Tag Archives: Brett Fontaine

Manchester-Essex ends Newburyport’s 18-game win streak with 5-2 shocker in Cape Ann League baseball

Joe Burgess rounds first. The Hornet senior had three hits and scored two runs in the ME upset.

Complete game winner Adrian Frattini scattered seven hits and assisted on the last out of the game.

(Newburyport)  Who saw this coming?

Undefeated Newburyport was riding an 18-game winning streak going back into last season.  They’re the defending Division 3 state champs.

Manchester-Essex was 2-16 last year and 2-3 this season with losses to Georgetown, Rockport, and Amesbury.

But at the end of this Thursday afternoon game the Hornets (3-3) were jumping up and down after a 5-2 upset over the Clippers (5-1) at cold and cloudy Pettingell Field in a Cape Ann League contest.

Winning pitcher Adrian Frattini had run support early (up 4-0 after 2 ½ innings) and scattered seven hits over seven innings.

For 6 ½ innings the Hornets played like they were the defending state champs showing strong pitching, timely hitting and flawless fielding, but in the bottom of the seventh, with a 5-2 lead, they started to unravel.

Clipper pinch hitter Ryan Short reached first after a passed ball on a strikeout with one out.  After a back-to-the-fence flyout by Colby Morris, shortstop Joe Burgess fell down trying to field Ian Michaels grounder putting two runners on with two outs.  Up stepped CAL All-Leaguer Brett Fontaine.  He hit a grounder to the right of first baseman Max Nesbit that had “routine out” written all over it.  However, pitcher Adrian Frattini was late coming over to cover and the hustling Brett Fontaine beat the throw.

But then ME got the game-ending break as Ryan Short tried to score from second on Brett’s grounder and Adrian’s throw to Dom Cirone nailed him by plenty to secure the Hornet upset.

Newburyport had another basepath blunder in the 4th inning when Connor MacRae strayed too far off second base on a sacrifice fly and was picked off.

Evan Habib – hit hard early

First-time Clipper starter Evan Habib gave up a double to Joe Burgess on the first pitch he threw and was down 2-0 after three batters.  John Browning delivered the first run with a double over leftfielder Mike Sweeney’s head.  John scored on Matt Corwin’s single to right.

Evan faced the top of the order again in the third inning and surrendered two more runs.  Another double by Joe Burgess (he was 3-for-3), started things and a single to right center by John Browning moved Joe to third.  Joe registered the Hornets’ third run of the game on a wild pitch. John would come home with Run #4 on a Max Nesbit sacrifice fly.

Stephen Singer came on to pitch to the Hornets in the 4th.  His problem was wildness.  Three walks, one of them intentional to Joe Burgess, and a hit batsman (John Browning) gave ME a 5-0 advantage after 3 ½  innings.

John Browning misjudges a foul fly

It looked as if the Clipper fortunes were changing for the better in the bottom of the 4th after Colton Fontaine got an extra swing because John Browning misjudged his foul fly.  Sure enough, Colton ripped the next pitch to left for a single.  Jimmy Conway followed with a walk before Connor MacRae laced a high fastball to left center for a double driving in Colton and sending Jimmy to third.

So there it was nicely set up for Newburyport; a run in, two runners in scoring position, and no one out.  But instead of a really big 4th inning the Clippers sacrifice flied into a double play and Ben Greene grounded out to short.  The Clippers got two runs but the chance for more escaped them.

Stephen Singer pitched his way out of a base loaded, nobody out, big-time jam in the fifth with a force at home surrounded by two strikeouts.

That escape kept the deficit at three runs (5-2) but the Clippers couldn’t rally back over the last two innings and get their first loss of the season.

Brett Fontaine and Joe Burgess

This was Adrian Frattini’s first start of the season.  It certainly shouldn’t be his last!

Noah Brown and freshman John Browning each had two hits for ME.

Centerfielder Ian Michaels had two hits for the Clippers.

Manchester-Essex faces Ipswich at home on Saturday afternoon (1PM).

Newburyport rematches with North Reading on the same day at home at 10AM.  The Clippers won the first meeting, 1-0, on April 13th.

As the Hornets carried the lead into the late innings someone on the ME bench said, “This is like the US against Russia,” recalling the Lake Placid upset by the American Olympians.

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

Matt Corwin

Clipper coach Steve Malenfant

Matt Corwin tagged out by Colby Morris

Joe Burgess

Colton Fontaine

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Newburyport gets a twenty-point lead by halftime and cruises to 56-42 win over Watertown in the D3 North

Ian Michaels (23 points) gets down the lane

Alex Losh defends Cory Fitzgerald

(Newburyport) Shorthanded Watertown got into a deep rut in the first half and never recovered bowing to Newburyport, 56-42, on a snowy/slippery Thursday night at NHS.

The win gets the Clippers (15-6) into the quarterfinals at home against #5 seed Arlington Catholic Sunday night at 5PM.

The #13 Raiders (6-15) were without Pat McHugh.  Pat injured his ankle in practice two days ago.  He had thirty-two points in Watertown’s opening win of the season.  Significant loss…..you bet!

The Clippers were well rested (hadn’t played in nearly two weeks) and played nearly flawlessly on both ends of the court for the first half.  Newburyport ran their lead to, 34-14, by halftime and the visitors would never get inside ten points the rest of the way.

action under the basket

Ian Michaels (23 points) had it going early with the Clippers first eight points.  The junior guard had fourteen in the decisive first half.

