Monthly Archives: July 2016

LYNN 15S ADVANCE TO WORLD SERIES

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Lynn’s David Barnard earned the New England Regional Tournament’s best pitcher award.

BY STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — The Lynn 15-year-old Babe Ruth team defeated North Providence/Smithfield, 5-1, to earn a spot in the World Series next month in Williston, N.D.

David Barnard pitched a complete game, giving up only four hits. He was named the New England Regional Tournament’s best pitcher award. Co-MVP awards went to Christian Burt and Dayshon Anderson.

The World Series is scheduled from Aug. 13-20.

By | July 26th, 2016|News|0 Comments

LYNN IS CLOSE TO N. DAKOTA

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Greater Lynn Babe Ruth third baseman, Dayshon Anderson, goes for a grounder at Fraser Field in an early inning of the state semifinal game against Trumbull, Conn.

BY STEVE KRAUSE

The Greater Lynn Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Star baseball team is one win away from earning a spot in the World Series.

All Lynn has to do is defeat North Providence, R.I., this morning at Fraser Field in the New England Regional final and its players win a trip to Williston, N.D., next month to play for a national championship. The last time a team from Lynn got this far was 1983, when the 13-year-olds went to Niles, Mich., and came home champions.

If Lynn goes, don’t expect ESPN camera crews to follow the kids around. They won’t be introduced on national television, with pictures of themselves flashed on the screen. Nobody’s going to ask them who their favorite player is.

That kind of glory is reserved for the Little League World Series, where cute kids make for good television and lucrative advertising.

The best these kids will do is web-streaming. And that’s too bad, because they are pretty good.

On Monday at Fraser, they defeated Trumbull, Conn., 6-1 and in the process put on a clinic. They hit in the clutch. PitcherChristian Burt started out as if he took lessons from Clay Buchholz. But after two great defensive plays, he settled down to the point where he was unhittable late in the game, when it counts most.

Lynn is a testament to the axiom that you cannot win without defense. You can pulverize the ball all you want. But if you can’t catch it and if you can’t pitch, you can’t win.

Example A: Trumbull put runners on second and third with none out in the first inning, and you got the feeling things were going to come apart for Lynn before they could ever get started.

Things looked even worse when Trumbull’s Jake Teixeira singled to center field. That one run was going to score was a given. But the runner on second tried to come home too, and that’s when the game’s first dramatic momentum swing occurred. Center fielder Kevin Durant threw a perfect strike to cut-off man Anthony Nikolakakis, who then whirred around and threw another bullet to catcher Zach Elwell in time to tag the runner out.

Burt admitted after the game that the play went a long way toward calming him down.

“I knew that my defense was going to come up big,” he said. “It gave me more confidence with my pitches.”

After putting three runs up in the top of the third, Burt faced his second challenge.

Call it Exhibit B: A base hit, walk and bunt single loaded the bases. Once again, Trumbull’s Teixeira was at the plate, and this time he scorched a line drive that Lynn shortstop A.J. Luciano caught, and easily flipped to second baseman Aedan Leydon to double the runner, Beau DeMelo, off the base. Evan Warner then hit a blistering ground ball that came at third baseman Dayshon Anderson so hard he had time to knock it down and still throw the runner out at first.

“Honestly,” said manager Leon Elwell, “I don’t know how we got out of that one. That was the game right there.”

That was all it took for Burt to get clicked in. He mixed a fastball that he located well on the corners with a vicious curve that flummoxed Trumbull’s hitters the entire game. Burt didn’t allow a baserunner after that until the bottom of the seventh, when he walked the leadoff hitter. One out later, he walked another batter and it looked as if Trumbull might mount a threat.

But there was that defense again. Trumbull’s Stephen Ioli hit one that looked as if it might find the gap between center and left. But Durant, who appears as athletically-inclined as his basketball namesake, ran it down. Then, spying the runner on second well off the base, he quickly threw in and, once again, Lynn got out of the inning, and the game, with a double play.

