LYNN — The Lynn 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars accomplished what they set out for Thursday evening at Breed Middle School. Lynn took advantage of a plethora of Braintree miscues, plating six runs in the first inning, and never looked back in a 15-2 mercy-rule win.
“It was a solid win,” Lynn manager Paul Hartford said. “(Starting pitcher) Yordy (Contreras) didn’t have his best stuff but he managed to gut it out. We helped him out by picking it up on offense, smart baserunning. Great job once again by these guys.”
Contreras earned the nod on the mound and pitched the first four innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits, walked one and struck out one. Knicko Ramirez followed in relief and pitched a scoreless fifth inning, despite allowing one hit and one walk.
From the early goings of the tilt it seemed as though No. 15 Braintree simply couldn’t help itself. No. 2 Lynn plated six runs on just two base hits in the bottom of the first to take an early commanding lead. Shea Palmer (2-for-2, RBI) hit a RBI single, scoring Brady Warren (0-for-2, RBI) with the game’s first run. Eldrian Bonilla (0-for-1, 2 RBI) drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring Ramirez for the 2-0 lead. Jack Marks (2-for-2, RBI) continued the rally with a RBI single, plating Deniel Ortiz (2-for-2, 2 RBI) and stretching Lynn’s lead to 3-0.
Palmer and Bonilla raced home on consecutive passed balls and Marks scored on a wild pitch, pacing the Lynners to a 6-0 lead after one inning.
“Braintree played five one-run games,” Hartford said. “Capitalizing on every mistake they made just helped our offense because we didn’t really hit the ball in the first inning. Smart baserunning, they made some errors and we were alive, ready to play. Normally we might’ve scored two runs in that inning. Because we were smart and paid attention we wound up with six. That buries you as a team, down 6-0 after one inning with our best pitcher on the mound.
Hartford added, “It’s crucial and these guys have been very good at taking advantage of errors.”
Showing no quit after the sour start, Braintree answered with a pair of tallies in the top of the second on back-to-back two-out RBI singles. That, however, was all the scoring Braintree had in store.
Contreras (1-for-3, RBI) hit a RBI single in the second and Bonilla added a RBI groundout in the third, bumping Lynn’s lead to 8-2.
Things got out of hand in the bottom of the fourth, when the Lynners added seven runs to their advantage to run away with the win.
Warren started the scoring with a sac-fly, bringing Jack Anderson (1-for-3) home. Ortiz followed with a 2-RBI double to make it an 11-2 lead. After Palmer reached on an error, Ortiz raced home on a double-steal. Bonilla walked and a single by Marks rolled past Braintree’s right-fielder, granting Lynn three more runs for a 15-2 rout.
Ramirez worked his way through a jam with two Braintree runners on base in the top of the fifth, sealing the 15-2 Lynn victory.
Despite the tough reality that a loss Thursday would’ve ended Lynn’s season, the team embraced the challenge and kept its normal approach. Having fun on the diamond has been a top priority and the Lynners won’t change that anytime soon.
“This is a crazy bunch,” Hartford said. “If you listen to some of their conversations in the dugout sometimes you wouldn’t even know they’re in a game. They’re just a loosy goosy bunch. They really are but they’ve played together for a couple years. Most of them were on the Gallant team last year. They know what it takes to win. They’ve been successful together, they’ve had some heartbreaking games but they feel like they’re a family together. It’s fun to coach them.
Hartford added, “My (assistant) coaches Chris Warren and Jay Bullock have done a nice job getting these guys ready as well.”
Lynn shifts its focus to preparing for Saturday afternoon’s (3) state tournament quarterfinal game in Taunton. Lynn will battle against the winner between Weymouth and Franklin.