Lynch Dominant as Lee Tops Lenox

By Stephen Sports
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LEE, Mass. – Lee’s Bri Lynch struck out 15 while allowing just four baserunners in a 12-0, six-inning win over Lenox in Monday’s season opener.
Lynch, who struck out 253 hitters in 115-? innings last year (2.2 Ks per inning pitched), picked up right where she left off, at one point striking out six straight and finishing the game by striking out six of the last eight hitters she faced.
“I have to say she’s probably the best pitcher in the county this year,” Lenox coach Amy Pires said. “And we know what she can pitch. She is tough to hit against.”
Lynch also helped her cause by going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles at the plate in a 15-hit attack for Lee.
Taryn Bannon also went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs. Lily Brancato was 2-for-3 with a double and scored twice.
Lee also played nearly flawless defense behind Lynch.
The one miscue came on the game’s first play.
Evelyn Julieano led off with a single for Lenox, but an error in the outfield put her on third base.
Lynch proceeded to get the next three hitters to swing at a third strike, and the Wildcats made the three plays they needed to to preserve the shutout.
“We’ve been working on that for years with these girls: One mistake can’t snowball into many,” Lee coach Steven Bannon said. “So one mistake, the girl got all the way to third, and we shut them down and moved on and made the rest of the plays.”
Lynch did not allow a runner over the next two innings, striking out the side in order in the second and retiring a hitter on a bunt back to the circle in the third.
“Bri keeps us in every ballgame,” Bannon said. “We’ve got to make a few plays behind her, and we’ve got to put the bat on the ball.”
Lee did just that in the second inning, getting back-to-back singles from Bannon and Brancato in a three-run rally. The Wildcats also took advantage of some balls to the backstop, including one that allowed Delaney Reed reach on a third strike and eventually score.
Battery play was an issue for the Millionaires and pitcher Julieano, who struck out five and walked one.
“We did lose our catcher from last year,” Pires said. “So we’re trying to fill in the holes. It’s just a work in the making right now. We just need to figure it out. We got this one out of the way, but we’re holding our heads high and have to try to work on the next game now.”
Lynch doubled and scored in the third to make it 4-0. Lee scored four more in a fifth-inning highlighted by Karalynn Hopkins’ RBI triple to make it 8-0.
In the fifth, the first four Wildcats reached base and scored. Taryn Bannon came home on a single by pinch-hitter Alison Scheurer to end the game.
Lenox’s next game is scheduled for Friday at home against Westfield Tech. Lee is set to go to Smith Vocational on Friday.
“You don’t know what you’re getting the first game,” Steven Bannon said. “These girls have been working hard the last two weeks, and they did a great job. They bought into everything we sold: Be aggressive, be picky at the plate and make the plays when they’re there to be made. They did it, and it worked.”
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