(Newburyport) The Clippers (5-4) put together their second straight shutout as they defeated Manchester-Essex, 3-0, on a chilly Thursday afternoon of Cape Ann League baseball.
Senior James Nutter tossed a complete game, six-hitter in his first start of the season. Another first-time starter (Evan Habib), had a complete game, three-hitter against Ipswich on Monday.
The visiting Hornets (2-7) have now lost six of seven including two in extra innings. They did, however, knock off defending D4 state champs Georgetown last Saturday.
Newburyport collected two runs (one unearned) in the second inning and another run in the third. That turned out to be more than enough on this day.
The Clippers loaded the bases in the second inning on an error (first baseman Max Nesbit throwing), a single down the third-base line (Colby Morris), and a bunt single (Mike Sweeney). Senior Ryan Short hit a ground single up the middle driving in Connor MacRae and Colby Morris.
It looked as if the Clippers might add more runs after Andrew Fiascone walked. However, a double-steal attempt nabbed Mike Sweeney at third. Then a popout to first (Ian Michaels) turned into a double play when Ryan Short, who broke for the plate, couldn’t get back to third. But Newburyport did get two runs.
Their third run came in the next inning. Brian Fiascone doubled to right center leading off. Colton Fontaine’s sacrifice fly moved Brian to third and Connor Wile’s fly to center brought Brian home.
Hornet pitcher Brandon Bartlett allowed just one hit (Mike Sweeney single) over the final three innings but his teammates couldn’t break through against James Nutter.
ME’s Max Nesbit started the game with a double but James whiffed the next three Hornets to escape.
Clippers leftfielder Mike Sweeney, in the fourth inning, tried unsuccessfully to make a running catch but recovered quickly and gunned down the batter (Craig Carter) at second base.
After Corey McCollum singled in the fifth inning with one out, a bunt attempt (Henry Gedney) was caught in the air by James Nutter. His quick toss to first baseman Connor MacRae doubled off Henry Gedney to end that inning.
The visitors had two men on in the last inning with two outs before leftfielder Mike Sweeney made a running catch in foul territory to end it.
Newburyport’s next game is tomorrow night (6:30PM) at Rockport. ME returns to action next Tuesday at Pentucket.
A little over a year ago (April 26th) on the same site, Manchester-Essex defeated the defending D3 state champs, 5-2, ending the Clippers 18-game winning streak.
Brian Fiascone and Mike Sweeney each had two hits for Newburyport.
Craig Carter and Corey McCollum each had two hits for the Hornets.
Shortstop Colby Morris made a nice play on a slow grounder in the second inning.
First baseman Connor MacRae made a nice scoop of a low throw (Colton Fontaine) in the fourth. Connor also put his body in front of a grounder in the final inning recording an unassisted putout.
James Nutter was on one of the winning relay teams for the 2013 D4 state indoor track champion Clippers.
The weather? Where did the 70 degrees and sunny disappear to?
(All of the pictures above and below enlarge considerably if you click on them.)