BEVERLY — The initial Panther Invitational Baseball Tournament finals will take place tonight (7:30) when Peabody meets unbeaten Danvers. After dropping its first game to Manchester-Essex, Peabody has roared back with four straight wins — including a 6-4 win over Manchester-Essex last night — to earn a berth in the championship game.
Peabody must beat Danvers (3-0) twice to win.
“I’m not happy we lost our first game of the tournament, but I like playing every night with no breaks,” said Peabody manager Sarkis Sarkisian. “We’ve played the most games of anybody in this tournament; we certainly got our money’s worth.
“We knew it was important to get a quick start tonight because the first time we played them it was a pitchers’ duel until the end when a home run (two-run shot by Harry Painter) won it. We said before this game that we wanted to win every inning, and while we didn’t do that we were able to win most.”
Peabody scored two runs in the top of the first on a wild pitch and throwing error. Caroline Kukas, Tyler MacGregor, and Mason Zeuli all singled in that inning. They tacked on two more in the second on a towering two-run homer over the left field fence by Josh Cerretani after Evan Mullen singled.
Manchester-Essex starter Will Janowicz settled down to retire the next eight in a row before Chris Kwmuntis doubled in the fifth, went to third on a sacrifice fly by Cerretani, and scored on a wild pitch to put Peabody ahead, 5-2.
Mancester-Essex is a good team; they have had a strong program for a while now,” said Sarkisian. “After that first game we knew they would hang tough because they’ve got a lot of good players. The way they were coming back we needed an insurance run, and we got it.”