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April 30, 2014

Port falls to Rockport in step backward

NEWBURYPORT — Following a difficult start to the season, the Newburyport baseball team appeared to have righted the ship, but yesterday’s 9-2 loss to a struggling Rockport team, however, was a giant step backward.

The Clippers appeared to be in another dogfight, something which they have grown used to of late. After a four-game skid to begin the year, Newburyport had won three of four games, each decided by fewer than five runs. After three innings at William B. Pettingell Park yesterday, Newburyport (3-6) and Rockport (2-6) had two runs apiece.

The Clippers jumped out to an early lead, something that they have become known for this season. Caleb Stott began the game with a single, and reached second on an errant throw to first base. He stole third shortly after, and then reached home on a strike-three pitch in the dirt to Chance Carpenter, who reached first. Carpenter also took third in the first inning, and while he was eventually stranded, the Clippers appeared to be in control early against a team fighting to find its direction.

But then the fourth inning came, and it was one to forget for Newburyport starter James Nutter and the Clippers. Rockport scored five runs in the frame, three on errors, and ultimately took a 7-2 lead.

“We have to make plays,” said Newburyport head coach Steve Malenfant. “We have to catch the ball, and we have to make the throws. It’s something we ordinarily do, and the errors all seem to happen the same day with a number of people. We will get better.”

The fourth inning would also mark the end of Nutter’s day. Nutter lasted just 31/3 innings in an effort that was more unlucky than anything else.

“I think a lot of it was (Nutter) didn’t have luck,” Malenfant said. “He threw outs out there, and if you really looked at it, it came down to probably four critical plays in different parts of the game. He was right in there. He threw strikes, with an interesting strike zone, but that’s the game. We didn’t play well, and we have to play better.”

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