By Jim Sullivan
---- — Gearing up for the state tournament, the Newburyport softball team (13-5) hosted a rebuilding Pentucket (4-13) team yesterday. After jumping out to a commanding lead in the middle of the game, the Clippers almost lost it all before regaining their composure to take down the Sachems, 14-10.
“It was a good win,” said Clippers coach Lori Solazzo.” I would like to take away that inning with the six runs that we gave up (though).”
Pentucket came to play in the top of the first as Victoria Allman took the ball for the Clippers. Allman would then let the first two Sachems on in Tyler Feeney and Kassidy Kennefick who reached on a single and a walk respectively. Mary Kate Corrado loaded the bases with a single next and Megan Haley plated all three with a double out to left field before Allman got Maddy Ammon swinging.
Pentucket’s Jennie Nelson equated herself well from the circle in the bottom of the frame, taking down the side in order as teammate Nicki O’Rourke led off the second inning with a single. Feeney moved O’Rourke to third with a double next, and Feeney scored on a passed ball two batters later to give Pentucket a four-run lead.
The Clippers bats woke up in the bottom of the second when Carley Siemasko drew a one-out walk, then moved to second on a wild pitch then third on a grounder from Allman. Jackie Krusemark scored Siemasko with a single to left next to give Newburyport their first run of the day. Ashley Cassalini walked to load the bases before Kendra Dow tied things up with one swing with a triple to right.
Lea Tomasz led off the bottom of the third with a single then moved all the way home on a trio of wild pitches before Nelson let the next two batters on with a pair of walks. Krusemark recorded an RBI double next before Cassalini walked to load the bases to set up Dow once again. One run scored on another wild pitch before Dow hit a soft liner at Pentucket first baseman Corrado to end the inning.
Nelson’s location problems continued in the bottom of the fourth when she would let in another run on a passed ball and would end up being relieved by Feeney who would get out of the inning unscathed.
Clipper Lauren Singer had an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, then Tomasz plated two more before Singer came in on a passed ball. Siemasko had an RBI single next before being plated by Downey.
The top of the sixth saw the Sachems start an offensive explosion of their own when Angelica Arredondo came in on a grounder from Ammon before O’Rourke was scored by Carie Lucier. Allman loaded the bases on two outs next before Lisa Hopkins would knock in two runs on an error at second base. Kali Sullivan plated two more herself with a double to right to shrink the Clipper lead to four.
Sydney Snow took the ball for Pentucket in the bottom of the sixth and would let in no runs, while Allman made sure the Sachems would make no more noise in the seventh.
“We started kind of slow,” admitted Solazzo. “Moving into (the state tournament), you can’t come into a game slow like that. So, we’ve got to get the bats going a little bit quicker, the defense, too.”
Sachems coach Danielle Mason was happy to see her team put up a fight in the sixth inning but knows there is a lot of work to do before next season begins.
“They played hard all game,” Mason said of her Sachems. “Pitching has been up-and-down for us all season, so that has been our weakness. I thought our kids got a little bit complacent around the middle of the game and had they kept the same enthusiasm and approach for seven innings, we might be in a different position than we are right now. But I do give them credit for not just lying down and dying and coming back.”