Category Archives: North Reading

Triton holds off North Reading 6-4

Caitlin Reilly tagged out by Kyla Story in the first inning
Keely Hannon had seven strikeouts

(Byfield) Anyone paying attention knows that undefeated Amesbury is considered the best team in the Cape Ann League.

Second best?  That’s not nearly as certain.

Triton, however, staked its claim to that designation with a 6-4 win over North Reading this afternoon.

The Vikings victory offsets an April 7th, 9-3, loss at North Reading.

Triton (11-4) is now 8-1 in the CAL.  North Reading (9-5) falls to 8-2.  The Vikings haven’t faced Amesbury yet.  NR has and they lost, 11-0.

Izzy Oldini scores Triton’s 4th run

Triton was up 2-0 in the third inning today, but North Reading came back to tie things in the top of the fifth inning.  The Vikings tallied four runs in the bottom of the fifth only to have the Hornets get two of those runs back in the seventh inning. The visitors had the tying run at the plate before the final out was recorded.

“It was a good high school softball game,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes afterwards.  “It wasn’t the cleanest and we had to battle to win it.”

2B Mia Vittozzi catches a popup

North Reading had eleven hits led by Caitlin Reilly and Jocelyn Ostrowsky who each had three hits.

It was a frustrating loss for the Hornets.  Although they had a lot of hits, a three-hit first inning didn’t produce any runs because of an out on the bases.

More frustrating for North Reading were their defensive lapses.  Triton scored in three innings and wild pitches and passed balls played a large part in each inning.  In the four-run fourth, a throwing error allowed a run to cross.

“It just wasn’t our day,” said NR assistant coach Paul Sonia afterwards.

Senior Maddy Jacques scored two runs for Triton

In the Triton first, Maddy Jacques walked, went to second on a passed ball and was driven in by Izzy Oldini.

In Triton’s third inning, Kyla Story doubled, reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on Mallory Johnson’s two-out, two-strike single.

North Reading came all the way back with a two-run fifth inning.  Keely Hannon singled, reached second on a passed ball, and was driven in by Caitlin Reilly.  Caitlin later scored on Mia Vittozzi’s single. 

Izzy Oldini and Mallory Johnson each had an RBI in the Vikings’ four-run fifth. 

Caitlin Reilly had three hits and scored two runs

Credit North Reading for challenging the Triton lead in their final at-bats.  The Hornets had two on with two outs when Jocelyn Ostrowsky scored both of them with a single.  That brought the tying run to the plate, but Triton pitcher Emma Penniman registered her fifth strikeout to end the threat.

“It was an awesome win,” said Maddy Jacques post-game.  There was a special celebration afterwards for the Vikings’ only senior.

Maddy plays second base.  The sun can be very tough on that side of the field.

“That sun got them today, and it also got me once,” said Maddy.

“North Reading is a good team,” said Coach Noyes.  “They are one of the better hitting teams around.  Their pitcher (Keely Hannon) has plus stuff.”

Keely finished with seven strikeouts.

Mallory Johnson had two hits and scored two runs

Both teams have three non-league losses.

Triton has now won four of their last five games.

Maddy Jacques: “When I was a freshman, Senior Day seemed so far away.  I will be going to Endicott and majoring in business management.”

The last time the two teams played (April 7th) the temperatures were in the 30’s.  Today, the temperatures were in the 70’s! 

North Reading   0   0   0   0   2   0   2   =   4

               Triton   1   0   1   0   4   0    –   =   6

North Reading unofficial box

Triton unofficial box

SS Alyssa Cassicino checks baserunner Mallory Johnson

Izzy Oldini had two hits and drove in two runs

Less-than-serious moment between innings

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Amesbury gets strong pitching/hitting in 9-3 win over North Reading

Drew Scialdone (with Coach Brierley) had three hits and four RBI
Trevor Kimball K’d eight Hornets

(Amesbury) Amesbury (9-4) got excellent pitching and hitting and defeated North Reading, 9-3, on Tuesday afternoon.

Trevor Kimball went the distance and the Amesbury hitters had ten hits.

