WINDHAM – There was no banner.
There was no ring of people, in some places two and three deep, around every inch of the fence.
There were just nine guys on the baseball diamond, wearing Portsmouth High School uniforms, doing what the Clippers have done for more than four years – win baseball games.
The lack of fanfare proves what a difference a year can make. The fact that Portsmouth is still winning games – the Clippers’ streak is up to 89 – shows that while some things change, others stay the same.
On April 25, Portsmouth went on the road and defeated Windham, 10-0, for its 88th straight win, retaking the national record it set last year. The Clippers’ 2011 season ended with its fourth straight championship, leaving the open streak at 83 games, a mark that lasted for just a few weeks.
Martensdale-St. Marys of Iowa broke the streak with its 84th win on July 19 and finished its season with a second-straight championship and an 87-game win streak.
“Why the heck are they still playing high school baseball at the end of July?” Portsmouth coach Tim Hopley said of his first thought when heard the record had been broken. “Like most people, it was a little bit of surprise, but it immediately drew our respect and admiration because we understand what goes into it.
“For them, its two seasons of 40 games, or whatever it was. To do it in that time frame, we talk about the grind that we go through here over the course of four-plus years, and for them to do it in two seasons, it’s a different kind of grind.”
The season runs from late May until late July for Martensdale-St. Marys; its first game of 2012 isn’t until May 21.
Portsmouth retook the record with its win over Windham, and there weren’t many people there to see it. About two dozen fans, parents and media traveled to Windham High School that day, and unlike last year, when some Portsmouth parents had a banner made, there was no big celebration after the game.
“If last year had been like this, it would have been fine,” Hopley said after the Clippers beat Windham. “If (the fans and a banner) had been here this year, we just want to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain.”
The Clippers (6-0 in Division II) added one more to the streak on Friday, beating Souhegan 8-3 in what was their closest game of the year. Portsmouth’s biggest test so far comes on Monday at St. Thomas (6-0) in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
“It’s going to happen,” Hopley said of a loss. “We know it, but it’s not something that we discuss, just like the success we have. To the credit of all the guys, not only this group here, but all the ones that have come before them, there have been days that we’ve made enough progress individually and as a group that we’ve been able to have the success we’ve had.”