By Greg Phipps
Falling behind by two runs in the top of the first inning on Tuesday afternoon didn’t faze the Peabody Tanners, who immediately responded with three tallies in their half of the first in an eventual 6-5 triumph over the Lynn English Bulldogs at Bezemes Diamond. It was the sixth consecutive win for the red-hot Tanners, who improved to 7-1. Peabody was coming off a 9-0 shutout (the team’s third this year) of Somerville on Monday. Junior Joe Zito, called up from the junior varsity squad, hurled a no-hitter, striking out four with no walks.
On Tuesday, Evan Mullen led the offensive attack with two run-scoring doubles. Jake Irvine socked a sacrifice fly and scored on a sac fly when he skillfully avoided being tagged out at home plate. After eluding the catcher, he reached back and tapped the rubber for the team’s second run of the first inning.
“To have a tight game like this against a very talented team that battles hard and be able to hold on to the lead is a big step in the right direction,” said Peabody head coach Mark Bettencourt after Tuesday’s victory. “Every day it’s somebody new coming through for us [offensively]. It’s coming from all different places, which is always a good sign.”
Michael Martinez was the hitting star in the Somerville win. Bettencourt said the team’s surge to begin the season has to do, in part, with a strong fundamental hitting approach. “We tell the hitters to ‘do your job at the plate,’ whether it’s to bunt, pull the ball, hit the ball to the right side or put the ball on the ground with a runner on third,” he explained. “We’ve been executing the way we need to in order to win games.”
Holding a 6-3 lead entering the sixth frame on Tuesday, Peabody starter Eddie Campbell, who got the win, began to tire and allowed three straight hits and a run before giving way to southpaw reliever Alex D’Angelo with no outs and two runners on base. One more run would come across for the visitors, but D’Angelo retired all three batters he faced and escaped further damage. With the lead intact, D’Angelo pitched a scoreless seventh to save the victory. “After three straight hits the time had come [to take Campbell out],” said Bettencourt. “Alex was ready to go. He executed his pitches, and we made the plays behind him.”
Pitching has been a big plus for Peabody thus far this season. Bettencourt said it’s a matter of his hurlers attacking the strike zone. “We throw strikes and that’s the key,” he pointed out. “If we’re throwing strikes and making the opponents earn their way on base, I’m fine with that. I can’t deal with things like walks and hit batters that lead to errors and big innings for the other team.”