“Amesbury is a really good team especially with (Trevor) Kimball on the mound,” said NR coach Eric Archambault afterwards.

Trevor had eight strikeouts and ended each of the final four innings with K’s.

The Hornets (7-6) left baserunners in all seven innings.  “We had our chances,” said Coach Archambault, “and we might have gained some momentum with some timely hitting.”

Shea Cucinotta and Craig Rubino

Drew Scialdone and Shea Cucinotta carried the Amesbury offense.

Drew was three-for-four, scored twice, and drove in four runs.

Shea also had three hits.  In his other at-bat the AIC commit walked.  He scored four runs.

“When guys are on base, you have to be a timely hitter and knock them in,” said Drew post-game.

“In my second at-bat I told myself not to swing at a curve,” he added.  “But I got two strikes on me and so I took a swing at a curve and got a hit.”

“Drew has been awesome for us,” said Coach Brierley.  “He’s hitting over .500 and has great confidence.”

Matt Ryan had three hits for NR

Amesbury jumped ahead in the first as Drew’s double scored Shea.

In the third inning, Drew’s single (off a curve) produced one run and Will Arsenault’s single brought home two more. 

Nick Doucette’s single in the fourth inning delivered Ryan McCullough. That lessened the NR deficit to 4-1.

Amesbury responded with their biggest inning of the game.  Drew was again in the middle of the hitting attack.  This time it was a single that drove home Luke Arsenault and Jake Harring.  Trouble in the NR outfield led to two more runs in that productive fourth inning.

The Hornets put three hits together in their fifth inning.  Ryan Baker and Aldo Vittozzi had RBI.  Matt Ryan (who had three hits) scored one of North Reading’s two runs.

Coach Brierley and Coach Archambault

Trevor held the Hornets scoreless in the final two innings.

“He (Trevor) mixed his pitches, threw strikes, and commanded the zone,” said Coach Archambault.

“Trevor was phenomenal,” added Coach Brierley.  “He was throwing breaking balls for strikes and he was keeping his fastball low.”

Second baseman Jake Harring made a nice play behind second base on a grounder at the start of the North Reading fifth.

“Our defense, for the most part, made the plays,” said Jake.

Ball drops into the Amesbury outfield

Amesbury has three straight wins over North Reading.

North Reading is now 0-5 on the road.  “We’ve got to get back to the lab and turn things around,” said Coach Archambault.

Amesbury is now 6-2 in the Cape Ann League while the Hornets drop to 4-5.

A common occurrence in most of the games I’ve covered is that the visiting team arrives late, as North Reading did today.  The reason is almost always the same one, getting a bus.

The weather was cold, windy, and unpleasant.  I’m hearing of 80’s on Saturday.  Now won’t that be nice!

North Reading   0   0   0   1   2   0   0   =   3

        Amesbury   1   0   3   4   0   1   –    =   9

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Amesbury unofficial box

North Reading unofficial box

Drew Scialdone tries to score on a passed ball. Catcher Alex Carucci applies the tag for the out.

Watching the game

Drew Scialdone scores a run

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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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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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North Reading defeats Amesbury 68-55

Cody Cannalonga (28 points) had a memorable evening
Cody Cannalonga reached 1000 points for the Hornets

(Boston MA) Neither team had been playing well lately.

North Reading had lost three straight.

Amesbury had dropped three of their last four.

But that all changed for North Reading last night.

Under the bright lights of the Boston Garden the Hornets played, as Coach Joe Casey described it, “their best game of the season.”

Their defense was tight, and their offense flowed smoothly.

Andrew Boulas guards Cam Keliher

Along the way, senior Cody Cannalonga (28 points) crossed into the 1000-point club at North Reading.

The smooth senior needed fourteen points and he had those in the first half, getting the 1000th on a free throw.

No celebrating then but before the second half resumed the Garden announcer noted Cody’s accomplishment and he was duly recognized by the North Reading crowd, many of whom were there for this moment.

Quinn Riesenberg (18 points)

“Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script for us,” said Coach Casey afterwards.  “It was a perfect night for us and one that our kids will remember the rest of their lives.”

