Category Archives: Newburyport

Charlie Forrest tosses 1-hitter as Clippers defeat North Reading 10-0

Charlie Forrest allowed only one hit
Craig Rubino had NR’s only hit

(Newburyport) It figured to be a close game.

North Reading and Newburyport had played in April and the Clippers needed three runs over the final two innings to pull out a, 5-4, win.

Charlie Forrest had pitched well in that one in long relief (four innings) to get the win.

Charlie was the starter this afternoon and he took “pitched well” to another level.

The final was Newburyport 10, North Reading 0, in a mercy-rule ending in the sixth inning.

Charlie tossed a one-hitter and retired the last nine Hornets in order.

Coach Archambault and Coach Rowe

“Charlie was dealing out there today,” said Clippers coach Mark Rowe afterwards.

He certainly wasn’t overpowering.  Just effective.

“I was just throwing strikes,” explained Charlie post-game.  “My teammates made all the plays.”

Making plays was what North Reading struggled to do today.  The Hornets (7-5) also had runners thrown out at second and third.

Trouble with a popup

“We played terribly,” said NR coach Eric Archambault afterwards.  “This was our worst game of the season.”

“As a team we pride ourselves in our defense and baserunning and those two things absolutely killed us today,” he added.

“We took advantage of the extra chances they gave us,” said Coach Rowe.  “We made good contact all day.”

Play at first

The Clippers (10-3) had twelve hits spread among eight players.  Connor Stick, Jack Fehlner, Brady Ford, and Ty Cowles had two hits each.

An error, a wild pitch, and four hits produced Newburyport’s first three runs in the second inning.

The Clippers batted around in the fourth inning.  Two more NR errors and four Newburyport hits turned into four more runs for the home team.

Starter Ryan Baker

Meanwhile, Charlie Forrest, after giving up a hit to Craig Rubino in the first inning, was cruising.

“Their pitcher did a great job,” said Coach Archambault.  “He was hitting his spots and making his pitches, the whole thing.”

The Hornets’ Zach Rosatone reached second base in the second inning but was picked off.

In the third inning, pinch-runner Max Forristall tried to advance to third on a fly ball and was gunned down.

Charlie didn’t allow a baserunner over the final three innings.

Connor Stick scores the 6th Newburyport run

“My curve was working good especially low in the count,” explained Charlie.  “I followed it up later with the fastball that usually got them.”

The Clippers took a 7-0 lead into their half of the sixth inning.  They added two more hits and took three walks to get the three runs they needed to end the game.  Jack Sullivan’s walk drove across the winning run.

Six different Clippers had RBI.  Luke Stallard and Jack Fehlner each scored twice to lead in that category.

Jack Sullivan out at home

Coach Rowe: “We expected a battle today.  They’ve been playing great.  They’ve been scoring a ton of runs.”

Coach Archambault: “Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.  We’ve had a bunch of good games recently and we dropped one today.  We got to respond going forward.”

Newburyport’s five seniors (Ty Cowles, Luke Stallard, Jack Fehlner, Owen Roberts, Brady Ford) were honored pre-game.

The weather was unpleasant.  Today we had temps in the low 50’s with a 20MPH wind.

North Reading   0   0   0   0   0   0   =   0

Newburyport     0   3   0   4   0   3   = 10

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Newburyport unofficial box

North Reading unofficial box

Watching the game

Shortstop Luke Stallard

Jason Curran fields a grounder as pitcher Ryan Labb runs to cover 1B

Max Puleo

Eli Suchecki bunts

Charlie Forrest
Max Forristall slides into an out

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Pentucket plays ‘best game’ shutting out  Newburyport 3-0

Max Ligols had a two-run homer for Pentucket
Chase Dwight allowed 3 hits

(Groveland) “It was absolutely our best game of the year,” said Pentucket coach Kevin Murray afterwards.

Pentucket defeated Newburyport, 3-0, on Tuesday afternoon at Groveland Pines.

Chase Dwight pitched a 3-hitter.  Max Ligols had a 2-run homer and the Pentucket defense was error-free.

“You have to tip your cap to them (Pentucket),” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe.  “They got the big hits when they needed to, and Chase (Dwight) pitched a great game.  He threw strikes and if you do that in this league good things are going to happen.”

Coach Mark Rowe and Coach Kevin Murray

The biggest hit was by Pentucket’s Max Ligols.  The UMF commit had two strikes on him in the fourth inning before clearing the leftfield fence.

