Monday, June 30, 2008

McNaughton, Navs torch Holyoke, 9-1

Joe Gravellese, Navigators Sports Information Department


Powered by the red hot bats of Sean McNaughton (4-for-4, two triples, a double, and a walk) and Mike Provencher (2-for-4 with 2 RBI), the North Shore Navigators pounded the Holyoke Blue Sox, 9-1, on a muggy night at Fraser Field. Springfield College’s Jimmy Lisowski (1-0) pitched seven solid innings to score his first win of the season, while keeping his ERA at a miniscule 0.98. Lisowski allowed one run on five hits, striking out three batters on the night.

“I’m the type of guy where when I’m on, I’m on,” chuckled McNaughton after the game. “I felt pretty good tonight and I had a clear mind.”

The Navigators wasted no time jumping on Holyoke starting pitcher Rob Gariano (2-3), scoring one run in the first inning and never looking back. Justin Little dropped a base hit into centerfield to start the home half of the first. Two batters later, McNaughton lashed a triple to right, putting North Shore on top.

North Shore added another in the third on an RBI single by McNaughton before ripping the game open with four runs in the fourth.

After newcomer Mathew Costello and John Hill struck out to start the inning, Derek Trent ignited a two-out rally with a double to left field. Gariano plunked Chad Zurcher and walked Little to load the bases for Mike Provencher, who came into the game tied for second on the team with 12 RBIs. He picked up two more, ripping a high fly ball off the rightfield wall to plate Trent and Zurcher.

That set the stage for McNaughton, who promptly blasted his second triple of the night over the head of centerfielder Alex Hilliard to bring home two more runs, making it 6-1 North Shore.

“Wasn’t that nice to see the boys swing the bat like that?,” said coach Jason Falcon after the game. “McNaughton was four for four, so he set the tone. We were kind of surprised he got pitched to either the second or the third time up with a base open, but he definitely was looking for a pitch. He’s that kind of kid. He looks for a mistake and he jumps on it.”

Holyoke brought in reliever James White to try to stem the tide in the fifth, but he was unsuccessful, as John Hill drove in Tyler Kuehl with a two out RBI single for North Shore’s seventh run. White allowed two more runs in the sixth to cap the scoring at 9-1.

Ryan Krull pitched two scoreless innings of relief to close out the game, improving the Navs’ record to 12-6. Holyoke falls to 10-9.

Justin Little fueled the Navs’ offense, reaching base five times from the leadoff spot and coming around to score two runs.

Derek Trent also starred at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

“I’m proud of all the guys up there,” said Falcon. “I did do some things to the lineup because we were a little concerned about producing runs, especially with the middle part of the order. I moved Provencher to the two-hole because the numbers were showing that he was pretty good at getting on base and scoring. I can't tell you if that attributed to tonight’s success, but we’ll find out.”

The Navigators continue their race for first place on Wednesday when they travel to Recreation Field in Montpelier to face the Vermont Mountaineers. Wednesday’s game is the first of four on the road before the Navs return home to face the Keene Swamp Bats on July 6. Fans can follow along with the team’s progress at their official website, www.nsnavs.com.

Live updates - Navs vs. Holyoke, 6/30/2008 - 7 PM

Chat live with us during the game: email josephj@nsnavs.com, or AIM: NSNAVS

North Shore Navigators: (11-6, 2nd in Northern Division)

vs.

Holyoke Blue Sox: (10-8, 5th in Northern Division)

Previous Meetings

- The Navigators have played Holyoke two times this season. On June 9, Holyoke defeated the Navs 4-0 at Fraser Field. Wayde Kitchens received the loss after pitching 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs (0 ER) on five hits. The Navs took down the Blue Sox 4-1 in Holyoke on June 18. Adam Herter got the win, pitching six innings, giving up one run (0 ER) on seven hits.

Starting Lineups

Navigators / Holyoke

1. Little (CF) / Shima (3B)
2. Provencher (RF) / Hilliard (CF)
3. McNaughton (LF) / Jones (2B)
4. Belcher (3B) /
Killeen (1B)
5. Kuehl (2B) /
Turner (C)
6. Costello (1B) /
Dimino (RF)
7. Hill (C) /
Allgire (DH)
8. Trent (DH) /
Shepard (SS)
9. Zurcher (SS) / Wyche (LF)

Starting Pitchers

North Shore
- #34 Jimmy Lisowski (0-0, 0.77 ERA, 11.2 IP, 10 K, 6 BB, .195 BAA)

Holyoke
- #20 Rob Gariano (2-2, 3.38 ERA, 26.2 IP, 34 K, 13 BB, .191 BAA)

LIVE UPDATES

(Sorry for no photos everyone. The website isn't allowing us to upload 'em)


9:58 PM - Apologies for not updating, but no fear, the Navs pulled it out. Solid outing for Lisowski, a career night for McNaughton, all smiles at Fraser. Navs win 9-1.

9:28 PM - ATTENTION, ATTENTION: With McNaw at the plate, Chris "Killer" Kowalski is now taking swings in the on-deck circle. The RHP has been known to put a few outta the park in batting practice.

*Sorry for not noting, John Griffin pinch-hit for Costello in the sixth, and Kent Graham pinch hit for Provencher in the seventh. Ryan McCrann is now playing second base.

9:18 PM - Ryan Krull is in to relieve Jimmy Lisowski, who put together another stellar night, allowing one run on 5 hits through seven innings striking out three batters and walking one. Well done, Jimmy, well done.

9:07 PM - Joe Gravs and I just returned to press row following our embarassing performance in the dizzy bat competition. After ten spins, Joe Grav had trouble getting that first step, falling straight back on his butt. I managed to stagger my way down the third base line, leaning to the right, then left, then right, then left until I crossed the finish line. Anyway, the Navs got two more runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to runs by McNaw and Belcher. McNaw reached on a single, making him 4-4 on the day. Navs 9-1

8:48 PM - Lisowski gets the Sox to go 1-2-3 in the sixth. He has really settled in. So far, he's given up 1 run on 5 hits.

8:39 PM - Costello and Hill welcomed White to the game with back to back singles, Hill's scoring Kuehl from second. 7-1 Navs

8:36 PM - James White replaces Gariano on the mound for Holyoke. (4 IP, 7 R, 7 H, 5 K, 2 BB)

8:23 PM - McNaw wanted to make remind Provencher that this is his night. He just unloaded on a ball that reached perhaps the deepest part of the park in center. 1 Double, 2 Triples, 4 RBIs. 6-1 Navs

8:21 PM - Immediately following the roar of a fan saying "It's clobbering time!", Mike Provencher launched a double off the wall in right field, scoring Trent from third and Zurk from second. 4-1 Navs

Side note: We were just informed that Joe Grav and I will be competing in the 7th inning Dizzy Bat competition for a string of bowling. This is big. This is for bragging rights in the Sports Information Department. Probably shouldn't have eaten that pizza...

8:04 PM - An Adam Dimino bloop single over the outreached glove of Zurk allowed Killeen to score from second after his double. 2-1 Navs

7:54 PM - McNaw's at it again. After Provencher moved Little from second to third, McNaw roped a double down the left field line for his second RBI of the night. 2-0 Navs

7:39 PM - Gariano gets Zurk to chase one down and away to end the inning, stranding John Hill on second. After 2, still 1-0 Navs.

7:32 PM - In his first ever at-bat with the North Shore Navigators, 1B Mathew Costello hit into a harmless 4-3 ground ball out.

7:29 PM - Holyoke was able to advance a runner to second base for the second inning in a row, but Shepard grounded out to Kuehl at second to end the half-inning.

7:20 PM - Triple by Sean McNaughton to the right-centerfield fence, bringing Mike Provencher to the plate. 1-0 Navs.

7:12 PM - Lisowski just got Killeen to line out to Zurk at short to retire the Sox. Hilliard had walked and stole second, but was stranded at second.

7:04 PM - First pitch to Shima...STRIKE 1.

