Published April 10, 2019

LYNNFIELD — The preseason expectations for the Lynnfield baseball team never change. 

Every year, the Pioneers believe they have what it takes to be one of the best teams in the Cape Ann League and know they can make a run in the Div. 3 North. 

That won’t change this year as the Pioneers look to make yet another run to the Div. 3 North championship. Only this year, they want a different result.

Last year, Lynnfield fell to an 18-2 Austin Prep team 2-0 in a defensive battle. They lost to the Cougars in 2017 also in the D3 North title, 8-2.

FERNANDO GONZALEZ is back to lead the Pioneer pitching staff in 2019. (Dan Pawlowski File Photo)

The good news for Lynnfield is ace Fernando Gonzalez is back for his fourth season at LHS. The New Mexico Junior College commit and Pioneer captain pitched a phenomenal game against the Cougars last year after leading Lynnfield through the bracket and will once again be the most feared starter in the CAL. 

Also leading the way is Seton Hall baseball commit Jonathan Luders. The captain is a wizard at shortstop and will once again set the tone both at the top of the lineup and as a leader for Lynnfield. 

The final two captains for this season are seniors Matt Fiore and Jaret Simpson. Both will be counted on to bring home baserunners in the middle of the order. Fiore will also be a key contributor on the hill and plays a sound third base. Simpson will be the team’s starting catcher this year. 

The Pioneers will count on their pitching staff and defense to lead the way. In addition to Gonzalez and Fiore, senior flamethrower Will Garofoli and junior Clayton  Marengi will both provide depth on the hill. 

Lynnfield typically has the type of pop at the plate that keeps outfields busy. This year’s team will need multiple players to step up if they want to keep up with that pace. Gonzalez, whether pitching or playing first place, has the type of strength to consistently hit extra base hits. 

The Pioneers open their season against rival North Reading on Thursday, 7 p.m. at Fraser Field. The Pioneers beat the Hornets 2-0 in the D3N quarterfinals. Gonzalez shut North Reading down in that game after getting tagged by the Hornets on opening day last season. 

The home opener will be on Tuesday, April 16 at 10 a.m. against Triton.