Georgetown defeats Amesbury in surprising fashion

Iain Kantorski tagged out at home by catcher Tim Gilleo
Garrett Sedgwick tagged out at 3B

(Amesbury MA) Georgetown certainly didn’t do it the easy way.

The Royals had two runners thrown out at home.

They had two others caught at third.

Didn’t matter, Georgetown still came away with a satisfying, 6-3, season-ending win over Amesbury on Tuesday afternoon.

The sunny skies at the start gave way to dark clouds, thunder, and then game-ending lightning as the Amesbury half of the sixth inning was about to start.

I usually talk to coaches and some players afterwards but not today.  That lightning changed my plans and had me and my camera equipment beelining it immediately for the AHS parking lot.

Ayden Kent was one of six Royals pitchers

Not only did Georgetown (6-10) run into outs on the bases but they also used a different pitcher in each inning. Those frequent pitching changes would seem to have been a recipe for disaster sooner or later but not on this afternoon.

We’ll never know what the Indians (8-7) might have done with two more innings of batting, however.  I’m betting though that we would have seen two more Georgetown pitchers.

The Royals had eleven hits, at least one in every inning, off Amesbury pitchers (Trevor Kimball & Josh Sorgini).

Georgetown got off to a great start with RBI doubles by Nick Gaeta (two hits) and Jack Lucido in the first inning.

That inning ended with Jack getting caught trying to steal third base.

Amesbury got a run back in their half of the first inning.  Jeremy Lopez (three hits, two RBI) doubled home Shea Cucinotta.

Drew MacDonald out stealing

Drew MacDonald was caught stealing in that inning.

Georgetown continued to hit during the next three innings but ran themselves into outs on the bases that kept them from scoring runs.

Great throws by LF Drew MacDonald (2nd inning) and RF Drew Scialdone (3rd inning) were key plays for the Indians in staying close on the scoreboard.

In the fourth inning, Garrett Sedgwick tried to go to third (from second) on an infield out but was thrown out at third on a good throw by 1B Tiernan Bentley.

I thought that the wasted opportunities might catch up to Georgetown, but it didn’t happen. 

2B Nate Giguere makes a play to first

New pitchers came and went each inning for the Royals, yet the one-run lead stayed in place.

The Indians loaded the bases against Ayden Kent in the third inning but a two-out liner by Trevor Kimball was snagged by 1B Nick Gaeta to end the threat.

The Royals finally scored more runs in the fifth inning.  RBI by Iain Kantorski & Carter Lucido finished starter Trevor Kimball’s afternoon. 

Josh Sorgini came on in relief.

Twice Georgetown, with runners on first and third, sent the runner on first and were able to score the runner from third and add two more runs to their total.

Amesbury did not recover completely from those four additional runs.  They did score two runs, however.

Jeremy Lopez had 3 hits and 2 RBI

Jeremy Lopez doubled to the rightfield corner sending home Drew MacDonald.  Later, Jeremy stole third and came across when the throw (from the pitcher) to third was wild.

That 6-3 score turned out to be the final as the threatening weather kicked in.

Everyone in Georgetown’s starting lineup had at least one hit.  Rob Popielski and Nick Gaeta each had two hits for the Royals.

Jeremy Lopez had a perfect day going three-for-three with two RBI.

Drew MacDonald and Trevor Kimball each had two hits for the Indians.

The Georgetown season ends on an upswing as they finished winning three of their last five.

Amesbury will be in the post-season tournament.  They suffered losses yesterday and today.

Amesbury defeated Georgetown, 5-4, in early May at Georgetown.

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

Ayden Kent caught off 3B by Josh Sorgini
Drew MacDonald – 2 hits and an outfield assist
2B Jake Harring tags out Nick Gaeta as a run scores
Shea Cucinotta, Jake Harring, and Trevor Kimball wait on a pitching change
Josh Sorgini pitched in relief
Rob Popielski scores a run for Georgetown
Nate Giguere slides in safely
Jake Gilstein
Carter Lucido pitched for Georgetown
Baserunner Iain Kantorski and SS Shea Cucinotta
Nice running catch by CF Carter Lucido
Shea Cucinotta heads for home
Nick Gaeta scores in the first inning
Trevor Kimball started for Amesbury
Coaches go over the rules pregame

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Jack Fehlner leads Newburyport to Spofford title

Jack Fehlner was the center of attention when the game ended
Newburyport Clippers win the 2021 Spofford Tournament
Baserunner Cael Kohan and 1B Brady Ford

(Georgetown MA) Newburyport was desperate for a win.

After an impressive 9-1 month of May, June turned into a problem.

After an early win in June, three straight losses had followed, most recently, a 12-1 nightmare loss to North Reading.

Before that NR disaster had been a tough 7-2 defeat this past Wednesday to Triton.  A game in which Jack Fehlner came in to give relief and suffered through a five-run outburst by the Vikings.

Fast forward to this afternoon.  Again, it was Triton and again it was Jack Fehlner doing the pitching.

But what a difference this time!

Jack Fehlner limited Triton to four hits

Today, Jack pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout as the Clippers downed Triton, 5-0, to take home the championship trophy in the Spofford Tournament.

“After that loss to Triton, the team gave me some great words of encouragement,” said Jack post-game, “that really helped.”

Jack’s pitching was probably enough to make him the tourney MVP but when he added a home run in the seventh inning the guesswork ended.

“Jack’s homer wasn’t a surprise to me,” said Newburyport coach Mark Rowe. “He hits bombs in practice.”

