LYNN — The Lynn Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Stars will take the field Saturday afternoon in the state semifinal, an accomplishment the team doesn’t take for granted. In addition to what the 14’s have accomplished, Lynn Babe Ruth will host two state semifinal games Saturday at Bowzer Complex.
The Lynn 14’s, the No. 1 seed from the North, will host South’s No. 2 seed, Plymouth, at 4:30 p.m. Prior to that, North No. 1 seed Medford will battle against South No. 2 seed Norwood at 2 p.m. in the 15’s state semifinal. Both games will be played at Clancy Field.
It’s been a busy summer for Lynn Babe Ruth President Jeff Earp and his staff, who put together a team effort to host a slate of 14’s and 15’s state tournament games over this past week leading up to the semifinal round. Although the added responsibilities have kept Earp busy, he calls the opportunity to host marquee state tournament games “an honor.”
“People talk about it,” Earp, in his first year as Lynn Babe Ruth President, said. “That’s the way it is and it means a lot. It’s a great sense of pride when you’re at Manning (Field) and someone comes from Concord-Carlisle and says ‘this place is amazing.’ It’s exciting when people from other cities and towns come here and compliment us. It makes you feel good.
Earp added, “Lynn Babe Ruth really hopes it can make the city proud.”
Preparing Bowzer’s two diamonds isn’t an easy task. Responsibilities range from trimming the grass, lining the diamonds, stocking the concession stands, scoring games and keeping a clean facility to name a few.
“You lean on anybody and everybody,” Earp said. “It’s good that we have a very strong board of directors because you can lean on them when you need it. We take a lot of pride in our program. Here, we go crazy about this.”
Earp noted that state tournament games in the past have taken place at BC High in Dorchester and Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, which hosts the Division 1A “Super 8” state tournament each spring. The opportunity to host the state semifinal games Saturday bodes well for Lynn, Earp said.
“We chase it all,” Earp said. “You have to work to high deficiencies. The average person that shows up here says ‘wow, this place is unreal. This place is fantastic.’ When the community helps, and all that work that goes into it, it’s a true honor.
“They don’t normally give two age groups to one town,” Earp added. “They usually split it up.
They gave us the 14’s and 15’s (semifinals) which is an honor.”
As for the Lynn 14’s, Saturday’s game gives them a second crack at a game they fell short in last year. This time, manager Brian O’Connor and his players are ready to pounce with a shot at the state final on the line.
“Their effort is crazy,” Earp said of the 14’s. “They have tremendous talent. They could easily go to the World Series. They lost this game last year to Hingham/Hull. The bats went stone cold quiet in that game and that can happen. They practiced Friday and they talked about that.
“They have momentum. They’re a very confident bunch. They know what they can do. It’s hard to get them down. They have a can-do attitude.”