BEVERLY — When heavy rain hit Cooney Field before the bottom of the first inning, the Beverly High baseball team found themselves raking the infield.
Hours later in the bottom of the sixth, the Panthers were finally raking in the batter’s box.
Senior Harry Brown’s two-run double and a two-run homer by Anthony DiOrio helped the hosts finish off Peabody, 6-1, in a game that was delayed 55 minutes due to rain and snapped the Tanners’ 12-game winning streak.
Peabody’s Pat Ruotolo got the start but left with discomfort in his throwing arm in the second, two batters after allowing a solo homer to Beverly’s Alex Toomey. Routolo threw 1 1/3 innings and had two strikeouts; he had gone seven or more innings in every start dating back to May 2011.
“He came to me and said his arm didn’t feel right. I wouldn’t say it hurt, but it was uncomfortable. When a kid throws as hard as Pat does, uncomfortable means you’re done. We won’t take chances with him,” said Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt. “After the delay, he felt like everything wasn’t together.”
Brandon Butcher held Beverly (10-4) at bay for four innings with a solid curveball and good defense by Peabody (13-2) behind him. In the sixth, with the game tied 1-1, the Panthers broke through.
Jon Berchoff plated the go-ahead run when his single got behind Rob Crovo and rolled to the wall. With two outs and two strikes against him, Brown roped a two-run single that broke the game open and DiOrio followed with his homer to left to put it out of reach.
“We got up by three and I liked that lead, and then Anthony tagged one and I knew we didn’t need any more,” said Toomey, who was excellent on the bump as his team qualified for the state tournament for the 10th straight season.