Tony Lucci had a 2-run double

Through three innings, Jack allowed only one baserunner while Triton starter DJ Watson allowed just one hit (Luke Stallard).

The Clippers bats came to life in the fourth inning.

A single (Luke Stallard) and a walk (Jax Budgell) set up Newburyport’s leading hitter (Jake Buontempo) for an RBI single to left. 

Jake took second without a throw and senior Tony Lucci followed with a two-run double to right center.

“It was an outside pitch,” recalled Tony.  “Coach (Rowe) always tells us to take that one to rightfield and that’s what I did.”

Triton (7-7) threatened to cut into Newburyport’s 3-0 lead in the fifth inning.

Andrew Masher and Griffin Dupuis executed a perfect hit-and-run to put runners on first and third with two outs in that inning.  Jack Fehlner, however, was able to get a strikeout to get out of it.

Jake Buontempo had a long homer to left in the sixth inning
Brady Lindholm had a hit

The Clippers (11-4) added another run in the sixth as Jake Buontempo hit a long home run over the leftfield fence.

“I was down 0-2,” said Jake.  “I had seen two curveballs.  I choked up a little bit like I always do and got a nice curveball and ripped it.”

The Vikings were back threatening in the sixth inning.  Consecutive singles by Brady Lindholm and Cael Kohan set up Triton with one out. After a flyball out to left, Ryan Lindholm hit a flare into short left.  It had trouble written all over it!  But Newburyport shortstop Tony Lucci ran straight back for it and caught it in true snow-cone fashion to end the inning and save a run.

“The catch by Tony was awesome,” said Jack Fehlner.  “It was such a clutch play.”

“I was a bit nervous going after it, but I ran as fast as I could to make the catch,” said Tony.

Jack finished off the final Triton inning with consecutive strikeouts.

Pickoff attempt

“Jack came in determined after they got to him the other day,” said Coach Rowe.  “He felt that he had something to prove today.”

Triton coach Ryan McCarthy: “Both teams hit the ball hard today.  I thought that the Fehlner kid pitched a great game today.  We hit him hard the other day, but he bounced back.”

Nick White: “It was a nice bounce-back win.  We’ve been struggling lately.”

Coach Rowe: “We were kind of on our heels after the last few games, but we had a long talk yesterday and had a good practice.”

Jack Fehlner celebrates home run

There was some uncertainty on Jack Fehlner’s homer in the seventh inning.  “I wasn’t sure it was out,” said Jack, “until their shortstop told me.”

Newburyport captains Tony Lucci, Ryan Archer, and Nick White with trophy
3B Andrew Masher had a hit for Vikings

Jack Fehlner: “My two-seam fastball was working really well.”

Triton had seven infield groundouts.

Newburyport last won the Spofford Tournament in 2018.

Triton’s last one was in 2012.

Ideal weather.

Generous donations announced pre-game to help the family of a firefighter who is battling cancer.

I learned from Coach McCarthy that the post-season tournament will only be for the North title.  He also thought that the tournament had to end by July 1st

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

Clippers celebrate
Team picture
LF Ryan Archer congratulates Tony Lucci
Tony Lucci makes a (blurry) snow-cone catch
Jack Fehlner pitches
Jax Budgell heads home with the second Newburyport run
RF Cole Daniels made a terrific catch in the second inning
SS Tony Lucci
Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch
Owen Roberts

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Newburyport dominates rematch with Triton

Emily Meleedy pitched a 2-hit, complete-game shutout with 8 strikeouts
The Clippers had thirteen hits

(Byfield MA) “We showed up to play,” said Newburyport senior Cali Caponigro.

And show up they did.

The Clippers (8-5) had everything going as they took a, 13-0, mercy-rule win over Triton on Thursday afternoon.

The way this game went was a surprise.  Back in May, the Clippers held on for an, 11-10, victory against the same Vikings.

Today, Newburyport grabbed the lead immediately, had terrific pitching (Emily Meleedy), and made the plays in the field.

Liv Kiricoples had one of Triton’s two hits

Triton (6-6) just couldn’t match up on this afternoon.

Emily limited the Vikings to their fewest hits of the season (two) while striking out eight batters.

“Their pitcher was terrific,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes.

The Clippers scored early and in five of the six innings played.

“We started off strong today and that really helped,” said Emily Meleedy.

An infield error prolonged the first inning.  Grace Habib singled in the first run and Emma Keefe doubled in two more sending Newburyport off to a quick, 3-0, lead.

Clippers watching the action

The Clippers were ahead, 4-0, before Triton had their first hit (Liv Kiricoples) in the third inning.

The visitors gained serious separation in the fourth inning adding a four-spot to their run total.

As in the first inning, the Triton trouble started after two outs.  Nieve Morrissey and Maddie McLeod each drove in a run while Emily Meleedy’s double to left brought two Clippers home.

That moved the lead to, 8-0.

The Newburyport defense also had a good afternoon.

Centerfielder Nieve Morrissey made the play of the game in the Triton fourth IMO.  Nieve came running to the rescue when an infield popup near second base looked to be falling in.

CF Nieve Morrissey (3) makes a remarkable running catch
Triton shortstop Kyla Story

“Nieve’s catch was amazing,” said shortstop Emma Keefe afterwards.  “She’s a fast one.”

The Vikings did get a runner to third (Liv Kiricoples) in the fifth inning with one out.  However, Emily Meleedy escaped damage with a strikeout and an infield grounder handled by 3B Cali Caponigro.

The Clippers had thirteen hits.  Emily Meleedy had three, while teammates Nieve Morrissey, Cali Caponigro, Emma Keefe, and Sophie Lavallee had two each.

