(Newburyport MA) Casey McLaren didn’t even see the play.
The tying run on third. One out in the final inning.
Masco’s Matt Aldrich flaired a blooper to right with trouble written all over it.
“I headed for home,” recalled Casey afterward, “to back up a throw.”
But then Casey heard cheering. “It took me a few seconds to realize that we’d gotten an out.”
Newburyport second baseman Tyler Koglin caused the cheers by racing back into right and making a remarkable over-the-shoulder catch to keep Andrew Gotts from scoring from third.
Tyler then handled the final grounder and the home team (Newburyport) had a 2-1 win over Masconomet on a summer-like Saturday afternoon in Cape Ann League action.
“That play the second baseman made in the last inning saved the game for them,” said Chieftains coach TJ Baril. “That’s a real tough catch for a second baseman to make.”
Newburyport coach Mark Rowe was equally enthusiastic about Tyler’s catch: “As far as making a big play in a special situation, his catch would rank near the top of the list in all the years I’ve been coaching.”
And then there was the pitching!
Senior Casey McLaren had a no-hitter going into the seventh and finished with a one-hitter.
Easy to overlook was Masco’s pitching but it was also solid. Freshman Erik Sibbach yielded only four singles in 3 innings while sophomore Aaron Zenus followed and held Newburyport hitless during his three innings of work.
“It was your classic pitcher’s duel,” said Coach Baril.
The Clippers (2-1) put three of their four hits together in the second inning and produced two runs out of it.
Parker McLaren singled to short center and went to second on a passed ball with no outs. Tommy Murphy followed with an infield hit moving Parker to third and then took second on an infield out.
A wild pitch brought Parker home and advanced Tommy to third. Ryan Archer’s bloop single to center scored Tommy with the eventual game winner.
Casey McLaren was overpowering. He retired the first eleven Masco batters before walking Pat Costigan in the 4th. The Tufts commit had eight strikeouts.
An error (Tyler Koglin) gave Masco a baserunner with two out in the 5th but Casey ended the inning striking out Ethan Cote.
The seventh inning was the big test for the Clippers. Casey walked leadoff batter Pat Costigan on four pitches. Andrew Gotts then lined Masco’s first hit to center.
“When Casey works ahead in the count, good things happen, “said Coach Rowe. “In the seventh he fell behind the first batter, walked him, and then anything could have happened.”
Last year the Chieftains slugged twenty-two homers. Almost all of those HR’s graduated. Therefore, this year Masco is developing other ways to score runs. One of those ways is to be aggressive on the bases. In their opening win (6-2) over Lynn Classical the Chieftains had five steals.
Today in the 7th with two on and no outs, the Chieftains successfully executed a double steal. Next thing you knew, a wild pitch led to Masco’s first run and moved the other runner to third with no outs. Suddenly the outcome wasn’t so certain.
But then Casey surrounded Tyler’s terrific catch with two infield grounders and the Clippers had their second win of the young season.
“It was a great Cape Ann League game,” said Coach Rowe. “Two pretty good teams that should be in it in the end.”
Casey said that he was aware that he hadn’t given up any hits. “I started thinking about it in the fifth inning. Last year I had several one-hitters so I wanted to finally get a no-hitter, but it will have to wait. Getting the win was more important. Both of my pitches were working well. My curve ball was big against the top of their order.”
The weather was very pleasant and brought out a good crowd.
Coach Rowe: “Casey was outstanding. He pitched some pretty good ones at the end of last season. It’s hard for me to rank them however in this one he was as in command as he has been in a long time.”
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