SALEM — Lynn forced a winner-take-all game in the Gallant Tournament by beating Peabody, 5-1. The two teams will meet again Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. back at O'Grady Field to determine the champ.
Gilmer Galva pitched a complete game gem for Lynn, striking out 10, scattering three hits, and walking two. When he got in trouble his defense bailed him out.
The lone Peabody run came in the fourth inning when Jariel Tolentiino led off with a single to center field, advanced on two wild pitches, and scored on a single by Alex Jackson, who had two hits.
"That kid pitched a tremendous game," said Peabody manager Steve Cabral. "He had us off balance all game; we just couldn't hit him.
"I'm confident we'll be ready to go in the next game because 12-year old kids forget quickly. We'll put this one behind us, and be prepared. Lynn is an excellent team, and this was a good game. I don't think we played badly, but they made the plays."
It was the first setback for the Tanner City kids, who came in with a 3-0 record in this 36th annual competition. Lynn came out of the loser's bracket and needed to beat Peabody twice in order to win it all.
Lynn threatened in the first inning, loading the bases but a double play got Peabody out of the inning. Jake Peterson hit a shot back to the mound that pitcher James Smith snared and fired home to get Christian Figueroa. Catcher Zach Hartnett threw to first baseman Dylan Annese to get Peterson for the third out.
Peabody mounted a two out rally in the bottom of the inning, but Justin Jennings made a diving catch on a fly ball to center field by Matt Smith to help Galva get out of trouble.
Jennings delivered a two out, two run hit to right field to put Lynn on the board in the second inning. They tacked on a run in the fourth off reliever Jariel Tolentino, who took over in the third. Once again it was Jennings doing the damage with a two out seeing eye single up the middle to drive in Kyle Doney.
Lynn added an insurance run in the sixth when Tolentino walked Mike Phelps and Galva. Jennings reached on a fielder's choice. He was caught in a run down trying to steal second, but avoided being tagged out long enough for pinch runner Jo Jo Hernandez to scoot home.
The final run came in the seventh on a two out double by Jake Peterson off reliever Tyler Santos that plated Ryan Amirault. Josh Doney also tried to score on the play, but was thrown out at the plate. Galva set the side down in order in the bottom of the seventh to wrap it up.
After dropping the first game of the tourney to Danvers, 9-5 Lynn has won four in a row, scoring 51 runs and only giving up 15.
"I won't be here for the next one because I'm going on vacation," said Cabral. "I kept thinking we were going to rally tonight, but when we hit the ball hard they made the plays. It's a great group of kids to coach, and this tournament has been a blast. The coaching staff has had a lot of fun; it's the end of Little League for me."
Peabody will hand the ball to Matt Smith. He made several fine plays at shortstop on hard hit balls.