LYNN — It will be all Peabody in the District 16 Williamsport Little League winner's bracket final on Thursday night.
The city's West Little League shut out Lynnfield, 5-0 in the semi-final battle of two undefeated teams at Pine Hill's Gallagher Park in Lynn. The game had been started on Sunday night, but halted in the top of the second inning because of heavy rain.
Play resumed Tuesday with Peabody West leading, 2-0. One of the keys to victory was using three pitchers who combined for a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts to send Lynnfield to the losers' bracket.
Manager Mark Bettencourt's squad will now face the other Peabody team in a battle of unbeatens, and one will fall into the loser's bracket while the other advances to the district final.
"How exciting is that," said Bettencourt. "Any time Peabody West meets Peabody it's fun, and some day these kids will all be playing together.
"Lynnfield is a very good team, but holding them to no runs in six innings say a lot about our boys. All game, everyone was up there hacking away and putting the ball in play. I think we only had one called third strike. A bunch of our kids hit the ball hard even on the outs."
Peabody had jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Sunday night and picked up right where they left off, adding another run in the third and two more in the fourth. It's a tough lineup 1-through-5 and they accounted for all six hits.
In the third inning Cullen Pasterick, Marky Bettencourt, and Brendan Kobierski hit back-to-back-to-back doubles to produce a run. Lynnfield reliever Charlie Pizzotti got out of a bases loaded jam with a double play and strikeout, but ran into trouble again in the fourth.
Damien Gregory walked, Aidan Horgan singled to set things up for Pasterick, who followed with an RBI single. Another run came home on Kobierski's deep sacrifice fly that was almost out of the park off the third reliever Grant Neal.
"Our guys can hit the ball starting with leadoff batter DiCarlo, and No. 6 Ryan Skerry is also a good hitter; there's no real letup," said the elder Bettencourt. "Cullen had a couple of big shots. They're all tough to face, but we know Peabody has a murderer's row, too."
Pasterick and Kobierski each had two hits. Kobierski drove in two runs while Bettencourt, and Pasterick each had one RBI. Pasterick worked the first three innings giving up one single and whiffing five. He was followed by DiCarlo, who also only allowed a hit while striking out five more in the next two, and Bettencourt finished up with one hit and two K's in the last inning. At one stretch from the fourth inning through the first batter in the sixth pitchers DiCarlo and Bettencourt combined to fan six in a row. Lynnfield only had three base runners all game because the West pitchers didn't walk anyone.
"Throwing strikes was the key for us," said Bettencourt, who is also the Peabody High baseball coach. "Whether it's Little League, high school, or the pros keeping them off the bases is the key. It means less work for the defense. We had a bunch of kids that hit the ball hard, even ones that were outs.
Bettencourt kept close tabs on the pitch count and said all of his throwers are good to go against Peabody.