By Cary Shuman
Hoping to match the impressive accomplishment of last year’s Lynn Babe Ruth 15-year-old team that advanced to the World Series in North Dakota, the city’s three Babe Ruth All-Star teams begin State Tournament competition this weekend.
Lynn Babe Ruth will host the 13-and-14-year-old State Tournament at Breed while the 15-year-old team heads to Chelmsford in its quest to be the best in the Bay State.
The Lynn 13-year-old team, coached by Mark Marino, Brian O’Connor and Matt Donahue, was simply overpowering in winning the District 1 Tournament, besting its four opponents by a combined 21-1 margin. Several members of the team played on the 2016 Gallant Tournament championship team managed by Jeff Earp and the legendary youth sports leader says the players have made a smooth transition to the larger diamond (90 feet between bases) and excelled in all aspects of the game.
“This is the single-best group of 13-year-old players that I’ve seen in all my years in Lynn Babe Ruth,” said Earp.
Ace pitcher Anthony Mateo, along with Aivan Cabral, Christian Moran, Ethaniel Almendarez, and Aaron O’Connor, lead a talented contingent that will compete against Peabody, Newton, Arlington, and Swampscott.
The state final will be played at Fraser Field.
The Lynn 14s, led by manager David Galeazzi, qualified for the States by finishing in second place in the District 1 Tournament.
The Lynn 15s, under the direction of manager John Nerich and coaches Brian Nerich and Brent Lozzi, played well in the districts and could make a strong run in the States.
“Because of what the 15-year-old team did last year by qualifying for the World Series, our three teams believe that goal is attainable,” said Earp. “[Manager] Leon Elwell’s team broke through last year and now all the teams are talking about the World Series as a reachable and realistic goal.”