By Greg Phipps
Before the season started, Peabody head softball coach Butch Melanaphy said his team will need to be better offensively and be able to produce in key situations. He saw that very scenario play out positively in Monday’s season opener against Northeastern Conference rival Revere at Kiley Brothers Memorial School Field. Down 6-3 entering the bottom of the sixth, the Tanners rallied for three runs to even the contest. MacKenzie Marmion’s third hit of the day drove in the tying run. With one out in its half of the seventh, Peabody got a runner to second base and Makayla Rooney brought her in with an opposite-field double over the leftfielder’s head. The come-from-behind 7-6 victory was the kind of start that could act as springboard for the remainder of the campaign.
“Sometimes teams give up a little when they allow unearned runs and get behind,” said Melanaphy after the win. “But we kept battling and we came back. Usually, when we fell behind like this last year we wouldn’t hit. Today we got the key hits when we needed them.”
Just one of Revere’s runs was earned, as Peabody ace Tianna Dawe surrendered three hits and fanned 11 in her first start of the season. Rightfielder Kelsie Blake helped Dawe out big time with two excellent catches, including one up against the fence. On offense, Marmion had two RBI, Luciana Mastromatteo went 3-for-4, and Rooney, Mallory LeBlanc and Dawe each collected two hits. Peabody had 15 hits in all.
Melanaphy said games against Revere are always tough contests. “It’s always a great game against them, back and forth all the time no matter what,” he said. “It’s a real rivalry game and it’s always fun to play each other.”
The inability to practice much outdoors prior to the season opener contributed to some less-than-efficient play in the field Monday. But Melanaphy said his team’s capacity to overcome mistakes is a good omen. “I knew we might have some problems. We were only outdoors Sunday for a couple of hours and it was really cold,” he observed. “We threw a few balls away, and it got a little crazy but [the team] never gave up. That’s the sign of a good team.”