MEDFORD — Missed opportunities are often the factors that decide the outcomes of games.
Thursday afternoon at Playstead Park, the Peabody baseball team left a few runs on the field and fell to Medford, 6-2, in a Northeastern Conference tilt.
Joe Gilmartin and Evan Mullen each scored a run for the Tanners, while Michael Martinez and Jake Gustin collected one RBI apiece. Peabody placed runners on base in six of seven innings but Medford starting pitcher Jack Fargo worked his way out of jams throughout the afternoon. Fargo pitched seven innings and tallied five strikeouts.
Tanners starter Alex D’Angelo kept Peabody within striking distance with a solid outing of his own. The Tanners hung close, down 3-2, before running into trouble in the fifth when Medford scored twice. Medford capped the scoring with one run in the sixth.
D’Angelo pitched into the fifth inning before handing the ball to reliever Joe Zito for the fifth and sixth innings.
“Alex was phenomenal,” Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt said. “Medford has six lefties in their order. He was constantly working in and out on both sides of the plate, keeping them off balance.
“(Alex) came back after throwing 42 pitches yesterday in that Salem extra-inning game,” Bettencourt said. “He gave us 80 today. That’s a senior helping his team out. I give Alex all the credit in the world. I was very pleased with the job Joe did in relief.”
On two occasions the Tanners had a base runner thrown out at home plate. Bettencourt and the Tanners aim to make baserunning a priority moving forward in practice.
“We have to run the bases better,” Bettencourt said. “We should’ve walked home on both of those. We’re not running the bases properly. That’s something we’re working on in practice. We’re not getting good jumps. Even in the infield and outfield, we’re not getting good jumps.”
Medford took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a RBI single from Fargo. Peabody evened the score in the top of the second. Gilmartin led the the frame with a single and took second base on an errant pickoff attempt. Trevor Lodi reached on an infield single and Gilmartin raced to third. Martinez grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Gilmartin for the 1-1 tie.
Medford’s Mike Nestor Jr. and Brandon Kelley hit RBI singles in the third inning to reclaim the lead at 3-1. The Tanners sliced the deficit in half in the top of the fifth with a two-out rally. Mullen reached on a fielder’s choice and took second base after Jake Irvine’s single. Gustin roped a RBI single, plating Mullen to make it a 3-2 game.
Needing insurance runs to keep Peabody away, Medford scored twice in the bottom of the fifth. Back to back RBI singles from Fargo and Gino Desimone gave the Mustangs breathing room at 5-2. Medford added one run in the sixth.
“Sometimes you lose, sometimes you get beat,” Bettencourt said. “When we lose, I get aggravated because we didn’t make them beat us. Today I felt like Medford did their job. They got big hits in big situations and we have to live with that. That’s baseball.”
Looking for a late rally, Peabody started the top of the seventh on the right foot. Cole Cuzzi was hit by a pitch. Mullen followed with a double but Cuzzi was thrown out at home plate for the second out of the inning. Irvine walked to put runners on first and second for Peabody but Fargo induced a flyout to end the game, sealing Medford’s 6-2 win.
Peabody (7-3) visits Marblehead Monday (7) in hopes of ending a two-game slide.