ANDOVER — The Danvers National 12-year-old Little League All-Stars turned tables Saturday, coming from behind to defeat Peabody West 7-6 in seven innings at Deyermond Park to walk off with their first sectional title in 42 years, proving the point that, when it comes to Little League, you can never have a large enough lead.
West led 5-1 in the Section 4 going into the bottom of the fourth and still led 6-2 after the top of the fifth. But a scrappy Danvers team battled back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the bottom of the sixth to send the game into extras. Danvers won it in the bottom of the seventh when third baseman Jakob Hamel ripped a 2-out RBI single to bring Jake Semons home from third with the game-winning run, punching Danvers’ ticket to next weekend’s state finals in Millbury.
“I guess the magic ran out,” said West manager Steve Porcella. “But I am proud of the way they fought. Both games against Danvers could have gone either way, and I think if we played them 10 times, we would each win five, it was that close. When you start the summer season, you never know how far you are going to go, but the kids, their families really dedicated themselves to this so they should be proud.”
Danvers left the bases loaded in the first after West starter Jayce Dooley got out of the jam with a strikeout, and also leaving two runners on in the second after shortstop Thomas Fabbo made a nice play on a hard grounder.
Fabbo led off the top of the third with a single and scored on a home run by Nick Villano. Dooley then singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk to John Horgan to make it 3-0.
Danvers answered with a run in its half of the frame, but it could have been worse, but for a perfectly-executed rundown that cut down Mike Moroney attempting to score on Nick Robinson’s RBI single.
West bumped the lead to 5-1 on Josh Scali’s 2-run homer in the top of the fourth, scoring Villano. Danvers responded with a run in its half of the inning to cut the lead to 5-2.
In the top of the fifth, Ty Zito singled and got to second on an infield hit by Jacob Behn. Two batters later, Villano was walked intentionally to load the bases for Scali, who added a hit plating Zito to make it 6-2.
Danvers closed to 6-4 in the bottom of the inning, then forced extra innings with two more in the sixth.
Semons led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. Porcella gambled and intentionally walked Reardon, putting the game-winning run on second base. Moroney lined out to Jacob Behn at second, who attempted to double up Reardon at first, but the throw got past first, putting Semons on third. Scali intentionally walked Owen Gasinowski to set up a force at any base, but the plan backfired when Hamel delivered the timely hit.
“Their team is built for all of their kids from top to bottom to come through in big spots, and they came through today,” said Porcella.