Tag Archives: Colby Morris

Newburyport upsets North Reading 4-0 to reach Division 3 North semi-finals

Pitcher Colby Morris celebrates after the final out

Pitcher Colby Morris celebrates after the final out

Ian Michaels dives into third with an RBI triple in the sixth inning

Ian Michaels dives into third with an RBI triple in the sixth inning

(North Reading) Newburyport lost twice to North Reading during the regular season but it didn’t matter as the Clippers upset the #1 seed Hornets, 4-0, in the Division 3 North quarterfinals at North Reading on a sunny Tuesday afternoon.

Newburyport (15-7) scored two unearned runs in the fourth and two insurance runs in the sixth and, combined with the shutout pitching of Colby Morris (6 hits/5 K’s), had enough to stun the D3 defending champions.

The # 8 seed Clippers have now won eight straight and return to action tomorrow (Wednesday) at Fraser Field in Lynn (4PM) to face Whittier in the D3 North semi-finals.

The last time Newburyport played at Fraser Field was when they won the Division 3 state title in June of 2011.

Ryan McAuliffe took the loss for the Hornets.  Ryan had defeated Newburyport, 9-1,  on April 17th striking out fifteen Clippers in a special victory that was Coach Frank Carey’s 700th win.  This time around Ryan registered eight strikeouts but surrendered eight hits including a triple (Ian Michaels) and two doubles (Colton Fontaine and Scott Webster).

Winning pitcher Colby Morris struck out five while allowing six hits.  The key for Colby was keeping the ball down as he limited NR to two flyball outs.

A low throw from shortstop Ryley Warnock gets away from Mike Brandano

A low throw from shortstop Ryley Warnock gets away from Mike Brandano

A throw from Mike Brandano goes wide of Ryley Warnock

A throw from Mike Brandano goes wide of Ryley Warnock

The unearned runs (4th inning) came after both Colby Morris and Connor Wiles singled with one out.  First baseman Mike Brandano tried for a force at second, after fielding Connor MacRae’s grounder, but threw wide left of shortstop Ryley Warnock allowing Colby Morris to score.  Later shortstop Ryley Warnock took a chance at getting Scott Webster on a slow roller and his throw went past Mike Brandano enabling Connor Wiles to come home with the second Clippers run.

Coach Carey visits Ryan McAuliffe in the sixth inning

Coach Carey visits Ryan McAuliffe in the sixth inning

The 2-0 lead grew to 4-0 in the sixth inning.  Connor MacRae reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs.  Ian Michaels, who had struck out twice previously against Ryan McAuliffe, blasted a high 2-strike pitch over Dennis Rollfs’ head in left field for a triple scoring Connor MacRae.  Next batter, freshman Scott Webster, singled to left bringing Ian Michaels home.

The Hornets put two on with two out in the bottom of the sixth but Eric Gordon grounded out to second to end that threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, Shane Driscoll singled to lead off.  However, Colby Morris struck out Ryan Sanborn looking and got Dennis Rolffs to ground into a 6-3 double play to end it.

NR had two on and two out in the third inning.  However, Colby Maiola’s hard shot down the first baseline was snared by Travis Wile.

Scott Webster caught in a rundown

Scott Webster caught in a rundown

Newburyport tried a suicide squeeze in third inning but the bunt didn’t happen.  Scott Webster, however, found a way to get back to third.

North Reading caught Colton Fontaine (he had doubled) in a rundown in the first inning.

An interference call on Hornets baserunner Dennis Rollfs turned a force-out at second into an inning-ending double play in the NR fifth.

The Clippers loaded the bases in the seventh inning but Ryan McAuliffe whiffed Connor Wile and got Connor MacRae to fly to centerfield.

North Reading was 22-4 in 2012.  This season ends for them at 19-3.  Coach Frank Carey’s career record now stands at 716-273.

Scott Webster had three hits for Newburyport and drove in a run.

Dennis Rollfs led NR with two hits.

Newburyport boxscore

North Reading boxscore

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

Keith Linnane steals second

Keith Linnane steals second

Colton Fontaine caught in a rundown

Colton Fontaine caught in a rundown

Steve Malenfant and Frank Carey discuss the rules

Steve Malenfant and Frank Carey discuss the rules

Travis Wile stretches for the last out

Travis Wile stretches for the last out

Colby Morris

Colby Morris

Newburyport dugout

Newburyport dugout

Ryley Warnock gets a forceout at second base

Ryley Warnock gets a forceout at second base

Connor Wiles crosses with the second Newburyport run

Connor Wiles crosses with the second Newburyport run

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Hamilton-Wenham shocks Newburyport 49-44 with late-game run in boys basketball

Key block by Henry Eagar on Colton Fontaine late in the game

Key block by Henry Eagar on Colton Fontaine late in the game

James Foye (23 points) gives the Generals the lead in the last minute

James Foye (23 points) gives the Generals the lead in the last minute

(Newburyport)  The Hamilton-Wenham Generals pulled off a remarkable comeback in the final four minutes and defeated the Newburyport Clippers, 49-44, in Cape Ann League action on blizzard eve (Thursday).

