five hits and had six strikeouts in a complete game win.
Michael Habib scored the first Newburyport run

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers continue to win.

This afternoon it was, 2-0, over Lynnfield.

Coach Mark Rowe said afterwards that he was happy with the 5-0 start but wasn’t thrilled with the way his team played today.

“I think that we were a little flat,” he said.  “Maybe it was because it was the first really warm day we’ve played in.”

There were popups and weak grounders by a team that has been making solid connections regularly.

“The majority of our at bats were disappointing,” Coach Rowe added.

But steady pitching by sophomore Owen Tahnk kept Newburyport in the game despite only three hits.

Senior Trent Balian pitched very effectively for the Pioneers.

Trent Balian allowed just three hits

Good teams find ways to win.

“We took advantage of our opportunities,” said Coach Rowe.

THE opportunity was the fifth inning.  A one-out single by senior Michael Habib was followed by two walks (Jack Fehlner & Tony Lucci). 

Luke Stallard’s long fly to center delivered Michael while Jake Buontempo’s sharp single to center brought Jack home.

Those two runs held up.

Lynnfield (1-4) had chances.

Spencer Riley doubled off the fence in left

The Pioneers collected five hits and had runners in scoring position in the first four innings as well as the sixth inning.

“We couldn’t get him in,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien post-game, “that was the story of the game.”

“Newburyport took advantage of a couple of walks that hurt us,” said Coach O’Brien referencing Newburyport’s two-run fifth inning.  “They got the timely hit.”

Evan Balian paced Lynnfield with two hits.

Spencer Riley hit a part of the leftfield fence in the fourth inning in a section of fencing that doesn’t exist in most of the rest of the field.  Could have gone out if it wasn’t pulled so much.  He had to settle for a double.

Jake Buontempo dives back to first

Newburyport pitcher Owen Tahnk remembered it: “That double off the fence was a scare.”

Owen limited Lynnfield to five hits and yielded only two walks.

“His limiting the walks was important,” said Coach Rowe.

Owen had six strikeouts getting two each in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings.  In each of those innings the Pioneers had runners in scoring position.

“My slider and curve were working well today,” said Owen.  “I got grounders and fly balls on off-speed pitches.”

Coach O’Brien: “We’re back to ground zero after getting a nice win the other day.”

Clippers celebrate the win

Ryan Archer: “Our goal every day is to go 1-0.  We have two games coming up and that’s what we’re focusing on.”

I didn’t hear the news, but I saw the news.  The players weren’t wearing masks!  Is this where I say, “It’s about time!” and give away my politics?

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Tony Lucci makes a catch
Baserunner Michael Habib and SS Henry Caulfield
Aidan Burke out stealing as Tony Lucci takes throw
Nick White had one of the three Newburyport hits
2B Jack Bird tries for a force at second
Catcher Evan Balian looks for a sign
Tangle in the Lynnfield outfield
Ryan Archer about to be tagged out by SS Henry Caulfield
3B Luke Stallard catches a popup
Trent Balian slides into 3B in the second inning
Evan Balian had two hits
CF Luke Martinho made some nice running catches
How would you caption this one?
Lynnfield box
Newburyport box

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Filed under Lynnfield, Newburyport, Uncategorized

Excellent pitching and hitting send Amesbury past Ipswich 15-0

Alana Delisle allowed 1 hit to go with 14 K’s
Ella Delisle had a HR and 4 RBI

(Amesbury MA) Consider yourselves warned future opponents.

Amesbury has a terrific softball team.

Ipswich (2-3) found that out today losing 15-0 on Monday afternoon via the mercy rule.

The Indians (3-0) have a brand-new field to play on and unlike their nearby former field, this one has a fence.

“This is the first time we’ve had an actual fence,” said junior Liv DeLong afterwards.  “It was really exciting to see three home runs go over it.”

Liv had one of the long ones and Ella Delisle and Ella Bezanson had the other two.

AHS had fifteen hits and all of the Amesbury starters scored at least one run in the 4 ½ innings played.

Ella Bezanson had the first of 3 Amesbury homers

The Indians had a six-run second inning and a seven-run fourth inning.

And then there was the pitching of AHS starter Alana Delisle.

Amesbury coach Jacqui Waters told me afterwards that she had originally planned on using several of her pitchers in each game.

Today she couldn’t do it as Alana put on a show.

“She was on fire,” said Coach Waters, “I wasn’t taking her out.”

Alana struck out fourteen Tigers and allowed just one hit.

“She took control of the whole game with fourteen strikeouts,” said Coach Waters.  “She was outstanding.”

