By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
LYNNFIELD — Due to a lack of players, the Lynnfield Senior Babe Ruth (ages 14-18) baseball team had to bow out of the playoffs which started on Sunday.
Lynnfield played their final game of the regular season on July 26 as they tied host Winchester, 7-7, to end up at 8-5-1 overall.
The Pioneers were the fourth seed in the eight-team double-elimination tournament and were going to open with the Lexington 1 team (Lexington has two teams in the league) on Sunday with Lexington 1 as the fifth seed.
As he was trying to gauge if he had enough players to field a squad late last week, first-year manager Chris Papagikos realized that he couldn’t and informed the league last Friday that they would have to drop out.
“The problem we have is with the players who play AAU ball,” explained Papagikos. “We have eight or nine core kids who only play with us and six or seven in reserve who play AAU. With a couple of our core players out and conflicts with the AAU kids we couldn’t do it.”
Papagikos, who has been involved in Lynnfield youth baseball the past eight years, had no resentment for kids who opt to play AAU this summer.
“It is a long year of baseball for the kids,” said Papagikos. “They try out for high school in late March and then, after the season is over, they start with us. I am not going to get mad at a kid whose family is going on vacation or wants to work an extra shift at their summer job.”
A majority of the Lynnfield players played on the junior varsity team this spring.
“We were one of the younger teams in the league but we did well especially due to the fact that we have some good hitters,” said Papagikos.
Lynnfield was the second team to pull out of the playoffs as the Lexington 2 team also pulled out over this past weekend leaving six teams to battle for the title.
Papagikos is planning to manage the team next year but said they might move leagues and go to the Lou Tompkins U17 league instead.
Several of this year’s players were part of the Lou Tompkins U15 championship team last year.