Newburyport from the Cape Ann League ran some of basketball’s basic plays (backdoor cuts, pick-and-roll) to perfection.  “Sharp” is the best way I can describe their execution.

Without Pat McHugh to score some points on the inside, Watertown from the Middlesex League tried to compete via the long ball.  They ended up hitting seven of them but on this night Newburyport had answers.

Watertown’s best burst of offense was by Kevin DiPietrantonio (12 points) who connected on eight straight points with a layup and two triples.  Kevin’s scoring brought the Raiders to, 47-33, 1 ½ minutes into the final period.  But Newburyport answered with an Alex Losh layup on an inbounds play and an AJ MacDougall layin.

The Raiders cut the lead to ten (51-41) late but the early deficit was too much to overcome.

Brett Fontaine of Newburyport went down with an ankle injury in the third period and didn’t return.

sophomore Cesar Fulcar (16 points)

Cesar Fulcar led the Raider scorers with sixteen points.

Colby Morris had four assists in the Clipper first half.

Watertown had seven turnovers in the second quarter and that combined with looking for scoring to replace Pat McHugh hurt them significantly.

The win avenges a loss Watertown handed Newburyport (55-31) in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Arena last year.

The road conditions after the game were scary/dangerous.  I couldn’t get my truck with studded tires up my driveway despite four or five attempts.  Driving back to Watertown had to have been an “adventure” for the Raider fans.

Newburyport boxscore

Watertown boxscore

(The pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Ian Michaels

Colton Fontaine (8 points) layup

Brett Fontaine down

Colby Morris

Joey Farrar (11 points)

NHS coach Tom LItalien

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Strong Finish Gets Hamilton-Wenham Past Newburyport 55-50 in Boys Basketball

Shane Jenkins scores a crucial basket in the last minute with a backdoor cut and getting a pass from Stephen Tam.

Colton Fontaine (12 points) drives past Jimmy Campbell

(Newburyport)  Hamilton-Wenham (8-3) broke away from a 47-47 tie in the last two minutes and defeated Newburyport, 55-50, on a warm Tuesday night at Newburyport.

The Clippers (10-3) had won the December meeting between these two (45-39) at HW. In this one the home team couldn’t hold a ten-point (30-20) second quarter lead or execute very well on either end in the final two minutes and it cost them dearly.

While the Generals looked to be in deep trouble trailing by ten points in the second quarter, the Clippers looked done when they fell behind, 45-39, in the fourth quarter.  Both teams recovered nicely and turned it into an exciting two-minute game.

Freshman James Foye (10 points) opened the scoring in the “end game” with two clutch free throws.  After a Newburyport miss, Stephen Tam (12 points) dribbled around near the top of the key appearing to be intent on taking a shot.  Wrong assumption!  Shane Jenkins (9 points) made a backdoor cut and caught the Clippers napping and made a layup.  Then a Colby Morris turnover sent James Foye off for another layup.  That put the Generals ahead by six (53-47) with only twenty-eight seconds left.

Two key free throws by freshman James Foye (10 points) late

A triple by Colby Morris (11 points), assisted by Brett Fontaine, quickly had Newburyport within three with twenty-two seconds left.  After a timeout, the pressuring Clippers got the turnover they needed but just as quickly turned the ball back over to HW.  Off went Stephen Tam with the fumble for another layup and this game was over.

Tough loss for the Clippers.  This makes them 4-2 in the Cape Ann League D2 standings.  HW is now 4-1. The Generals have won the division the last two seasons.

Newburyport got that ten-point lead in the second quarter thanks to a 9-2 run over three minutes.  Colby Morris (11 points) had two assists and a triple in that surge.

It took HW 2 ½ minutes to get nine of those points back.  The killer basket in their nine straight was Jake Lindland’s desperation long one at the buzzer.  It was another case of Newburyport heavily defending Stephen Tam and last year’s CAL D2 Player of the Year finding an open teammate.

The Clippers looked cooked when HW put a 13-2 run on them during a 3-minute segment that stretched into the final quarter.  Stephen Tam scored off a turnover and added a three.  Ryan Richard came off the HW bench to contribute two baskets from in close.

Brett Fontaine (8 points) shoots over Shane Jenkins (9 points)

That 45-39 lead looked solid but four minutes later the hustling Clippers earned a 47-47 tie.  Two of the Clipper baskets were converted rebounds by Colton Fontaine (12 points) and Alex Losh (10 points).

Stephen Tam did a nice job defending Brett Fontaine.  Ian Michaels did the same defending Stephen Tam.

Ryan Willis (9 points) had three long ones for the Generals.

Colby Morris has three 3’s for Newburyport.

Senior Jake Lindland is recovering from a preseason knee injury.  His minutes have been limited so far.

Hamilton-Wenham was very content to run an offense on the perimeter looking for an opening for a long one.  The Clippers looked to get closer to the basket.

HW is 38-9 over the last 2+ seasons.

HW boxscore

Newburyport boxscore

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

Stephen Tam

Jake Lindland (#3)

Brett Fontaine

Stephen Tam

Colby Morris

Ryan Beckett defends

Ian Michaels sees a lane

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Late Rally Gets Newburyport Past North Reading 53-48 in Boys Basketball

Colby Morris launches big three late in the game as Clipper reserves watch.

Carl Lipani (44) takes the last shot for North Reading.

(Newburyport) The Clippers put together a nice package of scoring and defense in the final 4 ½ minutes and defeated North Reading, 53-48, in nonleague play on Friday night at Newburyport High School.