“I was down on the count,” recalled Max.  “He threw me a first-pitch curve and then came back with it.  I just stayed behind and let loose on it.  It was the first homer I’ve ever hit.  I didn’t even have one in Little League!  It sure felt good.”

Max’s homer brought home teammate James Davis who had a long-count single leading off in that fourth inning.

Ethan Hunt and Jack Fehlner

“No one was an easy out today,” said Coach Murray.  “We didn’t have any first-pitch outs and we battled back from 0-2 counts.”

Pentucket collected an unearned run in the previous inning.  Trevor Kamuda reached on an infield error, stole second and took third on a fielder’s choice.  Chase Dwight’s two-out double brought Trevor home.

Newburyport’s best chance to get run(s) was in the fourth inning.  The Clippers loaded the bases with one out.  A walk (Lucas Stallard), a double (Owen Tahnk) and an intentional walk (Jack Fehlner) put Newburyport in a good spot.  But Pentucket escaped as Chase caught Brady Ford looking and handled Tyler Cowles’ grounder to end the threat.

SS Lucas Stallard throws to first

Pentucket answered with the Max Ligol homer in the bottom half of the fourth and had a 3-0 lead. 

Chase retired nine of the last ten batters he faced to earn the win for Pentucket.

“My fastball was my best pitch today,” said Chase afterwards.  “I had good location.”

“Our energy was high throughout the game,” he added.  “We hit when we needed to.  Whenever Newburyport did hit, my teammates were there making the plays.”

Chase told me that he will be attending Mass Maritime Academy in the fall.  “I may go out for baseball,” he said.  “You have to try out for the team, so we’ll see what happens there.”

Max Ligols slides back into first

The Clippers (8-3) came into today’s game averaging 6.9 runs per game.  “We hit a lot of balls hard today but right at people,” said Coach Rowe.

Pentucket (5-4) finished with six hits.  Max and Chase had two each.  Ethan Hunt and James Davis had the other two hits.

The Clippers had hits from Owen Tahnk, Jack Fehlner, and Connor Stick.

2B Connor Stick

Alex Robertson was solid for Pentucket at first base handling nine chances that included several low throws.  “Alex had some nice picks,” said Trevor Kamuda post-game.

Prior to this afternoon’s game, Pentucket had won three straight, before losing to Lynnfield last game.

The Clippers entered today’s game having won seven straight.  Last loss was on April 11th to Amesbury, until this afternoon. 

The weather was comfortably warm at the start and then became much cooler later.

Newburyport   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   =   0

      Pentucket   0   0   1   2   0   0   –   =   3

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Unofficial Newburyport box

Unofficial Pentucket box

1B Alex Robertson

Max Ligols rounds third

James Davis heads for third base in the fourth inning

Jack Fehlner

Pentucket infield drawn in

Chase Dwight had an RBI double in the third inning

Owen Tahnk had a double for Newburyport

Close play at second

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Cole Mellett perfect as Newburyport defeats North Reading 12-5

Cole Mellett on the attack after winning a faceoff
Jon Groth (3 goals) and Joseph Collins

(Newburyport) He was perfect.

“You can’t do any better than that,” said Newburyport coach Josh Wedge afterwards.

The NHS coach was referring to Cole Mellett and the twenty-one faceoffs he took.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone go perfect on faceoffs,” added Coach Wedge.  “He won 21-of-21!”

Cole’s perfect game was a key piece in the Clippers’ 12-5 win over North Reading on Wednesday afternoon.

The win keeps Newburyport undefeated (5-0) in the Cape Ann League.

Ball on the turf

The Hornets (4-5) opened the second half with goals from Dan Oliveira and Ryan Long to cut the Clippers lead to, 6-4.

But the Clippers responded with three unanswered goals (Ryan Philbin, Jon Groth, Cam Tinkham) in a three-minute stretch to close out the third period.

“We kept it close for as long as we could,” said North Reading coach Charles Campobasso post-game.

Hornet in the air

“We struggled with faceoffs and ground balls,” he added.  “If we can’t get possession there, we’re really in trouble and are limited getting down the other end of the field.”

Newburyport jumped ahead, 4-1, after a quarter and led, 6-2, at halftime.

“It was a 6-2 game that felt like it should have been 10-2,” said Coach Wedge.  “We could have shot better in the first half.”

