SALEM — Nobody gave undermanned Peabody much of a shot to defend its Ray Gallant Memorial Tournament baseball crown without the star-studded Peabody West players (in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.) on the roster.
But the Tanner City kids went down fighting in the finals last night at O'Grady Field.
In order to win, Peabody had to beat undefeated Lynn twice. They started the night by beating Beverly, 5-1, in a game that had been halted by rain after five innings on Monday night. Lynn ace Katie Burt then blanked Peabody for five innings, but manager Joe Spatafore's gritty bunch nicked her for three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to make things interesting.
The tying runs were in scoring position and the go-ahead run at first base when Burt got the final out as Lynn won the title, 7-5.
"I couldn't have asked for a better effort," said Spatafore. "The kids played outstanding all tournament; they gave us 110 percent the whole way. There were no superstars on this team, but a very enjoyable group to coach."
Burt held Peabody to just two singles through the first five innings, but they strung together four consecutive hits — including two long bombs — to finally get on the board in the bottom of the sixth. Peabody's Michael Raymond started things off with a double and Jonathan Barrett followed with a two-run homer. Jordan Manthorne hit a solo shot to the same spot over the center field fence to cut the deficit to 6-3.
After Lynn answered with an unearned run in the top of the seventh, Peabody came up with a pair of runs of tying it in the bottom of the inning. David Hoar led off with a long homer, and with one out Sean Walsh singled. With two down, Raymond drew a free pass and Barrett was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Manthorne, the tournament MVP, delivered a clutch RBI single to cut the deficit to two runs and load the bases again before Burt got Jack Leonard to ground out to end it.
Manthorne had an outstanding tournament, going 13 for 16 with five homers and 13 RBI. He was also 2-0 on the mound.
"Jordan did a great job all tournament, and he deserved the MVP," said Peabody coach Sarkis Sarkisian.
Beverly's Mark Vivenzio took Gold Glove honors for the tournament for his 14 assists and five putouts without making an error, while Burt collected the Top Pitcher trophy. She was 2-0 with two complete games, 20 K's and just six walks.
"I was really surprised to get this," said Manthorne. "I thought that would go to a Lynn kid, and Katie was very good. It's a great honor.
"I felt strong at the plate all through the tournament. This was a lot of fun, and the coaches were great."
Lynn made the most of just four hits off three different Peabody pitchers. Raymond started and worked the first three innings. He was charged with four runs on just two hits — one a three-run homer by Burt.
Barrett took over in the fourth and worked the next three. He gave up a two-run homer to Brad Scuzzarella, and Tommy Parsons allowed one unearned run and just one infield hit.
Ryan Collins made some nifty fielding plays for Peabody at second base. Bryan Nerich came up with a backhand stab to rob Brent Lozzi of a hit, and Parsons made a big catch up against the left field fence to take a homer away from Brendan O'Neil.
Peabody banged out nine hits led by Manthorne with three and Raymond with a pair. Barrett, Leonard, Hoar, and Walsh all had one.
"We haven't won this in three or four years," said Lynn manager Jack Bartlett. "Katie kept Peabody quiet for most of the game, but they came alive at the end. She really wanted to finish the game, and if she was getting tired she wouldn't tell us. She's tough, and made three great fielding plays on line shots back to the mound."
Tourney MVP: Jordan Manthorne of Peabody; he went 13 for 16 with 5 homers and 13 RBI and was 2-0 on mound.
Gold Glove: Mark Vivenzio of Beverly; 14 assists, 5 putouts, 0 errors.
Top Pitcher: Katie Burt of Lynn; 2-0 with 20 strikeouts and 6 walks.