Published in the May 31, 2017 edition

SENIOR CAPTAIN Nick Aslanian (12) pitched a complete game during the Pioneers’ 9-2 victory over North Reading on Senior Day May 23. (Courtesy Photo)

SENIOR CAPTAIN Nick Aslanian (12) pitched a complete game during the Pioneers’ 9-2 victory over North Reading on Senior Day May 23. (Courtesy Photo)


LYNNFIELD – The baseball team went 2-1 last week to finish up the regular season with a record of 18-2.

Crushes Hornets

The Pioneers defeated North Reading 9-2 on May 23.

Ten seniors from the baseball team’s Class of 2017 were honored with their families May 23 on Senior Day. Matthew Collins (Quinnipiac), Michael Federico (Holy Cross), Kyle Hawes (Northern Essex), Andre Padovani (Emerson), Thomas Powers (UNH), Alexander Boustris (Endicott), and captains Bryant Dana (Westfield), Justin Juliano (St. Joseph’s), Nicholas Aslanian (Salem State), and Michael Stellato (Endicott) were celebrated for all their hard work and dedication to Lynnfield High School and the baseball team.

It was only fitting that Aslanian got the ball against the rival Hornets to lead the charge in the seniors’ last Cape Ann League game. Aslanian pitched a complete game, giving up only two hits in a convincing 9-2 Pioneer victory. Lynnfield head coach John O’Brien pointed to the 10 fly ball outs as a combination of good pitching and excellent defense.

“He threw very well, and the guys played terrific behind him,” said O’Brien.

Lynnfield got the scoring started in the second inning. After Dana was walked, junior Cooper Marengi smashed a double, setting the table for Federico, who ripped a two-RBI triple into the gap in right-center field.

“I just put the bat on the ball and drove it the other way,” said Federico.

Federico scored later in the inning, when sophomore Jonathan Luders poked a single to right field.

The Hornets scored a run in the third, making it 3-1. The game had the feel of another grueling Lynnfield vs. North Reading classic until the Pioneers added two more runs in the fourth inning and started to pull away. Luders had an RBI double, and Stellato later drove in a run with an infield single to make it 5-1 Pioneers.

Aslanian and the defense held North Reading to one more run the rest of the game, and Lynnfield’s offense had another explosion in the sixth inning to put a stamp on Senior Day.

Marengi hit a hooking, deep shot to centerfield in the sixth inning to emphatically put an end to the Hornets’ chances to rally. Although Marengi’s dinger marked the fourth extra base hit for the Pioneers, the difference was the team’s ability to put pressure on the Hornets.

“We put the ball in play and only struck out once, so our approach was really good today,” said O’Brien.

Although senior days are often bittersweet, the win against their rivals made this a day that the historic class of 2017 will never forget.

“It was surreal,” said Aslanian. “Experiencing Senior Day the past couple of years, you kind of don’t even think about it. But when it finally happens and it’s your senior day, you just think ‘wow, time flies by.’”

These seniors share a baseball bond that goes back as far as they can remember.

“We’ve been playing with these kids forever, so it’s awesome to finish strong, especially against our rivals,” said Federico.

While each class is special in its own way, there are plenty of reasons why this group of seniors could be the best in Lynnfield’s storied baseball history. Just look at the evidence: The Pioneers’ 15-1 CAL record is the best league record Lynnfield has ever had.

“All 10 seniors do a great job, whatever their role is,” added O’Brien. “I’m proud of them.”

Falls to Belmont

Lynnfield traveled to Belmont on May 27. The Pioneers hung in with an excellent Marauders program, but lost 5-2.

It was the first of a tough back-to-back set against Division 2 programs to close the regular season.

Beats Reading

Lynnfield got a huge 3-1 win over the Reading Rockets in the final game of the 2017 season on May 28.

Senior Justin Juliano pitched a complete game for the Pioneers, giving up just one run and striking out three. Although the defense was excellent once again, and the team got some timely hits as well, it was Juliano’s performance on the hill that won this game.

“If he’s not the best player in the (CAL) league, then I don’t know who is,” said O’Brien.

Lynnfield took a 2-0 lead in the second inning after an RBI infield single from Federico, and a sacrifice fly from junior Andre Padovani.

Juliano and the Pioneers cruised into the top of the fourth, when Reading started to rally. The Rockets scored a run after an error from Federico, who made up for it on the very next play. He grabbed a ground ball, stepped on second and threw to first basemen Matt Fiore, who made an excellent scoop to get Lynnfield out of a one-out bases loaded jam.

The Pioneers manufactured another insurance run in the sixth inning. Stellato was hit by a pitch, Dana was walked, and Fiore later loaded the bases with a single. Federico then hit a sacrifice fly, finishing the day 2-3 with two RBI s.

Lynnfield ended the game in the seventh on another double play, Federico to Juliano to Fiore. It was an excellent performance across the entire diamond.

“We came ready to play all three phases today,” said O’Brien.