---- — NEWBURYPORT — Ryan McAuliffe struck out 16 Newburyport batters to give legendary North Reading coach Frank Carey his 700th win in memorable fashion.
The Hornets rolled, 9-1, to improve to 3-0. Carey now has a brilliant 700-270 record in 46 years as North Reading’s head coach. Carey said he believes he and Leominster’s 75-year-old Emile Johnson (709 wins heading into Thursday’s season opener) are the only New England baseball coaches ever with 700 wins.
“It’s pretty exclusive,” said Carey, who will turn 70 in August.
While such a milestone would typically be cause for raucous celebration, Carey wanted to keep things low key.
“We had a boy in North Reading recently killed in a car accident (Pingree baseball player Tim Chaloux),” said Carey. “He was friendly with a lot of the team and in light of what happened in Boston, other things are more important. I wasn’t in a real celebratory mood.”
Carey obviously hasn’t lost anything off his fastball. Last spring he guided the Hornets to the Division 3 state title and he was named Eagle-Tribune Baseball Coach of the Year.
“I just had a knee replacement. I’m able to hit fungoes with no problems. When I retired (last spring after 47 years at North Reading High) I had 500 sick days. I’m fortunate, I’ve never been very sick,” he said.
Players like McAuliffe keep him young. He’s had some great ones over the years, but Carey said he thought the 16 strikeouts might have been the most by a Hornet since future Dodgers first round pick Dennis Livingston back in 1981.
“Ryan was outstanding,” said Carey. “I”ve had him clocked at 87 mph. He had outstanding control of his breaking ball. He threw 71 strikes and 23 balls.”