PEABODY— The Peabody baseball team’s search for its first win of the season continues.
Peabody surrendered a costly four-run first-inning rally to Beverly Sunday and fell 7-5 to the Panthers in a Northeastern Conference tilt at Bezemes Diamond.
Tanners coach Mark Bettencourt chalks up his team’s 0-3 slow start to inexperience and hopes Peabody will shake its growing pains sooner rather than later.
“We have to make sure we learn from each other’s mistakes,” Bettencourt said. “We can’t afford for every one of them to make the same mistake. It’ll be a long year if we keep repeating mistakes. It seems like every game there’s something else that throws us off.”
Peabody starting pitcher Eddie Campbell tossed six innings. Campbell had his early bumps, allowing four runs in the opening frame, but settled in smoothly as the game progressed. He allowed five hits and struck out three.
“I think in Eddie’s first inning he wasn’t Eddie Campbell,” Bettencourt said. “After that first inning he settled down and did what he needed to do. Eddie needs to work from the kneecaps down and he needs to keep his breaking ball from the middle out. He hung some curveballs in the first inning. That’s on him. He has to make those adjustments and figure out his release point. I think he was much better in the middle innings.”
Panthers pitcher Brayden Clark, making his first start of the season, looked sharp in five innings. Clark allowed an unearned run and fanned five.
“Brayden did very well,” first-year Beverly coach Jon Cahill said. “We would’ve kept him out there because he was throwing so well but we wanted to monitor his pitch count. It’s still early in the spring. We’re building him up, building his confidence and making sure he’s ready for the next one.”
Beverly wasted no time jumping out to a quick lead. Clark reached on a fielder’s choice and Matt Ploszay walked. Tyler Petrosino (2-for-3, RBI) put the Panthers on the scoreboard with an RBI double. Shane Cassidy (1-for-4, 2 RBI) followed with a 2-run single. Clayton McAlpine’s RBI groundout ended the rally with Beverly ahead 4-0.
To no avail, Peabody laced three singles in the bottom of the first, but came up empty as Chris Faraca, attempting to score from second on Mike Sabella’s single, was thrown out at home to end the promising inning.
Beverly plated two more runs in the top of the third. Connor Hanlon brought Ploszay home with an RBI single. Petrosino reached on an error and scored, sealing the inning with Beverly up 6-0.
A Panthers error in the bottom of the third allowed Taiden Perez to come home with Peabody’s first run of the season. Anthony Conforti (1-for-3, RBI) cut the lead to 6-2 when he plated Ryan Knight with an RBI groundout.
The Panthers got one back on in the sixth on a string of Peabody errors. Back-to-back RBI doubles from Calvin Ingemi (2-for-4, RBI) and Mark DeLuca (1-for-4, RBI) brought Peabody to within three runs, 7-4, in the bottom of the sixth. Mike Tansey (1-for-3, RBI) capped the rally with an RBI single, scoring Ingemi.
Down 7-5, Peabody didn’t go down quietly in the bottom of the seventh. The Tanners loaded the bases with one out but DeLuca grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
“That’s the way you’d love to see every double play,” Cahill said. “Nice little hop up to the second baseman, nice, easy toss to the shortstop. But they still have to execute it. We work on it every day. That’s where I want the ball hit more often than not, up the middle. That’s where my guys are. They made the right play.
“Peabody’s scrappy,” Cahill said. “They’re there until the end, they fight until the end. We can’t give them extra outs. We did that with a couple walks and a couple misplayed balls. We just can’t do that.”
Beverly (2-0) hosts Winthrop Wednesday (10). The Tanners aim for their first win Wednesday (4:30) when they visit Gloucester.
“Beverly hit the ball well,” Bettencourt said. “They had some two-out hits. Those were clutch. I don’t care who you are, that’s clutch when you can knock in runs with two outs. We had opportunities to do that in all three of our games and we couldn’t get it done. We started seeing a little of it (Sunday) and we have to build on that.”