The farther you go in these tournaments, it becomes imperative to play every game the way Lynn played against Trumbull. Like Lynn, North Providence finished second in its bracket of the tournament, and defeated the top seed, Pittsfield.

“We haven’t won anything yet,” said Elwell.

Elwell got this close once before. He coached the Lynn 14-year-olds in 2000, and they almost won the New England Regionals, but lost twice to the same New Hampshire team. He knows what it’s like to face the mounting pressure. It’s why he chose to address it head-on with his team after Monday’s game.

“I told them that if they win (today) they’re going to the World Series,” Elwell said. “But then, I told them that it’s the same game they’ve been playing since they were five years old.”

By | July 24th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Lynn is the diamond in Eastern Mass.

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Anthony Nikolakakis gets excited after scoring a run following his long triple against Medford.

By SCOT COOPER

SOUTH BOSTON — The Lynn 15-year old Babe Ruth all-stars manufactured runs in several different ways Saturday, and got an outstanding performance on the hill from Christian Burt, to beat Medford, 6-1, at BC High’s Monan Park.

Lynn takes the EMass title, and moves on to the New England regionals that begin next weekend at Fraser Field.

Lynn came into the final with a 4-1 record in pool-play, and handed Medford its first loss. Both teams will participate in the regionals at Fraser. Medford handed Lynn its only loss of the postseason thus far.

Lynn threatened in the top of the first, but could not score off Medford starter Jake Whistler. Aedan Leydon singled and Burt doubled, but they were stranded when Whistler retired David Barnard and A. J. Luciano.

Whistler wouldn’t be so fortunate later on.

Medford made Burt sweat in the bottom of the first, knocking out three hits. Lynn caught a break when Whistler tried to stretch a single into a double and was tagged out at second by Leydon. Burt fanned Jack Fargo with two on to keep it scoreless after one full.

The runs started coming in the top of the third for Lynn. Burt singled and Barnard reached on a fielder’s choice off Whistler. With Burt on third and Barnard on first, Lynn executed a delayed steal to perfection with Burt sliding home safely. Barnard trotted home when Medford threw Anderson’s grounder away at it was 2-0.

Lynn pushed a single run across in the fourth. Brett Bucklin doubled and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Durant. Danny Lilja squared to bunt and the suicide squeeze worked to perfection, with Bucklin scoring to make it 3-0, Lynn. That run ended Whistler’s time on the mound, he gave way to Mike O’Brien in the top of the fifth.

Lynn broke the game open with three runs in the top of the sixth off of O’Brien. Anthony Nikolakakis led off with a triple and came home on a single by Bucklin. James Wilkins walked, putting Lynn runners on first and second, and then he and Bucklin moved up on a passed ball. Bucklin made it 5-0 when he came home on a wild pitch, and Wilkins came home for the final Lynn run on a Burt groundout.

Medford was down 6-0 when Fargo tripled leading off in the bottom of the sixth. Burt threw the leather as well as he threw the baseball, snaring a liner off the bat of Brendon Kelley and firing the ball to Dayshon Anderson at third, doubling up Fargo before he could make a move to get back to third.

O’Brien came home on a Fargo single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, but Burt came right back and retired Gino DeSimone, and the Lynn celebration began. Burt said his team never gets too high or too low, they just play good baseball.

“Really, I just let the batters hit the ball, I know my guys will get the outs, make the plays, they’ve been doing that all year behind me,” Burt said. “My fielders behind me did everything, and I know this team can figure out a way to get runs, and they did today. It’s amazing, fantastic, to bring a championship home to Lynn.”

Lynn manager, Leon Elwell, said that his team figures out a way to win, a way to win, and they get it done.

“That’s how we play, we figure out a way, we put in a few plays and we were successful, we like to put the pressure on them, force the other team to stop us and we did that tonight, we got six runs, Christian (Burt) was fantastic and we won it,” Elwell said.

Elwell said it was a great team win and that he’s looking forward to the next round of games at Fraser Field, playing for a state championship.

