DANVERS — For the second night in a row the Peabody Champions rode a great starting pitching performance to a win, defeating the Kingston Night Owls 9-3 in Game 4 of the North Shore Baseball League final at Twi Field.
After falling into a two-game hole, Peabody has now tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2.
Greg Ladd threw five innings for Peabody, allowing one run on five hits while striking out two and walking one. Ladd also battled through a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand that he suffered in the first inning.
“Greg Ladd was the story of this game,” Peabody co-manager Steve Gridley said. “I don’t know if he had thrown five innings yet for us this season. He came out and threw strikes, fought through it with the blister and we made plays behind him.”
At the plate Peabody was led by Mark Shorey (2-for-4 with a HBP and 4 RBI) who hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Zach Keenan (2-for-3 with a walk and 2 RBI) batted in two runs while Chad Martin, Jon Cahill and BJ Weed all had one RBI each.
Much like Game 3 of the series, Peabody jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Back-to-back singles by David Ruggiero and Derek Lyons and a hit by pitch by Shorey loaded the bases. Martin walked to score a run, Keenan doubled to score two and Cahill brought in a run on a ground out to put Peabody up 4-0.
“When you come out on the first three pitches and get two guys on, then the fourth hits our three hitter and now we have bases loaded with Chad Martin up, I’ll take that all day,” Gridley said of the hot start. “Chad worked a walk and Zach Keenan had the opposite field double, we got up early on and then Greg pitched great, you can’t script it any better than that.”
In the second inning, two hit batters put runners on again for Peabody. Later in the inning Shorey drove in a run on a ground out to put Peabody up 5-0.
Kingston was able to get two men on with one out thanks to singles by Andrew Thibault and Nick Shumski. However, Ladd forced a ground out and recorded a strikeout to get out of the inning.
The Night Owls added a run in the fourth inning. Dan Morin doubled and was later brought home on a sacrifice fly by Connor Parent to cut the lead to 5-1.
Mike Giardi and Marc Crovo both reached to start the fifth inning for Peabody. Later in the inning, Shorey laced a three-run home run to left field to put Peabody up 8-1.
“Those were a big three runs,” Gridley said of the home run. “It was only 5-1 at the time and we had left the bases loaded for two innings in a row and then Mark cashed in those runs we needed to get.”
Peabody added another run in sixth inning off of a ground out RBI by Weed to extend the lead to 9-1.
The Night Owls found some life in the sixth inning, adding two runs on a RBI double from Jared Bresnia.
However, the deficit was too much for Kingston and Peabody walked away with the 9-3 victory to tie the series.
After an off day Friday the series will continue at Fraser Field in Lynn at 8 p.m. Saturday. Game 6 is also scheduled for Fraser Field at 8 p.m. on Sunday.