The newest member of the Navigators...

is Matt Costello, a left handed pitcher from West Barnstable, MA. The 6'1'' 208 pound hurler pitches for Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, TN. In 14 starts with Volunteer State, Costello went 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA, striking out 93 and walking 57 in 91.1 inning pitched.

He also swung a hot bat for Vol St., hitting .377 in 29 games playing first base.

He'll be in the lineup tonight as the Navs take on Holyoke at Fraser Field.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

North Shore Navigators game vs. Lowell postponed

Joseph Gravellese, North Shore Navigators Sports Information Department

Tonight's game between the North Shore Navigators and the Lowell All-Americans at Fraser Field has been postponed. Heavy thunderstorms moved through the area at around 6:00 PM, and although the rain stopped well in advance of the scheduled 7:00 PM start time, the outfield remained too wet to start the game.

Makeup plans have not yet been announced, but will be within the next two days.

The Navigators, current owners of the second best record in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, return to action tomorrow night, hosting the Holyoke Blue Sox at Fraser Field before embarking on a four game road trip.

Fans can find out more information about the Navigators at the team's official website, www.nsnavs.com.

Navs vs. Lowell 6/29 - GAME POSTPONED, RAIN

Chat live with us during the game: email SID@nsnavs.com, or AIM: NSNAVS

North Shore Navigators (11-6) (78 RS, 51 RA) Stats
vs. Lowell All-Americans (7-8) (74 RS, 65 RA) Stats


WEATHER UPDATE: Radar Link

LIVE UPDATES:

7:45 PM - Called. The most likely scenario - Doubleheader (two 7 inning games) next time Lowell comes to town (July 29)

7:44 PM - It looks like the game is about to be cancelled.

7:36 PM - They're raking the dirt now, trying to get set to go. The umps have to make one more pass through the outfield to make sure conditions are safe. The sun is out, which should help.

7:16 PM - The tarp is off, but rumor has it there's another wave of t-storms coming through soon.
Radar Link

6:57 PM - The Navigators are configuring a way to removing the tarp from the field = It looks as if baseball will be played tonight! We're not sure what the start time for the game will be, but we'll let you know once we find out.

Roster changes coming...

The Navs are on the verge of adding 1 or 2 players, including an additional arm, but nothing has been confirmed yet. As soon as I know anything for sure I will let you know.

Know your Navs: Kent Graham

Joe Gravellese, Navigators Sports Information Department

An interview with North Shore Navigators & Trinity College first baseman Kent Graham:



You played some hockey in high school. What position did you play, and how much success did you have?

"I played defense at Choate and I was all-state senior year, and third team All-New England."

Any teammates playing college hockey?

"Yeah, I've got a bunch. Guys on Harvard, Dartmouth, a lot of NESCAC schools, Tufts... pretty much every kid on the team now plays college hockey. I played at Trinity my freshman year."

Who are some of your favorite hockey players?

"Who's #17 on the Bruins? (Milan Lucic). Yeah, Lucic. And obviously Crosby and Ovechkin are unbelievable to watch."

What are some things about Trinity College that we might not know about?

"Our squash team hasn't lost a match in ten years. Let's see... we're in the top 20 colleges according to US News & World Report. And we have the oldest college dorm in the country."

Word association! I'm going to say a name, and I want you to say the first thing that comes to your mind.

Jason Falcon-

"Great guy, great coach."

Jason Markovitz-

"Heh. California boy."

Chris Kowalski-

"Killer."

Jimmy Lisowski-

"Lights out."

Fraser Field-

"Awesome place to play."

You've had a little bit of a rough start to the season. Are things starting to come around a little bit?

"Yeah, I hurt my back when I came here. I tried to push it when I shouldn't have, and my performance slipped a little bit. I took some time off. Tonight was my first game back. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon."

What's in your CD or MP3 player right now?

"I've got some Bay Area rap on CD right now... my girlfriend is from San Fran, so she gave me some of those CDs."

Your favorite road trip this season?

"Wow... I'd probably have to say Newport, just because of the atmosphere. It's always fun to play down there."

Coke or Pepsi and why?

"I don't drink soda. I'm a big health guy, so nothing but water for me."

Celebrity dream girl?

"Probably Angelina Jolie."

If you could study abroad, where would you want to go?

"Well, Trinity has a campus in Rome, which is definitely a place where I'd want to go. I'd also like to go to Australia, or any of the Scandinavian countries."

If baseball doesn't work out, what do you see yourself doing?

Oh, I'm definitely going into real estate. My brother and I actually already own a couple of houses in the Springfield area that we rent out to college kids. I'm definitely thinking real estate after college.

Kent and the rest of the Navs are in action tonight against the Lowell All-Americans at 7 PM. Come down to Fraser Field, listen to the game online, or check the blog for live updates.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Navs rally falls short against Mountaineers

Joe Jasinski, Navigators Sports Information Department

Last Friday in Newport, Mike Gallo went seven innings, gave up one run on four hits, highlighting a 7-1 Navigators’ trouncing of the Gulls.

Tonight, Gallo's line was the same: seven innings, allowing one run on four hits. Only difference, there was no offense.

That is, until the ninth inning.

Despite a two-run, ninth-inning push by the Navigators and stellar outing from Gallo, Vermont was able to return the favor of last night, defeating North Shore 3-2 in front of a rowdy crowd at Fraser Field.

If imaginable, Casey Harman’s performance on the mound for Vermont was perhaps more impressive than that of Gallo.

Harman pitched six innings of shutout baseball, also surrendering four hits, striking out six batters and walking one. He is yet to allow a run in his 24 innings pitched, and has also fanned 28 batters in those innings.

“We knew [he hasn’t given up a run yet this season] going in,” Coach Falcon. “I thought he was impressive. Obviously, he shut us down.”

The Mountaineers were able to advance a runner to third base in the first two innings, but were unable to capitalize on either situation.

They had no such problem in the fourth.

With a leadoff double by Alan Oaks over Mike Provencher’s head in right field, and a walk by Steven Felix, Vermont had runners on first and second with one out. A double steal attempt allowed Felix to reach second, but Jay McConnell’s throw to third was in time to retired Oaks. Matt Duffy then grounded a single up the middle to score Felix for Vermont’s first lead, which they never gave up.

The Navigators offense was stagnant. It was not until the bottom of the seventh inning that they had a baserunner reach second base. Tyler Kuehl led off the inning with an infield single, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Jay McConnell. However, nothing came of it with Kent Graham grounding to third and Kyle Geason hitting a chopper back to the pitcher.

Perhaps the “web gem” of the season thus far came in the top of the sixth inning when third baseman Kyle Geason charged a weak grounded, made a bare-handed grab and throw to get Oaks at first.

The defense continues to play consistently, Falcon said.

“Our defense has been outstanding,” he said. “[Kyle] Geason turned in a couple of great plays. I think our defense is definitely helping us out and keeping us in games.

Both bullpens pitched well until the ninth, when the offenses of Vermont and North Shore correspondingly came alive.

Navigators closer Chris Prescott entered the ninth inning in relief of Jason Markowitz, who posted a scoreless eighth inning, and gave up a leadoff walk to Michael Nesbitt. Felix then knocked a ball back to Prescott, who couldn’t find a handle on the ball, putting runners on first and second. After a Duffy sacrifice bunt turned into a throwing error by Jay McConnell to load the bases, Ogrinc punched a single up the middle, scoring two Mountaineer baserunners, making it 3-0, Vermont.

The Navigator bats were not to be silenced.

Thanks to a defensive blunder by Vermont shortstop Greg Sherry, Provencher was able to reach first to start off the bottom of the ninth. Nick Belcher then roped a double to the wall in left, advancing Provencher to third. Tyler Kuehl recorded his twelfth and thirteenth RBIs of the season with a slapped double along the right field line, making it 3-2 Vermont with no outs in the ninth.

