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WRAPPING UP AN EVENTFUL 2016

December 30, 2016

FILE PHOTO
Christian Burt delivers a pitch during the Babe Ruth World Series in Williston, N.D. this summer.

By STEVE KRAUSE

In baseball’s hierarchy, they would be classified as “tweens.”

They’re not cute Little Leaguers who can be marketed by ESPN, and they’re not high school varsity players who end up getting all the coverage in the local newspapers.

But as consolation, perhaps, they play for an organization named for, unarguably, the most mythical athlete in the American ethos. And last August, the Lynn Babe Ruth Baseball 15-year-old all-stars were front and center as the region’s No. 1 sports story when the won the New England regionals in a tournament at Fraser Field, and went to the national World Series in Williston, N.D.

This particular group came together, for the most part, in 2013 when manager Leon Elwell managed them in the Gallant Tournament in Salem, which consists of the cream of the North Shore youth baseball crop. They stayed together, with some modifications, just missing the state championship both as 13s and 14s.

In its last attempt before aging out of Babe Ruth, Lynn, still directed by Elwell, knew it was hosting the regionals, and because of that, it automatically qualified. However, because it wanted badly to win a state championship, Lynn decided to go through the process of competing for one. First, it had to get past the local teams in the District 1 tournament, which it did without losing a game.

Lynn did lose one game in the states, to Medford, but rallied from that defeat to win the tournament. At Fraser, Lynn lost its first game to Pittsfield, and then ran the table thereafter, beating Medford, Apple Valley, Maine and Trumbull, Conn., before facing off against North Providence/Smithfield, R.I., and winning the final, thanks to the clutch pitching of David Barnard Jr.

That punched their ticket to Williston, a one-time oil boom town, which is nestled in the northwest corner of North Dakota, just a handful of miles from the Montana border.

The City of Lynn came together for the series. Though it wasn’t on ESPN, the way the Little League World Series was, it was streamed live and broadcast in several locations, including Gannon Golf Course and Tony’s Pub. It was not uncommon to see every seat in the house filled when Lynn played.

Lynn went 2-2 in the four preliminary games, good enough to advance to the quarterfinals against Eau Claire, Wisc. Along the way, Lynn had several outstanding performances, including Anthony Nikolakakis, who hit a grand slam in a win over West Fargo, N.D.; Dayshon Anderson, who also hit a home run in that game; Aedan Leydon, who pitched a crucial game against Columbia Basin, Wash. — a game Lynn had to have in order to advance.

Lynn started out well in the Eau Claire game, but ran into an unfortunate circumstance when one of Wisconsin’s players collided with pitcher Christian Burt, knocking him out of the game. Though reliever Matt Gisonno kept Lynn in the game, Eau Claire eventually came back and won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning to advance to the semifinals and send Lynn home.

When it was all over, Nikolakakis had made the all-tournament team, Lynn had won the hearts of the city, which turned out for a welcome-home reception upon the team’s return.

If Lynn’s trip to the World Series was the overall highlight of the year, then Lynn Classical’s last-second, improbable win over crosstown rival English on Thanksgiving provided an instant thrill that ended up being one of the most talked-about plays in the country (judging from the amount of airplay it received on ESPN).

It was, for 43 1/2 minutes, a rather ordinary game between two teams trying to salvage disappointing seasons. Each came into the game with 2-8 records. And although Classical led throughout, sophomore quarterback Matt Severance hit Jonathan Kosmas with a perfectly-thrown ball with eight seconds left in the game to put English ahead.

The English student body was so sure the game was over it stormed the field when Classical fumbled the ensuing kickoff.

But English was called for a penalty, and had to kick over. And when the Bulldogs did, Classical’s Melvin Nieves picked up the squib kick and began running, all the while looking for senior Marcus Rivera so he could give him the ball.

Rivera, too far away, doubled back to receive a lateral just as Nieves was being surrounded by Bulldogs.

Rivera dodged a tackle, barely, and then took off down the near sideline. He received several blocks, including one by Chase Buono that sprung him, and completed the 83-yard run (officially; unofficially it was almost 90) to score the touchdown that gave Classical the incredible 21-20 win. The play was the No. 2 play of the day on ESPN, and Rivera was interviewed for a Sportscenter segment.

