Less than 24 hours after defeating the defending Division 3 North state champion North Reading Hornets, the Newburyport baseball team yesterday saw their season come to an end after falling to Whittier Tech 6-2 in the Division 3 North Semifinals at Fraser Field in Lynn.
“I’m proud of this team,” Clippers coach Steve Malenfant said of his squad (14-8), which ended an eight-game winning streak that included three extra-inning victories in a 72-hour span last week. “They’ve overcome adversity. People don’t know the adversity that they’ve overcome. They are truly what I would describe as the consummate team. They played true Clipper ball”
The Wildcats (14-6) sent the right-handed Andrew Wells to the mound against Newburyport lefty Connor MacRae. Wells gave up a lead-off single to Colt Fontaine on the third pitch of the first inning.
Wells got Brian Fiascone to strike out next before Colby Morris reached first base on a throwing error that put Fontaine at second base. Connor Wile sent a single up the middle next to load the bases with one out for MacRae, who sent a single to second, where Morris was caught, but Fontaine slipped in the back door for the Clippers’ first run of the day.
MacRae walked the first Wildcat to step to the plate, Nathan Frongillo, who stole second before Alex LoGiudice walked, then Anthony Licciardello sent a single past third to load the bases with no outs. Wells lined out to shortstop Morris before Jaylin Deveau tied things up with a single to short that saw Licciardello forced out at second. Josh Barton sent a double out to centerfield that plated two more runs before Jorge Martinez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Wells found his groove in the top of the second inning, sitting down the Clippers 1-2-3; MacRae did the same in the bottom of the frame.