Category Archives: Austin Prep

Austin Prep takes Division 3 title 2-1 over Newburyport

Austin Prep wins Division Three title
Winning pitcher Jack Iannibelli

(Lowell) #1 Austin Prep belonged here.

#10 Newburyport?  Not so much.

But the Clippers found a way to reach the Division 3 state finals.

Unfortunately, reaching the finals was the best Newburyport could do, as Austin Prep took the D3 title this afternoon, 2-1, at LeLacheur Park.

The Cougars finish 25-0 in a season in which their notoriety went from local to state to national.

“We have had all kinds of pressure on us this season because of how well we’ve done,” said Austin Prep coach AP Pollard afterwards. “The expectations got higher as the season went along.”

Today’s game was tied at 1-1 with two outs in Austin Prep half of the fourth inning.

At that point, Brenden Walsh, who had struck out his first at bat, got into a Jack Fehlner curve.

Brenden’s line drive to center went over CF Owen Roberts’ head and rolled to the 400-foot sign.

“I thought I had lined out,” said Brenden post-game.  “When I reached second and the outfielder still didn’t have the ball, I knew that I could score.”

Brenden Walsh completes an inside-the-park homer

And score he did.  That inside-the-park homer turned out to be the game winner.

Jack Fehlner

“Credit the pitcher,” added Brenden, “he knew how to work inside.  That’s how he beat Medfield which is a very good hitting team. I was sitting on the curve because he beat me a few times inside with it in my first at-bat.”

Senior Jack Iannibelli was the complete-game winner for the Cougars. 

Jack gave up three hits but none after the third inning.  He registered nine strikeouts including the last two outs of the game.

“Jack did what he’s done his whole career today,” said Coach Pollard.  “He only had one loss the whole time.”

The Cougars scored in the first inning.  Jake Zawatsky singled, reached second on an infield error, and took third on a wild pitch.  Matt Chatelle’s sacrifice fly drove in the run.

Newburyport responded with a run in the second inning.  Jack Fehlner tripled and scored on Max Puleo’s infield out.

The Clippers threatened to take the lead in the third inning.  After one-out singles by Jack Sullivan and Connor Stick, Jack Iannibelli, however, got Luke Stallard to fly out and Jack Fehlner to strike out to keep the game tied.

Jack Fehlner scores the Newburyport run in the second inning

AP put runners in scoring position in the second, third, and fifth but Jack Fehlner pitched his way out of each dangerous situation.

“Jack Fehlner is a tremendous competitor,” said Austin Prep coach AP Pollard.  “He challenged us and wasn’t afraid of anybody.”  Jack will pitch for Roanoke College (Virginia) next year.

Coach Rowe talks with Brady Ford

Newburyport coach Mark Rowe was disappointed with the loss but added, “How can I be anything but proud to have been here and played the way we did?”

The Clippers (18-7) lost three straight games near the end of the regular season and looked to be heading for an early exit in the tournament ahead.  However, they caught fire and won four straight tournament games including a last inning upset of #2 Medfield.

“We made a couple of mistakes out there today which you can’t do against a team like Austin Prep,” said Coach Rowe.

Austin Prep finished their 25-0 season with thirteen shutouts and only sixteen runs allowed.

The Cougars are now leaving the MIAA and venturing into the NEPSAC. 

Jake Zawatsky scores AP’s first run

Both Pentucket and Newburyport had 2-1 losses to Austin Prep. 

Talking to Coach Pollard afterwards had some unexpected excitement.  Twice, not just once, players with containers of ice/juice rushed my way to try and pour the contents on him.  I had to reach deep to locate the “quickness” to keep from getting soaked!

An interesting play occurred in the Newburyport fifth inning.  Connor Stick tried to steal second and was ruled safe by the infield umpire.  Then it looked like that umpire deferred to the home-plate umpire who then called Connor out to end the inning.  Luke Stallard was the batter at the plate when the Connor-incident occurred.  The next inning, Luke did not lead off.  My assumption is that Luke was called out on strikes before the play at second happened.  Most of the media coverage had winning pitcher Jack Iannibelli with nine strikeouts.  That one would have given him ten.

(I have since learned that the batter, Luke Stallard, was declared out because of “batter interference.” It means he got in the way of the catcher as he tried to throw out Connor Stick attempting to steal second base. AP pitcher Jack Iannibelli ends up with nine strikeouts, not the ten I assumed.)

