LYNNFIELD — Fernando Gonzalez did it all for the Lynnfield baseball team on Thursday afternoon, shutting down Georgetown from the mound and coming up with the clutch hit at the plate to lift the Pioneers to a 2-1 win over the Royals at Lynnfield High.
“When he’s on, he’s really tough to hit because he’s got three pitches,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien said of Gonzalez. “It took him a little while to get settled in this one, but once he did he got into a groove and never left it.”
Gonzalez, a junior left-hander, tossed a complete game on the mound, giving up one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts. Gonzalez went 1-for-3 at the plate, with his lone hit being a RBI double that drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Royals jumped out to an early lead right in the top of the first. After Gonzalez breezed through the first two outs, three-hole hitter Brendan Willis knocked a ground-rule double into the right-centerfield gap to get a two-out rally started. Next up was cleanup hitter Ethan Block, who came through with a RBI single to left-centerfield to give Georgetown a 1-0 lead.
The Pioneers came right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the first. Dan Jameson drew a walk and stole second base, then Matt Fiore reached on an error to put runners on second and third. After Fiore stole second to put two Pioneers in scoring position, cleanup hitter Cooper Marengi knocked in Jameson on a RBI groundout to even the score at 1-1.
The Royals threatened to take back the lead in the top of the third after getting runners to second and third with two outs. Block once again had a chance to give Georgetown the lead, but this time he grounded out to shortstop to end the inning and keep the score tied at 1-1.
Both teams had a chance to score in the fifth inning. Georgetown got a leadoff single from Adamsky, who was then sacrificed over to second base. But Gonzalez was able to bear down and retire the next two batters in a row to escape unscathed.
In the bottom of the fifth, a walk and a stolen base by Will Garofoli got a Lynnfield runner to second with only one out. But unfortunately, a strikeout and a very deep flyout to left field ended the opportunity for the Pioneers.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Lynnfield finally broke through to claim the lead. Jonathan Luders got hit by a pitch then stole second base to open the inning. Adamsky retired two straight Pioneers batters to threaten the rally, but then a Marengi walk extended the inning and brought Gonzalez up to the plate. After wasting a couple of pitches, Gonzalez took a fastball and launched a bullet into the right-centerfield gap for a double to drive in Luders with the go-ahead run and gave the Pioneers a 2-1 lead.
“We had been scrapping for hits the whole game, and we only had three total, so that inning was a big one,” O’Brien said. “It was a great job by each guy that went up there to work the count and keep the inning alive for Fernando, and then that hit was as clutch as could be.”
That was all Gonzalez needed, as he came out in the top of the seventh inning and struck out the side to seal the 2-1 victory for the Pioneers.
With the win, Lynnfield improved to 6-2 this season. Next up for Lynnfield is an unfamiliar foe in Amesbury.
“We don’t know much about them this year, but they have a new coach and they always have good athletes up there,” O’Brien said. “We’re just going to keep experimenting with the lineup a bit and try to find a way to get more consistent hitting, and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Lynnfield and Amesbury will play on Saturday afternoon.