Eli Sirota and Ryan Long (2 goals)

In the second half the Clippers did shoot better after the two early Hornets’ goals. 

Jon Groth and Cam Tinkham led Newburyport’s scorers with three goals each.  Zach McHugh and Ryan Philbin each had two while Ryan McHugh and Owen Kruez had one each.

Ryan Long scored twice for North Reading.  Teddy Suny, Dan Oliveira, and Sam Morelli had solo goals.

Ball in the air

North Reading has now lost four of their last five games.

“Josh (Wedge) does a good job of getting his guys prepared,” said Coach Campobasso.  “We knew going in that we would have our work cut out for us.  Our struggles with faceoffs and ground balls against a good team were a recipe for a tough day.”

North Reading will get another chance against Newburyport in a couple of weeks.

The Clippers were 14-1 last year and aren’t shying away from tough opponents this year with Cape Elizabeth, Portsmouth, and Concord-Carlisle on their schedule.
“Playing those teams will help our power rankings,” said junior Jack Hadden.  “They are all reigning state champions.”

Angus Webster

Jack Hadden: “Cole (Mellett) is unbelievable.  It’s his first year doing faceoffs.  He works so hard.  Lacrosse is all about the faceoffs.  If you can’t win faceoffs, you can’t win.”

Cole Mellett: “I guess it was my lucky day out there.  It’s my first year doing it.  My friend Colin McCoy took them last year and was very good at it.  He taught me over the summer, and I just picked it up.  It gave us a lot of possessions.”

There was a taste of winter in the air.  No snow but temperatures close to fifty with a strong wind.  It is still April.

Newburyport     6   6   =   12

North Reading   2   3   =     5

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Jack Hadden
Shot at North Reading goalie Andrew Peppe
Devin Tran
Cole Mellett was 21-for-21 on faceoffs

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Newburyport in control with 18-4 win over Ipswich

Rita Cahalane defended by Ella Stein
Olivia McDonald looks for a cutter

(Newburyport) They knew what to expect.

They prepared for it and executed against it.

The result was a convincing 18-4 win by Newburyport over Ipswich on Monday afternoon.

“We worked on moving the ball quicker and keeping our eyes open for off-ball cutters,” explained Clippers’ sophomore Rita Cahalane afterwards.

“They played a backer zone,” said NHS coach Catherine Batchelder post-game.  “That defense presented man-up opportunities for us.  We worked on it in practice and the girls saw it really well.  They were able to get some wide-open shots.”

Trying to get control

The Clippers (5-1) controlled the draws in the early going and locked the Tigers (2-3) into their defensive end.  In fact, Ipswich didn’t get into the Newburyport end with possession for the first 9 ½ minutes.

However, by the time Ipswich penetrated Newburyport territory they were already down, 5-0.

Three Newburyport goals later the Tigers called a timeout. 

The score was 12-0 at halftime.

Ball in the air

The Clippers showed patience on offense opting for high-percentage shots.

“We spaced wide and got a lot of cutters open,” said Olivia McDonald afterwards.

Nothing selfish about an attack that gets eighteen goals and has ten different players contributing scores.

Anna Affolter and Lilly Pons led Newburyport with three goals each. 

Anna Affolter – 3 goals

Avery Tahnk, Emily Fuller, Reese Bromby, and Olivia McDonald each scored twice.

Rita Cahalane, Maddie Heath, Sydney Turner, and McKenna Ward had solo goals.

The key contributor was probably Izzy Rosa who didn’t even score a goal but assisted on six of them.

The game went into running time with six minutes remaining in the first half and Newburyport ahead, 10-0.

Ball on the turf

The lead was stretched to 15-0 in the second half with eighteen minutes remaining.

Ipswich showed some scoring life thereafter with four goals including two from Halle Greenleaf.  Julia Moseley and Kayden Flather had single goals.

The most celebrated Newburyport goal was probably in the last minute when defender McKenna Ward moved up into the offensive end and scored.

Weather was pleasant with sunshine and temperatures in the upper 50’s.

