Swampscott squeaks by Peabody in NSBL finals opener

For most of the first game of the North Shore Baseball League championship series, it looked as though Peabody would shut out Swampscott; in fact, it wasn’t until the sixth inning when Swampscott got its first hit.But with conventional offense not working, Swampscott was able to squeak by with a few well-placed hits and a little bit of luck.After eight hard-fought innings, Swampscott broke a scoreless tie in extra innings for a 2-1 Sox victory over the Peabody Champions in the series opener.With the bases loaded and one out, Jarred Wiedenroth hit a ground ball up the middle, which was fielded by Peabody shortstop Derek Lyons. Lyons was able to flip the ball to second for one out, but Wiedenroth beat out a hurried throw to first, allowing Jason Blydell to score the winning run.Blydell had led off the inning with a double, and he advanced to third on a groundout by Doug Spofford. Intentional passes to Steve Carr and Jason Tarasuik loaded the bases, setting up the winning play.”We got really lucky late in the game with some seeing-eye ground balls,” said Swampscott manager Joe Caponigro. “We just happened to hit the ball in the right spots.”The victory came after a hard-fought pitcher’s duel between Peabody’s Mike Moroney and Swampscott’s Eric Fields. Caponigro said Moroney did an admirable job keeping the Sox hitters off balance all game.”I thought the pitching on both sides was outstanding,” Caponigro said. “(Moroney) kept us off-balance, throwing his pitches for strikes.”Moroney (5 H, 4 BB, 4 K) went the distance for Peabody. Fields (3 H, 5 BB, 2 K) pitched six innings for Swampscott, with Fred Cole (2 H, K) coming on for the final two.The first three innings were an offensive struggle for both teams as Fields and Moroney kept the hitters in check.Peabody had an opportunity to score in the fourth, with runners on first and third and no outs. Zach Keenan flew out to deep right field, seemingly scoring Garrett Greer from third base. However, Swampscott contested that the runner had started for home too early, and Greer was called out on the appeal to third.”It seemed harmless in the fourth inning,” said Peabody manager Steve Gridley. “It was impossible for the umpire to see (the play). He made an impossible call, and it hurt.”Despite the letdown from the missed scoring opportunity, Peabody was able to rebound for the first run of the game in the sixth. Brian Marshall was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Greer followed with an RBI double to deep centerfield for a 1-0 advantage.With its back to the wall in the seventh, Swampscott manufactured a run. With runners on first and second, Ryan Radabaugh hit a ball up the middle that was stopped by a diving Marshall, but all runners were safe on the play. Pinch-hitter Angelo Salustri followed with an infield single up the third-base line, scoring Tarasuik.Swampscott nearly won the game then, but Tony Nicosia grounded out to end the inning.After such a tense opener, Caponigro said he expects the rest of the seven-game series to be similar.”I expect the series to be just like this, back and forth,” he said.Although his team lost, Gridley said he expects the Champions to bounce back when the series shifts to Twi Field in Danvers tonight at 8.”Tomorrow, we’ll just turn it back,” Gridley said. “We’ll see if we can get it back to even.”

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