AMESBURY — In the midst of a revitalized season, the Amesbury baseball team took on its greatest test of the year so far in undefeated, defending Division 3 state champion North Reading (11-0).
The Indians (6-5) found out Saturday they still need some work as the Hornets struck hard and fast to blank Amesbury 18-0.
“We made it to the state championship last season with a total of eight extra-base hits all season: eight,” said North Reading coach Frank Carey. “We could have had eight, and we’re close to 20 on the season already. So we have evolved from a small-ball team to a team that can get extra-base hits when they have to.”
Zach Fitzgerald took to the mound for Amesbury against RJ Warnock, who would give up a walk to Adam Ivancic to start the bottom of the first. Fitzgerald then stole second before Mac Short was hit by a pitch. But Devlin Gobeil hit a liner straight to third baseman Tom Day in what would become an omen as to how the Indians’ day would go.
North Reading’s Alec Schefer started the top of the third inning with a single, then reached second on an error. Dennis Rollis bunted on next and then Warnock loaded the bases with another pitch-perfect bunt down the third base line. The Hornets scored their first run on a wild pitch before Keith Linnane drew a walk to reload the bases for cleanup batter Colby Maiola, who was hit by a pitch to score another run.
Ryan McAuliffe drew a walk in the next at-bat to drive in a run and Ryan Sanborn scored two more with a single down the middle. Shane Driscoll reached on a single to third next before Schefer plated the Hornets’ sixth run of the inning. Rollis knocked in another before the third inning’s bleeding stopped.