I’m going to be honest, at this point last week, I thought Newburyport and Triton baseball were both toast.
Last Thursday, Newburyport lost both games of a double-header to North Reading and fell to 4-9 on the season. At that point, the Clippers had lost four of their last five games and needed to win six of their last seven games to qualify for the postseason.
Considering that Newburyport’s remaining schedule included games against Hamilton-Wenham (9-5), Masconomet (14-2), two against Pentucket (9-5) and a road game against archrival Triton, the idea that the Clippers could navigate that gauntlet and actually reach the postseason seemed like an unlikely proposition at best.
As for Triton, the Vikings fell to 5-8 over the weekend following a dispiriting home loss to Saugus. With a road game at Masconomet looming, it seemed as if things were going to get worse for Triton before they got better.
But then something unexpected happened. Newburyport and Triton both won, and in doing so they thumbed their noses at the notion that their seasons were lost.
Triton’s 3-0 shutout of Masconomet on Tuesday was unquestionably the biggest upset in the Cape Ann League this season and could prove to be a season changing win for the Vikings. When Masconomet and Triton played earlier this year, it was a slaughter. Masconomet beat Triton 24-6, and the game was every bit as ugly as the score would suggest.
The fact that Triton was able to bounce back from a game like that and shut out one of the best teams in the state speaks volumes, and at 6-8, the idea that the Vikings could sneak into the playoffs no longer seems so farfetched.
And that’s to say nothing about what happened in Newburyport’s game against Hamilton-Wenham on Saturday. Facing a do or die situation, Newburyport pitcher James Nutter took the mound and pitched a no hitter, shutting down the Generals from the first pitch on before slamming the door shut once the Clippers finally gave him a lead in the eighth.