LYNN — The Fourth of July fireworks weren’t the only displays of fire power around.
Peabody Williamsport Little League put 22 runs on the board in just two innings to beat Salem, 22-1, in the winner’s bracket District 16 game at Wyoma’s Reinfuss Park Saturday afternoon.
The game ended early before the bad weather and thunderstorms struck. Salem got off to a promising start, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Seamus Cullen beat out a bunt, went to second on an errant throw, over to third on a passed ball, and scored on Rocco Ryan’s infield hit.
“We started off playing small ball to get on the board, but although we knew Peabody could hit the ball, we weren’t prepared for that,” said Salem manager John Payne. “They were hitting gap shots and even when they put the subs in they still kept it going.”
A double play ended any thoughts of a bigger first inning for Salem, and in the bottom half the Tanners batted around not once but twice, getting 14 runs on eight hits. Two bases-loaded walks forced in a couple of runs. Joe Smith started things off with a triple, and Jake Powers also tripled to clear the bases that were full at the time. It was one of those days when everybody kept it going with hits and walks.
“We had an eight day layoff after our last game, but we kept practicing,” said Peabody manager Justin Powers. “In the top of the first a couple of little plays got away from us, but we settled down. The best part is all 13 guys contributed. I have faith in all of them and they support one another. There’s no ego involved; they cheer each other on knowing next time they’ll be right back out there.
“Getting 22 unanswered runs in really something, especially in this heat. I guess the weather heated our bats up.”
Matt Smith started on the mound and Jariel Tolentino came on to pitch the third inning for the winners. The mercy rule kicked in after that and the game ended early with Peabody moving on in the winner’s bracket, facing Saugus National on Sunday back at Wyoma.
“Matt threw strikes and pitched to contact,” said Powers. “We have a lot of guys who can throw and we’ll start James Smith next. Normally the winner would get some time off, but because of all the rain-outs we’re right back at it.”
Salem fell into the loser’s bracket and played Saugus American Sunday at Wyoma in the first game of the double header. Payne used four different pitchers, watching the pitch count carefully.
“We’re in good shape pitching-wise,” said Payne. “This was a bump in the road, and I told the kids to put it behind us. If we keep winning we’ll most likely get another shot at Peabody on Thursday in the finals. It was a 3-1 game with two outs in that first inning when the wheels fell off.
“I hed to keep starter Jordan O’Malley under 35 pitches so he can come back with one day’s rest, and Mason Luciano will also only miss one day. We’ll go with Riley Fenerty next, and still have Rocco Ryan available. Once Peabody started pouring it on morale was a little low in our dugout.”
Peabody had 10 different players with at least one hit. Joe Smith had a triple and double, Andrew McKenna came off the bench to double and knock in two runs, Noah Crocker had two singles, Matt Smith and James Smith both contributed a single and double while Jayce Jeanpierre had a two bagger, Mason Clickstein singled, Powers tripled and Zack Hartnett chipped in with a two run double. Tyler Santos drew two walks, one to force in a run.
On a hot Saturday afternoon Peabody did just about everything right while Salem had to put this one in the rear view mirror and move on.
Salem bounced back on Sunday afternoon to defeat Saugus American, 19-9. It was a back and forth game with Salem taking an 8-7 lead in the fourth inning, but trailing by a run, 9-8, going into the top of the sixth when they exploded for 11 runs. They play the Wyoma-West Lynn winner Monday.
As for Peabody, the Tanners kept rolling on Sunday, topping Saugus National, 10-2, to advance to the District 16 Championship beginning on Thursday against Salem, West Lynn or a rematch with Saugus depending on which one comes out of the loser’s bracket.
Peabody trailed 1-0 going into the top of the fifth when Matt Smith his a two out single to tie it up. In the sixth Peabody batted around, adding nine runs. Jayce Jeanpierre gave his team the lead with a solo homer and later in the same inning hit a three run bomb.
James Smith started and went three innings with Noah Crocker taking over for the final three. Peabody is now 4-0 in District 16 play.