The weather was in the low 60’s and too cold for June. 

Newburyport   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   =   1

   Austin Prep   1   0   0   1   0   0    –   =   2

Unofficial Newburyport box

Unofficial Austin Prep box

Steve Lawton out at third base

Newburyport tangled at second base

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Austin Prep reaches D3 title game after 5-3 win over Dedham

Jason Leonard scores a run for Dedham in the first inning

Colin Jaena induced fourteen ground ball outs.

(Lynn MA) Austin Prep held off Dedham, 5-3, to advance to the Division 3 title game on Saturday at Holy Cross.

The Cougars (23-2) trailed 1-0 after a half inning but three batters into their half of the same inning they were up 3-1 partly due to senior Peter Burns’ two-run homer.

“I was looking to see a pitch deep and drive it,” said the BC commit afterwards.  “It was an inside fastball.”

Austin Prep added two more runs in the fourth inning and it was a good thing they did because Dedham got two of their own in the seventh and had the go-ahead run at the plate.

“Nick Cafarelli had a big hit (2-run single in 4th) and we needed those couple of extra runs at the end,” explained AP coach Steve Busby.

Junior Colin Jaena was the complete-game winner for Austin Prep.  His success was all about getting the Marauders to hit the ball on the ground. Dedham had fourteen groundball outs. “My two-seam fastball down in the zone was very effective,” said Colin after the game.  “Coach Merrick did an awesome job of calling the pitches.”

Peter Burns had a two-run homer for AP in the first

“Colin was hitting his spots,” said catcher Peter Burns.  “We wanted to attack batters early in the count and get up.”

Dedham coach Don Savi was okay with the loss: “I’m pretty sure that we’re the two best teams in Division Three. AP should have been a Super Eight team.”

The Marauders (20-5) got an unearned run in the first inning.  Shortstop Logan Bravo mishandled a two-out grounder and next batter David Logan drove in Jason Leonard with single to right.

Peter Burns (walk) and Logan Bravo (double) reached in the fourth inning ahead of Nick Cafarelli’s single to centerfield.  Both runners scored, and Nick was cut down at second.

Dedham had two on in the fourth, but Colin Jaena worked out of it by getting a fly to center (Peter Coughlin) and a groundout (Billy McCaig).

Shortstop Logan Bravo flips to 2B Jon Gilbride to end the game

The Cougars weren’t as fortune with that two-on, two-out thing in the seventh.  In that game-on-the-line spot, both Jason Leonard and Griffin O’Connor singled in runs.  That put the tying runs on base but Colin Jaena was able to get his 14th grounder of the game and teammates SS Logan Bravo and 2B Jon Gilbride combined to get a game-ending force-out at second.

“It was a little scary at the end,” admitted Colin Jaena afterwards.

Austin Prep had to come back earlier in the tournament after getting off to a bad start. “Swampscott scored four runs in the first inning and we came back with five,” said Coach Busby.

Peter Burns continued to impress Dedham coach Don Savi: “We knew that he can hit the ball well.  He hit another one that our centerfielder (Billy McCaig) made a ridiculous catch on.”

Griffin O’Connor takes a cut

Coach Savi was proud of what his seniors contributed to Dedham baseball: “Two years ago we won our conference for the first time in forty years.  Two years later we were battling for the state title.  It’s to their credit.”

Jason Leonard paced the Marauders with two hits.  He also scored a run and drove in a run.

Colin Jaena, Nick Cafarelli, and Jake Thain had two hits apiece in AP’s ten-hit night.

The Cougars move on to face Taconic. “They should do very well,” said Coach Savi.

AP coach Steve Busby

The game started late because the teams were late getting to Lynn.  Coach Savi referenced a three-hour bus ride from Dedham afterwards.

Nice night a Fraser Field.

Members of the Austin Prep softball team were at the game in uniform.  Must have come straight from practice.

Impressed with the Dedham support for their team.  After every inning the coaches would talk with the team and the fans cheered them on.

Dedham had seven hits and stranded eight runners.