“Alana was awesome today,” said her sister Ella, who was the catcher.  “Everything she had worked.”

The combination of Alana’s pitching and an offense, that on this sunny afternoon had hits and loud outs, made it tough for Ipswich.

Cassidy Smith dropped in the only Ipswich hit

Leftfielder Alexa Eliopoulos and shortstop Lexi James made outstanding plays in the field, but the sheer volume of tough chances made it difficult for the visitors to stop the runs from coming.

SS Lexi James made a nice running catch

The Indians didn’t bunt, just hacked away.  Ella Bezanson and Izzy Levasseur each had three hits for Amesbury.  Ella Delisle had four RBI.

Alana struck out the first eight batters she faced before walking Piper Reily in the third inning.

In the Ipswich fourth, Cassidy Smith dropped a short popup over Alan’s head and just in front of charging shortstop Liv Levasseur.  That was the Tigers first and only hit.

One thing I didn’t learn about today was the quality of the Amesbury defense.  Not one ball got out of the infield.  Alana got an assist on the final out of the game but there were no other infield chances other than Cassidy Smith’s hit.

Impressive, to say the least.

Liv DeLong celebrates a home run

The new field has bleachers beyond centerfield although most spectators chose the 3B/LF foul territory to view from.

Coach Waters: “We owe this field to the alumni.  They raised some money.  The infield cost $16,000.  We needed a new field.  The other one was a mess.  Mayor Gove came through with funds for the backstop and all the fencing.  We have a brand-new scoreboard which is not in yet.  It was a gift from the Newburyport Institution for Savings.”

Alana Delisle: “Today was really fun.  Ella did a great job catching.  Everyone hit.  Ella calls the pitches. I just throw them.”

Ella Delisle: “I’ve been catching her my whole life.  Her curve was moving really well.”

LF Alex Eliopoulos made several nice catches in the outfield

The Indians haven’t given up a run yet in three starts.  Liv Delong had fifteen strikeouts in the season opener against Rockport.

Coach Waters informed me that there will be a state tournament following the regular season.  How far can the Indians go?

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alana Delisle
Lauren Celia
Caroline Spencer in for a grounder
Ella Delisle celebrates her 3-run homer in the fourth inning
Grounder up the middle
Lexi James
Annabel Morris set to pitch
Piper Reily
Veronica Deacon
Liv Levasseur
Amesbury pre-game gathering
Ella Bezanson
Julia Campbell
Liv Levasseur
Alana Delisle pregame

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Undefeated Newburyport shuts out Manchester-Essex 7-0

Jack Fehlner pitched a 2-hit complete game for the Clippers
Kellen Heney held the Clippers hitless for five innings

(Newburyport MA) The weather was perfect.

Manchester-Essex pitcher Kellen Heney was perfect…..through five innings.

But when the game ended, Newburyport was perfect (4-0) after defeating the Hornets, 7-0, on Saturday morning at Pettingell Field.

ME struggled in the field all game collecting miscues in five of the six innings.

“Our pitchers have been pitching well,” said ME coach James Weed afterwards.  “I’m just not used to the kind of defense we’re playing.”

The shaky defense gave the Clippers a run in the fourth, but this was a one-run game going into the Newburyport sixth.

Then the wheels fell off for the visitors.  An infield error and five Newburyport hits put six runs on the board and sealed this one for the home team.

Jack Fehlner pitched a complete-game  two-hitter for the Clippers.  He wasn’t overpowering (one strikeout) but gave up just two walks.

2B Colin Coyne makes a play at second

“Jack was in total command,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe post-game.  “It was as good as I’ve seen him pitch. It was his first complete game.”

Catcher Nick White: “Jack’s fastball was working today.  Usually, it’s the off-speed pitch but today the fastball was the primary out pitch.  He challenged them.”

The Clippers 1-0 lead looked anything but secure heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

“The scoreboard doesn’t show how close this game really was,” added Jack Fehlner.  “They’re a great team.”

Jake Buontempo had the first Newburyport hit in the 6th inning

Senior Jake Buontempo was in the middle of the Newburyport success in the sixth inning.

Jake ended Kellen Heney’s hitless streak with a double that drove in Luke Stallard who had reached on an infield error.

Rare play alert!  Demetri Connor popped the ball behind the plate near the backstop.  Catcher Michael Quill and pitcher Kellen Heney both went after it and Michael got it.  Jake alertly took advantage and raced in from third.

Jake reached third on Nick White’s infield hit. 

“I was watching to see where the pitcher was going,” recalled Jake.  “He followed the catcher to the backstop, so I knew the plate was wide open and I took what I had.”

