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Clippers deal Eagles first loss of the season



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NICK MASSA drives a double to center in the fifth inning of the Eaglesí game with Portsmouth on Friday, April 23. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
April 27, 2010
NORTH CONWAY — There's a reason why the Portsmouth baseball team hasn't lost a game in a couple of years.

Actually, there's a few reasons. The Clippers can hit, they can pitch and they can field, and that combination made life tough on the Kennett boys on Friday, April 23, in North Conway.

The Clippers plated three runs before the Eagles had even been to the plate and cruised to a 12-2 win, handing the Eagles their first loss of the season.

"If we played better defense, that's a pretty good ballgame," coach Bob Burns said. "The flip side of the youth movement is that the young kids get a little shaky."

With one out in the first inning, a base hit, wild pitch, walk and long double to centerfield gave the Clippers a quick 2-0 lead against Eagle hurler Jeff Sires. Another walk and a bunt hit loaded the bases and the Clippers plated their third run on a grounder to short. Sires did strike out the final batter of the inning.

Kennett was not able to do much against the Clippers pitching, failing to get a runner on base in the first two innings.

Portsmouth got a two-out double in the second, but Sires got a pop fly to left to end the frame.

With one out in the third, an error, a wild pitch, a walk, a double steal and a pair of base hits made it 5-0. A couple of errors led to another two runs crossing the plate and Portsmouth had a 7-0 lead.

Kennett got its first runner on base in the third, as Scotty Saunders got a base hit, but he was eliminated on a double play.

Catcher Josh Drew threw out a runner stealing third in the fourth inning to keep the Clippers off the scoreboard. Michael Larson had a long fly ball to right field that was tracked down by the Clipper right fielder in the bottom of the frame.

Nick Kevlin took over on the mound in the fifth inning and the Clippers used a couple of bloop hits to set up a big inning.

With one out, a walk and a bloop hit put two runners on and the next batter drove a homer over the fence in left. Three more hits later and the Clippers had another run and the 12th run scored on a wild pitch, giving the visitors a 12-0 lead before Kevlin got a pop-up to first and a strikeout to get out of the inning.

With one out in the bottom of the frame, Albie Jacobs had a base hit and Nick Massa followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Drew then drove in one run with a groundout and Saunders lined his second hit of the night to plate another run and make it 12-2.

However, that's as close as it would get for the Eagles.

"I was pleased we didn't get shut down completely," Burns noted. "We had guys on base."

The veteran Eagle coach noted that his pitchers tended to pitch from behind a bit too much, which is tough to do against a very good team like Portsmouth.

"But, I'm pleased where we are, with a 3-1 record going into the second quarter of the season," he said.

The Eagles opened the week with a 7-1 win over Bishop Brady on Wednesday, April 21, as Larson went the distance on the hill, giving up only three hits on the afternoon.

The big inning for the Eagles was the third, when they plated five runs. Larson had a big triple to drive in a couple of runs and Alex Milford, Sean Perley and Dave Ingram also had hits in the inning.

The Eagles will return to action on Friday, April 30, at 4:15 p.m. at St. Thomas. The boys host Plymouth at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 3, and will host Berlin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5.

Garnett Hill
Salmon Press
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