By Jim Sullivan
---- — The Newburyport Nor’Easters ended the first full week of their season with their first league loss of the year to Middleton yesterday at Eiras Park.
Post 150 Senior Legion suffered a brutal third inning that would see the Elves (1-1) add five runs to blow away the Nor’Easters 7-2.
“We just didn’t play well,” Nor’Easters coach Tim Southall said. “Defensively, we had five errors and you’re not going to win baseball games like that. You’re just not.”
The Nor’Easters (3-2) sent Corey McNamara to the mound and the big righthander let up only a leadoff single to the Elves’ Greg Dougherty in the top of the first inning. Middleton gave Phil Doyle the ball and he gave up a one-out single to Zack Rice, who stole second base but sat back down when Brett Fontaine lined out to second base to end the first inning.
“He just finished his freshman year at Villanova,” Elves coach John Kowalski said of Doyle. “And he was a key starter for us last year. I wasn’t sure if I could get seven innings out of him. I thought, if we got three or four, we’d be in good shape, because he hasn’t been pitching that much. But he did outstanding and got stronger as the game went on.”
McNamara made no mistakes in the top of the second inning and watched as Mac Short drew a walk to start the bottom of the frame. Short then made it all the way home on a triple from Colt Fontaine to give Post 150 their first run of the day. Fontaine came home next, thanks to a single from Connor MacRae.
Middleton’s Kyle “Killer” Kowalski started the third inning off with a one-out single up the middle, then moved to second on a single from Dougherty. Chris Rich loaded the bases next with a single of his own before Tom Budrewicz tied the game with a single past first base. Mike Manni loaded the bases again on an error at shortstop before Edison Thayer knocked in two more runs on a catching error at third. Doyle knocked in another run with a double before McNamara struck out Bobby Woodworth to stop the bleeding.
Both teams threatened in the fourth inning, but no runs crossed the plate and McNamara went 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth. Brett Fontaine slapped a one-out single past shortstop in the bottom of the fifth, then Short was hit by a pitch. Colt Fontaine drew a walk with two away to load the bases, but MacRae grounded to second to end the inning.
The Elves tacked on another run in the top of the sixth courtesy of an RBI double from Dougherty that chased McNamara from the game in lieu of Dave Ingraham, and Manni crushed a double out to centerfield to start the seventh inning. He was plated on a single from Thayer.
“We got the bats going,” said Kowalski. “I knew we could swing the bats and tonight, it was good to see the bats come alive. (Post 150) got the best of us last year and this year, it’s nice to come away with a win. But they will be right in it. They’re a very good team, they just didn’t hit as well as they can tonight.”
Unhappy with his team’s performance yesterday, Southall suggested there might be some lineup changes made before their next game.
“Corey pitched a good game, and we let him down,” Southall said of McNamara. “Offensively, we left too many guys on. We didn’t come up with the big hit when we needed it. He hit the balls right at them and (Middleton) played good defense. That was the difference in the game. They made the plays and we didn’t. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to work harder. But I’m confident we’re going to bounce back and play better defense.”