LYNN — Beverly Little League put a late scare in the Peabody West all-stars in the Section 4 tournament opener for both teams at Wyoma. The Tanner City kids, and relief pitcher Josh Cerretani, recovered to come away with a thrilling 7-5 victory.
Beverly trailed 7-1 heading into the final frame, but wouldn’t go down with a whimper. Catcher Joe Ward led off with a solo smash and, after Jon Gilbride reached on an error, Ryan Barror smashed a 2-run homer of his own. By the time Matt Cross followed with a back-to-back dinger (all of the 200 feet to left-center), the Garden City kids were thinking comeback.
“We showed a lot of fight,” said Beverly all-star manager Jim Cross, whose team faces North Andover East (1-0) today at 5:30 p.m. “Thsoe homers got the guys up, energized and excited. This team doesn’t quit.”
Peabody West summoned Cerretani to get the final three outs of the game, and he calmly did just that. West is in a good spot at 1-0 and playing Weston (0-1) tonight at 7:30 p.m.
“We didn’t feel comfortable (at 7-1). Beverly is a very good team, we knew there was a reason that they’re here and they showed that in the last inning,” Peabody West manager Frank Benea said.
Beverly’s late fireworks made the effort of Peabody West started Nick Iannuzzi that much more impressive. The right-hander struck out 10 and scattered four hits while working into the fifth inning. He was lifted after throwing 50 pitches to keep him available to pitch in Saturday’s championship game should Peabody advance.
“He’s one of the best pitchers in the state,” Peabody West coach Ed Aiello said. “This is the way every game should be in this tournament; every team here is going to try everything they can to win.”