The 35th annual Ray Gallant Tournament kicked off on a promising note for Lynn Friday when it took down Marblehead with a 17-3 win.
Since then, a weekend filled with rain postponements has prevented the tournament from proceeding at Harry Ball Field in Beverly.
Lynn manager Jeff Earp, who has managed the team for the past 10 years, said this year’s weather is the worst he has seen in his time coaching the tournament.
“I was up there with the committee Sunday and this is the first time in the history of the tournament rain delays have been at this level,” Earp said. “It’s not just one full day but two full days have been rained out.”
Rain on Thursday caused the postponement of Lynn’s first game against Marblehead. Lynn and Marblehead played their game Friday night. Lynn’s second game of the tournament was scheduled for Saturday afternoon against host Beverly. Saturday’s rain pushed it back to Sunday but Sunday’s weather didn’t cooperate either, forcing yet another postponement.
“You lose that momentum,” Earp said. “One of the great things about this tournament has been that it starts on a Thursday and it’s usually over quick.
“It’s really bad for the kids,” Earp added. “A lot of people have prior commitments like vacations and football starts to roll around, a lot of teams are going to struggle with it.”
Lynn’s win over Marblehead was highlighted by three home runs, two from Juniel Guzman and one from Alex MacMillan, and excellent pitching. Guzman also threw three no-hit innings while striking out eight. Morenel Castro threw two innings for Lynn, allowing no earned runs on two hits while walking two. Kevin Whalen came in to close the game, allowing one hit with one walk and a strikeout.
Earp is confident that Lynn can continue to carry over the same energy from last Friday’s big win despite not playing this weekend.
“I think we will be all right,” Earp said. “You can never really know how it’s going to affect you. Our kids were riding high and very confident after that game and with each passing day it puts more distance between that. But once we get there and the game starts we will be right back at it and it think we will be alright.”
Lynn’s game against Beverly is now scheduled to be played Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. No Gallant games will be played Monday.
“Beverly had drawn a bye so this will be their first game,” Earp said. “I have heard they are a very good team. With the tournament in Beverly they will draw a good crowd and hopefully we get good showing from Lynn as well.”
Most importantly, Earp hopes to see improvement from his team’s defense beyond the mound. Lynn had four infield errors last Friday, three of which helped Marblehead score its three runs.
“We hope we can continue to pitch like we did Friday at a high level and improve on our defense,” Earp said. “We need to make all the average plays in the field and we didn’t really do that Friday night.
“We showed good energy after the game on Friday and we expect that to continue,” Earp added. “They’re a tough group of kids, they’ll be ready to grind it out.”