Salem slugger Ben Kapnis belted his sixth and seventh homers of the 25th annual Gallant tournament to help the youngsters from the Witch City topple Swampscott, 17-13, last night in the loser's bracket final at Stephen O'Grady Field at Forest River Park.
Kelly Abreau and Eric MacAdams also his long balls as once-beaten Salem advanced to the tournament final for the first time in 23 years. They face unbeaten Peabody tonight in the final (6:30 p.m.), needing to beat them twice to be crowned champions.
"Neither team wanted to lose. It was a tough game because the pitching was pretty depleted on both sides," said Salem coach Steve Nygren. "We got a total team effort all the way."
Salem pulled ahead late in the game, 11-7, and while it never lost the lead, Swampscott just kept coming back at the hosts. The gap closed to one at 11-10 before Salem extended its lead yet again thanks to key hits from Jared Louf-Woods and Nick Latham.
Aiden Scrimgeour pitched the final two innings of the game and got out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth to earn the save for Salem. He was also 3 for 4 at the dish.