BEVERLY -- Longtime Beverly baseball coach Dave Wilbur has seen enough of rival Danvers over the years to know that the Falcons feast on second chances.
Visiting Danvers was down to its last out, but took full advantage of those second chances by tying the game in the seventh and then going ahead two innings later for a 5-3 victory over the host Panthers in a nine inning contest at Brother Roberts Field.
"This was a good win for us. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how we won," said Danvers coach Roger Day. "This is one of our best comeback wins in a while."
Junior Andrew Olszak threw all nine innings for Danvers (4-2), striking out seven and scattering eight hits. He struck out Luke Samperi with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth as the Panthers (3-3) tried to rally themselves before their three-game win streak was snapped.
Beverly had a 3-2 lead in the seventh. Danvers stayed alive with pinch-hitter Ryan Buchanan singling. Cris Valles re-entered and stole two bases to put the tying run at third.
With one out, Beverly correctly guessed that Danvers would try a suicide squeeze and pitched out. Batter Richie Martino was called out for interfering with the catcher, which left Valles (who'd have otherwise been tagged out) on third with two down.
Danvers' Dan Lynch came up next and delivered with a clutch RBI single to bring the run home and force extra innings
"That the best ball Danny's squared up all year," Day said. "One of the biggest hits of the year for us."
Beverly had a chance to win it in the bottom of the eighth after Nick Cotraro singled and got to second an on error. Ted Leathersich flied out, though, and Cotraro tagged up to take third. The throw from the Danvers outfield got by the third baseman, but the Falcons threw Cotraro out at home after he made the turn to try to win the game.
"Too many critical mental and physical mistakes from us," said Wilbur, whose team would give up two unearned runs in the top of the ninth.
Devonn Allen hustled to first on a potential ground-out, forcing a rushed throw that went wide and put him on second. After a walk and another error, Leathersich was called for a balk to bring home the go-ahead run. Matt Andreas followed with a sacrifice fly to give Danvers a two-run cushion.
Gavin Sparkman and Frank DiOrio singled to begin the last of the ninth, but Olszak steadied himself and got two strikeouts to seal his third win of the season (tied for the North Shore lead in pitching wins).
The junior gave up four hits in the first two innings but then retired 12 in a row and kept his pitch count low to go the distance.
"Andrew competes. He makes the game go fast and he keeps you in it," said Day. "Especially after giving up a couple early, he battled."
Beverly led 3-0 after two. Leathersich singled home David Drinkwater in the first and RBI by Mike Courchene (double) and Samperi made it a three run cushion for the hosts.
Starting pitcher Anthony Morrissey gave up two hits and walked three through four. Drinkwater came on for the next four innings, allowing three hits with three strikeouts before Leathersich threw the ninth.
"We did some good things. There were positives, and the mistakes we made were things we haven't done all year," said Wilbur. "We'll bounce back."
Jordan DeDonato also had a hit for Danvers, which stole seven bases as a team.