Tag Archives: Alex Carucci

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

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

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

Ryan McCullough had two long punt returns

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

And it did.

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

Chase Dwight (4) scored twice

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

Alex ran for one score and passed for another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan McCullough and Paul Parachojuk battle

Credit the NR defense.  They forced another punt.

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Guidebeck and John Jennings

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

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

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

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

Ryan McGuire (1) interception

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

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

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

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

Will scored his 20th touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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

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

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

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

Brandon Lee after a catch

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

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

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

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

Will Batten (6) breaks loose

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

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

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

Both North Reading and Pentucket lost to Amesbury this season.

John Jennings (13) makes a tackle

Che Condon had four catches for 111 yards.

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

The Hornets have now won five straight.

North Reading 0  6  11  14  – 31

Pentucket         0  7    0     7  – 14

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

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

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

Senior Jeremy Lopez allowed one hit and struck out five Hornets

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

Jeremy Lopez congratulated at game’s end

But Coach Joel Bierley didn’t.

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

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

Jeremy carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. 

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

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

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

Joe Giacalone stole two bases and scored a run

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

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

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

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

Drew MacDonald had a hit and scored twice

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

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

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

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

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

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

SS Frank Cassarino throws to first

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Lopez won his second game of the season

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

Jeremy Lopez about to tag out Matt Ryan at first

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

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

Weather was nice. 

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

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

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