A sacrifice bunt by John Hill was the last sign of progression for the Navigators, as Kent Graham and pinch-hitter Ryan McCrann struck out in succession to end the rally, and the game.

The difference was simple, as Gallo put it.

“These last two starts I’ve made one mistake each time,” he said. “Last game against Newport it was the first pitch fastball that the kid hit for a homerun. Luckily, in the Newport game we scored seven runs. Tonight, the bats came late, but that’s baseball. Sometimes things just don’t fall your way.”

Live updates - Navs vs. Vermont, 6/28/2008 - 7 PM

Chat live with us during the game: email SID@nsnavs.com, or AIM: NSNAVS

CLICK ANY PHOTO TO VIEW IT AT FULL SIZE

North Shore Navigators (11-5) (Stats) (75 runs, 48 allowed) (Pythagorean WL: 11-5) vs.
Vermont Mountaineers (7-7)
(Stats) (47 runs, 46 allowed) (Pythagorean WL: 7-7)

-LISTEN TO/WATCH THE GAME

LIVE UPDATES

-9:28 PM: McCrann Ks and the game is over. The rally comes up short, 3-2.

-9:27 PM: Graham strikes out. McCrann is pinch hitting for Geason with 2 out.

-9:26 PM: Infield in.

-9:25 PM: Hill's successful sac bunt moves the tying run to 3rd.

-9:23 PM: John Hill is pinch hitting for McConnell.

-9:22 PM: Kuehl rattles it into the rightfield corner for another double! 2 runs score and the tying run is at 2nd with 0 out for John Hill!

-9:21 PM: Belcher's solid contact finally pays off - he doubles to the wall to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for Kuehl.

-9:20 PM: Rally caps! Provencher reaches to start the 9th. Fans are making a lot of noise at the moment.

-9:17 PM: Prescott escapes further damage. "The Final Countdown" is booming from the PA system... it's time for a 9th inning rally.

-9:08 PM: Ogrinc hits a single through the drawn in infield to make it 3-0 Vermont.

-9:06 PM: Uh oh. Duffy drops a sac bunt and Prescott's throw to 1st was dropped by Graham, loading the bases with nobody out.

-9:05 PM: Vermont has put the first two runners on against Prescott.

-9:03 PM: Nope. Still 1-0 thru 8. Prescott is on here in the 9th.


VIDEO: Little grounds out to end the 8th.
video

-8:55 PM: Markovitz continues his own scoreless streak by blanking Vermont in the 8th. Time for runs?


-8:44 PM: Jason Markovitz is on the hill for North Shore here in the 8th. Gallo gives up 1 run on 5 hits over 7. He is on the hook.

-8:43 PM: Graham and Geason ground out to end the tinning and the leadoff hit is squandered.

-8:42 PM: McConnell bunts over Kuehl, bringing up Graham.

-8:40 PM: Kuehl greets Odenbach with a base hit up the middle to lead off the inning.

-8:38 PM: A break for the Navs? Dusty Odenbach is in to pitch here in the 7th... Harman leaves after six dominant innings (4 H 0 R 6 K).


-8:37 PM: Gallo pitches a scoreless 7th, and it's stretch time. The Navs have to hurry up and find some runs. Harman's shutout streak is 24 innings so far to start the season... he's making an early claim for title for best pitcher in the league.

-8:29 PM:...but Belcher's unlucky streak continues, hitting it hard but right at the rightfielder to end the inning.

-8:27 PM: Provencher picks up a 2 out single in the home half of the 6th.

-8:20 PM: The Navs flash some leather of their own - Kyle Geason comes in and makes a sweet play on a bunt by Roof to retire him for the 2nd out of the inning. His bat hasn't quite come around yet, but he's making some outstanding plays in the field.


-8:15 PM: Kent Graham can't buy a break. He hits a hard grounder up the middle but SS Greg Sherry robs him, ranging to his left to make the play. 1-0 VT, Top 6.

-8:01 PM: Chomps is out working the crowd. Three mascots are present today: Chomps, the Chick fil A Cow, and Spike, the Mass. Mad Dogs mascot.


-7:57 PM: Matt Duffy's 5th RBI of the season makes it 1-0 Vermont in the top 4.

-7:47 PM: Sean McNaughton gets a base hit, but is caught stealing. Little then follows with hit of his own, but is stranded at first when Provencher grounds out. Scoreless thru 3 full.

-7:37 PM: Still no score in the 3rd; the mist and fog is getting pretty bad now.

-7:22 PM: Vermont gets another runner to 3rd base, and Sherry hits a grounder well to the left of Tyler Kuehl, but Kuehl ranged over, scooped it, spun, and made the throw to first. It's still scoreless entering the home half of the 2nd.

-7:03 PM: Vermont puts two on in the top of the first but Gallo gets out of the jam. Oaks hit a high fly ball to center that looked poised to score Roof from third base, but Justin Little's rocket throw forced him back.

-6:56 PM: It's cloudy and misty and windy - not exactly baseball weather - but we're underway at Fraser Field. Sadly, the weather has kept down what was expected to be a pretty high attendance figure tonight. It's still a decent crowd, considering the weather - probably around 200.

-6:55 PM: Tonight's pitching matchup:
Mike Gallo (2-0, 1.88 ERA, 4 G, 2 GS, 14.1 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 13 K, 8 BB) vs.
Casey Harman (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 18.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 22 K, 6 BB)

Life with Jimmy Lisowski: Honey mustard wings, Angelina Jolie, and Democrats

Joe Jasinski, Navigators Sports Information Department

Over the remaining weeks of the season, the Sports Information Department is going to run a series of Q&A's with members of the Navigators (players, coaches, staff, fans, etc.) to allow our fans to become more familiar with the people they cheer on each night at Fraser Field.

Hailing from Springfield College, southpaw Jimmy Lisowski (0-0, 0.77 ERA, 10 K, 2 GS) was kind enough to sit down to chat with us about politics, women, food, and of course, the Navs. Here's what he had to say...


If you could meet any person in history, who would it be?

"I’d probably go with Sandy Koufax. He’s just someone I kind of looked up to, being a lefty. I’ve got a couple of his books, and I definitely liked how he threw, and you know, lefties have got to stick together."

If you were stranded on an island, and could only hold onto four movies from your collection, which would you choose? (Lisowski has a collection of about 180 movies)

"I know my first one, The Sandlot. For my number two, probably The Departed. Let’s see, what else…We’ll stick with those two right now. I’ll just watch those over and over."

It’s 2 a.m. at Springfield College and you’re practically starving. Where do you go to fix the craving?

"Oh, you have got to get Wings…Wings Over Springfield. It’s a wing chain that has the best wings, like…ever. Honey Mustard is where I’m at. I’m usually good for about 10 to 15 if they’re boneless wings. They’re nice big boneless wings, and free delivery, too, so it’s a no-brainer."

How would you describe this team’s identity?

"I’d say we’re a bunch of hard-nosed players. That’s kind of the best phrase to describe it. A lot of these guys aren’t from huge Division I schools. I know that’s kind of been the mentality to get guys who have been at smaller schools but have played frequently and have played on college-level teams. I know a lot of teams in this league pick the Division I players who are kind of on the lower end, but these are all hard-working guys, they all know what we’re here to do, and we’ve all got the same mindset: we’re here to win a championship, we’re here to all get better, and we’re all here to be seen."

What’s been your favorite road stop so far?

"I’m going to go with either Keene or Newport. I like [Cardines Field in] Newport because of the atmosphere, and just kind of the location of Newport, the old-fashion field with dugouts on the same side, and with the dimensions."

One of the best parts about a summer league like the NECBL is you’ve got players coming from all across the country. Who gets picked on the most?

"I would have to say, the group of lefties are getting hassled the most, for uh…just being lefties. I know [Ryan] Krull has been hearing it a lot, and I know [Jason] Markowitz is. I’m hearing it a little bit, too. The Southern boys, with their accents, are getting mocked here and there, and then they’re giving it back with the Boston accent. It’s going back and forth so it’s really fun to watch."

