LYNN — The beat goes on for the Lynn 14-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars.
Lynn starting pitcher Aivan Cabral delivered a five-inning effort and Nolan Mulcahy laced a 2-RBI double, leading the Lynners to a 4-3 win over Arlington at Breed Middle School Wednesday night.
“Arlington’s always a great team,” Lynn manager Brian O’Connor said. “They always play us so hard. They’re always our hardest opponent, always. It’s always our best competition on the North.”
With the victory, Lynn advanced to the “crossover round” of the tournament, the state semifinals. Lynn, the No. 1 seed from the North, hosts the No. 2 seed from the South Saturday (TBA) at Fraser Field.
After Cabral worked his way around a leadoff walk in the top of the first, Lynn took the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Anthony Marino (1-for-2) started the inning with a single from the leadoff spot and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Christian Moran (2-for-3, RBI) scored Marino from second with a RBI single to give the Lynners a 1-0 edge.
Jason Donohue drew a walk to start the bottom of the second and pinch-runner Steven Galatis stole second base. After back-to-back strikeouts and consecutive walks, Galatis sprinted home on a wild pitch and Lynn held a 2-0 lead after two innings.
Lynn designated hitter Mulcahy (1-for-3, 2 RBI) delivered a 2-RBI double to left field, stretching the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third. Antony Mateo (1-for-3) started the rally with a one-out single and Cabral reached on an Arlington infield error. Mulcahy plated them both.
While Lynn was building its lead, Cabral kept Arlington’s offense at bay. Cabral fanned six through the game’s first four innings and finished with seven strikeouts. Aside from an Arlington baserunner who reached third in the top of the second, Lynn didn’t face much of a scoring threat through the early goings.
“Aivan’s our other ace,” O’Connor said. “He’s got these long fingers, just like (Antony) Mateo. They’re both unbelievable.”
Arlington pushed one run across in the top of the fifth on a sac-fly, slimming Lynn’s lead to 4-1.
Lynn surrendered two more runs in the top of the sixth. Arlington loaded the bases on a walk, a single and an infield error. A RBI groundout, followed by a run scored on a wild pitch, made it a one-run game at 4-3.
“The kids made a few mistakes but so did us coaches,” O’Connor said. “We’re so concentrated on other things. We have to clean that up but we did enough. We did enough good things to win. That Arlington team is tough, and they’re still in it.”
Marino, who pitched the final two innings, escaped an Arlington threat in the top of the seventh. Arlington logged runners on second and third with no outs but Marino buckled down to retire the next three batters and seal Lynn’s 4-3 win.
“You can’t do this without heart,” O’Connor said. “That’s what that was. That was heart. That was fun. That’s why we work hard. That’s why we’ve practiced 20 times in the past three weeks. It’s for games like this, to be on top after those seven innings.”