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Swampscott forces Game 7 in NSBL Finals

DANVERS – For much of the season, the Swampscott Sox have seen a very talented group of young players come to the forefront en route to a regular-season championship and a trip to the North Shore Baseball League finals.But on Tuesday at Twi Field, it was one of the Sox veterans who came through with Swampscott staring elimination in the face.Designated hitter Jason Tarasuik belted a pair of 3-run homers and drove in six runs to help lead the Sox to a 9-3 win over Peabody and force a winner-take-all game seven tonight (7:30) in Swampscott for the title.”That’s a career day for most people,” Swampscott manager Joe Caponigro said about Tarasuik’s outing. “And we needed it. Peabody is an exceptional team and we’ve had a lot of game sevens with them over the years.”The Sox, who saw Peabody win games 4 and 5 to take a 3-2 lead, also got a stellar pitching performance from Joe Breen, who struck out nine and walked only two to get the route-going win on only three days’ rest.”I can’t say enough about the game Joe pitched on three days’ rest,” Caponigro said. “And he’d probably want the ball (today) if he could.”Swampscott started fast against Peabody’s Mike Moroney, scoring in the top of the first when Jason Blydell doubled and scored on Doug Spofford’s RBI double. But Peabody came right back in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead.Keith Cooper walked and was safe at second on Brian Marshall’s fielder’s choice. Following a passed ball, third baseman Mike Giardi drove home both runs with a base hit to center.Champions kept that 2-1 lead into the third, when Swampscott and Tarasuik got cranking.Blydell reached on a one-out error when his shot to center sailed over Kyle Multner’s head. Tony Nicosia followed with a walk before Spofford singled to center, scoring Blydell. Nicosia was thrown out at third on the play.Catcher Steve Carr then fouled off seven pitches before eventually working a walk against Moroney. That walk was big as Tarasuik went tree hunting in right field moments later to give the Sox a 5-2 lead.Peabody threatened to cut into the lead in the bottom of the inning, with Garrett Greer and Zack Keenan on the corners with one out. But Breen retired Derek Lyons and Multner to end the inning.From there on, Breen would retire the last 12 Peabody batters, 14 in all, to keep the Sox comfortably ahead.Swampscott added a run in the sixth on a Blydell RBI double with two outs before putting the game away in the seventh when Nicosia and Spofford singled before Tarasuik went yard for the second time in the contest to make it 9-2.

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