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Newburyport edges Triton in back-and-forth thriller 3-2

Sydney Yim and Evelyn Pearson at the net
Emma Campbell finds an opening

(Byfield MA) Triton coach Karen Christian said the game was “probably the highlight of the season,” and her team lost!

The Vikings (5-5) took Newburyport to five games on Wednesday night at Triton.

The Clippers (8-2) extend their win streak to seven. Their last loss was to Triton in March.

Newburyport won the first two games tonight, 25-19 and 25-15.

In those first two, Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) gave Triton trouble serving, setting, and finishing.  Many of her finishes weren’t hard hits but, instead, dropped into open spaces.

Sydney Yim

I started thinking sweep and early evening.

The Vikings had other ideas.

“We flipped the switch in Games 3 & 4 and started making the plays we weren’t making before,” said Mia Berardino afterwards.

Suddenly the Vikings began to look like the team that had defeated the Clippers, 3-1, in March.

Triton took the next two games, 25-13 and 25-17.

The Vikings got off to good starts in both games and rode Newburyport errors to the two wins.

“We weren’t ourselves today,” said Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo post-match.  “but player for player we’ve improve so much.  My frustration is that I didn’t see the team I usually see most of the time.”

The level of play was remarkable at times. Hard hits were not definite winners. 

Both teams had terrific setters (Molly Kimball and Sydney Yim) so there was a steady diet of hard hits provided. 

Kate Sarra gets low

There was a play in Game Four in which both Sydney Yim and Abigail Gillingham launched hard hits, only to have Triton find a way to play on and eventually get the point.

In three of the games, the team with the early lead went on to victory.

That held true in crucial Game Five.  “We were overthinking it a bit early and we fell behind,” said Coach Christian.

The Vikings went down 6-1 and later 14-9. in the fifteen-point, deciding set, before turning on the “not-done-yet” button.

The Clippers struggled with four straight Evelyn Pearson serves and suddenly we had ourselves a 14-13 nail-biter!

Evelyn Pearson

A hard, deep hit by the Clippers was called in, and then it was called out, and then they decided to play it over again.

Fortunate for Triton because an “in” call ends the game.  Fortunate for Newburyport because an “out” call ties the game at 14-14.

“Thank goodness that out-of-bounds play didn’t end it,” said Coach Solazzo afterwards.

Given a second chance to win the game, the Clippers got it done.

Newburyport seniors keyed the set/match winner.  Kate Sarra received the serve and sent it to Sydney Yim.  Sydney set the ball near the net for Abigail Gillingham.  Abigail hit the ball through the Triton defense.

Clippers celebrate winning the match

“Abigail had an amazing game,” said Sydney Yim.  “She has been a huge part of our team this year.”

Abigail Gillingham at the net

“The team buckled down at the end, showed some grit, and pulled this one out,” said Coach Solazzo.

“It certainly had the feel of a championship game to me,” said Coach Christian.  “I would love to see them next week with the same energy.”

There will be a Cape Ann League tournament next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“Triton is a great team,” said Coach Solazzo.  “They’re scrappy.  They played their hearts out.”

Evelyn Pearson: “I’m proud of my team.  We pulled our energy together.  Newburyport was a lot more competitive than the first time we saw them.”

Mia Berardino: “It wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I’m proud of the way we played.  I think if we play like this we can go far in the playoffs.”

The Clippers ended up undefeated (5-0) on the road. 

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

Sydney Yim and Mia Berardino
Sydney Yim sets
Mia Berardino serves
Mia Berardino spikes
Sydney Yim and Em Hoggard
Abigail Gillingham and Molly Kimball
Evelyn Pearson and Ava Hartley
Mia Berardino blocks Sydney Yim

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Amesbury shuts down North Reading 20-0

Amesbury’s blocking gave running backs openings all afternoon
Kyle Donovan scored twice for Amesbury

(Amesbury MA) Amesbury got an early break.

A likely punt turned into a third-down retry.

Their opening drive, as a result, was kept alive, and a touchdown followed.

After that the Indians (3-1) were overpowering on both sides of the ball, registering a 20-0 shutout against North Reading on Saturday afternoon.

Amesbury struggled on their first possession.  A Zach Sampson sack and a Kyle Donovan fumble (recovered by Amesbury) had the Indians in trouble.  Their third-down play went nowhere BUT the whistle of a sidelines official had gone off enabling the home team to try that third down play again.  A first down resulted and Amesbury was literally off and running.

JT Tilton brought down by Robbie Tammaro

“If that inadvertent whistle doesn’t happen on their first drive, it’s fourth-and-four and they’d have to punt,” said North Reading coach Eddie Blum afterwards.