Sadly for Classical coach Tim Phelps, the win did not save his job. It was announced earlier this month that the school was opening up the head coaching position.

The region had two state champions this year — both in basketball. The St. Mary’s boys defeated Maynard in the Division 4 state final, 61-52. In the game, the Spartans took a commanding halftime lead before Maynard began pecking away. However, eighth-grader Matt Cross asserted himself in the paint, and St. Mary’s was able to regain its edge to win going away. Cross, a promising star, broke his leg during the Spartan’s football Super Bowl game, however, and is out for the season.

Bishop Fenwick’s girls basketball team, behind the stellar play of a group of seniors led by Colleen Corcoran, defeated Hoosac Valley, 57-48, to win the Division 3 crown.

The Spartans went 1-for-2 on championship weekend, as the boys hockey team lost in the Division 1 state final at the Boston Garden, 3-2, to Franklin in double overtime. And immediately following, St. John’s Prep fell to Malden Catholic, 2-1, also in overtime.

Also this winter, St. John’s Prep’s Hunter Costa and (138 pounds) and Jay Carnevale (285) were state wrestling champions.

In the spring, both Danvers and St. John’s Prep baseball made state finals, but fell in Division 2 and the Super 8 respectively; and the Marblehead girls lacrosse and Lynnfield girls tennis captured sectional championships, but fell short in their respective state semifinals.

Justin Lewis of Lynn Tech won the state and New England outdoor track high jump titles, and competed at the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

On the collegiate front, former Classical star Hulerie McGuffie, running for UMass Boston, won the NCAA Division III championship in the 400 this spring. And former English left-handed ace Ben Bowden, who already has a College World Series title to his credit, was taken in the second round of the Major League draft by the Colorado Rockies. Also taken in this year’s draft was Swampscott’s Ryan January (Arizona Diamondbacks), St. John’s Prep’s Brandon Bingel (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Peabody’s Pat Ruotolo (San Francisco Giants).

In Little League, the Swampscott boys and Wyoma girls won the District 16 title, but neither made it past the states. The Wyoma girls also won the junior softball district title, but could not make it past the state tournament either. Peabody did win the senior league state championship, but fell in the New England regionals finale.

This fall, two of the area’s football teams, St. Mary’s and Marblehead, reached the Super Bowl earlier this month.

The Spartans went 11-0 before encountering East Bridgewater at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. St. Mary’s turned the ball over six times and fell to East Bridgewater, 34-8, in the Division 3A Super Bowl. Later that day, Marblehead, which also went 11-0 during the regular season and playoffs, was on the wrong end of the Division 2A Super Bowl, 34-13. Tragically, two players from that Falmouth team — James Lavin and Owen Higgins — died in an auto accident Dec. 22.

In soccer, the St. Mary’s girls made the Division 4 North final, but lost to Amesbury.

Peabody’s Marcelo Rocha won the cross country championship.

In other news, the football season was played with eight divisions this fall instead of six, and due to that, the Divisions and 4A games were played elsewhere. The Division 1 game between Xaverian and Everett occurred at Manning Field in Lynn, with Everett winning easily.

Also on the subject of alignments, the Northeastern Conference voted in June to merge with the four remaining teams in the Greater Boston League, with Everett football playing an independent schedule for the foreseeable future.

In early June, area residents recalled their meetings and experiences with Muhammad Ali after the legendary boxing heavyweight champion died.

By | January 10th, 2017|News|0 Comments

Volunteer Extraordinaire:Dave Raymond is Retiring from Greater Lynn Babe Ruth

September 22, 2016
By Journal Staff

By Joyce Erekson

Retiring GLBR official Dave Raymond is pictured with Ashley Laramie of the Navigators front office at the opening ceremonies for the New England Babe Ruth Regionals at Fraser Field.
Retiring GLBR official Dave Raymond is pictured with Ashley Laramie of the Navigators front office at the opening ceremonies for the New England Babe Ruth Regionals at Fraser Field.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the city’s youth sports organizations and when one decides it’s time to move on, the hole can be deep and tough to fill.