Emma Keefe had four RBI while Grace Habib and Emily Meleedy had two each.

Emma Keefe had four RBI

“Our bats showed up today,” said Cali Caponigro. “I’m really proud of our team.”

Coach Bob Gillespie: “They came out ready to go.  We put up three right away in the first inning.  Emily (Meleedy) pitched great.  We thumped the ball all day long.  Anytime we beat Triton it’s a great day in Newburyport.”

“Give Newburyport credit,” said Coach Noyes, “they swung the bats and made the plays.”

Coach Noyes: “We lost Izzie (Reiniger) yesterday and didn’t have time to move bodies around to adjust to it.”

Natalie Indingaro had the second Triton hit.

Running try by 2B Maddy Jacques

Coach Noyes: “Grace (Romine) was fine today.  We just made too many errors behind her.”

Coach Gillespie: “We had a tough game yesterday against North Reading but that’s old news.  We’re as happy as can be with this win.”

Emily Meleedy didn’t walk anyone.  “I threw in a couple of different pitches today,” she explained.  “I’ve got a good team behind me.”

Triton will face undefeated Amesbury on Saturday.  It’s a little difficult to figure out how good the Indians are defensively because of all the strikeouts Alana Delisle and Liv DeLong have been getting. 

The weather was cooler than it’s been and there were no complaints. 

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

CF Nieve Morrissey about to catch the final out of the game
Cali Caponigro scored three runs
LF Matigan Richmond
Emma Keefe steals second
Skylar Colburn
Emily Meleedy was on base four times
Keira Dowell gets to third base
3B Cali Caponigro
Grace Romine throws to first base
Grace Romine pitches
Emily Meleedy pitches
Gabbie McKendry catches a popup
Baserunner Maddie McLeod

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Cael Kohan impressive in 7-2 Triton win over Newburyport

Cael Kohan (1) congratulated after victory
Vikings celebrate during 7th inning

(Newburyport MA) “It was a good baseball game for six innings,” lamented Newburyport coach Mark Rowe afterwards.

Triton erupted for five runs in the seventh inning and claimed a, 7-2, win over the Clippers.

Senior Cael Kohan was the complete-game winner for the Vikings.

“Cael was awesome,” said Triton coach Ryan McCarthy post-game.

“In this (hot) weather, I kept checking with him and he just wanted to go back out there,” said Coach McCarthy.  “He was gutsy out there.”

Jake Buontempo scores for Newburyport

Cael scattered four hits and recorded nine strikeouts.  He also drove in the go-ahead run in the game-turning seventh inning.

“We’ve been in a bit of a funk at the plate the last couple of games but the pitching we’ve faced has something to do with it,” said Coach Rowe.  “Cael pitched a great game.”

Cael said that he felt, “really great after the game. I could go again.”

Triton (7-6) went up by two after 3 ½ innings.  Brady Lindholm and Joe Abt had RBIs.

The Clippers (10-3) tied it in their half of the fourth inning on a Ryan Archer two-run single to rightfield.

2B Joe Abt (3 hits) flips to first

“We were up by two,” said Coach McCarthy, “but Newburyport came back.  They are a very good team.”

The fourth was the only inning that Cael struggled as he gave up three walks and hit a batter.  “I fell apart in that one inning,” said Cael. 

But after the Ryan Archer two-run single, Cael regained control.  A couple of strikeouts minimized the damage in the fourth inning.  He allowed only two baserunners over the final three innings.

Luke Stallard started for Newburyport and limited the Vikings to two runs over 5+ innings.

Jack Fehlner finished the sixth for Newburyport.

Kyle Odoy singled in a run in the 7th

“In the seventh there was a leadoff walk and then Triton really started hitting the ball,” recalled Coach Rowe.  “Jack is one of the best pitchers in the league and they just teed off on him.  But those things happen.  He’ll be back.”

A walk (Tim Carter), a sacrifice bunt (DJ Watson), and a wild pitch put pinchrunner Stone Butler on third with one out.  Next was a walk (Brady Lindholm).  Still no runs yet but three straight run-producing singles followed by Cael Kohan, Kyle Odoy, and Joe Abt.

Later, Ryan Lindholm had an RBI double.

“We wanted to put some pressure on them,” said Coach McCarthy.  “We had some great at-bats in the last inning.”

Cael Kohan had a complete game 4-hitter

Cael enjoyed the five-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.  “I was confident that my team would make plays behind me.  I was just throwing strikes.”

Cael said, “My curveball was great.  I was hitting my spots with the fastball.”

Junior Joe Abt led the Triton attack with three hits and two RBI.

Cael Kohan, Kyle Odoy, and Ryan Lindholm each had two hits for the Vikings.

Luke Stallard paced Newburyport with two hits.  Ryan Archer had two RBI.

The two teams faced each other on opening day in May and the Clippers put a six-run inning together defeating Triton, 10-4.

The last ten times the two teams have faced each other they have each won five times.

Tony Lucci and Ryan Lindholm

The teams will meet again in the Spofford championship game on Saturday at Georgetown.

After two straight days of games being cancelled because of the heat, it was good to see games being played even with temperatures in the 80s.

Cael pitched an impressive game today, but his college future involves another sport, golf.  He’ll be playing golf at Bryant University in the fall.