But the replay was rightly allowed, and Amesbury took full advantage cashing from the NR 37 with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Senior Kyle Donovan scored twice in the first half.

The first one went thirty-seven yards up the middle.  “I just shot the gap and was free,” said Kyle.  “One kid was there and I high-stepped by him.”

That TD was the longest AHS run of the day but certainly not their last run.

“We try to attack multiple gaps on either side of the football from a balanced look,” explained AHS coach Colin McQueen post-game.

Owen Delano and Ryan Perkins

“Their interior linemen took our traps away,” said Coach McQueen.  “When one thing is taken away, generally something else is there.  Today we moved the ball pretty well off tackle.”

The ball-handling of quarterback Drew MacDonald was impressive for Amesbury.  I will admit to following the wrong ball carrier on a number of occasions.  I am quite certain that I wasn’t the only one.

“Each guy on defense has read keys and responsibilities,” said Coach Blum.  “Amesbury is a senior-laden team that has been running that offense for a while.  Give credit to their offensive line and their blockers.”

The Amesbury defense, led by Nick Marden, made is tough for the Hornets (2-2) to put any drives together.

Drew MacDonald tacked a two-point conversion onto Kyle Donovan’s first touchdown and Amesbury led, 8-0, after a quarter.

Nick Marden ended NR’s first possession with a fourth-down fumble recovery.

Nick Marden (32) keyed the Amesbury defense

Nick came off the edge to give the Hornets trouble all afternoon.

Drew MacDonald had a TD and a 2-point conversion

“Nick is a physical specimen,” said Coach McQueen.  “Having him on the edge can be dangerous for the other team.”

Coach McQueen referenced former coach Geno Burnham who died this week.  “I coached with Geno and in our staff meetings he always wanted to ‘fire off the edge.’  We decided today that we were going to send a couple ‘off the edge’ today in Geno’s honor.”

Nick turned the ‘off the edge’ approach into run stops and sacks for the Indians this afternoon.

After Nick’s fumble recovery the Indians started at their own 46.  The rest of the drive was all runs with four first downs along the way.

Kyle Donovan hit the middle from four yards out and backed into the end zone for a second score.  The rush for two failed but AHS now led, 14-0.

Near miss for North Reading

The Hornets followed with a 40-yard kickoff (Robbie Tammaro) return to set them up at the Amesbury 35.  NR nearly got a score as Will Taylor ran a down-and-out into some serious open space, but Brian Heffernan’s pass sailed over his head.

Twice Amesbury ran their way deep into North Reading territory in the second half with nothing to show for it.  In both tries, fourth-down passes fell incomplete.

The Hornets had a 4th down converted but a fumble (recovered by Chip Kelley) gave the ball back to Amesbury with 4:43 left in the game.

Amesbury completed a pass to Tyler Mazzaglia for a first down and two more chain movers set the home team up on the NR four.

Jarrid Schwindt congratulates Drew MacDonald after his TD

QB Drew MacDonald faked a handoff up the middle and rolled left to score with a minute left in the game. 

“We had two TDs at the end of sustained drives,” said Coach McQueen.  “Our goal is to wear people down.  We want pads on pads and for our backs to run hard.”

Coach Blum: “Our defense battled all day.  You just have to turn the page after you learn what you can learn.  We’re on to Triton.”

Coach McQueen: “Kyle is a tough runner.  Any time we put the ball in his hands he has a chance to go.  It comes down to him getting the second and third level and making some guy miss.”

Kyle Donovan: “It was a great all-around team effort.  Our offense was at its finest and our defense held up.”

Tyler Mazzaglia caught an Amesbury pass

The weather was sunny and remarkable for early April.  Temps were in the upper 40s and I was over-dressed for sure.

The Amesbury ground game was so good that their passing game stood out as needing to improve considerably.  Of course, if the Indians can get early leads, they won’t be forced into any passing catch-up attempts.

The Landry Stadium scoreboard has a habit of not consistently working.  More of that today.

Is there a turf football field in Amesbury’s future?

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

Deceptive Amesbury ball-handling
Ball on the ground. Chip Kelley (54) will recover.
Two Hornets bring down Kyle Donovan
Ryan McCullough
Brian Heffernan passes
Jarrid Schwindt waits for Will O’Leary
Tim Gilleo
Connor MacDonald
Jarrid Schwindt
Nice hole for JT Tilton
Kyle Donovan carries tackler
Kyle Donovan (11) away for first touchdown
Tyler Mazzaglia (9) ready to pounce on a NR fumble
JT Tilton (4) follows Derek Couture (56)
Derek Couture
Casey Birdsall
Braeden Zellen
Tony D’Arcangelo

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Triton defeats Hamilton-Wenham for the first time 3-0

Triton celebrates its record-tying fifth win of the season
Jess Manganello and Molly Kimball

(Byfield MA) Triton had never won a match against Hamilton-Wenham.