Greater Lynn Babe Ruth jack of all jobs Dave Raymond is calling it a day after more than a decade with the program and nearly two decades of volunteering over all if you count his years with Pine Hill Little League when his three children, D.J., Adriana and Perry, were young.

“It’s time to move on with my life,” Raymond said. “It’s time to wind down, take some vacations and relax. It’s going to be sad. I’m going to miss it, but I won’t be far away.”

Raymond has worn a number of different hats over the years including that of field director and vice president of softball operations. In recent years,he has been in charge of scheduling at Grace Rogato Field, which means juggling the needs of the Classical, St. Mary’s and English High softball teams, as well as the Fisher College women’s softball team,in the spring, the Middlesex League in the summer and the middle school softball teams in the fall.

Like quite a few people on the league’s board of directors, Raymond hasn’t had a child involved in the program for years. His daughter, Adriana,played for the Classical High softball team. She graduated in 2012 (one of Raymond’s fondest memories is seeing her hit a three-run home run off Malden pitcher Kiara Amos, who went on play for Providence College). So why spend nights, weekends and even vacations working on the fields and tending to the myriad of other things, like cleaning the bathrooms and buying food for the concession stand,that need to be done? Raymond,who works as the state housing manager for the Lynn Housing Authority,cited a couple of reasons,one being the friendships he has made over the years with the Babe Ruth gang and the other being the pride he takes in the facility.

“It’s nice hearing people coming here from out of town saying how great the place looks,” Raymond said. “When these people come, they think we’re getting paid to do it.” Raymond said he also does it because he loves the kids.

“I’ve always loved the kids, I loved coaching,” Raymond said, admitting that even the long hours he spent mowing the grass weren’t all that bad.

“To me it was relaxation. To get on the lawnmower, put on the headphones and go out there and cut the grass was relaxing,” he said.

Although he stopped short of saying he’ll miss working on the fields,the people are a different story.

“We have such a good group of people,” Raymond said, citing president Jim Beliveau, Bob Cuozzo, Jeff Earp, Jim and Annette Hennessey and all the others who have been there over the years.

Beliveau said he knows he’ll still be calling Raymond for advice on various things.

“He’s done a great job,” Beliveau said.”I don’t know what I would do without Dave, and Leon (Elwell), and Jeff Earp. These are people who put in an awful lot of hours. It’s not just me. I wouldn’t be able to run the league without them.”

Beliveau said from March or April until November (after Fall Ball ends) this group is together.

Many of them also work together at Manning Field.

“He (Raymond) is one of my best friends,” Beliveau said. “He’ll be desperately missed. He’s a good guy who works his tail off.”

Both Raymond and Beliveau are hopeful that as the group of volunteers who have been around for many years leaves, new people will come in and keep things going. Beliveau said there are some good people at the Little League level who he hopes will get involved.

Raymond will leave a program that just wrapped up a year for the ages. The 15-year-old all stars made it to the Babe Ruth World Series.

By | September 22nd, 2016|News|0 Comments

LYNN’S WORLD SERIES RUN WILL BE ONE TO REMEMBER

By Steve Krause

WILLISTON, N.D. — “There are going to be tears, and this is going to hurt for a while. The only thing that will heal it is time.”

Lynn Babe Ruth manager Leon Elwell couldn’t have asked any more out of his team in this Babe Ruth World Series, and he knows that.

Sure, there were games where errors really hurt. Not every player who came up in clutch situations delivered. If that were the case, Lynn would be playing in today’s championship game. But they bowed out Thursday night with a 7-6 loss to Eau Claire, Wisc., that left a bad taste in the mouths of the players, coaches and parents.

But that shouldn’t, in any way, detract from what the team accomplished, Elwell said.

“I couldn’t have been prouder of them,” said Elwell. “They gave up their whole summer.”

This team began playing tournament baseball the last week in June. School was still in session when its practices began.

“And,” said Kim Wilkins, one of the parents who made the trip to Williston to watch her son, James, “when they come home, it’s going to be right back to school. This was their summer.”

There will be plenty to do once they get back. Many, including David Barnard, Anthony Nikolakakis and Michael Leavitt, will be heading to football practice for Classical, St. Mary’s and Essex Tech respectively. Aedan Leydon will head for the links as part of the St. Mary’s golf team.