Newburyport   12   6   =   18

             Ipswich   0   4   =     4

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Emily Fuller (2 goals) covered by Maddy Duffy
Brela Pavao and Julia Moseley
Claire O’Flynn chases Emily Fuller
Maddy Duffy chased by McKenna Ward
Ipswich celebrates a goal
Ava Horsman and Izzy Rosa
Reese Bromby (2 goals) alone in front
Ball in the air
Anna Affolter (3 goals) heads for the net
Ipswich goalie Ashton Flather reaches for the ball
Maeve Sullivan, Azariah Leslage, Izzy Rosa
Lexi Wright carries the ball

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Triton powers by Newburyport 16-8

Freshman Emma Penniman had two home runs
Izzy Oldini – 4 hits, 3 RBI

(Byfield) The hits kept coming.

Triton batted around in three innings and launched three home runs defeating Newburyport, 16-8, on Wednesday afternoon.

“The girls spent a lot of time yesterday in the cage inside and it paid off today,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes afterwards.

The Vikings (5-2) had fifteen hits and except for a quiet fifth inning gave the Newburyport defense plenty of action.

“We can’t give more than three outs an inning,” said Clippers coach Bob Gillespie.  “You give extra outs and they’re going to pound you.”

Emily Meleedy hit a grand slam in the Newburyport fourth

There were two Newburyport infield errors in the Triton five-run fourth inning.

“It was a great team effort for us top to bottom,” said Coach Noyes. All nine of the Vikings starters made contributions.

Junior Izzy Oldoni had four hits (including a homer) and a walk.  Izzy scored three times and did a good job battling the sun on fly balls in centerfield.

Grace Romine – 3 hits, 2 RBI

Freshman Emma Penniman had what Coach Noyes called, “her best game.”  Emma homered twice and pitched the final 3+ innings.

I saw Emma get a single in three at-bats against Lynnfield, so I was very surprised to see her stroke two solid shots over the rightfield fence.

“The pitches I hit were low and outside,” explained Emma afterwards.  “Those were my first homers for Triton.”

Junior Grace Romine batted ninth and had three hits and two RBI.

CF Nieve Morrissey battles the sun

The Clippers (2-5) were hardly held hitless.  They had hits in every inning but the seventh when Emma Penniman struck out the side.

Sophomore Emily Meleedy had a bases-clearing blast in the fourth inning. 

Emily’s shot, which would have disrupted a tennis match in the distance, narrowed the Triton lead to, 9-5.  However, the Vikings answered with five runs in their half of that inning to restore their big lead.

Emma Penniman pitched 3+ innings

“Mallory (Johnson) started for us and only made one bad pitch,” said Coach Noyes.  “Emma (Penniman) came in and closed it down.  We now have a pitching staff.”

“Hopefully, we’re building something special here,” he added.  “We haven’t lost at home yet.  We’ll see what happens as the season goes along.”

“We didn’t hit the ball well today and that’s a credit to their pitchers,” said Coach Gillespie.  “We play them again at our place.  We’ll see what happens there.”

Both shortstops (Kyla Story & Emma Keefe) made diving stops that kept hits from getting to the outfield and runs scoring.

Leftfielder Matigan Richmond made a nice running catch.

LF Matigan Richmon made a nice running catch

If you don’t dress warmly for an outdoor game at Triton, you haven’t been there before!  Temperatures were in the 50’s and there was a cold wind.  Fortunately, there was plenty of action on the field to lessen your awareness of the conditions.

Newburyport   0   0   1   4   2   1   0   =   8

             Triton   5   0   4   5   0   2   –    = 16

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Triton unofficial box
Izzy Oldoni arrives at home
Waiting on a popup
Newburyport watches
Sophie Lavallee and Emily Meleedy
Dakota Duncan and Skylar Colburn
Reghan Haley
Ball drops in
Triton watches
Shortstop Kyla Story on the ground for a grounder
Throw from third to first
Ball loose in the Newburyport infield
Emma Penniman

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Liv DeLong no-hits Newburyport in 9-0 Amesbury win

Liv DeLong and catcher Ella Delisle celebrate the no-hitter
Liv DeLong – 11 K’s

(Amesbury) Liv DeLong didn’t know until the game was over.

“One of the umpires said it would have been a perfect game without the walks,” said Liv.

Liv DeLong had a no-hitter, with eleven strikeouts, leading Amesbury (4-0) past Newburyport, 9-0, on Wednesday afternoon.

“She shut us down and there was nothing we could do about it,” said Newburyport coach Bob Gillespie post-game.

Emily Meleedy

Amesbury was in contact mode against the Clippers’ starter Emily Meleedy. They whacked thirteen hits, getting at least one in every inning.

