By Cary Shuman
Steve Ross was the rightfielder for Lynn Tech in the 1973 state championship game.
“I had seven putouts in rightfield that day because Ricky Ford was throwing so hard and everyone was swinging late,” said Ross.
Lynn Tech defeated Quabbin Regional, 1-0, on that memorable day at Fino Field in Milton. It was Lynn Tech’s first state championship in any sport.
On Sunday, some members of the team gathered for breakfast at Rick Ford’s Little River Inn on Boston Street.
Ross recalls that the only run of the game was scored in the seventh inning of a nine-inning game.
“Louie Torelli got a basehit, stole second, and Paul Marini, our leadoff hitter, drove him in with a basehit to right center and Louie slid in headfirst to homeplate and that was the deciding run of the game.”
Ford was immense on the mound, allowing only three hits against an explosive Quabbin lineup that had stormed through the tournament.
Tech made a key double play in the ninth inning, taking a page from coach Bart Conlon’s book of defensive strategy.
Second baseman Dave Camero described the play.
“Mr. [Bart] Conlon used to call a play, ‘Watch the Bunt’ – when the other team had first and second with less than two outs, he would call it and the first baseman would rush in looking for the bunt and I used to sneak around and cover first base. And [catcher] Fred Pustarino, (who played professionally in the New York Mets farm system) threw the ball and we tagged out the runner. It killed their rally and Ricky struck out the last batter to end the game. He was tremendous.”
Tom Parini was the captain and starting centerfielder for the 1973 Tigers.
“I was the shortstop going in to the season but Louie was a better fielder than I was so I volunteered to go to centerfield. I took one for the team,” said Parini.
“We played as a team – that was the key,” said Torelli. “This season is something we all remember every day.”
Southpaw Ricky Ford, who went on to play in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system, was the ace of the staff. Mike Wettmore also had a great season on the mound.
“Ricky was a heckuva pitcher,” said Ross. “He and Mike Wettmore had great years.”
In the state tournament, the Tigers defeated St. Patrick’s of Watertown, North Reading (coached by Frank Carey), Dighton-Rehoboth, Millis (twice by 4-0 scores) and Quabbin.
Mark Abernathy, whose daughters all excelled in Lynn sports, said his West Lynn National Cardinals were City Series champions in 1966. He has fond memories of being a part of Tech’s state championship team.
All the players agreed that coach Bart Conlon was the vital cog in the Tigers’ success.
“There couldn’t have been a better manager of this group of guys, for all the personalities we had on this team,” said Ross. “He knew how to talk to us. He know how to get us motivated. He was a great coach. The 1973 Tech Tigers will be inducted in to the Lynn Tech Hall of Fame on May 6 at Angelica’s in Middleton.