Christian Burt will simply rest and heal. He was the victim of an unfortunate play the loss to Eau Claire.

It was in the second inning, and Burt was pitching, protecting a 5-2 lead. It was a 1-2-3 inning, which was exactly what he needed after Eau Claire scored two unearned runs in the first.

But with two out, catcher Colin Lekvin hit a one-hopper back to the mound, and Burt’s momentum in fielding it carried him toward first base. Rather than throw over to Nikolakakis on first, Burt chose to keep going and put the tag on Lekvin himself.

“He did exactly what you’re supposed to do in that situation,” Elwell said. “He held the ball with two hands and was waiting for him.”

Lekvin, however, did not give himself up. Instead, he collided with Burt in an effort to dislodge the ball. He succeeded. But in the estimation of the umpire on the field, he violated the Babe Ruth rule that states, “if a runner attempting to reach home plate or another base intentionally and maliciously runs into a defensive player in the area of home plate or a base, he will be called out and ejected from the game.”

Lekvin was ejected, but the consequences were far worse for Lynn. Burt writhed on the ground, in obvious pain. And despite making his best efforts to go on, he hurt his shoulder and had to depart.

“Not only do we lose our best pitcher, we lose one of our best bats,” said Elwell. “We play the game the right way. They should teach their kids how to play the game the right way.”

Elwell and Eau Claire manager Nathan Kilness would also be ejected as tensions between the two were amped up well into the next inning.

Matt Gisonno was called upon to protect Lynn’s lead and that’s exactly what he did until an unfortunate set of circumstances let to Eau Claire scoring twice in the seventh inning to overcome a 6-5 deficit and win the game.

“Matt was awesome,” Elwell said. “He gave his team a chance to win the game.”

Along the way, A.J. Luciano knocked home four of Lynn’s six runs, including three in a five-run first inning and a critical (at the time) insurance tally in the top of the sixth inning that made the score 6-4.

Eau Claire scored once in the bottom of the sixth, setting the stage for the seventh-inning drama.

It started with back-to-back one-out walks. With two outs, a balk moved both runners into scoring position.

Isaac Pape (pronounced Papi), who had been a tough out for the entire game, hit the first pitch Gisonno threw right on the screws, and it got down to Dayshon Anderson at third in a hurry … too much of a hurry for anyone to be able to field it, according to Elwell, who watched the game from behind the center-field fence.

“He had no chance on that,” Elwell said. “I know he feels badly because he wanted to make the play, but that was definitely a hit.”

One run scored, and even though Anderson tried, vainly, to cut off left fielder Barnard’s throw and relay to the plate, it was too late, and the winning run came across.

The team returns Sunday, and is scheduled to arrive at Breed Middle School around 2:30 p.m., according to league president Jim Beliveau.

By | August 21st, 2016|News|0 Comments

LYNN BABE RUTH STAYS ALIVE

Michael Leavitt throws the ones up after Lynn’s 5-2 win over Columbia Basin, Wash., Wednesday. Photo by John Geyerman

By Steve Krause

WILLISTON, N.D. — With no room for error, Lynn made sure it kept them to a minimum.

One day after fielding miscues cost them a game and put them into a must-win situation Wednesday in the Babe Ruth World Series, the Lynn 15s played almost flawlessly in defeating Columbia Basin, Wash., 5-2. The team advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday (8:30 p.m. EDT) against Eau Claire, Wisc., at Ardean Aafedt Stadium.

“We’ve been Jekyll and Hyde,” said manager Leon Elwell. “We played poorly Saturday and turned it around Monday; then we played poorly (Tuesday) and played a very good game (Wednesday). That’s the difference.”

After making six errors against Tallahassee, Fla., and suffering a crushing 11-7 loss Tuesday, Lynn made only one miscue Wednesday. That was with two out in the seventh inning. The Lynners also took advantage of five Washington errors.

But the story of the game was pitcher Aedan Leydon, who hasn’t pitched all summer. Leydon, the starting second baseman, got the ball because Lynn’s two main pitchers, David Barnard and Christian Burt, were unavailable. Barnard threw 117 pitches Tuesday in the loss to Florida, and Burt pitched in Monday’s win over West Fargo, N.D.

