SWAMPSCOTT — The bats were on fire Sunday for the Peabody Little League all-stars, who pounded out 15 hits in a 13-4 rout over East Lynn at Swampscott Middle School to stay alive in the District 16 tournament.
Peabody trailed 4-3 going into the top of the fifth inning, but broke the game wide open, sending 10 batters to the plate, six of whom scored to grab the lead for good, 10-4. From there, reliever Cam Connolly slammed the door shut. He retired six of the final seven Swampscott batters and struck out four straight, including the side in the bottom of the fifth inning to seal the winner.
The win sets up a Thursday night clash against the winner of today’s Wyoma/Winthrop game (TBA).
“Today our subs off the bench when they had their opportunities, came through and gave us a spark,” said Peabody manager Rick DeLoreto. “Luke Joyce got on base, Christian Kaminsky had that great catch in right field, Alex (Silva) had three great ab-bats and Michael (DeLoreto) got on base a couple of times with two good walks.
“The kids knew that this was a must-win game and you could see it on their faces during the first couple of innings, but they all came through with that big fifth inning, and once you get down that far in Little League, it’s almost impossible to come back. They ran themselves right out of a big inning when they had bases loaded and no outs in the first, and that was big for us.”
East Lynn coach Matt Morin agreed.
“Once they opened it up in the fifth, we were just too far behind to recover,” he said. “It was a great game until then, but we just ended up beating ourselves.”
Peabody took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a 2-run single by starting pitcher Reymi Andino that scored Josh Sigmon, who singled, and Dan Zizza, who was hit by a pitch.
East Lynn came right back with three in its half of the inning, capitalizing on four straight walks but the inning ended abruptly with baserunning miscues.
“We had one kid run on his own into an out, and then I sent the other kid home when I thought he could make it, so we missed a big chance there,” Morin said. “Credit to their catcher (Zizza), who made a nice one-handed grab to get that last out.”
Peabody added another run in the third on back-to-back doubles by Zizza and Andino.
Walks again proved fatal for Peabody in the bottom of the inning. A bases-loaded walk by Connolly to Josh Jimenez put East Lynn back on top, 4-3. After that, Connolly was virtually unhittable, retiring 10 of the final 12 batters. The only East Lynn players to reach base were Carlos Delarosa (intentional walk) and Angel Hernandez (single).
The big hits in Peabody’s fifth inning explosion were a 2-run single by Jariel Tolentino and RBI singles by Connolly and Michael Petro.
Petro also came up big in the sixth with a bases-loaded blooper to right field that cleared the bases.
“That was a killer, as we had the infield in and then their kid just blooped it into short right,” said Morin. “And then we threw the ball around a little so that didn’t help.
Morin highlighted the performance of starting pitcher, Mornel Castro.
“He did a heckuva job to get us through the first four innings with a 4-3 lead,” said Morin. “He was solid today as he has been all year long, but we just didn’t hit the ball either.”
East Lynn finished with only four hits, singles by Fabio Encarnacion, Anthony Cedeño, Delarosa and Hernandez.