The Hornets (6-6) took the lead early, 6-5, on an Andrew Boulas layup 4 ½ minutes into the game and never trailed after that.

North Reading broke out on Amesbury misses and made open shots. 

“They had more energy than we did, and we didn’t make shots,” said Amesbury coach Tom Comeau post-game.

Matt Welch chased by Quinn Riesenberg in front of Coach Casey

The keys to success against the Indians (8-7) are containing next-level talents Cam Keliher and Matt Welch.  The Hornets were onto that tonight.

“The early lead gave us some confidence,” said Coach Casey.  “We really focused in on (Cam) Keliher and (Matt) Welch and did a really good job with them.”

“They played Matty and Cam real tough defensively and we didn’t have answers for it,” said Coach Comeau.

Nick Marden (9 points)

That “tough” defense truly kicked in during the second quarter when both players were held scoreless, and the Indians were limited to only eight points.

Senior Cody Cannalonga chose that quarter to go off against Amesbury registering twelve points.  His three-pointer in the last minute pushed the NR lead to double-figures (34-23).

Two free throws later, Cody joined the North Reading 1000-point club.

“Cody is a coach’s dream,” said Coach Casey.  “He is selfless and a good student.  He is an excellent leader and he comes from a terrific family.  He’s also only the third player in school history to score 1000 points.”

Cody Cannalonga gets to 1000 points

Cody will be going to Villanova where Coach Casey told me that Cody would be, “an intramural All-Star unless Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright finds out about him.”

The Hornets carried the double-digit lead throughout the second half.  Amesbury was able to get within ten points (62-52) late in the final quarter but no closer.

The score separation enabled both coaches to clear their benches and give all their players the Garden “experience.”

Coach Comeau reflected on the bigger picture: “It was a great experience for the kids and I’m glad we could give it to them.  Everyone got on the floor.  Everyone got to enjoy it.  Twenty years from now they won’t care if they won or lost.  It’ll be, ‘I played at the Garden.’”

Andrew Daileanes

Senior Quinn Riesenberg had eighteen points for North Reading including eight in the fast-start first quarter.  “It was the best game he’s played,” said Coach Casey.

It was interesting to be covering a game at the Garden this time of year.  Why?  Usually, when I’m at the Garden it is for tournament games but this was just a regular-season Cape Ann League game…….. in a very special setting.

“The loss wasn’t the end of the line at all,” said Coach Comeau.  “We do, however, have to get the ship right pretty quick.”  Ten wins assures a team of a tournament berth.  The Indians have eight wins with five games left.

Block attempt

The North Reading/Amesbury game was part of a ten-game, all-day event called the Andrew James Lawson Foundation Invitational. 

Some of the features I noticed, and was impressed with were, (1) the halftimes in which kids from the participating teams were allowed supervised to play on the court, and (2) team photos taken afterwards at center court.

I am suspecting that there will be many schools wanting to return next year to this event and others, on the outside, looking into getting involved next year.

Special thanks, from me, to Coach Comeau for allowing me to ride on the team bus.

North Reading  21   15   15   17  =  68

Amesbury          17     8   12   18  =  55

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Jake Hallinan shoots over Craig Rubino
Keegan Collins shoots
Cam Keliher (11 points) puts up a tough shot
Max LaPointe shoots
Matt Welch double-teamed
Matt Heidt
Sportsmanship
Logan Scribner shoots
Cody Cannalonga had twenty-eight points
Battle for a rebound
North Reading team
Amesbury team
Amesbury box
North Reading box

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Newburyport rallies to 72-64 win over North Reading

Finn Sullivan (10) led the Clippers in their strong finish
Finn Brennan (21 points)

(Newburyport MA) The Clippers dominated the final three minutes and that was enough to earn them a, 72-64, win over North Reading on Friday night.

“They crushed us on the glass over the last 4-5 minutes,” said NR coach Joe Casey afterwards.  “That’s what won them the game.”

Newburyport coach Dave Clay saw things a bit differently: “We won this game with defensive stops.  Those stops led to transition points.”

