GLOUCESTER — Sometimes, all a baseball coach can do is tip his cap to the other team.
That’s how Beverly coach Dave Wilbur felt after yesterday’s non-league contest with Gloucester.
The Panthers put up a good fight, but a patient Gloucester team posted seven runs in the fifth inning to pull away for an 8-1 victory.
“They are a tough team to pitch to; they can hit. We battled and had our chances early in the game to maybe expand the lead from 1-0 to two or three, but we just couldn’t get that timely hit,” Wilbur said.
“If you get behind in the count against these guys and they can sit on your fastball, you’re going to have a tough time beating them. They’re good ... we got beat by a better team.”
Beverly (8-7) starter Eric Messina cruised through the first three innings and pitched out of trouble in the fourth to keep the Panthers in the game. Messina then faced a two-out, two-on situation in the fifth inning, and that’s when the Fishermen broke things open.
Jordan Pallazola, Drew Shairs and Bart Margiotta had consecutive RBI hits for Gloucester (13-1) for a 4-1 lead before Tyler Favaloro had a tremendous at-bat with the bases loaded. He fought off four pitches from Beverly junior reliever Ted Leathersich before launching a fastball over the center field fence for a grand slam.
“Messina is a good pitcher, one of the better ones we’ve seen this year. Early on he had good command,” Gloucester first-year coach Bryan Lafata said. “The good thing, as I was talking to my players about, was they actually battled in some at-bats (early) and made him throw a few more pitches. I think later on he didn’t have the command and some of the balls he left up we got a hold of and hit.”