BEVERLY — He delivered dozens upon dozens of hits as a stalwart defenseman for Beverly High’s state championship hockey team this past winter.
So it was more than a little ironic that Sean Munzing would win a baseball game for the Panthers after he himself was plunked.
Munzing took a 1-1 pitch off his left elbow with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning yesterday, forcing fellow senior Kevin Cuneo home with the game-winning run in Beverly’s 6-5 victory over Lynn English at Brother Roberts Field.
“I went up (to bat) just thinking about trying to make contact and hoping for the best,” said Munzing, who also earned the victory with three terrific innings of relief work on the mound. “I never even saw the ball; it just hit me.”
Cuneo (3 runs scored) and cleanup hitter Matt Hamor started the bottom of the ninth inning in a tie game by drawing back-to-back walks off of English reliever Mike Holt. Jon Berchoff sacrificed both runners up a base, and the visiting Bulldogs elected to intentionally walk third baseman George Hillios (2 hits, 2 RBI) to load the bases with one out. After a strikeout, Munzing ended this nearly three-hour contest when he was hit.
“I liked the toughness we showed today,” said Beverly head coach Dave Wilbur, whose team has won two straight and stands at 2-2 on the young season. “We were up three runs (4-1) midway through, then fell behind (5-4) but managed to get that run right back and won it in the end.
“For a team still trying to find its way, this is a real good team win. It’s all about confidence, not losing your poise and believing you can always come back.”
After English (1-2) scored three times without making an out in the top of the fifth to turn a two-run deficit into a 5-4 lead, Munzing came on to relieve David Drinkwater and got out of the inning without further damage. He stranded a Bulldog runner on second base in both the sixth and seven innings while finishing with a pair of strikeouts.