“We knew that (Emily) Meleedy is good, so we wanted to attack at the plate,” said AHS coach Jacqui Waters afterwards.  “We talked yesterday about going after the first strike.”  Amesbury never walked once.

Amesbury hit the ball hard and it was a credit to the Newburyport defense that they kept this one from entering the mercy-rule zone.

RF Matigan Richmond

3B Sophie Lavallee saved two runs snaring a line drive in the second inning.  RF Matigan Richmond made a nice running catch to start the Amesbury third inning.  Shortstop Emma Keefe kept numerous red-hot grounders in the infield and also made a good running catch in back of second base.

All these good plays lessened Amesbury’s run production and extended the game the full seven innings.

Amesbury turned three hits into four runs in the first inning.  Two Newburyport infield errors prolonged the inning.  Ella Bezanson, Liv DeLong, and Olivia Levasseur had the first-inning RBI’s.

Ella Bezanson – solo homer

Ella Bezanson had a solo homer over the centerfield fence in the Amesbury fourth.

“The pitch was right down the middle, and I saw it well,” said Ella afterwards.

Newburyport picked up their first baserunner (walk to Emily Meleedy) after Liv had retired eleven straight, striking out six of them.

Sophomore Grace Habib had a leadoff walk in the fifth inning.

“I gave up two walks, but that happens,” said Liv.  “Neither one of them got past first base.”

Nieve Morrissey

The closest Newburyport came to getting a hit was on a grounder to short by leadoff batter Nieve Morrissey.  Nieve is a fast runner and shortstop Olivia Levasseur’s throw to first just barely beat her.

The Clippers were unable to get the ball out of the infield.  2B Cali Catarius had four assists.

“They were up there to hit,” said Liv.  “My movement pitches were working especially my curveball.”

“Liv takes things in stride and is so easy to coach,” said Coach Waters.  “I don’t think she knew it was a no-hitter until the end.  We didn’t tell her. I think it was her 4th no-hitter.”

Liv DeLong – three singles

Liv is committed to play softball at Boston University next year.  “I’m not sure if it’s for pitching or hitting but if I’m being honest, it is probably hitting.”

Liv had three singles against Newburyport today.  I asked her about the two strikeouts she had against the slow-pitching, eighth grader from Georgetown recently.  “Getting the timing down is difficult.  Slow pitching brings out all the flaws in my swing.  There’s no time for that against fast pitching.  We do better as a team against fast pitching.”

Ella Bezanson, Lexi LeBlanc, and Lauren Celia each had two hits for Amesbury.

Alana Delisle and Sophie Lavallee

The Clippers (1-4) have three games next week.  “We’re looking to bounce back,” said Coach Gillespie.

So far, Amesbury has scored forty-three runs and given up only one (Peabody).

Amesbury has now defeated Newburyport three straight times.

Coach Gillespie took an Amesbury run off the books by appealing that a runner had left early tagging up.

Liv DeLong: “Winning the basketball championship was bitter sweet because I knew that I wouldn’t be playing basketball again but I was excited to win a championship.  There was only one day between basketball and softball.  I now want to get a softball championship.”

Wonderful weather for April 13th.

Newburyport   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   =   0

Amesbury         4   0   0   2   1   2        =   9

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Amesbury unofficial book
Newburyport unofficial book
2B Cali Catarius – four assists
Shortstop Emma Keefe makes a running catch
Catcher Ella Delisle dives for a popup
Freshman Lexi LeBlanc had two hits
Watching the action
Lauren Celia bunts
Watching the action
CF Nieve Morrissey makes a catch
Ball loose in the infield
Catcher Grace Habib chases a foul popup
Shortstop Olivia Levasseur throws to first
Ella Bezanson homered for Amesbury

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Newburyport rallies past Pentucket 8-6

(Newburyport) “The start was rough,” said Newburyport Clipper defender Jack Hadden afterwards, “but I kept reminding the guys that it wasn’t over yet.”

“It was only 3-0 so there was obviously a comeback waiting,” he added.

Evan Napolitano takes a shot
Newburyport rolled after the first quarter

And there was as Newburyport (2-1) regrouped and went on to defeat Pentucket, 8-6, on Friday night.

“Pentucket is tough, and they won’t give you anything,” said Clippers coach Josh Wedge post-game.  “I don’t think we were fully ready to earn anything at the start of the game.”