“They’re a great team over there, but we’re a great team too, and we’re looking forward to playing at our place (Fraser) next week,” Elwell said.

Medford manager Danny Kelly said his team left too many runners on base and that was the difference.

“Credit to Lynn, they did a good job, we threatened, but never broke through against that kid (Burt),” Kelly said. “We’re 1-1 against them, we’ll see them again up in Lynn, these are always great games when these two teams play.”

By | July 18th, 2016|News|0 Comments

HATS OFF TO LYNN BABE RUTH 15S

By STEVE KRAUSE

Idle chatter while waiting to see how long it takes for Tom Brady to file a defamation-of-character suit, or whether he’ll just put the guns away and let his play do the talking from hereon out.

You have to hand it to the Lynn Babe Ruth program for showing a lot of integrity heading into the 15-year-old New Englandregionals next week at Fraser Field.

Host teams get automatic bids into these tournaments. That means that Lynn could have skipped the honor of playing in the district and state tournaments and concentrated on getting ready for the New Englands.

It could have. But instead, it took on all comers. And if the boys win one more game (today, 5:30 at BC High) they’ll be state champions.

That’s how they’d prefer it.

“It’s been our goal for three years to win a state title,” says manager Leon Elwell. “I’ve had these kids since they were 13, and we’ve come up short the last two years. They want to win this.”

There’s a fine line, of course, that separates staying in game condition so that you can be ready to play when the time comes, and going all-out and possibly ending up less than healthy when the big moments come.

The Golden State Warriors and the New England Patriots come to mind as recent examples of two teams that exhausted themselves in going for a regular-season record for wins and an undefeated season, respectively, but fell short of the big prize. Every time this happens, the debate over what’s more important rears its head. Should the Warriors have rested their starters for a few games late in the season so that they’d be fresh for the playoffs? Were the Patriots better off taking the pressure off themselves by losing a game during the 2007 regular season so that the weight of perfection wasn’t bearing down on them?

To me, these are silly arguments, but people make them. And with a straight face, too.

It’s pretty refreshing to see a bunch of kids who consider earning their spot preferable to coasting into it, especially since we see plenty of examples every day of people who do just enough to “get by.”

One can only hope they achieve that goal today. But even if they don’t, hats off to them for considering a state title important enough to go for it.

The District 16 LIttle League tournament wrapped up Friday night, with Swampscott coming out of the loser’s bracket to beatPeabody West.

It’s very easy to put the knock on organizations such as Little League for exposing kids who aren’t even adolescents yet to untold pressures, and, if they’re fortunate enough to live the dream of playing in the World Series in Williamsport, Penn., making celebrities out of them when they may not be ready for that.

But it’s also fascinating to watch them perform, especially the ones who can rise to the occasion and get the big hit, or make the big play. It may be unfair to have such expectations of 12-year-old kids, but, boy, it’s fun to watch at the same time.

To all the fanboys and girls out there who are convinced that Tom Brady should turn around and sue the NFL for defamation of character, keep one thing in mind: if there’s even a hint that he was complicit in whatever was done to deflate those footballs, he’s going to have to testify to it under oath. If he were to perjure himself, and facts are ever brought up to bear this out, whatever is left of his reputation will be shredded beyond repair.

It says here that his best course of action is to rest up and get ready to put a severe hurting on his opponents come October.

These people who complain about the Red Sox trading away prospects for a proven Major League pitcher just don’t get it, do they?

First of all, what is a prospect? For those old enough to remember the 1978 season, Bobby Sprowl was a prospect. Then the Red Sox put them out there and not only could he not get anyone out, he couldn’t even get the ball over the plate.

The gold standard of bad trading, or so goes conventional wisdom, was Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson in 1990. At the time, Anderson was a journeyman reliever who gave the Red Sox a few good games down the stretch that season. Bagwell became one of the game’s most feared sluggers with the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox, you may recall, won the American League East that season. Bagwell finally got into a World Series in 2005 — his last year in the Major Leagues. It’s not always that cut and dried.

