Marblehead lets go of lead against Peabody

Saugus’ Alexa Morello swings on a pitch. Photo by Spenser Hasak

PEABODY — Peabody’s softball team avoided a late scare against Marblehead Monday afternoon. The Tanners’ late-game rally was the difference as they defeated the Magicians 8-2.

Despite the scoreline, the game was a defensive battle between great pitching in Peabody’s Avery Grieco (seven strikeouts) and Marblehead’s Tessa Francis (five strikeouts).

The Magicians struck first in the fifth inning. With two runners on, Ila Bumagin waited for her pitch and connected on a deep ball to center field that reached the fence, to bring home two runners to give Marblehead a 2-0 lead.

“For the first five innings we played errorless ball and we got some hits,” Marblehead Coach Johnny Gold said. “But when we had the chance to pile on runs, we didn’t.”

Heading to the bottom of the fifth, Head Coach Tawny Palmieri decided to have Elizabeth Bettencourt pinch-hit.

It was the correct decision and Bettencourt smashed a solo home run to deep left-center field to cut the lead to one (2-1).

“It says a lot for someone who wasn’t in the game to come in and to have that at-bat and to get the team rallying with that home run,” Palmieri said.

The momentum from the home run sparked life into the Tanners’ offense. In the next inning, they showed their potential, rallying off seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a commanding 8-1 lead, the eventual final score, into the seventh inning. Palmieri said her team can take a lot from the game.

“It says a lot about this team to be down and to never give up,” Palmieri said. “Fortunately, that doesn’t happen to us a lot so it’s good to get practice with that for when we get into the tournament.”

Gold was all smiles after the game, despite being on the wrong end.

“I’m so proud of the team,” Gold said. “We started five freshmen. We are a young team. They’re going to learn and get better and better.”

Gold and Pamieri showed respect for each other’s squads.

“That’s the best team in the state of Massachusetts, I don’t care what anyone says,” Gold said. “For six innings we battled the best team in the state.”

“It was a great game. John and his team played a great game,” Palmieri said.

With a young team, Gold said he can take a lot from this game.

“I know what we have to work on. I learned a lot today on what we have to work on and we’re going to get back to work,” Gold said.

Palmieri said she’s liking what she’s seeing from her group.

“The chemistry and attitude this team has collectively, you can tell they’re competitors,” Palmieri said. “They come to practice ready to work. The chemistry between the players and coaches is great, we’re all vibing and clicking this year which is great.”