By Jeff Hamrick
---- — ROWLEY — Newburyport found enough offense last night to remain undefeated in American Legion district tournament play. Methuen, meanwhile, will need to find more hits if it has desires on advancing to state.
Post 150 broke a scoreless tie in the fourth before tacking on sufficient insurance runs the following two innings for a 6-2 victory over Methuen at Eiras Field.
“They had some seeing-eye hits, and that didn’t help,” Methuen coach Dave Mosher said of Newburyport which finished with just eight hits. “I’m not saying we didn’t get the bounces. We just didn’t hit the ball well enough to win any ball game.
“We found their gloves and they made some nice plays. ... All you need is a dribbler to get through somewhere ... they did it, we didn’t.”
While Newburyport was scratching out runs, Post 122 struggled at the plate against Brett Fontaine, who allowed only two hits and no earned runs. Fontaine did walk four batters, but watched his infield turn a pair of ground-ball double plays to escape a couple jams. Methuen finally broke through with a couple of unearned runs in the seventh.
“Through six innings that was probably the best (Fontaine) pitched in three years for me,” Newburyport coach Tim Southall said of the right-hander. “He got a little tired in the last inning, but he battled hard. And his brother (third baseman Colton) was nice enough to throw the ball away to keep him from the shut out.”
While Fontaine was holding Methuen at bay, a group from Pentucket was providing all the support he needed.
Ryan Kuchar supplied the biggest hits with an RBI single in the fourth and an opposite-field two-run single in the fifth.
“I was just trying to get a hit and put my team on the board,” Kuchar said of his fourth-inning hit through the left-side hole. “I had the same approach the next time up. I was just up there trying to help my team.”
And, said Southall, “Kuchar made some great defensive plays (at first base) that really saved us.”
Pentucket mates Josh Creamer and D.J. Engelke each scored a run while Georgetown’s Colby Ingraham added two more.
Methuen averted the shutout with a pair in the seventh when John Parsons scored on a Will Martin ground out and Gary Carbonneau added another run on a wild pitch.
“I guess you just had two (types of) pitchers,” Mosher said. “You’ve got a low-ball pitcher (in Fontaine) along with an umpire that focused on balls between the knees and the ankles and he just pounded the zone.
“We have a pitcher (in Cam Cyr) who works the complete zone. He was up too much and the umpire lost interest in anything above the waist. I think if we had worked the zone it probably would’ve been a closer game.”
Methuen will play an elimination game tonight at a place to be announced against the winner of the Sudbury-Medford winner. Those two were rained out last night.
“Tomorrow’s another day,” Mosher said. “I’m going to go down to my basement and start carving something up. I’m going to have to think about it. If you don’t have enough starting pitchers, you better start cooking something up.”
Newburyport gets today off and will play tomorrow against the Methuen winner in the championship game. If it loses, it will play another game right away to see who advances to the state tournament Saturday.
agateHed: NEWBURYPORT POST 150 6, METHUEN POST 122 2
agateText:Methuen (17-8-1) 000 000 2 - 2
agateText:Newburyport (19-7-1) 000 321 x -- 6
agateText:Methuen (2): Will Martin rf 4-0-0, Evan Lacroix cf 3-0-1, John Pierce 3b 3-0-1, Enrique Veras lf 3-0-0, Andrew Wells ss 2-0-0, John Parsons dh 2-1-0, Derek Cox 1b 2-0-0, Gary Carbonneau c 2-1-0, Nick Delois 2b 0-0-0. Totals 21-2-2
agateText:Newburyport (6): Tyler Chaisson dh 3-0-1, Zach Rice lf 4-0-3, Josh Creamer 2b 4-1-1, Colton Fontaine 3b 4-0-0, Colby Ingraham ss 1-2-1, Mack Short c 0-1-0, Ryan Kuchar 1b 3-1-2, Bobby Barry rf 2-0-0, D.J. Engelke cf 2-1-0. Totals 23-6-8
agateText:RBI: M – Martin; N – Kuchar 3, Chaisson, Creamer, Barry
agateText:WP: Brett Fontaine (7 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO); LP – Cam Cyr (4 1/3, 7, 5, 5, 3, 2)