By Jean DePlacido
---- — BEVERLY – Host team Beverly got off to a great start in the Panther Little League Tournament, but it wasn’t enough against a hard hitting Danvers team that belted three home runs in a come from behind, 11-2 victory at Harry Ball Field.
“We came here to have fun, and we have 11 good players, who can all hit,” said Danvers manager Scott Taylor. “We have a good mix of Danvers American and National kids, and almost everybody on the team got a hit. This was a great team effort.”
Ryan Barror singled to drive in the first Beverly run in the opening inning. Kyle Camara singled to right in the third, scoring Matthew Collins, who had reached on an error. Both runs came off starting pitcher Tom Mento, who allowed only two hits in three and 2/3 innings on the mound. He walked two and struck out six in a strong performance before being relieved at the 65 pitch count mark. He will be eligible to return on Sunday if needed.
Gino Desimone and Matt King combined to hold Beverly hitless the rest of the way. Defensively centerfielder Cooper Hanson made the play of the game with a diving catch to rob Ryan Munzing of a base hit in the fifth inning.
“We got off to a great start, and our leadoff hitter Collins scored both runs, but then Danvers had that one big inning,” said Beverly manager Stephen Marsella, who is also the tournament director. “Collins was throwing well and hitting his spots, but they hit the ball hard.”
Collins didn’t allow a hit in the first two innings, but Danvers came up with seven runs on seven hits in the third inning. The big blows were back to back homers by John Weimert and Desimone. Weimert’s was a two run blast over the center field fence, and Desimone followed with a solo shot to the bleachers in center. The next time up he hit another dinger over the fence in right field off reliever Barror.
Drew Semons was three for three for Danvers while Jared McPherson had a pair of hits. Mento, King, Matt Taylor, and Ryan Boule all hit safely.
Beverly will face Peabody tonight at 5:30 p.m. while Danvers takes on Gloucester at 7:30. Peabody lost to Manchester-Essex, 3-1 on a walkoff two run homer by Harry Painter in the first game of the double header while Gloucester had a bye. Manchester-Essex is sitting in the driver’s seat after the win and will not play again until Sunday.
“We want the kids to have fun playing on this diamond for the last time in this tournament,” said Marsella. “I have all 12 year-olds on my team so this is their last time in Little League. We want to win, but more importantly we want them to enjoy playing in this tournament.”