Multi-sport athlete Jonathan Lynch choses fastpitch

Written by Bob on June 26th, 2013

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Jonathan Lynch shows his speed as he races around the bases at the 29th Annual Kelso Klassic tournament where he was selected the Most Valuable Player. Contributed Photo

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO – Sporting choices – young Jonathan Lynch has so many. Soccer? Yes. Baseball and basketball? Certainly.

And fastpitch softball? Most definitely.

The 19-year-old Lynch has played all four sports. He excelled in soccer, basketball and baseball in high school, and he recently finished his freshman year of baseball at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.

But he’s set aside this summer for a sport he professes to love – fastpitch softball. And if his performance in the 14-team, 29th Annual Kelso Klassic tournament, June 8-9, is any indication, he’s off to a great start.

TOUGH OUT MVP
Lynch, who plays first base and outfield for Kelso Fastpitch, lit up some pretty good pitchers to the tune of a .667 batting average (8-for-12), four RBIs, one double, two triples and three stolen bases.

And when the awards were handed out, Lynch carted off the Most Valuable Player trophy. And well-deserved said tournament media coordinator, Jerry Wolsey, who also plays for Kelso Fastpitch (12-4), winner of two tournaments.

“He had an outstanding tournament. His stats were against some of the top pitchers in the tournament,” Wolsey said.

Wolsey recalls twice where Lynch proved himself against two top pitchers. Kelso fell behind, 6-0, to tournament champion Pete’s Blues and pitcher Jeramie Holman (NAFA Hall of Fame member). But Lynch hit a rocket off Holman that ignited the Kelso offense in the semi-finals.

“Jonathan hit one off the fence and it was almost a home run,” Wolsey said. “We scored four runs and he brought us up off the mat.” And, added Wolsey, in a Sunday elimination game trailing the Topeka Toros and pitcher Josh Pettett, 1-0, Lynch drilled a double down the third base line that brought home the tying run from second base.

“I just tried to get the bat on the ball and get it in play,” Lynch said. “Holman and Pettett move the ball with velocity and work all their pitches, and Holman mixes his change-up in well. I was fortunate to have a good tournament.”

A SEASON TO REMEMBER
As good as this season is going for Lynch, last season was pretty special too.

In 2012, Lynch played in the NAFA A-Major Division World Series with Kelso, and he was selected to the All-World team. And he and his Dad, Paul Lynch, both played for the Circle Tap Dukes of Denmark, Wisc. in the ASA Major Men’s National Tournament.

All this as an 18-year-old.

TEAM USA
Lynch also tried out for the 2012 USA Junior Men’s National Team. And after several tryout camps, he was selected to the 17-member squad that traveled to Parana, Argentina in November for the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship.Team USA (5-3) finished fifth in the 14-nation world championship, but young Lynch came away impressed.

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Jonathan Lynch, a member of the 2012 USA Junior Men’s National Team

“To see how some of these teams play was impressive,” Lynch said. “Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Argentina were the most impressive. I was fortunate to make the team; it was very competitive and a lot of fun with a great group of guys playing for the USA, representing our country.”

He also remembers the thrill of walking on to the ball diamond to take on host Argentina (9-0) that won the tournament.

“There were seven to eight thousand fans in the stands,” Lynch said. “It was so packed and loud from the cheering and screaming, I couldn’t hear (my teammates).”

Junior Men’s USA Softball coach Scott Standerfer (2005-current) saw plenty of Lynch during tryout camps and at the world championship. He commends Lynch for his physical and leadership skills, his character, and his ability to perform under pressure.

“Jonathan is one of those athletes who always performs his best in the biggest games,” said Standerfer. “He did a great job wherever we put him. He saved us several runs at first base with his quickness being able to get a ball hit down the line that most first basemen couldn’t think of getting to.

“He has a really nice short game, but will drive the ball up the gap on occasion too, he really hits the ball well to all fields.He certainly has the ability to play at a very high level…he seems to just keep getting better every time out.”

AIMING FOR USA’s TOP TEAM
Playing on the Junior USA Team will always be special. He’ll always remember his teammates and the special bond they formed playing for their country. But he’s set a new goal – playing for the USA Men’s National Team.

“That’s my goal and I want to keep working toward it,” Lynch said, adding that he also has his sites aimed at winning NAFA and ISC championships as well. “I would love to be a part of winning one of those.”

Maybe he will realize his goals one day. If so, his Dad deserves some credit.

DAD SETS THE EXAMPLE
Paul Lynch, who still plays fastpitch in the Kelso League, once played for two of the sports greatest teams: the Decatur Pride of Decatur, ILL, and the Farm Tavern of Madison, WI, where he helped those ball clubs win several ISC and ASA national titles.

And tagging along with his Dad, soaking up like a sponge all this top-caliber play was young Jonathan.

“He has always been at the ball field following me to tournaments and has just picked the game up along the way,” said Paul Lynch. “I was blessed to play the game with and against some of the all-time greats of the game, so he had plenty of great mentors.”

But as Dad knows, the step up for his son to the elite Major level is huge.

HE’S GOT THE SKILLS
“I hope that Jon can continue to enjoy the game and advance up to the highest level possible,” Paul Lynch said. “I know he dreams of making the men’s national team one day (and) nothing would make me happier than to go watch him wearing USA on his chest again!”

Wolsey believes Jonathan will reach the elite-level of the sport. It may take a year or two, but his talent will get him there.

“He’s very quick, left-handed and great at slapping and bunting, and he can sit back and drive the ball,” Wolsey said. “I’m glad he’s playing for us, but down the road a major team will give him the opportunity. When I retire, I hope to be sitting in my lawn chair watching him play.”

AROUND THE BASES

…Kelso Klassic is off to a good start winning two tournaments, and this weekend heads to Pinckneyville, ILL for an eight-team tournament. Southern Illinois is doing a good job in keeping men’s fastpitch in good shape, said Jerry Wolsey.

…Here’s a salute to Paul Lynch, who still stays active in fastpitch by playing for Kelso and in the Kelso Men’s League, but he does something far more important: for the past three years he has helped coach a boys’ team in the ASA Boys’ National Tournament, finishing second two years ago and winning the age 18-under championship last year.

…Lynch also traveled to Argentina to watch his son and Team USA compete in the world championship: “It was an unbelievable experience in Argentina to see Jon and the boys play well and compete in such a fine fashion…I was proud of the whole team. I believe if this bunch continues to play that USA softball has a bright future.”

…Jonathan Lynch made sure to point out that Missouri has two players who also played on the 2012 USA Junior Men’s team – Tyler Johnson from Union, a infielder and outfielder, and Justin Wurtz, a shortstop and outfielder from Herman. Between the three of them, they are helping to set a great example of what fastpitch softball has to offer boys and young men. “I think there are young guys wanting to get into (fastpitch), and I want to see that happen,” said Lynch.

…What a history – Kelso men’s fastpitch has been in existence for over 75 years according to the team’s facebook page.

USA.Softball
…For information about trying out for the USA Junior Men’s National team, contact:
TIMOTHY LYON
Head Coach
USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team
timlyon@earthlink.net
801-253-0712
801-244-7477

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jon Gwizdala says:

    Wasn’t he also an ISC all world selection?

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