Baseball: Northampton can’t hold lead in 8-4 loss to East Longmeadow (PHOTOS)

By HANNAH BEVIS 

Staff Writer 

Published: 04-11-2023 8:19 PM

NORTHAMPTON – The Northampton baseball team came close to picking up its first win of the season against East Longmeadow, but couldn’t quite close things out against the Spartans on Tuesday afternoon. 

Northampton dropped an 8-4 decision to the Spartans, falling to 0-5 on the season.

The Blue Devils got off to a strong start, riding a fourth-inning offensive surge to take a 4-1 lead going into the fifth inning. But East Longmeadow answered back, scoring four runs of its own in the top of the fifth to re-take the lead, and added another three in the sixth inning to pull away.

The Blue Devils are still working on the team’s chemistry and technique early in the season. 

“We're not baseball players – we're football players and basketball players who happen to play baseball,” Northampton head coach Ryan Parent said. “We're getting better each game. Our bats are better, our fielding is better but we’re getting it. They’re a competitive group, it’s not where they want to be because they’re used to having a lot of success in basketball and football, but they’ll get it.” 

Trailing 1-0, Wes Parent got Northampton’s offense going in the fourth inning with a hit that found a sweet spot between the third baseman and left fielder for a single. After a line drive from Caleb Steineger was snagged, Parent stole second and got home on a Luke McGrath hit, and from there the Blue Devils were cruising. McGrath scored on a Peter Sullivan double, Sullivan plated on another double from Marty Maslowski, and Kelvin Perez brought in Maslowski to make it 4-1.

That was all the Blue Devils could manage offensively – though they put a couple runners on base in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, though weren’t able to bring them home. 

“(We wanted to) get baserunners, we need to be more aggressive at the plate overall,” Wes Parent said on his team's strategy. “I think that's something that we need to work on as a team, getting people on base and just playing more fun baseball and not being as rigid.”

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Northampton is still getting its feet under them this season. Only two of their players, both sophomores, played summer baseball last year, and getting reacquainted to the timing of baseball can take a while. The team is also dealing with a lot of injuries early in the season, something that usually doesn’t come to call until later in the year. 

“It was close and they're getting it, and I'm proud of the fact that they keep working,” Ryan Parent said. “It's going to be one of those things that I think it's going to click and when it does - I thought it almost did there today, but we did some nice things. So I'm not disappointed in their effort.”

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1.]]>