Tony Lucci and AJ Pallazola

Jake also made a nice running catch in rightfield in the fifth inning and ended the game with a routine catch.

The Hornets (1-4) are the defending Division 4 state champions.  I was at LaLacheur Park (Lowell) on June 22, 2019 when they defeated Tahanto, 5-2.

Will Levendusky was part of that team but a football injury has kept him from playing so far. 

“It hurts not to have Will but for us it’s “next man up,” said Coach Weed.  “We have three freshmen playing.  We’re just trying to find the right formula.  We’ll get it going.  We’ll make a run.”

Freshman Kellen Heney was the starter and winner in the state title game. He’s now a junior.

“Their pitcher was good,” explained Jake Buontempo.  “He could locate really well.  Toward the end we started to catch onto him.”

2B Luke Stallard settles under a popup

Coach Mark Rowe: “It was two top-notch pitchers out there.  Unfortunately, his defense let him down a bit.  We challenged by putting balls in play and forcing them to make plays.  When they didn’t make plays, we took advantage.”

AJ Pallazola and Michael Quill had the hits for Manchester-Essex.

Jack Fehlner: “It was a beautiful day to be out here with the guys.  Our guys made plays.  I’ll put some ice on my arm and get back at it Tuesday against Lynnfield.”

Speaking of ice, I have a picture of Will Levendusky pouring the contents of an ice bucket over the head of Coach Weed in the celebrating after the D4 title win.  On that hot day and under those circumstances, it probably felt pretty good.

Remarkable weather and plenty of fans from both schools out enjoying it.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Newburyport box
Manchester-Essex box
Luke Stallard steals 2B as Michael Deoreo tries to tag him
Catcher Michael Quill
Connor Stick and Satchem Ramos
High hop
Hockey move?
Brady Ford scored a run
Ryan Archer catches a fly
Part of the crowd
Jack Fehlner dives back into 2nd as Satchem Ramos tries to tag him
AJ Pallazola dives back into first as Brady Ford takes throw
Luke Stallard throws to first base
Ground rules
Matteo Sarmanian
LF Isaac Porat

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Amesbury gets one-hitter from Jeremy Lopez in 5-3 win over North Reading

Senior Jeremy Lopez allowed one hit and struck out five Hornets

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury pitcher Jeremy Lopez knew that he had something special going.

Jeremy Lopez congratulated at game’s end

But Coach Joel Bierley didn’t.

“I was too busy yelling at him for walking kids,” said Coach Bierley.

Jeremy finished with a one-hitter as the Indians (3-1) defeated North Reading, 5-3, on Thursday afternoon at Amesbury High School.

Jeremy carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. 

“I knew in the back of my mind that North Reading didn’t have any hits but then I hung one and he (Alex Carucci) took it for a ride,” said Jeremy.

“I’m happy with the win,” added Jeremy.

Amesbury took advantage of NR starter Nick Doucette’s first-inning wildness to get off to a 3-0 start. 

Joe Giacalone stole two bases and scored a run

The Hornets (1-2) may not have been hitting but they turned walks and aggressive baserunning into single runs in the third and fourth.

“We struggled in the first inning, but we bounced back after that,” said NR coach Eric Archambault post-game.

The Indians had three runs but only two hits through four innings.  That changed in the fifth inning.  Consecutive doubles by Drew MacDonald, Jeremy Lopez, and Trevor Kimball added two runs to the AHS total and the Indians led, 5-2.

“We got our bats going the third time through the lineup,” said Coach Bierley. “We swing the bats well.”

Drew MacDonald had a hit and scored twice

“Those three doubles were huge,” added Jeremy.  “Those two runs put us over the top and gave us the edge.”

The Hornets, however, refused to go away quietly.  Their first hit (Alex Carucci double) was followed by a Matt Ryan bunt in the same 6th inning that was mishandled giving NR their third run.

A key play in that sixth inning was AHS shortstop Jake Harring catching a North Reading baserunner off third base.

Jake also assisted on the final out of that inning with Hornets on second and third.

“This is Jake’s first year with us,” said Coach Bierley.  “He has a high baseball IQ.”

Once NR starter Nick Doucette got over his wildness in the first inning, he was terrific.  The Hornets junior struck out eight of the next twelve batters he faced.

SS Frank Cassarino throws to first

“Nick settled down for sure,” explained Coach Archambault.  “He’s a really good pitcher and this was his second varsity start.  I expect him to bounce back.”

Joe Giacalone, who had three steals against Lynnfield, added two more against Amesbury.

The Indians ran into two outs at third base in their half of the sixth inning.