They had won a game, back in 2016, but that was it.

When you’ve lost every match (twelve straight) to an opponent, you can’t call it a rivalry.

But that all ended today, as Triton (5-2) swept the Generals (3-4), 3-0, on Monday at Triton.

Labeling it as a sweep, betrays how competitive two of the three games were.

“It’s always nice to compete against Hamilton-Wenham,” said Triton coach Karen Christian afterwards, “they traditionally have been very strong.”

Charlene Fibbe at the net

The Generals were strong in the first and third sets suffering tough, 25-23 and 25-21 losses.

The middle set was all-Triton as junior Mia Berardino served the Vikings to eleven straight points on their way to a 25-7 rout.

“Triton, like Newburyport (D1 commit Sydney Yim), has a player who is a strong leader,” said HW coach Jen Flynn referring to Mia Berardino.

Mia ended up with nine kills and seven aces.

The first and third sets were close and entertaining.  There were multiple, extended volley’s that brought ooh’s and aah’s from those on both sides.

“There were some amazing plays,” said Coach Flynn.  “Some balls you just didn’t think would get over, but they did.”

The close games got Triton senior Jess Manganello tired.  “All of us were hustling and talking,” she said.  “I am not used to running so much in a game.”

Hamilton-Wenham volley

The Generals looked ready, in the first game, to continue their dominance over the Vikings.  They jumped in front, 11-7, before Triton tied things at 13-13 and 19-19.  Hard hits were handled by both teams.

The visitors moved to 23-19 before the home team rode the hard-to-handle serves of Evelyn Pearson on a six-point run and a 25-23 win.

The game ended on a terrific Molly Kimball setup that Mia Berardino finished.

“Molly had a great game,” said Coach Christian.  “She was very smart with her sets and she was hustling, getting to everything.”

Molly ended up with twenty-five assists.

In the third game, HW led early (8-7) before the Vikings rolled on Evelyn Pearson’s serving to a commanding 18-11 advantage.  HW’s Charlene Fibbe and Hannah-Marie Akoury kept the Generals in the game.

Mia Berardino had nine kills for Triton

HW was able to cut their deficit to, 23-21, as they just refused to make mistakes.

Fittingly however, Triton’s two big hitters (Mia Berardino & Evelyn Pearson) were set up on the next two plays for hits that would have been challenging for D1 college players to return and the Vikings had a 25-21 win……and the match.

“This was one of the more exciting matches of the season,” said Coach Christian.  “The kids came with lots of energy.”

Evelyn Pearson (eleven kills): “I thought we played pretty good.  Our communication was excellent.”

Senior Jess Manganello: “We’re all proud of how we played tonight.”   (Next year): “I am going to take a gap year, work, and take some courses at community college.”

Both teams have three games left.

Battle at the net

Triton’s win tonight gives them five and ties them with the most wins in a season the Vikings VB program has ever had.  They were 5-15 last year and 5-11 in 2015.

This has certainly been a special season for the Vikings……with more games to go.  I believe that there also will be some post-season playoffs.

The best team in the Cape Ann League is certainly undefeated Lynnfield.  After the Pioneers, however, the remaining teams are on the “any-given-night” level.

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

Block at the net
Jess Manganello
Mia Berardino gets low for a return
Emma Campbell and Molly Kimball
Molly Kimball and Evelyn Pearson
Trinity Cole
Maggie Firicano
Emma Day
Grace Roebuck
Evelyn Pearson spikes (eleven kills)
Mia Berardino serves (seven aces)
Action at the net
Emma Campbell at the net
Mia Berardino and Em Hoggard at the net for Triton
Mia Flynn serves for Hamilton-Wenham

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Newburyport plays ‘best match’ sweeping Hamilton-Wenham 3-0

(Newburyport MA) “It was the best Newburyport match that I’ve watched since we started,” were the happy words NHS coach Lori Solazzo had for her team’s performance afterwards.

Newburyport girls celebrate their third win of the season

“They were communicating,” said the 4th year coach.  “They were in it together.  One girl went for a ball and there was another one was behind her. They were really focused in on this match.”

Sophia Messina and Isabella Toledo

The Clippers (3-2) never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance in the first two sets (25-7 & 25-13).

