Newburyport (11-7) will face off against Triton (9-10) this afternoon for the sixth annual Bert Spofford Memorial Tournament championship after the Clippers took down Georgetown (12-7) in a 10-inning marathon yesterday 4-1.
“It was two teams that wanted it,” said Clippers coach Steve Malenfant. “It was your typical Georgetown/Newburyport game that we have seen in recent years. They played tough, we played tough.”
Pat Slack took the ball for the defending Division 4 state champion Royals on their home field and the right-hander took down the first three Clipper batters 1-2-3. Fellow right-handed senior Colby Morris took the mound for Newburyport and would start the bottom of the first inning by hitting leadoff batter Mike Goddu. But Goddu would be thrown out at third base on a ground out from CJ Ingraham and Tom Pingree would be caught at second to end the inning.
The second and third innings passed uneventfully as did the top of the fourth. Colby Ingraham started the bottom of the fourth off with a single that he stretched to a double on an overthrow to first. Pat Slack then plated Ingraham with a towering double out to left field that put the Royals on the board.
Ian Michaels and Colt Fontaine would send singles down the middle that chased Slack from the game in the top of the sixth inning. Dave Ingraham took the mound for the Royals next and would make a spectacular diving catch of a popped-up bunt from Brian Fiscone on his first pitch. Fontaine and Michaels stole second and third respectively, and Fontaine was sent home on a single from Morris to tie the game.
The seventh inning began with a single from Connor MacRae, who moved to second on a bunt bid from Ryan Furlong. An error at third base sent Chance Carpenter to first and MacRae to third before Michaels popped up to end the threat.
Dave Ingraham reached on a throwing error to start the bottom of the seventh but was gunned down at second on a bunt from Kevin Terban. Ben Noelk walked next before Goddu was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A pair of pop-ups from CJ Ingraham and brother Colby would send things into extra innings.
The eighth inning passed without any runs as MacRae took the ball for Newburyport and so did the ninth.
Carpenter started the tenth inning with a lead-off single then moved to second on a bunt from Michaels. Fontaine sent the ball out to leftfield to load the bases, but a single from Brian Fiascone ended up getting Carpenter caught at the plate. Slack made a return to the mound for Georgetown next before Morris sent a come-backer his way. Slack bobbled the ball and would allow two runs to score on the error. A bunt from Connor Wile would then plate Fiascone to give the Clippers more than enough for the win.
“We just didn’t get that one hit,” said Royals coach Justin Spurr. “And we left a ton of guys on base. That’s pretty much the story of it. When things like that happen, you’re destined for those bad innings and those bad plays.”
Triton kept its state tournament hopes alive earlier in the day, beating Ipswich (5-12) by a score of 5-4 on a walk-off single from Cote Wolcik that plated Nick Desrocher in the eighth inning.
“I told these guys yesterday, that it is a tournament atmosphere from here on in,” said Vikings coach Ryan McCarthy. “It’s do or die for us and we know that. We want to be in the state tournament and we’re going to do whatever we can. We’re going to kick, scratch and fight to get into this thing.”