Monthly Archives: June 2021

Amesbury capitalizes on Case misplays to gain D3 state finals

Amesbury celebrates their win over Case
Megan Smith (white helmet) congratulated after scoring a run

(Amesbury MA) For 4 ½ innings one run looked big, and Case had it.

The next two innings?

“Defensive meltdown,” are the two words that come to mind.

Undefeated Amesbury turned errors into eleven runs during those two innings and won, 11-1, to gain a spot in the Division Three finals on Wednesday.

“It was certainly not our best day,” said Case coach Shannon Silva afterwards.

“We didn’t hit (Case had three) and I knew that one run wouldn’t be enough to win this game,” she added.

But that run looked awfully big for a while.

A Megan Smith single, a wild pitch, a sacrifice bunt, and another wild pitch put the Cardinals on the board in the third inning.

Ella Delisle had three hits for Amesbury

The Indians had runners on in the second, third, and fourth innings but Case starter Hailey Berube (six strikeouts) held them off.

“That run of theirs looked big for a long time,” said AHS coach Jacqui Waters. 

The Cardinals had their first error in the fourth inning, but Hailey Berube got a two-on strikeout to keep it from being costly.

In the fifth inning, Amesbury put two hits together (Lauren Celia double & Ella Delisle single) to tie the score.

This game was decided just five batters later.

Case, uncharacteristically, committed an error on each of the next five batters.  There were bad throws and grounders unstopped.  Six runs crossed for Amesbury.

Looking for the handle

“When I watched them play and read everything about them, this was one thing that didn’t happen to them,” said Coach Waters.

More misplays (two) for the Cardinals in the sixth inning and Amesbury added five more runs.  In that productive sixth inning, Izzy Lavasseur, Julia Campbell, and Cali Catarius had RBIs for the Indians.

Sophomore catcher Ella Delisle had a big game for Amesbury.  She had three hits, an RBI, and threw a runner out at second base.

“We were down but came back,” said Ella.  “It shows how determined we are as a team.  The comeback felt good.”

Liv DeLong started for Amesbury and went three innings.  Alana Delisle went the next three innings and Liv covered the seventh inning.

“I brought in Alana after Liv had pitched through their lineup,” said Coach Waters, “and that worked in our favor. Defensively, we seem to better when Liv is at first base.”

Hailey Berube
Liv DeLong

Liv is a lefty and Alana is a righty.  “When a team sees a lefty and then a righty it kind of messes with them a little bit,” said Liv.

The game ended on what looked like a hit to right, but RF Lauren Celia charged the line drive and threw the runner out at first base. 

“We practice that play a lot,” said Lauren.

“Amesbury played a great game,” said Coach Silva.  “They played a clean game and they hit the ball consistently.  If you put the ball in play, things can happen.  We had eight errors.”

Case (10-4) is from the South Coast League.

The team from Swansea was the #8 seed in the South. 

Lauren Celia ties the score in the 5th

Case won the Division 3 South in 2019.

Amesbury gets Turners Falls next in the D3 state finals.  The game is scheduled for Wednesday with a coin toss deciding whether it will be at Turners Falls or at Amesbury.

Anyone remembering this game will probably start with the heat…..95 degrees and hazy.  I found, however, that once the game started, I wasn’t aware of either of those.

Nice catch by Case rightfielder Abby Sirois in fifth inning.  Abby caught the ball and then went flying over teammate 2B Alexandria Yost…..but still held on.

Izzy Levasseur had two hits and scored two runs for Amesbury.

Amesbury ended up with eight hits.  Case had three hits.

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

Liv DeLong pitches
Hailey Berube pitches
Amesbury looks for a handle
Hannah Pelletier tries to steal second
SS Olivia Levasseur makes the tag
Abby Sirois slides in with a double as Cali Catarius takes throw
3B Izzy Levasseur throws to first
Pitcher Hailey Berube sees Liv DeLong off 3B
Two Amesbury runs score on a bad throw
RF Abby Sirois comes in for a fly ball
Abby Sirois goes over 2B Alexandria Yost
Julia Campbell singles in a run

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Liv DeLong hits walkoff winner

Amesbury Indians are the Division 3 North champions
Ella Bezanson hits home with the game winner

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury captured the Division 3 North title with a 3-2, eight-inning walkoff win over St. Mary’s on Saturday afternoon.

Amesbury takes on D3 South champs Case on Monday night at 5PM at the Amesbury Middle School.

Liv DeLong had the big hit for the (15-0) Indians. The hard-hitting junior drove in Ella Bezanson with the game-winner.

“I couldn’t have had a better setup in the eighth,” explained Amesbury coach Jacqui Waters post-game.  “Those are my top two hitters.”

Amesbury had only five hits off the Spartans Lily Newhall but two of them came in the decisive eighth.

Earlier, Lauren Celia gave the Indians the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-run single down the third-base line.

Lauren Celia had a two-run single

“It felt good to get a hit in a late-season game,” said Lauren.

But the runs didn’t hold up. 

St. Mary’s (21-3) took advantage of two Amesbury miscues and tied the score, 2-2, in their half of the sixth inning.

“I liked the way we came back after being down 2-0,” said St. Mary’s coach Frank Pagliuca afterwards.

The Spartans put the pressure on Amesbury in the seventh and eighth.

Felicia D’Alessandro singled with two out in the seventh.

