Category Archives: Saugus

Meg Hamel’s two homers lead Pentucket to 17-1 win over Saugus

Meg Hamel went deep twice against Saugus
Kendra Griffin had three hits and scored four times

(Groveland) You’re there at the Groveland Pines dog park to watch your dog get some exercise.

Today that watching also needed to include incoming softballs.

Especially when #15 was batting.

Twice today Pentucket’s Meg Hamel cleared the leftfield fence.  The second shot was a grand slam.

Pentucket routed Saugus, 17-1.

Who saw this coming?

Two weeks ago, the teams met in Saugus and the home team won, 9-8.

Coach Deb Smith and Coach Steve Almquist

“Talk about night and day,” said Saugus coach Steve Almquist afterwards.  “They hit the ball all day and we couldn’t make any plays.”

“The last time we played there were a lot of errors, and we didn’t string hits together,” recalled Pentucket coach Deb Smith.

Neither one of those was a problem today for the home team at Groveland Pines.

Pentucket had fifteen hits in the four innings they batted.

“We’re on a roll with our hits,” said Coach Smith.  “We’re hitting the ball hard now.”

Devany Millerick scores for Saugus

In the Pentucket first, the first two batters reached and Nikki Mitchell singled them home.  Meg Hamel then launched the first of her home runs.  Instantly, it was, 4-0.

The Sachems (6-5) got a run back in the second.  A throwing error and several wild pitches allowed Devany Millerick (who had singled) to score for Saugus.

A two-out infield error enabled Kendra Griffin to get the run back in the second inning.  Kendra eventually scored four times and had three hits in the game.

Two weeks ago, Saugus spotted Pentucket four runs early and then rallied to take the lead for good.

Trouble in the infield

Not today.

Pentucket (6-6) blew open the 5-1 game in the 4th inning.  Sixteen batters went to the plate and Pentucket collected twelve runs on eight hits.

Saugus hurt themselves defensively with three errors in the disastrous inning. 

The visitors were also unlucky. A Pentucket batter reached after striking out.  In another situation, Saugus had their infield in with the bases loaded and a popup fell in just where they would normally have been positioned.  It just wasn’t their day!

3B Emma Lopata handles an infield chance

“They gave us extra outs and we took advantage,” said Coach Smith.

Meg Hamel had homered in the first, struck out in the second, and struck out the first time she batted in the 4th inning.  On the senior’s second at-bat in the 4th inning she again went deep, this time with the bases loaded.

“It felt really good to get them,” Meg said afterwards.

“Meg Hamel was awesome today,” said Coach Smith.  “I loved that.  She works so hard.  I’m so happy for her.”

Nikki Mitchell scored three times and had three RBI

Lost in all the Pentucket offense was the three-hit pitching of Molly LeBel.  Molly held the Sachems hitless in the final two innings.  She also had nine strikeouts in the game.

“We didn’t do much right today,” said Coach Almquist.  “Pentucket is a very good team.  We’re going to try and get them back on our schedule next year.”

Felicia Reppucci, Fallon Millerick, and Devany Millerick had the hits for Saugus.

Nikki Mitchell had two hits, three RBI, and scored three times for Pentucket.

Kayla Murphy had a solid game at short and scored three times.

The wind today was persistent often stirring up dust. 

      Saugus   0   1   0   0   0   =   1

Pentucket   4   1   0   12   –  =  17

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Saugus pitcher Fallon Millerick sets to throw to first base

Meg Hamel surrounded after two-run homer in the first inning.

Meg Hamel heads for home

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Triton gets important win over Saugus 66-53

Quintin McHale excelled on both offense (31 points) and defense
Quintin McHale gets an open look

(Byfield MA) “This was our best win of the season,” said Triton senior Quintin McHale.

The Vikings were 6-9 and had lost three of their last four games.  Their tournament chances (need to win ten games) were fading.

But tonight they put everything together and got a well-played win over non-league Saugus, 66-53, on Wednesday night.

Quintin was impressive on offense and defense.  He hurt the Sachems (6-8) inside and outside collecting thirty-one points.  Defensively he limited the Sachems’ top scorer (Tyrone Manderson) to seven points.

Quintin McHale guards Tyrone Manderson

The Vikings gained double-digit separation in the second quarter and never allowed the team from the Northeastern Conference to get closer.

Triton had a four-point lead (20-16) with five minutes left in the second quarter.  Over the next three minutes, the Vikings shut out the Sachems and went on an 11-0 run.

The contributors in the separation segment were Dylan Wilkinson and Griff Dupuis with three’s, an old-fashioned 3-point play by Quintin, and a layup by Ethan Tate.

Ben Tapia-Gately (17 points)

That collection of good defense and offense boosted the home team’s advantage to 31-16. 

“We got off to a slow start,” said Saugus coach Joe Bertrand afterwards.  “They made a lot of shots, and we couldn’t keep up with them tonight.” Saugus has now lost six straight.

The visitors outscored Triton by two points over the rest of the game but could never get inside of double figures.

The Vikings pushed their lead to twenty points (54-34) in the third quarter on a Nick Dupuis three-pointer.

Shot block

However, Ben Tapia-Gately (17 points) and Ryan Mabee (11 points) helped Saugus reduce that 20-point deficit to closer to ten points after that.

“The ball movement tonight was really good,” said junior Ethan Tate (9 points).  “Everyone was unselfish which I think was a key to the win.”