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

SS Tony Lucci in on a grounder
SS Brady Lindholm handled the last two outs
Sacrifice bunt
Connor Stick steals 2nd as SS Brady Lindholm reaches to tag
Joe Abt and Brady Ford
Luke Stallard went 5+ innings for Newburyport
Luke Stallard back to first
Kyle Odoy scored two runs
Kyle Odoy slides in with a triple as Demitri Connor takes throw
SS Brady Lindholm
3B Andrew Masher
Ryan McCarthy and Mark Rowe go over the rules pre-game

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Top Toronto Blue Jays prospects in action in New Hampshire

Top Toronto Blue Jays prospects (Jordan Groshans & Austin Martin) celebrate homer
Jordan Groshans signs autographs

(Manchester NH) The final was 9-6 and it felt like 96 in the sun/heat this afternoon.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies defeated the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on a very warm Sunday afternoon.

Even the seats were hot!  I moved into an open seat closer to the Binghamton dugout and realized quickly that it was too hot for long-term use.

I enjoy going to Portland (Sea Dogs) and Manchester (Fisher Cats) to see Double A baseball.  They’re close to home (Amesbury MA) and there is plenty to see.

Austin Martin takes a cut

The biggest of the AA stars are friendly to fans and seem happy to be where they are.

It is certain that some of the players will advance to the major leagues in a few years.  Others reach AA and get no further.  You never know as you watch them.

There is a little more certainty regarding the future of the players that were drafted in the early rounds and signed to large bonuses.

Two of the Toronto Blue Jays top three prospects are with the Fisher Cats.

I saw Austin Martin (#2 prospect – 1st round in 2020) last time but missed Jordan Groshans (#3 prospect – 1st round in 2018). 

3B Mark Vientos

This time I caught them both.

I did, however, miss out on Gabriel Moreno (#7 prospect).  He has statistically been NH’s best player so far this season.

The top Mets’ prospect with Binghamton is 3B Mark Vientos (#8). 

Many of the Mets’ best young players are at the level below Binghamton.  When Binghamton comes back to either Portland or New Hampshire later in the season, some of them may have been promoted to the Rumble Ponies.  I might want to be there.

Everything today was shot with my 600mm lens.  The length of that thing minimizes the danger I face when foul balls head my way. 

That lens also gives me a chance for good on-field shots.  In this game, there was an outfield collision that I was able to pick up in focus.

A good piece of successful sports photography is luck.  Most of the time you don’t know where the special shot will come from.  You wait….and hope.

Austin Martin (16) celebrates homer

I seldom stay long is the same location.  In high school softball/baseball games, I usually switch sides, if it’s possible, about halfway through.  At today’s stadium (Northeast Delta Dental) there were plenty of good, available vantage points.  Even behind the backstop was available because no fans were dining there.

By moving around, I lucked into two early-in-the-game home run celebrations.  Austin Martin had one and Manny Rodriguez had the other. 

In the Austin Martin homer (to left) celebration, I got Austin and Jordan Groshans (next batter) doing the home-run bump.

When a #9 batter hits a home run that’s likely to be special and that was the case with the one Manny clouted to rightfield.

Manny was very excited and his teammates were as well.  I was at an angle where the dugout celebrating came my way.  I even got one of his teammates in the process of pouring water on Manny.

Manny Rodriguez celebrates
More of the Manny Rodriguez celebration

I like pictures with several players in them.  I had some today with Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans together.  Those two could very well be playing together in Toronto in a few years.

Jordan Groshans

I continue to recommend that you take in a minor league game.  The price is right and the games are easy to get to.  Both times I’ve been to Manchester I’ve seen parents there with little kids getting an early taste of professional baseball.

I advise doing some homework on the two teams playing.  Know who each team’s best prospects are and try to get autographs and/or pictures of them.  Consider it a challenge.  I got Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts that way. Who knows who you might get?

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

Jordan Groshans, Austin Martin, Chavez Young
Jordan Groshans batting
Austin Martin
Austin Martin bats
Will Toffey had a two-run homer
Mark Vientos takes a cut
Hayden Senger had a two-run homer

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Filed under Binghamton Mets, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Grace Romine shines in relief in Triton’s 13-4 win over Ipswich

Grace Romine pitched four shutout innings in relief for Triton
Triton struggled in the field early on

(Byfield MA) Triton can hit and they can score runs.

Today the relief pitching of sophomore Grace Romine kicked in as well to help the Vikings defeat Ipswich, 13-4, on Friday afternoon.

Grace came in for starter Mallory Johnson in the top of the fourth inning.

First batter Grace faced (Rowan Galanis) dropped down a perfect run-producing bunt to give the Tigers a, 4-3, lead.

After that? Ipswich didn’t get a run or a hit the rest of the way, in fact, Grace retired the last ten batters she faced.

“Grace pitched well,” said Triton coach Alan Noyes afterwards.  “She pitched well in a loss to North Reading a few weeks ago.  She’ll probably get the ball when we play Newburyport on Monday.”

Kyla Story had four hits

The Vikings (6-5) had hits in every inning and scored in every inning.

“They’ve got good hitters,” said Ipswich coach Paul James post-game.

Kyla Story, Haleigh Harris, and Natalie Indingaro led the Triton attack.  Kyla had four hits and four RBI.  Haleigh contributed three hits and two RBI, while Natalie had two hits and two RBI.

“We do a lot of hitting,” explained Coach Noyes.  “We put in forty-five minutes to an hour every day we practice.”

The Tigers, however, looked strong in this one into the fourth inning.

“We had it close,” recalled Coach James. 

Triton errors and hit batsmen put the visitors into numerous scoring situations during the early innings and they capitalized four times.

However, despite some shaky plays, the Vikings also had some defensive gems that limited the Ipswich run production.