This game was entertainingly close throughout.  The Hornets had seven points leads in the 2nd and 3rd quarters while the best the Clippers could do up until the final minute was a 3-point advantage in the third period.

The Clipper defense limited North Reading to only one point over the final 4+ minutes.  Alex Losh had a huge block when this was a one-point game down the stretch.

Big block by Alex Losh (12) on Mike OBrien (32) late in the game.

The late-game Newburyport offense fell into the able hands of Brett Fontaine trailing 47-42 with 4 ½ minutes left.  On three straight possessions he took the ball right at the Hornet defense and came away with two baskets and two made free throws.  Brett’s work gave the Clippers a slim 48-47 lead with 1 ½ to go.

After an NR miss, the Clippers Ian Michaels broke into the middle of the Hornet defense and drew defenders with him thinking he would drive to the hoop.  Instead he tossed the ball to Colby Morris alone in the corner in front the Newburyport bench.  Bang! The Clippers had a 4-point lead (51-47) with a minute left.

Mike O’Brien followed with a free throw.  He missed the second attempt but teammate Kyle Boucher got the rebound and was fouled.  He missed both – it probably didn’t help him shooting into the Clipper crowd directly under the basket he was shooting at.

The Hornets were eventually able to commit enough fouls to send Brett Fontaine to the foul line with a one-and-one.  He missed and that left NR with plenty of time, after a timeout with eleven seconds, to set up the game-tying shot.

Carl Lipani ended up taking that final shot which missed.  A couple of successful last-second Brett free throws closed the scoring.

North Reading (0-2) had seven-point leads in the middle quarters but just couldn’t put up points down the stretch.

Newburyport (2-0) has rallied late to win both games so far.

Dillon Guthro (44) goes for the block in the first half.

The home-crowd pleaser was sophomore Dillon Guthro.  He had at least four blocks by my count.

Next for Newburyport is a visit to Hamilton-Wenham on Tuesday.  HW coach Doug Hoak was on hand tonight.

North Reading next visits Ipswich on Tuesday.

Newburyport box score

North Reading box score

The pictures enlarge to normal size if you click on them.

Alex Losh layup

Chris Capozzoli gets early third foul

Mike OBrien (32) gets inside Alex Losh (12) for two.

scramble for loose ball

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Late Score Gets Hamilton-Wenham Past Newburyport 7-0 in Division 3A Football Semifinals

Trevor Lyons (12) beats Evan Habib (8) and later Jared Bradbury (11) for game winner in last minute.

Luke Wendt (11) blocks Connor Wile pass attempt in first period near goal line.

(Andover)  Newburyport (9-3) squandered a chance to put points on the board early and the rest of the game couldn’t even get into Hamilton-Wenham territory at Andover High School on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, the Generals (11-0) kept things very interesting by failing to capitalize on several chances of their own before getting the game-winner with only 32 seconds left.

HW’s 7-0 win, in the Division 3A semifinals, puts them into the Super Bowl against Bourne (12-0) at noon on Saturday at Manning Field in Lynn.

Both teams in the Super Bowl game are undefeated.

This game had enough suspense for even the strongest of hearts.  Games that go scoreless for 39 ½ minutes out of 40 minutes will do that to you!

The five-yard, game winner, by quarterback Trevor Lyons, was at the conclusion of a ten-play, five-minute drive that started at the Newburyport 40.  The HW advance toward the end zone and the winding down of the clock in a scoreless tie, created edge-of-the-seat drama.

Two memorable plays got HW into the Clipper end zone:

Elliott Burr (22) breaks free with a screen pass for 29 yards setting up the HW touchdown late in the game.

(1) On 3rd-and-15 from the N34, the Generals victimized Newburyport with a perfectly executed screen pass.  QB Lyons sold the play and as the Clippers poured in on him he flipped a short pass to Elliott Burr in the middle.  Elliott not only got the first down but reached the Clipper 5 with two minutes left.

(2) After trying to get Elliott Burr in on the left (twice), the Generals set up as if they would try it a third time.  However, instead, Trevor Lyons rolled right, beat the corner (Evan Habib), and jumped into a defender (Jared Bradbury) at the goal line to score with 32 seconds left.  Ironically, Trevor hit that same right corner of the end zone in HW’s 18-6 win at Newburyport on September 23rd.

Paul Kim added the extra point and that’s the summation of the scoring.

Connor Wile passes with Ryan Foringer closing fast on him.

Watching Newburyport unable to do more on offense was startling.  Clipper QB Connor Wile came in with nearly 2000 passing yards and 21 TD passes.  In this game he was just 5-for-16 and 33 yards.  The total Newburyport offense was a meager 76 yards and only 4 first downs.

Credit the HW defense.  Their front four or three were able to put enough pressure on Connor to hurry him up.  This allowed the Generals’ linebackers to drop into short coverage and the secondary to concentrate on the long ball.

The Clippers nearly connected deep, early in the 4th quarter, but Brett Fontaine couldn’t hold on to Connor’s pass.

The Newburyport faithful will recall a major squander by their Clippers in the first period.  Jimmy Conway intercepted a Trevor Lyons pass and Newburyport was golden on the Generals twenty.  Connor Wile converted a third down play with a scramble to the HW 9.  Runs by Connor and Tyler Martin brought the Clippers to the HW2 for third down.  Big defensive play alert – Luke Wendt deflected a pass attempt over the middle and Newburyport was forced to settle for a field goal attempt.  When Brandon Trego’s kick went wide left the squander was complete.

Any points in that possession would have been huge as the game wound scoreless minute after minute until the very end.