The Vikings handled pressure well because their passing was excellent. 

Coach Ted Schruender

“We shared the ball well,” said Triton coach Ted Schruender afterwards, “and we rebounded well.”

“Nick (Dupuis) had a very good game,” Coach Schruender added.  “He’s not usually a scorer but he hustles and plays good defense.”

Tonight Nick handled the ball a lot without turnovers and scored some points.  “Sometimes you do the little things,” Nick told me afterwards.  “Tonight I had a chance to do bigger things.  It felt good to contribute.”

“Our point guards did a nice job of moving the ball,” said Quintin.

“You never know how it’s going to go,” added Quintin.  “If things don’t go well inside you have to try to get points from long range.  If you’re missing out there you have to move inside.”

Coach Joe Bertrand

On this night, Quintin had it going from both places.  He made five three’s. 

Saugus played a lot of zone defense, and with Triton’s quick passing there were open shots available.  The Vikings totaled ten three-pointers.

The win tonight was special, but the Vikings have work to do to qualify for tourney play.  “We’ve got four games left and we need three of them,” said Nick.

“We have to finish strong,” added Ethan.

Dylan Wilkinson was held scoreless in the first quarter but gathered fourteen points the rest of the way.

Tyrone Manderson

Ethan Tate: “We were able to shut down their best player #24 (Tyrone Manderson).  Q (Quintin) was able to step up and lock him down all night.”

Triton    14   22   18   12   =   66

Saugus  14     8    19   12   =   53

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Tegan Mead guarded by Isaiah Rodriguez
John Prendergast layup
Dylan Wilkinson rebounds
Dylan Wilkinson in for two
Nick Dupuis finishes
Ethan Tate
Griff Dupuis
Triton cheerleader
Danny Shea shoots a three
Nick Dupuis guards Ryan Mabee
Ryan Anderson
Quintin McHale out for a block
Triton box
Saugus box

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Triton recovers to defeat Saugus 43-39

(Click on the pictures and they will enlarge.)

Maeve Heffernan chases Peyton DiBiasio
Kendall Liebert (11 points)

(Byfield MA) Two nights ago Triton started out, 13-0, against Swampscott on the road and ended up losing, 40-39, in overtime.

No resemblance to that game tonight against Saugus.

The Vikings were the ones doing the early trailing tonight (by as many as twelve in the second quarter) but at the end they had a satisfying, 43-39, win in their home opener.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Triton coach Bryan Shields afterwards.  “They made one early and we made a run late.”

Lia Hatheway

The Vikings (1-1) pulled ahead of Saugus, 29-27, early in the final quarter on a rebound basket by Lia Hatheway.

Credit the Sachems (0-1), they stayed around on a clutch three by Ashleen Escobar and a layup by Fallon Millerick.

The teams were tied, 35-35, with 2 ½ minutes left.

The Vikings took the W by getting the next six points. 

Free throws were crucial in closing time.  Maeve Heffernan and Isabella Basile had one each and Caitlin Frary hit two.  Liv Kiricoples turned an offensive rebound into a basket.

Fallon Millerick and Liv Kiricoples

Meanwhile, things weren’t going as well for Saugus.  During those same two minutes, the Sachems missed the front end of three straight one-and-one’s.  Ouch!

Kendall Liebert and Caitlin Frary paced Triton with eleven points each. 

Eighth grader Peyton DiBiasio was the scoring leader for Saugus with twelve points including two 3’s.

Triton struggled mightily throughout most of the first half.  Saugus pressure led to plenty of traveling calls and bad passes.  The Vikings had sixteen turnovers (by my count) in just the first quarter! 

Caitlin Frary made seven free throws

“We started off a little shaky,” said Triton senior captain Maeve Heffernan post-game.

Saugus took advantage, riding three’s by April Aldred and Ashleen Escobar to run off twelve straight points and gain a, 12-2, lead with 2:20 to go in the first quarter.

Two free throws and a layin by Kendall Liebert followed but Triton’s struggles didn’t end.  For almost all of the next eight minutes of playing time, stretching well into the second quarter, the Vikings didn’t score a point and the turnovers continued.

Saugus had a great chance to gain some significant separation but didn’t.  The Vikings defense began to have an effect.  Triton’s zone forced Saugus to rely on outside shots and there were very few offensive rebounds for the visitors.

Ashleen Escobar

“Triton was tough,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender afterwards.  “Their zone was good.  They have great length.”

“We like to play physical,” said Maeve Heffernan.  “There will be fouls because we’re pressing.”

Triton was a different team in the second half.

“We captured the momentum late in the second quarter,” recalled Coach Shields.  “It was about sticking in.  It was a team effort.”

Saugus coach Mark Schruender

The Vikings reduced their turnovers and used their size advantage to score on the inside or get to the foul line.

Triton had twenty-three turnovers in the first half but only six in the entire second half.

“As the game went on, we found ways to break through their defense,” said Caitlin Frary.  “We found the pockets and got our shots up.”

Ball on the floor

The Vikings put a five-point spurt together in the closing minute of the third quarter (Maeve Heffernan 3-pointer, and two Caitlin Frary free throws) to finally catch Saugus, 27-27.

The Sachems did regain the lead (30-29) on a Samantha Shea free throw and there were two ties after that.  But crunch time belonged to the home team.

