(Amesbury MA) Plenty of baserunners.
Plenty of opportunities.
But on this Tuesday afternoon, Newburyport (6-4) turned in more big plays and defeated Amesbury, 9-4, at Amesbury Town Park.
Senior Casey McLaren led a 15-hit Clippers attack with three hits, including a homer, and four RBI.
Casey’s glove work at first was also important. On three different occasions, two of which ended innings, he scooped low throws from infielders that kept runs from scoring.
“It’s all about getting down eye-level with the ball,” explained Casey afterwards.
The Clippers never stopped hitting in this one collecting at least one hit in every inning. “We broke out of a hitting funk that we had been in the last couple of games,” said NHS coach Mark Rowe.
The Indians (4-4) had only four hits off Clippers starter Parker McLaren but used walks and Newburyport miscues to get runners aboard every inning.
“We just couldn’t string anything together today,” explained AHS coach Joel Brierley.
“You could see that things weren’t going our way when twice we had our best hitter (Logan Burrill) up with the bases loaded and even though he hit the ball hard we had nothing to show for it.”
Trailing 4-0 in the fourth inning, the Indians loaded the bases with one out. Logan hit a hard grounder down the third baseline that 3B Tommy Murphy turned into an inning-ending double play. It did take a great scoop by 1B Casey McLaren to complete the DP.
Later (6th inning) now behind 9-0, Amesbury filled the bases with one out. This time Logan hit a rope to left, that Ryan Archer managed to catch. “Ryan (Archer) made a nice play on that line drive to left,” said Coach Rowe. “It was a rocket.”
At least in the 6th inning, Logan’s teammates were able to push four runs across after the catch in left.
Blake Bennett paced the AHS attack with two hits, including a triple, and two RBI.
Walker Bartkiewicz and Parker McLaren each had three hits for Newburyport.
Casey McLaren drove in the first NHS run with a single in the first. He drove in their next two runs in the third inning with a HR blast over the head of CF Logan Burrill.
“It was a fastball, up and a little outside, and I was looking for it,” recalled Casey.
In the fourth, Ryan Archie reached on an error (Shea Cucinotta), stole second, and reached third on a wild pitch. Tyler Koglin then singled him home.
In the 5th inning, Casey McLaren singled, stole second, and reached third on Thomas Greene’s single. Walker Bartkiewicz delivered Casey with a single to center pushing the Clippers lead to 5-0.
Newburyport broke the game open in their half of the sixth with four runs. Casey and his brother Parker had RBI. Two other runs crossed after a throwing error by 3B Cam Chambers.
The Indians cut into the 9-0 deficit in the bottom of the 6th. A bases-loaded walk (Tucker Molin), a passed ball, and Blake Bennett’s triple produced four runs. But the inning ended there with Casey coming up with a low Ryan Archie throw to end the threat.
Freshman Jack Fehlner pitched the final inning for Newburyport.
Jeremy Lopez, Tom Flanagan, and Tim Gilleo pitched for Amesbury.
“Anytime we can beat a good team like Amesbury is a good win,” said Coach Rowe. “They battle. They don’t quit. Like the first time we met (8-7 NHS win) they had a comeback in them.”
“We didn’t have very many quality at-bats,” added Coach Brierley. “When we did hit the ball, they made the plays.”
Casey McLaren: “It’s in my mind to play baseball at Tufts. I haven’t talked to the coach yet. We’ll see. It would be tough to give up baseball. There’s no doubt in my mind that I could pitch there.”
Newburyport has defeated Amesbury three of the last four times they met.
Amesbury had won three straight before today’s loss.
Amesbury’s Derek Doherty will attend Rivier University (Nashua NH) next fall to play baseball.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)