Tim Lyons has seen plenty of growth and maturity from his players over the last five years as coach of the Evergreen Park (EP) Boys Club 13U baseball team.
Those improvements aren’t limited to baseball skills.
Instead, it’s baseball knowledge, all the ins and outs, the heads-up plays that can make the biggest difference in a game.
Playing in an elimination game at the Babe Ruth Ohio Valley Regional on July 28, the Evergreen Park 13U team mounted a late rally against Jasper only to lose a tough 8-7 game to end its postseason run.
“We always encourage the kids to do the math,’” Lyons said. “If we’re down, we need 2 runners on with 2 outs or less, situations like that. We need the tying run up. You see it start to click. This team had some really big hits and was able to execute to string some innings together.”
The Ohio Valley Regional featured 12 teams from eight states and was held July 26-28 in Janesville, Wisc. Four pools featured four teams each with the top two advancing to the elimination round.
EP advanced with a 1-2 record and a plus-4 run differential.
Wrapping up pool play and advancing on July 27, EP lost 2 games to a tough Jasper squad, falling 5-4 in 8 innings and then dropping the walk-off heartbreaker on July 28.
No matter, Lyons praised his team’s feisty effort throughout the tournament.
“A couple key things didn’t go our way, but that’s how baseball goes,” Lyons said. “Jasper is a phenomenal program. We lose in 8 and lose on a walk-off. Those were 2 tough games, and it shows how tough it is to win this regional.”
EP trailed 7-4 in the sixth but rallied for 3 runs to tie things up.
Lyons credited his players for buying into the team concept all season.
“In this day and age with baseball, there are a lot of opportunities to be selfish with showcases and what not—not this team,” Lyons said. “They bought in where winning a regional wasn’t a goal but a destination. They wanted to represent their team and town in the World Series.”
EP’s strength for the season was its deep pitching staff, including Dylan Kelleher, Luke Rosso, Nolan Sexton and Colin Lynch with Leo Niksic and Nolan Smith also pitching well in relief.
Owen Lyons caught all 4 games for EP in a span of 48 hours.
“Our pitching battery was great all weekend,” Coach Lyons said. “The pitching was outstanding, and I’m so proud of every single one of them.”
Jack Tomkins, Smith, Niksic and Connor Lyons all delivered with big contributions offensively in regional play.
“These were kids who were proud to play for the Boys Club,” Lyons said. “It speaks volumes the character of the team. We come up a little short, but you learn by experiencing this and playing great baseball. Work as hard as you can, and that takes you beyond the baseball field.”
The EP roster includes Jake Aldape, Tommy Amado, Jimmy Czerwinski, Kelleher, Lynch, Connor and Owen Lyons, Patrick Mangin, TJ McNichols, Niksic, Rosso, Sexton, Smith, Tomkins and Jimmy Visser.
The coaching staff includes assistants Jim Amado, Pat Lynch, Marty Mangin, Jeremy Niksic, Chris Rosso and Brian Visser.
Evergreen Park 4
EP dropped its last pool play game on July 27 with a defeat in 8 innings.
Guernsey Valley 7
Evergreen Park 3
Owen Lyons, Smith (2 hits) and Lynch (2 walks) scored a run apiece for EP on July 27. Amado and Connor Lyons drew 2 walks each.
Evergreen Park 13
Sexton (3 runs, 3 walks) paced EP on July 26 in the tournament opener. Owen Lyons and Czerwinski scored 2 runs apiece. Smith, Amado, Lynch, Tomkins, Niksic and Connor Lyons finished with a run each.