By Jean DePlacido
---- — SWAMPSCOTT – Because Peabody had not played a game in five days coach Butch Melanaphy scheduled an early batting practice before the bus ride to Swampscott, and it paid off in a big way. The bats were booming in a 15-2 win over the Big Blue under the lights.
Play was stopped in the top of the sixth after Mikayla Wallace walked with the bases loaded to force in the Tanners’ 15th run. In each of the first three innings Peabody batted around, putting four runs on the board in the first, five more in the second, and three in the third to build up a big lead.
“I was glad to see the bats come alive like that, especially in the first inning,” said Melanaphy. “It’s been a while since we started strong. I got the girls together at four o’clock for batting practice because I wanted to get them warmed up before we got on the bus. Everybody was ready to go right from the start. I hope that’s something we can continue.”
The big hits in the first inning were delivered by Jess Raymond, Olivia Brothers, and Wallace. They kept up the torrid hitting in the second inning when Holly Smith doubled to drive in Alex Romano, who had walked. Michelle McHugh added a clutch two run single as the Tanners stretched the lead to 9-1.
“Peabody is a good hitting team,” said Swampscott coach Frank Kowalski after his team fell to 6-5. “We made some errors early, and you can’t give a good hitting team the opportunity to bat around like that. We are not a bad team, but we didn’t play well tonight.”
Steph Collins started for the Big Blue, and gave way to Danielle Mayblyum with two on and one out in the second inning. Mayblyum struck out the first batter she faced, and got Shelbi Wilson to ground out to end the inning. She went the rest of the way, and did a nice job settling things down.
Wilson got the win for Peabody (8-2). She gave up two runs on six hits in five innings of work, walking only one and striking out six. Emma Faulkner had an RBI double in the second inning to drive in Mayblyum, who had walked. The only other run came home on a passed ball in the first inning.
Wilson ran into a little trouble in the fifth when Emma Walsh beat out a bunt and Sam Rizzo singled to left. But she bore down to struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam.
“Shelbi had a nice change up that was working well all game,” said Melanaphy. “We’re in a dog fight with Classical, and if we want to win the division we have to start playing well every game. Offensively and defensively I was pleased with what I saw tonight.”
Raymond and Brothers led the attack with three hits apiece while Romano, Smith, Wallace, McHugh, and Dabney each had two. Dabney also made the defensive play of the game on a terrific diving catch on a popup to end the second inning and leave Faulkner stranded at second base.
The Tanners will be back in action under the lights at Beverly’s Innocenti Park tomorrow night.