With Peabody ahead 3-0 in the third, Attar and Latham hit back-to-back singles and Burt reached one an error to load the bags for the crucial at-bat with Leavitt. McLaughlin knew he had to be careful throwing inside to a powerful slugger capable of grabbing the lead with one swing. The pitcher was also masterful in mixing curves that painted the strike zone with those designed to fall outside and entice the hitter to chase.
With all that in his mind, he also remained focused on the catcher’s mitt.
“You have to clear out the mind and act as if nothing’s happening, while also being aware of what you need to do,” said McLaughlin. “You can’t get flustered.”
“Andrew didn’t panic,” Bettencourt added. “That’s what he does. He’s a leader, he deserved the start today and he deserved the win.”
McGrath, a senior captain, went 2-for-3 to pace Peabody’s offense and Petrosino went 2-for-4. Morales, Hoar and Collins added hits and Bobby Tramondozzi singled, walked and stole a base in his first varsity start.
Dating back to 2000, the Prep holds an 8-5 lead in baseball games against Peabody. The Tanners, however, have won the last three played in Danvers, including one Saturday paced by an excellent righthanded pitching performance.
Matt Williams is the assistant sports editor of The Salem News. You can contact him at MWilliams@salemnews.com, 978-338-2669 and follow him on Twitter @MattWilliams_SN. #StrikeOutALS