Last year Peabody West won the district as 10-year olds and went all the way to the state finals. Now as 11’s the all-stars are District 16 champs once again. Ed Silva has managed this group since they were nine-year olds, and knows just what to expect from his players.
Peabody West opens against Beverly in the sectionals at Swampscott tomorrow night (7:30 p.m.) and then will face District 14 winner Andover and District 13’s Woburn with the top two teams advancing to the finals.
“These guys are very close, and we have a lot of fun together,” said Silva, who is assisted by Jerry Murphy and Joe Paragona. “We have beach parties and pizza parties, but now it’s time to get down to business and ready for the next round.”
Peabody West was unbeaten in district play, beating Saugus American (16-5), Salem by the mercy rule, Saugus National (3-1), and Lynnfield (9-1) in the winner’s bracket final. Lynnfield came out of the loser’s bracket to face Peabody West again, and took a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the fourth before Ari Rozopoulos and Jack Flaherty hit back to back homers.
Flaherty scored on a sacrifice fly by Joe Gilmartin in the bottom of the sixth to give Peabody West a 5-4 walk-off win. Angelo McCullough started, and Jake Murphy came on in relief.
Peabody West has a solid pitching staff led by McCullough, Gilmartin, Joe Castrichini, Murphy, Dana Tennent, and Jenarro Herbert. Gilmartin is behind the plate when he is not pitching, and Mike Sabella also catches.
“We’re going to have to play four games in four days so pitching becomes very important,” said Silva. “McCullough and Gilmartin did the bulk of the pitching in the districts, but they’ll all be ready to go for sectionals.
“The team has been hitting very well, and we have several long ball threats. Mike Silva, Rozopoulos, McCullough, and Flaherty all hit their first homers in district games. Herbert and Sabella have been hitting them out throughout the year. Herbert had a big three run blast against Salem, Sabella and Silva both homered against Saugus American, and McCullough led off the game against Saugus National with a dinger.”
The infield consists of Herbert at first, Silva at second, Gilmartin or Castrichini at shortstop, and Sabella at third. Murphy is the center fielder with Jake Paragona in left and J. C. Espinal in right field.
“Everybody contributes, and there is a lot of flexibility,” said Silva. “Murphy and Castrichini pitch, catch, play shortstop, and the outfield. The boys all work hard, and they are having a lot of fun.”