LYNN — The weather has made things challenging for local youth baseball leagues. From the early days of the spring it seemed as though rain forced multiple postponements at every level. It was no different for Lynn Babe Ruth.
“It’s been absolutely the worst year ever,” League President Jeff Earp said of the weather. “Everybody agrees on that. The fields have just been a nightmare. But you still have to get all the games in, you can’t just play half a season. Then there’s getting in playoffs so you have a champion, the kids love that.”
With games being postponed, that meant less time to put together all-star teams. But things are finally taking a turn for the better.
“Babe Ruth isn’t just about all-stars so we had to get all the season games in first,” Earp said. “This year we ended up being two weeks late. The weather pushed a lot of games back so to get all the games in that meant cutting down all-star practices, which normally last two weeks, to two days.”
Despite the lack of preparation time before all-star games kick off this weekend the 13, 14 and 15-year-old rosters are set. Earp believes that each one is ready to compete at a high level.
“I think we have three teams that each should contend, or even win, a state title,” Earp said. “There’s a lot of talent on each team and they’re all excited to get started.”
For the past few years Lynn’s Babe Ruth all-star teams have been some of the best in the state and that winning culture has each team confident heading into this weekend.
“Our 15-year-old team has finished second and third in the state two of the last three years,” Earp said. “The 14’s were third last year and the 13-year-olds this year ended up in second or third in the Gallant tournament last year.
“These three teams have been nipping at success their whole careers,” Earp said. “They all have that attitude where they think every other team has to take it away from them. Our 15-year-olds have a ton of talent this season and we’re excited.”
Another reason for excitement is that Lynn will host the next round of the 14-year-old tournament starting July 5.
“It’s something every league puts in for,” Earp said. “They look at your history and what you’ve done. We always host a tournament. We do a real nice job. It’s a huge amount of pride because everybody from the Eastern Mass will be here.”
Because Lynn is hosting, the 14-year-old team will get an automatic invitation to move on, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking their competition now lightly.
“They do get to play in it but that’s not how we look at it,” Earp said. “They want to compete and they want to win. You never want to feel like you’re a weaker team coming in and that you didn’t earn it.”
This year’s all-star managers are Rich Avery (13’s), Paul Hartford (14’s) and Brian O’Connor (15’s).
All three All-Star teams begin play this weekend. The 13-years-olds take on Swampscott at Fraser Field Saturday (6), the 14-year-olds travel to Newton at Albermarle Field Saturday (8) and the 15-year-olds play Saugus at Donahue Field in Peabody Sunday (5).