Catcher Haleigh Harris has the ball ready for incoming Rowan Galanis

Twice in the first four innings, Rowan Galanis was thrown out at the plate. 

In the second inning, it was a throw by centerfielder Izzy Oldoni that got the Ipswich senior. 

In the fourth inning, when Cassidy Smith tried to steal second, the throw went directly to shortstop Kyla Story instead.  Kyla returned the throw to catcher Haleigh Harris catching Rowan trying to score from third.

In the third inning, rightfielder Natalie Indingaro made a nice running catch to rob Maya Williams of a hit.

The Vikings had eight doubles off starter Annabel Morris and those big hits accounted for seven runs driven in.

Senior Gabby McKendry had a two-out, two-run single during Triton’s six-run sixth inning.

Rowan Galanis safe at second

Junior Lexi James had two hits and scored three times for Ipswich.

The weather was warm, and the threatening clouds didn’t turn into anything.

The seniors from both schools were honored afterwards.

Freshman Kyla Story continues to impress me with her hitting and her fielding.  I’m not the only one.

Coach James: “Triton has a great shortstop.”

Coach Noyes: “At the start of tryouts she hid in the corner.  She’s come into her own.  She’s the real deal.  She had a big game against Lynnfield.”

I asked Kyla afterwards about the game: “Our energy got up after a while.  I’ve been practicing a lot.  I play in the middle infield for the Northeast Hurricanes.”

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

Senior Izzie Reiniger
Catcher Katie Bekeritis
Natalie Indingaro – two hits, two RBI
Grace Romine pitching
Paige Leavitt slides in safely
Rowan Galanis out at home in the second inning
Lexi James scored three times
Catcher Haleigh Harris chats with new pitcher Grace Romine
Ipswich bench
LF Emily Johnson
1B Gabby McKendry
Katie Bekeritis on base
1B Cassidy Smith
2B Maya Williams
Ipswich box
Triton box

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Seven-run inning gets Newburyport 10-5 win vs Pentucket

Grace Habib had four hits and drove in three runs for Newburyport
Sarah Sargent (3 hits, 3 RBI) for Pentucket

(Newburyport MA) The Newburyport Clippers (6-4) used a seven-run third inning to defeat Pentucket, 10-5, on Tuesday afternoon at Cashman Park.

The Sachems (3-7) had tied the score at, 3-3, in their half of the third inning.

Freshman Keira Dowell was the surprise starter for Newburyport.

“I found out last night that I was pitching today because Emily Meleedy was sick,” said Keira who had done some pitching for the Newburyport JVs. 

Keira had six strikeouts and only two walks.

The secret to her success against Pentucket was her ability to keep the Sachems from putting a big inning together.

Pentucket had at least one hit in every inning, but they stranded runners in every inning.  The chances were there but on this sunny afternoon the big hits weren’t.

Keira Dowell won her first varsity start

“It was rough,” said Pentucket coach Deb Smith afterwards.  “We usually come out stronger.  We’ve been hitting so well lately.”

The Clippers had twelve hits but stranded only FIVE runners.  That made the difference.

Half of the NHS hits came in the breakaway third inning.  Twelve Clippers batted.  Five batters in, Newburyport had only one run in and two outs.  But Keira Dowell followed with a two-run single.  After that, an infield error and three additional hits (Maddie McLeod, Cali Caponigro, Grace Habib) turned minimal damage into significant damage.

“When people start hitting, it’s contagious,” said Clippers coach Bob Gillespie of the big inning.

Maddie McLeod scores for Clippers

The 10-3 spread after three innings had some thinking of a possible 10-run, mercy ruling ahead but Pentucket would have none of it.

Pentucket starter Charlotte Latham allowed only one baserunner over the final three Newburyport innings. 

Meanwhile, the Sachems added a run in the fifth (Sarah Sargent RBI double) and another in the seventh (Nicole Tocci RBI single).

But the big inning didn’t happen for the visitors and Newburyport came away with a 10-5 win.

Grace Habib continued her remarkable hitting against Pentucket.  In two games versus the Sachems, Grace is eight-for-eight with seven RBI.

“It’s easy to time out someone’s speed when you’ve already hit against her,” explained Grace afterwards. 

Grace was Newburyport’s catcher.

Nieve Morrissey and Emma Lopata

“Grace did a great job behind the plate,” said Coach Smith. “We couldn’t steal after the first inning.”

Sophomore Maddie McLeod had three hits, two RBI, and scored two runs.  Maddie had singles in each of the first three innings.

Cali Caponigro and Keira Dowell each had two RBI for Newburyport.

I’ve seen Pentucket senior Sarah Sargent twice and been impressed both times.  Sarah can certainly play shortstop with good leadership skills and has a strong, accurate arm.  Her hitting was equally eye-catching today.  She had two doubles, and a single and drove across three Pentucket runs.

Charlotte Latham pitched for Pentucket

Senior Nicole Tocci also had three hits for the Sachems.

Charlotte Latham and Megan Codair each had two hits.  Meghan Hamel scored twice.

Bob Gillespie: “Pentucket is always tough to beat.  Keira pitched very well.  It was her first varsity win.”

I’m suspecting that many of Keira’s pitches were up in the strike zone because Pentucket totaled nine flyball/popup outs.

I showed up at Pioneer Park looking for the game.  Back in the day all of the softball games were at Cashman Park, so I knew where to look next for today’s game.