If Drew Pomeranz can make enough of a difference that the Red Sox get into the post-season and make some noise, then it’s worth trading Anderson Espinoza and all the other unproven pitchers in the system to make that happen.

By | July 16th, 2016|News|0 Comments

Lynn Babe Ruth 13s outlast Revere

PHOTO BY JOYCE EREKSON
Lynn’s Nick Galeazzi bats during Tuesday night’s Babe Ruth game against Revere.

BY JOYCE EREKSON

SAUGUS — The Lynn Babe Ruth 13s went into Tuesday night’s final pool play game against Revere knowing they would be moving on to the state semifinals. Revere knew win or lose the season was over, but the game didn’t feel like there was little at stake.

Lynn won 10-8, but this one was a battle. Revere jumped out to a 5-0 lead, saw Lynn tie it up and then go ahead. Despite not having won a game in pool play, Revere made things interesting by tying the game at 6-6 and again at 8-8 in the fifth inning. Lynn would pull away for good with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.

“It was a great game,” Revere manager Richard DiMarzo said. “The kids showed up and played hard. They were in it to the last out … the kids were playing for pride today and it showed.”

Lynn will play the South No. 2 seed (to be determined) Thursday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals at World Series Park.

Lynn manager Dave Galeazzi shuffled his lineup around to give some players who had seen limited playing time some innings and they rose to the occasion.

Ray Contreras saw time at both first base and third base and was impressive. He made a terrific leaping catch on a line drive that was heading into no-man’s land down the right field line, dug a ball out of the dirt a few times and made some nice plays at third. Contreras also hit a pop up to center field in the first inning that was misplayed, allowing Lucas Fritz to score Lynn’s first run. He had a single up the middle in the second inning and in the bottom of the fourth, he ripped an RBI single to centerfield.

Revere came out on a mission in the top of the first. The first two batters reached on a walk and a single, but Lynn starting pitcher Jack Hogan fanned the three and four hitters and it looked like Lynn might escape relatively unscathed. That didn’t happen. Revere first baseman Anthony Pimental singled to center field to drive in Wil Martinez and Lucas Rincon. Hogan issued two more walks and Revere’s Dilyn Day made it hurt with a two-run single to right field that scored Pimental and Richie DiMarzo. Calvin Boudreau, who had one of the walks, scored on a wild pitch to give Revere a 5-0 lead.

Lynn started its comeback with a run in the bottom half of the inning, but it was the bottom of the second that did Revere in. Lynn batted through the order and did most of the damage with two outs. Revere got the first batter to fly out, but shortstop Jackson Nickolau ended up on third thanks to an errant throw on a dropped third strike. He scored on a grounder by Jeffrey Hill with two other runs coming in on a passed balls, one on a single by Sannel Castro. Hogan topped off the inning with a two-run single.

Revere came back to tie the game at 6-6 in the fourth inning on a single by Ryan Doucette, but Lynn proved relentless, scoring two in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-6 lead. Contreras’ RBI single made it 7-6 and Rincon scored on a balk.

Revere had one more comeback in the tank. In the top of the fifth, Day beat out a throw to the plate on a ground ball and Martinez scored on a wild pitch to tie the game 8-8. Jared DeFillipo (who made a spectacular running catch in left field in the top of the seventh) came up with big pinch hit single to left field that scored Contreras from third for what would be the game-winner. Tobin singled and scored on an infield single for the 10-8 final.

Hogan started for Lynn and went four innings. Fritz finished up in relief and got the win. John Capozzi started for Revere with Martinez coming on in relief.

“We were very pleased to see how the kids battled back,” Galeazzi said. “We’ve been hitting the ball better the last two games. We’ve been getting a lot of line drives and hard grounders instead of pop ups.”

The state finals will be played Saturday at Boston College High.

