With the spring season winding down, the playoff picture is starting to take shape and a handful of local teams have separated themselves from the pack as clear postseason contenders. Here’s a look at some of the teams best positioned to reach the state tournament, and what hurdles they still have to clear in order to get there.
Record: 9-5 overall, 8-5 CAL
Since starting the season 1-4, the Pentucket baseball team has taken its game to a totally different level to emerge as the clear top team in the Greater Newburyport region. The Sachems wheeled off eight wins in a row over the past three weeks before finally losing to unbeaten Masconomet on Saturday morning, and now Pentucket only needs one more win to qualify for the postseason.
The key for Pentucket has been its offense. Even when the Sachems were losing, the team’s pitching and defense was top notch, the problem was the team couldn’t hit to save its life. In their first five games, Pentucket scored a total of five runs, but in the nine games since, the Sachems have scored fewer than five runs only twice, and one of those times came in a 4-2 win over a playoff-bound Lynnfield team.
As for the pitching and fielding, Pentucket has only allowed five runs or more in a game four times this year, and the Sachems won two of those games. Ryan Kuchar in particular is having a year to remember, having thrown a no-hitter against Rockport while dominating just about every other lineup he’s faced.
Pentucket has six games remaining on its schedule, with a home matchup against playoff-bound North Reading on May 20 looking like the toughest matchup.
Newburyport boys lacrosse
Record: 11-1 overall, 7-1 CAL
Newburyport has had an outstanding season so far, having already clinched a playoff berth and having beaten pretty much everybody on their schedule fairly convincingly. The Clippers’ lone slip up came against a strong Masconomet team in the second game of the year, but since then they have won 10 games in a row and scored double-digit goals in all but one of those wins.