Sophomore Jake Harring collected two of Amesbury’s seven hits.

Jeremy Lopez: “The defense made the plays.  The coach told me to throw strikes.”  (Jeremy had five strikeouts.)

Jeremy Lopez won his second game of the season

Coach Archambault: “Hats off to their pitcher.  He pitched a heckuva game.  He threw strikes.”

Jeremy Lopez about to tag out Matt Ryan at first

Jeremy Lopez: “My curve was definitely on today.  It’s a favorite of mine and I’ve learned to throw it a lot more.  My fastball was pretty good.  I thought I was getting squeezed a bit, but I didn’t let it bother me.  I kept throwing strikes and the defense made the plays.”

Jeremy told me that he plans to repeat his senior year at Winchendon School where he expects to continue playing baseball.

Weather was nice. 

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Alex Carucci scores NR’s third run
Frank Cassarino and Jeremy Lopez
Hornets reliever Ryan Baker
2B Luke Arsenault
SS Jake Harring starts a double play
3B Aidan Donovan had an RBI and 3 assists
Trevor Kimball had an RBI and scored a run
Senior Tim Gilleo drove in the first Amesbury run
North Reading starter Nick Doucette
North Reading coach Eric Archambault
Amesbury dugout
Amesbury box
North Reading box

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Emily Meleedy hits/pitches Newburyport to 10-5 win over Ipswich

Emily Meleedy had a two-run homer in Newburyport’s four-run second inning
Emily Meleedy

(Newburyport MA) Ipswich coach Paul James knew that he’d seen something special.

“She’s legit. No doubt.”

The Tigers coach was referencing Newburyport’s Emily Meleedy.

Emily had plenty to do with the (3-0) Clippers, 10-5, win over the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

At the end of the fourth inning, the home team was ahead, 9-1. 

By then, Emily had a double, home run (over the centerfield fence), and a single, driving in five runs and scoring three times.

The two batters ahead of Emily in the batting order (Emma Keefe & Cali Caponigro) were also very productive early on as Newburyport built their big lead.  Emma and Cali both reached base three times and each scored three times.

Emily also pitched.

Emily Meleedy struck out seven Tigers and allowed six hits

Through four innings the NHS freshman allowed just one hit (Kate Bekeritis) and struck out five.

Lexi James was part of the Ipswich comeback in the 5th inning

Credit Ipswich for putting a four-run rally together in the 5th inning.

“We were down early but we didn’t quit,” said Coach James.  “We got the game back closer.”

The Tigers (2-1) started making solid contact and getting on base. 

“It took us a couple of times around to get used to the pitching,” said Coach James.

Eight Tigers came to the plate in that 4-run fifth with Lexi James, Kate Bekeritis, and Cassidy Smith getting RBIs.

But the damage was limited to four runs.  Again, we find Emily Meleedy playing a big role.  She assisted on an out at first, caught a popup, and struck out the last batter of the inning.

Piper Reily (2 hits) throws to first

Emily struck out seven in the game and ended three innings with strikeouts.

Ipswich had two hits in the 6th inning but ran into a double play on a fly ball to douse a promising chance to score.

RF Keira Dowell ended the game with a nice running catch in foul territory.

The infield surface at Pioneer Park was hard and bumpy.  Both teams struggled making plays on grounders as they tried to figure out hops.

“I thought that we played a sloppy game,” said Newburyport coach Bob Gillespie afterwards.  “We were much better in the first two games. But we can correct the mistakes.”

“We had some struggles, but we pushed through,” said Emily Meleedy.

The Tigers finished with six hits.  Freshman Piper Reily had two of them.

The Clippers started four freshmen and an eighth grader (Sophie Lavallee).

The Tigers started three freshmen.

Cali Caponigro – 3 hits, 2 runs

“We’re a young team and this was a huge building game for us,” said Coach James.

Emily Meleedy: “I was throwing mostly fastballs.  I have a good team to back me up.  It feels good to hit a homer.  I play club softball in Salisbury.  On the club team I pitch and play shortstop.”

Little bit of rain early but that was the end of it.

Parking at Pioneer Park is nearly non-existent.  There were two other games going on at the same time.  I don’t know the parking solution, but there were cars in harm’s way when I left.  Be careful over there.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Emma Keefe – 2 hits, 4 runs
Sophie Lavallee
CF Dakota Duncan
Pitcher Annabel Morris
Piper Reily scores a run in the 5th inning
Emily Meleedy goes down for a low pitch
Annabel Morris takes a swing as Cali Caponigro catches
Sophie Lavallee caught stealing by Lexi James
LF Maya Williams comes in for a ball
Bad-hop grounders were the order of the day
SS Lexi James sets to throw to first
Cali Caponigro scores in the first inning
Near catch by 3B Piper Reily
Maddie Della
Keira Dowell mobbed after game-ending catch

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Newburyport hitting key to 7-1 win vs Pentucket

Jake Buontempo (gold helmet) congratulated after 2-run homer in sixth inning
Sophomore Owen Tahnk won his first varsity start.

