The thrill of being one of the final four teams in the entire state isn’t something new for the Peabody West 11-year old all-stars. Last year as 10-year-olds this same group went all the way to states, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying this year’s incredible ride, winning District 15 and Section 4.
Peabody West will face Section 3 champ Walpole National in the semi-finals on Wednesday night (Location and time TBA) while Holden from Section 1 and Barnstable American from 2 will square off. The final will be held on Sunday at the Guy Cammarata Complex in West Roxbury at 1 p.m. with the two winners meeting to determine the state champion (Before the 12-year-old state final scheduled for 4 p.m.).
“It’s not pool play so it could be one and done tomorrow night,” said manager Ed Silva who is assisted by Jerry Murphy and Joe Paragona. “We know nothing about the other three teams. A year ago as 10’s we faced Parkway out of Section 3; I do know to get this far every team has to be very good.
“That first game is crucial, and we’ll probably pitch Angelo McCullough, who has been our ace. Everybody will be available except Jake Murphy, who threw 85 pitches in the sectional championship game. You can’t hold anything back because that is a must win situation.”
Peabody West won the sectional title by beating Woburn in the championship game. The team posted an 8-1 victory over Beverly on opening night before losing to Woburn, 10-2. Last Friday Peabody bounced back, blanking Andover, 4-0 in the last round robin game to create a three way tie. Peabody West, Woburn and Andover all had 2-1 records.
Woburn was automatically in the final because of the best ratio of runs allowed per defensive innings. Peabody West also advanced to the championship game because of the head-to-head win over Andover, and got another crack at Woburn.
Murphy went 52/3 innings and Dana Tennent came on for the save. The game was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth when West exploded for nine runs to break it open en route to a 12-4 victory. Jenarro Herbert and Mike Sabella hit back to back homers to key the rally.
Herbert had two big home runs in the sectionals, hitting a two run shot against Andover, and Ari Rozopoulos collected three hits in the championship game. The defense was solid led by first baseman Herbert, second baseman Mike Silva, shortstop McCullough, and third baseman Sabella. Joe Gilmartin, who pitched the shutout win over Andover, was behind the plate in the finals. Sabella handled the catching when Gilmartin was on the mound.
“The loss to Woburn was a wake up call,” said Silva. “That was a very good hitting team, but Murphy kept them off balance with his off-speed stuff. Even in the loss our kids came alive near the end of the game with some big plays. Woburn crushed the fast ball, but Murphy did a great job fooling them.
Other key players are Joe Castrichini, J. C. Espinal, Jack Flaherty, and Jake Paragona. Silva said everybody has contributed to the team’s success, and they are a very versatile bunch that can play several positions as needed. The players celebrated winning the sectionals with a pool party before getting down to business to prepare for the states.