Elwell chose between Leydon and A.J. Luciano, and picked Leydon, with Luciano playing second. He would prove pivotal in the win as well.

leydon-215x300

Pitcher Aedan Leydon tossed a complete game Wednesday, allowing just two runs. (Photo by John Geyerman) Pitcher Aedan Leydon tossed a complete game Wednesday, allowing just two runs. (Photo by John Geyerman)

For his part, Leydon only struck out three. But with his defense tightening up considerably, the balls Washington did put into play turned into outs.

“I have to thank my defense today,” he said. “They played real well behind me. I pitch to contact, so I needed them to play well and they did.”

Elwell wasn’t concerned with Leydon mentally.

“I knew he’d compete,” said Elwell. “I was worried about fatigue. It was hot out there (a couple of car thermometers showed 100 degrees) and he hasn’t pitched in a while.”

His fears proved groundless. Leydon threw only 103 pitches and went the distance.

His teammates helped by staking him to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

Once again, Elwell juggled his lineup a bit, inserting Brett Bucklin into the leadoff spot. And the move paid off. After Kevin Durant, the No. 10 batter, hit a one-out single, Bucklin followed with another one. After Durant was erased on a pickoff, Leydon walked. Burt ripped a single to left, scoring Buckin. The throw back into the infield went wide, allowing Leydon to come home and Burt to go to third. He came home moments later on a passed ball.

Washington got two-out singles by Dax Lindgren, Peter Aspholm and Emmitt Tatum to get a run back. But Leydon got out of that jam with a grounder to third.

Things remained quiet until the fifth when Lynn increased the lead to 5-1. Zach Elwell led off with a walk, and James Wilkins ran for him. Wilkins, after stealing second, scored on a Danny Lilja ground ball to second base, on which Tatum went far to his left to haul in, only to throw it wide to first. Lilja ended up on third on the play, and Bucklin brought him home on a grounder to third.

Leydon ran into some difficulty in the bottom of the fifth. Evan McLean led off with an infield hit, stole second, and scored on Vance Alvaredo’s base hit.

Alvaredo also stole second, and went to third on Josh Baker’s groundout. Tatum walked, and Washington tried a double steal. Lynn had been trying throughout the tournament to throw down to second in an attempt to trick the runner on third into breaking for the plate. The second baseman cuts the throw off behind the mound and fires back home if there’s a play.

Luciano had one this time, and Zach Elwell just managed to tag the hard-sliding Alvaredo for the third out.

“That was a great play,” Leon Elwell said. “We’ve been practicing that all week.”

That play drained whatever gas Washington had left in the tank. Columbia Basin went 1-2-3 in the sixth and its only threat in the seventh came as the result of Lynn’s only error, though Durant picked Josh Jesse’s liner to center up off a blade of grass out there for the first out, one of several stellar defensive plays for Lynn.

“Now,” said Leon Elwell, “we are one of the six best teams in the country.”

From here on out, a loss means elimination from the tournament.

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

LYNN FINDS REDEMPTION IN BLOWOUT WIN OVER WEST FARGO

PHOTO BY JOHN GEYERMAN
The team greets Anthony Nikolakakis at the plate after his third-inning grand slam.

By Steve Krause

WILLISTON, N.D. — There was so much symmetry in Lynn’s 10-0 Babe Ruth World Series win over West Fargo Monday that it’s tough to know where to begin.

For starters, there’s the score — the same as the one Saturday in which Lynn lost its series opener to Atlantic Shore, N.J.

Then there are the circumstances. Saturday, it all unraveled in the third inning, when Shore scored six runs. Monday, Fargo unraveled in the third and Lynn also scored six runs.

Shore won via the 10-run rule, and Lynn did too, as a fielder’s choice ground ball by Luke Boisselle brought home run No. 10 in the sixth inning.

The big difference, though, was that Lynn played a complete game. Anthony Nikolakakis hit a grand slam in the six-run third, and Dayshon Anderson hit a solo homer two innings later. Both were majestic shots that easily cleared the left-field fence.

Pitcher Christian Burt threw five shutout innings, only getting into any real trouble once, in the second, and he got out of it. Michael Leavitt pitched the sixth for Lynn.