Brooke Mohoney singled and reached second on a Jill Kirby sacrifice bunt with one out in the eighth.

St. Mary’s captains

In both situations, Amesbury pitcher Alana Delisle had the defense behind her to keep St. Mary’s from scoring.

“We had an opportunity in the eighth inning and didn’t take advantage of it,” said Coach Pagliuca.  “Amesbury had the same opportunity in the eighth inning and took advantage of it.”

That similar situation was having a runner on second base with one out.

After an Ella Delisle popup leading off the decisive eighth, the Indians had their two best hitters whack the two hardest hits of the game.

“I felt it on the end of my bat,” explained Ella Bezanson who doubled to the right centerfield fence, “and I knew it was a good hit.”

In the sixth inning, Amesbury had runners on second and third with two outs.  On that occasion St. Mary’s decided to pitch to Alana Delisle even though there was an empty base.  The strategy worked perfectly as Spartans’ ace Lily Newhall struck Alana out to end the inning.

Liv DeLong at bat in the 8th inning

Now in the eighth inning, with Ella Bezanson on second base, the option of walking the next batter (Liv DeLong) was again available.

There was a long conference on the mound as the Spartans planned what they would do.

They would pitch to Liv DeLong.

“Liv told me that she was going after the first pitch,” said Coach Waters.

“I was up there ready to hit,” recalled Liv.  “I was ready to swing at anything.  I saw the first pitch coming and I said, ‘this is it.’”

Liv hit a rope to center field.  It hasn’t rained much lately, and the ground out there is hard.  Liv’s hit took an up bounce on St. Mary’s CF Marina D’Biasio and Ella was on her way home.

Liv DeLong’s hard hit bounces up on CF Marina D’Biasio in the 8th iinning

“When Liv hit that ball, I was jumping up-and-down inside,” said Ella.

Lily Newhall
Alana Delisle

I asked Coach Pagliuca about choosing not to walk Liv DeLong: “I won’t comment on what I told the pitcher.  The girl hit the ball.  It is what it is at this point.  Liv is a good player, and she took advantage of the opportunity.”

The pitching of St. Mary’s Lily Newhall and Amesbury’s Alana Delisle was very impressive.

“Lily kept a powerful lineup off-balance all game,” said Coach Pagliuca.

Lily gave up five hits and had eight strikeouts.  The junior had a no-hitter through four innings.

Alana also yielded five hits but had ten strikeouts.

“Alana is probably the hero of the game,” said Coach Waters.  “I had no doubt that I was pitching her today.”

SS Sam Porazinski makes a nice catch

“Alana did so well today,” said her sister Ella who is the team’s catcher.  “She hit every spot.  She’s so good.”

Ella calls the pitches for her older sister. 

“Rise balls and changeups were working, as well as a few screwballs,” said Alana.  “Ella was smart about how we used them.”

St. Mary’s had won twelve straight.  Their losses were to Gloucester and Bishop Feehan.

This season Amesbury has rolled through the Cape Ann League getting no-hitters from Alana Delisle and Liv DeLong as well as mercy-rule endings in most games.

The weather was pleasantly warm.

Good turnout with the spectators located beyond the outfield fence.

St. Mary’s box
Amesbury box

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

Amesbury team
Coach Waters with the AHS captains
Ella Bezanson and Liv DeLong with the team about to join
SS Olivia Levasseur throws to first
Alyssa Grossi on her way home with the Spartans 2nd run
Brooke Moloney scores St. Mary’s first run
Olivia Levasseur scores Amesbury’s 2nd run
Izzy Levasseur scores Amesbury’s first run
Lily Newhall throws to first base
Alana Delisle throws to first base
Lauren Celia tagged out at second by SS Sam Porazinski
CF Ella Bezanson
Brooke Moloney
SS Sam Porazinski
Lily Newhall
1B Liv DeLong
Alana Delisle

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Luis Medina: Still work to do

Yankees prospect Luis Medina has tremendous potential
Luis Medina had six walks and two wild pitches in 4 1/3 innings

(Portland ME) It had almost been two years.

August 19, 2019 was the last visit to Hadlock Field for me.

After that, Covid-19, and the reactions to it, took that pleasurable opportunity away from me.

But I was back yesterday.

My revisit was nicely arranged, as usual, by the Master Arranger, Chris Cameron.

I saw the first game of the Sea Dogs doubleheader with the Somerset Patriots.

Somerset is the AA representative of the New York Yankees.

I chase prospects and know that the good ones in AA will eventually be on the major league roster in time.

They’ll emerge on TV from Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park and I’ll recall seeing them earlier. 

Oswald Peraza drove in two with a double

The last Yankee prospect who has now made the big team, that I saw at Portland’s Hadlock Field, was Glebys Torres.

Oswald Peraza (#4 NY prospect) and Luis Medina (#7 NY prospect) are both on the current Somerset roster.

When I realized that Luis Medina was pitching, I was eager to attend the game.

Both Oswald (shortstop) and Luis were promoted to Someset earlier this month. They are impressing the Yankees’ future planners

Both of them were signed as 16-year-old’s.

Oswald Peraza is a shortstop

Oswald (21) is from Venezuela.  Luis (22) is from the Dominican Republic.

Oswald is a smooth fielder who is hitting nearly .300.

