Tanners offense struggles, Peabody exits tournament

Mackenzie Marmion logged the lone RBI for the Tanners. (Photo by Anne Marie Tobin )

METHUEN — The No. 5 Peabody softball team’s season came to end Tuesday night at Burnham Field with a 4-1 loss to host No. 4 Methuen in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 North tournament.

The game was deadlocked at 1-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Rangers blew the game wide open with three runs, the big hit being a two-out, two-run triple by leadoff hitter Stephanie Tardugno.

The Tanners went dry at the plate, scratching out only three base hits, one of them a bunt and also struggled with a slight case of early game nerves.

“Yes, I think we maybe had a few nerves early, and you could see it in warmups a little bit, but it came to we couldn’t hit,” said Peabody coach Butch Melanaphy. “We knew against that pitcher we needed to take more pitches, but the kids didn’t, and I think she ended up throwing something like 56 pitches the whole game. We were swinging too early and made it easy for them.  But the bottom line is you aren’t going to win too many games with only three hits.”

Peabody starter Tianna Dawe pitched in and out of trouble the whole game, starting with the first inning, when the Rangers had runners at second and third with only one out. Dawe buckled down and struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning unscathed. She wasn’t as lucky in the second inning when an infield error on the first at bat of the frame came back to bite the Tanners. Cari Rizzo reached on the booted ball, got to second on a passed ball, third on a throwing error and scored on a single by Taylor Cassidy.

Peabody came right back in the top of the third with a run to level the score at 1-1. Makayla Iannalfo led off and reached on an error.  She got to second on a passed ball and was singled to third by Makayla Rooney and scored on Mackenzie Marmion’s sacrifice fly to center field.

After that, the Tanners were held in check. They had just two more baserunners the rest of the game;  Lucianna Mastromatteo, who led off the fourth with a single, and Mallory LeBlanc, who led off the sixth with a single.

Peabody escaped another threat in the fourth inning with an unconventional inning-ending 6-3-6-2 double play. The Rangers had runners at second and third with one out. Tardugno hit a grounder to LeBlanc at short, who looked the runner at third back and fired across the diamond to get the out at first. Mastromatteo spotted both runners well off the base and threw back to LeBlanc, who fired home to catcher Kristina Rossignol to get the runner attempting to score.
Following the game, Melanaphy could only wonder what might’ve been.

“It was a pretty well-played game by both teams, they got the hits and we didn’t, but we could have beaten that team,” he said. “We just need to make them throw more pitches, but in the end our best hitters just didn’t hit today. It still was a great season, but we should have beaten that team.”

Peabody finished the season 18-4.

More Stories From Peabody