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Better now than never: Newport baseball impressing after a slow start

  • "Seniors, thanks for a great way to go out," says Newport's head coach Scott McNamara to the team after their last home game against Franklin in Newport, N.H., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Newport won, 17-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Newport's Cole McNamara runs past third base toward home after a home run by Daniel Lee during their game against Franklin in Newport, N.H., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Newport won, 17-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Franklin's Taryn Laramie gets a hit from a pitch by Newport's J.T. Blaine in Newport, N.H., on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Newport won, 17-0. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

NEWPORT — The Newport High baseball team’s five-inning, 17-0 win over Franklin on Wednesday at Bates Memorial Field showed first-year coach Scott McNamara what he knew all along: “We’ve got some players here.”

Unless a crazy scenario happens in the next few days, however, the season will end for the Tigers on Friday, when they go to Monadnock a day after meeting Sunapee.

“Mathematically, we still have a shot, but a lot of things have to happen for us to make the (NHIAA Division III) playoffs,” said McNamara, who readily admitted that the chances are remote.

Why the Tigers are only 4-10 this season perhaps came down to simply hitting the ball at the right time.

“We left 13 men on in a loss to Hillsboro-Deering and the bases loaded twice,” McNamara said, referencing Monday’s 5-0 loss to the Hillcats. “We left eight men on against Monadnock (on May 6). It was that kind of a season.”

Newport athletic director Jeff Miller has his own ideas about what happened.

“We didn’t lose a lot of players from last year, but in Cody Turgeon, Kyle Fish and Kyle Rossiter we not only lost three of our best pitchers, but three of our best hitters as well,” he said.

Miller went on to say that while the team has not been winning, it has been a team that “keeps plugging away.”

“We’re going to get through this,” McNamara said. “We’re going to stay together. Even though we haven’t been winning, the kids haven’t lost faith in themselves, and I haven’t lost faith in the kids. We just couldn’t get the big hit.”

Newport’s win came against a Franklin team that, at 5-10, may still make the playoffs. The top 15 schools in the 22-team division qualify.

As is the case with many of teams swamped by makeup games lately, the Golden Tornadoes went deep into the depth chart to find some pitching.

They started with Riley Thurber, who was left out there for three innings, throwing 102 pitches. He was charged with 14 runs, gave up 12 hits, walked six, hit three and was charged with a balk. He was followed by Nick Fraser, who got instructions on how to pitch with a man on from his left-handed second baseman.

There were some other quirky occurrences. Newport pitcher J. T. Blaine had four strikeouts in the second inning after the leadoff batter reached on a third-strike passed ball.

Home plate umpire Brewster Gove stopped the game three times for people and dogs heading for the Sugar River via center field.

But the most impressive aspect of the game was Blaine, who allowed just two singles in throwing just 70 pitches before the game was stopped by the 10-run rule. Blaine fanned six in a row at one stretch and 11 in the game. He walked just one.

The Tigers sent 12 men to the plate in the first inning, scoring six times, and 14 in the eight-run second. Newport’s defense made just one error.

The Tigers had 14 hits, four from Jarred Meyette and three from senior Cole McNamara, who spent his first three seasons on the track team. Dan Lee homered to center field. Tony Robertson and Blaine had two hits each.

While there are six seniors on the team, there also is abundant youth with five sophomores and a freshman.

“I like my guys,” McNamara said.