Then there was the third set.

The Generals ended up losing that one, 27-25, but HW coach Jen Flynn was pleased with how they played.

“I think that they did a great job coming back the way they did after the first two game,” said Coach Flynn.  “It showed grit and a desire to win.”

Coach Solazzo had high praise for senior Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) post-match.  “Her setting (15 assists) was amazing tonight.  We can’t have the hits we get without her.  She’s awesome.  She was nearly flawless in tonight’s game.”

Junior Ava Hartley was one of those benefitting for Sydney’s setups.  “She always gives me nice setups in the perfect spot every time.  We did a 5-1 tonight so she was setting all of us up.”

The Generals (3-2) were far from perfect in the first two sets.  Balls fell in and there were few successful spikes.

Sydney Yim

Everything changed in Game 3.  “Hamilton-Wenham is usually a pretty good matchup,” explained senior Kate Sarras.  And right she was in the third game.

HW cut down the miscues and led by setter Emma Day and hard-hitter Mia Flynn gave the Clippers a run for their money.

HW had a 23-20 lead before Newburyport called a timeout.  Back came the Clippers to tie the score.  HW twice after that had game point (24-23 & 25-24) but the Clippers put three straight points together to end a very exciting game.

“A lot of people stepped up for us tonight,” said sophomore Viive Godtfredsen (ten kills).  “We struggled against Triton the other night, but we proved ourselves to be better than that tonight.”

Newburyport’s serving was very good.  “We talked about service runs and how important they are,” said Coach Solazzo.  “It changes the match when you decrease your unforced errors.”

“We’ve been working on our serving and our service receiving a lot in practice,” explained Ava Hartley, “and it showed tonight.”

Charlene Fibbe hustles after a ball

Coach Flynn: “The Newburyport program has gotten better each year that I’ve watched them with Lori (Solazzo) coaching.  The core of their whole team has been raised over the last couple of years.”

Coach Solazzo: “We had a lot to come back from after the Triton loss.  Since then, we’ve had a lot of conversation on what we needed to do to get better.”

Coach Flynn: “I have a different mindset this year.  Every second we can be playing is a bonus. We’re trying to have fun being together.  We try to pull positives from every experience we can.”

Senior Kate Sarra: “We played well and our energy was up.  In the fall, I’ll be attending Eastern Connecticut State.  I expect to study Sociology and minor in Psychology.  I am hoping to play volleyball there.  I’m currently talking to their coach.”

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

HW coach Jen Flynn
Violet Landymore
Hannah-Marie Akoury and Grace Roebuck
Laney Lucci
Mia Flynn
Viive Godtfredsen spikes
Ava Hartley
Sydney Yim and Sophia Messina at the net
Mia Flynn returns
Action at the net
Emma Day sets up Isabella Toledo
Setter Emma Day
Viive Godtfredsen
Viive Godtfredsen had ten kills
Sydney Yim sets up Viive Godtfredsen
Mia Flynn spikes
Senior Kate Sarra

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Triton continues solid season with win over Pentucket

Evelyn Pearson spikes against Pentucket
Mia Berardino had a night of aces and spikes.

(Byfield MA) Triton was upbeat.

It was Senior Night.

And the Vikings (3-1) played extremely well defeating Pentucket (0-3) on Wednesday night at Triton by a 3-1 count.

“Molly (Kimball), the setter, and Mia (Berardino) was a 1-2 combination that we couldn’t handle very well,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara afterwards.

Mia had spikes tonight, but it was her serves that gave Pentucket their biggest trouble.

Putting those things together enabled the home to team to run points together and build up sizable leads.  On this evening, Pentucket was unable to respond.

“Returning serves is one of the hardest things to learn,” explained Mia post-match.  “We know what it’s like to have trouble with it.”

“They picked us apart with serves,” said Coach McNamara.  “You have to get the ball in play.”

The Vikings won the first two games, 25-15 & 25-11. 

The substitutes for both teams played most of the third set and Pentucket held on for a 25-21 victory.  This was the second time this season that they have won a game.

Coach McNamara calls the wins, “baby steps” and “things we can build on.”

The Vikings really put everything together in the final game.  The spikes were there and the serves handcuffed Pentucket.  A 5-5 tie turned into a run of nine unanswered Triton points with Mia Berardino serving.  Mia, Evelyn Pearson, and Jessica Manganello had successful hard hits.  The final was 25-10.

“Mia and Evelyn play off each other as the outside hitters,” said Triton coach Karen Christian.  “There’s never a letup in any rotation.”

