West Lynn’s still in the hunt in District 16 Tournament

West Lynn catcher Gilbert Galva (left) fist bumps pitcher Christian Figueroa (right) during Monday's game. (Photo by Joe Brown)

SAUGUS — The West Lynn 12-year-old all-stars fell behind early but rallied back to earn a 3-2 win over Salem Monday evening at Saugus National Field to move on in the District 16 Little League Tournament.

“It was a tough game out there, but the guys pulled it out,” said West Lynn manager Rich Contreras. “The bats came out and got us enough runs, and then the defense and the pitching just shut things down for us the whole game. It was a real team win.”

One of the stars of the night was West Lynn pitcher Christian Figueroa, who pitched a complete game and allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. He gave up both runs in the first inning before settling down and cruising through the rest of the game. 

“He’s a great pitcher and a great kid, and he did a really good job out there,” Contreras said of Figueroa. “He gave up those early runs, but then he calmed right down and moved through the rest of the game.”

Figueroa went 3-for-3 with one RBI to lead the offense. Victor Contreras (1-for-1) and Gilbert Galva (0-for-2) each had one RBI, while Eddie Lewis (2-for-2, run), Gilmer Galva (1-for-2, run) and Miguel Pena (1-for-2) added hits.

Riley Fenerty provided all the offense for Salem, going 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. Rocco Ryan (2-for-3, run) and Jacoby Tarasuik (1-for-2) added hits. 

Pitcher Jordan O’Malley got the start and pitched four innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Christian Topp pitched one inning in relief, striking out two batters.

“We played a really good game, but we ended up making a couple of mistakes out there too,” said Salem manager John Payne. “We got those two runs early, but then we couldn’t get the bats going the rest of the game. Give credit to West Lynn, they pitched great and they played great defense the entire game.”

Salem wasted no time getting on the board in the top of the first inning. After two quick outs, Ryan singled to keep the inning alive. Next up was Fenerty, who smashed a two-run homer to dead center field to put Salem up 2-0. 

But Figueroa calmed things down from there. He only allowed three more hits the rest of the game, only allowing Salem to get a runner into scoring position twice.

Meanwhile, West Lynn started chipping away at the deficit. It started in the bottom of the second, when West Lynn loaded up the bases and got a RBI single from Figueroa to make it 2-1 Salem. West Lynn couldn’t push across any more runs in the inning, but it returned right back to the scoreboard in the third.

The third inning started with an error and a single to move runners to first and third. In stepped Contreras, who hit a blooper just over the first baseman’s head in right field for a RBI single to tie it at 2-2. 

Two singles and a stolen base moved runners to second and third with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, putting West Lynn in prime position to take the lead. After a strikeout, Gilbert Galva stepped to the plate and hit a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to bring home the runner from third and give West Lynn the eventual game-winning run. 

Salem had one more chance in the top of the sixth but Figueroa sent the side down in order to give West Lynn the 3-2 victory.

The win puts West Lynn (4-1) among the final three teams left in the District 16 Tournament, with Saugus National and Peabody being the other two. West Lynn will take on Saugus National Tuesday (5:45) at Peabody West for the right to face unbeaten Peabody for the District 16 title.

“We’ve just got to keep this going,” said Contreras. “We need to go out there and play smart baseball. These kids go out and practice every day for this, so they’ll be ready.”

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