Category Archives: North Andover

Lexington defeats North Andover 1-0 in girls soccer D1 North semifinals

Lexington and North Andover wait on a corner kick

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready had the only goal of the game.

(Lowell MA) Wait until she gets the hang of it!

Lexington’s Aleia Gisolfi-McCready admitted afterwards that she’s scared of heading the ball and doesn’t do it very often.

It showed.

With just over two minutes left in the first half, teammate Carolyn Lane sent a free kick toward the far post.  The ball went over the elevated Kirsty Carnan and right at Aleia.

Aleia ended up with a facial (“I got a fat lip out of it.”) but the ball went into the North Andover net.

That goal stood up and #8 Lexington won the Divison 1 North semi-finals 1-0 on Wednesday night at Cauley Stadium in Lowell.

The Minutemen (11-6-4) now move on to the D1 North finals on Saturday (2:15PM) at Manning Field in Lynn and will face #2 Brookline.

“It was an awesome win,” said LHS coach Alex Cram afterwards.  “I’m really proud of them.  They never stop.  It’s such a team effort with this crew.”

Regarding the goal: “Carolyn Lane takes our free kicks.  It was a little weird today because the corners here are short, so she had to adjust.  I think that Aleia’s goal went in off her nose.  Whatever works!”

Karen Oh (19) defends against Olivia Gotobed

Tough loss for North Andover.  The #4 seed could not put any serious pressure on Lexington. The tell-tale stat for NA (12-5-4) was that they never had a corner kick.

“We couldn’t figure it out offensively,” said Knights coach Lisa Rasanen.  “They (Lexington) won balls in the air.  We needed to play more balls through on the ground.”

Regarding the goal: “They sent everyone up.  They had one kicking and the other nine in the box. We couldn’t cover them all.”

Lexington’s Eliza Stokes has shutouts in all three D1 North tournament games.

The Knights may have had more shots, but Lex dominated the actual scoring opportunities.

Kirsty Carnan traps the ball

The sophomore/freshman combo of Aleia Gisolfi-McCready and Kirsty Carnan kept a very good NA defense busy.  Aleia and Kirsty displayed speed, dribbling skills, and persistence.

That the only score would require a skill that is yet to be developed by this twosome was the biggest surprise.

“I scouted North Andover and I told the kids that tonight’s game was going to be a fight,” said Coach Caram.  “They have great players and are dangerous up front.  Tonight, our defense was able to handle them.”

Coach Rasanen: “I just wish we were more intense in the first half.  In the second half we were more aggressive and took it to them but couldn’t figure out how to get the ball on goal.  It just wasn’t our night.”

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready: “This is my first year playing with Kirsty.  It has been nice having all the freshman on the team this year.”

Carolyn Lane gets ready for the free kick that led to the Lexington goal

North Andover is from the Merrimack Valley Conference while Lexington is from the Middlesex League.  The two teams met three years ago, and the result was a 1-1 tie.

The playing surface at Cauley Stadium was very fast.

The weather (50 degrees) was a nice change from the persistent rain I faced yesterday at Masconomet.

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

After the goal

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready chased by Rachel Hunt (22)

Aleia Gisolfi-McCready sets to shoot

Avani Kabra (8)

Carolyn Lane (6)

Emma Liporto

GK Eliza Stokes celebrates with the defense

Goalie Jordyn Apperti (green) above the crowd

Isabel Ceraso (Knights 6)

Molly Connolly

Rileigh Cinquergrano (7) passes to a teammate

Kirsty Carnan (14) threatens

Lexington celebrates

 

 

 

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Gloucester holds off North Andover 2-0 to gain D2 North finals

Jordan Pallazola scores an insurance run for Gloucester in the sixth inning

Jordan Pallazola scores an insurance run for Gloucester in the sixth inning

Reliever Pete Clark struck out Brendan Parisotto to end the game

Reliever Pete Clark struck out Brendan Parisotto to end the game

(Lynn MA) Gloucester took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh, and survived a bases-loaded situation, to win a Division 2 North semifinals battle with North Andover on Friday afternoon.