Second year Pentucket shows its hustle

“Mia seems to be improving every day,” added Coach Christian.  “She gets to the short balls that we have trouble with.  She’s able to make a bad set into a good attack.”

“It was nice to get the win on Senior Night,” said senior Evelyn Pearson.  “This was the first Senior Night that we’ve won since I’ve been here.”

Junior Molly Kimball complimented both Mia and Evelyn: “I’ve been playing everything with Mia since 4th grade.  We work really well together.  Evelyn is another one of those I can trust giving the ball to.  She usually gets the point for us.”

“It was good to get kids playing in tonight’s game who haven’t been in that much before,” added Coach Christian.

Vikings at the net blocking

Five Triton seniors were honored before the game.

I caught up with Pentucket seniors Mackenzie Currie and Megan Reading afterwards.  Both have been key basketball players and both decided to give volleyball a try for the first time in their senior years.

Mackenzie: “Volleyball is very different from basketball.  It is not an easy game. I just wanted to try something new my senior year.  The hardest part for me has been learning all the rules.  It’s not like basketball where there are set plays and you can scout the other team.”

Megan: “It has been interesting to play volleyball.  I have enjoyed learning the game.  You just can’t grab the ball, like in basketball.  I saw volleyball as another chance to be on a team and connect with more girls before I graduated.”

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

The link to this story will be on Twitter (@mcclellandpeter) and the pictures should come later on Instagram (@mcclellandmiscellanea).

Molly Kimball sets
Megan Codair sets for Pentucket
Shot falls in among the Sachems
Arielle Cleveland spikes for Pentucket
Evelyn Pearson finishes
Mia Berardino spikes
Arielle Cleveland spikes
Jillian Sheehy finds an opening
Izzy Oldoni and Evelyn Pearson
Trinity Cole
Senior Em Hoggard
Megan Reading and Arielle Cleveland
Megan Codair
Molly Kimball sets up her teammates

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Thoughts on Katherine Quigley’s interview in today’s Newburyport Daily News

Losing is not easy.

Immediately after a tournament loss at Lowell High School I asked the losing coach for, “her take on what had happened.” She replied, “We lost,” and then gave me a look which suggested that my next question could well be the last question I ever asked!

The coronavirus has made “losers” out of all of us.

We’ve had 2+ weeks to settle into the new reality and many of us haven’t settled well.

We’re missing people and we’re missing things.

The hardest part about all this is that the end of it is totally uncertain. Therefore, putting dates on events like the senior prom, graduation, or a field trip to somewhere is foolish. Why make “promises” under these conditions? Yet the MIAA insists on doing just that by making post-CV scheduling plans. Shame on them IMO.

Katherine Quigley

The first question we ask those who are away from us these days is, “How are you doing?” Everyone has an answer and a story. Katherine Quigley of Triton responded to that question in today’s Newburyport Daily News.

It was good to see that Katherine can see the Big Picture despite all the interruptions she’s facing. “I do understand,” she said, “that the world is in a pandemic and losing these things to save lives and ‘flatten the curve’ is worth it.”

Filling an uncertain amount of time while being housebound is not easy. We’re used to time constraints. Things having a beginning and an end. What pressure do I have to get anything done when the next day I’m in the same setup?

But these are times when some folks separate themselves from the rest of us. They find something to do on their own. They get themselves engaged with a task of their own choosing and busy themselves doing it. They’re not bored. They’re not stagnant. And the time goes by productively. Easy for me to write!

I trust that the teenagers interviewed by the NDN will realize that though their lives are roughed up, it is even more of a troubling time for the adults in their lives. I can’t imagine how parents are coping all these days with school-aged kids at home.

When the school bus finally shows up at the end of the CV, the kids will run to get on the bus and the parents will not try to slow them down!

Nice to see that Katherine is staying positive with the underclassmen on the softball team. Older siblings can make a difference at home.

I have seen Katherine pitch a lot of games. She is very good at it and committed to it. She’s also way too polite when interviewed afterward! I trust/pray that the CV will end and that Katherine and the rest of us will get our away-from-home lives back again. I would also ask Katherine to take good care of a couple of my former students in the meantime that are also known as her parents.





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Schools will not reopen

Schools will not reopen

Churches will not reopen.

Restaurants will not reopen.

Someone has to say it. This is our future.

Unless, of course, social distancing ends. And what are the chances of that happening?

In half a month, social distancing has gone from being considered a joke to now being close to a law.

I leave my house to go for a walk and see my neighbors keeping away from me, crossing the street to avoid being close to me.

