LYNN — After a back-and-forth game, Peabody got the clutch hits needed in the end to beat Lynn 8-7 Sunday night at Reinfuss Field and advance to the Gallant Tournament final.
Relief pitcher Daniel Zizza dominated on the mound for Peabody. Zizza threw five innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out 11 and walking four.
“It was a crazy one,” Peabody manager Steve Zizza said. “We jumped out to a 4-1 lead, I didn’t think that would hold up and it only lasted a few innings. Daniel came in and pitched amazing, five innings, one run, and his curveball was on tonight.”
Just about every player contributed for Peabody at the plate, but Nick Villano (2-for-4 with a HBP and 2 RBI) was the late-inning hero, driving in the tying-run in the fifth inning and hitting a game-winning RBI single in the seventh. Reymi Andino (2-for-3 with a walk and 4 RBI) helped Peabody establish an early lead with a three-run home run in the first inning. Cam Connolly and Jariel Tollentino both had one RBI each.
“Everyone in the lineup had a hit and we got the clutch hits,” Steve Zizza said. “Nick Villano hasn’t had a lot of great at-bats lately but he came through when we needed him, a true team player.”
With the loss Lynn’s eliminated from the tournament. Juniel Guzman (2-for-4 with 2 RBI) and Anthony Cedeno (1-for-4 with 3 RBI) led the way for Lynn. Relief pitcher Mornel Castro threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out six.
“We gave them opportunities and they give us chances it became like a war of attrition to see who was going to give up the least in the end,” Lynn manager Jeff Earp said. “We did a lot better than I thought we might do this year. Overall it was a great group of kids. We tried hard and battled every game we were in.”
Lynn jumped out to an early lead in the first inning thanks to a RBI single Carlos DeLaRosa to go up 1-0.
Peabody responded in its half of the first, taking a 4-1 lead thanks to a RBI single from Connolly and a three-run home run off the bat of Andino.
Andino added another RBI in the second with a single to give Peabody a 5-1 lead.
Lynn responded in the third inning to take back the lead. The inning was highlighted by a double by Guzman to bring home two runs and a three-run home run by Cedeno to give Lynn a 6-5 edge.
By the seventh inning Peabody had tied the game 7-7 thanks to Villano’s first RBI. With the bases loaded and one out Villano delivered again, this time to send home the winning run on a RBI single and send Peabody to the finals with a 8-7 win.
After making it through the losers bracket, Peabody (3-1) will now have to beat Danvers (2-0) twice to win the championship while Danvers only needs to win once. Danvers reached the championship game from the winner’s bracket.
Peabody and Danvers will play Monday (6:30) at Reinfuss Field.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle, we are limited with pitching,” Steve Zizza said. “We lost to Danvers 3-2 earlier in the tournament and we wish we could have that one back but we certainly know we can compete with them. They have some of the best players in the district but we’re looking forward to it. We won this last year and we’re looking to defend our title.”