LYNN -- For four innings Peabody West kept Saugus American off the board, but the roof caved in with a five run bottom of the fifth as Saugus knocked the defending District 16 champs out with a 5-3 win Friday night at Wyoma's Reinfuss Field.
West had led from the start, picking up two runs in the top of the first inning when Danati Fronduto doubled and scored on a hit by Alex Jackson, who later came home on Joe Keka's single.
Fronduto started for Peabody West and didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning when opposing pitcher Colin Churches singled. Fronduto had walked the first two batters he faced, but struck out the next three to get out of the jam. He settled down to retire nine of the next 10 until giving up the hit, but got out of the inning unscathed with a double play and a ground out.
"He had to find his groove, and did in the second inning. He pitched well for us," said manager Tony LaRosa. "Walks hurt, and we left too many on base. In a tournament like this you want to stay in the winner's bracket as long as you can because it's very tough once you fall into the loser's bracket."
Fronduto walked six and reliever Keka issued two free passes, both coming around to score in the big fifth inning. Saugus only had three hits off the two pitchers.
West had a great opportunity to increase the lead in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs, but could only get one run home. Joey Sinibaldi led off with a solid single to right field, Ryan Moreschi walked, and Fronduto followed with an RBI double.
Churches issued an intentional walk to Jackson to put a runner at every base, but got out of trouble with a strikeout, fielder's choice with Moreschi out at the plate, and a pop up that Churches made a diving catch to end the inning.
Fronduto walked the first two hitters he faced to start the bottom of the fifth before Keka took over. After getting an out he walked Ashton Horvath to load the bases for Gael Garcia, who brought home the first Saugus run with a sacrifice fly. Another free pass loaded them up for Noah Giron, who delivered the big blow, a three run triple to put the Americans ahead for the first time all night. Cameron Bernard added an RBI single.
LaRosa felt the turning point in the game came when the run scored on Garcia's fly ball. He appealed the runner had left too early.
"That run energized Saugus," LaRosa said. "We felt he left too early and tried to appeal. This was a tough one to lose."
After Churches struck out the first batter he faced in the top of the sixth he had reached the 85 pitch count limit and gave way to Bernard, who walked Dylan Annese before striking out the next two to end the game. If one of them had reached, Peabody would have had Fronduto up next. He had two doubles and was hit by a pitch.
Jason LaRosa had a long double to left field in the second inning, and Sinibaldi had two of the six Peabody West hits. LaRosa, Moreschi, and Cory Dooley are all 11-year olds that could be returning for another run in 2020.
"It's been my pleasure to coach these kids," said manager LaRosa after his team finished with a 2-2 record. "They're all skilled ball players."