(Newburyport) Twice Newburyport trailed but twice they rallied.
A walkoff single by Jack Fehlner was key in the final rally as the Clippers defeated Bishop Fenwick, 5-4, on Thursday afternoon.
“Credit Newburyport,” said Crusaders coach Matt Antonelli afterwards. “They were down two times, and they came back both times.”
Jack Fehner went the distance for the Clippers allowing five hits. His wild pitch, however, in the Fenwick seventh gave the visitors a 4-3 lead.
But Jack the pitcher is also Jack the hitter and in the bottom of the seventh he delivered a walkoff single to center that set off some serious celebrating by the Clippers.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by what Jack did,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe post-game. “He’s that good.”
The Clippers had only four hits off the pitching of Mike Geissler and Marco Carrillo going into bottom of the seventh.
But after one out, the Clippers put four straight hits together to tie and then win the game.
Pinch-hitter Eli Suchecki started the rally with a double and Owen Tahnk (3 hits) drove Eli in with another double to tie the score.
Max Puleo then singled sending Owen to third.
That collection of hits gave Jack his chance. Jack tried a squeeze bunt that nearly worked before singling to center to score Owen with the game winner.
“We came together in the bottom of the seventh,” said Jack. “It was a team effort. Eli, Owen, and Max got on to give me a chance. My hit was off a curve.”
The Clippers had the bases loaded in the second and third innings. Only one run resulted, and it was driven in by Charlie Forrest on a fielder’s choice in the second inning.
The Crusaders took the lead in the fifth inning. Two hits (Costa Beechin and Nick Villano), two stolen bases, an infield error, and a passed ball produced three runs. Chris Faraca and Nick Villano had the RBIs.
But the Clippers bounced back in their half of the fifth. Two hits (Luke Stallard and Jack Fehlner), two wild pitches, and an infield error led to two runs and a 3-3 tie. Max Puleo and Jack Fehlner had the RBIs.
Things unraveled for Newburyport in the seventh. A leadoff walk (Gianni Mercurio) was followed by two passed balls and a wild pitch and the Crusaders had the lead and were only three outs away from their first win.
Connor Stick walked leading off the bottom of the seventh for Newburyport but was picked off by reliever Marco Carrillo. However, the next four Clippers had hits and Newburyport had its first win.
“We won the game despite some things not going the way we wanted them to,” said Coach Rowe. “The kids were resilient. It was nice to get our first win against a very, very good team.”
“We’ve got to throw more strikes and make plays in the field,” said Coach Antonelli. The BF pitchers gave up seven walks.
Owen Tahnk drove in the tying run in the seventh inning for Newburyport. He finished the afternoon with three hits and scored the winning run.
Jack Fehlner had two hits and two RBI to go with his complete-game five hitter.
“My slider worked pretty well,” said Jack afterwards. “They have a lot of great hitters on that team. They pieced some balls off me for sure.”
Nick Villano led Fenwick with two hits and an RBI.
“We’re now 0-3,” said Coach Antonelli, “and the way to get out of it is to work hard in practice. We’ll work on defense and throwing strikes. It’s still early in the season.”
Nice catch by centerfielder Owen Roberts in the third inning.
The weather was miserable….40’s and windy. It was such a good game, however, that dwelling on the discomfort was minimized.
(The pictures will enlarge.)