SAUGUS — The Lynn 15-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars got the state finals started on the right foot Friday with a 9-6 win over Saugus at World Series Park.
Christian Moran got the nod and pitched four innings, allowing just two runs on five hits and five walks with seven strikeouts. Ryan Fraher put in three innings of relief work, allowing one run on three hits with a pair of strikeouts and shut the door on a late Saugus comeback.
“Christian is a champion,” Lynn manager Brian O’Connor said. “He just battles. Just like in the districts, he goes out and competes. He doesn’t do baseball full time like a lot of these guys. When I give him the ball he’s all heart. I love him and I trust him. Christian is a winner.
“Fraher keeps hitters off balance,” O’Connor said. “He is so huge for this team. He grew this year, last year he was little. He had signs of it last year still and now he’s got it and he’s going to be huge for this team.”
Tyler Dugan (2-for-2) had a big day at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored. Anthony Marino (2-for-4, run) also knocked in a pair of runs while Ethaniel Almendarez, Moran and Fraher each had one RBI.
Saugus put together a four-run fifth to climb back into the game but couldn’t complete the comeback with Fraher on the mound. Nick Sacco, Tommy Falasca, Massimino Ventre and Mike Azzari each had one RBI. Sacco pitched the last four innings, allowing one run on three hits with a hit batter and one strikeout.
After a scoreless first, Lynn added six runs in the second inning to take control of the game. An error and a single put runners on for Dugan, who laced a 2-RBI single to start the rally. Marino added a RBI single later in the inning and an errant throw scored two more runs to give Lynn a 5-0 lead. Almendarez capped off the inning with another RBI single to stretch the lead to 6-0.
The hits kept coming in the third. Fraher singled and Dugan doubled to start a two-out rally. Moran and Marino laced a pair of RBI singles to give Lynn a 8-0 lead.
Saugus added a run in the fourth thanks to a RBI walk from Sacco before clawing back into the game in the fifth. Six straight batters reached base to start off the rally. Anthony Cialini singled, Kyle McLaughlin walked and Falasca plated a run with a double. A passed ball plated McLaughlin and two more walks loaded the bases. Ventre laced a RBI single to cut the Lynn lead to 8-4.
“We messed up a couple basic things (Friday) that we usually get right,” O’Connor said. “We messed up a couple run-downs and gave them runs, a couple errors in the outfield. We didn’t play our best. Our defense is usually our heart that’s where we are strong. We gave them too many runs today. We can’t do that in the state tournament , we need to clean that up.”
Saugus added another run on an error but Fraher came in and settled things down from there to hold on to the 8-5 lead. Saugus added one more run on a RBI single from Azzari in the sixth but Fraher pitched a clean seventh to seal the win.
Lynn has a quick turnaround with Newton Saturday (5:30) while Saugus moves to the losers bracket and plays Sunday (2). Both games are at World Series Park.
“We preach, ‘don’t take anything for granted,'” O’Connor said. “I’ve said that a thousand times. A pitcher can always come out and have a great day and that’s what happened with (Sacco). He shut us down, but we were able to overcome it and get the win.”