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.


Anonymous said...

Serino had one walk

Joe J said...

I apologize for the error. I was scoring the game, so I'll take the heat. Since we usually write up the game story before looking at the official scorebook, we're prone to reporting slightly inaccurate stat lines. Sorry again, hopefully I can keep better count in the future.

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