“You try not to let the closeness of the game get into your head,” said Kendall Liebert regarding the closing minutes.  “I’m glad we pushed through it.  We’re a good team.  We work well together.”

“We had our seniors back in at the end and they closed the game,” said Coach Shields.  “Molly (Kimball) had a huge block for us.”

Molly Kimball

Eighth grader Peyton DiBiasio was the game’s top scorer.  “She’s a tough kid,” said Coach Schruender.  “Peyton said she wasn’t nervous.  She liked the moment.”

“You expect the fouls and turnovers in December,” added Coach Schruender.  “At this point, the kids are more athletes than basketball players.”

Coach Schruender got a technical called on him when he put the wrong number in the scorebook.  “That’s inexcusable,” he said.  What probably hurt more was that Triton’s Kendall Liebert made both free throws.

Liv Kiricoples

Coach Schruender’s brother Ted coaches the Triton boys’ basketball team and was at tonight’s game. “I’m sure my brother will have lots of notes for me,” said Coach Schruender laughing.

Triton  6  7  14  16  = 43

Saugus 12  9  6  12  = 39

(The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Saugus box
Triton box
Caitlin Frary shoots a free throw late in the game
Isabella Basile chases a loose ball
Reaching for control
Three Vikings chase Peyton DiBiasio
Rebound battle
Vikings double team
Maeve Heffernan and Fallon Millerick
Samantha Shea

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Triton recovers from time off to defeat Saugus 4-1 in D2 North First Round

CF Emma Howard makes a terrific running catch to end the Triton 3rd inning

Shortstop Bridget Sheehan starred in the field and at the bat

(Byfield MA) It had been a long time.

Seventeen days away from actual-game activity slowed down Triton for a while, but the Vikings rallied to take out Saugus 4-1 in the D2 North First Round.

New territory for Triton.  The Vikings last won a game in the MIAA softball tournament in 2006.

“It was weird not to play for so long,” said senior Zoe Cesati afterwards.  “When we scrimmaged yesterday I almost felt like I had never played softball before.”

The home team erased a 1-0 deficit with two runs after two were out in the third inning, driven in by Zoe Cesati and Bridget Sheehan.

Triton (17-2) would add two more (again with two out) in the fifth inning.  This time Zoe and Bridget scored the runs after a 3-base error by RF Nystasia Rowe.

It was a frustrating loss for the Sachems (11-10).  “The difference today was our inability to get timely hits,” said Coach Steve Almquist.  And who could argue?  Saugus had two runners in scoring position in four different innings (twice with no outs) and scored just one run.

Bridget Sheehan gets an assist from her knees

The defense of Triton shortstop Bridget Sheehan had plenty to do with the multitude of stranded runners.  The Vikings junior had four putouts and four assists.  Two special assists were one from her knees, and another from deep in the hole to her right that required a tough stop and a long/strong throw.

None of the Bridget’s defensive highlights were news to Coach Dupere.  “That’s Bridget all year.  She is in my opinion the best player in the Cape Ann League.  Nothing surprises me with her.”

At the plate, Bridget was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Sachems (Northeast Conference) scored first.  In the second inning, a single, a walk, and a wild pitch set up two of the visitors in scoring position with no outs.  Sophomore Taylor Bogdanski drove across pinchrunner Cat Schema with a single to center.  Taylor stole second to again put two runners in scoring position, but Triton pitcher Katherine Quigley retired the next three Sachems.

1B Sadie DiCenso made a nice catch for Saugus

“We started off a little shaky,” explained Katherine.  “I needed a couple of innings to settle in.”

The Vikings took the lead in the third inning with two runs, but anyone at the game will tell you that they would have had more but not for a terrific 2-out running catch by CF Emma Howard.

The Sachems had two on (Taylor Bogdanski and Madison Niles) with one out in the 4th but 3B Colleen McCarthy handled two straight chances to end the threat.

The Vikings gained a 3-run advantage in the 5th on the 3-base error in the SHS outfield.  I wanted to credit the batter (Emily Karvielis) with a triple but Coach Almquist said it was an error.  “The sun was tough, but it had been that way the whole game.  She should have adjusted to the sun by the fifth inning.”  Emily’s fly appeared to hit Nystasia glove and then roll away allowing two Triton runs to cross.

The happenings in the Triton 5th impacted what Saugus did in the top of the 6th inning.  After Sadie DiCenso reached on 3B Colleen McCarthy’s throwing error, freshman Kyleigh Dalton was sent in to pinch run.  When Taylor Bogdanski walked, the Sachems had the makings of a productive inning.  Not on this day.  “We would normally have bunted,” said Coach Almquist, “but down three runs we had DJ Munafo hit away.”  DJ hit the ball on the ground toward short and Kyleigh couldn’t get out of the way and was hit by the grounder for the first out.  A fielder’s choice moved both runners up with two outs.  This was where Bridget Sheehan flagged down Ashley Shaw’s grounder and threw an inning-ending strike to first.

Saugus baserunner Kyleigh Dalton (1) ruled out after a grounder hit her.

Triton continues their season on Sunday against Burlington at 1PM at Triton.

Good crowd.  I arrived in the rain but before long we had a “typical” June afternoon.

Coach Dupere: “Saugus was scrappy.  We knew it would be tough.  We had hits when we needed them, and our pitcher did her job.  During out days off, we hit fourteen days but only saw live pitching once.”