Any superstitions?

"I actually don’t do anything out of the norm; no food superstitions, nothing to wear. When I come into the dugout in between innings I like to talk to my teammates, I don’t really like to sit there in silence. Some people say 'Oh, leave him alone, he’s all on his own,' I’m just like everyone else, no real superstitions, I just go out there.”

Who would you say is your "dream girl"?

"I would have to say Angelina Jolie. I think she is, uh…a very nice lady."

What is your favorite sports moment (excluding baseball)?

"When I was younger, I was in the [NFL’s] Punt, Pass & Kick competition. I made it to the state finals and finish in third place in the state of Massachusetts. I went to Foxboro Stadium, got to go out on the field at halftime, did a little mock presentation because the actual competition was already over…I didn’t throw it too far, I was kind of small back then, but I kicked it pretty far."

Who are you voting for in the ’08 Presidential Election?

"Barrack Obama. I’ve been leaning toward the Democrats every since [President George W.] Bush took office. His philosophies have kind of swayed me against Republicans and what they’re all about. So as of right now, Obama, but you know, things can change."

You’re in charge of writing the script for the end of this Navigator season…what happens?

"Probably what everyone else would say, hopefully: we finish it out, continue on a run here, win the league title in the regular season and go on through the playoffs and win the whole thing…I don’t know who we’re going to face. Maybe we’ll face Newport, they seem like the team to beat in the other division…Hopefully sweep them in two games, both pitchers will put up nine inning shutouts."

Navs light up Vermont, 8-2

Joseph Gravellese, North Shore Navigators Sports Information Department

Two hours before game time, severe thunderstorms rolled through Montpelier, Vermont, delaying the start of Friday night’s game between the North Shore Navigators and the Vermont Mountaineers. But neither Mother Nature nor the highly regarded Vermont Mountaineers pitching staff could slow down to hot bat of Mike Provencher.

Provencher went 2-for-5, improving his batting average to .333, and drove in three runs with a go-ahead, bases-clearing RBI double in the top of the 7th. Provencher’s double unleashed an offensive avalanche for the Navigators, who scored seven unanswered runs in the 7th and 8th en route to an 8-2 victory over the Mountaineers at Recreation Field.

The win improved North Shore’s league leading record to 11-5, while Vermont fell to 7-7.

The early innings were defined by yet another pitcher’s duel between Mike DiCato and Vermont’s Chris Petrini.

Petrini was impressive for the Mountianeers, scattering 5 hits and striking out 7 in 5 shutout innings. But DiCato was even better. DiCato earned his 2nd win of the year, holding Vermont to 2 hits and 2 walks while giving up just one unearned run over 7 innings.

“I was just able to throw strikes and let the defense do the work mostly,” said Dicato, repeating a recurring sentiment among Navs pitchers. My breaking pitch was working well all night and that allowed me to be successful.”

Sean McNaughton and Justin Little each made a number of excellent running catches in the outfield to prevent what appeared off the bat to be sure hits. “Little took away a couple base hits tonight, and he’s been doing it for every other outing, too. It’s awesome [when you can get defense like this], said DiCato.

The two pitchers combined for five scoreless innings to start the game.

The Navigators finally broke the ice in the 6th inning, thanks in large part to a slick play by John Hill.

Nick Belcher worked a walk off of relief pitcher R.J. Preach to start the inning.. Tyler Kuehl made two failed attempts to move Belcher over with a sacrifice bunt before grounding it to second base for a fielder’s choice.

Hill stepped up and immediately squared to bunt, standing in position for 5 seconds. Then, just as Preach went into his delivery, Hill pulled back and took a swing, smoking Preach’s grooved fastball to the rightfield wall for an RBI double.

The lead wouldn’t last long, however; the Mountaineers struck back with a run of their own off of Dicato in the home half of the 6th. Greg Sherry got it started with an infield hit to third base. On the first pitch to Gerald Ogrinc, Sherry took off for second base. Hill’s throw zipped into centerfield, moving Sherry to 3rd. Ogrinc then brought him in with a groundout to 2nd base.

That’s when Provencher and the Navigators offense went to work.

Kyle Geason led off the top of the 7th with a walk and went to 3rd on a double by McNaughton. Preach then plunked Little with a 2-2 fastball to load the bases for Provencher. He promptly hit a laser that rolled up against the 420 marker in centerfield, bringing home all three baserunners.

Tyler Kuehl brought Provencher home later in the inning with a 2-out RBI double.

The Navigators put three more runs on the board in the 8th when the wheels fell off the Vermont defense. The Mountaineers made four errors in the inning, allowing Geason, McNaughton, and Ryan McCrann to score.

Chris Kowalski struggled in relief, giving up six hits over the final two innings, but he held Vermont to just one run, preserving the 8-2 win.

It was a good all around offensive performance for the Navigators, with all nine starters reaching base at least once in the game.

The top of the order was doing a lot of good things, but the bottom of the order really came through tonight, and I think that was the difference,” said coach Jason Falcon. They were able to get on base and give the top of our order some things to work with. We’ve been going three pitches and out the last couple of nights, but tonight I think the bottom of the order did a great job in setting the table for us.”

The Navs complete the second leg of a home-and-home series with Vermont on Saturday night at Fraser Field; gametime is 7:00 PM.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Navs keep rolling, down Vermont 8-2

If you're wondering why the live blog stopped halfway through tonight's game, Joe and Joe lost their internet connection around the seventh inning. Since they won't be able to post the game story until late tonight, here's a quick recap of tonight's game.

Scoring Plays
6th inning (NS): Tyler Kuehl scored the first run of the game, coming around from first on a John Hill double.

6th inning (VT): Vermont catcher Gerald Ogrinc tied the score with an RBI groundout.

7th inning (NS): The Navs reclaimed the lead in the seventh when Mike Provencher knocked in three runs on a bases-clearing double. Kuehl then hit a double of his own to make the lead 5-1.

8th inning (NS): North Shore broke the game open, scoring three runs in the inning, largely due to Vermont's four errors.

8th inning (VT): Nick Harris made the game 8-2 with an RBI groundout off Navs' reliever Chris Kowalski.

Pitchers of Record
VT: RJ Preach (L, 0-1) -- 2IP 5R 4H
NS: Mike DiCato (W, 2-1) -- 7IP 1R 3H 5K 2BB

With the win, the Navs move to 11-5 and will either be one game ahead of or tied with the Sanford Mainers atop the North Division, pending the Mainers' result tonight against Newport.

Check back later tonight for Joe Grav's full game story.

Gameday: G16 - 6/27 LIVE from Vermont - 6:30 PM

Chat live with us during the game: email SID@nsnavs.com, or AIM: NSNAVS

On the road again - the Navs are in Vermont to take on the defending champion Mountaineers in the first leg of a home-and-home series.

North Shore Navigators (10-5) (68 runs, 46 allowed) (Pythagorean WL: 10-5)
at Vermont Mountaineers (7-6) (45 runs, 38 allowed) (Pythagorean WL: 8-5)

-North Shore Stats
-Vermont Stats
-LISTEN TO/WATCH THE GAME



PITCHING MATCHUP
North Shore> Mike Dicato, RHP, UMass
1-1, 4.38 ERA, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 6 R, 10 H, 10 K, 4 BB

Vermont> Chris Petrini, LHP, Cal-Berkley
0-0, 4.50 ERA, 3 G, 1 GS, 8.0 IP, 5 R, 8 H, 9 K, 4 BB

LIVE UPDATES

8:08 PM - Vermont's Greg Sherry reached on an infield hit, stole second, took third on an errant throw to second by Hill, and was brought home by a Gerald Ogrinc ground-out to short. Ballgame tied at one.

7:59 PM - Squaring to bunt, John Hill pulled back and cranked a double over the right-fielder, scoring Tyler Kuehl from first. 1-0 Navs on top after 5 1/2 innings.