Luis was the intriguing one to me.  He was throwing 100MPH in the Dominican Republic when he was sixteen!

He’s rated to have the “best pure stuff” by Baseball America is the Yankees farm system.

He was coming off his first AA start (versus Richmond) in which he had ten strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

I saw a clip of the Richmond game. Luis had great control of his curve, changeup, and fastball.

Luis’ issue has been consistency.  Can he throw strikes?  I am no genius on these things but if I’m facing a pitcher with control issues, I am either going to be very patient (and make him throw strikes) or be teeing off on early pitches in the middle of the plate.

Luis Medina

The “inconsistent” Luis pitched against Portland and took the loss. 

He reached 99 on several pitches and may have reached 100 on some others that I didn’t check on.  But there were six walks and two wild pitches.  Only five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Portland scored a run on each wild pitch.

So, the 22-year-old has a distance to go but the “best pure stuff” will get you plenty more chances to fix things.

Oswalt was good in the field, and he also drove in two runs with a double.

I had seen Portland earlier this month against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Manchester (NH).

1B Triston Casas

Triston Casas (1B) is the #1 Boston Red Sox prospect.  He’s young (21) and big (6’4” – 252).

Triston works relentlessly on pre-game conditioning.  He seems determined to avoid injuries and to improve his foot speed. I saw him do a lot of stretching and sprinting.

In both parks, Triston took time to sign autographs.

If I’m Boston’s Bobby Dalbec, I’m well aware that Triston plays my position (1B), has similar power, and doesn’t strike out as much.

Newly arrived Devlin Granberg had two hits for the Sea Dogs.  He played college baseball at Dallas Baptist University.

Josh Winckowski was the Portland starter.  He came to Boston via the NY Mets in the Andrew Benintendi trade to Kansas City.

Portland starter Josh Winckowski had nine K’s and got the win
Josh Winckowski

Josh seems more than able to hold his own at the AA level.  Versus Somerset he went five innings for the win with nine strikeouts.

Other Sea Dogs I took pictures of: catcher Ronaldo Hernandez (#11 prospect), 3B Hudson Potts, and SS Ryan Fitzgerald. 

Busy night behind the plate for the Patriots catcher Donny Sands.  Luis Medina had two wild pitches and some others that were off the mark.  Addison Russ followed in relief, and he had a wild pitch.

The Sea Dogs were giving free bobbleheads of Xander Bogaerts pregame to the first five hundred fans.  An hour before the gates opened, the fans were in place.

Newcomer Devlin Granberg had two hits

It was nice to be back in the park, but things were different for the fans and for me.

The fans, at the minor league level, expect to be entertained.  They don’t know the players and usually there are plenty of youngsters in the house.  The continued reaction to Covid-19 prevents any on-field activities.  Those activities are great at keeping the non-baseball types engaged.  Various contests appear between innings and there’s never a dull moment because the Sea Dogs’ staff fills the time so well.  And there was no Slugger!  I have pulled for that guy for years.  There’s always a race and he’s always in it. He’s been in a “bit” of a slump, but I also want to be there when the big guy gets that first elusive W.  Watching him on the video screen during this game in long-away centerfield is far from the same.  Can’t wait for the federal mandate insisting on Covid-19 restrictions to end!

Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez

Personally, I was kept from the field too.  Pregame is a nice chance to get some closeups.  Not being on the edge of the dugouts may keep me safer but I miss chances on good shots.  However, I do own a 600mm lens, so I’m not totally out of range. 

Nice weather, although the sun does set so that it’s right in my face in the only open spot I could shoot from. 

I have figured out where to park to avoid the $10 charge to locate near to the stadium. I can use the walk!

Thanks again to Chris Cameron.  On short notice, he made the needed arrangements.  I did have to sign a Covid-19 waiver when I checked in. 

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

Stolen base by Tate Matheny
Triston Casas
Ball bounces up on Somerset catcher Donny Sands
Devlin Granberg rounds first after getting a hit
Luis Medina pitch in the dirt
Shortstop Oswald Peraza
Oswald Peraza at bat
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
3B Hudson Potts
Triston Casas signs

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Hall-Dale wins first Maine softball title

Hall-Dale hoists the Gold Glove
Emma Soule had two hits and two RBI

(Standish ME) “We’ve accomplished every goal we set for ourselves,” said Hall-Dale winning pitcher Ashlynn Donahue afterwards.

The Bulldogs (17-0) had never won a state softball title before but with a 5-0 victory over Dexter (15-3) this afternoon they got it done.

“We made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes and they capitalized,” explained Dexter coach Jason Hardy.

A hit batsman, a wild pitch, and an error were the mistakes that contributed to three Bulldogs’ runs in the first inning and two more in the third inning.

“They got on the board early which put us on our heels,” added Coach Hardy.

“We got some runs early and that set the tone for us,” said HD coach Steve Acedo after his team won the Class C title.

Rita Benoit pitched the final two innings

Ashlynn Donahue and Rita Benoit combined for the shutout.

The Tigers had a hit in every inning and stranded at least one baserunner in every inning, except the sixth.

“We’ve got two really good pitchers that kept their bats under control,” said Coach Acedo.

Liz Kinney was the one hitter for Dexter that was trouble every time up.  Elizabeth had a walk, two singles, and a loud triple (over CF) in the Dexter 7th.

