PEABODY — The Peabody-Middleton American Legion baseball team battled back to erase a five-run deficit and earned a 9-5 win over Newburyport Monday night at Peabody High School’s Bezemes Diamond.
Trevor Lodi (1-for-4) had two RBI, while Pat Costigan (3-for-4), Taiden Perez (2-for-3), David Hunter (2-for-4), Cooper Marengi (1-for-4) and Josh Cerretani (1-for-3) each added one RBI for Peabody-Middleton.
“The guys were out ahead of pitches, we saw a lot of off-speed pitches,” Peabody-Middleton manager John Kowalski said of his team at the plate. “It’s easy to get ahead and pop a few pitches up and not see the ball. We stayed back on the ball a bit better, got our timing down and eventually started hitting the ball good.”
Lodi, who primarily plays catcher and first base, also came in to relieve Peabody-Middleton starting pitcher Chris Masta in the third inning. Lodi pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings while allowing five hits, striking out one and walking one batter.
“We’ve played a lot of games in a short amount of time and Trevor hasn’t pitched, I think he’s pitched two innings for us all year,” Kowalski said. “We knew he could throw strikes, we tested him a couple weeks ago with a big lead against Danvers and he came in and threw strikes so we had him in reserve. Tonight he did a fantastic job and he pitched the last four innings and shut them down, a real nice job.”
After two scoreless innings for both teams, Newburyport got things started in the top of the third with a five-run inning. The inning included three hits, four walks and one Peabody-Middleton infield error to put Newburyport up 5-0 early.
In the bottom half of the third Peabody-Middleton started to chip away at Newburyport’s lead when David Hunter drove Mike Federico in to score on a single making the score 5-1.
In the fourth inning Peabody-Middleton added two more runs to inch closer. Perez and Federico both hit singles to put runners at the corners with one out. The next batter, Cerretani, grounded into a fielder’s choice at shortstop to score Perez. Later in the inning Costigan singled to drive in a run and cut the deficit to 5-3.
In the fifth Peabody-Middleton blew the game open with a six-run inning. With runners at second and third Lodi doubled to score two runs and tied the game at 5-5. After a pitching change, the next batter, Perez, hit a RBI single to give Peabody-Middleton a 6-5 lead. That brought Federico up to the plate, who doubled in Perez. Federico scored on the play after two errant Newburyport throws, giving Peabody-Middleton a 8-5 lead. Peabody-Middleton added one more run in the inning thanks to a RBI double from Marengi, stretching the lead to a four-run margin and capping the scoring for the night.
After a slow start to the Legion season, Kowalski likes his team’s direction as of late.
“We’ve made a lot of progress,” Kowalski said. “We started off slow at 2-3, 3-5 but then we won five straight and got back in it. The goal was to make the playoffs this year and when we have our full team that shows up, which is a challenge with all of the competing summer priorities, we’re a very good team.
“I think we’ll prioritize next weekend and the playoffs,” Kowalski added. “I think we’re going to have our best team and put our best foot forward.”
Peabody-Middleton (10-6) battles Saugus Tuesday night (6) in Stoneham.