By Dan Harrison
---- — The Masconomet baseball team didn’t put its best foot forward Saturday and Hamilton-Wenham jumped out to an early lead. The Chieftains, however, went with their best arm late and escaped with a 4-3 win over the Generals.
Joe Klingensmith may not be Masco’s best overall pitcher, but he’s the ideal closer and Saturday he allowed just one hit in the final two innings to preserve a one-run lead.
H-W made him work for it in the seventh when the Generals had a man on second with just one out but Klingensmith fanned the next batter, then induced a grounder to end the game.
“He’s done that three times now where he’s come in and slammed the door,” Masco (4-1) head coach TJ Baril said of Klingensmith. “He’s a big, strong kid with a heavy fastball and a sneaky curve. He’s the perfect guy for pressure situations. Nothing gets to him.”
Will Twiss started on the mound for the Chieftains and after allowing a run in the first inning he settled down until the top of the fifth when H-W plated two more runs. Austin Michel and Ben MacDonald ripped back-to-back opposite field RBI singles scoring Nick Tufts and Drew Gallant.
However, third baseman Greg Jain made an outstanding grab in foul territory and Twiss was able to strikeout Brian Nichol with a fastball on the outside corner to avoid any further damage.
“There were a couple balls he left up that they hit,” said Baril. “But he (Twiss) pounded the strike zone and kept his pitch count down. We had the lead when he came out so he did what we asked him to do.”
H-W starter Jack Clay was outstanding in the early innings and, with some help from left fielder Matt Andre, he kept the Chieftains off the board until the third inning. Andre gunned down Speros Varinos at the plate after Varinos tried tagging from third. Brett Harring applied the tag.
“We’re playing really well,” noted H-W (1-3) head coach Reggie Maidment. “We’re hitting very well and we’ve got great team chemistry.
Matt Andre and our whole outfield are seniors. They get it and know they have to work hard.”
Clay ran into trouble in the third inning when he hit the lead off batter, then misfired on a throw to first after a Greg Dougherty bunt. Jain followed two batters later with a two RBI single to right field and Twiss knocked in another run when he grounded out back to Clay.
“He’s (Clay) got a really live fastball and a great spliter — the thing is awesome,” said Maidment. “He has these long fingers. He’s a tall, lanky kid with a real long release. He kinda got lazy but he looked outstanding in the beginning of the game. He mixed it up a lot and that is a heck of a hitting team.”
Masco scored what proved to be the game-winning run when Troy Bunker took home after a passed ball in the bottom of the fifth.