“We can exhale a little,” said Lynn manager Leon Elwell. “They (Fargo) played the same way we played Saturday and you cannot do that in the World Series.

“It has to be pretty awesome, though, for Anthony and Dayshon to hit home runs in the Babe Ruth World Series, though,” he said.

Pitcher Christian Burt. (Photo by John Geyerman)
Pitcher Christian Burt tossed five shutout innings for Lynn Monday night. (Photo by John Geyerman)

Nikolakakis was happy with the way Lynn responded after Saturday’s loss.

“Absolutely,” he said. “You can’t keep that stuff in your head. I think we played our game tonight. We were loud and energetic. I cannot thank my teammates enough.”

Nikolakakis got the ball rolling for Lynn in the bottom of the second, doubling home Brett Bucklin, who had walked and taken second on a wild pitch.

In the third, West Fargo self-destructed. With one out, A.J. Luciano walked and was safe at second when Fargo’s shortstop booted Aedan Leydon’s grounder.

Leydon was erased on a fielder’s-choice grounder by Burt, but David Barnard an Anderson reached on successive errors, with each miscue scoring a run to make it 3-0.

Bucklin, who had been moved up in the order by Elwell and was in the middle of both run-producing innings, beat out an infield hit to load the bases.

That brought up Nikolakakis, who rifled a shot over the fence for a grand slam.

“I thought I hit it good,” Nikolakakis said. “But I also knew I had to hustle just the same so I could get to third.”

It was Lynn’s only hit in the inning, and all six runs were unearned.

After a scoreless fourth, Lynn was back for two more in the fifth, one of them on Anderson’s home run, the other when Bucklin scored on another West Fargo error.

Leavitt and Matt Gisonno walked to lead off the sixth, with both moving up on Burt’s grounder to second. Boisselle then hit his grounder to end the game.

“We hit the ball, Christian was throwing strikes, and we played great defense, and that was the difference between tonight and Saturday. We played great defense,” Elwell said.

The win evens Lynn’s record in pool play at 1-1, good for third place in the National Division. Lynn’s two remaining games are against Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday (noon EDT), which is 2-0; and Wednesday against Columbia Basin, Wash, which is 0-2. West Fargo fell to 0-3.

The top three teams in both the American and National divisions move onto the single-elimination quarterfinals, which begin Thursday. The top team in each division gets a bye, and the second- and third-place teams cross over to play inter-divisional games Thursday. The winners play the top seeds Friday in the semifinals, with the championship game Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT.

By | August 15th, 2016|News|0 Comments

ATLANTIC SHORE BLASTS LYNN IN WORLD SERIES OPENER

PHOTO BY JOHN GEYERMAN
Erick Ubri, left, and Zach Elwell, right, express their displeasure after Lynn’s 10-0 loss to Atlantic Shore, N.J., Saturday afternoon.

By Steve Krause

WILLISTON, N.D. — The disparity was too much to overlook. While Atlantic Shore, N.J., was running wild, Lynn ran itself out of the game.

That’s the story, in a nutshell, of Saturday’s Babe Ruth World Series-opening loss to Shore, a 10-0 drubbing that was over in just 4½ innings.

“You can’t play the way we played and expect to win the World Series,” said Lynn manager Leon Elwell. “We just didn’t make plays in the field, and we had an inning there where we had a real opportunity and we made too many mistakes.”

Shore stole six bases, two of them in a first inning that gave it the only run it would need. Nick Atohi singled up the middle with one out, and went to second on an infield hit by Solomon Griffith. They each moved up a base via steals, and then Atohi came home on a wild pitch.

“That’s us,” said Shore manager Bill Rauzzino, who, in the 1980s, managed in the Swampscott Babe Ruth system. “That’s what we like to do. I think both teams had jitters, and I think running helped get some of ours out, and I also think it unsettles the other team more.”

Elwell wasn’t sure about that.

“I don’t think them stealing had anything to do with how we played,” Elwell said. “We didn’t make the plays.”

Lynn had a chance to answer that run, and then some, in the top of the second inning. Dayshon Anderson led off with a triple. But with Anthony Nikalakakis up, one of pitcher Cole Vanderslice’s pitches broke past catcher Athoi. Anderson started to break for home, then stopped, and then broke again and was tagged out. The play proved very costly because Nikalakakis followed with a base hit to right.