This game had plenty for both squads to cheer about.  The Clippers (6-4) led by six (23-17) after a quarter, but the Hornets (4-4) owned the middle quarters.  The visitors were ahead by nine (50-41) with 1 ½ minutes left in the third quarter. 

Andrew Boulas (20) paced the Hornets with sixteen points

Newburyport took the game over the rest of the way outscoring the Hornets, 31-14, to gain the victory.

“This group is resilient,” said Coach Clay.  “I’m proud of them keeping the fight in them.”

The tempo of this game was fun to watch because both teams had the same approach.  The defense was full-court, man-to-man and the attack was full-speed after misses.  Rebounds were heavily contested.

Neither team was shy about taking the ball to the basket.  The best of the passes were dropdowns by penetrators.

Craig Rubino guards Ronan Brown (12 points)

High scorer Finn Brennan (21 points) was on the receiving end of quite a few in-close passes.  “My teammates were getting to the rim and giving me easy dump-downs every time,” said Finn afterwards.

The Hornets were led by Andrew Boulas (16 points) and Cody Cannalonga (14 points).  Both players took the ball to the basket and often made the layup or got fouled.  Cody drained seven free throws.

The Clippers came out of a timeout after going down, 50-41, and finished the quarter with seven straight points including a Jack Fehlner three.

Scramble on the floor

Two-plus minutes into the last quarter Owen Tahnk cashed two free throws and the Clippers were on top, 55-54.

Finn Sullivan was the spark for the home team the rest of the way.  He contributed points, assists, and steals and gave the nearby active student section plenty to get excited about.

“The fans are so committed,” said Finn Sullivan afterwards.  “We love having them there.”

Logan Scribner makes a pass to a cutter

“Finn (Sullivan) gives us so much energy and passion on the court and it’s so contagious,” said Coach Clay.  “He’s quite an athlete and a fierce competitor.”

Finn connected on a three assisted by Jack Fehlner and then set up teammates Ronan Brown and James Scali for additional three’s.

The Hornets struggled to respond.

“Give them credit,” said NR Coach Casey, “they hit a couple of tough shots down the stretch.”

James Scali (9 points)

Ronan Brown (12) and Jack Fehlner (11) reached double figures for Newburyport.

Finn Brennan had nineteen of this twenty-one points through the first three quarters.  The Clippers 50-41 deficit late in the third quarter would have been much larger without the inside scoring of the tall freshman.

The Clippers hadn’t played in ten days. 

Finn Brennan at the line

Newburyport won the first meeting between the two teams on January 6th, 57-42.

I’ve done quite a few basketball games this winter and this was easily the noisiest one. 

Finn Sullivan: “We defended hard in the fourth quarter and did the little things you need to do to win.”

Newburyport     23   12   13   24   =   72

North Reading   17   16   17   14   =   64

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Chasing a loose ball
Owen Tahnk (22) gets a block
Finn Sullivan and Brian McKenna
Logan Scribner guarded by Henry Acton
John Jennings
Battle under the basket
Quinn Riesenberg in position to get a block
Alex Carucci
Newburyport student section
Newburyport box
North Reading box

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Undefeated Newburyport (6-0) downs North Reading 45-29

Brianne Slattery chased by Olivia McDonald
Deirdre McElhinney (12 points)

(Newburyport MA) Things haven’t gone perfectly for the Newburyport girls’ basketball team.

Tonight was another one of those nights.

“The game was frustrating,” said NHS coach Karen Grutchfield afterwards.  “We didn’t execute very well, and we missed a ton of shots early.”

But despite the imperfections the Clippers are perfect where it counts the most; wins and losses.

Newburyport (6-0) defeated North Reading, 45-29 in Cape Ann League action.

Emma Foley (15 points) led all scorers

Good luck to the teams in the Cape Ann League when Newburyport plays really well!

“She (Coach Karen Grutchfield) has a great team here,” said NR coach Bob Romeo afterwards.  “They play with a level of execution that it takes to win.”

It didn’t start out that way tonight as the Clippers trailed after three minutes, 4-2, and called a timeout.