By | July 14th, 2016|News|0 Comments

LYNN 14S ADVANCE TO STATE SEMIFINAL

BY MIKE ALONGI

DANVERS — It was a solid all-around game for the Lynn 14-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team on Tuesday as it defeated Belmont, 6-4, in an EMass North state sectional game at Twi Field. First baseman Matt Devin led the way on offense with two RBI.

“I thought we played well today,” said Lynn coach Dan Gisonno. “We did a good job on the mound, made some plays in the field and hit the ball when we needed to. They guys did a good job today.”

Also contributing offensively for Lynn were shortstop Will Hunter, third baseman Bobby Alcock, starting pitcher Brendan Lannon and extra hitter Adnan Jalal, each of whom recorded one RBI.

On the mound, Lannon pitched five innings and gave up three runs on one hit with eight walks. He was relieved by Kyle Finnegan, who pitched the final two innings and gave up one run on two hits with one walk and one strikeout.

“Brendan had a great game today and Kyle was able to come in and back him up well,” said Gisonno. “They both came out and forced the other team to make contact and we did the work behind him.”

It was a pitchers’ duel for the first three innings, with neither team able to get anything going on offense.

The drought ended in the top of the fourth. After a leadoff single by Alcock and a double by Aubrey Connors, runners stood on second and third with no outs. Next up was Devin, who ripped a screaming line drive into right field. Although he was thrown out on a great play by the rightfielder, the run came across the plate to make it 1-0. Next up was Lannon, who smacked an RBI single to left field after two unsuccessful suicide squeeze attempts to put the score at 2-0.

Belmont responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth when starting pitcher Tim Minicozzi hit an RBI single.

But it was the top of the fifth that put Lynn over the edge. Rightfielder Aidan Calnan was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then stole second to get into scoring position. Next up was Jalal, who lined an RBI single. Two batters later, Hunter stepped in and hit an RBI double into the gap in right-centerfield to make it 4-1. Alcock followed that up with an RBI single before Devin notched his second RBI of the game to make it 6-1.

Belmont tried to scrape together some more runs over the last two innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Belmont grabbed a run on an error and another on a balk to cut the deficit in half.

With the score 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Belmont tried to get another rally going. It moved runners to second and third with one out and got an RBI groundout from Jack McHugh to make it 6-4. Belmont was then able to get the tying run to the plate with two out, but a groundout ended the rally.

With the win, Lynn moves on to the state semifinals to face the No. 1 seed in the South pool in Plymouth on Thursday afternoon.

“I hear they’re pretty good down there in the South bracket, all of the teams coming out of there are good,” Gisonno said. “I’m sure we’ll have our work cut out for us, but we’re pretty good too and we’re going to give them all they can handle. So we’re excited.”

By | July 14th, 2016|News|0 Comments

LYNN BABE RUTH TEAMS JUST KEEP ON WINNING

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Dayshon Anderson follows through on the swing that resulted in a grand-slam homer during Saturday’s 15-year-old Babe Ruth game against Chelmsford

BY STEVE KRAUSE

CHELMSFORD — Lynn 15-year-old Babe Ruth manager Leon Elwell couldn’t have said it any better.

“I know they’re only 15,” Elwell said, “but this win (Saturday) was almost professional, the way we came out and took care of business.”

It was certainly efficient. And clinical. The 15s wasted no time against Chelmsford Saturday at Volunteer Field, parlaying two five-run innings into a 10-0 4½-inning win over the hosts of the state north tournament.

Lynn is back in action today (5) against Medford.

In the top of the first, pitcher David Barnard blew away the first three Chelmsford hitters on strikes (he’d go on to whiff six in three innings). And then, in the bottom of the inning, after Dan Lilja scored on Christian Burt’s single, Barnard and AJ Luciano got on base via a walk and a hit-by-pitch respectively before Dayshon Anderson unloaded a grand slam over the left-field fence.

“Ever since this post-season started,” Elwell said, “I don’t think there’s been a game where we haven’t scored right away.