Coach Almquist: “Caitlin Wood (6 K’s) pitched every game for us.  We didn’t give her enough run support today.  We lost five 0ne-run games during the season.  This is the third straight year we’ve made the tournament.  We only graduate one player.”

Zoe Cesati gets 2B as Taylor Bogdanski applies a late tag

Triton catcher Liv Doanes: “I was a little worried at first because we weren’t hitting. We usually start hitting once we get through the batting order.  Bridget (Sheehan) has saved us quite a few times.”

Liv told me that she will be attending UMass Boston and hopes to play softball there.

Caitlin Wood and Taylor Bogdanski paced Saugus with two hits apiece.

Senior Zoe Cesati had a hit, and RBI, and scored two runs.

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

Pitcher Caitlin Wood

Shortstop Taylor Bogdanski

Eve Paicos

Triton pitcher Katherine Quigley

Cat Schena scored the Saugus run

2B Alexa Ferraro dives for a grounder

Carissa Boyle slides under the tag of 3B Brittney Sudanowicz

LF Grace McGonagle takes in the final out

Emma Howard slides into 3B

Pitcher Caitlin Woods looks for the handle

Bridget Sheehan makes contact

Coach Dave Dupere holds Zoe Cesati at 3B

Fly ball gets away from RF Nystasia Rowe

Bridget Sheehan (3) handles a 2-out grounder with two runners in scoring position.

Shortstop Taylor Bogdanski chases a popup into centerfield



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Saugus reaches tourney after 46-32 win over Triton

Taylor Bogdanski (16 points) hit two 3’s in the first quarter.

Kiley Ronan (15) looks for the hoop as Caitlin White defends

(Byfield MA) A lot of happy Sachems after this one ended.

“We have a lot to work on, but it feels great to get the win and make the tournament,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender afterwards.

The Sachems (10-7) avenged an earlier non-league loss to the Vikings by capturing the Monday night makeup game.

Both coaches agreed that it was Saugus’ change to a 2-3 zone defense in the second half that was the difference maker.

“We don’t usually use a zone defense, but Triton played so well against our pressure that we didn’t use it at all in the second half,” said Coach Schruender.

Triton coach Dan Boyle agreed. “Their 2-3 zone really gave us fits in the second half.  We have struggled scoring points all year.  They packed the zone in tightly and we couldn’t shoot them out of it.”

The full effects of the defensive switch kicked in with 5 ½ minutes left in the third quarter.  The Vikings (6-12) were one possession away (28-26) at the time after Izzy Cambece landed a three assisted by Bridget Sheehan.

Collision course

The rest of the third quarter?  Totally, and I mean all, Saugus.  The team from the Northeastern Conference put a run of thirteen unanswered points together and left Triton with a 41-26 mountain to climb in the final quarter.

Taylor Bogdanski, Allie Kotkowski, Jillian Ricupero, Marissa Stockwell, and Alessia Salzillo all contributed to the Saugus breakaway stretch.

The Vikings’ shooting woes continued in the final quarter.  The Sachems weren’t a whole lot better in that frame, but they had the fifteen-point advantage and finished with a 46-32 win.

Sophomore Taylor Bogdanski led all scorers with sixteen points.  Twelve of those points came in the first half and included two 3-pointers.

Taylor shot Saugus into a 12-4 lead in the first quarter.  The home team came nearly all the way back in the second period as Bridget Sheehan and Alex Kennedy put eight points together to narrow things to 20-18 with two minutes left in that period.

Alex Kennedy blocks the shot of Molly Granara

The Vikings would hang in there for the next 4+ minutes of playing time before the final 5 ½ minutes of the 3rd quarter did them in.

No question the Vikings missed graduated high scorer Tessa Lafrance.  Tessa, now a freshman at Endicott, had over 1000 points at Triton.

On this night the Vikings had plenty of open looks from a variety of places.  “If the shots fall, it’s a different game,” said Coach Boyle.  “We scored fifty points in our first meeting with them.”

“We’re close to being a much better team than our record shows,” added Coach Boyle.  “It doesn’t help us this year, however.”

This is the 3rd straight year that Saugus has made the tournament.  They were 16-7 last season.

Most impressive player?  I choose junior Alessia Salzillo.  The speedy point guard could handle the Triton pressure and could find open teammates for good looks.  “She’s been a great player for us all year,” said Coach Schruender.  “As she goes, we go.”

Coach Schruender also praised the play of senior Alllie Kotkowski: “She probably had her best game of the season (9 points).  She made a lot of good little plays.”

Saugus box

Triton box

(Pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Colleen McCarthy defends Molly Granara

Allie Kotkowski and Izzy Cambece

Bridget Sheehan tries to get by Taylor Bogdanski

Alex Kennedy (32) tries to stop Taylor Bogdanski

Alessia Salzillo looks to pass

Jamie Bell tries the lane against Taylor Bogdanski

Jillian Ricupero and Alex Kennedy

Caitlin White drives the baseline

Meredith Kennedy (30) applies pressure to Kiley Ronan

Taylor Bogdanski (12) puts up a floater

Chasing an inbounds pass



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Eight 3’s and tight defense get Saugus past Amesbury 57-44 in D3 North

Dan Bertrand (12 points) shoots from in front of the Saugus bench and crowd

Dan Bertrand (12 points) shoots from in front of the Saugus bench and crowd

Plenty of action in this game

Plenty of action in this game

(Amesbury MA) This was no stroll in the park.