Not sure what was said in the timeout but the next two minutes of playing time were a showcase for recently returned Deirdre McElhinney. Deirdre had missed several games with Covid.

Faith Newton covered by MaKenna Ward

The talented junior knocked down consecutive three’s and put in a fancy layup after a feed from MaKenna Ward.

Suddenly it’s the Clippers up, 10-4, and their lead would grow from there.

“It’s good to be back,” said Deirdre (12 points).  “I’m feeling much better than I did last week.”

The Hornets (1-5) then sealed their fate by slipping into a nightmarish second quarter getting only three points.

The Clippers pressure the Hornets

“We struggle to score especially when we play really good teams that dig in and play defense,” said NR coach Bob Romeo.

The Hornets, led by Brianne Slattery and Faith Newton, were able to get to the basket but had trouble finishing.  When the Hornets were fouled, they struggled at the line.

“Our foul shooting (1-for-8 in the second quarter) was not good,” admitted Coach Romeo.  “If you can’t make free throws and layups it’s going to be a long game.”

The Hornets struggled from the line

Newburyport led, 25-9, at the half and extended that lead to twenty points (35-15) in the third quarter.

Emma Foley (15 points) got hot from the right baseline collecting eight points in the third quarter.

North Reading played an active zone defense for the entire game.  Newburyport featured man-to-man almost all the way.

“Anna Seidel did a good job on #15 (Faith Newton),” said Coach Grutchfield post-game.  “I thought she made a difference.”

The Hornets surround Emma Foley

North Reading kept Newburyport out of the 50’s for the first time this season.

“They (North Reading) showed that we didn’t run our zone offense very effectively,” said Coach Grutchfield.

The Clippers usually passed into open looks but shot inconsistently from the openings.

“It was good to play against a zone,” said Deirdre.  “We were able to work for shots outside and hit our posts when they came out after us.” 

Ball loose on the floor

Coach Romeo liked the way his team attacked the basket.  “We were getting to the rim against a very good defensive team.  That’s a positive.”

Coach Grutchfield: “It’s fabulous to have Deirdre back.  She’s fun to watch.  She’s such a smart player.  But I do want her to shoot more.”

The two teams will match up again on January 21st at North Reading.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Newburyport box
North Reading box
Sydney Turner drives
Deirdre McElhinney passes to Brela Pavao (13)
Deirdre McElhinney tries to get to the basket
Anna Seidel
MaKenna Ward
Riley Cullen in for a shot
Faith Newton
Lilly Papatola and Sami Patch
Sydney Turner covers Brianne Slattery
Emma Foley in the lane

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North Reading reaches D5 Super Bowl after 31-14 win over Pentucket

Matt Guidebeck (8) and Ryan McCullough (7) celebrate a 4th quarter TD

(Lynn MA) North Reading has been averaging nearly forty points per game.

Ryan McCullough had two long punt returns

When they only had six points at halftime versus Pentucket tonight at Manning Field, you had to suspect that a scoring storm was coming.

And it did.

The Hornets (10-1) big second half gave them a, 31-14, win over Pentucket.  It also gave North Reading (#1 seed) a berth in the Division 5 Super Bowl against Swampscott (#2 seed) at Gillette Stadium in December.

Chase Dwight (4) scored twice

“I’m so happy to get a chance to play at Gillette,” said NR quarterback Alex Carucci afterwards.

Alex ran for one score and passed for another.

The Hornets had scored four times this season on their very first play from scrimmage.

Didn’t happen tonight.  However, the first time North Reading had the ball in the second half came on a punt return. 

Ryan McCullough (7) returned this punt for a 78-yard touchdown
Johnny Igoe (20) chased by Anthony Pino (79)

Ryan McCullough went seventy-eight yards with that return to give the Hornets the lead for good.

“I was just trying to take it to the house,” recalled Ryan.  “I thank my punt-return teammates.  There was a wall there.”

Pentucket (#4 seed) was still in this one early in the fourth quarter (17-14) after Chase Dwight’s second short-yardage touchdown.