In the first eight minutes, Pentucket (1-1) had unanswered goals from Joe Turpin, Ben Turpin, and Evan Napolitano.

“We came in confident because we won our opener on Saturday,” explained Pentucket coach Dan Leary.

Picking up the ball

Coach Leary wasn’t fooled, however, by the early three-goal lead.  “Newburyport is a very talented team,” he said.  “Being down three is nothing to them.”

In the second quarter, the Clippers showed the quality that enabled them to reach the D3 state semifinals last season.

“I was happy with how we played defense after that first quarter,” said Coach Wedge.

The Newburyport defense was tighter and shots on goal became tougher and tougher for Pentucket to create.

Will Gagnon and Nolan Cole

Cam Tinkham, Jack Hadden, and Jon Growth produced scores and had the game tied 3-3 at the half.

Ben Turpin notched his second goal just 1 ½ minutes into the second half and Newburyport needed to regroup again….which they did.

The next five goals belonged to the Clippers.

“We started slowly (again) but gradually found our rhythm,” said Coach Wedge.  “It wasn’t perfect by any means.”

Logan Jones

Ryan McHugh (3) and Owen Kruez (2) were the five-goal finishers for Newburyport.

“As the game went on, we got a little tired and made some mental mistakes in transition that hurt us,” added Coach Leary.  “A talented team like Newburyport will make you pay when you do that.”

“We just couldn’t stop the bleeding,” added Coach Leary referencing the Clippers run to an 8-4 lead.

Henry Hartford and Nolan Cole scored for Pentucket in the last thirty seconds of the game when things were a bit disorganized.

Ben Turpin and Nolan Cole

“In that second-to-last goal there were eleven players on the field,” said Coach Wedge.

“We have a lot of inexperienced guys,” said Coach Wedge.  “We are dressing twenty-nine players and sixteen are either freshmen or sophomores.  But we’re a scrappy team and we play good defense most of the time.  Our team is really good at picking the ball off the ground and we fight pretty hard for it.  What we don’t do enough of is valuing the ball.  Too many bad passes and dropped passes.”

Coach Josh Wedge

“We never quit today,” said Coach Leary.  “That’s all I can ask for.  Our team is always fired up to play Newburyport.”

There will be a rematch at Pentucket later in the season.

Coach Wedge: “Dan (Leary) does an unbelievable job.  I think he’s the most underrated coach around here.  They have low numbers but they’re ultra-competitive.  They know how to play the game.”

I asked Jack Hadden about his choice of the University of Albany to play lacrosse. “The minute I stepped onto the campus I know it was the place for me.  The team and the coaches were so welcoming.  At 12:01AM on September 1st, the first day they could recruit me, they reached out to me.  That meant a lot.  It was an obvious choice for me.”

The weather at Stehlin was pleasant with sunshine and temperatures near sixty.  I nearly froze at Pettingell the day before.

Newburyport   0   3   4   1   =   8

Pentucket         3   0   1   2   =   6

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Angus Webster
Coach Dan Leary
Duncan Coir
Joe Turpin chased by Brian Lucy
Cam Smith
Ryan Portalla
Jon Groth takes a shot
Cam Tinkham
Ball on the turf
Jack Hadden goal celebrated
Owen Kruez and Will Gagnon
Battle in front
Will Gagnon and Nolan Cole
Evan Napolitano chased by Clippers
Jon Groth in the middle
Ben Turpin

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Newburyport gets 5-4 walkoff win over Bishop Fenwick

Owen Tahnk (3 hits) scores the game winner
Jack Fehlner mobbed by teammates

(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.

Nick Villano had two hits

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.

Eli Suchecki had a pinch-hit double in the seventh inning

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.”

Gianni Mercurio scores in the 7th

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.

CF Owen Roberts makes a diving catch

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.”

Coach Matt Antonelli and Anthony Marino

“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.” 

Jack Fehlner – 2 hits, 2 RBI

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.)

Unofficial Newburyport box
Unofficial Bishop Fenwick box
Marco Carrillo
Connor Stick scores the 2nd Newburyport run
Play at second
Gianni Mercurio slides home
Lucas Stallard and Dan Riddick
Chris Faraca
Ball through the infield
Play at first
Starter Mike Geissler
Anthony Marino
Jack Fehlner

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Gloucester edges Newburyport 4-3 in opener

Zach Morris throw from left nails Jack Fehlner at the plate
Owen Tahnk scores the Clippers third run

(Newburyport) Newburyport gave extra outs to Gloucester in the fifth inning and it cost them.

