LYNN — After a four days of rain delays, the Gallant Tournament finally resumed play Sunday afternoon in a day-night doubleheader at Reinfuss Field. Peabody, made up of representatives from both the Peabody and Peabody Western Little Leagues, took on Salem and stayed alive in the losers’ bracket with a mercy-ruled 14-1 win over Salem win to set up a night clash with Lynn.
Peabody’s Daniel Zizza (2 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, four strikeouts), Anthony Herbert (2 innings, four strikeouts) and Reymi Andino (1 inning, 1 strikeout) combined for a 1-hitter with the only hit being a leadoff home run by Shawn O’Keefe in the bottom of the second inning off Zizza. Herbert came on in relief in the third and retired all six batters he faced. Andino needed only eight pitches to set down the side in order in the fifth to seal the victory.
Offensively, Peabody recorded just seven hits, six of them in the third when Peabody sent 13 batters to the plate with nine of them scoring to put the game out of reach at 12-1. It also took advantage of nine walks and two hit batsmen who combined to score nine runs.
“We hit the ball from top to bottom tonight, but it wasn’t just about the hits, it was being able to be patient and taking walks and our baserunning was phenomenal,” said manager Steve Zizza. “We got great pitching, who only allowed just that one hit, a home run, and we had some guys come up big at the plate, like Cam Connolly and John Horgan and Jariel Tolentino. We watched some pitches early, but once we settled down we were patient and put the bat on the ball and made contact. We got contributions from everyone tonight.”
Colin Ridley started the game with a walk, reached second and third on wild pitches and scored on a grounder to third off the bat of Zizza to stake Peabody to a 1-0 lead. Cam Connolly led of the second by getting hit and scored on a RBI single by Josh Sigmon. With one out, Herbert Anthony reached base on error at short and scored on a wild pitch.
After O’Keefe’s homer cut Salem’s deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the second, Peabody broke the game wide open in the third.
Tolentino and Zizza led off with back-to-back walks. Tolentino scored on a single up the middle by Nick Villano (2-for-4, 2 RBI). Villano got to third on Connolly’s double and scored on single by Andino to make it 6-1. Salem starter Casey McGrath stopped the bleeding temporarily with a strikeout, but Peabody continued to chip away, one base at a time.
Sigmon walked to load the bases for Horgan, who came up clutch with a RBI single to bring Connolly home. Ridley followed with a single that scored Andino, then Tolentino worked a bases-loaded walk off reliever Levy DaSilva to make it 9-1. Peabody wasn’t done yet. Zizza brought Horgan home with a long sacrifice fly to right field with Ridley coming around to score all the way from second base after an errant throw. Villano then singled Tolentino home with long single to the center field fence to cap the scoring.
DaSilva settled down and set down the side in order in the top of the fourth inning, but another throwing error in the top of the fifth allowed Peabody to score two more unearned runs and make it 14-1, following which Andino set Salem down in order in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.
“Our pitching was outstanding tonight and we were able to pitch three guys to set up the next games hopefully,” said Steve Zizza. “We don’t have much pitching depth as we are basically down to three guys with Zizza, Villano, Herbert because of vacations, but tonight Reymi was also outstanding as it’s been a while since he has pitched. We played great defense with Jariel at short and Cam in center making some great plays, and we were taking it one base at a time as we didn’t want to see any outs at home with good hitters coming up.”