The triumph by the Fishermen (20-2) sends them to the D2 North finals against Masconomet tomorrow (4PM) at Lelacheur Field in Lowell.

Senior Conor Harris picked up the win with one-batter relief help from Pete Clark.

The #1 seed Fishermen seemed to be in pretty good shape heading into the final inning the way starter Conor Harris was going.  Gloucester had two runs and the GHS senior had given up only one hit through six innings.

But after one out in the seventh the Knights made things very interesting.  Matt Iannone and Stephen Borzi singled before Conor Harris struck out pinch hitter Marc Patnaude to get the second out.  Pinch hitter Christoffer Keane then walked to load the bases.  At this point, Gloucester coach Bryan Lafata brought in Pete Clark (MVP Northeastern Conference) to face Brendan Parisotto.  Pete got the strikeout to seal the deal for Gloucester.

Stephen Borzi flips to shortstop Matt Varoutsos

Stephen Borzi flips to shortstop Matt Varoutsos

The Fishermen’s first run came in the second inning and was unearned.  After Drew Shairs singled, a routine grounder to second baseman Stephen Borzi did not result in an out.  Stephen tried to tag the baserunner (Drew Shairs) and missed and then threw late to first.  Another grounder was hit Stephen Borzi’s way and this time he clicked with shortstop Matt Varoutsos on a force-out at second.  The error part was Matt’s low throw to first baseman Collin Couillard that allowed Drew Shairs to cross with the first Gloucester run.

The NEC champs added insurance in the sixth inning.  Jordan Pallazola beat out a slow roller to third and reached second on a fielder’s choice with two outs.  Junior Bart Margiotta singled Jordan home.

Evan Glew allowed one earned run

Evan Glew allowed one earned run

Junior Evan Glew took the loss for North Andover (Merrimack Valley Conference) but gave up only one earned run and struck out five.

The Knights (12-11) were limited to three hits by Gloucester pitching.  NA did have a runner in scoring position (Brendan Parisotto) in the third with two outs but Matt Varoutsos popped out to first to end the inning.  In the fifth, the #12 seed had two on with one out but GHS starter Conor Harris struck out Austin Flinn and got a fly out from Brendan Parisotto to maintain the shutout.

Plenty of credit goes to the North Andover team for the recovery they made after being 5-9 at one point in the 2014 season.  The Knights won seven of their last eight to reach the tournament and then upset two higher seeds (Winchester and Reading) to reach the D2 North semifinals.

Gloucester dominated the NEC (13-1) this season.  They are in the MIAA tourney for the 11th straight season.  The Fishermen defeated Belmont, 3-2, to reach the semifinals.

Jordan Pallazola was caught stealing on a fine throw to second by NA catcher Chris Bosco to shortstop Matt Varoutsos in the fourth inning

Ball gets away from NA first baseman Collin Couillard as Eric Chalmers touches first

Ball gets away from NA first baseman Collin Couillard as Eric Chalmers touches first

Gloucester got a fortunate bounce in the fifth inning.  With two NA runners on, catcher Jordan Pallazola tried to pick Brian Varoutsos off first.  Jordan’s throw hit the baserunner diving back in and bounced directly into first baseman Drew Shairs hands.  If that ball gets by, the NA runner on second might have scored.

Matt Iannone was hit twice by Gloucester pitcher Conor Harris.

Knights’ leftfielder Austin Flinn dove for freshman Eric Chalmers short fly and ended up needing medical attention.

A 2PM start on a school-day Friday drew a close-friends-and-family sized crowd.  I suspect that both Masco and Gloucester will have many on hand for tomorrow’s Saturday afternoon matchup at Lalacheur Field.

Weather?  Couldn’t have been better.

Fraser Field now has turf in the infield and from dugout to dugout in front the backstop.  I like it.

