, Newburyport, MA

April 11, 2014

Newburyport collapses late, falls to Saugus 7-5

By Tim Lima
Sports Reporter

---- — NEWBURYPORT — For much of yesterday’s game against Saugus, the Clippers bent but failed to break as pitching struggles weren’t costly. Then Newburyport broke.

After allowing just one run through four innings, Clippers (0-1) pitching gave up six in the next three and fell to Saugus (2-1) 7-5.

Newburyport sophomore Scott Webster was far from perfect on the mound, though regularly escaped trouble with timely pitches and stout defense behind him. While Saugus found ways to get on base, Webster found ways to leave them stranded as he allowed eight base runners but only one run through four innings pitched.

Webster finished the afternoon giving up two hits and one run over four innings, while striking out five and walking six.

“(Webster) is a veteran,” said Newburyport head coach Steve Malenfant. “He pitched last year for us so I have high expectations for him, and he has high expectations for himself. You have to throw strikes and can’t walk people. You have to give Saugus credit. They were down a few runs and they hung in there.”

For the second game this season, Newburyport helped itself with first inning run production. While tallying two runs against North Reading on Monday, the Clippers came out swinging and scored once against Saugus to build an early lead. Caleb Stott walked before quickly stealing second. Webster sacrificed Stott to third before Ben Ventura’s infield single scored the run.

Saugus later tied the game at one in the top of the fourth inning before Newburyport quickly regained the lead in the bottom. Port’s Travis O’Brien knocked in two with an outfield single, followed by a Stott base hit to knock in another. Heading into the fifth inning, Newburyport enjoyed a 4-1 lead.

While its bullpen was struggling, Newburyport entered the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead. Minutes later, Saugus’ Alex Pettinati crossed home to tie the game. John Prentice then hit a double to score two more for the Sachems as they pulled away late to take command of the scoreboard.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” Malenfant said. “We had a good thing going there for a while, but we struggled pitching wise. All three guys struggled in a way they usually don’t. It’s a loss that you’re uncomfortable with, and mental errors played a role in that. We will come back strong tomorrow against Hamilton-Wenham and Triton on Saturday. We are a team of ball players and we have guys who will be successful. We just had a bad day.”

Newburyport will look to put the loss behind them as they host Hamilton-Wenham at 3:45 this afternoon. Next for Saugus is a matchup with Everett today at 3:30 p.m.