Champions grab much-needed win in NSBL Finals

Mike Gallo pitched five scoreless innings in Peabody's win Wednesday night. (Item File Photo)

DANVERS — The Peabody Champions matched a shutout by starting pitcher Mike Gallo with clutch hitting to take Game 3 of the North Shore Baseball League Finals over the Kingston Night Owls with a 10-0 mercy-rule win at Twi Field Wednesday night.

With the win, Peabody cuts the Night Owls’ series lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven.

“We needed this one,” Peabody co-manager Steve Gridley said. “We hadn’t hit in the first two games, we had walked but hadn’t strung together some hits like we did tonight and we hadn’t pitched well especially.”

Gallo pitched all five innings of the shortened game for Peabody, allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts.

“Gallo’s one of the best in the league,” Gridley said. “Having him go out there and shut them down in the first inning and then we come out and get two runs, that’s what we needed.

“He had eight strikeouts in five innings with one hit, that’s exactly what we needed,” Gridley added. “Him and Tyler Leavitt have been our best starters and we needed it tonight.”

At the plate, Mark Shorey (4-for-4 with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored) and Chad Martin (2-for-2 with 2 walks and 2 RBI) reached base in each of their at-bats. Jon Cahill (1-for-2 with 3 RBI) and BJ Weed (1-for-1 with 3 RBI) drove in three runs each.

“The first few games in this series we hit the ball hard but had nothing to show for it and that hurt us,” Gridley said. “Now we got down here at home and we were more comfortable.”

Peabody jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first. Cahill walked with bases loaded to bring home a run and Weed hit a sacrifice fly to bring home another run, putting Peabody ahead 2-0.

Peabody extended the lead in the bottom of the third. Shorey started things off with a single and the next batter, Martin, doubled to put Champions runners in scoring position. Cahill laced a RBI single and Weed brought in another run on a sacrifice fly to bump Peabody’s up to 4-0.

Peabody extended the lead with four runs in the fourth inning. A hit batter and an infield error put runners on for Shorey, who laced a RBI single. Later in the inning Cahill drove in another run on a ground ball while another infield error gave Peabody a 7-0 lead. The next batter, Weed added his third RBI of the night, this time on a single, to put Peabody up 8-0.

With the top of the order up to start the fifth, David Ruggiero, Derek Lyons and Shorey all singled to load the bases. Martin then laced a single to left field, scoring two runs to seal Peabody’s scoring at 10-0 and secure the win.

After struggling early on in the series, Peabody hopes to carry over its solid performance into Game 4 Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. at Twi Field.

“Hopefully we can carry it over,” Gridley said. “Kingston has won three of their last four, they are young, they are hungry, they want it and they have pitching galore. It’s going to be a battle but 2-1 is a whole lot better than 3-0.”

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