Bodies flew and more than feelings were hurt in a game won by Saugus, 57-44, over Amesbury on Thursday night.

Saugus moves on to the quarterfinals of Division 3 North and will face Stoneham. The Sachems (10-11) had a win over Stoneham during the regular season.

Amesbury (12-8) appeared out of synch all game long. Maybe it was the physical play. Maybe it was the pressure of a packed house. Whatever it was, the Indians took very poor care of the ball (23 turnovers by my count) and did not defend the perimeter (eight 3’s for Saugus) very well.

Adam Incontri pressures Matthew Waggett

Adam Incontri pressures Matthew Waggett

For a half, Saugus had just as much trouble as Amesbury did. The Indians were high energy, man-to-man defenders and had shot blockers available in close.

It was only 20-18 at the half and you knew that the team that could put some points together would be able to create separation.

Saugus was that team in the third quarter. David Rowinsky’s second three of the quarter, at the three-minute mark, gave the visitors the lead (26-24) and they never trailed thereafter.

David Rowinsky (16 points) had five 3's

David Rowinsky (16 points) had five 3’s

Dave Rowinsky’s second three was also part of eight straight points Saugus put together to lead, 31-24.

The Indians answered with a Dan Welch layup and a Kyle Martin jumper.

But instead of this being the start of a run back into contention, it turned out to be momentary and the Sachems followed with their second eight-point streak of the quarter. A layin from Even DeCristoforo started it and then there were killer three’s, twenty-three seconds apart, by David

Rowinsky (16 points) and Dan Bertrand (12 points).

That second eight-spot pushed the deficit for Amesbury to double figures (39-28) with 1 ½ to go in the third quarter. The Indians did not have enough shot makers beyond Dan Welch (17 points) to get closer the rest of the way.

Key to the win? The effectiveness of the Saugus zone defense. In the first half the zone was strictly half-court. In the crucial third quarter that zone moved to three quarters and was a game-changer. The Sachems trapped and jumped passing lanes and Amesbury fell away from productive offense.

The big need for Amesbury was for someone to hit from the outside. Fred Halloran made their only three in the first half. The Indians did get three from long range in the final quarter (Eric Dawes, Fred Halloran, Riley O’Connor) but the lead was already 48-31 and it was not nearly enough to set up a close finish.

Kyle Autilio holds his ground and gets a charge called on Riley O'Connor

Kyle Autilio holds his ground and gets a charge called on Riley O’Connor

Saugus connected four times from long range in the breakaway third quarter. Combine that with nine AHS miscues in the same quarter and you quickly realize why a 23-10 point spread occurred.

This was a very physical game. There were dives for basketballs and every layup was heavily contested. Saugus, from the Northeast Conference, was definitely more used to physical play while Amesbury appeared distracted by it.

Great crowd. Saugus brought a bus full and they ended up having plenty to cheer about in the second half.

Dan Bertrand has committed to Norwich (VT) where he’ll join his brother Joe. Their father is an assistant coach with Saugus.

Kyle Autilio will be going to D2 Assumption next year to play baseball. Kyle was the Sachems point guard this evening and had plenty to do with Saugus having only fourteen turnovers for the night.

Amesbury will graduate seven seniors including the starting five.

Saugus boxscore

Amesbury boxscore

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

Riley O'Connor eyes the hoop

Riley O’Connor eyes the hoop

Evan DeCristoforo guarded by Adam Incontri

Evan DeCristoforo guarded by Adam Incontri

Kyle Autilio heads in where shots are blocked

Kyle Autilio heads in where shots are blocked

David Rowinsky (16 points) hit five 3's

David Rowinsky (16 points) hit five 3’s

Dan Welch stopped by Chris McGrane

Dan Welch stopped by Chris McGrane

Matt Waggett and Ryan Foley

Matt Waggett and Ryan Foley

Jarod Day covered by Vincent Cirame

Jarod Day covered by Vincent Cirame

AHS coach Tom Comeau with senior Dan Welch

AHS coach Tom Comeau with senior Dan Welch

Cameron Leary at the charity stripe

Cameron Leary at the charity stripe

Kyle Martin shoots

Kyle Martin shoots

Dan Welch (17 points) in close

Dan Welch (17 points) in close


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Joey Bertrand sparks 7-5 Saugus win over Ipswich in CAL baseball

Joey Bertrand congratulated after the game

Joey Bertrand congratulated after the game

Dan Bennett strikes out to end the game

Dan Bennett strikes out to end the game

(Ipswich MA)  Saugus ran its winning streak to six as they defeated Ipswich, 7-5, on a windy Tuesday afternoon of Cape Ann League baseball.

Ipswich (2-9) has now lost six straight and maybe none tougher than this one.  IHS coach Gardy O’Flynn wasn’t feeling well before the game and I suspect that this excruciating loss did nothing to improve his condition.

The infield play of both teams was very shaky.  Of the twelve runs scored only three were earned.

Mike Swanson heads for home with the seventh Sachems run

Mike Swanson heads for home with the seventh Sachems run

Saugus senior Joey Bertrand was the difference maker in this game.  His two-out, two-strike double scored pinchrunner Mike Swanson and gave the Sachems a two-run cushion in the top of the seventh inning.  In the bottom half, Ipswich put their first two runners on but Joey came up with an assist and two strikeouts to finish off the Tigers.

