By Jim Sullivan
---- — ROWLEY — With storm clouds gathering, the second-seeded Newburyport Senior Legion team was able to keep the evening on the sunny side yesterday, taking down fourth-seeded Methuen 6-2 behind yet another mystifying performance from right-hander Brett Fontaine.
“That was probably the best game he has pitched in three years with us,” Nor’Easters coach Tim Southall said of Fontaine. “He battled hard and pitched well for us for a big win against a very good team.”
Fontaine recorded a 1-2-3 top of the first inning for the second-seeded Nor’Easters (18-7-1) at Eiras Field, then watched as left-handed Methuen starter Cam Cyr allowed a single to Zack Rice, but escaped unscathed as well in the bottom of the frame.
Fontaine would give up a walk to start the second inning, but that would be all and Colby Ingraham had a one-out single then moved to second on a balk in the bottom of the frame. Mac Short drew a walk next then moved to second on a ground out from Ryan Kuchar. But the two runners would be stranded after Bobby Barry sent a pop-up out to right field.
Gary Carbonneau was hit by a pitch to start the third inning, then moved to second on a bunt bid from Nick Delois then to third on a single from Evan Lacroix that put runners on the corners with two away. But Jon Pierce struck out to get Fontaine out of the jam.
The bottom of the fourth inning saw Ingraham walking with one away then stealing second. Cyr’s location problems continued, resulting in another walk doled out, this time to Short, before Kuchar laced a double past third base to plate Ingraham for Post 150’s first run of the day. Barry received a free pass to load the bases before D.J. Engelke knocked in a run with a single. Tyler Chaisson did the same next before Rice popped up to center to end the productive, three-run inning.
Cyr’s woes continued in the bottom of the fifth, giving up a leadoff single to Josh Creamer. Ingraham drew a walk next and Short was hit by a pitch to load the bases again. Kuchar found a hole between first and second to plate two more runs and chased Cyr from the game, bringing in Connor Norton who would get Barry to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Two runners would reach on a walk and a single for Methuen (17-7-1) in the top of the sixth. But the Nor’Easters turned a double play next, and Fontaine induced another pop-up to send things into the bottom of the sixth. Post 150 loaded the bases for Colt Fontaine, who knocked in a run with a single.
Brett Fontaine returned to the mound in the top of the seventh and ended up giving up a walk and a single to start the inning. A single from Gary Carbonneau caught Derek Fox at second to put runners at the corners and a walk to Nick Delois loaded the bases. A ground out from Will Martin scored Methuen’s first run of the day before a passed ball plated a run. But Fontaine would get Enrique Vera to ground out to end the game.
“It’s probably the last time I’ll ever pitch here,” Fontaine said of Eiras Park. “So we needed this win, and it felt good. It was a good all-around performance from the team.”
“It came down to the two pitchers,” said Methuen coach Dave Mosher. “You’ve got a low-ball pitcher and an umpire who focused on a ball between the knees and the ankles. He was just looking there, and (Fontaine) pounded the zone. We’ve got a pitcher who works the complete zone. He was up too much, and the umpire wasn’t interested in anything above the waist. Had we worked the zone lower, it could have been a closer game. But we didn’t hit the ball well enough to win.”
The Nor’Easters will play next tomorrow against a team and at a location yet to be determined.
“The defense did a great job,” said Southall. “Ryan Kuchar made a couple of nice plays at first. There was a big pop-up by the fence. There were some big picks and some nice double plays. Offensively, we hit the ball really well and the best we have all year. I’m looking forward to the next game.”