Liz ended up with half of the Tigers hits.

Junior Emma Soule paced Hall-Dale with a hit and an RBI in both innings that the Bulldogs scored.

“I don’t know if Emma had a hit in the last two playoff games,” said Coach Acedo, “but she showed up today.  She’s one of our leaders.”

“I’ve been struggling lately,” admitted Emma.

Sarah Benner heads home with the first Hall-Dale run
LF Lexi Rideout saved a run in the 4th

No struggles today.  Emma singled to centerfield in the first and put down an RBI suicide bunt in the third.  She was also good at second base handling popups and grounders.

The best defensive play was turned in by HD leftfielder Lexi Rideout in the fourth inning.  The Tigers had a runner on third with two outs.  Sydney Dyson hit a ball toward the gap to Lexi’s left but the HD sophomore was able to run it down and save a run.

Rita Benoit picked up the save pitching two complete innings.  The Hall-Dale sophomore fanned four including the final batter of the game.

Starter Ashlynn Donahue gave up five hits and struck out three during her five innings of work.

“We were prepared to pitch Ashlynn four or five innings,” explained Coach Acedo.  “She pitched the whole game on Thursday night.”

Liz Kinney had 3 hits for Dexter

In the fifth inning, Ashlynn had two outs, two runners on, and two strikes on the batter.  Coach Acedo then came out to the mound.

I asked him about it: “I told her, just finish this one and your job is done.”  Ashlynn’s next pitch was a strike and the inning ended.

Tough loss for Dexter senior starter Avery Herrick.  She only gave up five hits while striking out seven Bulldogs.  The team from Farmingdale didn’t have a hit over the final 3 2/3 innings.  But the early HD runs proved to be the difference.

The loss today ended the Tigers fourteen game win streak.  One of the Tigers losses was to Searsport which won the Class D title today.

Weather was good.  There was a forecast of possible rain.

St. Joseph’s has their own version of Fenway’s Green Monster seats.  I was blessed to be able to get a seat out there again this year.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge if you click on them.  Some of the pictures will appear on my Instagram account – McClellandMiscellanea).

Hall-Dale box
Dexter box
Tanley Tibbetts scores the second HD run
Lily Platt scores on a wild pitch
Battle for the ball
Rita Benoit rounds third heading for home in the 3rd inning
1B Sammy Thornton
Ashlynn Donahue gets a strikeout
Final strike of the game
Celebrating begins – Rita Benoit and Lily Platt
Catcher Cheyenne Beem
Dexter team
Ashlynn Donahue
Zoe Soule
Victory lap
Hall-Dale – 2021 Class C Maine softball champions

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Georgetown defeats Amesbury in surprising fashion

Iain Kantorski tagged out at home by catcher Tim Gilleo
Garrett Sedgwick tagged out at 3B

(Amesbury MA) Georgetown certainly didn’t do it the easy way.

The Royals had two runners thrown out at home.

They had two others caught at third.

Didn’t matter, Georgetown still came away with a satisfying, 6-3, season-ending win over Amesbury on Tuesday afternoon.

The sunny skies at the start gave way to dark clouds, thunder, and then game-ending lightning as the Amesbury half of the sixth inning was about to start.

I usually talk to coaches and some players afterwards but not today.  That lightning changed my plans and had me and my camera equipment beelining it immediately for the AHS parking lot.

Ayden Kent was one of six Royals pitchers

Not only did Georgetown (6-10) run into outs on the bases but they also used a different pitcher in each inning. Those frequent pitching changes would seem to have been a recipe for disaster sooner or later but not on this afternoon.

We’ll never know what the Indians (8-7) might have done with two more innings of batting, however.  I’m betting though that we would have seen two more Georgetown pitchers.

The Royals had eleven hits, at least one in every inning, off Amesbury pitchers (Trevor Kimball & Josh Sorgini).

Georgetown got off to a great start with RBI doubles by Nick Gaeta (two hits) and Jack Lucido in the first inning.

That inning ended with Jack getting caught trying to steal third base.

Amesbury got a run back in their half of the first inning.  Jeremy Lopez (three hits, two RBI) doubled home Shea Cucinotta.

Drew MacDonald out stealing

Drew MacDonald was caught stealing in that inning.

Georgetown continued to hit during the next three innings but ran themselves into outs on the bases that kept them from scoring runs.

Great throws by LF Drew MacDonald (2nd inning) and RF Drew Scialdone (3rd inning) were key plays for the Indians in staying close on the scoreboard.

In the fourth inning, Garrett Sedgwick tried to go to third (from second) on an infield out but was thrown out at third on a good throw by 1B Tiernan Bentley.

I thought that the wasted opportunities might catch up to Georgetown, but it didn’t happen. 

2B Nate Giguere makes a play to first

New pitchers came and went each inning for the Royals, yet the one-run lead stayed in place.

The Indians loaded the bases against Ayden Kent in the third inning but a two-out liner by Trevor Kimball was snagged by 1B Nick Gaeta to end the threat.

The Royals finally scored more runs in the fifth inning.  RBI by Iain Kantorski & Carter Lucido finished starter Trevor Kimball’s afternoon. 

Josh Sorgini came on in relief.

Twice Georgetown, with runners on first and third, sent the runner on first and were able to score the runner from third and add two more runs to their total.

Amesbury did not recover completely from those four additional runs.  They did score two runs, however.