Hamilton-Wenham (9-7 overall and 9-5 in the CAL) edges ahead of Newburyport (10-6 overall and 8-6 in the CAL) with this victory in the battle for second place in the Cape Ann League Division One standings.

However, the Generals next game (Tuesday night) is at North Reading against the undefeated Hornets.  The Clippers travel to last-place Pentucket on the same night.

For 3 ½ quarters in this game the best run of points the Generals could put together was four.  Somehow, some way in the last four minutes of regulation, the visitors put a string of twelve unanswered points together.  In the process, HW turned a seven-point deficit (44-37) into a shocking, 49-44, victory.

James Foye in shot blocker territory

James Foye in shot blocker territory

Newburyport took the lead early and attained a seven-point lead in the second quarter (24-17) and boosted that spread to ten (36-26) in the third period.  Even with four minutes left the Clippers advantage was seven (44-37).  They clearly looked as if they had this one under their control.

But they didn’t.  An old-fashioned three-point play by Henry Eager (11 points), a converted rebound (James Foye), and a layup by Henry and this one was tied, 44-44, with 1:42 left.

A steal by Nikos Lara gave HW the ball back and James Foye sank one of two free throws (45-44).

Next Clipper possession, Colton Fontaine’s shot from in close was blocked by Henry Eagar. James Foye then made both free throws with twenty-two seconds left (47-44).

Colby Morris (14 points) shoots for a tie

Colby Morris (14 points) shoots for a tie

Still within range to tie, the best Newburyport could get was a forced three from Colby Morris that missed.  Shawn Kotch was fouled after getting the rebound and the sophomore canned both free throws with three seconds left (49-44).

The Generals made five straight free throws in the final fifty-one seconds.

6-2 sophomore James Foye (23 points) was impressive.  He was the primary ball-handler for HW and rarely forced his offense.  He faced tight coverage (mainly Adam Traxler) all night long yet had few turnovers.  James had a steal-and-score late in the third quarter and a key rebound-and-score during HW’s remarkable 12-point finish.

Newburyport had the long ball working – six.  Colby Morris (14 points) had four of them.

Adam Traxler defends James Foye

Adam Traxler defends James Foye

Ian Michaels had a terrific second quarter collecting twelve points in a variety of ways.  The surprise was that these were the only points Ian had in the game.

HW made fifteen-for-eighteen at the charity stripe.

Newburyport won the first meeting with the Generals, 54-50, in December at Hamilton.

Hamilton-Wenham started the season inexperienced and 1-5.

Moving the game up a day to avoid the potential bad weather was a smart idea.  However, I’m sure the coaches would have been more comfortable with that extra day to prepare.

Hamilton-Wenham box score

Newburyport box score

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

Dillon Guthro set to block

Dillon Guthro set to block

Henry Eagar

Henry Eagar

James Foye

James Foye

Adam Traxler

Adam Traxler

Colby Morris

Colby Morris

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Newburyport holds off Ipswich 50-39 for eighth win in boys basketball

Sophomore Mike Shay had two layups off Ipswich turnovers

Sophomore Mike Shay had two layups off Ipswich turnovers

Colby Morris (15 points) had four 3-pointers

Colby Morris (15 points) had four 3-pointers

(Newburyport) The Newburyport withstood a late Ipswich rally and defeated the Tigers, 50-39, on Monday afternoon in a nonleague game.

The Clippers lead, which had been as high as fifteen points (37-22), was only six (41-35) with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

At that point, the home team answered with a game-deciding seven straight points on layups by Colton Fontaine (14 points) and a 3-pointer by Colby Morris (15 points).  A tenuous six-point lead quickly became a much more comfortable thirteen-point lead with two minutes left.

Newburyport (8-3) needs two more wins in their six remaining games to qualify for the MIAA tournament.  The Clippers will be at Georgetown on Friday night.

Newburyport stung Ipswich (2-10) with six 3-pointers.  Colby Morris had four of them including three in the first 5 ½ minutes of the game.

Adam Traxler and Matt Jaeger

Adam Traxler and Matt Jaeger

While Colby had nine first-period points, Ipswich’s Matt Jaeger also had a three as well as two jumpers.  The Tigers trailed only 15-13 after a quarter.

If Ipswich coach Alan Laroche could erase one of the four quarters in this game it would surely be the second quarter.  Why?  The Tigers tallied just five points, had seven turnovers, watched Newburyport score eleven straight, and trailed by ten (28-18) when that quarter was over.

