LYNN — The Lynn Senior Little League All-Stars became Massachusetts state champions Saturday night, battling for two wins over Charlton at Gonsalves Park in Woburn. Lynn played a double-header and won both games, avoiding a third tilt in the best-of-three series.
“They’re a really good group of girls,” Lynn manager Chad Wilkins said. “They’re a lot of fun and they make it fun going to practice everyday. They work hard when we are there and we are reaping the benefits of their hard work right now.
“I’m feeling awesome right now,” Wilkins added. “I’ve been doing this for five, six years and made it to states twice but we always just missed making it to the next round. This is the first time I’ve gone this far. We’re looking forward to representing Massachusetts. It’s awesome.”
The action started Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 Lynn victory. Jenna Tobin led the way with a stellar effort on the mound. Jenna Tobin threw seven shutout innings and allowed four hits. Amanda Fila led the offense in game one with 2 RBI. Kaelyn Jennings and Ava Foglietta also had 1 RBI each.
Lynn’s momentum carried over into the second game, when Lily Newhall pitched the Lynners to a 4-3 win in the nightcap. Newhall pitched all seven innings, allowing one run on six hits while striking out seven and walking three.
Amanda Wilkins (1-for-2 with a HBP), Reese Brinkler (1-for-2), and Jenna Tobin (1-for-3) each added 1 RBI in game two. Julia Nickolau (2-for-3) scored two runs.
Charlton scored once in the top the of the first inning when an error at shortstop plated Amanda Adamuska, who reached on a walk. The inning had potential to be much worse when Charlton loaded the bases with two outs. However, Newhall caught a hard line drive right back at her to end the inning with Charlton up 1-0.
“Our pitching and defense have absolutely been our best things all throughout this tournament,” Chad Wilkins said, “I knew Lily would come through in those situations, she’s a good clutch pitcher and our defense has been clutch too, always making a big play when we needed it.”
Lynn answered in the bottom half of the first with a run of its own. Nickolau led the inning with a double and later scored on a single by Amanda Wilkins to even the score at 1-1.
Another run was added by Lynn in the second inning. Newhall drew a walk and was moved over on a ground ball back to the pitcher by Amanda Tobin. Brinkler brought Newhall home with a single later in the inning to put Lynn up 2-1.
In the third inning Lynn added another run when Wilkins, who had reached base after being hit by a pitch, moved to second on a passed ball and stole third. Wilkins scored on a Charlton infield error.
Lynn added a crucial insurance run in the fifth inning, that would later end up being the winning run. Nickolau recorded a leadoff single to start the inning. Foglietta layed down a sacrifice bunt to get Nickolau to second, but she didn’t stop there and went around to third while no one was covering the base. Jenna Tobin drove Nickolau on a RBI single, giving Lynn a 4-1 lead.
An error in right field followed by two RBI singles got Charlton right back into the game in the sixth inning, cutting the lead to 4-3.
Lynn silenced the comeback in the seventh when Jenna Tobin, who had six putouts at third base in the game, successfully put out the first two batters on ground balls. Newhall struck out the last batter of the game to earn the state title for Lynn.
With the series win, Lynn advances the the regional tournament in Worcester.
“I just want us to compete,” Wilkins said of upcoming regional. “If we compete I’ll be happy but you never know, I wasn’t sure if we would make it this far so who knows what we can accomplish.”