The Georgetown ITBL Babe Ruth 14/15 Division A team took the field Thursday afternoon knowing it had previously won big against its opponent, Newburyport.
With a championship appearance on the line to face Pentucket, Georgetown faced a much tougher effort from the Clippers, but Georgetown hung in tough to pull out the 7-5 win.
“We let them hang around a little bit too long and they battled,” said Georgetown coach Pete Lucido. “Both times we played them earlier this week we mercied them but they really came back and battled tonight so hats off to them, they came to play.”
Both teams were struggling to find consistency on the defensive side of the field, but with a two-run lead in the top of the seventh inning the Royals defense showed their abilities.
Jake Richards saved what could have been a double that was ripped down the third base line and threw out the runner at first base for the first out of the inning. Moments later Jack Lucido snagged a hard hit line drive for the second out of the inning. Two hard hit balls resulting in nothing killed what could have been a big momentum shift for the Clippers.
Momentum was something Newburyport discovered this season after a slow start to the summer, and while the third and final out signaled the end of their season, the progress made was impressive.
“The season didn’t start off great,” Newburyport coach Dave Ford said. “We started 0-4 but they worked hard, showed up and competed. They got back to 7-7 and were able to sneak into the playoffs and win a game in the playoffs so I’m proud of this group.”
Down 3-1 in the top of the third inning Newburyport’s Brady Ford ripped a two-run double to tie the game up 3-3.
With Quinn Fortuna pitching strong, it was anybody’s game at that point.
Fortuna pitched the entire game for the Clippers and struck out one but located his pitches.
“He did a great job pitching for us today,” Ford said. “He came out, threw hard and went the distance. He’s going to be a good pitcher at the next level.
Just a half inning after tying the game, Newburyport lost all of its momentum as the Royals struck for a big bottom of the third.
Lucido started the inning off with a single and stole first and third. He came around to score on a perfectly executed bunt by Nate Giguere to give Georgetown a 4-3 lead. The rest of the runs in the inning came off of fielding mistakes by the Clippers, resulting in a 7-3 lead.
Newburyport struck back for a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning on a throwing error that scored two.
With the 7-5 lead Georgetown changed pitchers, bringing Shane Williams into the game.
If Newburyport liked its chances down a pair, Williams coming into the game certainly didn’t help.
Williams threw hard and the Clippers struggled to catch up him as he struck out six batters in his three innings.
“He’s been one of our horses all year,” Lucido said. “He has great location and obviously he’s one of the better power pitchers in the league as you see with his velocity.”
Georgetown will have to beat the Sachems on Friday on the road to force a series-deciding game Saturday at Georgetown High School.
“At their field they’ve kind of had our number,” Lucido said. “Hopefully tomorrow night that changes but we’re certainly going to go out and battle and do what we can do. We’ve had a successful season so far but it really doesn’t matter until the last game of the year.”