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.

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