By Tim Lima
---- — AMESBURY — Through the season’s opening five games, Pentucket scored a total of five runs. In yesterday’s game against Amesbury, the Sachems scored six on the way to a 6-0 shutout win.
“We got some clutch hits today, and we were due,” Pentucket (2-4) head coach Tom L’Italien said. “We have been struggling a little bit at the plate, but we really stuck with the process. We worked hard, paid attention to details, focused on our breathing and loosened up our grip. We saw the ball big today.”
While the Sachems were able to break early habits yesterday, the Indians (3-4) continued theirs. Losers of their last three games, it has been one very poor inning that has proven costly. Amesbury allowed a three-run inning in Friday’s 6-3 loss to Ipswich, then another in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Georgetown, and in yesterday’s 6-0 loss to Pentucket, a four-run third inning proved to be killer.
“It’s now three games in a row,” Amesbury head coach Gene Burnham said. “It seems like it’s a walk and an error, then another error before a base hit. Suddenly, it’s three to nothing. It sure doesn’t take a lot.”
The third inning began with Dylan Wright reaching first on an error. Dan Beaton followed with a single, moving Wright to third. A wild pitch later, the Sachems were on the scoreboard. After an errant throw to second and a Ryan Kuchar single, Pentucket suddenly found itself up 4-0.
“Walks and errors are going to beat you,” Burnham continued. “You can’t win if you’re walking people and making errors. We haven’t been fielding plays cleanly and getting timely hits, but it will come. These kids will keep playing. I promise.”
The defensive miscues put a damper on what was otherwise a strong pitching performance by Amesbury’s Nick Hawrylciw, who gave up 7 hits through seven innings while striking out 5 and walking 3.
“Nick worked hard,” Burnham said. “He threw probably close to 100 pitches, I would guess. We didn’t make enough plays behind him. He threw plenty of strikes, pitched to contact, and wasn’t walking many people. I had no complaints with Nick’s effort today. I thought the defense let him down a little bit.”
On the other side, Pat Beaton pitched lights out for four strong innings to record the win. He allowed no runs on 2 hits while fanning 4 and walking 1.
“We weren’t sure if Pat was going to pitch,” L’Italien said. “He threw more pitches than we would have liked for us on Thursday, but he took the ball for us today. We were hoping to get five innings out of him, but we got a strong four.”
Bobby Barry finished the game for the Sachems, pitching the last three innings. He allowed only four base runners while striking out four to secure the shutout.
“(Barry) had worked hard on his pitching mechanics for years, and today was his opportunity,” L’Italien said. “It took an inning for him to find his rhythm, and then he looked sharp. It’s nice for us to be able to add on another arm. We are really excited about our pitching and defense.”
A DJ Englke single drove in two more runs for the Sachems in the top of the seventh. Englke finished 2-for-4 on the afternoon. Kuchar ended his day 2-for-3 with a walk, and Pat Beaton matched his strong pitching performance by drawing two walks, stealing a base and scoring two runs for Pentucket.
For Amesbury, Hawrylciw reached base twice and have one of his team’s four hits on the afternoon. Jared Dupre also reached base twice and stole second base.
Pentucket will next travel to Lynnfield tomorrow morning at 10, while Amesbury will head to Masconomet for its 10 a.m. matchup.