Both Kurt Martin and Anthony Freni pitched before Joey Bertrand closed out the final 2 2/3 innings.

In a game with eight infield errors, one terrific defensive play by Sachems first baseman Mike Molina stood out.  Why?  Ipswich had already scored a run in the sixth inning and only trailed 6-5 with a runner in scoring position.  Saugus third baseman Alex Pettanati fielded Alex Rubino’s two-out grounder cleanly but his throw was low.  However, Mike Molina scooped the ball out of the dirt preventing the tying run from coming across.

Ipswich had baserunners galore thanks to four Saugus errors, seven walks, and six hits.  The Tigers did get five runs but they stranded runners in every inning.

Luke Sirois (#4) caught in a rundown by catcher Johnny Prentice

Luke Sirois (#4) caught in a rundown by catcher Johnny Prentice

The biggest play in this game may have been in the fourth inning when Ipswich, with one run already in, loaded the bases with one out.  You had to assume that Chris Grady’s fly ball to centerfield would score Luke Sirois from third…….but instead it turned into a double play.  Luke was late tagging up and then was tagged out in a rundown.  Ouch!

Ryan Silva pitched the first four innings for Ipswich while Alex Morris pitched the final three.

The Tigers scored in the first when Dan Bennett was hit by a pitch, took second on a wild pitch, and third on a fielder’s choice.  Freddy Cerendolo’s sharp single to left brought Dan home.

The Sachems (8-5) picked up a run after singles by Pat Murray and Joey Bertrand in the second inning set up Alex Pettanati for a sacrifice fly.

The Tigers defense allowed two Saugus runs in the third inning.  A Ryan Silva strikeout escaped catcher Jay Galoski allowing the batter to reach first and a run to score.  Chris Grady also had an error at third in this inning.

Ball goes through second baseman Liam Sullivan

Ball goes through second baseman Liam Sullivan

Two more Ipswich miscues led to three unearned runs in the fourth inning.  First shortstop Mike Savoie and then second baseman Liam Sullivan booted what would have been the final out of the inning.

Credit Ipswich.  Though down, 6-1, they came up with runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th to close to 6-5.

An Alex Pettanati error set up the Ipswich run in the fourth.  That also was the inning an Ipswich run could have scored from third on a fly ball but didn’t.

In the Ipswich fifth, the Tigers picked up two runs.  Ryan Silva’s fielder’s choice drove across Austin Rubino.  An error by Saugus shortstop Jay Lever produced the second Ipswich run.

After Dan Bennett singled and reached second on a fielder’s choice, Jay Lever’s low throw to first on Freddy Cerendolo’s grounder allowed Dan to cross with the fifth Ipswich score.

Joey Bertrand

Joey Bertrand

But 6-5 was as close as Ipswich would get.  Joey Bertrand’s RBI in the seventh iced it for the visitors.

Dan Bennett had two hits and scored two runs for Ipswich.

Weather?  Sometimes the sun was out and sometimes it wasn’t.  The wind was steady and chilling when the sun went in.

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

Ryan Silva

Ryan Silva

Dan Cacciola

Dan Cacciola

Austin Rubino (#14) looks to be in trouble

Austin Rubino (#14) looks to be in trouble

Third baseman Chris Grady throws to first

Third baseman Chris Grady throws to first

Mike Savoie

Mike Savoie

Johnny Prentice gets picked off first

Johnny Prentice gets picked off first

SHS starter Kurt Martin

SHS starter Kurt Martin

Ryan Silva steals second

Ryan Silva steals second

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Joe Bertrand (32 points) guides Saugus past Newburyport 62-48

Joe Bertrand (32 points) shoots a three over Drew Bourdeau

Joe Bertrand (32 points) shoots a three over Drew Bourdeau

Joe Bertrand

Joe Bertrand

(Newburyport MA)  He was just your average Joe for a half.

But then came the third quarter and senior Joe Bertrand of Saugus lit up the Clippers for seventeen points.

Joe’s terrific period gave Saugus separation from Newburyport and the Sachems came away with a, 62-48, win on Friday night in Cape Ann League action.

Newburyport (2-1) hung with Saugus (2-2) for 2+ minutes into the second half.  A layup by Dan Baribeault (15 points) on a nice pass from Dillon Guthro (13 points) had the Clippers down just one (31-30).

But the rest of that third quarter…… disaster for the home team.  The Clippers didn’t score a single point in the last 5 1/2 minutes of that quarter.

Meanwhile, Saugus rang up nineteen unanswered points to blow this one wide open (50-30) at the quarter’s end.

6-5 Joe Bertrand (32 points) did most of the damage.  He hurt the Clippers from long range (seven 3’s) getting five of them in the 3rd quarter.

Joe Bertrand launches a late three to end the third quarter

Joe Bertrand launches a late three to end the third quarter

It seemed fitting on this night that Joe would end that quarter with a fade-away long one from in front of the excited Sachems’ bench as the buzzer sounded.

It was a credit to Newburyport that after the horrible 3rd quarter they reeled off ten straight to start the next quarter.  Three inside moves by Dillon Guthro sparked the comeback.

But the Sachems had another run in them and tallied all the points (eight) in the next two minutes and moved back into a comfortable margin (58-40) with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.  Lamarr Jones, Jack Furey, and Joe Bertrand put up the points in this game-sealing segment.