Sophomore Mike Shay came off the bench to be the finisher twice in that quarter after Ipswich miscues.  In the eleven-straight segment Ian Michaels (8 points) nailed a three and Colton Fontaine added a layup and a free throw.

The Clippers had another run of unanswered offense (eight straight) in the third period.  A second Ian Michaels three combined with a layup, a converted rebound, and a free throw, all by Colton Fontaine, did the damage for Newburyport.  This surge gave the Clippers a commanding 37-22 advantage with three minutes left in the third quarter.

Colton Fontaine (14 points) looks for an opening against Ipswich shot-blocker Erik Fyrer (11 points)

Colton Fontaine (14 points) looks for an opening against Ipswich shot-blocker Erik Fyrer (11 points)

Ipswich was down but not entirely out as Erik Fyrer (11 points) led the Tigers back into a challenging position during the next six minutes of playing time.  The 6-4 junior, despite heavy coverage by Colton Fontaine, posted eight points during the Ipswich rally and helped cut the Newburyport margin down to 41-35.

However, Newburyport was able to regain control and come away with their eighth victory of the season.

The Clippers have won four of their last five.  The Tigers have lost seven of their last eight.

Ipswich will host Hamilton-Wenham on Friday.

Both Doug Hoak (Hamilton-Wenham) and Dave Clay (Triton) were interested spectators.

Colby Morris drives past Kyle Blomster

Colby Morris drives past Kyle Blomster

A team with multiple 3-point shooters will always be difficult to defend.  With Colby Morris back, after missing five games, the Clippers can hurt opponents long range with Colby and Ian Michaels.

Colby Morris didn’t play in the regular season game with Ipswich that the Clippers won, 38-26.  That was the game in which the halftime score was an uninspiring, 13-7.

Erik Fyrer ended up with eight rebounds and four blocks according to my statistician.

Dillon Guthro slid painfully into the stands.

Newburyport boxscore

Ipswich boxscore

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

Matt Canning defended by Aleks Kuljic (12) and Kyle Blomster (15)

Matt Canning defended by Aleks Kuljic (12) and Kyle Blomster (15)

Erik Fyrer goes for the block against Ian Michaels

Erik Fyrer goes for the block against Ian Michaels

Erik Fyrer puts a block on Drew Bourdeau

Erik Fyrer puts a block on Drew Bourdeau

Dillon Guthro and Quinn OConnor

Dillon Guthro and Quinn OConnor

young Tiger fan

young Tiger fan

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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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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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Six-Run Fifth Gets Newburyport into the D3 North Semis over Austin Prep 8-3

Brett Fontaine collects his batting helmet after a collision with catcher Joe Barry at home in the fifth inning. Brett pitched a four-hitter and drove in two runs for Newburyport.

Ryan O’Connor congratulates Coach Bill Pettingell for a win in his last home game.

(Newburyport) Newburyport broke open a 2-2 game in the bottom of the fifth with six runs and went on to defeat Austin Prep, 8-3, on Lower Field at NHS on Monday afternoon.

The victory in the quarter finals puts the Clippers (19-5) into the D3 North semi-finals against Bishop Fenwick on Thursday at a neutral site.

Junior Brett Fontaine had a lot to do with the win as he pitched a complete-game four hitter and drove in two runs in the game-deciding fifth inning.

That fifth inning will be remembered as very good or very bad depending on where your loyalties were located.  The Clippers will remember the six runs, five hits, and the successful execution of a suicide squeeze.  For the Cougars (13-9), it’ll be the wild pitch, four walks, and mishandling the suicide squeeze.

In that decisive fifth inning, Austin Prep coach Steve Busby opted to have starter Ryley MacEachern intentionally walk Matt Mottola to load the bases and pitch to Brett Fontaine.  That didn’t work out so well for the Cougars as Brett singled to right and the Clippers fourth (Colton Fontaine) and fifth (Ryan O’Connor) runs came in.

Later in the fifth, Connor Wile put down a suicide squeeze bunt with Brett Fontaine heading full-speed from third.  Cougar catcher Joe Barry blocked Brett away from the plate before he had the ball and the umpire awarded Brett home.  Sam Barlow followed with a walk driving in the sixth run (Jim Conway) of the inning and boosting Newburyport’s advantage to, 8-2.

Ryley MacEachern breaks into a home run trot after his shot over the left field fence in the sixth inning.

Ryley MacEachern led off the sixth with a homer over the left field fence to make it 8-3 but the Cougars went quietly (one hit) the rest of the way.

This was the last home game for Newburyport’s 600+ win coach Bill Pettingell.  You could see/hear that he was fired up during this game.

The weather was excellent with plenty of sunshine although I’m not sure that the left fielders for each team were that thrilled with the sun being directly in their eyes.

