Jun. 22—LYNN — If the opposing baseball team is going to score some runs, then as a coach, you’d prefer they come home on balls batted into play.
That wasn’t the case for Peabody on Monday night, which essentially gave host Lynn English all its runs in a frustrating season ending 4-2 loss in the Division 1 North playoffs under the lights at Fraser Field.
The No. 3 seed Bulldogs scored twice on passed balls and twice more on bases loaded walks, then escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh to send the No. 14 seed Tanners (9-9) home for the summer.
Pitcher Manuel Taveras went the distance for English (8-2 and hosting Andover in the quarterfinals Wednesday), scattering five hits with five strikeouts and throwing 113 pitches. He hit two batters in the seventh and the Bulldogs made two errors behind him to give the Tanners some life, but a groundball ended it with the tying run in scoring position.
“We never strung any of our hits together, never put any pressure on them or got them back pedaling,” Peabody coach Mark Bettencourt said. “Their guy pitched well, but he wasn’t over powering.”
Peabody had a 5-3 edge in hits but struggled with the strike zone. Pitchers Michael Geissler, Evan DiLillo and Dom Annese combined for 13 free bags on nine walks, three hit batsmen and one fielding error; it was a recipe for disaster against the Greater Boston League champs, who took a 2-1 lead on two wild pitches in the third and stretched it to 4-1 by working two bases loaded walks in the fifth.
“The bottom line is you can’t walk that many and win many baseball games,” said Bettencourt, “especially when you only score one run in the first six innings.”
English also made two phenomenal defensive plays to curtail Peabody. A great throw from left field nabbed Jacob Palhares (single) trying to score from second on a Michael Krause single when it was a 0-0 game. Then in the third, Bulldog catcher Brendan Falasca sprinted from behind the plate to the fence behind first base to grab an errant throw and nab a Tanner runner heading to second after an error.
The visitors still managed to take a 1-0 lead in that frame. Senior Ryan Knight worked a walk, Giovanni Guglielmo hit an infield single and Brendan Smith’s two-out RBI single made it 1-0. To his credit, Taveras left the bases full in that frame and English grabbed the lead for good in the bottom half.
Geissler struck out five while walking five and DiLillo went for 35 pitches as Bettencourt tried to keep his bullpen eligible for potential games later in the week under the new pitch count rules. Annese came into a bases loaded no out jam and allowed only one run, striking out four of the six men he faced.
Gugliemo, a sophomore, was the only multi-hit man for Peabody, which had no hits for extra bases in the game. Shortstop Juan Tolentino scored a run and reached twice.
It was and up-and-down season for Peabody, which won a playoff game after missing the tourney in 2019 and fell a game shy of the Northeastern Conference South crown. For a team that returned only one player (and no pitchers) with varsity experience to win nine games and nearly reach the D1 North quarters was a success according to Bettencourt.
“I look at some of the games we lost, some of the mistakes we made, and I have to chalk it up to the year of development we missed last season,” said Bettencourt. “We came a long way this year and we’re going to keep growing and building it next year.”