GLOUCESTER — To beat a perfect baseball team midway through the high school baseball season would take a near-perfect effort.
That’s exactly what Peter Clark gave the Gloucester High baseball team yesterday afternoon.
Clark, Gloucester’s senior captain and star right-hander, was brilliant in pitching 12 innings and holding unbeaten Peabody to a single run before scoring the game-winning run himself in the bottom of the 13th inning, giving the Fishermen a thrilling 2-1 victory at Nate Ross Field.
Jordan Pallazola’s shot down the left-field line plated Clark, who had doubled, with the decisive run to end a contest that lasted a tick over three-and-a-half hours. It knocked Peabody (9-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.
“Sometimes a guy just has your number, no matter what you try to do. And we tried everything,” Peabody head coach Mark Bettencourt said. “Delayed steals, straight steals, early break steals ... we tried everything. But (Gloucester) responded very well.”
In a contest that featured excellent pitching, defense and playmaking on both sides, Clark shone brightest. A big right-hander who effectively mixed a powerful fastball and a 12-to-6 curveball, he never seemed to tire and kept his pitch count down virtually every inning, allowing him to throw a dozen frames. He allowed just six hits, a pair of walks and struck out 10 while throwing a shade over 120 pitches total.
“I’m very impressed with Clark and the way he pounded the zone,” said Bettencourt. “His ability to pound the zone and our inability to hit him allowed him to stay in the game for 12 innings.
“He was getting ahead with his fastball, and when we tried to get ahead on it we weren’t getting good metal on the ball. We were popping a lot of balls up early. We’re a good hitting team and usually when a kid comes out throwing first-pitch strikes, we hit him pretty well. But I give him a lot of credit; (Clark) gave us nothing.”