Dillon Guthro (13 points) shoots over Mike Lichwala

Dillon Guthro (13 points) shoots over Mike Lichwala

6-1 Drew Bourdeau had the unenviable task of shadowing Joe Bertrand.  Drew’s frustration got the best of him in the final period.

Saugus used a zone defense.  It worked because Newburyport had little success shooting from long range.  However, the Clippers did pass themselves into high percentage shots in close.

Justin Winn ended the first quarter with a three (off the backboard) and Kyle Artilo ended the first half the same way.

The Sachems had seventeen turnovers but only one of them in the third quarter.

This is Saugus’ first year in the Cape Ann League after forty-five years in the Northeast Conference.  The reason for the switch is that now Saugus will be able to play more schools their own size.

Two nights ago versus Triton, Joe Bertrand had twenty-five points and ten rebounds.

Dan Baribeault (15 points) breaks ahead

Dan Baribeault (15 points) breaks ahead

The Sachems next game is on Monday versus Masco on the road.

The Clippers don’t play again until a week from Monday (December 30th) when they host Triton.

Saugus was 12-10 last year.

I saw Saugus lose to Danvers two years ago at the Tsongas Arena in Division 3 tournament play.

Newburyport box

Saugus box

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

Kyle Artilo (22) runs into some strong NHS interior defense

Kyle Artilo (22) runs into some strong NHS interior defense

Joe Bertrand blocks the shot of Dan Baribeault

Joe Bertrand blocks the shot of Dan Baribeault

Lamarr Jones tries to get around Mike Shay

Lamarr Jones tries to get around Mike Shay

Newburyport coach Tom LItalien

Newburyport coach Tom LItalien

Dillon Guthro in for two

Dillon Guthro in for two

Drew Bourdeau

Drew Bourdeau

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Newburyport gets first win 9-5 over Saugus in baseball

Colton Fontaine had three hits and scored three runs against Saugus

Colton Fontaine had three hits and scored three runs against Saugus

Connor MacRae picked up the win for the Clippers

Connor MacRae picked up the win for the Clippers

(Newburyport) Newburyport picked up its first win of the season as they defeated Saugus, 9-5, on a lovely Thursday morning in a nonleague baseball contest.

Lefty Connor MacRae went the distance for the Clippers (1-2) allowing five runs (one earned) on five hits.  The senior K’d six.

This game was a struggle for both teams in the field.

Saugus (1-3) paid heavily for their miscues in the first two innings and fell behind, 7-0.  It was Newburyport’s turn late in the game to pay for their mistakes but the Clippers early advantage was too much for the Sachems to overcome.

Shortstop John Prentice (back on his heels) had trouble with two grounders

Shortstop John Prentice (back on his heels) had trouble with two grounders

The Clippers turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play in the first inning but that was the last time “nifty” would be used to describe either team’s defense.

Both teams had four errors and they were the costly kind.  Of the fourteen runs scored, four of them were earned by my figuring.  Equally stunning (shocking?) was the total inability of either team to throw out runners attempting to steal second.  Again, by my unofficial count, eleven runners were able to make that first-to-second move and there was never a close play!

There were also walks (five for each team) and several wild pitches.

You get the point: there were plenty of lowlights but for the home team it was Win #1 of the young 2012-13 season with plenty of games left to get better.

Shane Ripley starts his slide into third as Colton Fontaine waits for a throw

Shane Ripley starts his slide into third as Colton Fontaine waits for a throw

Tom Trainor pitched the first two innings for Saugus when Newburyport built a 7-0 margin.

Shortstop John Prentice had two-out boots in both innings that accounted for three of the Clippers runs.

Colton Fontaine reached the leftfield fence in the first inning driving home teammate Ian Michaels with the first NHS score.

Later in the second inning Tom Trainor walked in two runs and tossed a wild pitch to allow yet another Newburyport tally.

Down 7-0 after two innings I started to wonder if there might be a mercy rule in a few innings.  (Saugus had lost the day before to Danvers, 20-7, in a game both coaches stopped after six innings so that they would have pitchers available for today’s game.)

The Sachems picked up a run in the fourth inning.  Tom Trainor singled past short to deliver Dante Deltorto.

Dante Deltorto had two hits and pitched three strong innings

Dante Deltorto had two hits and pitched three strong innings

Dante Deltorto pitched innings 3-5 and limited the Clippers to one run and one hit.  But even that run (#8) was tainted as Colton Fontaine (3 hits/3 runs) was able to score from second on a fielder’s choice.  Give Colton credit for taking advantage of the Sachem defense.

Saugus added two runs in the fifth to close to 8-3.  Victor Dematteo’s sacrifice fly brought Shane Ridley (2 hits/2runs) home.  The throw home by rightfielder Ryan Short went past catcher Connor Wile out of play and another Sachems run (Peter Pulicari) was allowed home.

Two more Saugus tallies were recorded in the sixth inning.  Newly entered shortstop Caleb Stott threw away a 2-out, bases-loaded grounder and the Sachems moved to within three (8-5).

Shane Ridley pitched the Newburyport sixth.  Ian Michaels was hit by a pitch leading off.  Ian broke for second drawing a throw from catcher Victor Dematteo that sailed into centerfield allowing Ian to get third.  A Shane Ridley wild pitch enabled NHS to add an insurance run.

That four-run spread (9-5) looked tenuous in the Saugus seventh after the first two runners reached – one on a dropped throw by first baseman Travis Wile.