While Newburyport was kept out of HW territory the rest of the way the Generals had no such problem.  They just couldn’t finish…….until the very end.

The Generals reached the Clipper 20 twice, had a 68-yard TD run by Trevor Lyons called back on a penalty, and had a TD pass dropped (Matt Putur) in the Clipper end zone just before halftime.  HW racked up 198 yards and 9 first downs.

Brett Fontaine (10) intercepts pass intended for Matt Putur (21) in 4th quarter.

Hamilton-Wenham also had two interceptions.  The second one, in the final quarter, would have been one that the HW would have been lamenting forever if they had lost.  The Generals reached the Clipper 20 with seven minutes left in a scoreless game.  On 4th-and-14, they decided to have runner Elliott Burr throw a pass.  Bad idea alert – Brett Fontaine took in the floater intended for Matt Putur and the Clippers were still alive.

But on this day, the HW’s inability to finish was offset by their terrific defense, and only one score was needed.  Undefeated Bourne may require more HW points on the board in the Super Bowl game.

The sky was overcast with a little drizzle before the game.  The temps were in the 50’s.  Was it really November 29th?

Great turf field at Andover.  Lighting was spectacular.  The track, however, kept fans a bit distant from the action.

Good crowd on both sides.  HW band impressed me.

This is the best season HW has had in its 52 football seasons.  Wouldn’t a Super Bowl championship be the frosting on the cake!

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  I apologize for any mistakes in advance.)

The pictures enlarge to normal size if you click on them.

Trevor Lyons

HW coach Andrew Morency after touchdown

Connor Wile (12) scrambes away from Luke Wendt (11)

Elliott Burr (22) uses Taylor Drinkwater (55) block.

Brett Fontaine open deep in second half.

Trevor Lyons (12) tackled by Colton Fontaine (7)

Trevor Lyons fair catch

68 yard Trevor Lyons run on first play……called back.

Kevin Anthony (58) Elliott Burr (22) Shane Jenkins (57)

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Newburyport Recovers to Defeat Ipswich 34-14 in Football

Peyton Primack (62) takes a recovered fumble into the end zone for a first play score for Ipswich.

QB Connor Wile was sacked on the first play but recovered to throw three TD passes and a 2 point conversion.

(Newburyport)  One play in the Newburyport Clippers didn’t know what hit them…………especially quarterback Connor Wile.  The Clipper QB ended up on all fours as the visiting Ipswich Tigers celebrated in the end zone.

That was the start but thereafter the Clippers straightened out their pass protection and scored at will to defeat Ipswich, 34-14, at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

But if you want to lose a quarterback, allow a full-speed defender a clean shot from the QB’s blindside as he‘s back to pass.  But that’s what happened and the hit caused Connor to fumble. Tiger Peyton Primack found the loose ball and took it 25 yards into the end zone.  Brenden Gallagher’s extra point kick (Nick Andreas hold) put Ipswich (1-4) in front 7-0.

This all turned out to be very misleading.  The thoughts that Newburyport might be less inclined to pass or that their offense would be limited, vanished by halftime.  For by then the Clippers (4-2) had put up four touchdowns – two on the ground and two in the air – and were in command, 27-14.

Tyler Martin (32) goes 47 yards for first quarter touchdown.

Connor’s protection was superb after that first disastrous play and the only times he went down were when he decided to scramble.

Newburyport operated out of the shotgun most of the time and spread the field with receivers (Brett & Colton Fontaine, Ian Michaels, and Jimmy Conway) that every scout (I saw Triton in the stands) is well aware of.  When Ipswich over-concentrated on pass defense the Clippers ran speedy Tyler Martin up the inside.  On this day, Ipswich was seriously burned by both forms of attack.

Tyler Martin got them first.  On a 3rd-and-21 from the Ipswich 47, NHS sent Tyler up the middle on a draw play.  Tyler stayed in the middle briefly and then cut right and sped to the end zone.  Brandon Trego’s kick was good (Tyler held).  So 3 ½ minutes into the first quarter, the Clippers were even.

Clear sailing for Brett Fontaine (3 TD catches) as Tiger defenders Louis Galanis (10) and Pat Curran collide.

Next possession, Newburyport struck through the air.  A harmless looking pass in the flat to Brett Fontaine did the trick.  The Tigers’ first defender (John Elnagger) missed the tackle and the next two defenders (Pat Curran and Louis Galanis) took each other out – Louis slipped into Pat.  Brett ended up with a clear 65-yard route to the end zone.

Brandon Trego’s kick was wide but Newburyport was ahead, 13-7, with 4:19 left in the first quarter.

Next possession, Newburyport moved deep into Ipswich territory early in the second quarter.  They reached the Tiger 7 before a Connor Wile pass intended for Brett Fontaine ended up in defender Nate Glaster’s hands.  Off the fast sophomore went down the left sideline on a 93-yard TD run.  Brenden Gallagher’s kick gave Ipswich a shocking, 14-13, lead with 9:10 left until halftime.

Nate Glaster (80) finishes a 93 yard interception return touchdown.

The thought at the time that Newburyport was just overly pass happy and needed to shelf that attack never seemed to be a consideration for the NHS staff.

The Clippers moved back down the field with a collection of passes and rushes.  A pass interference call helped greatly.  Tyler Martin provided the finishing touch with a 6-yard burst up the middle.  The kick was missed but Newburyport was ahead, 19-14, with 5:43 until the half.

