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Friday, May 20, 2011

Clippers set win record

PEMBROKE – The drama was gone early Thursday, but that didn’t diminish the celebration – and the relief.

The Portsmouth High School baseball team scored five runs in the second inning and never looked back, defeating Pembroke Academy 10-2 to win their 76th straight game. The win sets a national high school record for consecutive wins, and the crowd certainly knew it.

A ring of a few hundred people circled the backstop and visiting sideline, many of them wearing maroon jackets and shirts, and when the final out was recorded, there was more celebrating amongst the fans than there was on the field.

“When I came out to them, they seemed pretty happy that it was over and behind them, and that’s great because now we need to change our focus to St. Thomas on Monday,” Portsmouth coach Tim Hopley said. “I did a quick check last night on MaxPreps, and there’s something like 17,421 high schools that play baseball in the U.S. There’s nobody who is above them as far as what they accomplished (Thursday). It leaves you at a loss for words.”

The win is one better than the streak recorded by Homer (Mich.) during the 2004-05 season, and dates back to the start of the 2008 season. During that time, Portsmouth has won three Class I titles and will try for a Division II final this season.

The Clippers (13-0) have come a long way from when Hopley took over.

“When I first took over 16 years ago, they didn’t win a game the previous year,” he said. “We lost the first 10 games of my coaching career. They understand where we were and where we are now and what it took to get to this point.”

Connor McCauley went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and Matt Main was 2-for-2 and also drove in three runs. Rick Holt picked up the win, going seven innings and allowing five hits with four strikeouts. Holt retired the first 10 batters and the final seven in order.

Portsmouth will go for win No. 77 Monday at St. Thomas.