The Sachems (8-3) were able to get the ball back with a chance to pull ahead.

Ryan McCullough and Paul Parachojuk battle

Credit the NR defense.  They forced another punt.

Ryan McCullough was again on the punt receiving end and again had good blocking.

“I nearly had a second touchdown but #11 (Paul Parachojuk) caught me,” said Ryan.

Ryan’s 42-yard return set up the Hornets at the Pentucket five. 

From there, quarterback Alex Carucci rolled left looking to pass.  Nothing there, so he crossed the field to the right side and connected with Matt Guidebeck for the score.

“It was a broken play,” said Alex.  “I just tried to make something happen. Fortunately, my receivers got open for me.”

Matt Guidebeck and John Jennings

“I was in the slot on the right,” recalled Matt Guidebeck.  “It was a scramble and we had worked all this week on what to do.  I moved around until a found a spot to stay.”

“Alex (Carucci) is a smart player,” said NR coach Ed Blum.  “When he’s had to scramble, he’s been able to make some plays.”

Matt Guidebeck’s touchdown reception and his kicking conversion put North Reading ahead, 24-14, with five minutes left in the game.

Craig Rubino’s interception ended Pentucket’s next possession and North Reading was home free.

Ryan McGuire (1) interception

Two second-half interceptions (Ryan McGuire & Craig Rubino) and Ryan McCullough’s two punt returns were keys to the win.

“A couple of big plays really swung it in the second half,” said Pentucket coach Dan Leary.  “North Reading makes you play all three phases of the game and defend the field.”

Not to be lost among all the “highlight” plays was the rushing of sophomore Will Batten (26 carries – 158 yards).

“Will put up some big numbers in the weight room last year,” said Coach Blum.  “He’s been huge for us in this run.”

Will scored his 20th touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Will Batten (6) scores
Alex Carucci scores after a fake handoff to Will Batten

North Reading scored first.  Pentucket got a heavy dose of Will Batten right down to their two-yard line.  A fake to Will by QB Alex Carucci allowed Alex to score unnoticed.

“Will is a great player and they were keying on him,” said Alex afterwards.  “I think they had eleven guys on him and no one on me.”

Pentucket answered with a touchdown greatly aided by a pass interference call.  Chase Dwight, who spent most of the game either passing or running, plunged across from a yard away.  Henry Hartford’s kick put Pentucket in front, 7-6.

Brandon Lee after a catch

The Sachems held that lead at halftime, but things changed in the second half.

“I told the team at halftime that they had to believe in everything they had done,” said Coach Blum.  “We knew that we would face some adversity.”

Coach Leary: “I was proud of our effort.”

Ryan McCullough: “It is an amazing feeling to finally get this done.  #4 (Chase Dwight) is a big, strong runner with a huge arm.”

Will Batten (6) breaks loose

Alex Carucci: “We were a little bit sloppy tonight.  I know that we can play a lot better.”

Coach Blum: “Ryan (McCullough) trusted the blockers and made some good cuts on those punt returns.”

Pentucket lost to North Reading eight weeks ago (September 24th), 20-0.

Both North Reading and Pentucket lost to Amesbury this season.

John Jennings (13) makes a tackle

Che Condon had four catches for 111 yards.

Matt Guidebeck kicked a 26-yard field goal in the third quarter.

The Hornets have now won five straight.

North Reading 0  6  11  14  – 31

Pentucket         0  7    0     7  – 14

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

Sam Morelli (52) and Teddy Suny (77) get after Chase Dwight (4)
Alex Carucci looks to pass to Ryan McCullough (7)
Chase Dwight (4) scores his first touchdown
Alex Carucci (5)

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Newburyport gains D3 final eight with 1-0 win over North Reading

Newburyport celebrates 1-0 win over North Reading
The Clippers goal came early in the 2nd half

(Newburyport MA) The Newburyport Clippers had lost to North Reading on October 25th.

It was their only loss (so far) this season.

That history played a part in Newburyport’s 1-0 win over North Reading tonight.

“We came out ready to play,” said Coach Shaw Bleau. “We carried the momentum, finally got a goal, and held them off.”