A bit of trickery by Ipswich (fake punt by Louis Galanis) got them into Newburyport territory but the defense refused to give up any big plays from the line of scrimmage and the Clippers took over late in the half.

Again it was passes that quickly moved the Clippers close.  Connor Wile connected with Brett Fontaine for the score on the right side in the last minute from 8 yards away.   The pattern looked a lot similar to the one that had resulted in an Ipswich interception (TD) at the start of the quarter.

The Clippers went for two points.  They faked Tyler Martin up the middle (I was fooled by it!) and then Connor hit a very wide open Jimmy Conway in the right corner of the end zone.  This gave NHS a 27-14 lead at the half.

The second half started with turnover, turnover, and turnover.  Connor Wile was intercepted (Nate Glaster) while Ipswich fumbled twice.  The second Tiger fumble was recovered by Tyler Souther at the Ipswich 12.  Way too delectable field position for the Clipper offense on this day.

Brett Fontaine catches TD pass despite face mask infraction in third quarter.

NHS struck quickly as Connor hit Brett in the end zone.  Brett hung on despite suffering one of the more blatant face mask penalties you’ll ever see.  Brandon Trego kicked the extra point to put the Clippers further ahead, 34-14, with 7:34 left in the third quarter.  And that turned out to be the final score as a lot of clean jerseys were seen the rest of the way.

Credit Newburyport for sticking with a passing attack throughout the game.  Credit center Kyle Monahan for enabling the Clippers to function out of shotgun formation with a game of clean snaps.

Connor Wile might be a little tougher than your average high school quarterback.  In the winter he’ll be seen playing hockey and in the spring catching for the NHS baseball team.  Point?  He’s no stranger to contact!

The weather was full of surprises.  A half hour before game time it was pouring.  Thereafter we saw clouds and even some sun………only in New England.

The Clippers face Saugus at NHS next on Friday night (7PM).  Ipswich gets Lynnfield at home on the same night.  The rest of the way the games are league games.

Quarterback Nick Andreas sits on sideline with trainer Nicole Tougas and IHS coach Ted Flaherty.

Tiger freshman quarterback Nick Andreas was hit hard in the third quarter and didn’t return.  Sophomore Kyle Blomster took over the rest of the way.

Clipper junior Tyler Cusack was hit hard during kickoff coverage in the second half and didn’t return.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  I own the mistakes but I try hard to avoid them.)

The pictures will enlarge to normal size if you click on them.  Enjoy.

Newburyport sky

Brenden Gallagher (13)

Brett Fontaine (10) and Chris Desmond (50)

Louis Galanis (10 and Trevor Pituck (55)

Jimmy Conway flies after hit.

Peter Moutevelis (20)

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North Andover Led by Brandon Walsh Overwhelms Newburyport 34-7 in Football

Brandon Walsh (16) passed for two TDs and ran for two. Here blockers Bobby Trickett (55) and Nate Hitchcock (56) give him protection.

John Iannone scores first NA touchdown.

(Newburyport) In non-league Cape Ann League action, North Andover did many things right and easily defeated Newburyport, 34-7, on a beautiful Friday night at World War Stadium.

This was D1 North Andover versus D3 Newburyport.  This was also a rematch of teams that had been part of a 40-0 Knight blowout last year.  And this was also another year for senior quarterback Brandon Walsh to show why he is one of the best in the state.

This didn’t figure to be a close game but on the scoreboard it still was at halftime (13-7) but in the second half the visiting Knights produced scores on their first three possessions while the Clippers came up empty on theirs.

Brandon Walsh was good as advertised. NA operated with no huddle and received the plays via hand signals.  In Tom Brady fashion, Brandon made changes at the line of scrimmage on many plays.

Brandon Walsh (only the six visible in the distance) runs 72 yards to Newburyport 1.

One big improvising play in the second half stood out.  Brandon saw the Clipper defense shift to his left and so he carried right, cut back into the middle, then down the left sideline for 72 yards to the Newburyport one yard line.  Other teammates tried to rush in from there unsuccessfully before Brendon finished the job himself to put NA ahead, 26-7 in the third period.

The Knights (3-1) had plenty of weapons beside Brandon.  He threw eighteen times and great protection kept him from being hurried on any of them.  He completed twelve throws including touchdowns in each half.

Clipper QB Connor Wile saw plenty of pressure but still connected on 14 of 18 attempts including a 34-yard TD pass to Brett Fontaine with 2:57 left until halftime.

Connor rolled right on that play to buy time and lofted a pass, over the top of turned-around defender Tom Moody, that Brett had to leap to get.

Brett Fontaine hit hard by Dan Laorenza (7), Nate Hitchcock (56), Glen Hartford (44) and Tom Moody (30).

Speaking of Brett, he was rocked after a couple of receptions.  One picture shows him being hit by four NA players and his helmet pushed back.  He came out of that play holding his left arm and I suspect that sight had the NHS basketball and baseball coaches holding their collective breaths.

Newburyport won the toss and deferred.  They tried an onside kick that didn’t work and gave NA great early field position.

NHS head coach Ed Gaudiano took a severe chiding from the referee after complaining loud and early about, what he saw to be, NA holding.

Newburyport started the second half with the ball (their own 27) trailing just, 13-7.  They could gain just four yards in three plays.  The punt attempt turned disastrous as a low snap forced punter Trevor Pituck to kneel to get it and the play was ruled dead at the N17.

Clipper QB Connor Wile stands in the pocket with good protection.