Nick Enos and Travis Wile near the end of the game

Nick Enos and Travis Wile near the end of the game

However, on the next ball in play Travis made a big defensive play.  Third baseman Colton Fontaine fielded a grounder and tagged the runner (Dante Deltorto) going from second to third.  However, Colton decided to also try and throw the batter out and his throw was in the dirt.  Travis made the block and prevented the ball from going out of play and giving Saugus another score.

Pitcher Connor MacRae then struck out Tom Trainor and got Nick Sweeney to pop to first ending the game.

Ian Michaels had a hit and scored three runs.

Catcher Connor Wile walked three times, had a hit, and scored two runs.

Dante Deltorto had two hits for Saugus and scored a run.

The weather was terrific for April – temps in the 60’s, with plenty of sun and a nice breeze.

Colton Fontaine caught in a sixth inning rundown

Colton Fontaine caught in a sixth inning rundown

The next game for both teams will be on Saturday.  Saugus is at Swampscott (10AM) while Ipswich will host Triton (10AM).

Saugus will be completely in the Cape Ann League next year.

Saugus in 2011-12 had enough wins in the Northeastern Conference to qualify for the Division 3 state baseball tournament.  They reached the D3 North semifinals where they lost to eventual state champ North Reading.

Newburyport was 15-6 last season.

Newburyport boxscore

Saugus boxscore

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

Shane Ripley had two hits and scored two runs

Shane Ripley had two hits and scored two runs

Connor Wile reached base four times and scored two runs

Connor Wile reached base four times and scored two runs

Ian Michaels scored three runs

Ian Michaels scored three runs


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Danvers takes Division 3 North title with 53-40 win over Saugus

George Merry, Eric Martin, and Coach John Walsh head out for the D3 North trophy.

Dan Connors, Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, Eric Martin, Jon Amico, and George Merry with the D3 North trophy.

(Lowell) Reality set in for underdog Saugus in the last quarter and Danvers captured the Division 3 North title (53-40) on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Center.

The victory sends the Falcons (#2 seed) to the D3 state semi-finals at the TD Garden on Monday against the South champs (undefeated Wareham).  (I suspect that the 4:15AM start time, currently on the MIAA website, is a typo similar to my originally listing this game on Tuesday when it is on Monday.) The 23-0 Vikings are from the South Coast League.

The Sachems (14-9) got within five points of Danvers (45-40) early in the final quarter but didn’t score a single point over the last 6:43 of regulation.  Meanwhile, the Falcons put up eight points to pull away to a deceiving thirteen point spread at the end of the game.

A month ago Danvers pummeled Saugus, 73-39.  Given up for dead at the time, the Sachems rallied to salvage their season by winning six straight to get to the tournament.  The #8 seed then went on to upset Greater Lawrence, top seed Whittier, and Arlington Catholic to earn a third chance against Danvers.

5-9 Curtis Castello (19 points) in against 6-7 George Merry (22 points)

The Sachems looked more than capable of adding Danvers to their collection of upsets in this one as they were even with the Falcons (23-23) with 2 ½  to go in the second quarter.

However, five George Merry (22 points) free throws and a layup during the rest of the half were only answered by a Brandon Wladkowski runner in the lane.  The Falcons had a 30-25 halftime spread.

A Curtis Casella (19 points) layup and a Brandon Wladkowski steal and layin had Saugus back quickly within one (30-29), a minute into the second half.

But then the wheels started to come off for the Sachems.  Within a 1 ½ minute span the Falcons ran nine straight (two free throws Eric Martin, Nick Bates layup after a steal, two free throws George Merry, and a Nick McKenna triple) and were up ten (39-29) with 4 ½ minutes left in the third period.

The Falcons extended that lead to twelve (45-33) on a Nick Bates long one with 1 ½ minutes to go in the third.

Saugus coach Paul Moran

Curtis Casella (5-9 senior) responded with seven in a row on layups…….one after a steal and Saugus was behind just 45-40 with 6:43 left in the final quarter.  That neither Curtis nor his Sachem teammates would tally a single point the rest of the way is hard to fathom but that was what happened.

Danvers didn’t set any records with their offense in the final quarter but a jumper by Nick McKenna (10 points), a layup by George Merry, and a Eric Martin (8 points) steal/layin and free throw were enough to enable the Northeast Conference champs to become the D3 North champs.

Selim Omerovic (6-4 senior) had ten points (all in the first half) and battled foul trouble throughout much of the game.

George Merry heavily guarded

I have seen all three of Danvers tourney games.  6-7 George Merry is the key player for the Falcons.  His mere presence down low kept Saugus from getting too many easy shots in close.  On offense he converted three rebounds.  He also connected on ten-of-thirteen free throws.

Saugus was the third team I’ve seen that had at least 1 ½ defenders on George.  That has left a lot of very good looks for his teammates.  Also, when George is on the strong side, teams so far have been vulnerable to weak-side rebounding and layins by Nick Bates and Dan Connors.

Both Danvers and Saugus entered the D3 North finals in completely new territory for either basketball program.  The Falcons are just two wins away from a state championship.

Danvers boxscore

Saugus boxscore

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

Danvers student section

Nick Bates gets help

Brian Wladkowski feeds Selim Omerovic (10 points)

Eric Martin and Curtis Castello

Eric Martin layin

loose ball

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