There’s something in me that wants to be cavalier and return to the way things were. To take my chances.

I was working in close quarters with kids. I was attending church several times a week. I was occasionally eating out. But now each of those activities could prove fatal. I may not be afraid myself, but would I want to be responsible for bringing a fatal disease onto someone else? Definitely not.

And so, I optimistically cooperate, but after nearly two weeks, I see no end in sight.

I try to imagine what would have to be true for parents to feel comfortable enough to send their children back into the intimacy of a public/private school. Wouldn’t the fear of getting the virus have to end? How close is that? Each day there are stories and numbers shouting that there is no control.

Nice picture today in the Newburyport Daily News of the Rail Trail. Dogs and families were out of the house, getting some exercise and fresh air. Except that the story that went with the picture was that the mayor of Newburyport was threatening to close the Rail Trail because the social distancing rules weren’t being followed.

Hampton Beach is now closed to the public for the same reason.

Things are not trending away from social distancing. Just the opposite, so it seems.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that schools/churches/restaurants will reopen on a certain date in the near future? Are you naivete enough to believe that we are now capable of putting a date on when this crisis ends?

We must get the virus under control, and so far it hasn’t happened. There appears to be treatment available for most of the afflicted but not a means to prevent folks from being afflicted.

Promising reopening dates based on where we currently are is pure folly.

My advice: Pray for a miracle but also prepare for a very long haul.


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Medfield takes Spartan Classic title 47-42 snapping Pentucket’s 17-game win streak

Camilla Silk defends for Medfield

Tourney MVP Kayla McNeil

(Lynn MA) “Beating Pentucket, I’m pretty excited about that,” said Medfield coach Mark Nickerson afterwards.

And who could blame him.

Pentucket, now 20-2, is the defending D2 state champs.

They had won seventeen straight games.

But the Warriors (17-2) held off the Sachems, 47-42, on Monday night to win the Division 2 Spartan Classic and end a long (17-games) Pentucket win streak.

This was a one-possession game (44-42) with thirty seconds left and Pentucket had the ball.

Greta Mauer crowds Tess Patry

During most of this game, Medfield’s length and their zone defense severely disrupted Pentucket shot attempts close to the basket. The Warriors were tall enough inside that they discouraged as many inside shots as they blocked.

Both Angelina Yacubacci and MacKenzie Currie put up game-tying attempts through a host of tall defenders in the closing minute but neither shot fell.

Kate Olenik & tourney MVP Kayla McNeil then combined for three free throws to give Medfield the 47-42 win.

Lillie Cumming led Medfield scorers with 13 points

Lillie Cumming (13 points) and Annie McCarthy (11 points) led the Warriors in scoring.

Angelica Hurley (15 points) and Angelina Yacubacci (12 points) paced Pentucket.

Fatigue was likely a factor in the Pentucket loss. The Sachems rely on a high-energy defense and have a short bench. Playing at that pace for two straight days is tough.

Medfield pressed early but spent most of the game in a half-court zone defense. That approach kept them out of foul trouble and required less exertion.

The Sachems had a 17-13 lead after an Angelina Yacubacci layup and one MacKenzie Currie free throw four minutes into the second period.

The next seven minutes of playing time were a complete disaster for the team from West Newbury. They didn’t score a single point while Medfield added fourteen in a row!

Angelica Hurley

Shots weren’t falling for Pentucket and there were six turnovers mixed into the unproductive minutes.

Medfield ran the last seven points of the second period and the first seven points of the third period without an answer from Pentucket. When the Sachems finally recovered, they were down by ten (27-17) 2 ½ minutes into the second half.

Lillie Cumming had a three and a rebound basket during this unanswered run of points and teammate Annie McCarthy hit a jump shot and took a Pentucket turnover in for a layup.

Being down ten in the second half is very unfamiliar territory for Pentucket but they found the energy to cut their deficit to one, 28-27, over the next three minutes.

MacKenzie Currie looks to score against Kate Olenik

It was four straight Hannah Lambert free throws and two Angelica Hurley triples that did the trick for Pentucket

Despite the impressive comeback, the Sachems could never make the big shot or get the big stop to get even with Medfield.

Pentucket was within three (39-36) with three minutes left when Kayla McNeil nailed a back-breaking triple. The shot clock was being counted down by the Warriors bench and Kayla hurriedly fired away. The shot-clock buzzer sounded as her shot got into the net and Medfield was back up by six.

Triples by Angelina Yacubacci and Angelica Hurley followed surrounding two clutch free throws by Tess Patry.