7:54 PM - R.J. Preach takes over for Petrini for Vermont. Petrini's line: 5 IP, 5 H, o R, 1 BB, 7 K.

7:51 PM - DiCato gets 'em 1-2-3 thanks to some ridiculous range covered by Justin Little in center, who recorded two putouts in the half-inning.

7:46 PM - Little grounded to second. Provencher whiffed. No harm done. Darn. 0-0 after 4 1/2 innings.

7:41 PM - Sean McNaughton hammered a double to the gap in left, but got absolutely no roll on the bounce. Must be the soggy grass...Geason walked, so he's on third, with McNaw on second. Let's see what the Mesa St. boys can do with runners in scoring postion...

7:34 PM - After DiCato gave up the first hit of his outing to Vermont left-fielder Scott Schauer, he got center-fielder Steven Felix to fly out to Provencher in right. Provencher then delivered a hose to McCrann at first to double up Schauer before he was able to return to the bag. Double play, Navigators-style?

6:56 PM - DiCato makes quick work of Vermont in the first, striking out 2 swingin' as part of a 1-2-3 inning.

6:51 PM - Navs get two on with one out in the 1st via back-to-back singles by Little and Provencher, but Petrini squeezes out of it by getting Belcher to fly out and fanning Kuehl.

6:43 PM - Play ball. I'm loving this place right now - these fans are jumpin'. Very supportive crowd.

6:39 PM - Pretty big crowd today, it appears - not bad considering how terrible the weather was two hours ago. Vermont has a lot of D1 players- 13 by my count.

6:34 PM - The starting lineups are being introduced now. We're about ten minutes behind schedule.

6:14 PM - The Mountaineers' mascot, Skip, is currently making a threatening gesture toward the Navs dugout. There's also a big cow here, roaming around beyond the right field wall in honor of "Buy Local: Vermont Dairy Night."

5:55 PM - It looks like we'll be perfectly fine to start at 6:30.

5:00 PM - The tarp is off the field. It's a little soggy, but it should be ready no later than 6:45 or so. The radar says that we are in the clear for the rest of the night.

4:30 PM -We left sunny, warm Lynn at 12:30 PM. It remained sunny and warm right until we crossed into Montpelier, VT, at which time the skies opened. Serious thunderstorms ended batting practice early and put the game in jeopardy.

The rain has stopped now, but the field is still wet; no announcement has been made about the status of the game, which is scheduled for a 6:30 start.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Herter, Provencher lead Navs to tenth win

Steve DelVecchio, Navigators Sports Information Department

Turning in perhaps the best start for any North Shore pitcher this season, Adam Herter (3-0) out-dueled Manchester Silkworms’ starter Brian Pendergast (0-3), to lead the Navigators to their tenth win of the season Friday night at Fraser Field. With the victory, Herter secured his third win of the season in as many starts.

In what turned out to be a classic pitchers duel, the Navigators (10-5) were able to hold off Manchester (6-7), win the game 2-0, and take just over two hours to do so. Adam Herter pitched eight and one third shutout innings, and allowed nine hits to go along with four strike outs and no walks. Almost equally as impressive was Brian Pendergast who gave the Silkworms seven strong innings giving up only one run on three hits, striking out three and yielding only one walk.

The only blemish of the night for Pendergast came in the bottom of the first and proved to be all the Navigators would need in a night where runs were few and far between. Continuing to showcase his home-run power, Navigators’ right fielder Mike Provencher pounded a Pendergast fastball over the left field fence at Fraser Field to give North Shore an early 1-0 lead.

“I don’t know. I’m just getting some good swings on the ball and they’re getting out of the ballpark, “Provencher said of his approach at the plate. I’m not trying to hit it out, I’m just trying to get good contact, but it’s been working out.”

The Navigators were able to push an insurance run across in the bottom of the eighth. Designated hitter Peter Fatse reached with one out in the inning on a throwing error by pitcher Brian Pendergast. He then scored on a fielder’s choice following another Silkworms fielding error to give the Navigators a 2-0 lead heading into the final frame.

However, one run was more than enough for Herter to work with as he cruised through the first seven innings he worked.

As is often the case with starting pitchers, Herter attributed part of his success to the speed with which the game moved forward.

“It does help my effectiveness,” Herter said. “I’m not trying to go strike everyone out, I’m just trying to get ground balls and keep the tempo going.”

Outstanding defense from the Navigators also helped Herter pitch with a high level of confidence and be effective through over eight innings of work.

“It was all defense tonight,” he said. “They were great behind me. No errors on the board, big plays all the way around. I threw strikes and was able to be confident in my defense if they put the ball in play. It was a close ballgame and we rose up and got the win.”

When it appeared as though Herter may be able to become the first Navs pitcher to throw a complete game shutout this season, he ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the ninth inning. After striking out the first batter of the inning, Herter hit Manchester right fielder Zach Hudson with a pitch. Silkworms third baseman Sean O’Hara followed with a base hit, which brought manager Jason Falcon to the mound to take the ball from Herter after an outstanding performance.

“He kept his pitch count low and spotted his pitches well,” Falcon said. “When they did get hits off of him, it was only after he made some outs in the inning. He was so good at getting that first out – that’s the key. He was around the plate, he challenged people, and his defense played well behind him.”

Another effective outing from the Navigators bullpen preserved the win for Herter, and the shutout for the team, when Jason Markovitz came on to get the final two outs of the game. The Navigators take on the Vermont Mountaineers tomorrow night, in Montpelier.

Gameday: G15 - 6/26 vs. Manchester - 7 PM

Chat live with us during the game: email SID@nsnavs.com, or AIM: NSNAVS

Finally, finally, finally back at home after a .500 road trip.

North Shore Navigators (9-5) (66 runs, 46 allowed) (Pythagorean WL: 9-5)
vs. Manchester Silkworms (6-6) (39 runs, 46 allowed) (Pythagorean WL: 5-7)


-North Shore Stats
-Manchester Stats
-LISTEN TO/WATCH THE GAME

Pitching Matchup

-For North Shore: #27 Adam Herter, RHP, Point Loma Nazarene
2 G, 2-0, 1.50 ERA, 12.0 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 4 K, OAVG .298

-For Manchester: #14 Brian Pendergast, RHP, Manhattan College
3 G, 1 GS, 0-2, 7.71 ERA, 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 4 K, OAVG .250

Stat of the Day: Manchester is hitting .211 this season, while opponents are hitting .215; they have scored the fewest runs of any team (39 in 12 games) while allowing the 3rd fewest (46).

Live Updates

9:39 PM - Markowitz comes in, gets two outs, and the Navs win, 2-0.

9:04 PM - the Worms have put two on with one out, and Adam Herter is being pulled from the game... in to attempt to close it out is Jason Markowitz.

8:58 PM - We go to the 9th - and Herter stays out there. Could we be on the verge of the Navs' first complete game?

8:55 PM - Little chops it down to first base - Broderick steps on the bag for the 2nd out, but his throw home is not in time to catch Peter Fatse and it's 2-0 Navigators.

8:53 PM - Fatse reaches first on an infield single, steals 2nd, and advances to 3rd on a wild throw by JD Broderick. The Navs now have a runner on 3rd with 1 out and the top of the order, Justin Little, at the plate.

8:48 PM - Pendergast gives way to Michael Anarumo here in the bottom of the 8th.

8:46 PM - AJ Rusbarski flies out to end the 8th. Very impressive outing for Adam Herter.

8:43 PM - The Silkworms have a runner on first base with two outs... Herter's still going strong.

8:38 PM - Markowitz is throwing down in the bullpen for the Navs, but Herter is out there to start the 8th.

8:37 PM - McConnell grounds out to end the 7th.

8:36 PM - Pendergrast walks Belcher and the Navs have a man on with 1 out. Pitching coach Mark Stevens is out to chat with Pendergrast; the 'Worms have a lefty loosening in the bullpen.


