In 1988, a then 12-year-old Patrick Lynch accomplished something that hasn’t been done since — win a Little League state championship as part of the 1988 11- and 12-year-old Winchester All-Star baseball team.
Beginning this weekend his son will have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps but in a younger division.
Hosting the State Tournament in 1988, Lynch and his teammates of the Winchester 11- and 12-year-old All-Star team not only accomplished a rare feat, but also did it in front of their home fans.
“Nobody thought we were going to win it because we were the smallest team out there.” Lynch said, recalling the 1988 Little League State Tournament. “I have vivid memories of it to this day, riding in the back of coach Wayne Brewer’s truck down the boulevard, all of us hollering, and all the cops following after the game.”
Lynch continued to play baseball throughout his young life, including playing for the Franklin County Rebels.
After his high school playing days had ended, Lynch admitted he had got burned out on baseball, but says his 8-year-old son Jackson has pulled him back into the game he once loved.
Coaching him now since T-ball, Jackson’s love of the game impresses his dad.
“From the time he could pick up a bat and a ball, he has wanted to play more than I ever did.” Patrick Lynch said of his son Jackson. “From the second I get home in the afternoon, ’til the minute he goes to bed, that’s all he talks about.”
Patrick’s dad, Ben Lynch, pushed him to practice more and get better, according to Lynch. While Jackson’s work ethic is a little more self-motivated.
“We can get home from baseball practice, and he’s like, ‘daddy can we throw some in the yard?’” Lynch said.
Jackson’s hard work has paid off as he and his teammates on the 7- and 8-year-old Winchester All-Star team are heading to the State Tournament.
Winchester recently won the District-8 coach-pitch championship by defeating Estill Springs 12-6. The team now moves on to the State Tournament, which begins Saturday in Carter County.
Winchester is set to take on Clarksville National at 4 p.m. EST.
The 1988 state tournament run was very similar to the 7- and 8-year-old’s district run in the sense that both teams came back from the loser’s bracket to beat the team that put them there twice to win the tournament.
Patrick Lynch is an assistant coach on the team and is excited for the opportunity that the team has.
“We’re going to run into some stiff competition up there in the state. I know that, but if the boys stay rested and stay focused, they’ve got a good chance to win some games at the state level.” Patrick Lynch said about his team.
No one could immediately recall any team from Winchester in any age division winning the state tournament since 1988.
Could Patrick, and son Jackson sandwich the generation gap?
The team is very talented, according to Patrick.
“There’s no doubt the team is very good,” Patrick said. “If they stay focused, they’ve got a lot of talent on the team.”
All of the young athletes are extremely excited, according to Patrick, but there will be one person very important to this story missing out on the action in Elizabethton this weekend.
Ben Lynch, Patrick’s dad and Jackson’s grandfather, didn’t miss a single pitch of the District Tournament. He recently had an accident and will now have to miss the State Tournament as he recovers.
“It’s tearing him up,” Patrick said of his dad’s emotions heading into the State Tournament. “He already had a hotel room (booked) ready to go to Elizabethton.”
Ben Lynch seemed to have started this journey as Patrick admits that his dad was always his coach.
Patrick definitely carried out his father’s plan, winning the State Tournament as a 12 year old. And now his son Jackson could be the one to carry on the family tradition at just 8 years old.
No matter how the young group of Winchester kids competes, and just 7 and 8 years old, it could continue to grow and get better together as the get older.
Patrick said he believes the team could be something special if its members can remain intact.
“If they can stick together, they can definitely win their share of tournaments in the future.” Patrick Lynch said of the young team.
Technically the future is tomorrow, which is when the State Tournament begins.