SALEM – Pete Duval had Salem’s number. The Hamilton-Wenham pitcher earned both wins in the Senior Babe Ruth playoff series to put his team in the finals against Peabody beginning tonight at 5:45 p.m. in Peabody.
The third and deciding game of the series was 0-0 when a thunderstorm halted play at Palmer’s Cove on Sunday night. Last night the game was resumed in the top of the fifth inning with two outs. Duval walked three in the bottom of the inning but got out of the jam to keep the game scoreless.
Hamilton-Wenham went on top with three runs in the sixth off pitcher George Hillios. Matt Hogan delivered a two run single, and Paul DiMarino’s hit plated another run.
Salem’s Jael Pena spoiled Duval’s no-hitter with a solid double to the base of the fence in left field, but he was stranded at second when the right hander retired the next three in a row.
“My curve ball was working, and my two seam fast ball,” said Duval, who scattered two hits and five walks while striking out six. “I also threw my regular fast ball at times. I had a little problem with control in that first inning tonight and felt a bit tired because I pitched on Friday night (13-1 win), again on Sunday, and tonight. Once I got in a rhythm I felt fine.”
Salem finished second during the regular season behind Peabody while HW was third. Salem won the second game of the series (10-4) to knot it at 1-1 and force the deciding game.
“This was a tough series, and Salem is a very good team,” said HW manager Matt Wilson. “We’ve had to fight hard to win every game. We caught a couple of breaks tonight, and Pete did a great job on the mound.”