SALEM — Every high school baseball team works on turning two, because you never know when a double play might be the key to an entire game.
Yesterday may have been one of those days for the Beverly High baseball team, which extended its winning streak by simultaneously snuffing out Salem’s early momentum and kick-starting their own.
The Panthers turned a double play to erase the Witches’ first inning pressure, then scored five times over the first two frames to take control of an 8-3 decision at Salem State. Beverly won its eighth straight to move to 15-4 with one game to go before the state tournament.
“It wasn’t our A-game, but we’ll take the win and move on,” said Beverly coach Dave Wilbur. “We made their guy (Ben Kapnis) throw early, we got some key hits and we got the baserunners home. That was good to see.”
Alex Toomey went 3-for-3 and drove in five runs to put his RBI total for the season in the neighborhood of 30, according to Wilbur. The senior righty also struck out eight over six innings to earn his sixth win of the year.
Salem’s Kapnis pitched six innings and conceded the first runs of the game on Toomey’s 2-run single in the first. The patient Panthers drew three walks while scoring three more in the second inning as Toomey earned an RBI on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch and Luke McDonald drew a bases loaded walk. Harry Brown also knocked home a run with a single.
The Witches (3-13) got one back when Cody Mercier reached on an infield single, stole second and third and scored when Timmy Ryan reached on an error to make it 5-1. Ryan also drove in a pair in the fifth when he hit it back to Toomey with the bases loaded. The Panthers got a force out at home, but threw it away looking for the double play, allowing two runs to score.