SALEM— Through the first three innings of Sunday’s Ray Gallant Tournament tilt between Lynn and Swampscott, it seemed as though the first team to catch a break would grab the win. Despite hitting the ball hard, Lynn’s offense found a way to put the ball in Swampscott’s gloves and Swampscott couldn’t solve Lynn pitcher Guilmer Galva.
Lynn’s bats finally picked up steam in a 4-run fourth inning and never looked back en route to an 8-0 win at O’Grady Field.
“We started to find the gaps,” Lynn manager Jeff Earp said. “At the beginning of the game we hit the ball hard but we hit it right at people. The kids never got impatient.
“If we swing the bats and put the ball in play, good things happen,” Earp said. “They said, ‘Coach we’re hitting the ball right at people.’ We told them, ‘Don’t worry. Keep swinging, it’s going to work.’ And it did.”
The loss eliminated Swampscott from the tournament, while Lynn earned a spot in Sunday’s nightcap against Beverly. Lynn defeated Beverly 22-4 in five innings to advance to Monday’s (6:30) game against Marblehead.
Guilmer Galva was dominant from start to finish in the win over Swampscott. He struck out 15 and allowed two hits over seven innings.
“Guilmer just battled,” Earp said. “He’s the greatest kid. He threw strikes. It really came together for him the last two weeks. We made some minor adjustments. He worked on his balance. He just started throwing strikes. He’s a great kid with a huge upside.”
Swampscott’s only hits came from the bats of Tyler Spear and Cooper Correnti.
“(Guilmer) threw well,” Swampscott manager Steven Correnti said. “He pounded the strike zone, threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. He had a nice breaking ball. We ran into a buzzsaw there.”
Kyle Doney (1-for-3) powered Lynn’s offense with three RBI on a bases-clearing double in the top of the fourth. Josh Doney (2-for-3) drove in two RBI and scored twice, while Christian Figueroa (2-for-3) also scored twice. Nate Cutone and Justin Jennings added one RBI each.
A pair of highlight-reel catches from Swampscott left fielder Chase Groothius helped keep Lynn scoreless through the first few innings.
Lynn broke the ice in the top of the fourth. Figueroa led the frame with a walk and advanced to third base on Josh Doney’s double to left-center. Figueroa beat a throw to home plate on an infield grounder for the game’s first run. After Guilmer Galva walked, Kyle Doney stepped in and laced a clutch 3-run single to put Lynn up 4-0.
“That was huge,” Earp said. “It seems like every time Kyle gets a big hit he’s got two strikes. We said ‘He has two strikes, he’s going to get a hit now.’ That helped break the game open. It was a big hit.”
Lynn added four more runs in the top of the fifth. Justin Jennings extended the lead to 5-0 when he plated Ryan Amirault on a RBI single. Figueroa kept the order moving with a single and Josh Doney ripped a 2-run double. Josh Doney took home on a wild pitch to put Lynn up 8-0.
“Josh had a great game,” Earp said. “(Assistant coach) Jim Burt said he was hitting the ball well in batting practice. They all seemed to hit the ball (Sunday).”
That was more than enough support for Guilmer Galva, who cruised through the fifth and sixth innings. He ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh when he walked the bases loaded before finishing the win on a strikeout and a groundout.
Swampscott ended the tournament 1-2.
“They fought,” Correnti said. “They played two really good games leading up to this against Beverly and a really good Peabody team. We lost to Peabody 3-1. (Sunday) they came out a bit flat. It took them a little while to get going and it’s hard to get going against a pitcher like (Guilmer).”
In the nightcap, Lynn turned a 5-3 game into a 20-3 runaway with 15 runs in the top of the third. JoJo Hernandez, Mike Phelps, Guilmer Galva and Ryan Amirault each drove in two RBI. Phelps and Josh Doney scored three runs each. On the mound, Jake Peterson fanned 13 in five innings.