Austin Prep put up a run in the first inning.  Bobby Batchelor walked and reached third after a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice.  He scored easily on Ryley MacEachern’s double to right center.

Sam Barlow tallies Newburyport’s first run in the third.

Newburyport received two gift runs in the third inning.  A two-base throwing error by left fielder Mark Mezzina followed Clipper singles by Sam Barlow and Colby Morris.  Sam scored on the error and Colby reached third.  He later crossed the plate on a MacEachern wild pitch.

The Cougars got a gift run in the fifth inning.  The visitors from Reading, loaded the bases on a single (Chris Bundock) and two walks.  Jon Saurman (pinch running for Chris Bundock) reached home on a Fontaine wild pitch.

Newburyport erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth and that was enough to carry them in with an 8-3 win.

Catcher Connor Wile made a nice play on a popup in the fourth inning.

Brett Fontaine – complete game 4-hitter

Winning pitcher Brett Fontaine had seven strikeouts to go with three walks.

Newburyport had eight hits including two each by leadoff batter Colby Morris and left fielder Jim Conway.  Colby also scored two runs.

Ryley MacEachern had two of the four Cougar hits, including the long home run to left in the sixth inning, and two RBI.

Austin Prep stranded five runners.

(I collect my own information and take my own pictures.  Inaccuracies happen unintentionally.)

Ryan O’Connor reaches home in the fifth

Newburyport viewers

Bobby Batchelor scores AP’s first run

Matt Mottola beats the throw home in the fifth inning

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Brett Fontaine’s Complete Game Two-Hitter Leads Newburyport Past Rockport 3-0

Newburyport first baseman Ryan O’Connor touches first to record the last out in Newburyport’s 3-0 win over Rockport.

Brett Fontaine – complete game 2-hitter

(Newburyport) It didn’t take any late-game heroics for NHS coach Bill Pettingell to get Win #601.  What it took was a 2-hit shutout from Brett Fontaine and sound fundamentals.

Newburyport (8-3) defeated Rockport, 3-0, on a drizzly Monday afternoon in Cape Ann League action.

Brett Fontaine went the route for Newburyport and retired the final eight Vikings in order.

The sound fundamentals appeared in the 5th and 6th.  The 5th inning piece kicked in after Rockport (4-5) had it’s first two batters on.  A strikeout and a force out put runners on first and third.  Rockport then sent the runner from first hoping to get the runner home from third during the attempt.  The Clipper infield reacted properly and Mike Tupper ended up getting caught between third and home for the final out.

In the sixth, Colby Morris led off with a rope past third.  The Clippers, with Ryan O’Connor at bat, executed a perfect hit-and-run play.  Ryan’s grounder toward the right-side hole could have been a double play except that Colby had taken off for second and the second baseman headed toward 2B to cover as the ball went into right field.

Colby Morris scores Newburyport’s second run in the game in the sixth inning.

Defensive replacement Mike Petrino rushed in on the grounder seeing that the runner from first was going to try for third.  Unfortunately for Rockport, the ball got past Mike and this allowed Colby to came all the way around and score Newburyport’s second run.  Ryan reached 2B on the play and was driven home by Matt Mottola’s single off the fence in left.

So, in one inning the Clippers prevented a run and in the next they manufactured two runs in both cases with excellent execution of baseball fundamentals.

Viking starter Tucker Meredith gave up six hits and had no walks.  He also had one of the two Rockport hits.  In the 4th inning, he flied deep to David Cusack in center.

Newburyport scored a run in the first inning with a single (David Cusack), double (Colby Morris), and an RBI fielder’s choice by Ryan O’Connor.

Colby Morris – paced Newburyport with two hits

Colby Morris paced the Clippers with two hits.

Jim Conway reached the fence in center for a double.

Matt Mottola put a ball up the screen in left but was thrown out trying to get two bases out of it.  He did drive in a run with that hit, though.

Sam Scatterday was gunned down trying to steal second in the third inning.

Keady Segel made a nice catch on a popup in front of the Clipper dugout in third.  The last time I saw him he was in goal for the Viking soccer team versus Lynnfield in tourney soccer at Manchester-Essex.  The pink shirt was gone but the sun glasses weren’t……..even on an overcast day.

There is a lot of luck involved in seeing games.  The weather can’t be trusted.  Will it rain or won’t it?

Your luck also has to extend in finding out that there even is a game.  Today the Newburyport Daily News had last week’s schedule listed, the Gloucester Times didn’t list the game at all, the Rockport schedule on High School Net had the game at 3:45, and on the same site the Newburyport schedule had it at 4:45!   How lucky do you feel??

(I collect my own stats and take my own pictures.  Mistakes are made unintentionally.)

Tucker Meredith – sophomore pitched six innings and had one of Rockport’s two hits

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