LYNN — Friday night’s Gallant Tournament game at Wyoma’s Reinfuss Field between Lynn and Danvers was a wire-to-wire battle from start to finish.
As is often the case when two teams rise to the occasion, seven innings wasn’t enough to decide a victor. The game went to extras where Jackson Glover scored the game-winning run on Liam Brooks’ RBI single for a 3-2 Danvers win.
Brooks delivered the game-winning RBI batting from the No. 10 spot in Danvers’ order.
“Liam’s a little guy that has a heart the size of an elephant,” Danvers manager Dave Gotts said. “He loves the game. I coached him all year. He’s one of my favorites.”
With the win, Danvers improved to 2-0 in the Gallant Tournament and is off until Sunday’s championship game.
“We’re going to try to pick up where we left off,” Gotts said. “We’ll hit the cage a little bit too so we can get on the fastball a little bit better. We definitely didn’t hit like this team can hit. Between (pitchers) Michael Moroney and Jake Semons, we’ll figure out the right combination.”
Lynn falls to 1-1 in the tournament and is back on the Wyoma diamond Saturday night (7:30) against the winner of Peabody/Salem.
“Salem and Peabody play tomorrow at 4:30 (p.m.),” Lynn manager Jeff Earp said. “Whoever loses is eliminated and we’ll play the winner. Salem and Peabody are both very good and always well coached. Peabody’s outstanding, they seem to win this tournament every other year or once every three years. They play quality baseball, always. Hopefully we do what we have to do.”
Lynn starting pitcher Juniel Guzman struggled to locate his pitches in the early going, allowing five walks in the first two innings. But Guzman buckled down at the right moments and kept Danvers off the board.
That changed in the top of the third inning, when Danvers struck through for a pair of runs to grab a 2-0 lead. An infield error allowed Danvers pitcher Steven Reardon to reach base after Semons walked to lead the inning. After a wild pitch allowed the Danvers runners to advance to second and third, Semons scored the first run of the night on an errant Lynn throw. A sharply hit grounder back to Guzman on the mound off Jake Hamel’s bat plated Reardon for the 2-0 Danvers lead.
Lynn clawed its way back with one run in the bottom of the third. A swift James Meklis laid down a bunt and reached on a Danvers throwing error, then scored all the way from first on another errant throw and a dropped ball at the plate.
Guzman (1-for-3) helped his own cause and tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, when he led the inning with a single. The Lynn pitcher swiped second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Alert on the basepaths and quick on his feet, Guzman raced home on a passed ball to tie the game at 2-2.
Both pitchers settled down through the next three innings. Danvers’ Reardon pitched six-plus innings and finished with 13 strikeouts. Reardon allowed two hits and no earned runs.
“It was a pitcher’s duel,” Gotts said. “The Lynn pitcher (Guzman) threw like 150 pitches and he still had the gas at the end. Reardon threw very well. He had good pop in his game. The two runs we gave up were errors. We had one defensive meltdown. It was a well played game between two great teams.”
Guzman threw seven innings, allowed no earned runs on two hits and struck out 15.
“Juniel pitched tremendous,” Earp said. “Chris Marks made a couple great plays at first base that saved us. Chris had a great game. Once Juniel got used to that mound he battled and took care of business.
“We had 24 at-bats and struck out 18 times,” Earp said. “It happens. The kids competed, they really did. They’ve come a long way. But we didn’t hit and didn’t make the little plays.”
Tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth, Danvers plated the game-winning run after Brooks beat out a RBI single to score Glover from third.
Danvers reliever Moroney (two innings pitched, five strikeouts) fanned Lynn in order in the bottom of the eighth to seal the 3-2 win.G