Gloucester box

North Andover box

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

Conor Harris allowed three hits

Conor Harris allowed three hits

Austin Flinn needs medical attention

Austin Flinn needs medical attention

final strike

final strike

Drew Shairs scores the first Gloucester run

Drew Shairs scores the first Gloucester run

Stephen Borzi tries to tag Drew Shairs

Stephen Borzi tries to tag Drew Shairs

Jordan Pallazola flips his mask before making a catch

Jordan Pallazola flips his mask before making a catch

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Central Catholic overpowers North Andover 73-59 to avenge earlier loss

Nick Cambio (13 points) dominated the inside for Central Catholic

Nick Cambio (13 points) dominated the inside for Central Catholic

Aaron Hall (#30) had nineteen points for CC

Aaron Hall (#30) had nineteen points for CC

(North Andover MA) For a quarter this looked like a duplicate of the January 5th game.  The rest of the way…………not so much!

Central Catholic (15-4) took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back defeating North Andover, 73-59, on Tuesday night in Merrimack Valley Conference play.

In January’s 68-65 win at Central Catholic, North Andover had the shooting to match the Raiders.  The Knights’ John Enright connected six times from long range and teammate Spencer Reeve added twenty points.

John Enright (13 points) clicked three times from long distance in the first quarter this time around and carried NA to an 18-14 advantage.

Credit the CC defense thereafter.  They didn’t cause turnovers (NA only had four in the game) but they forced the Knights into low percentage, contested shots.

Wabissa Bede (21 points) passes

Wabissa Bede (21 points) passes

Nick Cambio (6-6) covered John Enright (5-11) and the good looks for John were out at NBA distance.

Spencer Reeve (twenty points in the first game) was held scoreless.  The 6-3 junior got into foul trouble early and was a non-factor.

Not only was the Raiders’ defense better but their offense was too.  CC’s big men, Nick Cambio and Aaron Hall (both 6-6) ran plays together that turned up layups for both of them on numerous occasions.  Nick finished with thirteen points while Aaron had nineteen.

Tyler Nelson (15 points) was his usual self.  He made shots and set up teammates.

Brett Daley fires from the corner

Brett Daley fires from the corner

The Knights (12-5) had a four-point lead (22-18) two minutes into the second quarter.  After this, the visitors from Lawrence put nine straight together over the next 3 1/2 minutes and NA never recovered from the 27-22 deficit.

The damage in the 9-point run was done by Tyler Nelson (two free throws & runner from the right), Aaron Hall (jump shot), and Nick Cambio (old-fashioned 3-point play.)

Central Catholic led, 31-26, at the half.

The Raiders were able to get the lead into double figures (40-29) 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.  Consecutive 3’s (AJ Pettway & Tyler Nelson) keyed the separation.  Tyler’s trey was off an open look from the corner on an inbounds play.

The Raiders kept their advantage at double figures the rest of the way.  On this day, NA was overmatched on both ends and no comeback before a sizable home crowd ever materialized.

Kevin Fernandez ends the third quarter from very long range

Kevin Fernandez ends the third quarter from very long range

The icing-on-the-cake shot for CC was freshman Kevin Fernandez’s buzzer beater from very long range as the third quarter ended.

Sophomore Wabissa Bede (21 points) proved to be an adept ball-handler for NA.  He was not shy about taking the ball toward the basket against taller opponents. Wabissa ended up at the foul line fifteen times.

Certainly a strength for Central Catholic in this one was their free throw shooting.  After missing 3-of-4 in the first quarter they went 19-for-21 thereafter.

Central Catholic is undefeated (8-0) on the road.  The Raiders have won eight straight and twelve of their last thirteen.  Their last state title was in 2008.

Central Catholic box

North Andover box

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

Nick Cambio finishes

Nick Cambio finishes

Kyle White covered by Alec Buresh

Kyle White covered by Alec Buresh

Alex Santon (#32) looks for an opening

Alex Santon (#32) looks for an opening

James Testa goes baseline

James Testa goes baseline

Spencer Reeve (#32) tries for a block

Spencer Reeve (#32) tries for a block

Tyler Nelson passes out of a double team

Tyler Nelson passes out of a double team

Tyler Nelson (15 points) puts up a three

Tyler Nelson (15 points) puts up a three

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Casey Barlow and Victoria Allman lead Newburyport past North Andover 3-1 in softball opener

Victoria Allman - complete game six-hitter with ten strikeouts

Victoria Allman – complete game six-hitter with ten strikeouts

Casey Barlow (#13) gets congratulated after her two-run blast

Casey Barlow (#13) gets congratulated after her two-run blast

(Newburyport) The white caps were not on the players’ heads but on the Merrimack River in the background at Cashman Park Wednesday afternoon.

