Elwell Seeks New Players As He Takes Over Classical Baseball Program

After an incredible run of success as a Greater League Babe Ruth All-Star manager, Leon Elwell is looking to conquer new baseball diamonds.

Elwell has been named the varsity head baseball coach at Lynn Classical High School, succeeding Mike Zukowski who decided to step down after a highly successful tenure.

Elwell is in a class by himself as a Babe Ruth All-Star manager. He led three separate Lynn teams – two in the 15-year-old division and one in the 16-18-year-old division – to the Babe Ruth World Series over the past decade, most recently in the summer of 2022. His teams played in World Series in North Dakota, New York, and Virginia.

Elwell was instrumental in providing the players in Jim Beliveau and Jeff Earp’s outstanding organization with a competitive and enjoyable post-season environment that produced district, state, and New England regional championships.

Anthony Nikolakakis, who is now an officer in the Lynn Police Department, will always be remembered for his towering grand slam at the 2016 Babe Ruth World Series in faraway North Dakota. Nikolakakis was selected to the All-World Series team, a colossal, once-in-a-lifetime honor.

But Elwell is putting aside the wonderful World Series memories that players like Nikolakakis hold as he focuses on sustaining the high caliber of baseball that existed during Zukowski’s reign.

Elwell has a difficult assignment as the 2023 GBL champion Lynn Classical team had several players graduate in June.

Only one member of Elwell’s Babe Ruth All-Star team, junior shortstop and pitcher Christian Figueroa, is currently on the Classical roster. Figueroa is a team captain and one of three returning varsity players.

“I’ll be meeting with the players when the new school year starts and we’ll talk about fall baseball,” said Elwell. “Mike Zukowski obviously did a really good job with the program over the past 15 years. But we’ll be looking to bring some new players into our program who have a chance to be starters right away.”

. Athletic Director Bill Devin has seen his springtime programs in baseball and softball excel, and he’s confident that Elwell can bring his winning formula in Babe Ruth to the Green and Gold. Elwell feels he can rise to the occasion quickly while putting his own imprint on the program.

“We hope to be successful right from the start,” said Elwell. “Obviously we’re going to have some growing pains because we’re going to be young. But I hope the seventh and eighth graders see what we’re trying to do and know that if they decide to come to Classical, they’ll have a chance to be a starter and help us take it to a different level, which is the goal.”

Elwell began coaching in the East Lynn Little League at the age of 16. Following six years of military service, Elwell returned to coaching in Lynn Babe Ruth. He also coached the junior varsity team at Marblehead High and was the Lynn American Legion coach from 2002 to 2008. He later volunteered in the Wyoma Little League organization where he had the opportunity to coach his son Zach Elwell.

Elwell, who graduated from Lynn Tech in 1986, has worked in the Lynn Fire Department for 30 years. He will retire in January.

“I kind of fell in love in baseball when I got out of the military and started in the Lynn Fire Department,” recalled Elwell. “One of my friends asked me to coach in the Lynn Senior League and I’ve stayed with it and enjoyed every moment of it. I’m very grateful to Classical Athletic Director Bill Devin, Principal Amy Dunn, and Assistant Principal Chris Warren for giving me this new opportunity to coach in the program and be a part of the next chapter.”*

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