SALEM – For the first three and a half innings of last night’s Gallant Tournament neither Salem nor Peabody could push a run across, but that quickly changed in the home half of the fourth when Salem sent nine batters to the plate and scored five times. They added seven more runs in the fifth to win by the mercy rule, 12-1 after five innings.
Ruben Baez was overpowering on the mound for Salem, not allowing a hit while striking out 11 to get the win. He also helped himself with an RBI single in the fourth and a two run double in the fifth.
“Baez is just a fantastic pitcher,” said Peabody manager John Federico. “He overpowered us with all fast balls. He was very accurate and so powerful. When you go up against a pitcher like him you have to scrape together some runs any way you can. We tried to get some runners on and be aggressive on the bases.”
Baez issued seven walks but was able to get out of jams. Peabody had runners on second and third with no outs in the third inning after Mike Panzini reached on an error and Tyler Wallace walked. Both advanced on a passed ball, but failed to score.
Panzini was called out at the plate trying to score on a passed ball that catcher Matthew Silva quickly retrieved and threw to Baez for the out. Christian Cummings hit a hard shot to first base that Kyle Ouellette scooped up to help Baez get out of the jam.
The lone Peabody run came in the top of the fifth when Joe Richard reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch. Baez walked two batters in that inning to load the bases, but struck out the side to avoid further damage. Catcher Matthew Silva made a big defensive play, throwing out a runner trying to steal third base.