But I doubt the Newburyport Clippers softball team minded the cold, windy setting as they defeated North Andover, 3-1, in a non-league season opener for both squads.

Senior Casey Barlow (three hits and three RBI) was the hitting star for NHS.  Last time I saw Casey in action it was in basketball and the lefty was shooting free throws right-handed because of an injury.  She’s fully recovered!

Casey’s wind-effected, two-out blooper in front of North Andover third baseman Paige Alholm delivered a run for the Clippers in the first inning.

Later, in the fifth inning, Casey put a charge into a liner over right fielder Jess Bramanti’s head and circled the bases successfully despite slowing up rounding third.  Kendra Dow scored on the play and Newburyport had the two runs that would make the difference in this game.

Dahlia DeCologero had two hits and scored the only NA run

Dahlia DeCologero had two hits and scored the only NA run

The Knights got their lone run in the third.  Kim Crucioli singled Dahlia DeCologero to third and the senior scored on catcher Lauren Bean’s passed ball.

Victoria Allman had a strong outing for Newburyport.  The junior gave up six hits but struck out ten.  Victoria had five K’s in the first two innings.

NA threatened in the fourth as Jess Bramanti and Paige Alholm both singled with no outs.  But Victoria served up a fly ball out to Lea Tomasz and two infield grounders handled by second baseman Jackie Krusemark to end the scoring chance.

The Knights put together a more serious threat in the seventh inning down two runs.  Danielle Wilson beat out an infield hit past the pitcher and later leadoff batter Dahlia DeCologero doubled over Ashley Hodge’s head in left.  That put two runs in scoring position with two outs.  But Victoria got Kim Crucioli to ground out to second to end the game.

Dahlia DeCologero had two of NA’s six hits.

Pitcher Kim Crucioli is congratulated after getting out of a jam in the second inning

Pitcher Kim Crucioli is congratulated after getting out of a jam in the second inning

Knights’ pitcher Kim Crucioli (6 hits/4 K’s) came up big in the bottom of the second.  Meghan Stanton belted a triple over the head of leftfielder Sarah Lemerise with no outs but Kim struck out two and induced a popup to escape.

Shortstop Kendra Dow erased a Knights scoring attempt at the plate in the first inning.  Dahlia DeCologero had reached third after singling, stealing second, and getting third on an errant throw by catcher Lauren Bean.  Kendra was playing in and Courtney Green’s grounder reached her quickly and her strong throw to Lauren Bean was there in plenty of time.

Another key to the Newburyport win?  Keeping Courtney Green under wraps.  Courtney was the Player-of-Year in Division 2 of the Cape Ann League last season.  Victoria Allman held her hitless in three plate appearances.

North Andover has moved to the Merrimack Valley Conference and they are certain to find the level of competition quite different than in the CAL with plenty of Division 1 teams on their schedule.

Meghan Stanton tripled to left in the second inning

Meghan Stanton tripled to left in the second inning

I took in last year’s meeting between these two teams on May 11th.  The Clippers won that one, 3-2, in eight innings.

North Andover was 10-11 last season.  They have a new coach – Caitlin Flanagan.

Newburyport was 13-10 in 2012 under Coach Lori Solazzo.

Next for North Andover is a trip to Pentucket on Friday.  Newburyport next plays on Monday at Saugus.

Carley Siemasko and Kendra Dow were CAL All-Stars last season.

