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Playoff-bound senior team on a roll

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Winners of 10 straight after sweeping a doubleheader on Tuesday at Danvers, the Middleton-Peabody Elves have their sights set on capturing this year’s Senior Legion District 8 League title. The Elves, who have qualified for the District 8 playoffs, improved to 12-3 after Tuesday’s wins at Twi Field. They are set to face off against Andover on Wednesday (after press deadline) in a game that would determine the league championship.

After starting out 2-3 this season, the Elves have used a strong offensive attack, bolstered by some excellent pitching, to go on their 10-game surge. “We started out slowly but we’ve won eight or nine in a row here. We’re playing much better baseball,” said M-P head coach John Kowalski after Tuesday’s 9-5 victory in the first game.

He continued, “We’ve got a good offensive team and we’re starting to pitch a bit better, and [pitching] is the key in this league when you’re playing four or five games a week. We’ve got a lot of good arms and depth with our pitching, and that’s enabled us to get to this point.”

The Elves did most of their offensive damage in the first two innings of Tuesday’s first game against Danvers. An RBI single by Mike Stellato and a sacrifice fly from Jack Seymour brought in two runs in the top of the first. Four more runs came across for a 6-0 lead in the second on Ben Mogavero’s RBI double, a two-run single by Stellato and Kyle Hawes’s run-scoring groundout. The Elves would add three more in the sixth.

Jake Zeuli was the starting pitcher and was pulled after 1 1/3 innings in order to be saved for game two. Jake Irvine relieved him and hurled the next 5 2/3 frames. He allowed just two runs until Danvers scored three times in its final at-bat.

Justin Juliano had a big game for M-P with four hits, including a double, and three runs scored. Stellato had three hits and four RBIs, and Mogavero had three hits, including two doubles, and an RBI.

Jason Slattery was the winning pitcher in a 5-3 win over Danvers in Tuesday’s second contest. Zeuli got the save in relief.

Last week, Zeuli pitched six shutout innings in a 12-2 win over Marblehead-Swampscott. Stellato belted a three-run homer and Mogavero launched a two-run blast.

The Elves followed that up with a twin bill sweep over Saugus, where the pitching did not allow a run in either contest. M-P rolled to 7-0 and 3-0 victories, with Irvine collecting the win in game one, and Slattery and Nick Aslanian combining for a no-hitter in the second matchup.

Aslanian was the victorious pitcher in Sunday’s 3-0 blanking of Haverhill. He gave up just two hits. Mike Federico had three hits and Juliano chipped in with a run-scoring two-bagger.

By Greg Phipps





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