(Amesbury) The stars were out and so was the sun screen as (#2 seed) Amesbury defeated neighboring Newburyport, 11-1, in the Division 2 North quarterfinals at toasty Amesbury on Saturday afternoon.
Impressive win for Amesbury (19-2). They will play again on June 5th (Wednesday) in the D2 North semi-finals.
Good news for Amesbury today was that Tewksbury took out #1 seed Danvers. Last year in the tourney, the Falcons ended Amesbury’s season, 2-1, at Danvers.
Five of the Indians were honored by the Cape Ann League a few days ago for their play in the 2013 season. Against the Clippers those selections looked golden. Let me take you through what each of those players did today:
(1) Pitcher Carolina Merrill – Gave up an unearned run in the first and survived a bases loaded jam in the second. The Amesbury senior then retired 16 of the last 17 Clippers she faced.
(2) Shortstop Amanda Schell – Had 3 RBI, 3 hits, and 3 runs scored and flawlessly handled six chances in the field.
(3) First baseman Erin Leary – Had a hit, an RBI, and scored a run.
(4) Catcher Cassie Schultz (D2 CAL POY) – Had three hits and drove in three runs.
(5) Leftfielder Ashley Valme – Had a two-run homer that reached the stadium wall beyond leftfield.
Newburyport had been blown out by Amesbury a month ago, 18-1, enduring a thirteen-run second inning along the way. The Clippers obviously needed to stay away from the big inning against Amesbury.
And they did, until the bottom of the fifth inning. The Indians lead was only 2-1 and NHS starter Vicki Allman had retired eleven straight Amesbury hitters.
The fifth, however, started ominously for Newburyport as errors by 3B Meghan Stanton and pitcher Vicki Allman gave Amesbury baserunners they shouldn’t have had. Five of the next six Indians’ batters had hits, including a double (Amanda Schell), triple (Cassie Schultz), and a homer (Ashley Valme), and the home team had seven runs and the dreaded big inning Newburyport wanted to avoid.
Up 9-1, Amesbury added two more in the sixth. Amanda Schell tripled in Jenna Bartley and later scored on a wild pitch to close the scoring.
The Clippers had only four hits (Kendra Dow, Lea Tomasz, Casey Barlow, and Meghan Stanton). Carley Siemasko drove in their lone run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Newburyport had the bases loaded with one out in the second inning but Carolina Merrill got a force out and a fly out to end the threat.
Amesbury answered with two runs in the bottom of the first thanks to their first three batters. Cassie Schultz’s double brought in Amanda Schell and Erin Leary.
Weird ending to that Amesbury first. Pitcher Vicki Allman thought she had struck out Autumn Kligerman so she headed off the field and everyone followed including baserunner Lucy Scholz who was on second base. The problem was that it was only two strikes and everyone stopped exiting including baserunner Lucy. Rightfielder Casey Barlow had reached second base during the exiting part and was there to take the throw from catcher Lauren Singer and tag Lucy out for the third out as she scrambled to get back. That’s 2-to-9 for those scoring at home!
Jenna Bartley had two hits, scored two runs, and drove in a run for Amesbury.
The coaches-of-the-year for the CAL were on hand for this one – AHS Chris Perry and NHS Lori Solazzo.
Amesbury had a 10-game winning streak stopped by Division 1 Methuen in their last regular season game.
Newbury finished 15-7 winning four of their last six. Their best game of the season may have been the 4-3 victory on Thursday over Marblehead with a nice combination of pitching, fielding, and hitting.
The Clippers will have to replace senior starters Jackie Krusemark, Lea Tomasz, Kendra Dow, and Casey Barlow. Lea and Kendra have been starters for three (?) years.
Third baseman Autumn Kligerman made two key defensive plays for Amesbury.
The ice cream truck had the good business sense to drive into the parking lot adjacent to the field giving off its usual sound effects. I was shocked that a good part of the sizable crowd didn’t temporarily exit to find something cool.
This was Amesbury’s fifth straight win over Newburyport.
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)