WEST ROXBURY — The Peabody West Williamsport all-star team departed The Guy Cammarata Complex early last night having come up a game short in its bid to capture the 2013 Massachusetts State Little League championship.
The team did head home with its strongest attributes — resiliency, determination, and heart — completely intact.
Newton SouthEast outlasted Peabody West, 5-3, yesterday at Praught Field, setting up the state final between Newton and Hanover tonight (7 p.m.).
Peabody West faced a 5-1 deficit with only three outs remaining, but added two more runs and had the winning run at the plate before Newton reliever Brandon Lee recorded a strikeout to shut the door.
“Right down to the last out, they don’t give up,” Peabody West assistant coach Ed Aiello said. “Going into the bottom of the sixth, we still felt like we were going to pull it out. They believed it. The first two guys get on with base hits and we had the winning run at the plate. We had a shot. They don’t give up.”
Facing elimination, Nick Ianuzzi and Jonathan Polignone had back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the sixth. Ianuzzi eventually scored on Caroline Kukas’ RBI groundout and Daniel Marshall produced an RBI single to cut Newton’s lead to 5-3. At that point, Peabody West had runners on first and second with two outs.
West was unable to score any more runs, however.
“At this level, you see a lot of everything. You have to be prepared like you are going Williamsport,” Peabody manager Frank Benea said. “You really have to be prepared and try your hardest, which these kids have done. They just fell short.”
Peabody West built a reputation as a solid defensive team, but at times it struggled to produce runs. A slow start cost Peabody yesterday.