The teams went into the final minute with only two points separating them (44-42) but Medfield escaped with the win.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” recalled Coach Nickerson, “but we overcame them at the end.”

Pentucket coach John McNamara won his 300th game in the First Round win over Wilmington yesterday

Medfield is out of the very tough Tri-Valley League.

The Warriors are in the Central Division and the only place a rematch with Pentucket could happen would be in the state D2 championship game.

Medfield won the D2 title in 2013.

“We’ve been trying to prove ourselves all year long,” said Coach Nickerson. “We’re still doing it but hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”

The Warriors have now won nine straight.

Pentucket had won the previous two Spartan Classics with a win over Groton-Dunstable last year and Arlington Catholic the year before.

Angelica Hurley had twenty-five points in Pentucket’s opening round win over Wilmington. She had six 3’s in that one.

Traditionally the tourney MVP comes from the team that wins the championship. Angelica added more three’s this afternoon and probably deserved the award…….but I digress.

Medfield’s only losses have been to Norwood (18-1) and Medway (17-2).

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

Medfield celebrates

Angelia Hurley fires from long range

Angelina Yacubacci at the line

Angelina Yacubacci guarded by Tess Patry

Annie McCarthy (12 points) finds an opening down the lane

Annie McCarthy looks for a pass

Arielle Cleveland tries a three

Freshman Kate Olenik shoots free throws late in the game

Kayla McNeil layup

Tess Patry eludes Greta Mauer


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Triton wins 5th straight defeating Amesbury 6-4

Catcher Tyler Godfrey and pitcher Jared Berardino celebrate a win

Drew Parsons tagged out by pitcher Blake Bennett in the first inning

(Amesbury MA) Triton pushed their winning streak to five with a 6-4 win over Amesbury on Saturday afternoon in Cape Ann League baseball.

The Vikings (5-4) tallied four runs in the sixth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit.

Triton batted around in that decisive 6th inning.  Cael Kohan tied the game with a two-run single to left center.  Later in the inning, Kyle Odoy delivered the go-ahead runs with a double to left.

Blake Bennett drove in all four of the Indians’ runs.  Three crossed on his long home run to center in the third inning.  A two-out error by Drew Parsons extended that inning and gave Blake the chance to bat with two on.

Cael Kohan

Blake came up in Amesbury’s final inning with a runner (Logan Burrill) on base.  This time around Triton centerfielder Jack Tummino looked to be playing back somewhere in New Hampshire and was able to catch Blake’s long blast in his direction.

Cael Kohan started for Triton.  After Cael loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning, Coach Ryan McCarthy brought in Jared Berardino.  In a turning-point moment, Jared got Tucker Molin to ground into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play to keep Amesbury from enlarging a 3-2 advantage.

Amesbury (5-5) was at times its own worst enemy.  Starter Blake Bennett yielded six walks and four of them scored.  Triton’s first two runs scored on wild pitches.  Twice innings ended for the Indians on the bases.  In the third, Derek Doherty was picked off first by Cael Kohan.  In the fifth, catcher Tyler Godfrey threw out Blake trying to steal third.

The Vikings scored a run in the second.  Cam Gilroy walked, stole second, and reached third on a fielder’s choice.  A wild pitch brought him home and gave Triton a 1-0 lead.

Blake Bennett rounds third

Amesbury took a 3-1 advantage in the third with Blake Bennett’s homer.  At first it looked as if Blake would only get a ground-rule double but the umpires gathered with the coaches and it was ruled to be a home run.

Triton got a run back in the fourth.  The Vikings loaded the bases with two outs before a wild pitch scored Tyler Godfrey to make it 3-2.

In the fifth inning a Logan Burrill double into the left field trees was followed by a Blake Bennett single to left producing a run and a 4-2 lead.

Triton won the game in the sixth.  The Vikings were helped along by three walks and a wild pitch. Cam Gilroy, Tyler Godfrey, Jared Berardino, and Cael Kohan were the run scorers.

The Indians have played all their home games at Town Park because the high school field is water logged.  Amesbury is fortunate to have an alternate field.  I read today that some of the schools in Maine have only been able to play two games so far because of the weather.

Left field at Town Park

What could go wrong in left field at Town Park?  In the picture you can see trees, branches, folks in lawn chairs, a car, and a dog all in the playing area.

Both coaches, before the game, considered me bad luck because I’ve only seen them lose this season.  I’m flattered to think that I have such an influence!

