By Jim Sullivan
---- — AMESBURY —- The River Rival equivalent of an Army-Navy football game broke out in Amesbury Saturday afternoon, as the Indians hosted Newburyport in the quarterfinals of the Division 2 North state tournament.
But after a quick start for both teams, it would be all Amesbury from the fifth inning onward to end the Clippers’ season, 11-1.
“We were very shaky in the beginning,” said Indians coach Chris Perry. “But we got it done.”
Amesbury will play the winner of last night’s matchup between third-seeded Burlington and sixth-seeded Dracut Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Martin Field.
Coming off a bye, the second-seeded Indians (19-2) were well-rested for their crosstown rival, the 10th-seeded Clippers (14-7). Amesbury ace Carolina Merrill went to the circle and she was rudely greeted by a double from Kendra Dow on the first pitch. Dow moved to third on a single from Lea Tomasz two batters later then Shelby O’Brien loaded the bases with a single. Dow scored the Clippers’ only run of the day on a sacrifice fly from Carley Siemasko.
Victoria Allman took the ball for the Clippers to welcome the Indians in the bottom of the frame and was greeted by a leadoff single from Amanda Schell. Allman then hit Erin Leary with a pitch to put two runners on before Cassie Schultz scored them both with a double to left field.
Allman would get the next three batters in a row to send Newburyport to the plate. Jackie Krusemark drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a single from Meg Stanton. Dow drew a walk next to load the bases before Krusemark was caught at the plate, while an error by Schultz sent Singer to first to reload the bases before Tomasz popped up to end the threat.
Allman took down three Indians in a row in the bottom of the second inning while Merrill would do the same to Newburyport in the top of the third. Allman did it all over again in the bottom of the third before Merrill mirrored her again. Allman was perfect once again in the bottom of the fourth inning and so was Merrill in the top of the fifth.
Amesbury exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, starting with a single from Autumn Kligerman, who then moved over on the same from Janine Fatal. Lauren Fedorchak loaded the bases with no outs with a single before Jenna Bartley scored Kligerman with a roller past third base. Schell scored two more runs with a double past third, and a wild pitch scored Bartley. Cassie Schultz then sent Schell home with a triple to left field that was followed by a crushed home run from Ashley Valme.
Bartley started the bottom of the sixth off with a ground-rule double, then came home on a triple from Schell, who was plated by a single from Leary. Amesbury’s 11 runs stood up as Newburyport went down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh.
“I’m proud of the way they played,” Clippers coach Lori Solazzo said of her team. “We came out hard in the beginning, but you just can’t win against a good team like that in the state tournament leaving two or three girls on base. But it was a good season.”
“I was glad to see us play well in the field,” said Perry. “We made some nice plays (and) we’ve got a couple of good hitters. We’re day-to-day (from here on out).”