Junior righty Ted Leathersich, making his first career start for Beverly, was impressive. He surrendered four hits, two walks and hit a batter while fanning four, but his pitch count was approaching 70 and he exited after four innings holding a 4-2 lead.
“Teddy pitched very well for his first time out. I’m very happy with his performance,” said Wilbur.
Beverly had scored twice in the first inning when leadoff man Craig Hall stole home on a delayed double steal and Cuneo came around on a Hillios RBI single to center. Two more runs were plated by the hosts in the third inning when Hamor’s double to left-center scored Cuneo and another Hillios single to center off Bulldogs’ lefty starter Andrew Napoleon brought home Hamor.
But English was resilient. Kyle O’Connor (3-for-3, 3 stolen bases) and Anthony De La Cruz were both hit by pitches to start the fifth, and a bunt single by catcher Drew Gentile was thrown away for a two-base error, scoring both runners ahead of him to tie the score. Joseue Perez singled to left to bring home Gentile from third, and the visitors led 5-4.
“I’d be happy if we battled like this in most games,” said English head coach Joe Caponigro, whose team swiped six bases. “We executed some bunts and took advantage on the bases. That’s the type of ball we want to play.”
The Panthers tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth when second baseman Sean Curtin singled, reached third when Cuneo’s fly ball to right was dropped, and scored on a Berchoff sacrifice fly to center.
Beverly finished with seven hits as Hillios had two and the top five hitters in the lineup (Hall, Curtin, Cuneo, Hamor and Berchoff) finished with one each. Hall added two stolen bases while Cuneo and Hillios had one apiece.