Clark has thrown 27 innings over four appearances this spring (including one in relief) and has allowed just 10 hits. Peabody’s second inning run yesterday was the first he has allowed all season.
“I’m a big stickler on taking care of pitchers, and when that pitch count starts getting up there I’m very skeptical,” said first-year Gloucester skipper Bryan Lafata, who has coached many of the Peabody players previously through his work with the Legends AAU baseball program. “But he’s a senior captain and bulldog who was extremely efficient.
“You can tell when a pitcher’s getting tired. But Peter wasn’t leaving it up in the strike zone and his velocity was still good. So I left it in his hands until the 12th, when I couldn’t just let him go any more.”
Peabody’s mound duo of David Apostilides and lefty reliever Matt Correale matched Clark virtually pitch for pitch. The Tanners had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Matt Gonick’s double to left plated teammate Ryan Collins (who had singled), and Apostilides went five strong innings on the hill.
Apostilides was hit on the left knee with a line drive off the bat of Drew Shairs to end the fourth inning, but remained in the game for the bottom of the fifth. He gave up the tying run when Gloucester’s No. 9 hitter, Connor Harris, laced a two-out single to score freshman Eric Chalmers. When he surrendered a single to Clark and walked Pallazola leading off the bottom of the sixth, Bettencourt relieved him and brought in Correale from center field.
Correale went on to throw seven innings of run-free baseball, giving up just two hits while fanning eight. He used a terrific fastball and big curve to freeze many of the Gloucester hitters.