Lynn punches its ticket to Gallant Tournament final

Lynn's JoJo Hernandez was intially called out on this play, but Marblehead catcher Brady Selvais didn't have control of the ball and the umpire reversed his call. (Photo by Joe Brown)

SALEM — After putting up an impressive 30 runs in two games on Sunday, Lynn came back on Monday night and scored in double digits once again, beating Marblehead 11-1 in an elimination game at the Ray Gallant Tournament at O’Grady Field. Lynn took advantage of some Marblehead mistakes early on, then rode some timely hitting and stellar pitching from Josh Doney all the way to the finish.

“We’ve been able to stay hot lately, and the guys just keep hitting,” said Lynn manager Jeff Earp. “We tell them to lay off the junk pitches, swing at strikes and put the ball in play, and they’ve been doing that. We make some mistakes on the basepaths here and there, but we’ve also been able to make a lot of plays out there.”

Earp also gave a shoutout to his assistant coaches for the work they’ve done this summer.

“These three coaches with me — Rich Avery, Jim Burt and Dave Galeazzi — have really worked tirelessly with each of these kids individually, working on the small things and the game’s nuances to increase confidence levels which always increases performance,” said Earp. “The three of them know the game and the kids and I are very fortunate to have them as coaches.”

Jaiden Driscoll had a big day at the plate for Lynn, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Nate Cutone went 3-for-4 with one RBI, while Ryan Amirault and Christian Figueroa each went 2-for-4 with one RBI. JoJo Hernandez (1-for-1) and Kyle Doney (1-for-4) also had one RBI, while Justin Jennings (1-for-3) and Mike Phelps (1-for-4) added hits.

Josh Doney did it all on the mound for Lynn, tossing a complete game and allowing one run on just three hits with 10 strikeouts.

“Josh was outstanding, and that’s why we have a lot of confidence in him every time he goes out there,” said Earp.

The lone run for Marblehead came on a solo home run from Brady Selvais (1-for-2). Ryan Clay went 2-for-3 in the loss.

“Lynn is a great team, and we knew that coming in after seeing what they were able to do on Sunday,” said Marblehead coach Steve Clay. “Their pitcher was outstanding, they came up with the big hits when they needed them, and they just plain beat us.”

Lynn didn’t waste any time getting on the board Monday. After getting a run on an error to start things off, Cutone smacked a RBI single to make it 2-0 before Lynn pushed across another run thanks to some smart baserunning on a fielder’s choice. By the time the dust settled after the top of the first, Lynn was already up 3-0.

Marblehead remained in the game for some time, getting a run back when Selvais launched a solo homer over the left field fence to make it 3-1. 

But from then on, Lynn pulled away. It started in the top of the fourth, when a RBI single from Figueroa and a passed ball brought home two runs to make it 5-1. Lynn went on to load the bases in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t score any more runs.

In the top of the seventh, Lynn broke the game open. Hernandez and Kyle Doney each had a RBI single to push the lead to 7-1, then a 2-run single from Driscoll made it 9-1. A run came in on a passed ball to make it 10-1 before Amirault capped the scoring with a RBI single to make it 11-1. 

The loss knocks Marblehead from the tournament, but Clay showed his appreciation for his team being invited.

“We’re always so grateful to be invited to compete in this tournament every year,” Clay said. “We love coming and playing against these teams, because as a part of a Cal Ripken program these are teams that we don’t really get to play during the season.”

As for Lynn, it’s on to the championship game against Peabody. Because Lynn emerged from the 1-loss bracket, it needs two wins in order to take home the title. Peabody only needs one.

“We know Peabody is a great team, but we also know that we’re a great team,” said Earp. “(Our guys) proved to themselves what they are capable of. They are well aware that the job isn’t finished and that an exceptional Peabody team awaits them. We coaches know that these kids will be ready and they will fight to the best of their ability.”

First pitch between Lynn and Peabody will be at 6:30 Tuesday at O’Grady Field.

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