NEWBURYPORT — After a two-game slide, the Newburyport softball team made it to a .500 record at Cashman Park yesterday behind a complete game-performance from pitcher Beth Castantini.
Molly Rowe added an inside-the-park home run to sink Ipswich 4-1 at Cashman Park.
"We're even now, 2-2, hopefully we're moving in the right direction," said Clippers first-year coach Lori Solazzo. "Beth pitched a great game. We had a great home run from Molly Rowe, so you can't ask for much more right now. We're getting there."
Both Castantini and Tigers pitcher Katie Glaubitz started the day in fine form, going the first two innings without allowing a base runner. Then the bottom of the third inning hit, and so did the Clippers when Carly Siemasko tripled to left field. Rowe walked to the plate next and knocked in Siemasko with a sacrifice grounder to first.
The Tigers managed a hit at the top of the fourth inning, but were unable to capitalize when base-runner Jill Lombard was caught stealing at second base.
The Clippers took to the plate next and caught some luck, starting when Lauren Singer drew a walk, then moved over to second on a passed ball. A Castantini double directly down the left field line then plated Singer.
Castantini began to steal third base, and then made it all the way home on an overthrow for Port's third run of the day before the inning was over.
Glaubitz started the top of the fifth inning with a towering triple to left, then caught a bit of luck herself when a pop-up from Michelle Mitchell was bobbled by Clipper second baseman Amy Sullivan to bring Glaubitz home for the Tigers' only run of the day.
Rowe started the bottom of the fifth with her inside-the-park homer to center field. The ball just kept on rolling as Rowe kept running to put the Clippers ahead 4-1.
That was all she wrote, as Castantini and Glaubitz closed out their respective sides with no further incidents.
"Because she was throwing good pitches, her (pitch count) was lower," Solazzo said of Castantini. "If you can keep the amount of pitches low, then you can keep your pitcher in for longer, so it was good."
While unhappy that his team remains winless at the moment, Tigers coach Doug Woodworth sees signs of hope around the corner.
"It was a well-played game," said Woodworth. "Both teams played well. We just didn't hit the ball very well. But I thought defensively we did OK. We've been getting better. We haven't won a game yet, but we're a young team. So I'm pleased with the loss, I guess. You're never happy with a loss, but I thought we played OK."
"She always throws strikes," Woodworth said of Glaubitz. "They're going to put the bat on the ball, she's not overpowering. I thought my shortstop (Megan Perella) did a good job. We had some nice plays. Newburyport has been playing pretty well. They had a couple of big hits."
The Clippers hope to make this a win streak as they host Pentucket tomorrow morning.
"We look forward to a good matchup there," Solazzo said. "We're just looking to keep improving our skills and just keep working hard in practice and keep tweaking away at all those things we need to keep working on."