LYNNFIELD — Dominant.
That word best describes the performance delivered by Lynnfield left-handed pitcher Fernando Gonzalez Thursday morning against visiting Newburyport at the high school.
All he did was no-hit the Clippers in the five innings he pitched. He allowed just three baserunners (walk, hit batter, infield error), none of whom touched second base, and struck out 11 to set the tone for the Pioneers (3-0), who cruised to a 7-0 win.
He had a little help from shortstop Jonathan Luders, who did his job in the leadoff position, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a triple.
“It was nice to come out swinging against a good all-around team that is always right there with us to the end,” said Lynnfield coach John O’Brien. “Our catcher, Jaret Simpson, called a great game, so all Fernando had to do was come out and pitch, and that’s what he did. He pitched a great game, a no-hitter in the innings he went. Just a terrific outing.”
The game featured two of the best pitchers in the Cape Ann League in Gonzalez and Clippers’ counterpart Casey McLaren, who came into the game fresh off a one-hitter against Masconomet.
The Pioneers wasted no time jumping all over McLaren in the bottom of the first inning for three runs. Luders got things started when he beat out an infield ground ball for a base hit. McLaren hit junior John Singer (1-for-2, 2 runs, RBI), then walked senior Matt Fiore (2 runs) to load the bases for Gonzalez (1-for-4, 3 RBI), whose grounder to second brought Luders home. Senior Will Garofoli (1–for-1, 2 RBI) drove in Singer with a sacrifice fly to right field. Junior Clayton Marengi (2-for-3, RBI) kept the rally alive with a two-out single, with Fiore scoring to make it 3-0.
The Pioneers squandered a couple of opportunities in each of the next two innings. They stranded two runners in scoring position in the second, then did likewise in the third after a baserunning blunder snuffed out a promising inning.
They turned things around in the fourth when they put four more runs on the board to put the game out of reach at 7-0.
Once again, Luders played the role of catalyst. With one out, he legged out a long triple to right, bringing up Singer, who laid down a bunt for a base hit with Luders scoring to make it 4-0. After Fiore reached on an infield error. Gonzalez blasted an opposite-field double to deep left-center to make it 6-0. He moved up a base on a passed ball, then scored on a Garofoli sacrifice fly to right.
With a comfortable 7-0 lead, O’Brien went to his bench to give the reserves some much-needed game time.
“That was a great bunt that Singer got down to get the run home,” said O’Brien.”That’s why he bats No. 2 for us. He’s really come a long way. That was a big inning which allowed us to get some kids in who haven’t been in yet.
“Luders had a good day and Fernando had that big two-run double. Garofoli also brought two runs home with those sac flies, and Clay Marengi gave us two big hits as well.”
Garofoli pitched the final two innings. He gave up a leadoff single to Tyler Koglin (Newburyport’s only hit of the game) in the sixth, but settled down and retired the final six Clippers’ batters to seal the win.
Lynnfield is back in action Friday morning at 10 against Pentucket at Groveland Park.