Category Archives: Newburyport

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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Seven-run inning gets Newburyport 10-5 win vs Pentucket

Grace Habib had four hits and drove in three runs for Newburyport
Sarah Sargent (3 hits, 3 RBI) for Pentucket

(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.

Keira Dowell won her first varsity start

“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.

Maddie McLeod scores for Clippers

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.

Nieve Morrissey and Emma Lopata

“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.

Charlotte Latham pitched for Pentucket

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.

Meghan Hamel scores for Sachems

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.)

Keira Dowell
Sarah Sargent forces Jenny Masone at 2B
1B Sydney Pichette
Meghan Hamel scored two runs
1B Lea Quintiliana
RF Bailey Stock makes a nice catch
2B Maddie McLeod under a popup
SS Sarah Sargent throws to first base
Senior Isabel Garcia
Near catch by CF Nieve Morrissey
3B Cali Caponigro throws to 1B
Collision course
LF Sophie Lavallee in on a line drive
SS Emma Keefe
Cali Caponigro and Keira Dowell pre-game

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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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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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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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Newburyport hits and fields its way to a 10-4 win over Triton

Jax Budgell slides home safely during Newburyport’s six-run fourth inning
Brady Lindholm had two hits for Triton

(Rowley MA) Newburyport made full use of the equipment they brought.

The Clippers collected twelve hits defeating Triton, 10-4, at Eiras Park in the season opener for both teams on a sunny Thursday afternoon.

And then there were the gloves. 

Sometimes you’ll get one catch that earns a star in the scorebook.  On this afternoon, all the Clippers outfielders (Ryan Archer, Jake Buontempo, Jax Budgell) had highlight moments.

“We have some great outfielders,” understated NHS starter Jack Fehlner afterwards.

Newburyport picked up six runs in the fourth inning with two outs and Triton couldn’t completely recover.

The Vikings did recover enough to close to 6-4 with a run in the 4th and three in the 5th.

Newburyport starter Jack Fehlner ended both of Triton’s run-producing innings with called strikeouts to limit their comeback attempts.

Jax Budgell makes a diving catch to end the game

“Triton is a very good hitting team,” said Jack.

Ryan Archer scored twice for the Clippers

“When Triton was down by six, I told the team between innings that they won’t lay down,” said Coach Mark Rowe, “and they didn’t.”

Catcher Nick White, usually known for his defense behind the plate, was instead recognized (by me) for his hitting.  And why not, he had three hits and four RBI.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a hitting game like this before,” explained Nick.

“With the rain recently, we’ve done a lot of hitting under the stadium and I think it paid off,” said Coach Rowe.

Senior Ryan Archer also had three hits that turned into three RBI.

“Newburyport is a good team,” said Triton coach Ryan McCarthy.  “They have returning players and they’re aggressive at the plate.”

Triton managed seven hits with senior Brady Lindholm getting two hits for the Vikes.

Griffin Dupuis scores for Triton

Things did not go Triton’s way in Newburyport’s six-run fourth inning.  The Vikings nearly had baserunner Charlie Forrest picked off.  Later in the same inning, Newburyport loaded the bases with two outs and no runs in at this point.  An infield grounder didn’t result in an inning-ending force-out and two runs scored. Four more Clippers runs would follow before Triton could stop the damage.

“It stung that they got six with two outs,” recalled Coach McCarthy.

The Vikings rallied back in the 4th and 5th.  Cael Kohan’s bases-loaded single gave Triton its second run.

Kyle Odoy followed with a grounder to 3B Demetri Connor.  Demetri tried for a force at home, but his throw was wide, and two Vikings crossed the plate.

“I thought Jack (Fehlner) pitched great,” said Coach Rowe.  “We made some mistakes in the inning they scored three runs.”

Owen Tahnk pitched two innings for NHS

Sophomore Owen Tahnk pitched the last two innings for Newburyport.

Owen’s pitching probably won’t be remembered very much because it was during his two innings that Newburyport’s outfield trio put on their show.

In each of the catches, the outfielder had to dive forward to get the ball………and it worked for all three of them.

Plenty of sun and plenty of spectators.

“It was great weather, and we had a chance to play the game we love,” said Coach McCarthy.

Jax Budgell celebrates

Nick White: “Any time you can put up double-digit runs you’ve had a good hitting night.  I think that our two pitchers (Jack Fehlner, Owen Tahnk) will be among the best in the league.”

Besides getting twelve hits, the Clippers took eight walks.  Triton had only one walk.

Not counting today’s game, the last eight times these teams had met they had each won four times.

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

Luke Stallard scored two runs
Dylan Watson
Two of the areas best athletes
Coach Ryan McCarthy and Brady Lindholm
Coach Mark Rowe
Noah MacDonald out stealing
Looking for the handle
Jake Buontempo
Jack Fehlner steals second
Triton starter Cael Kohan
Ryan Lindholm
Andrew Masher

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