“The last time we played them we took our only loss,” recalled Max Gagnon.  “We wanted revenge.”

Playing with more determination was one thing but the key to the Clippers’ win tonight was neutralizing Hornets’ standout junior Josh Stanieich.

NR goalie Kieran Gorgenyi had a busy night

“They (Newburyport) did a great job of taking away what we like to do,” said NR coach Mark Bisognano.  “They took away our best player (Josh Stanieich).  They man-marked him out of the game.  It was good strategy.  It’s what I would have tried to do against us.”

Coach Bleau identified that player doing the marking.  It was junior Will Thoreson.

“Will stayed all over him,” said Coach Bleau.  “He marked him as best he could right out of the game.”

Will told me that he had been assigned to mark other players before tonight.

“It’s kind of my trademark now,” Will said.  “It’s pretty much a basketball defense.  I have to see the ball and the man at the same time.”

Josh Stanieich warranted all the attention because his goal had beaten the Clippers on October 25th.  Also, Josh had the game winner in North Reading’s tournament win.

Will Acquaviva (8) about to set up the Newburyport goal
Liam Rodger (2) and James Forest-Hay (12)

Will’s defense helped limit Josh to just one shot.

“He had one clean shot early on and it went 15’ over the bar,” said Will.  “That was the only one he had.”

The Clippers (18-1-1) applied plenty of pressure on the Hornets (10-5-3).

Every throw-in by senior Jack Fehlner landed in the box area and kept NR goalie Kieran Gorgenyi very busy.

The Clippers weren’t shy about substituting, either. 

“We kept putting in subs to keep the pressure on,” said Coach Bleau.  “We stayed after it.”

Newburyport got its only goal two minutes into the second half.

Will Acquaviva put a cross in front of the North Reading goal and it was deflected in off a Hornets’ defender.

Trouble in front of the Hornets net

“You let a guy get to the end line and you’re in a lot of trouble as a defender,” said Coach Bisognano recalling the goal.  “He (Will Acquaviva) hit a good smart ball across the face of the goal, and it ended up in the back of our net.”

Will Acquaviva was quite certain that teammate Caelen Twitchell would have gotten the goal if the defender hadn’t deflected it.

“I was coming to the near post on the right side and the goalie was there,” said Will.  “I cut it back past him and Caelan (Twitchell) was there.  The defender didn’t have many options.  If he didn’t touch it, Caelan would have.”

“You keep pressuring a team and hope you’ll get a break and I think that we got one on that goal,” said Coach Bleau.

Newburyport goalie Owen Tahnk up for a second-half save
Graham Smith (2) and Josh Stanieich (14)

The Hornets turned up the pressure after the Newburyport goal.

“We created a few chances late when it became desperate times,” said Coach Bisognano.

“North Reading gave us our only loss this season,” said Coach Bleau.  “They defend really well.  They’re very organized and dangerous at the same time.  We knew that we couldn’t go to sleep on them.”

#6 Newburyport will travel Saturday to face #3 Norwell at 5PM.

“Coach (Bleau) saw Norwell play the other night,” said Max Gagnon.

The Clippers are 10-0-1 at home.  The tie was with Pentucket.

Max Gagnon

Good crowd with active support for both teams.

Will Thoreson: “He (Josh Stanieich) tries to beat you one-on-one.  I tried to keep him to his weak foot.”

Coach Bisognano: “I’m glad that we have a Cape Ann representative in the final eight.  Of course, I hoped it would be us!  We thought that we had another shot at an upset.”

Jack Fehlner: (He has committed to play baseball at Roanoke College.) “My sister goes to James Madison in Virginia. When we moved her in, I went to a prospect camp down there.  I met the Roanoke coach.  I toured the campus and liked it down there.”

