LYNN — The Lynn Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Star team was tested Monday night but rose to the occasion, holding on to a 6-5 win over Winchester in a state tournament game at Bowzer Complex.
“I’m never comfortable with any lead,” Lynn manager Paul Hartford said. “Winchester played great. We had played them before and kind of beat them up. I think it was a combination of us taking them a little easy and those guys wanting to get us. It was a battle and it came right down to the last out. It was our toughest test yet.”
A late Winchester rally in the top of the seventh cut a Lynn lead to one run with runners on second and third with no outs. But Lynn buckled down on defense with Eldrian Bonilla recording a strikeout, tagging a runner out at the plate and forcing a fly ball to save the win.
“Eldrian had guts galore,” Hartford said. “I never panicked. One of the coaches asked if we were moving the infield in and I just had faith Eldrian was going to throw strikes. If it got tied we would’ve moved it in but to me there was no reason until they proved they could hit Eldrian. He showed what he was made of.”
Brendan Falasca started the game and threw four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with six strikeouts. Bonilla threw the last three innings, allowing four hits while striking out four.
At the plate Deniel Ortiz (3-for-3, walk) had one RBI and scored the winning run on an error in the sixth. Falasca helped his own cause with a pair of RBI. Yordy Contreras and Bonilla each had one RBI while Brady Bullock scored two runs.
Winchester got off to an early lead thanks to some Lynn mistakes. A leadoff single and a pair of errors scored one run before a RBI single put Winchester ahead 2-0. Falasca buckled down from there and recorded a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
Lynn cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first. A pair of walks from Bullock and Ortiz and an error loaded the bases. Falasca plated a run on a sacrifice fly to cut Winchester’s lead to 2-1.
A walk and a single from Bullock got Lynn started in the second. The next five runners reached base. John Diaz walked to load the bases and Contreras and Ortiz both laced one-run singles to give Lynn a 3-2 lead. Falasca and Bonilla each drew RBI walks next to stretch the lead to 5-2.
A pair of walks and a passed ball put runners in scoring position for Winchester in the fourth. Winchester plated a run on a groundout to cut the lead to 5-3. Another passed ball looked like it would cut Lynn’s lead to one run but Falasca made a nice tag at the plate to get the last out of the inning.
Winchester got on the board again in the sixth. A pair of hits put runners on the corners and Lynn traded an out on a double-steal to cut the lead to 5-4.
Lynn grabbed a huge insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth. Ortiz singled with two outs and stole second base before scoring on an errant throw to stretch the lead to 6-4.
Winchester clawed back into things with a hit batter and two singles scoring a run to cut the lead to 6-5 before Bonilla and Lynn’s defense sealed the game with the final three outs.
Lynn, 2-0 in the tournament, hosts Parkway Tuesday (7:30). The winner advances to the semifinal.