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

CF Dylan Arnold catches a fly in the 4th inning

Catcher Peter Burns dives for a wild throw

Dylan Arnold

Catcher Peter Burns and pitcher Colin Jaena

Cougars celebrate

Shortstop Logan Bravo

Starter Jason Leonard

2B David Logan gets a force at second

Austin Prep scored two runs in the 4th on Nick Cafarelli’s single

3B Alex Martinez throws to first

Austin Prep turned two to end the Dedham 6th




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Logan MacDonald (11 K’s) leads Austin Prep to D3 North title 8-0 over Latin Academy

Austin Prep – Division 3 North Champs

Junior Logan MacDonald had eleven strikeouts for Austin Prep

(Beverly MA) It was a long afternoon for the #1 seed Latin Academy Dragons.

Not only did they have to deal with the pitching of junior Logan MacDonald (eleven K’s) but they also had a tough afternoon of defense.

Those two aligned themselves under a sunny sky at Endicott College on Saturday afternoon and the result was an easy 8-0 win for the #2 seed Austin Prep Cougars.

The victory gives the 22-2 Cougars the Division 3 North title and a Tuesday night, state semi-finals matchup against West Bridgewater (South champs) at Taunton High School.

The Dragons (23-3) had won ten straight games in a season in which pitcher Olivia McGrath (six K’s vs Austin Prep) had been dominant especially in the Boston City League.

Olivia’s pitching had carried the young (they started two eighth graders) Dragons but on this afternoon the AP hitters began making serious contact against Olivia early.  Both Lauren Sablone and Frank Frelick struck home-run distance foul balls to left in the first inning.

In the second, Lauren (freshman) straightened one out and over the left-centerfield fence it went for a two-run homer.

Freshman Lauren Sablone nears home after 2-run homer

Austin Prep led 4-0 after two and held that lead after four innings.  Meanwhile, during those four innings, pitcher Logan MacDonald had notched eight strikeouts and held LA to one hit (Mackenzie Theriault).

The team from Reading sealed this one in the top of the 5th inning.  The Cougars got two hits (Kendra Currier, Frank Frelick) but it was the miscues in the field that killed Latin Academy.  A mishandled bunt (catcher Shantary Pimentel) and two passed balls led to four unearned runs.

In that breakaway fifth, even a bad AP play, turned into a run.  Caroline Sablone did not tag up from 3B on a fly to left but went back and tagged up belatedly and then tried to score.  A certain out turned into a run for Austin Prep as the throw home was high.

Austin Prep had two errors of their own (Cristina Tighe, Kendra Currier) but Logan MacDonald followed with strikeouts to avoid damage.

AP shortstop Kendra Currier runs off the field covered with dust after an inning-ending play

Best play of the game?  Kendra Currier in the 5th inning.  The Dragons had runners on first and second with two out and trailed by eight.  Could they break through against the Cougars?  Kendra made sure it didn’t happen. Michaela Russell hit a hard grounder to Kendra’s left.  Looked like a run-scoring base hit but Kendra dove to make the stop and then flipped to 2B Ella Saracco to end the inning.

The Cougars finished with eight hits including three by Kendra Currier, and two each by Lauren Sablone and Frank Frelick.  Logan MacDonald had the other hit.

The Dragons were limited to three singles (Mackenzie Theriault, Emma Walsh, and Shamyia Banks).

AP tallied a run in the first.  Lauren Sablone singled, stole second, and was sacrificed (Alex Santostefano) to 3B.  Frank Frelick’s grounder to deep shot brought the run home.

Shaky defense caused LA trouble in the three-run Austin Prep second.  3B Jessica Rynne deflected Ella Saracco’s infield grounder to start the inning.  Logan MacDonald sacrificed Ella to 2B.  A passed ball got Ella to 3B and then CF Mackenzie Theriault dropped a fly ball allowing Ella to score.  Later in the extended inning Lauren Sablone had the 2-run homer.

Michaela Russell and Shannon Bedard converge on a popup

Those gift runs were just too much to get back against a pitcher of Logan MacDonald’s ability on this afternoon.

Neither pitcher walked anyone.

Olivia McGrath will be attending Keene State.

The possibility of a D3 state finals rematch between Turners Falls and Austin Prep is just a win away.  Turners Falls took the title in 2016 and I am certain that Austin Prep has not forgotten it.

Austin Prep only losses this season have been to Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s.  AP did avenge those losses with a win over the Spartans in the D3 North semis.

Very nice softball facility at Endicott.  Beyond centerfield is a huge rock.  There was a plan to have a water fountain located there that would be similar to the one in Kansas City.