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

Lauren Bean tagged out trying to steal by Dahlia DeCologero

Lauren Bean tagged out trying to steal by Dahlia DeCologero

cold conditions at Cashman Park

cold conditions at Cashman Park

Third baseman Meghan Stanton fires to Carley Siemasko at first

Third baseman Meghan Stanton fires to Carley Siemasko at first

Centerfielder Morgan Coakley chases a flyball in the strong wind at Cashman Park

Centerfielder Morgan Coakley chases a flyball in the strong wind at Cashman Park

Catcher Lauren Bean and pitcher Victoria Allman

Catcher Lauren Bean and pitcher Victoria Allman

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North Andover gets convincing 61-41 win over Boston Latin Academy in the First Round of D2 North

Isaiah Nelson (22 points) gets past DeVaughn Riley

Isaiah Nelson (22 points) gets past DeVaughn Riley

Derek Collins (10 points) floats to the rim

Derek Collins (10 points) floats to the rim

(North Andover) #2 seed North Andover looked awfully good as they defeated Boston Latin Academy, 61-41, in the First Round of Division 2 North on Thursday night.

The Scarlet Knights will host Concord-Carlisle on Saturday at 4PM.

#15 seed Latin Academy (10-10) trailed by only three (21-18) a minute into the second period.

The Knights, however, settled the outcome of the game in the next 8 ½ minutes, stretching into the third period, by putting a, 16-3, segment together.

That collection of productive offense put NA ahead, 37-21, early in the third period.  The Knights lead would expand to 44-25 midway through the third quarter and they coasted in from there.

Edwin Porro (15 points)

Edwin Porro (15 points)

The undersized Dragons spent most of the night on the perimeter with an occasional one-on-one drive to the hoop.  What killed the visitors from Boston was connecting only once (Edwin Porro) from long range.  I’m guessing they attempted close to twenty long ones.

Down the other end, North Andover (17-4) ran organized offense and turned up high percentage shots all game long.  6-6 Isaiah Nelson (22 points) and 6-5 Chris Bardwell (14 points) feasted in close against a team whose tallest player (Alex Guerrier) was 6-2.

During the decisive 16-3 run, Isaiah had three layups and a converted rebound, Chris spun loose twice in close for layups, and Derek Collins (10 points) hit jump shots off the foul line.

When a good team like North Andover is allowed to have a nightful of high percentage shots by its key players, the other team is in trouble.

Edwin Porro had eight of his fifteen points in the first nine minutes and enabled the Dragons to only trail by three early in the second quarter.

Thereafter, the Boston City League team went cold from the outside and their deficit increased by the minute because of their defensive struggles.

Brendan Miller (10 points) shoots from the corner as BLA coach Dan Bunker watches

Brendan Miller (10 points) shoots from the corner as BLA coach Dan Bunker watches

It intrigued me to watch Latin Academy position their players around the 3-point line and never flash anyone in from the weak-side.  They were content to fire three’s or try and drive past their defender to the basket.  Offensive rebounds were scarce out of such an offensive strategy.  They needed to make three’s and were unable to in this game.

The lack of consistent scoring kept the Dragons from applying well-organized full-court pressure.  The Knights had only six turnovers (by my count) during the first three quarters.

Edwin Porro, Rayshawn Miller, and DeVaughn Riley were Boston City League All-Stars last season.

Latin Academy lost the services of DeVaughn Riley with five minutes left in the 2nd quarter when he picked up his third foul and was benched.  DeVaughn missed part of the season with a football injury.

Isaiah Nelson in close guarded by Fritz Jolivain

Isaiah Nelson in close guarded by Fritz Jolivain

Isaiah Nelson collected eleven points in the third quarter including a three.  He will be attending St. Anselm’s next season.

Brendan Miller (10 points) had six in the first quarter.

Latin Academy was 6-12 last year.  North Andover was 21-2.

North Andover’s four losses this season were to: Andover (twice), Westford Academy, and Central Catholic.  The Knights won’t be facing any of those Division 1 teams in the tournament.

I was very impressed with the NA pep band.  They did a nice job on the National Anthem.  They also kept playing long after the game ended………..they just enjoyed playing!

