Lyna getting into the swing of things for Merrimack
NASHUA – One little adjustment was all it took.
That’s what Merrmack’s Mike Lyna did last season. After struggling for the high school varsity in the spring of 2019 a s sophomore, he tweaked his swing and became a much better hitter for the Merrimack Post 98 Senior Legion team.
And now, he hopes to keep that re-discovered swing in tact as the New Hampshire COVID Baseball League season is underway for Merrimack.
“Just made a little timing cue on my swing and it worked out great,” said Lyna, who got some help from local hitting gurus and former pro ballplayers Chris Colabello and Bobby Tewksbary. “It was definitely worth it, I took it into Legion ball, and it made me have a great year.”
And that made it even more frustrating for Lyna that he wasn’t able to play this spring when the pandemic cancelled the Tomahawks season.
“This whole off season with Bobby and Chris, and they had a couple other pro guys in there, I felt like I learned a lot,” he said, “and really had it figured out this year.”
During the shutdown, Lyna was baseball prepared. When Tewksbary shut down his facility, Lyna bought an L screen and a net, and already had a pitching machine. Presto – a homemade batting cage for home.
“I have it all set up in my yard and I stayed in touch with the two of them,” he said.
Why did he need the work on his swing?You see, Lyna had a good freshman season for the ‘Hawks. But as sophomore, he struggled.
“I just struggled getting in sync with some of the pitching,” Lyna said. “All spring, I couldn’t get on time, I knew something was wrong. Once I figured it out, it all clicked.”
Merrimack manager Mike Henzley noticed even more of a difference in Lyna last fall in a high school fall baseball league. And just a week ago during a scrimmage he put one out of Merrimack’s home field on the campus of the long-since closed Daniel Webster College, Harvey Woods Field
“He has power,” Henzley said. “He can drive the baseball.
In fact, Lyna remembers doing a drill in practice, staying back and low, and that’s when the light turned on.
“I had a really good BP that day,” he said. “It worked out great for me.”
So now the key will be for Lyna to keep that trend he established a year ago going.
“I’m hoping to maintain, maybe even grow a little bit,” the 6-2 outfielder said, adding his favorite moment was his first varsity game as a freshman.
“I came in and hit a double my first at-bat,” he said, adding the poke was off the arm of Bishop Guertin hurler Noah Therrien, who now plays for Endicott.
Lyna definitely has the baseball bug, so much so he wants to go to college and play down south. And he even has a school in mind, and he’s not shooting low, either.
“I’ve always been a huge Clemson fan growing up,” he said. “I’d love to play there.Sort of figuring it out with this whole pandemic. Trying to figure out what my best option is, whether it’s that or playing (Division) II or (Division) III.”
“He wants to play at the higher level,” Henzley said. “Those are the kids you know are going to want to work hard. He has it in his head what he wants to do, and he’s working on it.”
Lyna says he’s pretty flexible where he’ll play on the field.
“I’ll play wherever the coach needs me,” Lyna said, adding that he’s bounced around due to the coaching changes in Merrimack (three coaches in three years up until 2019. Last year’s varsity head coach, Kevin Moyer, used him in the outfield.
“I try to be as versatile as possible,” Lyna said. “I try to help the team out as much as I can.”
“He started out as a catcher then moved to the outfield,” Henzley said. “So he works hard to be versatile. Another good student, smart kid.”
Lyna is smart enough to know he can take advantage of the rescued summer with the formation of the NHCBL after the Legion season was cancelled.
“I’m super excited,” he said. “I wish we could’ve had a spring season, but we’re getting something out of it.”
And Merrimack looks to get a lot out of Lyna.