NA was quick to capitalize.  After a six-yard run by John Iannone, Brandon started to scramble and then at the last second threw left to Dan Laorenza who finished off the final eleven yards to score.  There was a delay as officials discussed whether Brandon was over the line of scrimmage when he threw to Dan.  It was ruled he wasn’t.  Glen Hartford’s extra point kick put the Knights in front, 20-7 with 8:10 left in the third quarter.

NA’s first touchdown was on a John Iannone seven-yard sweep around the right end.

The final Knight score was at the end of a long drive that started on the NA 23.  Glen Hartford got the TD.  He lined up in the backfield and went out into the flat after a fake handoff and was wide open on the right side for an easy connection with Brandon.

Jared Bradbury (11) stuffs John Iannone (23) near the Clipper end zone.

Brandon was also the punter and holder.  I don’t recall seeing him much on defense.  One NA partisan told me that Brandon is getting recruited by D1 schools as a safety.  I read a recent article on Brandon that suggested that his best sport may be baseball where he is a catcher.

Jared Bradbury had the defensive hit of the night on a Knight receiver.

Newburyport (2-2) plays next Thursday night (7PM) at Marblehead.

North Andover (3-1) is at Medford next Friday night.

(I take my own pictures and create my own captions.  I try to be as accurate as possible.)

The pictures will enlarge to normal size if you click on them.

Brett Fontaine (10) after touchdown catch.

Trevor Pituck punts

Glen Hartford kicked four extra points. Brandon Walsh holds.

Brandon Walsh punts

Brandon Walsh

NHS coach Bob Clarke hears from the referee.

Tyler Martin follows Tyler Cusack (21) and Trevor Pituck (55)

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Hamilton-Wenham Stays Undefeated Downing Newburyport 18-6

HW punter Shane Jenkins leaps to catch a high snap in the 4th quarter.

NHS quarterback Connor Wile scrambles on 4th-and-8 in the fourth quarter.

(Newburyport) The Hamilton-Wenham Generals (3-0) continued undefeated with an 18-6 win over the Newburyport Clippers (2-1) on Friday under the lights and a persistent mist.

The final score is misleading because Newburyport showed right from the start that they could make yards against Hamilton-Wenham.  In fact, the Clippers scored on their first series (Jimmy Conway 12 yard pass from Connor Wile).  After that, despite good field position most of the time, the end zone eluded the home team.  Contributing to the lack of scoring were; mishandled snaps, penalties, and failure to convert 4th down opportunities.

On the other hand, HW was much more consistent on offense and much more diverse.  They scored one touchdown (Trevor Lyons) on the outside, another on the inside (Elliott Burr), and a third in the air (Pete Duval).

The two biggest plays, in my opinion, happened in the fourth quarter.

In the first one, the Generals (ahead 12-6) were forced to punt from their side of the field with five minutes left in the game.  Certainly the wet condition were a factor as the snap was high to HW punter Shane Jenkins.  The 6’2” senior leaped to make a one-handed snag and came down to get off a good punt.  If that snap had gone over his head, or been fumbled, the Clippers would have been set up very deep in HW territory with a chance to move in for at least a tie.

The second big play was a defensive stop by HW.  Clinging to a 12-6 lead with 3 ½ minutes left, HW defended the Clippers into a 4th-and-8.  On the next play, QB Connor Wile wanted to pass but ended up scrambling up the middle because of HW pressure.  A measurement showed that he ended up inches from a drive-continuing first down.

The Generals followed that 4th down stop with a march that ended in the Clipper end zone as QB Trevor Lyons completed a 23-yard pass to Pete Duval with 1:49 left to seal the win (18-6) for HW.

Referee signals Jimmy Conway (#23) TD in first quarter.

The Clippers’ lone TD covered 12 yards as Jimmy Conway made a leaping catch near the middle of the end zone at 3:59 of the first quarter.  Brandon Trego’s extra point attempt was blocked.

Elliott Burr (112 yards – 1 TD) converted a 4th-and-2 to keep an early second quarter HW drive going.  Quarterback Trevor Lyons finished the drive with a clean 5-yard sweep right after faking a handoff to Elliott Burr. Matt Putur’s rush for extra points failed.

Tied 6-6, the Generals struck again in the second quarter.  Consecutive carries on the inside by Elliott Burr ended when he crossed the goal line on a 2-yard carry with 4:19 left.  Another failed rush followed for extra points but HW still led, 12-6.

HW quarterback Trevor Lyons sweeps right untouched for 5-yard TD in second quarter.

The visitors would build on that lead late in the 4th quarter.  The Pete Duval catch produced the points but it was a long sweep down the left sidelines by QB Lyons that set HW up at the Newburyport 25.

Brett Fontaine recovered a fumble in the end zone in the third quarter.

HW hosts Amesbury (2-1) on October 1st (Saturday) at 2:30PM.

Newburyport entertains North Andover (2-1) on September 30th (Friday) at 7PM.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  I am doing my best to be accurate.)

Clicking on any of the pictures enlarges them to normal size.

Elliott Burr – 112 yards – 1 TD

game-time conditions

Trevor Lyons handoff to Elliott Burr in 2nd

QB Trevor Lyons throws from the pocket in 3rd.

Brett Fontaine (#10) recovers fumble in 3rd.

Tyler Martin (#32) in traffic in 4th

Connor Wile pressured by Matt Vogus (#77)

Matt Putur (#21) finds hole.

Clipper Tyler Cusack (#21) has Matt Putur (#21) on one side and Taylor Drinkwater (#55) on the other.

