, Salem, MA

May 9, 2013

LIGHTS OUT: Peabody softball out duels Beverly in night thriller

By Jean DePlacido

---- — BEVERLY – Peabody’s Shelbi Wilson and Beverly’s Emily Pitman were locked in a classic pitcher’s duel, combining to strike out 24 last night under the lights at Innocenti Field. Peabody came up with the go ahead run in the top of the seventh to pull out a 4-3 victory.

The Tanners built up a 3-0 lead, but Beverly roared back with three runs in the fourth to tie it up. The score remained knotted until top of the seventh when Olivia Brothers, who had struck out in her three previous at bats, delivered an RBI single up the middle to drive in Jess Raymond, who beat out an infield hit and advanced to second on a passed ball.

“Beverly always gives us a good game,” said Peabody coach Butch Melanaphy. “That’s a tough team to play against, and this was a very good pitcher’s duel. I’m just glad we came out of here with a win.”

Wilson scattered four hits and one walk while striking out 13 to get the win as the Tanners improved to 9-2. She kept the Panther batters off balance with her off speed pitch, and the defense was flawless behind her.

“My drop and change up were both working tonight,” said Wilson. “This was a fun game, and their pitcher did a nice job, too. My team played so well behind me; I have confidence in all of them.”

The Tanners took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Michelle McHugh was hit by a pitch, and Taylor Dabney walked. One run came home on a bunt single by Shannon Pires, and another scored on an RBI single by leadoff hitter Alex Romano.

They added another run in the third on a long home run to deep left field by Raymond. Wilson had been cruising along, retiring the first nine batters she faced with five strikeouts, but Beverly rallied with three runs in the fourth.

Hannah Silvestri beat out an infield hit and stole second. After Kate Silvestri drew a two out walk, the Panthers worked a double steal to put both runners in scoring position, and Aimee McKenna delivered a clutch two run double to deep center field.

“We made a nice comeback,” said Beverly coach Megan Sudak. “Shelbi is a great pitcher, and she had us off balance most of the night. Pitman did a terrific job matching her, and it was a nice defensive game all around. We’ll probably see Peabody again in the (Courtney) Corning Tournament Memorial Day weekend.”

The Panthers threatened in the fifth inning when Rachel Kenney singled with one down, and went all the way around to third on Hannah Silvestri’s sacrifice bunt. Ally Pia grounded down the first base line, and Mikayla Wallace tagged her out to end the inning.

Wilson finished strong, retiring the last eight batters in order. The Panthers hit two hard grounders down the third base line in the final inning, but Holly Smith fielded both cleanly and got the out at first. The Tanners had seven hits with Raymond collecting two and Romano, Brothers, McHugh, Pires, and Katie French all with one apiece.