Connecticut defeats Lynn in East Regional opener

Lily Newhall reached base twice and pitched four solid innings of relief in Lynn's loss to Connecticut. (File Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

WORCESTER– Saturday morning’s East Regional game against Connecticut didn’t go the way the Lynn Senior Little League Softball All-Stars had hoped. The Lynners closed the game on a high note by plating a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning but fell, 9-4, to Connecticut at Vernon Hill Park.

Jenna Tobin earned the nod and pitched the first two innings for Lynn. Tobin did a solid job in weathering a Connecticut storm that saw Lynn allow four unearned runs in the bottom the second inning.

Reliever Lily Newhall pitched the final four innings.

After a scoreless opening inning, the Lynners grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Riley Mannion was hit by a pitch, Abby Fila walked and Lily Newhall (1-for-2) reached on a bunt single. Amanda Tobin walked with the bases loaded, allowing Mannion to cross home plate with the game’s first run.

Connecticut answered with four runs in its half of the second, taking advantage of a pair of Lynn errors to score the first two. A groundout scored the third and a single pushed across the fourth, giving Connecticut a 4-1 lead after two innings.

“The girls were tight in the first half of the game,” Lynn manager Chad Wilkins said. “In a tournament like this, I expected them to be nervous for the first inning or so. They were nervous for the first few innings and then they started to get comfortable as the game went on.

“I thought our defense overall was good,” Wilkins added. “I didn’t see many errors, it was more so a bad bounce here and there.”

Connecticut bumped its lead to 6-1 in the fourth.

Julia Nickolau laced a one-out single in the top of the fifth. Nickolau swiped second on a passed ball and came home on a Connecticut error, slimming Lynn’s deficit to 6-2.

Down 9-2 in the top of the seventh, the Lynners faced a tough task but showed no quit. Gianna Coito (1-for-1) started the inning with a single and took second on a passed ball. Reese Brinkler followed with a walk. Nickolau’s groundout advanced Brinkler and Coito to second and third, respectively. Amanda Wilkins (1-for-3, 2 RBI) hit a 2-RBI single, scoring both runners to give Lynn hope at 9-4. Connecticut logged the final out of the game on a groundout to seal its win.

“I’m really happy with the way they finished,” Wilkins said. “They fought to the end. They seemed much more comfortable in the later innings.”

The Lynners are back on the diamond at Vernon Hill Sunday morning (9) against Rhode Island. Both teams are 0-1 in the tournament as Rhode Island dropped its opening game host Jesse Burkett. 

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