8:27 PM - Jay McConnell is making it look easy behind the plate - he just gunned down another potential basestealer here in the top of the 7th. There's now 2 out and nobody on.... make that three outs, as Jeff Cammans grounds out to end the inning. Herter has allowed 7 hits but he's scattered them well, holding down the Navs' 1-0 lead.

8:11 PM - Manchester gets a runner on 3rd in the 6th but can't bring him home - it's still 1-0.

7:59 PM - We continue to cruise - Provencher's solo HR is the game's only run thru 4 1/2.

7:37 PM - Chad Zurcher gives it a ride to deep left but it's just a loud out. Thru 3, it's 1-0.

7:32 PM - Cruising right along through 2 1/2 - Navs 1 Silkworms 0

7:19 PM - Two, Navigator Style! The Navs end the top of the 2nd with a slick 4-6-3 double play.

7:15 PM - Mike Provencher has hit the first homer of the year at Fraser, and his 4th of the season. It's 1-0 Navs thru 1.

7:05 PM - Herter gave up two hits in the first but got out of it, with the help of Jay McConnell, who threw out two would-be basestealers.

6:43 PM - After a brief scare with rain, we're about ready to go here tonight at Fraser Field. The skies are still very overcast, but we should be okay.

Navs-Torrington game to be made up on July 13

Last week's Navs vs. Twisters game, which was postponed due to rain, will be made up on Sunday, July 13 at 12:30 PM. Following the conclusion of that game, the Twisters will head to Lowell for their regularly scheduled night game. Now that's a doubleheader!

Look for a new feature starting tomorrow here at the blog - "Know your Navs," regular Q&A sessions with Navigators players, coaches, and staff. If you have any requests or suggestions for interviews, let us know!

Around the League - 6/25


Jun 25, 2008 Goodall Park Sanford Mainers 6, Danbury Westerners 2 W-Cenatiempo, L-Muscara 621 2:40
Jun 25, 2008 Stoklosa North Adams SteepleC 10, Lowell All-Americans 7 W-Boyce, L-Lucier 155 329
Jun 25, 2008 Wahconah Stadium North Shore Navigato 6, Pittsfield Dukes 3 W-Kowalski, L-Bender 1507 3:00
Jun 25, 2008 MacKenzie Torrington Twisters 7, Holyoke Sox 3 W-Beck, L-Catapano 1120 3:20
Jun 25, 2008 Cardines Field Vermont Mountaineers 7, Newport Gulls 5 W-Pickering, L-Morey 2601 2:53

Comeback! Navs pull ahead in the ninth, down Dukes 6-3

Thanks to a four-run ninth inning, the Navs escape Pittsfield with a win in dramatic fashion. Tyler Kuehl delivered the go-ahead single, and Sean McNaughton slammed a two-run double for insurance. Chris Kowalski got the win for the Navs while Chris "Lights Out" Prescott recorded the save. Check back later tonight (actually this morning) for an extensive game story from the road game tandem of Joe Gravs and "Z" Kean. Go Navs!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gameday: G14 - 6/25 @ Pittsfield, 7 PM

Chat live with us during the game: email SID@nsnavs.com, or AIM: NSNAVS

After two days off (one scheduled, one due to rain), the Navs return to action with another road game - their first trip to Pittsfield's historic Wahconah Park.

Pregame Notes: North Shore Navigators (8-5) @ Pittsfield Dukes (5-7)

-North Shore Stats
-Pittsfield Stats
-LISTEN TO/WATCH THE GAME

-For those who followed the previous tenants of Fraser Field, this is a throwback matchup; in 2003, the Northeast League featured Lynn's North Shore Spirit and Pittsfield's Berkshire Black Bears. Wahconah Park, built in 1919, is one of the oldest and most historic ballparks in America.
-Pittsfield's season has taken a disastrous turn. Since starting 5-1, the Dukes have lost 6 games in a row.
-Their last game was an 11 inning loss on Sunday night against Holyoke. Zach Anderson gave up a run in the top of the 11th to earn the loss.
-Pittsfield's leading hitter, Craig Hertler of San Jose St., is hitting .375 with a .509 on base percentage. He does lag behind in slugging percentage (.400), however - 14 of his 15 hits have been singles.
-The Dukes have hit 4 home runs this season. The Navs - AKA, Mike Provencher - have hit 3.
-Pittsfield's .255 team batting average is good for third in the league; the Navs are 5th at .244.
-North Shore leads the league in pitching (2.20 ERA) and Pittsfield is in 6th (3.17).

Pitching Matchup
-For the Navs, Mike Adams will make his third start of the season. Adams has had trouble in his first two starts, going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA. In his last outing, Adams gave up 7 runs in 5 innings as the Navs lost in Manchester, 8-4.
-The Dukes will send out Kyle Vazquez, who is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 3 appearances. Opponents are hitting .233 against Vazquez.

Live Updates
-1:21 PM: We're leaving Lynn momentarily; hopefully we'll be able to check in with you on the other side from historic Wahconah Park.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Navs Weekly Wrap: 6/16 - 6/23

This past week the Navs took to the road, six games in six days that took the team through four of New England's six states. The team emerged from the season's longest road trip where they started - second place in the NECBL Northern Division. With today's game against Torrington postponed and a scheduled off-day tomorrow, the Navs get a well deserved break before heading out to Pittsfield on Wednesday.

Game Capsules

6/17: Manchester 8, Navs 4
The Silkworm offense got to starter Mike Adams early and often, opening up a 7-1 lead. The Navigators did mount a rally in the seventh to cut the deficit to 7-4, but left two runners on base in the inning. Manchester did not give the Navs another opportunity, handing the team its first road loss of the season.

6/18: Navs 4, Holyoke 1
Adam Herter got the ball for the Navs on Wednesday and got the squad back on track, allowing no earned runs in his six innings. The Navs opened up a 4-0 lead and never looked back, with the eventual winning run coming on an RBI groundout by Tyler Kuehl. The win brought the Navs' overall record to 6-3.

6/19: Keene 4, Navs 3
Thursday's game matched the top two teams in the Northern Division, as Keene came into the game at 7-1. The story of this one was the long ball - as Mike Provencher hit the Navs' first two home runs of the season. But the Swamp Bats came up with three of their own off North Shore starter Mike DiCato and dropped the Navs to 1-2 at the road trip's halfway point.

6/20: Navs 7, Newport 1
The Navs scored four runs in the top of the third and never looked back en route to a blowout win over the Southern Divison leading Gulls. Starter Mike Gallo gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw, but yielded nothing else over seven standout innings. Provencher blasted his third homer in two days to cap off the Navigator victory.

6/21: Navs 3, North Adams 2
Jimmy Lisowski and Nick Serino dueled for the first six innings, leaving the score tied at 2 heading into the top of the ninth. From there, a pair of subs gave North Shore the go-ahead run, as John Hill hit a pinch-hit single up the middle to score pinch runner Chad Zurcher. The win gave the Navs a 3-2 record on the road trip with the finale in Torrington coming up.

6/22: Torrington 3, Navs 2
This game unfolded as a mirror image of the previous night's in North Adams. Down 2-1 in the ninth, Sean McNaughton's sacrifice fly scored Provencher to tie the game, but Torrington came up with a 2-out single off Chris Kowalski to send in the game-winning run. The loss dropped the Navs 1.5 games behind Keene in the North Divison race.


Each starter gets a shot
To this point, head coach Jason Falcon has not veered from the team's six-man rotation. Last week, he told me that he planned to eventually cut the rotation down to five and have one pitcher in a long relief role, but so far that hasn't happened. Though fans of major league baseball might be thrown off by the six-man rotation, most of the Navs' pitchers are used to it, in a sense.

Typically in college baseball, where there are three-game series each weekend, starters will pitch on a particular day of the week. For example, at my school (Miami), Chris Hernandez pitched every Friday, Eric Erickson every Saturday and Enrique Garcia every Sunday. Since NECBL teams play five to six games each week with off-days thrown in, the schedule allows for a similar setup that these pitchers are used to. Lisowski - who has pitched each Saturday so far - feels that the extra day's rest provided by the six-man rotation will be beneficial.

