By Jim Sullivan
---- — With three games played in the span of 24 hours, the Newburyport Nor’Easters (9-5-1) experienced every possible outcome at Eiras Park during this hot and humid weekend. The Nor’Easters won a 6-5, 11-inning marathon against Methuen Saturday, then tied Lynn, 0-0, in nine innings early yesterday afternoon, before setting up their loss to Lawrence (7-5) for the second of the doubleheader where they couldn’t buy a run, 1-0.
“It’s been a long weekend,” said Nor’Easters coach Tim Southall. “We had a great game against Methuen on Saturday and got the win. Then we went 0-0 against Lynn earlier today, which was a great game. And we had the same thing here. This was a great 1-0 game, and we had some opportunities.”
The Nor’Easters started right hander Brett Fontaine, who injured himself in a cooking mishap the night before. He opposed lefty Joan Vargis and Fontaine struggled in the top of the first inning, allowing a bases loaded situation on a walk, catcher’s interference and a single. But Fontaine would get the next three batters to strike out, pop up and ground out, respectively, to end the threat.
Vargis took to the mound in the bottom of the frame and took down the first three batters in a row. Post 15 would score their only run of the day in the top of the second inning when Pat Silk drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a ground out, then came in on a double from Anthony Licari.
The Nor’Easters would put a pair on in the bottom of the second on a walk and an error, but neither would score as Vargis kept on dealing. The same would happen in the bottom of the third on a walk and a double but anything hit hard was dying in the heavy air.
Lawrence threatened again in the top of the fourth inning when Tom Pelletier and Luis Gonzales reached on singles, then moved over on a sacrifice fly. Licari drew a walk to load the bases with two out. But Fontaine got Edison Urene to ground out to shortstop Colby Ingraham to end the threat once again.
The Nor’Easters would put two more runners on in the bottom of the fourth, but would not score again and Nor’Easters centerfielder Josh Creamer would rob David Quezada of a home run with a nice running catch to keep things a one-run game in the top of the fifth.
The Nor’Easters gave Vargis a run for his money in the bottom of the seventh where Colt Fontaine drew a two-out walk then stole second base. Lawrence coach Kevin Bartlett chose to walk designated hitter Mac Short, next then Zack Rice worked Vargis to a full count next before striking out looking to finish a long day.
“We had a good pitcher tonight,” said Bartlett. “We played some good defense behind him, which helped out. It was a good baseball game on both sides. A couple of key hits and it could havve been a different story for both teams. It was a good win for us. We’re coming off of two straight losses, and we’re back on the winning track against a good team and (Post 150) has always been a good team.”
Coming off of 16 straight innings with no runs scored, Southall kept his team’s offensive brownout in perspective.
“It’s just executing,” Southall said. “We had opportunities. We hit some balls at people, and they made the plays. We need to have more line drives and hard grounders versus some easy fly balls. But everyone worked hard. Everyone did their best. Nobody was out there today trying not to hit, that’s for sure. We really played four games in a little bit over 26 hours. I can’t fault anybody in this one. Both Lynn and Lawrence played great defensively and so did we. A couple of bounces here and there are just the difference in the game.”