January powers Big Blue past Magicians

Swampscott rising senior Dylan January will join the Division II Franklin Pierce Ravens in 2020. (Item File Photo)

SWAMPSCOTT— The Big Blue are back where they hoped to be.

Friday’s 9-6 win over Marblehead at Swampscott Middle School, the Big Blue’s fourth victory in a row, puts Swampscott above .500 for the first time this season.

“It’s been a struggle,” Swampscott (6-5) coach Joe Caponigro said. “We’ve had consistent pitching throughout the season. Then we were hitting well but we weren’t fielding well. The pitching was there. Now we’re getting timely hits. The fielding’s not where we need it to be. But we got a win. It’s a good win for us and we move on.”

Dylan January carried Swampscott’s offense with a pair of 2-run home runs. He finished 2-for-3 with four RBI.

“Dylan’s got a lot of power and he’s a game changer,” Caponigro said. “One of the home runs was a fastball and one of them was a curveball. As a pitcher you kind of think, ‘what do I have to throw him now?’ He gave us a big boost. We needed all those runs.”

Max Pegnato (1-for-3) and Aidan Graciale (0-for-3) drove in a run each.

On the mound, starter Pierce Friedman gave the Big Blue two innings. Nick Reiser pitched the rest of the way, logging six strikeouts in five innings.

“Nick pitched six innings Monday,” Caponigro said. “We kept him at 80 pitches thinking he might come back Friday. I was hoping for four innings if I needed it but he gave us five. He did a tremendous job.”

Chris Gally got the start for Marblehead and allowed four earned runs over three innings.

Earlier this week, Marblehead cashed in on 12 walks for a 6-0 win over Winthrop. But the Magicians handed Swampscott eight free passes in this one and committed a pair of costly errors.

“It’s tough,” Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said. “Swampscott has some guys that can hit really well and you try to overpitch sometimes. You try to pitch around too many guys and that’s what we did.”

Both teams scored in the first inning. Marblehead grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top half on Erick Gonzalez’s (2-for-3) RBI single. Swampscott plated two on January’s first home run of the night.

Marblehead loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second. Brady Lavender (2-for-3) reached on an error, Ben Brennan (1-for-3) singled, Charlie Titus reached on a fielder’s choice and Ryan Harris walked. A Swampscott throwing error brought Titus and Brennan home. Harris raced home on a passed ball, giving Marblehead a 4-2 lead.

January tied the game at 4-4 with another 2-run home run in the bottom of the third.

“He’s obviously a big, strong kid,” Giardi said. “The first one, I think he kind of muscled out of the park. I don’t think he hit it nearly as well. Maybe that one doesn’t go out if we’re playing somewhere else. The second, I think that landed back in Marblehead.”

Swampscott extended the inning with consecutive walks to Reiser and Zach Elwell, and a Cam O’Brien’s single. Max Pegnato followed with a sharply hit ground ball but an error at the plate allowed Reiser to score for the 5-4 lead. Aidan Graciale plated Elwell with a sac-fly and O’Brien took home on a passed ball, stretching Swampscott’s lead to 7-4.

“They took advantage of a couple mistakes we made,” Giardi said. “Whoever made fewer mistakes was going to win and they made fewer, that’s for sure.”

Swampscott closed its scoring with one run in the bottom of the fourth (Drew Olivieri scored on a passed ball) and another in the sixth (Caden Dubiel scored on a Marblehead throwing error). The Magicians scored two in the top of the fifth on Schuyler Schmitt’s (1-for-3) 2-RBI double.

Both teams are back in action Monday. Swampscott travels to Peabody (6:30), while Marblehead (7-3) hosts Danvers (4).

“We had a good week,” Caponigro said. “We had four games and we came out on top in all four. Now we just have to come ready to go against Peabody. We have another big week coming up.”

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