DORCHESTER — The Swampscott High baseball team took two innings to get going Monday, but in the third the Big Blue started to mash the ball.
And never stopped.
The result was a 9-1 MIAA Division 3 North quarterfinal win over Latin Academy to put them into the semifinals Wednesday against either Austin Prep or Bedford, which play today.
Swampscott coach Jason Calichman said his team is getting hot at just the right time, tournament time.
“I think top to bottom, that was the best game we’ve played all year,” Calichman said. “We put the ball in play, we played good defense, Max (Pegnato) pitched well, I think we played really good baseball for seven innings today. We beat some good teams this year, and I think that if we play our best baseball, we can play with anybody.”
The Big Blue scored four runs in the third inning off Dragons’ starter Jarrad Coyne. Brett Benoit singled and scored on a double by Jonathan Oriakhi, who subsequently scored on a wild pitch with the eventual winning run.
Spencer Perkins singled and Drew Olivieri sacrificed him to second. Perkins could have scored from the next town over, as Ryan Graciale crushed a pitch to left and circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run, and Swampscott was up 4-0.
Graciale, who went 4-4 with two RBI, echoed his coach and said it was the best game that his team has played all spring, and that when the Big Blue play the way they can, they are tough to beat.
Swampscott picked up two more runs in the top of the fifth. Dave Quill dropped a hit into right field, scoring Olivieri and Nick Reiser, putting the Big Blue up 6-0.
Latin Academy loaded the bases with three straight singles to open its half of the fifth, but the Dragons ran themselves out of a potential big inning. Mike Ward hit a sacrifice fly that scored Coyne, but the relay from Oriakhi to Benoit at third nabbed Jeren Pimentel for the second out.
Pegnato got a fly ball from Daniel Ruiz to end the inning. That was the last time the Dragons threatened.
Swampscott tacked on three more runs in the top of the sixth. Dylan January hit his second home run of the tournament to make it 7-1, and Spencer Perkins doubled, scoring Benoit and Oriakhi with the final two runs.
Pegnato picked up the win, going six innings and allowing one run, five hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Sophomore
Tyler Marshall came in and retired the side in the seventh.
Dragons coach Anthony Bernazzani was very impressed by the Swampscott bats.
“There are no holes in their batting order, the bottom is just as tough as the top, we made a couple of mistakes, but Swampscott took it to us,” Bernazzani said.