Pete Duval – TD reception

Trevor Lyons sweep in 4th

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Newburyport Defeats Pioneer Valley 9-4 to Win Massachusetts Division 3 State Baseball Title

Newburyport Clippers – 2011 Massachusetts Division 3 baseball champs

Dave Cusack, Connor Wile, Brett Fontaine, and Jimmy Conway await the championship trophy presentation.

(Lynn) The Newburyport Clippers are the Massachusetts Division 3 state champs in baseball for 2011.

The Clippers (23-5) put together a thirteen game winning streak, including six in the state tournament, to win their first baseball state title ever at Fraser Field in Lynn on Saturday afternoon.

Their opponent in the finals was Pioneer Valley from Northfield – winner of the West.

The final score was, 9-4, but trust me, this game didn’t get “comfortable” until Newburyport survived a scary top of the sixth and then put up two insurance runs in the bottom half of the six to get that final-score, five run lead.

Clipper coach Bill Pettingell arrives for his final game.

Clipper coach Bill Pettingell gets to walk away from a 40-year career with a storybook ending.  The team’s goal to get him his 600th win kept their attention in the early part of the season and the desire to get him a state title kept their attention the rest of the way.

I recall reading that he said that this team was “special” and a great team to finish with.  I passed it off as “coach speak,” figuring you’d expect a coach to be positive about the team he has.  But it turns out that this team was special and showed us all that it had what it takes to end up champions.  Good for them!

Let me get that scary top of the sixth out of the way first.  The Panthers (18-8) were down 7-4.  Derek Thayer started the inning with a bullet down the 3rd baseline.  Clipper third baseman Drew Carter made the play of the game with a backhand stab and a strong throw to first.  Drew’s defense looked real important when Newburyport starter Brett Fontaine walked the next two batters before pinch hitter Nick Peduzzi flaired a single to right to load the bases.  That put Pioneer Valley into “one-swing” territory with the top of their order coming up.  However, Brett (11th win) struck out Jordan Stempel (he had singled the inning before) and got Casey Blanchard (he had tripled the inning before) to fly harmlessly to left and the threat was over.

Brett retired the side in order in the seventh with right fielder Sam Barlow handling Joey Larson’s fly for the final out.

Celebrating begins after the final out.

After that there was a Clipper pile-up, team handshakes, medal handouts, and trophy celebration.  And to think, some folks chose the Bruins parade in Boston over this!

The Clippers put plenty of pressure on the Panther defense all game long.  They ended up with eleven hits but it was their aggressiveness on the base paths that forced Pioneer Valley into, what turned out to be, errors and bad decisions.

In the second inning, Dave Cusack (part of state champion hockey team in 2009-10) singled to drive in one run but rounded first and drew a throw that allowed a second run to score.

In the third inning, Jimmy Conway hit was looked like a double play ball but hustled to first.  The throw to first was dropped by Joey Larson giving Newburyport an unearned run as Matt Mottola scored from second.

Pioneer Valley starter Kyle Platner leads off first after driving in the Panthers first run.

In the fourth inning, more pressure came Pioneer Valley’s way.  Sam Barlow led off with a single and Dave Cusack reached on a bunt single.  With both base runners in motion, Colby Morris also bunted.  Third baseman Tyler O’Brien made a wild throw to first and two runners scored.

There’s three unearned runs in the first five the Clippers scored.

Things started well for the Panthers.  In the first they had a single by Casey Blanchard (2 hits/2 runs/1 RBI).  He reached second on the first of Brett Fontaine’s two balks and scored on a single by Panther starter Kyle Platner.

The Clippers took the lead, 2-1, in the second and later 3-1 in the third on the Panthers’ unsuccessful double play.

Tom Malooly scores on a passed ball in the 4th.

Things got a bit ugly for Newburyport in the fourth inning.  A single (Tom Malooly), a passed ball (Connor Wile), a fielder’s choice, and another passed ball, gave Pioneer Valley its second run.

The Clippers responded with four in their fourth to boost the lead to, 7-2.  The mishandled bunt I mentioned before was followed by a Matt Mottola triple to deep center which drove in the third run (Colby Morris) of the inning.  Brett Fontaine’s infield grounder delivered Matt Mottola with the fourth run.

Now down 7-2, the Panthers picked up two in the top of the fifth.  Jordan Stempel singled and reached 3B on a passed ball.  Casey Blanchard’s triple to right center drove in Jordan.  An infield grounder by Kyle Platner brought in Casey.

Matt Mottola sails home in the third inning.

But that would be the last of the runs for Pioneer Valley.  They seriously threatened in the next inning (sixth) but ended with the bases loaded.

The Clippers put up the “breathe easier” two runs in the sixth inning.  Two walks (Colby Morris and Matt Mottola) off Panther reliever Cory Serviss set the stage for a Brett Fontaine single to left.  Colby scored on that single and Matt reached home when Jimmy Conway singled as well.

Pioneer Valley left Northfield at 8:15AM and arrived at least 1 ½ hours before game time.

Dave Cusack in rundown in second inning that led to a run.

That “game time” thing will be a memory from this contest.  The game was supposed to start at noon.  Everyone was in place at noon except the umpires.  You and I have been to less important games and not had officials show up but this was the state finals!  Three umpires made an appearance eventually and the game started at 12:40.

I asked an MIAA official afterwards about the umpire situation.  He said that he had no idea where the scheduled umpires were.  Could they have gone to the Lowell Spinners park??

