DUNSTABLE — On a night when the Tewksbury American Legion baseball team was swinging the bats extremely well (14 hits), the Pepperell defense threw gas on the fire with seven errors. The result was predictable as Tewksbury rolled to an 11-4 win.
Pepperell starting pitcher Keith Johanson did a solid job of keeping his team in the game over the first four innings, allowing unearned runs in the second and third innings, before Tewksbury exploded for seven runs in the fifth to take control. The visitors ripped six hits in the decisive frame.
Johanson pitched out of trouble in the top of the first after Michael Ferreiro doubled and Ron Wallace walked, getting an inning-ending strikeout to escape unscathed.
Pepperell took the lead in the bottom of the inning, keyed by the only two Tewksbury errors of the game. Matt Beaulieu reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild throw. When Colin Halloran grounded to third, the return throw to try to nail Beaulieu at third was wild, allowing him to score.
Tewksbury tied the game in the second and jumped on top 2-1 with a run in the third when Patrick Devlin reached on an error, moved to second on a wild pickoff attempt, and scored on Wallace’s single.
Pepperell tied the game with a run in the bottom of the inning when Beaulieu tripled and scored on Halloran’s groundout.
Tewksbury nearly regained the lead in the fourth, but a strong Pepperell defensive play denied them as rightfielder Andrew Dhionis scooped up Ferreiro’s single and fired a strike to the plate to gun down David Rak trying to score.
Dhionis came up an led off the bottom of the inning with a single, advanced to second on Chris Janowicz’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Beaulieu’s single to put Pepperell on top 3-2 after four innings. Tewksbury third baseman Devlin prevented further damage with an outstanding defensive play, making a diving stop and a strong throw to take a hit away from Chris Chenelle.
Tewksbury came out swinging in the top of the fifth to take control, the key hits being a two-run single by Devlin, and a two-run double by Ferreiro.
Devlin came on in relief for Tewksbury in the bottom of the inning, replacing Tom Dragon, who earned the win by allowing three earned runs and six hits over four innings.
Tony Deshler sliced a run off the lead by blasting a long home run to right center field to make it 9-4, but that was the final run Pepperell would plate in the game.
Tewksbury capped the scoring with two runs in the sixth, aided by three Pepperell errors.
Ferreiro led the 14-hit Tewksbury offensive attack with a single, two doubles, a run scored and two RBI. Catcher Shane Foley turned in a strong defensive effort and added a single, double, a run scored and an RBI. Devlin singled twice, scored two runs and drove in a pair.
Deshler paced Pepperell with two singles and a home run. Beaulieu added a single, triple, two runs scored and an RBI, while Dhionis chipped in with a pair of singles and an outstanding defensive effort in right field.
Tim Nickerson finished up on the mound for Pepperell, allowing no earned runs and three hits over 2 1/3 innings while picking up a strikeout.