PEABODY — The Marblehead baseball team took advantage of every situation Peabody presented Tuesday afternoon. The Magicians’ offense proved to be too much, handling the Tanners 14-1.
Simply put, Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said his group “had it going today.”
“I think every team is kind of similar regarding who’s on and who’s not. We were on at the plate, and I think their guy on the mound struggled a bit,” Giardi said.
The Magicians got out to an early lead thanks to a two-RBI single from junior Charlie Sachs to give Marblehead a 2-0 advantage in the first.
“That (fast start) was something we talked about. We jumped out to an early lead, but we feel it should have been bigger,” Giardi said.
Peabody responded immediately in the bottom of the inning. Sam Oliveri hit a leadoff double to start, and after a sacrifice bunt from Mike Petro to move Oliveri to third, Cam Connolly brought in the Tanners’ lone run with an RBI groundout (2-1).
Marblehead’s starting pitcher, Drew Whitman, controlled the game from the mound. Earning the win with three strikeouts, Giardi was pleased with his performance.
“Drew Whitman was hurt two years ago, came back last year, and struggled a little bit. That was a great outing by him to go those five innings. I thought he was going to be in a little bit of trouble since he struggled in our last game, but he was able to fight through it,” Giardi said. “I thought he was throwing harder in the fifth inning than he did in the first.”
The Tanners got on base, but struggled to bring in runners from scoring positions.
“You don’t know when the big run is coming, so you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get,” coach Mark Bettencourt said.
The Magicians held a 6-1 lead in the top of the sixth, and that’s when Peabody made some mistakes on defense. Marblehead exploded for eight runs in the inning for a 14-1 lead – the eventual final score.
“I give Marblehead a lot of credit,” Bettencourt said. “We can learn from them.”
Giardi said his goals were to “work the pitcher” and have “competitive at-bats” to force Peabody deep into its bullpen.
“That’s a big thing – especially now with the pitch count. You want to try to work and get them deep in their bullpen, and that’s what we are hoping to do every single game,” Giardi said.
Fortunately for Marblehead, and unfortunately for Peabody, that strategy worked.
“Today we learned the hard way that you can’t give good teams more than three outs in an inning,” Bettencourt said. “You saw it happen today. They brought our starting pitcher’s pitch count up and knocked him out of the game after four innings. [It’s] not what we had planned for him, and before you know it, we’re going to our middle relief way too early.”
Both head coaches took time to acknowledge their catchers, who each played great defensive games. For the Magicians, it was David Bartram.
“Bartram is a senior. He didn’t get a lot of looks the last couple of years. He isn’t hitting for us because of the way our hitting is going, but David is getting a better feel for how to call a game,” Giardi said. “He’s done a really good job today.”
Bettencourt praised his “defensive cornerstone” Ryan Brunet.
“Ryan has been here the last couple of years. He blocks the balls better than most catchers do,” Bettencourt said. “He controls the pitcher’s tempo. With as many young pitchers as we have, he’s a calming influence. Ryan keeps our pitchers calm and focused, and does a great job for our team.”
Marblehead’s next game is Friday when it hosts Masco at Seaside Park (4 p.m.), while Peabody looks for its winning ways against Saugus at 4:30 p.m. the same day.