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Lynn’s Dayshon Anderson, left, is tagged out at home after attempting to score on a wild pitch. (Photo by John Geyerman)

However, Nikalakakis would also be thrown out on the bases. Zach Elwell squared to bunt, but the pitch was high and outside. Nikalakakis broke for second, but Atohi gunned him down.

“We had Anderson with a triple to lead off, and we don’t score,” Elwell said. “Those are mistakes we just shouldn’t be making by now.”

To make matters even worse, Elwell was hit by a pitch, and it just further underscored the potentially big inning that went by the boards.

Shore responded in the bottom of the third by sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring six runs off starting pitcher David Barnard and reliever Matt Gisonno. Vanderslice and Atohi had back-to-back walks to lead off, and, after Vanderslice stole third, Griffith knocked him in with a single. Omar Hernandez cleared the bases with a triple to make the score 4-0.

Devin Sharkey scorched a grounder to Anderson, who chose to go home to get Hernandez, but the ball bounced past Elwell and the fifth run scored. William Storck followed with a single, and Nick Abrams brought them both home with another triple to make the score 7-0.

Shore was back for three more in the fourth to make it 10-0. Atohi, Griffith and each walked, followed by RBI singles by Storck and Abrams. The 10th run came home on Nick Walsh’s sacrifice fly.

By | August 13th, 2016|News|0 Comments

LYNN BABE RUTH GETS SCHEDULE FOR WORLD SERIES

PHOTO COURTESY OF DENNIS KEANEY
Members of the victorious Babe Ruth 15s took a tour through the city after winning the New England Regional tournament earlier this week.

By STEVE KRAUSE

The Lynn 15-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars will play the first game of the 2016 World Series in Williston, N.D., when it opens on Aug. 13.

Lynn, which won the New England regionals by defeating North Providence/Smithfield, R.I., in the championship game Tuesday, is one of 10 teams participating. The teams will be split into two divisions, American and National.

Lynn has been placed in the National Division, along with teams representing the Middle Atlantic, Southeast, Pacific Northwest and the state champions from North Dakota.

In the American Division are teams from Ohio Valley, Midwest Plains, Southwest, Pacific Southwest and the host team of Williston.

Lynn’s opening game will be against the Middle Atlantic at 11 a.m. Participating teams will play games against all the others in their pool. Lynn’s other games are Monday, Aug. 15, against North Dakota; Tuesday, Aug. 16, against Southeast; and Wednesday, Aug. 17 against the Pacific Northwest.

The top three teams in each division will move on. The No. 1 seeds in both receive byes, and the quarterfinals, in which the second- and third-place teams cross over to play each other will take place Thursday, Aug. 18, with the third-place American vs. second-place National beginning at 5 p.m. The other game will follow at 7:30.

Semifinals, both of which pit the quarterfinal winners against the top seeds in each division, are Friday, Aug. 19, at 5 and 7.30 respectively. The final is Saturday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m.

In all, the team is expected to be gone for 10 days, regardless of how far it gets. According to Lynn board member Jeff Earp, the teams must report on Aug. 11 and depart Aug. 21. National Babe Ruth will pay for transportation for the players, one manager and two coaches, Earp said.

The teams that are eliminated prior to Aug. 21 may be able to leave if Babe Ruth can arrange earlier flights, Earp said, but otherwise must either stay or pay to change the flight themselves.

“Obviously the actual financial responsibility and burden falls directly on the parents,” Earp said. “We, the league, feel it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to curb and reduce the costs associated with going to the World Series. It’s a heavy burden.”

Babe Ruth has begun the task of fundraising to help defray costs for the trip. Boston College women’s hockey goalie Katie Burt, whose cousin, Christian, was co-MVP for the New England tournament, has set up a GoFundMe page that raised $1,500 on its first day.

Babe Ruth is also accepting donations, care of PO Box 501 Lynn, 01905.

“(We all) know what it takes to get (to the World Series),” Earp said. “It not only takes talent, but some large quantities of luck and good fortune.”

“Anyway, these kids are going, and we need to get them there,” he said.

By | August 3rd, 2016|News|0 Comments

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