"This whole year at school I've pretty much been going off six days' rest, coming in every weekend. So coming here it's been the same thing. It gives me plenty of rest, and we've got a six-man rotation, which gives each starting pitcher a good chunk of time to rest. It's going to help us in the long run."

And the rotation is helping in the short term as well. Coming into today's action, the Navs have a league-leading 2.20 team ERA.

Offense goes deep, finally!
It might be a bit of a misnomer to say that the Navs hit their first three home runs this week, as all three came off the bat of Mike Provencher. But for a team that is built to piece together runs and play smallball, four-baggers are only going to help. Though so far Provencher is the only guy to put one out during a game, Sean McNaughton has come close several times, including a wall-ball last night in Torrington. Fraser Field's fences are deep, especially compared to the incredibly short centerfield in Keene and the 310-foot left field porch in Torrington, but as the lineup gets more comfortable hitting with wood the home run total should pick up.

But so far, the Navs haven't needed the long ball to win games. Since the players arrived at the beginning of the month, Coach Falcon has felt that the team will be able to win with speed and smart baserunning, and so far they've done that. Against Newport, the Navs didn't get a hit out of the infield in the third inning, but scored four runs anyway. Leadoff hitter Justin Little leads the team with six stolen bases, but McNaughton (5) and Provencher (4) aren't far behind.

This week's schedule
Wed. 6/25: @ Pittsfield
Thu. 6/26: vs. Manchester
Fri. 6/27: @ Vermont
Sat. 6/28: vs. Vermont
Sun. 6/29: vs. Lowell
Mon. 6/30: vs. Holyoke

6/23: Navs vs. Torrington ppd.

It's pouring up here in Amesbury - and it must not be any better down in Lynn as today's game against Torrington has been postponed. The Navs won't get a chance to get immediate revenge for last night's tough loss, but as soon as the game is rescheduled we will let you know right here.

Stay tuned for the first edition of the Navs Weekly Wrapup in about an hour or so.

Twisters top Navs in dramatic ninth, 3-2


Joe Jasinski, Navigators Sports Information Department

BOX SCORE

A deficit was built. A comeback proceeded. But in the end, perhaps the most unlikely of causes sent the Navigators home with their third loss of the six-game road trip: a run in the bottom of the ninth given up by the bullpen.

A walk-off RBI single by shortstop Joe DePinto in the bottom of the ninth allowed the Torrington Twisters to defeat the North Shore Navigators, 3-2.

Scoring runs earlier and being more aggressive were items the Navigators could have performed better, Head Coach Jason Falcon said.

“Instead of putting pressure on them, we put all the pressure on ourselves,” Falcon said.

An impressive battle between starting pitchers Wayde Kitchens and Andrew Triggs (USC) developed early, with both pitchers surrendering four hits combined through the first five and a half innings.

After leaving five runners on through the first five innings, Torrington’s offense found the scoreboard in the sixth. After Jonathan Cluff (BYU) reached on an infield error and Jaren Mathews (Rutgers) earned a walk to put runners on first and second, Aaron Barrows (E. Kentucky) singled to left to score Cluff. After stealing third, Mathews sprinted home on a ground ball out to Kyle Geason for the Twisters’ second run of the inning.

The second run marked the end of Kitchens’ night. He has continued to pitch well on the season, fanning four batters in his five and two-thirds innings of work, allowing one earned run on four hits. He also walked three batters.

“I don’t know if I would say [Kitchens] was shaky, I just think he threw a lot of pitches,” Falcon said.

“They fouled off a lot of pitches and his pitch count got real high and, you know, we are not out here to burn out guys, so we decided to cut him short.

The next half inning, the Navigators managed to cut the lead in half. Mike Provencher led off the inning with a single down the third base line. Sean McNaughton followed suit, belting a towering single off the left field fence to put runners on first and second base. A passed ball advanced the runners, and Nick Belcher executed, smacking a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Provencher from third.

After relieving Kitchens and escaping a jam in the sixth inning, Ryan Krull pitched the seventh and eighth innings without allowing a hit.

“[Krull] is getting better and better with each time out, and I think his numbers indicate that,” Falcon said. “He is part of that bullpen that is just outstanding.”

Early season nerves contributed to his shaky start to the season, but he is beginning to settle down and pitch more effectively, Krull said.

“I was new to the league, and wanted to come out and impress some people, and just put a little too much pressure on myself” he said. “I just kind of settled in there, and I am getting in a groove, so I’ve just got to keep throwing well.”

With three outs left, the Navigator bats refused to be silenced. Provencher led off the ninth with a roped triple over the centerfielder’s head. McNaughton then knocked a sacrifice fly to centerfield, allowing Provencher to cross the plate for the second time on the night.

Torrington would not let the North Shore comeback spoil their night.

Chris Kowalski came in for the ninth inning, and after retiring the first two batters effortlessly, allowed a single to Corey Shimada (Utah) to keep the inning alive. Shimada then stole second base, and on the ensuing pitch, was brought home when DePinto slapped the game-winning single to left field.

The loss was Kowalski’s first of the season. His 2.79 earned run average is seventh best on the staff.

“All my guys out of that bullpen did a great job, even Kowalski,” Falcon said. “He had a situation where a hit wins the game and, you know, you just tip your hat to them.”

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Navs' late run tops SteepleCats, 3-2

Zander Kean, Navigators Sports Information Department

Last night in Newport, the North Shore Navigators opened up a lead and never looked back en route to a six-run victory. But Saturday night in North Adams the SteepleCats put up a fight, holding the Navs’ offense in check for the first eight innings.

But a pair of subsitutes got the job done in the top of the ninth. With one out and pinch runner Chad Zurcher on second, pinch hitter John Hill sent a single up the middle and into centerfield, scoring Zurcher to give the Navs the 3-2 lead That proved to be the final score, as North Shore (8-4) recorded its second straight win.

“It was huge," Zurcher said. "Extra innings would’ve been tough on pitching, and we’d aleady started subbing people in trying to win at that point. So it was great for him to see that pitch and drive it up the middle and get me in.”

The SteepleCats (4-6) picked up the game’s first run in the bottom of the first off North Shore starter Jimmy Lisowski. Leadoff hitter Nick Shaw bounced an infield single to second, then stole second to get into scoring position with nobody out.

After Lisowski struck out John Malloy, Kevin Carby moved Shaw over to third with a line-drive single into left field. First baseman Paul Holimoy followed that up with a sacrifice fly to right, sending in Carby to give North Adams the early 1-0 lead.

Lisowski threw more than 20 pitches in that first inning, but said that he was able to refocus himself before returning to the mound.

"It kinda sticks in your head that you’ve got to come out and get ahead of batters and get quick outs. It makes you want to pitch more efficiently, throw less pitches, get first ball swinging and things like that."

For the second straight night, the Navs found themselves down a run a the end of the first. And just like in Friday’s game against Newport, the Navs rebounded in the top of the third to give themselves the lead.

With one out, Kyle Geason, Justin Little and Tyler Kuehl lined back-to-back-to-back singles, the last scoring Geason to tie the score at 1. After a double-steal put runners on second and third, Mike Provencher knocked in Little with a groundout to short to give the Navs a 2-1 lead.

Provencher came into tonight’s game on fire, with three home runs over the past two days. He continued his hot hitting in the first, ripping a two-out double down the left field line.

The SteepleCats gave starter Nick Serino a little more to work with in their half of the third. With runners on the corners and two out, a Lisowski fastball popped out of the glove of catcher Jay McConnell, giving Malloy enough room to even the score at 2-2.

Serino settled down after yielding the two runs in the third. He only allowed one more hit – a single to Peter Fatse – before leaving after the top of the seventh. In those seven innings of work, Serino gave up a total of two runs on five hits, striking out six in the process. He walked just one batter.

