PEABODY — The hits were even at seven apiece, but two big home runs blasts by Peabody High proved to be the difference in a 9-7 win over Beverly in the softball season opener for both teams.
Katie French's first inning grand slam staked Peabody pitcher Shelbi Wilson to a 4-0, and the hosts never trailed thereafter. French got ahold of a Kate Silvestri pitch and hit it over the fence in left field.
Cleanup hitter Olivia Brothers launched a three run shot to right-center in the second inning off reliever Emily Pitman to put the Tanners ahead, 7-2.
“I never swing at the first pitch, but that one looked pretty good to me — so I swung,” said French, who alternated at first base last year. “It’s great to get a big hit in my first at-bat of the season. I don’t even know what the pitch was; I think it was a fastball.”
The game location was changed yesterday from Beverly’s Innocenti Field to the much smaller Kiley Field in Peabody. That late switch was made so Beverly can host a game under the lights in the rematch next month.
“I couldn’t help thinking those two shots probably wouldn’t have been home runs at our place,” said Panther head coach Megan Sudak. “They accounted for most of Peabody’s runs, but we made a nice comeback. Too bad it fell just short.”
After giving up the homer to Brothers, Pitman settled down to pitch well the rest of the way. The only other runs for Peabody came in the fourth inning when Holly Smith walked, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch.
Brothers, who had three hits and drove in four runs, delivered an RBI single to score Jess Raymond, who had reached on an error.