DANVERS — The Peabody Champions fell into an early hole and couldn’t dig themselves out of it Monday night in a 8-1 loss to the Kingston Night Owls in Game 2 of the North Shore Baseball League finals game at Twi Field.
It was a bad day at the plate all around for the Champions, who had no answer for Kingston pitcher Andrew Hamel. Peabody totaled just three hits and struck out seven times.
“We just had one of those days,” Peabody manager Steve Gridley said. “We only put together three hits. (Hamel) pitched well. He didn’t walk anybody and he was throwing all around the plate. He hurt us with some change-ups at the beginning of the game.”
Champions starter Greg Ladd (four innings, three runs, four hits, four walks and three strikeouts) struggled out of the gate with a pair of walks and a single loading the bases for Kingston with no outs. After a strikeout, Michael Borrelli laced a two-run single and Tyler Johnson added a sacrifice fly to give the Night Owls an early 3-0 lead.
A mental mistake hurt the Champions in the second inning. It looked like Zach Keenan led off the inning with a single but when Jon Cahill came up to the plate next Peabody was penalized for batting out of order, wiping out the single and giving Kingston an out.
“There in the second inning I had made a mistake on the lineup,” Gridley said. “I meant to switch it and I wrote the exact same thing. That’s a mistake on me. I went to switch (Keenan and Cahill) and wrote the exact same thing I already had in there.”
The Champions got one back in the fourth. Mark Shorey and Chad Martin started the inning with a pair of singles and moved to second and third on a passed ball. Zach Keenan laced a long fly ball to center that was a few feet away from tying things up but the catch was made and Shorey tagged up to cut Kingston’s lead to 3-1.
Kingston responded with a two-out rally in the fifth. Johnson started with a single and Christian Allaire laced a two-run home run to left to put the Night Owls ahead 5-1. Jared Bresnia singled next and Kyle O’Neill laced a triple down the right field line to stretch the lead to 6-1.
Kingston pushes passed another pair of runs in the sixth. Borrelli and Johnson laced back-to-back RBI singles to cap off the scoring for the Night Owls.
“Later on in the game, they just kept going,” Gridley said. “I think we got a little bit out of it mentally late in the game. (Hamel) was tough. He threw strikes all over the plate and any balls we hit well were right at guys. That happens sometimes.”
With the best-of-seven series now evened at 1-1, Peabody will hope to bounce back in game three Tuesday at Haverhill Stadium (8).
“It’s about pitching,” Gridley said. “That’s what the series will come down to. If you score one run you’re probably not going to win too many games in the finals. You have to score more than one and thankfully playing in the finals we can turn it around in Haverhill on the turf and go from there.”