Looking to make the jump over .500 for the first time this season, the Newburyport baseball team sent junior James Nutter to the mound yesterday against Manchester Essex. The right-hander had quite the day, shutting out the Hornets (2-7) at Pettingell Park 3-0.
“I was a little nervous,” Nutter said of his first varsity start. “So I’m psyched the way it went. I have no regrets.”
Nutter’s first start seemed to be in trouble when he was tagged for a double on his second pitch by Max Nesbit, who then stole third. But Nutter pulled his act together, gunning down the next three Hornets in a row, two by way of strikes and one by pop-up.
“The first pitch of the game, it was a ball,” said Nutter. “I’m used to getting ahead and I knew that, from there on, I have to use the fastball. I wasn’t too surprised that he hit it— I left it up. After that I just knew, I had to keep it down. Having a man on base really helped me focus more.”
Clipper Brian Fiascone started the bottom of the frame off with a double off Manchester pitcher Brandon Bartlett, but that would be all Newburyport could muster in its first turn at the plate.
Nutter had an uneventful top of the second and watched happily as fellow Clipper Connor MacRae reached on a throwing error at first. He was moved over on a single past third from Colby Morris. A perfect bunt from Mike Sweeney loaded the bases next, and Ryan Short knocked in two runs with a single. Andrew Fiascone walked in the next at-bat, and moved over to second on a wild pitch before Short was caught on a pop-up at third.
Brian Fiascone started the bottom of the third off with another double, then grabbed third on a pop-up from Colt Fontaine. Connor Wile knocked Fiascone in with a sacrifice fly to center to put the Clippers up 3-0.