Jeremy Lopez had 3 hits and 2 RBI

Jeremy Lopez doubled to the rightfield corner sending home Drew MacDonald.  Later, Jeremy stole third and came across when the throw (from the pitcher) to third was wild.

That 6-3 score turned out to be the final as the threatening weather kicked in.

Everyone in Georgetown’s starting lineup had at least one hit.  Rob Popielski and Nick Gaeta each had two hits for the Royals.

Jeremy Lopez had a perfect day going three-for-three with two RBI.

Drew MacDonald and Trevor Kimball each had two hits for the Indians.

The Georgetown season ends on an upswing as they finished winning three of their last five.

Amesbury will be in the post-season tournament.  They suffered losses yesterday and today.

Amesbury defeated Georgetown, 5-4, in early May at Georgetown.

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

Ayden Kent caught off 3B by Josh Sorgini
Drew MacDonald – 2 hits and an outfield assist
2B Jake Harring tags out Nick Gaeta as a run scores
Shea Cucinotta, Jake Harring, and Trevor Kimball wait on a pitching change
Josh Sorgini pitched in relief
Rob Popielski scores a run for Georgetown
Nate Giguere slides in safely
Jake Gilstein
Carter Lucido pitched for Georgetown
Baserunner Iain Kantorski and SS Shea Cucinotta
Nice running catch by CF Carter Lucido
Shea Cucinotta heads for home
Nick Gaeta scores in the first inning
Trevor Kimball started for Amesbury
Coaches go over the rules pregame

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Jack Fehlner leads Newburyport to Spofford title

Jack Fehlner was the center of attention when the game ended
Newburyport Clippers win the 2021 Spofford Tournament
Baserunner Cael Kohan and 1B Brady Ford

(Georgetown MA) Newburyport was desperate for a win.

After an impressive 9-1 month of May, June turned into a problem.

After an early win in June, three straight losses had followed, most recently, a 12-1 nightmare loss to North Reading.

Before that NR disaster had been a tough 7-2 defeat this past Wednesday to Triton.  A game in which Jack Fehlner came in to give relief and suffered through a five-run outburst by the Vikings.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  Again, it was Triton and again it was Jack Fehlner doing the pitching.

But what a difference this time!

Jack Fehlner limited Triton to four hits

Today, Jack pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout as the Clippers downed Triton, 5-0, to take home the championship trophy in the Spofford Tournament.

“After that loss to Triton, the team gave me some great words of encouragement,” said Jack post-game, “that really helped.”

Jack’s pitching was probably enough to make him the tourney MVP but when he added a home run in the seventh inning the guesswork ended.

“Jack’s homer wasn’t a surprise to me,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe. “He hits bombs in practice.”

Tony Lucci had a 2-run double

Through three innings, Jack allowed only one baserunner while Triton starter DJ Watson allowed just one hit (Luke Stallard).

The Clippers bats came to life in the fourth inning.

A single (Luke Stallard) and a walk (Jax Budgell) set up Newburyport’s leading hitter (Jake Buontempo) for an RBI single to left. 

Jake took second without a throw and senior Tony Lucci followed with a two-run double to right center.

“It was an outside pitch,” recalled Tony.  “Coach (Rowe) always tells us to take that one to rightfield and that’s what I did.”

Triton (7-7) threatened to cut into Newburyport’s 3-0 lead in the fifth inning.

Andrew Masher and Griffin Dupuis executed a perfect hit-and-run to put runners on first and third with two outs in that inning.  Jack Fehlner, however, was able to get a strikeout to get out of it.

Jake Buontempo had a long homer to left in the sixth inning
Brady Lindholm had a hit

The Clippers (11-4) added another run in the sixth as Jake Buontempo hit a long home run over the leftfield fence.

“I was down 0-2,” said Jake.  “I had seen two curveballs.  I choked up a little bit like I always do and got a nice curveball and ripped it.”

The Vikings were back threatening in the sixth inning.  Consecutive singles by Brady Lindholm and Cael Kohan set up Triton with one out. After a flyball out to left, Ryan Lindholm hit a flare into short left.  It had trouble written all over it!  But Newburyport shortstop Tony Lucci ran straight back for it and caught it in true snow-cone fashion to end the inning and save a run.

“The catch by Tony was awesome,” said Jack Fehlner.  “It was such a clutch play.”

“I was a bit nervous going after it, but I ran as fast as I could to make the catch,” said Tony.

Jack finished off the final Triton inning with consecutive strikeouts.

Pickoff attempt

“Jack came in determined after they got to him the other day,” said Coach Rowe.  “He felt that he had something to prove today.”

Triton coach Ryan McCarthy: “Both teams hit the ball hard today.  I thought that the Fehlner kid pitched a great game today.  We hit him hard the other day, but he bounced back.”

Nick White: “It was a nice bounce-back win.  We’ve been struggling lately.”

Coach Rowe: “We were kind of on our heels after the last few games, but we had a long talk yesterday and had a good practice.”

Jack Fehlner celebrates home run

There was some uncertainty on Jack Fehlner’s homer in the seventh inning.  “I wasn’t sure it was out,” said Jack, “until their shortstop told me.”

Newburyport captains Tony Lucci, Ryan Archer, and Nick White with trophy
3B Andrew Masher had a hit for Vikings

Jack Fehlner: “My two-seam fastball was working really well.”