The Fishermen came away with a 4-3 win in the Saturday afternoon non-league game that was the opener for both teams.

“It was the first game of the season, and you could tell it at times for both teams,” said Gloucester coach Rory Gentile afterwards.

“It was a game that I feel we should have won but we made mistakes and you can’t do that against an excellent team like Gloucester,” said Clippers coach Mark Rowe.

Gloucester starter Zach Morris

The game featured three pitchers (Jack Fehlner, Zach Morris, and Brett Moore) who are all committed to pitch at the next level.

The Boston Herald had cited both teams as “teams to watch in Division 3.” 

“Newburyport looked like a very good team,” said Coach Gentile. “That’s a team we may be seeing later on.”

Newburyport took a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning.

Junior Max Puleo was hit by a pitch, stole second, and hustled home on a two-out blooper that fell into short right field in the first inning.

Jack Fehlner had a solo home run

In the fourth inning, senior Jack Fehlner lit into a Zach Morris high fastball and sent it over the left field fence.

“When we were down 2-0 it felt like 100-to-nothing,” recalled Coach Gentile.  “We weren’t doing much of anything right.”

Things turned Gloucester’s way in the fifth and sixth innings. 

In the fifth, Zach Morris tripled in teammate Brett Moore with the first Fishermen score.

“My first two times up were not what I wanted,” said Zach afterwards.  “I was trying to do too much.  The third at-bat I saw the curve and waited on it.”

Brett Moore had two hits and closed out the game for Gloucester

The Clippers had two chances to escape with just one Gloucester run in that inning, but a line-drive drop, and a messed-up pickoff led to more at bats and two more runs.

“We played well defensively at times,” said Coach Rowe, “but we did make defensive mistakes that cost us maybe the game.”

The Fishermen added the eventual game-winner in their half of the sixth inning.  Thomas Elliott singled, stole second and scored on Brett Moore’s double to right.

Max Puleo steals second

That 4-2 Gloucester lead was severely threatened in the Newburyport sixth.

The Clippers put three straight singles together off Zach Morris with Brady Ford’s single driving across Owen Tahnk.  Another walk (Jack Sullivan) loaded the bases with no outs.

It certainly appeared, at the time, that Newburyport was likely to collect some more runs…..but they didn’t.

Zach Oliver scores the tying run

Coach Gentile brought in Brett Moore from left to replace Zach and Zach went out to play left.  I am not sure if a coach could ask for a player switch to work out any better than this one did.

Owen Roberts flied out to left and Zach gunned down Jack Fehlner trying to score from third base.

“I got behind that ball and said, ‘we need this’ and let it go,” recalled Zach. The throw was perfect and a very fast runner (Jack Fehlner) was clearly out at home plate.

Coach Rory Gentile

Brett Moore struck out the next batter to limit Newburyport to a lone run.

“We’re up one, no outs, with the bases loaded and we get out of it,” said Coach Gentile.  “We need to not rely on getting lucky but get ahead of batters.”

Sophomore Connor Stick reached third with two outs in the last inning, but Brett struck out the final batter.

Out at third

“Brett Moore (commit to Curry) is one of our senior leaders,” said Coach Gentile.  “He had a great year last year.  That’s what we expect him to do.”

The Fishermen collected nine hits off Jack Fehlner and Charlie Forrest.  Brett Moore, Emerson Marshall, and Thomas Elliott had two hits each.

The Clippers finished with six hits.  Owen Tahnk and Jack Fehlner each had two of them.

Jack Fehlner

Jack pitched four plus innings.  “I had a pitch limit in mind for him,” said Coach Rowe.  “He could have finished that inning but it’s early in the season and I don’t want to hurt his arm.”

Zach Morris is committed to URI next season.  “I loved the coaching staff there,” he said.  “The energy I saw there was awesome.”

I asked Zach for the reason why his teammates and coaches were calling him, “Tuna.”  “I was almost born with that nickname,” he said.  “My godmother had a lake behind her house that I would swim in but never get out of.  She called me, “Tuna,” and it got around.”

Plenty of sunshine on this Saturday afternoon at Pettingell Park.  The wind, however, kept everyone from getting too comfortable.

