Peabody's Tianna Dawe led the Tanners to a win over Marblehead. (Item File Photo)

Defense, leadership propel Tanners past Magicians

PEABODY -- How do you define leadership? That's easy. You're Peabody's Tianna Dawe, and you get up there with a runner on base in the second inning of a scoreless game against the team that's basically matched you win for win all year.

And you belt the first pitch you see halfway to Lynnfield.

"Senior leadership," said Peabody softball coach Butch Melanphy. "Our captains have been phenomenal. That, right there, took a lot of the pressure off."

Dawe would then focus on her pitching, holding Marblehead in check en route to a 5-1 win over the Magicians.

The win means both teams will share the Northeastern Conference.

"They're one of the best teams we played this year," said Dawe. "It felt awesome, in a game like this. All I wanted to do was get a hit. When it went out of the park, it felt great."

"They're the best team we've played this season," said Marblehead coach Johnny Gold. "They played a great game today. Their defense was out of this world. We didn't play as good a game."

The name of the game was defense. Dawe wasn't as overpowering as she's been on other occasions this season, and, truth be told, Marblehead made some good contact in the early innings.

"But they made some great plays behind her," said Gold.

Meanwhile, Marblehead pitcher Charlotte Plakans -- undeterred by the home run in the second inning -- kept the game close.

And it got even closer in the top of the fourth when Marblehead scored its only run -- and threatened to get more.

With one out, Plakans singled and was immediately taken out for courtesy runner Rachael Saulnier. Sammi Treff followed with another single, and Saulnier didn't stop until she'd reached third. Bel Sogoloff hit a hard shot back to the mound, and Dawe couldn't find the handle. She tried to get Saulnier at the plate, but the throw wasn't in time.

After Madi Ernst fanned, Hannah Garthe, who had one of the three hits Dawe gave up during the game, walked to load the bases. However, Jolie Quintana hit a gounder to second, and when it was ruled that Garthe interfered with Makayla Iamalfo's attempt to field the ball, she was declared out.

"That was big, not doing more with the bases loaded," Gold said. "Our fault. You have to give the runner a chance to field the ball."

Escaping the inning seemed to pick Peabody up. The Tanners scored twice in the bottom of the fifth inning. MacKenzie Marmion started things off with a single, and Mallory LeBlanc followed by reaching on an error. A wild pitch moved the runners up, and  and Marmion scored on a bunt by Makayla Rooney in which she waited until Plakans, who had fielded the ball, threw over to first before breaking for the plate. She scored standing up.

LeBlanc eventually came home on Kristina Rossignoll's base hit.

Peabody scored its final run in the sixth when Iamalfo reached on an error and scored on a two-out double by LeBlanc.

"This was the team that won its first 13 games," said Melanphy, whose Tanners finish the regular season at 17-3. "We had a dip there in the middle, but that's to be expected. This is the team that started the season strong."

More Stories From Peabody