North Andover boxscore

Boston Latin Academy boxscore

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

Isaiah Nelson heads for two

Isaiah Nelson heads for two

Alex Guerrier

Alex Guerrier

Chris Bardwell (14 points) gets off a shot

Chris Bardwell (14 points) gets off a shot

loose ball

loose ball

Spiderman was in the house

Spiderman was in the house

North Andover cheerleaders

North Andover cheerleaders

 

 

 

 

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Masconomet survives late North Andover rally to win 52-41 in nonleague girls basketball

Tight defense helped the Chieftains get a big lead

Tight defense helped the Chieftains get a big lead

Pam Coufos (10) steals from Meghan Collins (5) late in the game

Pam Coufos (10) steals from Meghan Collins (5) late in the game

(Topsfield)  The Masconomet Lady Chieftains never trailed but had to hold off the late-charging North Andover Scarlet Knights to win, 52-41, on Sunday afternoon in non-league play.

Masco (10-2) was smooth as silk on offense for 3 ½ quarters.  They ran plays that turned up many great scoring opportunities and built a commanding, 48-32, lead with 3:48 left in regulation.

I imagined a Masco coast-in from there but North Andover had other ideas.  After spending most of the game trying to find someone/anyone to pass to, the Knights began to use their pressure defense to create offense.

Led by Pam Coufos (two steals leading to two layups), the Division 2 visitors put together nine straight points in two minutes.  Five straight Masco miscues certainly helped, as NA closed to 48-41 with 1 ½ minutes left in the game.

But that was where the late run came to an end for the Knights.  Leah Chittick (eight points) missed the front end of a one-and-one that could have cut the lead to five. Then the Chieftains put a lengthy possession together (finally) and Nicole Femino (12 points) drove the lane to the left to squelch NA’s rally plans.

Morgan Lumb (on crutches) gives Abi Rose flowers

Morgan Lumb (on crutches) gives Abi Rose flowers

North Andover (9-3) struggled against the Masconomet pressure defense from beginning to end.  The Knights are trying to get used to life without Division 1 (Hartford) signee Morgan Lumb and it is clearly a work in progress.

When healthy, Morgan was able to make plays for herself ( I saw her get fifteen points in one quarter in a state tournament game last year against Tewksbury) and she could also set up teammates.

Megan Collins (17 points) supplied points for the Knights but there were very few assisted baskets for NA.

However, despite registering seventeen turnovers during the first half, NA trailed only 26-19 at halftime.

Claudia Marsh (nine points) shoots over McKenzie Mello

Claudia Marsh (nine points) shoots over McKenzie Mello

However, Masco’s last basket in the first half (Claudia Marsh layup) started ten straight unanswered points for the Division 1 home team.  Hannah Kiernan contributed two layups while Nicole Femino and Meghan Collins each added a pair of free throws in the ten-point surge that boosted the Chieftain advantage to 34-19 in the third quarter.

Masco started another run of unanswered scoring (seven) late in the third quarter that stretched their margin to 45-26 two minutes into the final quarter.

That lead would extend to 48-32 before NA made the late charge.

The very idea that North Andover had Masconomet on the ropes in this game is truly remarkable considering: (1) they played without Morgan Lumb, (2) they turned the ball over thirty times, and (3) they committed eighteen fouls and forced Coach Sue Breen to employ all sorts of unusual on-floor combinations.  Perhaps the biggest problem was point guard Pam Coufos getting limited first-half minutes because of three fouls.

Hannah Kiernan (15 points) took the ball to the basket on every opportunity for Masco and was rewarded numerous times with baskets or free throws.  She had an end-to-end drive in the fourth quarter.

Coach John McNamara (Pentucket) was an interested spectator.  His team faces Masco at Masco on February 1st.  The Lady Chieftains will certainly have to cut down on their turnovers (twenty-three) if they hope to avenge an early-season loss to the Division 3 Sachems.

North Andover, formerly in the Cape Ann League,  brought flowers for the Masconomet seniors.

Two of the three terrific National Anthem singers

Two of the three terrific National Anthem singers

The best part of the afternoon at Masconomet was the singing of the National Anthem by three little ladies.  I won’t try to guess their ages but their pitch and their diction was unbelievable.

It was a long afternoon for some of the North Andover faithful.  They had plenty of comments for the two officials about the frequent whistles, the eighteen fouls called against their Knights, and finally the eleven-point loss.  And then they had to go home and watch what the Ravens did to our Patriots!