But North Adams was not able to capitalize on Serino’s effort, largely due to Lisowski’s ability to pitch out of jams in the middle innings. With a runner on second and two out in the sixth inning, the southpaw finished his outing by fanning Brian Adams.

Lisowski yielded two runs on four hits, and though he gave up two walks, matched Serino with six strikeouts. Jason Markovitz kept up the momentum, pitching two hitless innings in relief.

"I felt good coming out today, I felt good warming up in the pen," Lisowski said. "I was hoping the bats would come along and we'd get some runs early, so I wanted to keep throwing strikes and keep giving us a chance to win."

Once the Navigators regained the lead in the top of the ninth, Chris Prescott shut down North Adams in order to record his fifth save of the young season.

With the win, the Navs moved to within one game of the NECBL North Division-leading Keene Swamp Bats – pending Keene’s result against the Danbury Westerners.

"It's the kind of win they'll have to draw upon later on," head coach Jason Falcon said. "There's going to be more games like this later on, so it's good to know they can come back and do something like that."

Tomorrow, North Shore concludes its six-game roadtrip with a game against the Torrington Twisters.

‘Team effort’ allows Navs to silence Gulls, 7-1

Joe Jasinski, Navigators Sports Information Department

One pitch. One run.

Nick Santomauro (Dartmouth) welcomed starting pitcher Mike Gallo and the Navigators to Newport is grand fashion; a first-pitch leadoff home run to right-centerfield.

Seven innings later, the scoreboard still read “One” for Newport, as Gallo marched triumphantly off the mound, en route to his second win of the season.

Behind a three RBI-night from hot-hitting Mike Provencher, The Navigators (7-4) handily defeated the Newport Gulls (6-3) 7-1 in front of 2,152 fans at Cardines Park.

Gallo, whose wicked curveball painted corner after corner, gave up one run on five hits through his seven innings of work, striking out seven batters and walking three. While the gameplan was to “pitch backwards” with first-pitch breaking balls to keep hitters off-balance, the curveball is not usually his inclination, Gallo said.

“Honestly…I am mostly a fastball, slider and changeup pitcher,” Gallo said. “Tonight in the bullpen, you know, I’ve always fooled around with the curveball, and it was dropping in, and I am really happy that I got that going tonight. That was probably a big part of my success.”

The offense began its campaign in the third inning.

After a hit batsman, infield single and walk, to load the bases in the third inning, Provencher knocked in Chad Zurcher for the first Navigator run after beating the throw to first on a weak chopper down the third base line. Jay McConnell then walked to bring in Justin Little. The Navs collected two more runs when Newport third-basemen Alex Gregory (Radford) mishandled a hot shot from Sean McNaughton, bringing home Ryan Kuehl and Provencher.

The threat of proactive baserunning allowed the Navigators to capitalize on mistakes, Head Coach Jason Falcon said.

“I think there was a lot of speed on the base paths for us in that [third inning],” Falcon said. “That third basemen was caught in some tough situations with Justin Little. He just forces guys to make plays. I think the idea of him on the basepaths is what really frightens people.”

Despite the seven run performance, the Navigators did not register a hit out of the infield until the top of the sixth inning, when Chad Zurcher slapped a single to right field.

Nonetheless, the Navigator offense put the game out of hand in the seventh inning.

After Kuehl singled to lead off the inning, Provencher punished a Matt Quinn (Maryland) offering over the right-centerfield fence, plating two more for the Navigators, and increasing the deficit to five. It was Provencher’s third road-tripper in two games.

“[I have been] slowing things down in batting practice a lot,” Provencher said. “Those first couple weeks you get a little antsy against pitchers like this, so you just have to start slowing down the game and it starts working out.”

The Navigators’ bullpen united for two innings of relief; Jason Markowitz with a perfect eighth inning and Chris Kowalski in the ninth. Each pitcher had two strikeouts, totaling 11 for Navigator pitchers on the night.

“You get the good pitching that we have been getting, you know our guys have been going six or seven [innings] deep, we have got to make sure these guys are staying fresh,” Falcon said.

The win keeps the Navigators in second place in the Northern Division, trailing only the Keene Swampbats, who were 8-1 entering Friday night. Newport, who had a 1 ½ game lead on Manchester entering Friday night, remains atop the Southern Division despite the loss.

The Navigators next game is Saturday night against the North Adams Steeplecats. They return to Fraser Field on Monday, June 23 to take on the Torrington Twisters.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Navs lose battle of the long ball

by Zander Kean, Navigators Sports Information Department
BOX

The North Shore Navigators came into Thursday night’s game against the Keene Swamp Bats still looking for their first home run of the 2008 NECBL season.

And in the top of the eighth, Mike Provencher delivered, sending a 3-2 offering from Swamp Bat reliever Adam Kolarek sailing over the short porch in right-center. He did it again the following inning, this time to left-center off closer Matt Jebb.

But the bombs weren’t enough, as Keene picked up three home runs of their own and defeated the Navs, 4-3.

The Navigators (6-4) looked poised to get the offense going against Keene (8-1) starter James Wise in the top of the second. Sean McNaughton ripped a one-out double into the gap in right-center, but was thrown out at third on a Provencher grounder. Provencher was then caught stealing for the third out of the inning.

North Shore’s baserunning woes continued in the third, as Peter Fatse was picked off on a snap throw by Keene catcher Dan Petro.

Though the North Shore offense did not provide any run support, Mike DiCato started strong in his second appearance in a Navigator uniform. He retired the first eight Swamp Bat hitters, and did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning.

But that first hit wasn’t cheap, as Keene centerfielder Alex Lee drove a first-pitch fastball over the right-centerfield fence to give the Swamp Bats a 1-0 advantage.

Keene extended their lead in the following inning. With one out, Chris Trembley lined a single to center, then reached second when Kyle Geason bobbled a grounder off the bat of Dan Grovat.

DiCato then struck out John Barr, but gave up a run-scoring single to Paul Karmas, putting the Swamp Bats ahead, 2-0. With runners on second and third, DiCato bounced back to fan designated hitter John Chester, preventing any further damage.

For Keene, Wise matched DiCato’s output on the hill. He overpowered the Navigator hitters with his fastball, facing the minimum number of hitters through the first six innings.

The Navigators had their best chance to score against Wise in the seventh inning. Justin Little and Tyler Kuehl led off the inning with back-to-back singles, putting the Navs’ fastest runner in scoring position with nobody out.

But Wise struck out John Hill and Nick Belcher, and got McNaughton to ground out to short, ending the rally. Wise left after the inning, giving up just three hits. He struck out four Navigators and walked one.

The Swamp Bats doubled their lead in the bottom of the inning on a pair of solo home runs by Petro and Casey McGrew. Jose Macias then chased DiCato from the game with a single to right.

In his six and one-third innings on the mound, DiCato gave up four runs – all earned – on six hits. He did demonstrate excellent control, striking out seven Swamp Bats against not a single walk.

After Provencher’s blast in the eighth cut the deficit to 4-1, pinch hitter Jay McConnell nearly gave the Navigators their second home run of the inning – and the season. He drove a Kolarek pitch deep to right, but McGrew ran under it and made the catch just in front of the 354-foot wall.

The Navigators gave it the old college try in the top of the ninth. Hill reached on a throwing error and came around to score on a Belcher groundout. Provencher’s second dinger cut the deficit to one, but Jebb got Fatse to pop out to short to record the final out.

Though the bats didn’t always come through, the Navs put together a few stellar defensive plays in the field. Centerfielder Justin Little – in just his second start since returning from an arm injury – made a backhanded diving catch in the second inning.

Then in the eighth, Chad Zurcher made a leaping grab at shortstop, doubling off the runner on first.

With the loss, the Navigators fell two-and-a-half games behind the Swamp Bats in the NECBL Northern Divison. The team continues its six-game road trip tomorrow night against the Newport Gulls.

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