Thursday, May 4, 2017

Peabody Baseball Continues Roll With Win at Xaverian


By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

WESTWOOD - Slowly but surely, Peabody is building itself a nice resume.

Behind two hits, two RBIs, and two stolen bases from leadoff hitter Nick Palma, and a complete game from starter Jake Zeuli, the Tanners defeated the Xaverian, 7-2, on a windy Thursday afternoon at Xaverian Brothers High School.

The win, put together with a 5-1 win over St. John’s Prep, and 6-1 win over Danvers, at least puts Peabody in the Super 8 conversation at this point in the season.

Peabody (9-3) certainly showcased some offensive firepower on Thursday, as the Tanners were aggressive at the plate all game long, swinging at the first pitch 14 times, knocking out 10 hits including, four extra base hits.

Tanners’ coach Mark Bettencourt said he always wants his team to go after the first fastball they see.

“We don’t want to wait around for curveballs, especially against a pitching staff like this,” said Bettencourt. “The first fastball we see we want to jump on, and we did that well today.”

The Tanners scored first in the top half of the opening inning as Palma singled, moved to second on a single by Jake Gustin, stole third, and came home to score on a wild pitch. Moments later Gustin crossed the plate on a Chris Gillen RBI groundout to give the Tanners the early 2-0 lead.

Xaverian quickly evened the score at two, scoring a run in the first on a Vicente Mendoza RBI triple and a run in the second on the Cassidy RBI single. From that point forward it was all Tanners.

Peabody broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the fourth.

Jake Doherty led off with a single before Dylan DiFillipo reached via an error to put two on with nobody out. Three batters later, with Doherty and DiFillipo still on base and now two men away, Palma drove a two run double down the right field line that gave the Tanners a 4-2 edge.

One inning later Peabody doubled their lead on the Hawks as after Anthony Iannuzzi doubled and Gustin singled, Gillen sent a base hit through the hole between third and short that put Peabody on top 6-2.

Zeuli, for his part, was on his game especially in the later innings. After a Jake Cassidy two-out RBI single evened Xaverian up with Peabody 2-2 in bottom of the second, Zeuli surrendered just two hits the rest of the way.

In total, the right-hander threw 109 pitches, while giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits to along with a pair of strikeouts.

“(Jake) Zeuli really stepped up big for us today,” said Bettencourt. “To get the ball and beat a very good Xaverian team is impressive. He was at 99 pitches going into the seventh and usually we shut the kids down there but you just looked in his eyes and he wanted to finish this.”

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