By Joe Mitchell
It’s been something that the Lynnfield High School baseball team (19-5) like any other scholastic squad expects to do every year, and that’s to enjoy a long postseason run. Only one squad can win the whole thing, but the process of achieving the ultimate dream is something that can’t be taken for granted.
For the third year in a row, Coach John O’Brien’s Pioneers have reached the Division 3 North title game as the second seed. This year, however, they went up against Austin Prep (22-2), the top seed, on Father’s Day at Lowell’s LeLacheur Park, where they ended up losing a close battle, 2-0.
The Cougars were coming off of a 26-10 pasting of Swampscott in a North semifinal game, before junior pitcher Fernando Gonzalez was able to cool down their bats, while also getting out of first inning bases loaded jam with a strikeout.
But Austin Prep was able to get that opportunistic hit in the fifth that secured the sectional title on a two-run double by Dylan Arnold.
The Pioneers threatened to score in the second. It started off with an infield hit by Joey Mack. First baseman Dan Jameson then followed with a single, but both runners were stranded on base, thanks to Prep hurler Cameron Seguin, who just like Gonzalez came up with the big strikeout.
But to get to the championship game, the Pioneers were able to edge Dracut (12-11, 14th seed), 5-4 last Thursday, June 14, at Lowell’s Alumni Field.
Matt Fiore started the game on the hill. He went the first five plus innings, and allowed four runs and six hits, while whiffing one, before being relieved by Gonzalez, who was able to nail down the six-out save.
Senior Cooper Marengi was the star of the show on offense with two triples that resulted in a couple of runs. Gonzalez was credited with a run producing single.
Lynnfield ended up losing to a team that went on to beat Dedham, the South champs, in a state semifinal game, 5-3. The Cougars will now take on Taconic, the western champs, in the state championship game at Holy Cross on Saturday, June 23.
Once again, the Pioneers were among the top four teams in EMass, a significant memorable achievement that many teams would love to experience, and something that should never be taken for granted.