LYNN — The Lynn 13-year-old Babe Ruth All-Star team stopped Quincy’s late comeback attempt and held on for an 8-7 win at Bowzer Complex Monday.
Lynn took a 8-3 lead into the seventh inning but quickly saw it cut down to one run after a trio of RBI hits. It looked like Quincy would complete the comeback after a passed ball, but a lucky bounce off the back stop landed right in the glove of catcher Juniel Guzman who made the tag at the plate to save the win.
“This was definitely the closest game we’ve played so far,” Lynn manager Rich Avery said. “It probably shouldn’t have been that close. To say that wasn’t our best game is an understatement. After going up big like that late in the game we just let them climb back in with mistakes. That can’t happen going forward if we want to far in this tournament.”
Guzman started the game on the mound, pitching 5 2/3 innings. He allowed one earned run on two hits with five walks and seven strikeouts.
“Juniel battles,” Avery said. “He got down on himself in the middle of the game. He thought he was getting squeezed. But it shows what he’s made of. He had a mental mistake (in the seventh) but then he came right back and made that play. It shows what kind of kid he is. He’s battle tested and he’s a great kid.”
At the plate, Mornel Castro (1-for-3) drove in a run and scored twice. Janier Rodriguez drove in the winning run with a clutch hit in the sixth while Steve Pedro scored twice. Nevin Gonzalez and Johnny Disia each had one RBI.
But what saved Lynn in a game full of some uncharacteristic mistakes was aggressive base running including eight stolen bases.
“We have some good speed on this team,” Avery said. “So we’re always aggressive. We like to take advantage of people out of position. It’s definitely one of the things we preach, being aggressive on the base paths.”
Quincy got on the board first, taking advantage of a pair of errors including an errant throw to grab a 1-0 lead.
Lynn answered in the bottom of the first. Guzman laced a double and scored on a single from Gonzalez to tie the game at 1-1.
Quincy took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third on a passed ball and a RBI double.
Lynn chipped away at the lead from there. Darnell Leon reached on an error in the bottom of the third. Levy DaSilva laid down a sacrifice bunt and Leon scored on an errant throw to cut Quincy’s lead to 3-2.
Pedro started another rally in the fourth with a single and stolen base. Castro plated Pedro on a single to tie the game and Disia laced another single to give Lynn its first lead of the night at 4-3.
Lynn added some key insurance runs in the sixth. Armani Gerardo and Pedro walked to start the inning and an error on a run down scored both runs to give Lynn a 6-3 lead. Another error and a RBI single from Rodriguez stretched the lead to 8-3.
The big lead faded away fast with a walk, hit batter, two doubles and a two-run single closing the gap to just one run with two outs. Disia came in to pitch and appeared to end the game on a strikeout, but the pitch found the dirt and Lynn failed to throw a runner out at first to end the game. With the bases loaded, another low pitch got by Guzman but the hard bounce off the back stop bailed out Lynn and he made the easy tag on a runner trying to take home, capping the 8-7 win.
“We’ve been practicing to do the little things right,” Avery said. “To see us not do the little things right the whole game (Monday) was disappointing. But we’ll take the win we just have to move forward with this and get better.”
Lynn now advances to pool play with the final eight teams in the state. Games will be played in Somerville starting this weekend (TBA).