Lynnfield’s Gonzalez signs letter of intent for New Mexico Junior College

Lynnfield pitcher Fernando Gonzalez signed a letter of intent to play for New Mexico Junior College last week.

LYNNFIELD — Lynnfield High senior baseball captain Fernando Gonzalez is going west.
Last week in the high school gymnasium, Gonzalez signed a letter of intent to play collegiate baseball at New Mexico Junior College.
“This was definitely the best decision for me and I am very excited to go. I have not been to New Mexico before and know the conditions will always be hot so I will have to adjust to that and the level of play. I know I will have to work really hard to succeed, but I believe I can do it and that New Mexico is the perfect place for me to get to the next level, which ultimately is to get drafted.”
Gonzalez is a hard-throwing left-hander who has dazzled on the mound since his freshman season.
“His first year as a freshman he got his chance to get on the mound and his first game was one-hitter against Masco,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien. “I think he had 11-12 strikeouts. Sophomore year, he began to get more time at DH and at first base, then last year, he played perfectly at first and also began to really hit the ball hard. He worked really hard over the winter and reinvented his swing. The result was he really hit it hard, on a line, and developed into a heckuva ball player and I believe he will do well.”
Hard work is nothing new to Gonzalez, a METCO student from Boston. Gonzalez has had to work just as hard, if not harder, off the field to even make it through the day.
“He is a really good kid and it has not been easy. He is my first bus stop at 5:55 in the morning so he has to be up at 5:30. He rarely missed any days, has great personal strength,” said Lynnfield METCO director Curtis Blyden. “With his parents, Fernando has a strong team right from the start. He has also had strong support from coach O’Brien. And the community has been incredibly supportive. I’m very proud of him and this opportunity is so well deserved.”
Gonzalez is the first to admit that he has had a little help from his friends along his Lynnfield journey, which began at the middle school.
“Coach O’Brien actually drove me to visit Franklin Pierce and he and my teammates have also driven me to the train station when I’ve missed the bus,” said Gonzalez. “He really pointed me in the right direction and has been so good to me and my family during the whole process.
“The commute is still tough with days starting at 5:30 and sometimes going until 11 only to have to get up and do it all over again, but it’s been worth it and I have had incredible support from so many people.”
O’Brien said Gonzalez’ best pitch is his fast ball, which has topped out in the 89-90 mph range.  
“He also has a good curve, a slider and changeup, he has them all and he has blossomed into a fine young man. He has a lot to balance now with a job, but he is a terrific kid who is going to do well down there. The kids really love him and he is a gentleman.”
Gonzalez said the decision came down to Franklin Pierce, which offered him a scholarship, and New Mexico and that he made the decision about two months ago.
As far as New Mexico is concerned, Gonzalez says he doesn’t know a lot of the team but he does know he will have to put in his share of hard work.
“My goal is to get drafted and if that doesn’t happen, then I hope to be able to move on to play Division I,” Gonzalez said. “I keep living my dream of getting drafted or, if that doesn’t happen, of  finishing my career at a DI school.”
With the decision behind him, Gonzalez’ focus is doing what he can to go out on top in his final season as a Pioneer.
“Last year we had a great year, but we got off to a rough start,” Gonzalez said. “We hadn’t yet bonded as a team but once we realized that we became on the same page.
This year our goals are to make sure that we have everyone, whether they are on the bench or in the first or third base coaches’ boxes, doing what they need to  bond early and then we need Coach O’Brien do his magic.”

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