“It helped today that David came out throwing strikes, attacking the zone, and then Dayshon gets us started right away.”

After Barnard gave up a leadoff single to Conor Quinn in the second, he retired the next six hitters he faced, three via strikeout.

Lynn wasn’t done scoring runs. Aedan Leydon singled and scored on Barnard’s double, Burt walked, went to third on Barnard’s double and scored on a groundout by Luciano, and both Barnard and Anderson, who had walked, were driven in on a hot gounder by Anthony Nickolakakis that got by the third baseman. The 10th run came in by way of a fielder’s-choice grounder by Brett Bucklin.

“It was a clean game,” said Elwell. “We didn’t make any errors, everybody played, everybody hit. They’re a good bunch of kids and they’ve worked hard.”

The entire north part of the tournament is in Chelmsford. After the pool-play phase ends, the top two teams in both the North and South will play for the title at BC High in Dorchester.

14-year-olds

Lynn 7, Danvers 2

At Twi Field, Danvers, Will Hunter pitched complete game, scattering seven hits, striking out five, and walking one.

Hunter helped himself at bat reaching base four times, with single, double, walk and a hit-by-pitch.

Lynn’s big inning was a four-run fourth, with Bob Alcott singling home two runs.

Kyle Finnegan reached three times on a single, double and a walk Dan Gisonno scored two runs.

13-year-olds

Lynn 8, Arlington 6

Lynn 5, Peabody 3 (8 innings)

At World Series Park in Saugus, Lynn beat Arlington 8-6 Saturday and got some payback against Peabody, which won in 19 innings in the districts, with a 5-3 eight-inning victory Sunday.

With the score tied 3-3 heading into the top of the eighth Sunday, Jack Hogan singled and pinch-runner Sennell Castro stole second. Jeffrey Hill got a base hit, with Castro stopping at third. However, the cutoff throw went all the way to the plate, allowing Castro to take second.

Lucas Fritz knocked them both in with a double to right-center.

Aiden Dow pitched the final three innings to get the win, which left fielder Sean Anderson saved by laying out to catch a looping fly ball, and then doubling a runner off third base for the final two outs.

Luke Mannion pitched the first five innings.

Saturday, Lynn scored five runs in the bottom of the first, the big hit coming on Nick Galeazzi’s bases-loaded double that scored three runs.

However, by the fifth inning, Arlington had tied the game. But in the bottom of the fifth, Andrew Luciano knocked in two runs with a single, and Derian Arias’ base hit drove home an insurance run in the sixth.

Luciano pitched the first four innings, with Hogan, and Mannion, who got the win, finishing up.

By | July 12th, 2016|News|0 Comments

BUSY WEEK OF BABE RUTH AHEAD

By STEVE KRAUSE

Teams from Lynn, Peabody and Saugus will be very busy over the next week as Babe Ruth state tournaments in three different age groups begin.

This year, Babe Ruth has structured the tournaments differently. Rather than have teams from north and south of Boston competing at one site, which made traveling through Boston at rush hour necessary for one side of the city or the other, there are North and South tournaments this year. There will be a pool-play format for the 13s, 14s and 15s, with playoffs involving the first- and second-place teams from each region at the new baseball field that BC High and UMass Boston share.

The North 13s tournament is at World Series Park in Saugus while the 14s are at Twi Field in Danvers. The 15s are in Volunteer Field in Chelmsford.

Lynn and Peabody will compete in all three age groups, by virtue of either winning their district tournaments or finishing as runners-up. Saugus will join Lynn and Peabody in the 13-year-old tournament as the host team.

State champions will proceed to the New England Regionals, which, this year for the 15s, will be held at Fraser Field in Lynn.

Games involving Peabody begin tonight for the 15s and 14s, while Saugus plays Arlington at 5:30 in the 13-year-old tournament at World Series Park. The Peabody 15s face Medford tonight at 5 p.m. in Chelmsford while the 14s will play Arlington in Danvers.

By | July 6th, 2016|News|0 Comments