Meghan Hamel scores for Sachems

Nice weather after a cold, damp Memorial Day weekend.  Cashman Park always has a nice breeze when it’s a warm day.  Play there when it’s cold, and that breeze isn’t as friendly.

Another thing about Cashman Park is that Park Lunch is nearby and occasionally the aroma of hamburg/steak ventures over. 

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

Keira Dowell
Sarah Sargent forces Jenny Masone at 2B
1B Sydney Pichette
Meghan Hamel scored two runs
1B Lea Quintiliana
RF Bailey Stock makes a nice catch
2B Maddie McLeod under a popup
SS Sarah Sargent throws to first base
Senior Isabel Garcia
Near catch by CF Nieve Morrissey
3B Cali Caponigro throws to 1B
Collision course
LF Sophie Lavallee in on a line drive
SS Emma Keefe
Cali Caponigro and Keira Dowell pre-game

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Last-inning rally earns Amesbury 6-5 walk-off win vs Lynnfield

Shea Cucinotta (white helmet) singled in the game winner for Amesbury
Evan Balian had 3 hits and 3 RBI

(Amesbury MA) Lynnfield gave Amesbury (6-3) too many chances and it finally caught up to them in the last inning.

The Pioneers had issued seven walks and had hit two batters through six innings.  However, they had a 5-3 lead.

That lead vanished after the Indians got two more walks in their half of the seventh.  Senior Tiernan Bentley drove both walkers (Tim Gilleo & Trevor Kimball) in to tie the score.

“I haven’t been hitting all that well this season,” said Tiernan afterwards.  “It felt good to get one.”

Two hit-batsmen followed (Luke Arsenault & Jake Harring) loading the bases with one out and Shea Cucinotta the batter.  Shea had a hit the previous inning.

With a chance to seal the outcome, Shea delivered a shot to the outfield that scored pinchrunner Donovan Landry and the celebrating began for Amesbury’s 6-5 walk-off win.

Pinchrunner Donovan Landry home with the game winner

“I’m not going to lie,” explained Shea, “I was a little nervous coming up in that situation.  My heart was beating out of my chest!  I knew that I just had to put the ball out there somewhere to score the run.  It felt great.”

“Give Amesbury credit,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien post-game.  “They hung in there and got the big hit when they needed it.”

“We just can’t walk people and hit people,” added Coach O’Brien.  “You need to throw strikes and let the guys make the plays.”

Despite the loss, Lynnfield senior Evan Balian had an impressive afternoon.  He came to bat in the seventh inning with a chance to hit for the cycle. 

Evan hit a homer (3rd inning) over the rightfield fence and a triple (fifth inning) over the rightfielder’s head.  He had a single in the first inning. Evan had three RBI. 

A key moment in this game was the Lynnfield seventh.  The Pioneers (3-6) had the two-run lead but Amesbury reliever Tiernan Bentley was able to retire the side in order.  Tiernan got the dangerous Evan to ground out to first to end that inning.

Tiernan Bentley drove in 2 runs in the 7th to tie the score

“Coach (Brierley) told me to go out there and throw strikes and that’s exactly what I did,” said Tiernan.

Lynnfield got two runs in the top of the first.  An RBI by Evan Balian and a wild throw to third on a steal attempt accounted for the LHS runs.

The Indians managed to get both those runs back thanks to six walks and a hit batsman in the first two innings.  They did strand six runners.

“We gave them runs early and we left the bases loaded in the first two innings,” said Coach Joel Brierley.  “We have to do better.”

The Pioneers got out of that second inning on an unusual play.  Tim Gilleo’s popup into short left attracted both 3B Trent Balian and SS Nick Razzaboni.  The fielders collided but Nick was able to stick out his hand and make a diving catch to save multiple runs from scoring.

SS Nick Razzaboni and 3B Trent Balian
Nick Razzaboni makes the catch
Trevor Kimball out at the plate

Tim Pivero started the third inning in relief of starter Blake Peters.  A nice throw (LF Aidan Burke) and tag (catcher Evan Balian) nailed Trevor Kimball at the plate for the final out of that inning.

Lynnfield built their lead to 5-2 in the sixth.  A wild pitch (Drew Scialdone) allowed Luke Martinho to score.  RF Luke Arsenault tossed out Nick Razzaboni at the plate trying to score on Jack Bird’s single, to record the final out of the inning.

Amesbury got that run back with a Luke Arsenault triple and a sacrifice fly by Jake Harring in their half of the sixth inning.

Amesbury then took advantage of the walks and HPB’s in the 7th and rallied to earn a walk-off win.

Pickoff attempt

The Indians collected all their six hits in the final four innings.

“Once we get to see a pitcher for a second or third time, that’s when we score our runs,” explained Coach Brierley.  “Even when we’re down, I know we’ll find ways to score.”

“We wanted the top of our order (Jake Harring, Shea Cucinotta, Jeremy Lopez) to get up in that final inning,” said Coach Brierley.  “The walks and hit-batsmen enabled it to happen.”

Winning pitcher Tiernan Bentley is a senior.  “I plan to go to UConn in the fall and play rugby.”

Lynnfield starter Blake Peters collected two hits.  “Blake has pitched three or four really nice games,” said Coach O’Brien.  “It wasn’t his day today.”

Trevor Kimball started for Amesbury.

Weather was good with low 80’s and a breeze.

