HAMILTON — Masconomet righty Joe Klingensmith hadn’t walked a batter all day and was overpowering with 12 strikeouts until host Hamilton-Wenham waited out a pair of free passes in the bottom of the seventh.
One of them came around to score on a passed ball, but Klingensmith deftly got two straight ground balls to close out a 2-1 victory for his Chieftains at Patton Park.
The senior, who will play baseball at UMass-Amherst next year, finished with a two-hitter and 12 punchouts as Cape Ann League Kinney Division champion Masconomet improved to 17-2.
“Joe throws hard, but if you watch him he’s so calm and smooth that the ball explodes out of his hand. It’s a heavy fastball and it was effective today,” said Chieftains coach T.J. Baril, whose team has its last regular season game against Saugus tomorrow before gearing up to defend their Division 2 North title.
The Generals (10-6) knew Klingensmith would be around the plate and were aggressive with their swings. H-W’s first hit was a ball Austen Michel clubbed to the outfield which Masco’s Greg Dougherty appeared to catch but had trapped on a diving stab in the judgement of the umpires. Pete Duval later hit a clean single, and in both instances Klingensmith bore down with back-to-back K’s to retire the side.
“He’s so good, it’s rare for him not to throw strikes. Our guys were jumping on it and you have to take that approach against a pitcher as good as Kling,” said H-W coach Reggie Maidment. “Overall, I’m disappointed with the loss but impressed with how we played.”
Senior Jack Clay took the ball for H-W, which started nine seniors on their Senior Day at Patton. He limited a powerful Chieftain offense to four hits and walked three while the Generals played flawless defense behind him. Most of the damage was done by Masco catcher Mike Manni, who doubled for his team’s first hit in the fourth, scored the first run and later launched a solo homer to center.