Triton had seven infield groundouts.

Newburyport last won the Spofford Tournament in 2018.

Triton’s last one was in 2012.

Ideal weather.

Generous donations announced pre-game to help the family of a firefighter who is battling cancer.

I learned from Coach McCarthy that the post-season tournament will only be for the North title.  He also thought that the tournament had to end by July 1st

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

Clippers celebrate
Team picture
LF Ryan Archer congratulates Tony Lucci
Tony Lucci makes a (blurry) snow-cone catch
Jack Fehlner pitches
Jax Budgell heads home with the second Newburyport run
RF Cole Daniels made a terrific catch in the second inning
SS Tony Lucci
Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch
Owen Roberts

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Newburyport dominates rematch with Triton

Emily Meleedy pitched a 2-hit, complete-game shutout with 8 strikeouts
The Clippers had thirteen hits

(Byfield MA) “We showed up to play,” said Newburyport senior Cali Caponigro.

And show up they did.

The Clippers (8-5) had everything going as they took a, 13-0, mercy-rule win over Triton on Thursday afternoon.

The way this game went was a surprise.  Back in May, the Clippers held on for an, 11-10, victory against the same Vikings.

Today, Newburyport grabbed the lead immediately, had terrific pitching (Emily Meleedy), and made the plays in the field.

Liv Kiricoples had one of Triton’s two hits

Triton (6-6) just couldn’t match up on this afternoon.

Emily limited the Vikings to their fewest hits of the season (two) while striking out eight batters.

“Their pitcher was terrific,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes.

The Clippers scored early and in five of the six innings played.

“We started off strong today and that really helped,” said Emily Meleedy.

An infield error prolonged the first inning.  Grace Habib singled in the first run and Emma Keefe doubled in two more sending Newburyport off to a quick, 3-0, lead.

Clippers watching the action

The Clippers were ahead, 4-0, before Triton had their first hit (Liv Kiricoples) in the third inning.

The visitors gained serious separation in the fourth inning adding a four-spot to their run total.

As in the first inning, the Triton trouble started after two outs.  Nieve Morrissey and Maddie McLeod each drove in a run while Emily Meleedy’s double to left brought two Clippers home.

That moved the lead to, 8-0.

The Newburyport defense also had a good afternoon.

Centerfielder Nieve Morrissey made the play of the game in the Triton fourth IMO.  Nieve came running to the rescue when an infield popup near second base looked to be falling in.

CF Nieve Morrissey (3) makes a remarkable running catch
Triton shortstop Kyla Story

“Nieve’s catch was amazing,” said shortstop Emma Keefe afterwards.  “She’s a fast one.”

The Vikings did get a runner to third (Liv Kiricoples) in the fifth inning with one out.  However, Emily Meleedy escaped damage with a strikeout and an infield grounder handled by 3B Cali Caponigro.

The Clippers had thirteen hits.  Emily Meleedy had three, while teammates Nieve Morrissey, Cali Caponigro, Emma Keefe, and Sophie Lavallee had two each.

Emma Keefe had four RBI while Grace Habib and Emily Meleedy had two each.

Emma Keefe had four RBI

“Our bats showed up today,” said Cali Caponigro. “I’m really proud of our team.”

Coach Bob Gillespie: “They came out ready to go.  We put up three right away in the first inning.  Emily (Meleedy) pitched great.  We thumped the ball all day long.  Anytime we beat Triton it’s a great day in Newburyport.”

“Give Newburyport credit,” said Coach Noyes, “they swung the bats and made the plays.”

Coach Noyes: “We lost Izzie (Reiniger) yesterday and didn’t have time to move bodies around to adjust to it.”

Natalie Indingaro had the second Triton hit.

Running try by 2B Maddy Jacques

Coach Noyes: “Grace (Romine) was fine today.  We just made too many errors behind her.”

Coach Gillespie: “We had a tough game yesterday against North Reading but that’s old news.  We’re as happy as can be with this win.”

Emily Meleedy didn’t walk anyone.  “I threw in a couple of different pitches today,” she explained.  “I’ve got a good team behind me.”

Triton will face undefeated Amesbury on Saturday.  It’s a little difficult to figure out how good the Indians are defensively because of all the strikeouts Alana Delisle and Liv DeLong have been getting. 

The weather was cooler than it’s been and there were no complaints. 

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

CF Nieve Morrissey about to catch the final out of the game
Cali Caponigro scored three runs
LF Matigan Richmond
Emma Keefe steals second
Skylar Colburn
Emily Meleedy was on base four times
Keira Dowell gets to third base
3B Cali Caponigro
Grace Romine throws to first base
Grace Romine pitches
Emily Meleedy pitches
Gabbie McKendry catches a popup
Baserunner Maddie McLeod

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Cael Kohan impressive in 7-2 Triton win over Newburyport

Cael Kohan (1) congratulated after victory
Vikings celebrate during 7th inning

(Newburyport MA) “It was a good baseball game for six innings,” lamented Newburyport coach Mark Rowe afterwards.

Triton erupted for five runs in the seventh inning and claimed a, 7-2, win over the Clippers.

Senior Cael Kohan was the complete-game winner for the Vikings.

“Cael was awesome,” said Triton coach Ryan McCarthy post-game.

