By Anne Marie Tobin
SAUGUS — The Peabody Little League All-Star team kept its hopes alive for a second straight District 16 tournament title Friday night at Saugus National’s Elks Field, eliminating Winthrop with an 11-0 win in four innings.
Peabody led 6-0 after three innings then put the game out of reach with a 5-run fourth, with the big hits coming off the bats of starting pitcher Daniel Zizza (RBI double) and Michael Petro (2-run homer).
Cam Connolly continued to hit the cover off the ball, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
Winthrop had no answers for Zizza and Connolly as the lefties combined to hold Winthrop to just two hits and struck out seven combined. Only two Winthrop runners reached second base.
“I think you can see that our first game in the tournament when we lost to Swampscott was a fluke,” said Peabody manager Rick DeLoreto. “We have scored 32 runs in three games, so they’ve shown they can hit and they are hitting the ball hard. Tonight, we even got a home run from our No. 6 hitter. Michael really crushed that ball.
“With Daniel and Cam throwing strikes, that’s key as they don’t put anybody on base,” added DeLoreto. “Daniel’s curve ball was on tonight. He doesn’t change his arm motion, so it’s hard for hitters to pick up and and he throws hard, while Cam just hits his spots nine out of 10 times and had his changeup working.”
Peabody jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. With Josh Sigmon on third (walk) and Connolly on second (double), Zizza (2-for-3, two RBI) brought Sigmon (three runs scored) home with a sacrifice fly to right. Reymi Andino reached on a dropped third strike with Connolly taking advantage of the loose ball to score from third. Andino stole second, got to third on a passed ball and scored when Petro’s grounder was booted.
In the second, Jariel Tolentino walked and scored on a throwing error on Chris Shea’s bunt, then Connolly knocked in Sigmon (fielder’s choice) to make it a 5-0 game.
In the fourth, Sigmon led off with a walk and advanced to second on Connolly’s single. Zizza knocked in Sigmon with a double to right, then Connolly scored on Andino’s ground out, setting the stage for Petro, who belted the first pitch he saw over the fence in left center to make it 10-0. Colin Ridley capped the scoring with an RBI double to right, scoring Alex Silva, on base with a walk.
Michael DeLoreto (1-for-2) also hit safely.
Winthrop manager Jason Rockefeller said the team’s goal was to make it into July.
“That’s one of our first goals and obviously the long-term goal is to win districts,” said Rockefeller. “We don’t see too many curve balls, so that was a factor and I think we also had a huge high after our Wyoma win, so maybe it was too much. We just couldn’t get that energy back tonight.”
With the win, Peabody advances to play Swampscott Sunday at a location to be announced.
“We will have all of our pitchers available to pitch, so we can’t say we have any reasons not to think we have a shot,” said Rick DeLoreto.