By Mac Cerullo
---- — NEWBURYPORT — In the moments that followed Triton’s 24-6 beating at the hands of Masconomet on Thursday afternoon, Vikings coach Ryan McCarthy gathered his players and challenged them to be better.
The Vikings took McCarthy’s words to heart, and on Saturday they rebounded in a big way, beating Newburyport 4-1 by making plays in the field, getting clutch hits with men on base and shutting down the Clippers’ bats. In other words, they did everything they couldn’t do against Masconomet.
“The way we played against Newburyport is the way I’ve expected this team to play, and I told them that,” McCarthy said. “It was a team win, it wasn’t an individual win, with the defense, the at-bats each kid had, Adam’s pitching, we earned the win. We talked about that on Friday at practice, going to Newburyport and earning the win, and I think we did that.”
Triton pitcher Adam Chatterton set the tone for the Vikings, pitching a complete game while allowing just one run on three walks and two hits with five strikeouts. The Vikings also got timely hits from Spencer Norton, Justin Cashman and Billy Mical, who had two big sacrifice bunts, including one that resulted in a run.
“It was great to bounce back,” McCarthy said. “To go up to Newburyport and win like that is important to us. We had some great games against them last year, and all three times we didn’t come out on top.”
The one run allowed by Chatterton came in the sixth inning after Newburyport’s Jake Berger walked, reached second on an error, moved to third on a single by infielder Caleb Stott and was then driven in on an RBI single by Scott Webster.
After the game, Newburyport coach Steve Malenfant said his team’s shaky defense was an issue, but otherwise they played fairly well.
“We gave up runs early with errors, but our pitchers again pitched well,” said Malenfant. “James [Nutter] pitched another good game, he pitched four innings and [Michael] Jayne pitched three, both had five strikeouts, and neither gave up any earned runs. The runs we gave up were unearned; there were errors that hurt us.”
With the loss, Newburyport now falls to 0-3. The Clippers previously lost 7-5 to Saugus on Thursday and then 3-2 to Hamilton-Wenham on Friday after giving up a game-winning home run in the eighth inning.
“We have pitching that we needed, but we need to get critical hits, especially with players on base,” Malenfant said. “Overall, I don’t think we’re playing any different than last year, except we’re not getting the timely hits that we got last year.”
Malenfant expects that will change soon, and hopefully sooner rather than later. The Clippers’ next opponent is Masconomet, who followed their thumping of Triton with an 11-4 win over Hamilton-Wenham on Saturday to improve to 4-0.
Triton, meanwhile, faces Hamilton-Wenham today at 3:45 p.m.
North Reading 1, Pentucket 0
Despite another strong pitching performance by Ryan Kuchar, the Pentucket baseball team lost again this weekend to fall to 0-3 on the season.
North Reading scored its only run on a two-out RBI base hit in the second inning, and that would turn out to be all the offense the Yellow Jackets needed. The Pentucket hitters just weren’t able to get their bats going, and as a result North Reading was able to grab the 1-0 win.
“We competed hard, our approach to our at bats was OK, but it wasn’t great and that was ultimately the difference,” said Pentucket coach Tom L’Italien.
Though he picked up the loss, Kuchar was excellent once again, allowing just one run in six innings while allowing four hits with eight strikeouts. Going forward, L’Italien said he believes his team is going to be fine, and that their 0-3 start is as much a product of tough early season competition as anything else.
“Overall, we’re getting better,” L’Italien said. “We played three good teams and we’re looking forward to getting better.”
Amesbury 7, Rockport 0
The Indians improved to 2-1 on the season thanks to a shutdown performance by sophomore pitcher Chris Cioffi. Cioffi went the whole seven innings for Amesbury, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out five batters.
The Indians also got strong offensive days at the plate from junior Spencer Fournier, who had a two-run double, freshman Jared Dupre, who had a two-run single, and also from Mac Short and Zack Fitzgerald, who each had RBI singles during the course of the game.
Amesbury coach Gene Burnham also made a point to highlight the defensive efforts of shortstop Ben Cullen, right fielder Nick Hawrylciw, first baseman Pat Scanlon and left fielder Brad Kelleher. The Indians previously lost their opener 5-4 to Lynnfield in nine innings, and then beat Manchester Essex 3-0 on Friday.
Amesbury will be back in action tomorrow when the Indians take on Georgetown at home.
On The Web
To see more photos from this weekend’s games, visit newburyportnews.com