Jul. 29—A lightning delay Tuesday night had the Beverly/Salem Post 331 Legion baseball team a little confused about what it had to do to win the Massachusetts state title.
In any format or permutation, winning every game they played would deliver the title to Beverly/Salem. So that's what they did, making some history in the process.
Behind an ace-like effort on the hill from Brayden Clark, Beverly/Salem beat Milton 5-2 Wednesday night in Quincy to claim its first-ever Massachusetts state championship at the Senior Legion level.
By going a perfect 5-0 in the eight-team, double elimination playoff, Post 331 became the first team to run the table in this tourney since 2009.
"I couldn't be any more proud of these guys," said Beverly/Salem manager Michael Levine. "At the end of last year, I knew most of these guys would still be eligible and asked them to come back, knowing this could be a special team and a special summer. They all did. It's a tight knit group that loves playing together and does a great job."
Tyler Petrosino, a rising sophomore on the baseball team at Salve Regina, was named Massachusetts state tournament MVP.
"Ty started the tournament on fire. He was pounding the ball, going a homer shy of the cycle in the first game," Levine said. "Even when teams wouldn't pitch to him, he found ways to impact the games."
Clark struck out nine and allowed only three hits over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday against Milton to win the de facto state title game (had Beverly lost, the team would've had to play again after a 30-minute break). Nick McIntyre came on for a one-out save to send Beverly/Salem to next week's Northeast Regional tournament, which will be held at Fitton Field on the campus of Holy Cross in Worcester.
Salem native and St. Mary's Lynn graduate Lee Pacheco had a huge offensive game for Post 331, making it 2-0 early with a bases loaded single. He clubbed a 2-run double later in the game to finish with four RBI; Tyler Petrosino had Beverly/Salem's other run batted in, knocking home his younger brother Logan as Beverly/Salem built a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Earlier Wednesday, Beverly/Salem came from behind to beat Bridgewater after trailing 1-0 when the bout was suspended due to lightning on Tuesday. Post 331 wound up winning 3-2 to put itself in position to claim the state title with a nightcap victory.
Next week's Northeast Regional will feature the champions of the six New England states, plus New York and host Shrewsbury. Beverly/Salem will go for orientation on Tuesday, then open play Wednesday against Maine.