Masconomet boxscore

North Andover boxscore

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

loose ball

loose ball

Abi Rose and Megan Collins

Abi Rose and Megan Collins

Meghan Collins and Pam Coufos

Meghan Collins and Pam Coufos

Nicole Femino (12 points) gets the basket that ended the late North Andover rally

Nicole Femino (12 points) gets the basket that ended the late North Andover rally

tight Knight defense

tight Knight defense

Megan Collins (17 points) shoots

Megan Collins (17 points) shoots

 

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Newburyport gets walkoff win 3-2 over North Andover in Cape Ann League softball

Lea Tomasz scores the game-winner in the 8th inning as Beth Castantini watches

(Newburyport)  The Newburyport Clippers (8-6) scored an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth to walk off to a 3-2 win over North Andover (4-8) on Friday afternoon in Cape Ann League softball action.

Runs were hard to come by in this one although NA had two quick ones in the first. The Clippers had a run in the first and another in the 4th.

There were plenty of base runners, thanks to seventeen hits and six walks, but both pitchers (Beth Castantini and Kim Crucioli) successfully pitched out of jams most of the afternoon.

Carley Siemasko hustles down the first base line in the 8th inning.

In the game-ending inning, Lea Tomasz led off with a single up the middle.  Molly Rowe’s infield grounder got Lea to second.  Carley Siemasko then hit a full-swing dribbler to pitcher Kim Crucioli’s left.  Carley hustled down the line and the play was going to be close at first.  However, Kim’s throw was high and went off the top of first baseman Haley Kosheff’s glove into right field allowing Lea Tomasz to come across with the winning run.

The way North Andover started the game you never would have expected such an outcome.  Their first two batters (Sara McCarthy and Courtney Green) doubled and the Knights quickly had a run.  Two batters later, Gwen Vozeolas blooped a two-strike single down the right field line and NA had a second run.

Sara McCarthy touches home with the first Knight run.

But thereafter the Knights would only threaten and fall short.  They left runners on in every inning but the second.  They had a runner (Sara McCarthy) on third with one out in the seventh and runners on second (Haley Kosheff) and third (Jaclyn Decologero) with two outs in the eighth.  Newburyport pitcher Beth Castantini induced infield grounders to escape both threats.

Newburyport picked up their first run in the first inning.  Kendra Dow walked, stole second on a close play, and came home on Lea Tomasz’s double to right center.

The Clippers tied the game in the fourth.  Molly Rowe hit a bloop down the right field line that Jess Bramanti couldn’t quite reach.  Molly ended up on third on the play and Carley Siemasko’s single to right brought in Molly with the tying run.

Newburyport nearly won the game in the bottom of the seventh.  Jackie Krusemark was on first after a walk with two outs.  Maddie Stanton ripped a line drive to left that leftfielder Gwen Vozeolas was able to stop at the last second.  If that ball had gotten past Gwen I am quite certain that Jackie would have scored to end the game.

Maddie Stanton

Maddie Stanton made two big plays in the fourth.  First the third baseman dove to snag a bunt attempt.  Later she dove for third to get a force out.

NA starter Kim Crucioli feasted on the bottom third of the Clipper lineup getting all seven of her strikeouts there.

Winning pitcher Beth Castantini K’d five Knights.

CAL All-Leaguer Sara McCarthy paced NA with two hits.

Junior Lea Tomasz, senior Molly Rowe, and freshman Carley Siemasko each had two hits for the Clippers.

North Andover faces their neighborhood rival, Andover, tomorrow at home at 10AM.

Newburyport’s next game will be at Georgetown on Monday afternoon.

The weather started out cloudy (Will it rain?) and changed to warm (Why did I bring this jacket?).

Newburyport boxscore

North Andover boxscore

(The pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Kim Crucioli

Lea Tomasz singles in the 8th

Courtney Green scores second NA run

Gwen Vozeolas

Jess Bramanti lunges for Molly Rowe fly ball in the 4th

Angela Logomasini snow cone

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