(Newburyport MA) “Our whole team swings the bat well,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe post-game.

That skill was certainly on display today with eleven hits recorded for the home team.

Eight different Clippers (2-0) had hits as they defeated Pentucket, 7-1, on Tuesday afternoon at Pettingell Field in Cape Ann League action.

Meanwhile, the pitching of Owen Tahnk and Jack Fehlner held Pentucket to three hits. Only one of those hits came over the final five innings.

The Sachems (1-2) led early, 1-0, and could have had more.  They had the bases loaded with one out in the third inning but came up empty.

“We’ve got to do a better job swinging the bat with runners in scoring position,” said Pentucket coach Kevin Murray.

Trevor Kamuda and Bryce Winter pitched for the Sachems.

Sophomore Owen Tahnk got the win for the Clippers going five innings in his first varsity start, giving up three hits, and striking out five.

Will Roberts drove in Pentucket’s run

“Owen was dominant early,” said Coach Rowe.  “When he did get some baserunners (bases loaded in the 3rd, second and third in the 5th) he managed to find a way out of it.  I’m incredibly proud of him.”

The Clippers struck twice with two outs; first in the fourth inning and then in the fifth.

In the 4th, the runs came on a Luke Stallard double, an intentional walk to Jake Buontempo, and a bases-clearing double by Ryan Archer over the leftfielder’s head.

“The pitch was in my sweet spot, a little inside, a little low,” recalled Ryan Archer.  “I just wanted to put it in play.

Those two runs gave Newburyport the lead, 2-1.

In the 5th, Charlie Forrest was hit by a pitch and took second on a passed ball.  Jack Fehlner’s double to left scored Charlie, and Tony Lucci’s next-batter double scored Jack.

Jack Fehlner had 2 hits, an RBI, and 2 innings of scoreless relief

The Clippers added three runs to their 4-1 margin in the sixth inning.

In that 6th inning, Newburyport had four straight hits off reliever Bryce Winter.

The big shot was Jake Buontempo’s 2-run homer over the leftfield fence.

“It felt really good off the bat,” said Jake afterwards.  “It was a fastball up and in. I caught it at the right time, and it just flew.  It was my first home run in high school.”

Junior Quinn Fortuna drove home the seventh Newburyport run.

Coach Murray: “I thought we pitched well.  We just didn’t swing the bats.  We were better than what the score shows.  We’re two weeks in with room to grow.”

Shortstop Andrew Melone throws to first

Coach Rowe: “It was a good baseball game.  I give the (Trevor) Kamuda kid a lot of credit.  He was your typical crafty lefty.  He threw strikes and he kept us off balance.  We had hits at key opportunities.”

The defense was solid for both teams.  Trevor Kamuda started a double play in the first inning.  Shortstop Andrew Melone made a nice running catch in short left to end the Newburyport second.

The weather was good.  It was breezy but the fielders didn’t let it bother them.

In the Newburyport win over Triton, the game ended on a running catch in foul territory.  More of the same today, as 1B Charlie Forrest avoided the out-of-bounds line to catch the final out.

Ryan Archer: “We’re just two games in with a long way to go.  We’ve got bigger goals than winning this game today.”

Charlie Forrest ends the game

You know it’s not your day when you’re driving past the game and a foul ball catches your car on the roof as it did to some unlucky driver today.

Pettingell Field looked to be in terrific shape.  I saw why afterwards when every member of the Newburyport team went to work on it to keep it that way.

(All of the pictures should enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

(Some of the pictures will end up on Instagram eventually.)

Demetri Connor
Quinn Fortuna

Two of the Cape Ann League’s best athletes
Max Ligols makes a catch
Andrew Melone makes a running catch
Joe Lynch (two hits) leads off second
Trevor Kamuda
Ryan Archer drove in the first two Newburyport runs
Jake Buontempo and Luke Stallard scored on Ryan Archer’s double
3B Luke Stallard gets a forceout to end the Pentucket 3rd inning
Leftfielder Alex Pinkham chases a hit to the outfield
Jake Buontempo
Alex Pinkham scores while catcher Nick White waits for the throw
Newburyport box
Pentucket box

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Filed under Newburyport, Pentucket