LYNN — The East Lynn Mets fell behind early to Lynn Shore Friday evening, but the Mets rallied back and ended up taking down the Braves, 6-5, in the Lynn City Series at Gallagher Park. East Lynn got a huge pitching performance from Jariel Benzan, who tossed 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on two hits with eight strikeouts. Johnny Cruz pitched in relief for the Mets, going 1 2/3 innings and allowing no runs on two hits with three strikeouts.
“These guys just never gave up out there,” said East Lynn manager Matthew Mercedes. “Earlier this year, if we fell behind by three or four runs we’d hang our heads. But now, everyone just focused up and got the job done. It was great to see.”
On the offensive side of things, Julius Soto went 3-for-3 with two RBI to lead the way. Wilfred Perez went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Kassius Alleyne went 1-for-2 with one RBI. Benzan (1-for-3), Jojo Hernandez (1-for-2) and Kyle Richardson (1-for-1) also added hits in the win.
For Lynn Shore, Jaden Mojica paced the offense by going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Jonas Auguste (1-for-2, two runs) and Anderson De La Cruz (1-for-3) had the only other hits for the Braves.
On the mound, Gio Batista tossed 4 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts. Mojica pitched the final 2/3 innings, striking out one batter.
“It’s tough, I thought we played a really good game out there for the most part,” said Lynn Shore manager Mark Sullivan. “But give East Lynn credit, they’re a really good team and they hung in there the whole time. We almost made a comeback at the end, but we came up just short.”
Lynn Shore actually jumped ahead quickly in this one, pushing four runs across in the top of the first inning thanks to a host of East Lynn miscues. Auguste led off the game with a double to get into scoring position, then stole third base. The throw to try to get him out sailed into the outfield, allowing Auguste to score and make it 1-0 Braves. Two batters later, after a walk and a stolen base by Batista, Mojica stepped in and laced a RBI single to left field to make it 2-0. Lynn Shore went on to put runners on first and third in the inning and took advantage of another East Lynn mistake. The Braves initiated a double steal and East Lynn nearly caught them off the bases. But a bad pickoff attempt to third base allowed both runners to come home and give Lynn Shore a 4-0 lead.
From there, it was an uphill battle for East Lynn. The Mets started to chip away at the deficit in the bottom of the first, getting a RBI single from Perez to make it 4-1. In the bottom of the second, two walks and two passed balls put runners on second and third for Soto, who smashed a 2-RBI triple into the left-centerfield gap to make it 4-3.
Then, in the bottom of the third, East Lynn pulled ahead. A RBI double from Perez tied the score at 4-4, then a passed ball brought home the go-ahead run for the Mets.
East Lynn added an insurance run — which would turn out to be a key run — in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI sacrifice fly from Alleyne, making it 6-4.
Lynn Shore didn’t quit, getting a run back on a RBI single from Mojica in the top of the fifth, but East Lynn’s pitching proved a bit too strong in the end.
Next up for Lynn Shore will be a game against Pine Hill Saturday (noon).
“We know that Pine Hill is a good team, and they lost to a good team in West Lynn,” Sullivan said. “We’re just going to go out there and play our hardest to try and earn one more win.”
As for East Lynn, the Mets will play on Sunday (noon) against the winner of Saturday’s game between Wyoma and West Lynn.
“We’ve been grinding hard for awhile now, so we’re taking (Saturday) off for some rest,” Mercedes said. “I’ll probably come down and watch the Wyoma-West Lynn game, but I think getting our guys some rest will help them the most for the game on Sunday.”