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Newburyport (unofficial) box
Gloucester (unofficial) box
Last out of the game
Max Puleo looks for a sign
2B Connor Stick
Turning two
Steven Lawton
Lucas Stallard and Ryan Carpenter
Zach Morris
Owen Roberts
Ball falls in
Play at first
Tyler Cowles

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Newburyport moves on after 57-43 win over Shepherd Hill

Emma Foley (21 points)
Clippers deny an inbounds pass

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers (19-2) advance after defeating Shepherd Hill, 57-43, in the Round of 32 on Saturday afternoon.

The #21 Rams (15-7) trailed the entire game but impressed Newburyport coach Karen Grutchfield.

“We had seen them on film,” she said, “but they were much better than we thought.”

The Rams handled the ball well and knew where to concentrate their defense.  The issue was scoring.

Aryanna Sheehan guarded by Makenna Ward

“We’ve had an issue scoring all year,” said Shepherd Hill coach Maura Hackenson afterwards. 

Neither team shot very well although there were plenty of attempts.  There was only one three made the entire game. The Clippers scored only five points in the final quarter, yet the Rams were only able to take three points off their deficit at the start of the quarter.

“If we don’t play good defense in the backcourt, it’s a close game at the end,” said Coach Grutchfield.

Anna Seidel on defense

But the good non-stop pressure sent the Rams into several scoring droughts that opened opportunities for the Clippers to establish separation.

SH went through a two-point, three-minute segment in the second period.  Newburyport took advantage.  The Clippers recorded twelve points and turned a 19-18 one-possession game into, 31-20, with two minutes left in the quarter.

Makenna Ward (15 pts) and Deirdre McElhinney each had four points during this successful segment.  Olivia McDonald and Emma Foley had a basket each.

Olivia McDonald

The Rams did not go away.  They made the first two baskets of the second half (Emery Mullen and Heidi Jarosz), and the visitors were quickly within seven (33-26) as things got interesting.

But then the Newburyport defense kicked in again and shut down the Rams completely for the next three minutes.

While the visitors struggled, the Clippers went on a 9-0 run and their lead rose to, 42-26, and back into something of a comfort zone.

Emma Foley defended by Heidi Jarosz (11 points)

The highlight makers for Newburyport in this good section were Olivia McDonald, Makenna Ward, and Emma Foley.  Olivia hit a jump shot and the only three of the game.  Makenna broke full-court for a layup while Emma spun into the lane for two points.

Emma (21 points) ended up with a ten-point quarter dashing Shepherd Hill’s hopes for getting closer to Newburyport.  The Clippers had a seventeen-point lead after three quarters.

“Emma (Foley) has great moves down there,” said SH coach Maura Hackenson.  “She keeps the ball really high, and we didn’t have the height to match up. We tried to front her.”

Emma often had 2-3 defenders whenever she had the ball but still found ways to supply badly needed scoring.

Shaylan Cashman looks to pass

“Emma thrives on offense,” said Coach Grutchfield.  “She needs a lot of touches.  She also did a good job of rebounding.”

The Rams from the Mid-Wach League were tough on the glass scoring on six offensive rebounds.

Newburyport’s next game will be on the road against Whitman-Hanson.

Quiet crowd at Newburyport this afternoon. 

Newburyport   15   19   18   5   =   57

Shepherd Hill   12   10   13   8   =   43

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Brela Pavoa guards Emery Mullen

The MIAA this year has arranged the tournament based on power rankings.  The North, South, Central, and West are history.  And with the new arrangement, regional games are gone.  Who around here even knew where Shepherd Hill was located?  But they were seeded #21 and the matchup was against #12 Newburyport. 

What has been interesting (to me) has been that so far the higher seeds almost always win.  This suggests that the rankings have been accurate.

I do, however, wonder about the excessive travel the new arrangement necessitates.  The Amesbury boys had to travel to western Massachusetts to play South Hadley this week on a school night.  The Frontier girls’ team (Deerfield) will be traveling to Amesbury for a 5:30PM game on a school night. 

Olivia McDonald
Heidi Jarosz gets a block
Sydney Turner
Emery Mullen guarded by Anna Seidel
Sydney Fitzgerald guarded by Emma Foley
Sydney Fitzgerald on defense
Scramble on the floor
Deirdre McElhinney on defense
Raegan Peck
Makenna Ward (15 points)
Shepherd Hill box
Newburyport box

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