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

Shea Cucinotta up with the bases loaded in the 7th
Trevor Kimball scores the tying run in the 7th
Evan Balian retired in the 7th inning
Pitcher Tim Pivero beats Drew MacDonald to 1B
Luke Arsenault scores the 3rd Amesbury run
Play at second
Tim Gilleo and Danny Dorman
Blake Peters had two hits and scored two runs
Jake Harring on base four times
Aidan Burke scores the first Lynnfield run
Aidan Burke and Shea Cucinotta
Trevor Kimball started for Amesbury
2B Jack Bird

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Amesbury scores ten runs in the first inning and defeats Ipswich 15-5

Shortstop Shea Cucinotta saw his first action today in Amesbury’s big win
Evan Stein scores the second Ipswich run

(Amesbury MA) Ipswich was coming off their first win.

Amesbury was coming off two tough late-inning losses.

Two teams trending in opposite directions.

And Ipswich kept trending in a positive direction with a three-spot in the top of the first inning.

But that’s where it ended for the Tigers.

Amesbury responded with ten runs in their half of the first inning and cruised from there to a 15-5 victory.

Luke Arsenault had 3 hits and 2 rbi

The mercy rule kicked in during the Amesbury fifth inning.

“We needed this after last week,” said AHS coach Joel Brierley afterwards.  “However, we didn’t plan on beginning the way we did today.”

“We started today thinking that we would win,” said shortstop Shea Cucinotta post-game.  “You just can’t take a team for granted.  But we did pull together and get a victory.”

Special game for Shea because it was his first of the season.  The Cape Ann League All-Star has been missed by the Indians (5-3) for sure.

“Now we have Shea back as well as our senior catcher (Tim Gilleo),” said Coach Brierley.  “So we have a couple of weeks to put everything together before the tournament.”

The Amesbury hitting has been good and continued to be just that today.

The Indians had fourteen hits to go with the fifteen runs in only 4+ innings.

Drew MacDonald started for Amesbury

Eight of the nine AHS starters had hits.  Luke Arsenault had three hits, while Trevor Kimball and Jake Harring added two hits.

The biggest hit in the game may well have been Jeremy Lopez’s in the big first inning.  The Amesbury senior cleared the bases with a two-out triple to right.

That opening inning had all sorts of nightmarish ingredients for the Tigers (1-8).  There were two outfield errors, two hit batsmen, and two walks.  That’s a mix that will get a team in serious trouble for sure………and it did in the visitors.

Ipswich was coming off an exciting 9-8, last-inning, win over Pentucket.  Their bats were still hot at the outset of today’s game. 

Two batters in they had a run after Finn MacLennon doubled and Evan Stein singled.  A few batters later Wes Smith drove in another run with a single.  A fielder’s choice (Jake Reily) led to the third run.

Jeremy Lopez drove in 3 runs and scored 2 runs

Great start for Ipswich but it didn’t continue.  AHS starter Drew MacDonald pitched clean innings in the 2nd and 3rd innings.  Tiernan Bentley took care of things in the 4th and 5th innings.

The Indians needed a run in their fifth inning to activate the mercy rule.  They got what they needed.  Will Arsenault doubled.  Josh Sorgini’s fielder’s choice moved Will to 3B.  Tiernan Bentley’s single brought home the game-ending run.

“We came out here and we wanted to have some fun today and that’s what we did,” explained Drew MacDonald.

Drew claimed that he knew the source of Amesbury’s good hitting.  “We’ve been having Jeremy’s older brother throw some BP.  I think he’s our good-luck charm now.”

Cade Wetter pitched for IHS

Shea Cucinotta was excited to be playing again after being injured playing football.  “It was great to go out there with the boys.  I missed it.  Getting in for the next half of the season is going to be real good.  I was a little rusty out there today, but it feels good to be moving again.”

Ipswich finished with six hits.  Wes Smith had two of them to go with an RBI.

The Indians added three runs to their ten runs in the second inning.  Jake Harring’s double brought in two of the runs.

AHS coach Joel Brierley

Ipswich had single runs in the fourth (Finn MacLennon rbi) and the fifth (Drew Lane rbi).

Jake Harring, Shea Cucinotta, Jeremy Lopez, Drew Scialdone, Aidan Donovan, and Luke Arsenault each scored twice.

Jake Reily started for Ipswich and gave way to Drew Lane in the first inning.

The weather was splendid.  Temperatures were in the 70’s with a nice breeze.

There will be a tournament at the end of the season.  “It will be different this year because any team, no matter what their record is, can be in the tournament,” said Coach Brierley.  “We want to be over .500 and deserve to be there.”

The tournament won’t START until June 15th.  Amesbury gets out of school on June 17th.  “Our guys are completely okay will playing after school is over,” said Coach Brierley.

Amesbury faced Ipswich at Ipswich a week ago.  Drew MacDonald pitched a complete-game three hitter with seven strikeouts.  AHS won, 11-0.

Nice running catch by Amesbury CF Cam Stanley.

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

Ipswich dugout
Tiernan Bentley did some late-game pitching and hitting
Donovan Landry pitched for AHS
Drew Scialdone had a hit and scored two runs
Amesbury dugout
Cam Stanley makes a nice catch in CF
Trevor Kimball had two hits and an rbi
Both teams wait for the new pitcher
Tim Gilleo
Drew MacDonald scores the 4th Amesbury run
Shortstop Nate Baise and baserunner Jake Harring
Shea Cucinotta
Shortstop Shea Cucinotta and baserunner Evan Stein

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Filed under Amesbury, Ipswich

Prospect picturing in Manchester NH

Triston Casas is Boston’s top prospect
Austin Martin was chosen 5th in last year’s draft

(Manchester NH) Minor league baseball is back!

And I’m glad.

I enjoy going.

What do I like about minor league ball? 

