By Greg Phipps
Down to its final out, the Middleton-Peabody (M-P) Senior Legion baseball squad came within inches of rallying to tie and perhaps even win Monday’s extra-inning District 8 League contest against Andover at Essex Tech Field.
Trailing 7-5 entering the bottom of the ninth, M-P’s Jake Irvine doubled with one out and eventually came around to score on an infield single by Chris Masta. With two outs and Masta at second base, Cooper Marengi bounced a single up the middle and Masta raced for home. He slid head first and appeared to touch the plate ahead of the throw and tag but was called out, ending the game 7-6 in favor of visiting Andover.
The loss dropped Middleton-Peabody to 4-5 on the season with games set to resume later this week. Andover improved to 6-2. M-P fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first frame as Andover tallied three times off M-P starter Alex D’Angelo, who settled down and allowed just one run over his next three innings of work.
Two walks and a hit-batsman helped M-P collect two runs without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the second. After the visitors added a single tally to go up 4-2, M-P evened it in the fourth when Irvine clocked a triple to score Andrew Manni, who had singled, and Irvine came in to score on a groundout for a 4-4 deadlock.
Trevor Lodi led off the Middleton-Peabody fifth with a bunt single and eventually came around to score on sacrifice fly to give the hosts a brief 5-4 lead. Andover tied it in its half of the sixth and rallied for two runs in the ninth, doing all of its damage with two outs.
Andover righty Tim Kalantzakos endured the heat and pitched all nine innings to earn the victory. D’Angelo was replaced in the fifth by Eddie Campbell, who hurled the final five frames and took the loss
Catcher Masta made a nice play to throw a runner out at second base in the eighth. Shortstop Manni did the same after going to his right to stab a hard grounder and throwing the runner out at first.