(Newburyport MA) The Newburyport Clippers (6-4) used a seven-run third inning to defeat Pentucket, 10-5, on Tuesday afternoon at Cashman Park.
The Sachems (3-7) had tied the score at, 3-3, in their half of the third inning.
Freshman Keira Dowell was the surprise starter for Newburyport.
“I found out last night that I was pitching today because Emily Meleedy was sick,” said Keira who had done some pitching for the Newburyport JVs.
Keira had six strikeouts and only two walks.
The secret to her success against Pentucket was her ability to keep the Sachems from putting a big inning together.
Pentucket had at least one hit in every inning, but they stranded runners in every inning. The chances were there but on this sunny afternoon the big hits weren’t.
“It was rough,” said Pentucket coach Deb Smith afterwards. “We usually come out stronger. We’ve been hitting so well lately.”
The Clippers had twelve hits but stranded only FIVE runners. That made the difference.
Half of the NHS hits came in the breakaway third inning. Twelve Clippers batted. Five batters in, Newburyport had only one run in and two outs. But Keira Dowell followed with a two-run single. After that, an infield error and three additional hits (Maddie McLeod, Cali Caponigro, Grace Habib) turned minimal damage into significant damage.
“When people start hitting, it’s contagious,” said Clippers coach Bob Gillespie of the big inning.
The 10-3 spread after three innings had some thinking of a possible 10-run, mercy ruling ahead but Pentucket would have none of it.
Pentucket starter Charlotte Latham allowed only one baserunner over the final three Newburyport innings.
Meanwhile, the Sachems added a run in the fifth (Sarah Sargent RBI double) and another in the seventh (Nicole Tocci RBI single).
But the big inning didn’t happen for the visitors and Newburyport came away with a 10-5 win.
Grace Habib continued her remarkable hitting against Pentucket. In two games versus the Sachems, Grace is eight-for-eight with seven RBI.
“It’s easy to time out someone’s speed when you’ve already hit against her,” explained Grace afterwards.
Grace was Newburyport’s catcher.
“Grace did a great job behind the plate,” said Coach Smith. “We couldn’t steal after the first inning.”
Sophomore Maddie McLeod had three hits, two RBI, and scored two runs. Maddie had singles in each of the first three innings.
Cali Caponigro and Keira Dowell each had two RBI for Newburyport.
I’ve seen Pentucket senior Sarah Sargent twice and been impressed both times. Sarah can certainly play shortstop with good leadership skills and has a strong, accurate arm. Her hitting was equally eye-catching today. She had two doubles, and a single and drove across three Pentucket runs.
Senior Nicole Tocci also had three hits for the Sachems.
Charlotte Latham and Megan Codair each had two hits. Meghan Hamel scored twice.
Bob Gillespie: “Pentucket is always tough to beat. Keira pitched very well. It was her first varsity win.”
I’m suspecting that many of Keira’s pitches were up in the strike zone because Pentucket totaled nine flyball/popup outs.
I showed up at Pioneer Park looking for the game. Back in the day all of the softball games were at Cashman Park, so I knew where to look next for today’s game.
Nice weather after a cold, damp Memorial Day weekend. Cashman Park always has a nice breeze when it’s a warm day. Play there when it’s cold, and that breeze isn’t as friendly.
Another thing about Cashman Park is that Park Lunch is nearby and occasionally the aroma of hamburg/steak ventures over.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)