He told me that there was an umpire on hand who was working for the MIAA in a different assignment at Fraser so they enlisted him.  Then they made a call to Swampscott and got a father/son team to ump.  The father/son team were college umpires.  The MIAA rep said they (the MIAA) were lucky that these guys were home.

Replacement umpires arrive at 12:40

The umps got a derisive cheer when they arrived but they deserved a warm welcome for filling in on short notice.

The weather was great.  Plenty of sun and a nice breeze.

Matt Mottola was two-for-two, scored three runs, and had an RBI.

Ryan O’Connor warmed up in the bottom of the sixth just in case.

An important part in the Clipper victory was the fact that they played the North final last Saturday after that big rain delay.  The other sections (South/Central/West) postponed their finals and had to scramble to make up the games.  Newburyport was thus able to have its two superb pitchers (Ryan O’Connor and Brett Fontaine) pitch the state semifinal and state final on normal rest.  Pioneer Valley wasn’t able to do that.

(I collect my own statistics, take my own pictures, and draw my own conclusions.  I apologize in advance for mistakes.)

The pictures below are thumbnail size but if you click on them they become normal size.  I do not take pictures for a living and will send (via email) any that I’ve taken for no charge.  Send me an email if you’re interested.

Clippers arrive for Pioneer Valley game

Casey Blanchard loses ball in the sun in first inning

Tyler O’Brien throws bunt away in 4th

Coach Pettingell checks with Ryan O’Connor in 6th.

Bill Pettingell hits flies

Casey Blanchard scores first Panther run.

2011 D3 championship baseball trophy

Colton Fontaine arrives home in a cloud of dust

Dave Cusack on first after bunt single in fourth

Clipper infielders gather at mound before 7th inning

Jimmy Conway at first after RBI single in 6th

Umpire explains balk to Brett Fontaine.

Catcher Tom Malooly

Sam Barlow singles in 4th

Sam Barlow scores in 4th

Sam Barlow out stealing in 5th

Jimmy Conway scores in 2nd

Jimmy Conway steals second in 2nd

PV starter Kyle Platner

Coach Pettingell congratulates Matt Mottola in 4th

Matt Mottola triples in the 4th.

DH Matt Mottola

Clippers line up for medals

Clipper first baseman Ryan O’Connor

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Newburyport Defeats Bishop Fenwick 3-0 to Reach D3 North Finals

The scoreboard at Fraser Field at the end of the game Wednesday afternoon.

Pitcher Ryan O’Connor (#14) in the midst of the celebrating Clippers afterwards.

(Lynn) Newburyport is on its way to the D3 North finals on Saturday at LeLacheur Park in Lowell at 2PM after defeating Bishop Fenwick, 3-0, on sunny Wednesday afternoon at Fraser Field.

The Crusaders (18-7) were limited to four hits by Ryan O’Connor and only one of their runners reached second base.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth.

The Clippers (20-5) run came as Sam Barlow singled up the middle, stole second, and scored on Colby Morris’ single to right center.

Newburyport added two insurance runs in a wild sixth inning.  Brett Fontaine and Jim Conway started the inning with singles.  Drew Carter tried to sacrifice bunt the runners along but ended up with a single when the catcher (Gianni Esposito) chose to go for the force at third and was unsuccessful.  That loaded the bases.

Drew Carter’s sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a key hit in the Clipper 6th.

Connor Wile fouled off a number of pitches before drawing a walk that forced in Run #2 (Brett Fontaine).

With one out, David Cusack tried a safety squeeze that nearly worked but went foul.  Then the runner (Jim Conway) he was trying to squeeze got picked off third.  Now taking a normal swing, David singled through the right side of the BF infield and speedy Drew Carter scored from second with Run #3.

With Ryan O’Connor pitching, those three runs held up.  Ryan had six strikeout victims including the last batter of the game – Gianni Esposito.

Yankee Hall-of-Fame pitcher Lefty Gomez was credited with saying, “The secret of my success was clean living and a fast outfield.”  That quote came to mind when I reflected on this game.  Newburyport outfielders David Cusack and Sam Barlow made running catches that saved runs.

David Cusack had a great catch in the second and an RBI in the 6th.

David’s was in the second.  Mike Cipriani was on first when Jake Bugler hit one deep into the right center gap.  David brought that shot in on the dead run.  On the Fraser Field turf that ball could easily have been a double with a run scored.

Sam’s turn for a great catch was in the seventh.  This time it was a liner by Mike Cipriani that Sam speared on his way toward center field.  If that ball gets into the gap it’s a double and possibly a triple.  That catch was especially  important because the next batter (Jake Bulger) hit a single.

In my opinion, those two outfielders saved at least two runs.  In a 3-run win those plays were crucial to say the least.  David Cusack was back at the top of the order after missing two games with an ankle injury.

Colby Morris, Brett Fontaine, and Jim Conway had two hits apiece for Newburyport.

Jake Bugler singled in the 7th

Dave Ruggiero, Mike Davis, Jake Bugler, and Kevin Church had the hits for Bishop Fenwick.

Ryan O’Connor is 9-2 for the season and has 109 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings.  He’ll be attending Bentley University this fall.

The last time the Clippers played at LeLacheur Park was two years ago and I was there.  They played Georgetown and lost a heartbreaker.  This link is to my pictures from that game. Georgetown is in Division 4 this time around.

(I put together my own stats and take my own pictures.  Mistakes happen ….. unintentionally.

Mike LaChance – BF starter

Colby Morris reaches 3B in the fifth inning

Matt Mottola tagged out at 3B in first inning

David Cusack and Brett Fontaine after game

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