“In this (hot) weather, I kept checking with him and he just wanted to go back out there,” said Coach McCarthy.  “He was gutsy out there.”

Jake Buontempo scores for Newburyport

Cael scattered four hits and recorded nine strikeouts.  He also drove in the go-ahead run in the game-turning seventh inning.

“We’ve been in a bit of a funk at the plate the last couple of games but the pitching we’ve faced has something to do with it,” said Coach Rowe.  “Cael pitched a great game.”

Cael said that he felt, “really great after the game. I could go again.”

Triton (7-6) went up by two after 3 ½ innings.  Brady Lindholm and Joe Abt had RBIs.

The Clippers (10-3) tied it in their half of the fourth inning on a Ryan Archer two-run single to rightfield.

2B Joe Abt (3 hits) flips to first

“We were up by two,” said Coach McCarthy, “but Newburyport came back.  They are a very good team.”

The fourth was the only inning that Cael struggled as he gave up three walks and hit a batter.  “I fell apart in that one inning,” said Cael. 

But after the Ryan Archer two-run single, Cael regained control.  A couple of strikeouts minimized the damage in the fourth inning.  He allowed only two baserunners over the final three innings.

Luke Stallard started for Newburyport and limited the Vikings to two runs over 5+ innings.

Jack Fehlner finished the sixth for Newburyport.

Kyle Odoy singled in a run in the 7th

“In the seventh there was a leadoff walk and then Triton really started hitting the ball,” recalled Coach Rowe.  “Jack is one of the best pitchers in the league and they just teed off on him.  But those things happen.  He’ll be back.”

A walk (Tim Carter), a sacrifice bunt (DJ Watson), and a wild pitch put pinchrunner Stone Butler on third with one out.  Next was a walk (Brady Lindholm).  Still no runs yet but three straight run-producing singles followed by Cael Kohan, Kyle Odoy, and Joe Abt.

Later, Ryan Lindholm had an RBI double.

“We wanted to put some pressure on them,” said Coach McCarthy.  “We had some great at-bats in the last inning.”

Cael Kohan had a complete game 4-hitter

Cael enjoyed the five-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.  “I was confident that my team would make plays behind me.  I was just throwing strikes.”

Cael said, “My curveball was great.  I was hitting my spots with the fastball.”

Junior Joe Abt led the Triton attack with three hits and two RBI.

Cael Kohan, Kyle Odoy, and Ryan Lindholm each had two hits for the Vikings.

Luke Stallard paced Newburyport with two hits.  Ryan Archer had two RBI.

The two teams faced each other on opening day in May and the Clippers put a six-run inning together defeating Triton, 10-4.

The last ten times the two teams have faced each other they have each won five times.

Tony Lucci and Ryan Lindholm

The teams will meet again in the Spofford championship game on Saturday at Georgetown.

After two straight days of games being cancelled because of the heat, it was good to see games being played even with temperatures in the 80s.

Cael pitched an impressive game today, but his college future involves another sport, golf.  He’ll be playing golf at Bryant University in the fall.

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

SS Tony Lucci in on a grounder
SS Brady Lindholm handled the last two outs
Sacrifice bunt
Connor Stick steals 2nd as SS Brady Lindholm reaches to tag
Joe Abt and Brady Ford
Luke Stallard went 5+ innings for Newburyport
Luke Stallard back to first
Kyle Odoy scored two runs
Kyle Odoy slides in with a triple as Demitri Connor takes throw
SS Brady Lindholm
3B Andrew Masher
Ryan McCarthy and Mark Rowe go over the rules pre-game

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Top Toronto Blue Jays prospects in action in New Hampshire

Top Toronto Blue Jays prospects (Jordan Groshans & Austin Martin) celebrate homer
Jordan Groshans signs autographs

(Manchester NH) The final was 9-6 and it felt like 96 in the sun/heat this afternoon.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies defeated the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on a very warm Sunday afternoon.

Even the seats were hot!  I moved into an open seat closer to the Binghamton dugout and realized quickly that it was too hot for long-term use.

I enjoy going to Portland (Sea Dogs) and Manchester (Fisher Cats) to see Double A baseball.  They’re close to home (Amesbury MA) and there is plenty to see.

Austin Martin takes a cut

The biggest of the AA stars are friendly to fans and seem happy to be where they are.

It is certain that some of the players will advance to the major leagues in a few years.  Others reach AA and get no further.  You never know as you watch them.

There is a little more certainty regarding the future of the players that were drafted in the early rounds and signed to large bonuses.

Two of the Toronto Blue Jays top three prospects are with the Fisher Cats.

I saw Austin Martin (#2 prospect – 1st round in 2020) last time but missed Jordan Groshans (#3 prospect – 1st round in 2018). 

3B Mark Vientos

This time I caught them both.

I did, however, miss out on Gabriel Moreno (#7 prospect).  He has statistically been NH’s best player so far this season.

The top Mets’ prospect with Binghamton is 3B Mark Vientos (#8). 

Many of the Mets’ best young players are at the level below Binghamton.  When Binghamton comes back to either Portland or New Hampshire later in the season, some of them may have been promoted to the Rumble Ponies.  I might want to be there.

Everything today was shot with my 600mm lens.  The length of that thing minimizes the danger I face when foul balls head my way. 

That lens also gives me a chance for good on-field shots.  In this game, there was an outfield collision that I was able to pick up in focus.

