SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

July 27, 2013

Peabody West tops Holden at Massachusetts Final Four

By Gianna Addario
Staff writer

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WEST ROXBURY — Whatever the Peabody West Little League coaching staff said to its team after Friday night's extra inning loss — it worked. 

Peabody West put up 25 hits in its five-inning, 20-10 victory over Holden on Saturday, as the second day of 2013 Massachusetts State Little League Tournament got underway. 

The win puts Peabody West at 1-1 in round robin play as it takes on Newton SouthEast (2-0) Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Holden remains winless after the first two games, while Hanover is tied with Peabody West at 1-1. 

The fourth and fifth innings of the game proved to be key for Peabody West, with the kids scoring a combined 12 runs. Not to mention the three fence clearing home runs, including Dan Marshall's grand slam, which hit off the scoreboard in deep left field. After a somewhat frustrating outing at the plate last night for the Peabody all-stars, they more than made up for it in the win. 

"I think it all came down to more dedication to being discipline at the plate and waiting for their pitch," said Peabody West coach Ed Aiello. "This teams never quits and like to play with their backs against the wall." 

Manager Frank Benea echoed similar sentiments of his teams ability to bounce back after a deflating loss the night before. 

"Our routine was a normal one today, we took batting practice and fielded to get loosened up," said Benea. "Yes, we didn't score anything in the first inning, but I felt good the way they were swinging the bat. We know they can hit, it's just a matter of showing it on the field. They were ready and they had to be ready."

Despite a first inning deficit, Peabody West took over in the second stanza and never played from behind for the rest of the game. The Tanner City kids plated seven runs on eight hits in the fourth inning.

Leadoff hitter Josh Cerratani went 5-for-5 on the day, with a triple, a homer and four RBI to wrap up his superb showing at the plate.

"That's why he's the leadoff batter," Aiello smiled after hearing Cerratani's numbers for the day. "He does his job, he gets on base and that's what the leadoff guy is supposed to do." 

He also pitched in relief, allowing just two runs (one earned), two strikeouts and got himself out of a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the third. 

It can get a little chaotic managing the pitch count, who can pitch when over the four-day span. Benea, however, only went with two pitchers on the day as Jonathan Polignone pitched the first half of the game, while Cerratani closed it out. 

"It can get pretty crazy and you have even think days ahead," explained Aiello. "You have to keep the pitch count and then you still have to gauge if the kid still has it on the mount." 

Seven Peabody West batters drove in at least one run in and four hitters drove in multiple runs. Nearly every player reached base once and 11 had hits in the game. 

Shortstop Nick Iannuzzi went 4-for-5, including two RBI and a home run, while Marshall finished 3-for-4 on the day with five RBI. Jonathan Polignone was 4-for-5 with a RBI and Cooper Jaques went 2-for-3 with a RBI. 

Peabody wasn't necessarily playing for the 10-run rule, but they were just trying to finish the game as quickly as possible. The five inning contest finished just shy of two and half hour mark. 

"We couldn't wait to get off that field, it was a long game," added Aiello. "The goal was really to keep as few runs against as possible. We were kind of upset that we gave up two more in the bottom of the fifth, because that's one of the tie breakers and we need to be concerned about that."