Maybe it’s the nonstop whiffs of food that I shouldn’t be eating but crave.

More likely, it’s how hard the stadium staff and the players work to make it enjoyable. 

I’m walking along at today’s Fisher Cats’ game and a staff member cautions me about an untied shoelace. 

Players were warming up near the stands in rightfield.  A throw went into the stands. It didn’t come close to anyone, but it startled several of them.  The players involved rushed over to apologize and gave a baseball to one of the spectators.

Gabriel Moreno is Toronto’s 7th prospect

These are little things, but they make you glad you’re there and you want to come back.

I go to minor league games as a photographer.  I never plan to cover the games the way I do with high school sports.  There won’t be interviews with anyone post-game.

I did interview Tyler Murray pre-game today.  He’s the radio voice of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

I have only interviewed one minor league player.  I wanted to try it.  I got Mike Antonellis (then radio voice of the Portland Sea Dogs) to set me up to interview Bobby Dalbec.

Ronoldo Hernandez is Boston’s 11th prospect

I admit I was a bit nervous going into it because I hardly knew Bobby.  I don’t recall what I asked him but I do know that I got him to pose for a picture when the interview was over.  The picture IMO was a good one.

The only problem with the Bobby Dalbec interview was that I had forgotten to turn my digital recorder on!  Embarrassing, to say the least.  Maybe that’s why I stick to pictures when I go to minor league games.

When I saw that the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox farm team) were the opponent for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this afternoon, I made the arrangements to attend.

I NEVER go to a minor league game without knowing the names (numbers) of the top prospects on both teams.  I certainly want Red Sox prospects but often the other team has future stars as well.

My prospect chasing actually started in Portland when 19-year-old Bryce Harper was a late-in-the-season addition to the Harrisburg Senators.  When the Senators came to Portland I was able to find, and picture Bryce, even though he wasn’t playing. 

Triston Casas had a 3-run homer

I was after Triston Casas today.  The 20-year-old is Boston’s top prospect.  The first baseman is tall and powerful.  He had a three-run homer this afternoon. 

The Fisher Cats had numerous prospects on their roster.

“According to MLB.com, the Fisher Cats have the third-most, loaded roster in minor league baseball,” Tyler Murray told me.

Simon Woods Richardson is the second-best pitcher in the Toronto minor league system.  He pitched last night.

Triston Casas heads for the dugout after signing a lot of autographs
Ball loose on a play at second base

Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans are former first-round picks.  Austin was chosen 5th last year while Jordan was chosen 12th in 2018.

Jordan was injured but I did get to see Austin.  He was in center this afternoon.  He is listed as the 22nd best prospect in the minors.  Jordan is a shortstop and he’s the 46th best prospect. 

Austin didn’t get any hits today, but he did have two outfield assists.

Gabriel Moreno is a catcher (He was the DH today) and is #7 on the Blue Jays prospect list.  He had a hit and an RBI today.

I saw two other Top Thirty prospects for Boston; Ronaldo Hernandez (11th) and Jeisson Rosario (21st).

The Sea Dogs won today’s game, 7-2, getting six runs off two relievers in the 8th and 9th innings.  Triston and Joey Menesses homered during the six-run rally.

Triston Casas takes a practice swing

Josh Winckowski started for the Sea Dogs.  He came from the New York Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City last year.

The Fisher Cats starter (Elvis Luciano) went out with an injury unable to finish the first inning.

Minor League Baseball has been keeping the media away from the teams.  “It’s been difficult to get to know the players personally because we’ve been separated from them,” said Tyler.

Those restrictions impact how close photographers can get too.  I now own a 600m lens and it came in handy today.

Tyler on how things are going: “Last night we had an awesome crowd.  We’ll be near to 100% capacity on June 1st.  Vaccinated fans don’t need to wear masks anymore.”

Jeisson Rosario in the Portland dugout

Tyler on how the stadium was used with no baseball last season: “We didn’t have baseball so we ended up hosting twenty special events, mostly high school and college graduations.  We have the room.  People had such a good time that we now have more graduations booked than last year.”

The scheduling is different.  The teams now play Tuesday-Sunday in the same city.  Monday is a travel day.

“I love the scheduling,” said Tyler.  “It saves travel.  We’d have a game end in New Jersey at 11PM and then have to drive to Maine.  We’d get in about 5AM.  It was tough with no days off. One city with consistent days off has been great so far.”

Austin Martin stretches pre-game

Tyler was excited about the future.  “It’s good to have the whole staff back.  Many staff members were furloughed during last season.”

More than 134 former Fisher Cats have appeared in the big leagues.  There are plenty of good players going through here.

Two years ago, I trekked to Manchester (NH) numerous times to see Vladi Guerrero, Bo Bichette, and Caven Biggio.

I would encourage folks to check out the Fisher Cats.  The stadium is a 42-minute ride from Amesbury via 495, 93, and 293. 

Being close to the action is guaranteed. Book a date, do your homework, and bring a camera.

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

Pitcher Willy Gaston
Vinny Capra (3 hits) leads off first base
Triston Casas returns to Portland dugout
Triston Casas at first base
Shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald
Roldani Baldwin being checked out after being hit by a pitch
1B Nick Podkul
LJ Talley 3B
SS Kevin Vicuna
Portland starter Josh Winckowski
Players interact
Jeisson Rosario batting
2B Grant Williams
Gabriel Moreno batting
Fisher Cats starter Elvis Luciano
Catcher Chris Bec
Austin Martin
Pitcher Andrew McInvale

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Filed under New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Portland Sea Dogs