NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 5, 2014

PLAY BALL!

Port baseball seeking state title

By Tim Lima
Sports Reporter

---- — NEWBURYPORT – A baseball program accustomed to winning seasons punched its ticket to the state tournament last season before losing its first game. With enthusiasm, work ethic and a little luck, Clippers head coach Steve Malenfant hopes to do even better in 2014.

“Opening up with a tough initial outing at North Reading will show us where we stand with limited field work,” Malenfant said. “However, our expectations are always to win a Cape Ann League title and get to the tournament. With a combination of enthusiasm, consistent work ethic and talent I see us attaining these goals with some luck.”

Malenfant is beginning just his third year as Newburyport’s skipper, though he has already enjoyed strong seasons. After a 15-6 record in his first year as head coach, Malenfant enjoyed a 15-8 mark in year two. While involved in the push for a state title both years, both would ultimately fall short. After losing its first playoff game in 2012, Newburyport shut out its opponent in its first two playoff games in 2013, included top-seeded North Reading, before falling to Whittier in the state semifinals.

While making progress toward its ultimate goal of a state title, Newburyport hopes its senior leadership will pay dividends this season.

“Our strengths are our senior leadership, veteran pitching along with depth at a variety of positions,” Malenfant said. “How well we combine our defense with our pitching will help determine how strong we are this season. We have been outside since day one and have been working hard to solidify positions in both the outfield and infield.”

Returning for the Clippers are senior captains Ryan Furlong, Caleb Stott and James Nutter. Seniors Travis Wile and Cam Beaulieu are playing as well, as are sophomore Scott Webster and Chance Carpenter. Travis O’Brien, Jake Barlow and Leighton Paradis have also returned.

New to the team this year are Ben Ventura, Matt Short, Will Cataldo, Tom Isabel, Jake Berger, Mike Jayne and Jeremy Grabowski.

“The CAL is always competitive and perennial favorites Masco and North Reading will give us a run for our money,” Malenfant said. “Lynnfield, Triton and Amesbury will be tough competition for us as well as Pentucket. All three of the local teams were tough opponents for us last year but we held our own against them. I see it being just as competitive this year.”

Newburyport will open its season at North Reading this morning at 10 a.m.