“Our first opponent, Newton South East, looks like they play a good brand of baseball, and that Hanover team appears to have a great offense. It’s tough because they come from different parts of the state, but we are fortunate to have the second game on opening night so we will be able to see Hanover and Holden play before our game.”
Holden beat Pittsfield South in the Section 1 championship and scored 34 runs in three games. Hanover blasted Lakeville, 15-1 to take Section 2, and Newton South East defeated Walpole National, 7-6 in seven innings in Section 3.
“The kids are so excited they are jumping out of their skin,” Aiello said. “Frank and I are experienced because we’ve done this before and know what it takes to do well at the state level. Every team there is going to be very strong, and in the back of your mind you realize you are just one step away from Bristol.”
Being one of the final teams remaining in Massachusetts never gets old for Peabody West, especially because it’s a new bunch of players getting to experience a state final almost every time.
“It’s down to the last four teams out of something like 170, and you have to pay attention to the finer details of the game. It’s going to be very grueling with four games in four days,” said Aiello. “You have to have pitching, defense, and hitting. The biggest thing is pitching, and we know we have decent pitching.”
Peabody West will most likely start ace Nick Iannuzzi, who is coming off an impressive win against Beverly in the sectional finals. Jonathan Polignone, Dan Marshall, Chris Kwmuntis, and Josh Cerretani are also ready to go. Kwmuntis has been rock solid behind the plate.
“We call Polignone and Marshall our 1B and 1B right behind Iannuzzi,” said Aiello. “Cerretani and Kwmuntis are just as good, and any of them could be the No. 1 guy on another team. They all know how to spot the ball and set up batters.”