Sports

Peabody West advances to District 4 championship after thrilling win over Billerica

Peabody West's Josh Scali plated the winning run after a passed ball to give West the 7-6 win over Billerica Friday at Deyermond Park in Andover.

ANDOVER — In the first two games of the District 4 Tournament the Peabody West 12-year-old All-Stars had to battle from behind in the late innings. Friday night’s game against Billerica at Deyermond Park was no different.

West battled back after falling behind twice in the game, eventually plating the winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning to win 7-6 when Josh Scali scored on a passed ball with two outs.

The win sends Peabody West to the District 4 championship game against Danvers National Saturday (12).

“It looked like they had the chance to make a play there,” West manager Steve Porcella said of the game-winning run. “You have to go there and put your foot on the pedal and go for it.”

“I just knew I had to take the chance because it was a tied game with two outs,” Scali said. “You always have to take that chance if you have it.”

Scali (1-for-3 with a walk) scored two runs in the win. West was led at the plate by Jayce Dooley (2-for-4 with 3 RBI) who hit a three-run home run and Josh Horgan (1-for-1 with a walk and 2 RBI) who hit a double to drive in two runs and tie the game in fifth.

Anthony Herbert, who came in to relieve starting pitcher Nick Villano, pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing no hits on two strikeouts while hitting one batter.

“We hadn’t used Anthony much but he really came out there and did his job,” Porcella said. “He hit his spots, kept the hitters off balance and got the job done.”

Billerica jumped out to an early lead in the first when Gus O’Gara hit a solo home run to put his team up 1-0. Later in the inning Tyler Killilea hit a RBI single to put Billerica up 2-0.

The lead was extended in the second when O’Gara added another RBI on a single to put Billerica up 3-0.

West added a run in its half of the second when Thomas Fabbo drove in a run on a groundout with the bases loaded to cut Billerica’s lead to 3-1. The inning ended when Horgan was caught trying to steal home after a throw to second.

A walk by Villano and an infield single by Scali put runners on to start the third inning for West. Dooley drove a three-run homer to give West its first lead of the game at 4-3.

However, Billerica wasn’t ready to give up. After a walk and a hit batter in the fourth, James Tucker added a three-run homer of his own to put Billerica up 6-4.

With two outs and runners at second and third for West, Horgan came up clutch with a two-run double to tie the game.

“It’s a tough game, we battled all the way through,” Porcella said. “Johnny [Horgan] got caught stealing home and he comes back with a clutch hit.”

“I’ve been struggling in those situations,” Horgan said. “I was pretty nervous but I tried to just breathe and not even think about it and it payed off.”

Tied at 6-6 in the last inning, Scali reached on a walk for West. Throughout the inning, Scali moved to second and third on passed balls and when a third pitch got away from Billerica’s catcher he sprinted home as well to walk the game off before celebrating West’s victory with his teammates.

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