DANVERS — The infinite number of situations that can come up in baseball make it the thinking man’s game.
The number of situations in last night’s instant classic at the Twi Field, a game that went on for three hours and featured some 320 pitches, could have given even the deepest thinker a massive headache.
Peabody’s Matt McIsaac hit an inside-the-park homer in the 11th inning and earned the win by holding host Danvers scoreless for three frames as the Tanners handed the Falcons their first loss of the season, 3-2, in front of a few hundred fans.
“This one means a lot to us. We’re friendly with a lot of the Danvers kids and this is always a close, fun game,” McIsaac said after Peabody (11-1) extended its winning streak to 10 games and remained unbeaten in Northeastern Conference play (9-0).
The Falcons (11-1, 8-1 NEC) had the go-ahead run in scoring position in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings against Peabody starter Pat Ruotolo, and again in the 10th and 11th against McIsaac. But Peabody made all the plays behind McIsaac late and Danvers couldn’t push one across.
“We didn’t put enough balls in play,” said Danvers coach Roger Day. “We’ve been working on getting on top of balls, putting them in play, and we didn’t do it.”
McIsaac drove an 0-2 pitch to deep center in the top of the 11th and Danvers’ Anthony Garron nearly tracked it down. McIsaac rounded second, then third as the cutoff throw wasn’t picked up and raced home to break a 2-2 tie that had stood since the fourth inning.
“I honestly didn’t know what was going on. I saw the ump coming out when I got near third, and I saw coach waving me in,” McIsaac said. “My eyes lit up when I saw a fastball.