TOPSFIELD — The best things in life are free.
Unless you’re a baseball coach. In that case, free bags have a tendency to drive you bonkers.
Beverly High took advantage of 11 free passes in fighting its way past host Masconomet, 11-7, on a sunny and windy afternoon on the regional high school’s Topsfield campus.
The visiting Panthers batted around in second inning and again in the fifth, overcoming two Chieftain leads to win their season opener.
Masconomet (1-1) suffered its first loss while Beverly took advantage of seven walks and four hit batsmen by five Chieftain pitchers; seven of the 11 freebies Beverly was afforded came around to score.
“That was probably the death of us,” said Masconomet first-year coach T.J. Baril. “We used a lot of pitchers and saw good things out of all of them. Some guys were in tough spots, some had short warm-ups, but I liked our depth.”
The Chieftains trailed 5-4 and got to Beverly pitcher Cam Rogers (5 hits allowed over 3-plus innings) in the fourth. Greg Dougherty drove in Chris Rich with the tying run and, after Beverly’s Alex Toomey came on in relief, Will Twiss came up with a two-run single to give the hosts a 7-5 lead.
It was the only hit Toomey allowed in three innings of work, however, and the Panthers went to work in the top of the fifth as Rogers (2 runs scored) led off with a single. Luke McDonald then walked and Tristan Fasheh laid down a sacrifice bunt. Masco’s Twiss fanned the next batter, but walked Matt Hamor to load the bags with two down and the score 7-6 after Rogers scored on a passed ball.
Harry Brown (2-for-4, RBI, two runs) tied it, 7-7, with an RBI single and Kevin Cuneo followed with a three-run double that put Beverly on top for good. Toomey (3 RBI) added an RBI double as Beverly poured on six runs, all with two outs.