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

Cael Kohan reaches home

Cam Gilroy (2B) in the middle of a 6-4-3 double play

Drew MacDonald

Drew Parsons handles a bad throw as Logan Burrill gets back to second

Shortstop Drew Parsons throws to first

Logan Burrill (3 hits) rounds third

Near collision in the Amesbury outfield

Shane Rooney, Drew Parsons, Blake Bennett, and Cam Gilroy wait for the umpires’ ruling

Shea Cucinotta under a popup

Triton celebrates

Jared Berardino pitched the final 3 2/3 for Triton

Jeremy Lopez reaches to pick up a grounder

Kyle Odoy drove in two runs in the sixth inning


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Tim Tebow and Vladi Guerrero in Manchester (NH)

Tim Tebow takes a big hack

Catcher Pat Cantwell looks for a foul pop

(Manchester NH) The long ride didn’t seem to bother Binghamton.

The AA Rumble Ponies hosted Erie on Wednesday. A 5 ½ hour trip after the game to Manchester for a Thursday game would impact performance…….you would think.

Didn’t happen that way.  The RP’s clobbered the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 11-1.  The visitors were rude to every pitcher they faced.

Meanwhile, the heavy hitting home team didn’t even get a hit until the 6th inning off Nabil Crismatt.  That hit was a surprise because it took Vladi Guerrero legging out a grounder to deep first to do it.  It helped Vladi that Nabil was a little late getting over to cover.

The attraction for the Binghamton team is having Tim Tebow on their roster.  I suspect that everywhere Tim goes the crowd reflects it.  Tonight was no exception.  The weather helped the crowd size, but I’m sure that Tim brought many of them in.

Bo Bichette

I was at the stadium shortly after 5 for a 6:30 start.  There already were lines along the edge of the Binghamton dugout.  Granted, they have other good players including #4 Mets prospect Peter Alonso, but the sheer volume suggests Tim’s appeal.

Tim did do a pre-game interview in the dugout with a select group.  I saw Tim’s publicist nearby.

I wanted to get Tim warming up and did so from the left-field seats.  I thought that I might get him in left field during the game, but he was DHing.

Tim was noticed every time he came to the plate by the crowd.  That didn’t go so well because he struck out the first four times. Trust me, he wasn’t cheated, hacking frequently.  He had the out-of-the-park swing going.  He did hit a long foul to left (he’s a lefty) the first time up.

Tim’s worst at-bat was in Binghamton’s 4-run inning.  There had been a string of hits and runs before his appearance with the bases loaded.  He promptly K’d and the hitting resumed with the next batter!

Cavan Biggio continues to play well at Manchester

Vladi and Bo (Bichette) are still with the Fisher Cats.  Both are already showing the hitting/fielding skills to move at least to Buffalo (AAA).  Vladi made a nice play to his left on a grounder with a strong throw.

The “non-prospect” Cavan Biggio still looks (to me) to be a next-level possibility.  Very smooth in the field.

The defensive play-of-the-game was a leaping catch NH’s Harold Ramirez made in front of the right-field fence.

Peter Alonso was at first for Binghamton.  He was selected in the 2nd round in 2016.  He can hit and play the position.

Binghamton pitching coach Frank Viola was very interactive with NH fans before the game.  I remember him as a Twin.

Tim Tebow takes a knee

Weather was pleasant.  No jacket required or rain clouds hovering.

Minor league baseball is a great take.  Price is low and the closeness to the field is a reality.

I encountered two foul balls during this game.  One went over the backstop screen and caromed nearby off the dugout edge.  I was trying to take a picture at the time!  The other one happened as I was in the NH dugout.  This was a hard, low grounder that hit the board below the lower railing in front of me damaging it.  My ability to get out of the way of any hit ball is suspect.  Maybe I should consider a helmet and/or a mouth guard?

I activated my smallest, fast lens.  From the backstop screen the players were within three feet of me.  The lighting for the long-range pictures lessened as the night went on.  Adjusting (successfully) to it is what separates me from a “real” photographer!  I need to study and practice.

Getting to Manchester?  Best way from north of Boston is NOT via 93 North.  Did that during my first two visits and discovered that stop-and-go is a way of life there.  Best way?  North on 95 to the Hampton Tolls and then 101 West to 93 and then 293.  Took less than an hour both coming and going.  Slowest part?  Getting over the Merrimack River and into the stadium parking lot.

Thanks again to Tyler Murray for arranging the visit.

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

Prospect Pat Mazeika

Prospect Jhoan Urena

Tim Tebow runs in the outfield

Nabil Crismatt got the win for Binghamton

Bo Bichette takes a cut

Vladi Guerrero takes a swing

Vladi beats Nabil Crismatt to first for a hit

Tim Tebow to the plate

Vladi at third




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