BEVERLY — After four frustrating days of weather delays, the 2018 Ray Gallant Tournament finally resumed Wednesday under sunny skies at Harry Ball Field.
Peabody got off to shaky start and trailed Manchester-Essex after the top of the first inning. But behind big bats from the middle of the lineup, Peabody rallied to score three runs in the second and third innings, then coasted the rest of the way en route to a 7-3 win to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament.
Cam Connolly and Reymi Andino, batting in the fifth and sixth slots in the order were each 2-for-3 with home runs, while Anthony Herbert, batting in the No. 9 slot, had a clutch 2-out RBI single.
“We just dropped Cam down from the No. 2 slot to the five slot, and it was great to see him and Reymi get going tonight,” said Peabody manager Steve Zizza. “Daniel (Zizza) and Nick (Villano) have been struggling lately, and you can’t rely on just two guys to provide the offense, so it was great to see Cam and Reymi hit the ball well tonight. Their long balls cleared the bases, which always helps. We needed to put a couple of hits together and that’s what they did and that was important.”
Daniel Zizza got the start and pitched four solid innings, allowing one earned run on two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts, before being relieved by Herbert (three strikeouts, four hits, one walk), who went the last three innings. The only run given up by Zizza was scored by the opening batter of the game, who walked and scored on a 2-out infield single.
Herbert was touched for two runs in the top of the seventh when Manchester-Essex strung together three straight base hits, the big hit being a 2-run single by Cade Furse. Herbert settled down and struck out two of the final three batters to seal the win.
“We got great pitching from Daniel and Anthony and the guys played solid defense,” said Steve Zizza. “Defense and pitching wins games and tonight we got both and also strung some hits together on the offensive side when we needed them.”
Josh Scali started the second inning with a leadoff single. Connolly blasted a long double to right field with Scali advancing to third on the play. Andino, the extra hitter, followed with a long single to right field to bring Scali and Connolly home. Manchester starter Eamon McKenna, one of three triplets on the team, got the next two batters on strikes, but Herbert roped a RBI single to bring Andino home and make it 3-1 Peabody.
Zizza led off the third with a long single to center field that was misplayed, allowing him to take second. McKenna got the next two batters out and looked to be out of the jam until Connolly got hold of a fastball and smashed a 2-run homer over the center field fence. Just two pitches later, Andino made it two in a row with another blast to center field to make it 6-1.
Peabody bumped the lead to 7-1 with an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth, again with two outs. Colin Ridley singled, stole second and scored when Jariel Tolentino reached on an infield error.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the remainder of the tournament will be played at Wyoma’s Reinfuss Field. Peabody’s next game is Saturday afternoon (4:30), with the opponent to be determined.
“Wyoma’s another great field for our guys. Almost everyone has played on that field many times and it’s nice that it’s right next door, so we are looking forward to it,” said Steve Zizza. “I’m proud of the way our guys played tonight.”