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

Olivia McGrath throws to 1B

Mackenzie Theriault drops a line drive

Shantary Pimentel

Lauren Sablone steals second

Latin Academy before the game

Shamyia Banks

Freshman Frank Frelick

Trophy pose

Shamyia Banks out swinging to end the game

8th grader Carleigh Schievink lines up a fly ball

Logan MacDonald

Ella Saracco scores on a passed ball

Frank Frelick tries for home as catcher Shantary Pimentel awaits throw

Kendra Currier scores on a passed ball

Dragons shortstop Michaela Russell

Olivia McGrath (six strikeouts)




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Six-Run Fifth Gets Newburyport into the D3 North Semis over Austin Prep 8-3

Brett Fontaine collects his batting helmet after a collision with catcher Joe Barry at home in the fifth inning. Brett pitched a four-hitter and drove in two runs for Newburyport.

Ryan O’Connor congratulates Coach Bill Pettingell for a win in his last home game.

(Newburyport) Newburyport broke open a 2-2 game in the bottom of the fifth with six runs and went on to defeat Austin Prep, 8-3, on Lower Field at NHS on Monday afternoon.

The victory in the quarter finals puts the Clippers (19-5) into the D3 North semi-finals against Bishop Fenwick on Thursday at a neutral site.

Junior Brett Fontaine had a lot to do with the win as he pitched a complete-game four hitter and drove in two runs in the game-deciding fifth inning.

That fifth inning will be remembered as very good or very bad depending on where your loyalties were located.  The Clippers will remember the six runs, five hits, and the successful execution of a suicide squeeze.  For the Cougars (13-9), it’ll be the wild pitch, four walks, and mishandling the suicide squeeze.

In that decisive fifth inning, Austin Prep coach Steve Busby opted to have starter Ryley MacEachern intentionally walk Matt Mottola to load the bases and pitch to Brett Fontaine.  That didn’t work out so well for the Cougars as Brett singled to right and the Clippers fourth (Colton Fontaine) and fifth (Ryan O’Connor) runs came in.

Later in the fifth, Connor Wile put down a suicide squeeze bunt with Brett Fontaine heading full-speed from third.  Cougar catcher Joe Barry blocked Brett away from the plate before he had the ball and the umpire awarded Brett home.  Sam Barlow followed with a walk driving in the sixth run (Jim Conway) of the inning and boosting Newburyport’s advantage to, 8-2.

Ryley MacEachern breaks into a home run trot after his shot over the left field fence in the sixth inning.

Ryley MacEachern led off the sixth with a homer over the left field fence to make it 8-3 but the Cougars went quietly (one hit) the rest of the way.

This was the last home game for Newburyport’s 600+ win coach Bill Pettingell.  You could see/hear that he was fired up during this game.

The weather was excellent with plenty of sunshine although I’m not sure that the left fielders for each team were that thrilled with the sun being directly in their eyes.

Austin Prep put up a run in the first inning.  Bobby Batchelor walked and reached third after a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice.  He scored easily on Ryley MacEachern’s double to right center.

Sam Barlow tallies Newburyport’s first run in the third.

Newburyport received two gift runs in the third inning.  A two-base throwing error by left fielder Mark Mezzina followed Clipper singles by Sam Barlow and Colby Morris.  Sam scored on the error and Colby reached third.  He later crossed the plate on a MacEachern wild pitch.

The Cougars got a gift run in the fifth inning.  The visitors from Reading, loaded the bases on a single (Chris Bundock) and two walks.  Jon Saurman (pinch running for Chris Bundock) reached home on a Fontaine wild pitch.

Newburyport erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth and that was enough to carry them in with an 8-3 win.

Catcher Connor Wile made a nice play on a popup in the fourth inning.

Brett Fontaine – complete game 4-hitter

Winning pitcher Brett Fontaine had seven strikeouts to go with three walks.

Newburyport had eight hits including two each by leadoff batter Colby Morris and left fielder Jim Conway.  Colby also scored two runs.

Ryley MacEachern had two of the four Cougar hits, including the long home run to left in the sixth inning, and two RBI.

Austin Prep stranded five runners.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  Inaccuracies happen unintentionally.)

Ryan O’Connor reaches home in the fifth

Newburyport viewers

Bobby Batchelor scores AP’s first run

Matt Mottola beats the throw home in the fifth inning

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