By Jean DePlacido
---- — LYNN — Nick Iannuzzi won his third straight game in District 16 Williamsport play to lead Peabody West to the winners’ bracket final tomorrow. West beat Wyoma, 10-2, at East Lynn and will now face Lynnfield (4 p.m.).
Iannuzzi went 5 1/3 innings before reaching the maximum 85 pitch count, and Dan Marshall came on to retire the final two batters. Iannuzzi gave up two runs on six hits, walked one, and struck out seven. He survived a rough first inning when Wyoma sent seven batters to the plate, but only could put one run on the board.
After Spencer DiVirgilio reached on an error, opposing pitcher David Barnard singled and Christian Burt delivered an RBI double. A. J. Luciano worked a walk to load the bases with nobody out, but Iannuzzi got Zach Elwell to hit into a fielder’s choice and then struck out the next two in a row to get out of the inning.
“Getting out of that bases loaded jam was huge, and then we came back to take the lead in the bottom half,” said West manager Frank Benea, his team now 3-0. “We had never been down in a game, and to go ahead right away set the tone of the rest of the game. If we had given up two or three more we would have been playing catch up.”
Coach Eddie Aiello said bringing the infield in with no outs is something the team practices every day, and when Elwell hit a grounder to second Josh Cerretani didn’t hesitate to come home to get the first out.
“That was huge just giving up the one run,” said Aiello. “Nicky Iannuzzi controls the game, and he knows how to set up batters. This was an important game because we didn’t want to have to play five days in a row.”
Peabody banged out 13 hits against four different Wyoma pitchers. They struck for three runs in the first by being aggressive on the base paths to get on the board. Cerretani beat out an infield hit and Chris Kwmuntis followed with a double to the gap in right-center. Cerretani stole home when Wyoma catcher matt Godbout threw to second base on an appeal play, and Kwmuntis stole third.
Kwmuntis scored the go ahead run on a fielder’s choice. Iannuzzi helped himself with a double off the fence in center field, stole third, and scored on a passed ball. They added four more runs in the third, sending nine batters to the plate. Will Preshong came off the bench to deliver a two-out RBI single, another run scored on pinch hitter Eddie Campbell’s infield hit, and Cerretani doubled to knock in two more.
The final runs came in the fifth when No. 9 hitter Christian Cummings blasted a three-run homer over the right field fence, scoring Caroline Kukas and Dan Marshall ahead of him.
“It was good to see our subs contribute in that third inning,” said Benea. “Preshong and Campbell had big hits, and that three-run shot by our No. 9 hitter shows what we can do up and down the lineup. I can’t say enough about this effort. Kwmuntis caught all six innings in this 90-plus heat, and he also had a couple of hits.
“Our kids are confident, and the best thing about this team is I can move them around to different positions. That Wyoma is a good team, and they fought hard. We just might see them again.”
Wyoma scored a run in the fourth when Iannuzzi hit a batter, who later scored on Barnard’s double. He got out of the jam, leaving runners on first and third when he got Luciano to ground out. Barnard was a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate, and Burt had two hits.
Cerretani, Kwmuntis, Iannuzzi, John Mulready, and Cummings all had two hits for Peabody West.