A good piece of successful sports photography is luck.  Most of the time you don’t know where the special shot will come from.  You wait….and hope.

Austin Martin (16) celebrates homer

I seldom stay long is the same location.  In high school softball/baseball games, I usually switch sides, if it’s possible, about halfway through.  At today’s stadium (Northeast Delta Dental) there were plenty of good, available vantage points.  Even behind the backstop was available because no fans were dining there.

By moving around, I lucked into two early-in-the-game home run celebrations.  Austin Martin had one and Manny Rodriguez had the other. 

In the Austin Martin homer (to left) celebration, I got Austin and Jordan Groshans (next batter) doing the home-run bump.

When a #9 batter hits a home run that’s likely to be special and that was the case with the one Manny clouted to rightfield.

Manny was very excited and his teammates were as well.  I was at an angle where the dugout celebrating came my way.  I even got one of his teammates in the process of pouring water on Manny.

Manny Rodriguez celebrates
More of the Manny Rodriguez celebration

I like pictures with several players in them.  I had some today with Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans together.  Those two could very well be playing together in Toronto in a few years.

Jordan Groshans

I continue to recommend that you take in a minor league game.  The price is right and the games are easy to get to.  Both times I’ve been to Manchester I’ve seen parents there with little kids getting an early taste of professional baseball.

I advise doing some homework on the two teams playing.  Know who each team’s best prospects are and try to get autographs and/or pictures of them.  Consider it a challenge.  I got Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts that way. Who knows who you might get?

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

Jordan Groshans, Austin Martin, Chavez Young
Jordan Groshans batting
Austin Martin
Austin Martin bats
Will Toffey had a two-run homer
Mark Vientos takes a cut
Hayden Senger had a two-run homer

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Filed under Binghamton Mets, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Grace Romine shines in relief in Triton’s 13-4 win over Ipswich

Grace Romine pitched four shutout innings in relief for Triton
Triton struggled in the field early on

(Byfield MA) Triton can hit and they can score runs.

Today the relief pitching of sophomore Grace Romine kicked in as well to help the Vikings defeat Ipswich, 13-4, on Friday afternoon.

Grace came in for starter Mallory Johnson in the top of the fourth inning.

First batter Grace faced (Rowan Galanis) dropped down a perfect run-producing bunt to give the Tigers a, 4-3, lead.

After that? Ipswich didn’t get a run or a hit the rest of the way, in fact, Grace retired the last ten batters she faced.

“Grace pitched well,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes afterwards.  “She pitched well in a loss to North Reading a few weeks ago.  She’ll probably get the ball when we play Newburyport on Monday.”

Kyla Story had four hits

The Vikings (6-5) had hits in every inning and scored in every inning.

“They’ve got good hitters,” said Ipswich coach Paul James post-game.

Kyla Story, Haleigh Harris, and Natalie Indingaro led the Triton attack.  Kyla had four hits and four RBI.  Haleigh contributed three hits and two RBI, while Natalie had two hits and two RBI.

“We do a lot of hitting,” explained Coach Noyes.  “We put in forty-five minutes to an hour every day we practice.”

The Tigers, however, looked strong in this one into the fourth inning.

“We had it close,” recalled Coach James. 

Triton errors and hit batsmen put the visitors into numerous scoring situations during the early innings and they capitalized four times.

However, despite some shaky plays, the Vikings also had some defensive gems that limited the Ipswich run production.

Catcher Haleigh Harris has the ball ready for incoming Rowan Galanis

Twice in the first four innings, Rowan Galanis was thrown out at the plate. 

In the second inning, it was a throw by centerfielder Izzy Oldoni that got the Ipswich senior. 

In the fourth inning, when Cassidy Smith tried to steal second, the throw went directly to shortstop Kyla Story instead.  Kyla returned the throw to catcher Haleigh Harris catching Rowan trying to score from third.

In the third inning, rightfielder Natalie Indingaro made a nice running catch to rob Maya Williams of a hit.

The Vikings had eight doubles off starter Annabel Morris and those big hits accounted for seven runs driven in.

Senior Gabby McKendry had a two-out, two-run single during Triton’s six-run sixth inning.

Rowan Galanis safe at second

Junior Lexi James had two hits and scored three times for Ipswich.

The weather was warm, and the threatening clouds didn’t turn into anything.

The seniors from both schools were honored afterwards.

Freshman Kyla Story continues to impress me with her hitting and her fielding.  I’m not the only one.

Coach James: “Triton has a great shortstop.”

Coach Noyes: “At the start of tryouts she hid in the corner.  She’s come into her own.  She’s the real deal.  She had a big game against Lynnfield.”

I asked Kyla afterwards about the game: “Our energy got up after a while.  I’ve been practicing a lot.  I play in the middle infield for the Northeast Hurricanes.”

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

Senior Izzie Reiniger
Catcher Katie Bekeritis
Natalie Indingaro – two hits, two RBI
Grace Romine pitching
Paige Leavitt slides in safely
Rowan Galanis out at home in the second inning
Lexi James scored three times
Catcher Haleigh Harris chats with new pitcher Grace Romine
Ipswich bench
LF Emily Johnson
1B Gabby McKendry
Katie Bekeritis on base
1B Cassidy Smith
2B Maya Williams
Ipswich box
Triton box

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