John Kasian has served in virtually every aspect of the Lynn youth sports community during the past 20 years.
He has been league president and coached his son’s West Lynn American Little League team to the 2000 Lynn City Series championship. As the coordinator of Lynn sports facilities, he saw Manning Field host the highest grossing high school football playoff doubleheader of 2011.
While he’s been an integral part of Greater Lynn Babe Ruth’s renewed growth and the success of its All-Star baseball and softball teams, Kasian said this week’s trip to the Babe Ruth Softball World Series in Wilson County, North Carolina is likely the most exciting experience of his tenure in youth sports.
Kasian is a coach of the Lynn 16-under team that earned an at-large bid to the World Series as a result of its runner-up finish to the Lancaster, New Hampshire team in the New England Regionals. Lynn will be one of 20 teams competing for the world championship.
“It’s a great thrill because it’s only the third time in 52 years that a team from Greater Lynn Babe Ruth has gone to the World Series,” said Kasian. “The boys 13-year-old team won the title in 1983 and the 16-under girls went to New Jersey in 2000. It’s really cool to be going to the World Series.”
The team will board a Jet Blue plane Wednesday at Logan Airport for the journey to Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina. The team will open the tournament Friday with a pair of games, the latter against defending world champion and host Wilson County.
Meghan Walker, Shanna Zeramby and Brook Holey will handle the pitching chores for the New England finalists. Sam Holey, Brook’s twin sister, is Lynn’s talented catcher who hit a home run in the New England Regionals.
Kaitlin Calef has been an offensive standout, clouting two home runs in one game in the state tournament. Right fielder Jillian Strileckis is also hitting the ball well in tournament play. First baseman Taylor Cash has been a stalwart on defense.
“When you have a solid first baseman, it cures a lot of ills that go on in the infield and Taylor is dynamite,” said Kasian.
The Lynn team has been practicing together since early July.
“We have players from Lynn Classical, Lynn English, and St. Mary’s,” said Kasian. “Everyone has jelled very well, whether it’s power hitting or bunting. Everyone has performed a role.”
And now the Lynn team will try to make some history on the softball diamond.