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

Coach Shawn Bleau and Brady O’Donnell
Will Acquaviva (8) and Max Gulino (20)
Henry Acton (6) elevates
Kevin Doble
Henry Acton
Ronan Brown
Newburyport celebrates goal before it goes up on the scoreboard
Clippers’ goal celebration
Kevin Doble and Brady O’Donnell
Adam Bovee (3)
Action in the box in front of the North Reading goal
Cody Cannalonga (24) and Jack Fehlner (20)
Jason Emerson (4) and Will Acquaviva (8)
Nate Miller (13) and Brady O’Donnell (9)

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Amesbury gets one-hitter from Jeremy Lopez in 5-3 win over North Reading

Senior Jeremy Lopez allowed one hit and struck out five Hornets

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury pitcher Jeremy Lopez knew that he had something special going.

Jeremy Lopez congratulated at game’s end

But Coach Joel Bierley didn’t.

“I was too busy yelling at him for walking kids,” said Coach Bierley.

Jeremy finished with a one-hitter as the Indians (3-1) defeated North Reading, 5-3, on Thursday afternoon at Amesbury High School.

Jeremy carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. 

“I knew in the back of my mind that North Reading didn’t have any hits but then I hung one and he (Alex Carucci) took it for a ride,” said Jeremy.

“I’m happy with the win,” added Jeremy.

Amesbury took advantage of NR starter Nick Doucette’s first-inning wildness to get off to a 3-0 start. 

Joe Giacalone stole two bases and scored a run

The Hornets (1-2) may not have been hitting but they turned walks and aggressive baserunning into single runs in the third and fourth.

“We struggled in the first inning, but we bounced back after that,” said NR coach Eric Archambault post-game.

The Indians had three runs but only two hits through four innings.  That changed in the fifth inning.  Consecutive doubles by Drew MacDonald, Jeremy Lopez, and Trevor Kimball added two runs to the AHS total and the Indians led, 5-2.

“We got our bats going the third time through the lineup,” said Coach Bierley. “We swing the bats well.”

Drew MacDonald had a hit and scored twice

“Those three doubles were huge,” added Jeremy.  “Those two runs put us over the top and gave us the edge.”

The Hornets, however, refused to go away quietly.  Their first hit (Alex Carucci double) was followed by a Matt Ryan bunt in the same 6th inning that was mishandled giving NR their third run.

A key play in that sixth inning was AHS shortstop Jake Harring catching a North Reading baserunner off third base.

Jake also assisted on the final out of that inning with Hornets on second and third.

“This is Jake’s first year with us,” said Coach Bierley.  “He has a high baseball IQ.”

Once NR starter Nick Doucette got over his wildness in the first inning, he was terrific.  The Hornets junior struck out eight of the next twelve batters he faced.

SS Frank Cassarino throws to first

“Nick settled down for sure,” explained Coach Archambault.  “He’s a really good pitcher and this was his second varsity start.  I expect him to bounce back.”

Joe Giacalone, who had three steals against Lynnfield, added two more against Amesbury.

The Indians ran into two outs at third base in their half of the sixth inning.

Sophomore Jake Harring collected two of Amesbury’s seven hits.

Jeremy Lopez: “The defense made the plays.  The coach told me to throw strikes.”  (Jeremy had five strikeouts.)

Jeremy Lopez won his second game of the season

Coach Archambault: “Hats off to their pitcher.  He pitched a heckuva game.  He threw strikes.”

Jeremy Lopez about to tag out Matt Ryan at first

Jeremy Lopez: “My curve was definitely on today.  It’s a favorite of mine and I’ve learned to throw it a lot more.  My fastball was pretty good.  I thought I was getting squeezed a bit, but I didn’t let it bother me.  I kept throwing strikes and the defense made the plays.”

Jeremy told me that he plans to repeat his senior year at Winchendon School where he expects to continue playing baseball.

Weather was nice. 

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

Alex Carucci scores NR’s third run
Frank Cassarino and Jeremy Lopez
Hornets reliever Ryan Baker
2B Luke Arsenault
SS Jake Harring starts a double play
3B Aidan Donovan had an RBI and 3 assists
Trevor Kimball had an RBI and scored a run
Senior Tim Gilleo drove in the first Amesbury run
North Reading starter Nick Doucette
North Reading coach Eric Archambault
Amesbury dugout
Amesbury box
North Reading box

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