Saturday, July 26, 2008
Folino deals, Navs handle Vermont 8-0
Joe Jasinski, Navigators Sports Information Department
The Navigators were “one swing away,” Head Coach Jason Falcon said, of winning this morning’s match-up against the Keene Swamp Bats. Instead, they dropped the first of two games on today’s agenda, 6-5. Coming back to Lynn to play the Vermont Mountaineers, the Navigators needed an inspiration to get back in rhythm.
It is safe to say that John Folino provided that inspiration.
Folino pitched a magnificent seven innings, allowing only two hits and striking out seven Vermont hitters. He retired the last fourteen batters he faced in succession.
Behind Folino and a three-run home run by Nick Belcher in the first inning, the Navigators soundly dismantled the Vermont Mountaineers 8-0, bringing North Shore even with Sanford in the divisional standings (discounting Sanford’s result tonight).
It was Folino’s ability to locate the strike zone early in the count that allowed him to be so effective, Head Coach Jason Falcon said.
“Strike one, Falcon said. “That’s the basics of the game. The compliment I got from him came from the third baseman, who said that he threw everything where you need to and he didn’t throw anything that was hittable.”
Falcon made several changes in the lineup as well. Chad Zurcher was placed second in the lineup, Sean McNaughton was placed third and Mike Provencher batted behind McNaughton in the clean-up spot.
“Every now and then it’s good to mix up the lineup and have guys see some different pitches,” Falcon said. “I think that Chad Zurcher is one example of a guy who’s really starting to see the ball well.”
A three-run, two-out first inning rally gave the Navs an early lead.
After Vermont starting pitcher Eric Katzman (Michigan) struck out Justin Little and Chad Zurcher, Sean McNaughton laced a double down the third base line to continue the inning. Mike Provencher walked on four pitches to place runners on first and second base. Belcher then connected on a fastball, launching his first home run of the season over the left-center field fence.
A five-hit, four-run third inning widened the North Shore lead.
With one out, the Navigators collected four straight singles, culminating in a two-run single to shallow left field by Tyler Kuehl.
“I just wanted to get some hits because I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Kuehl said. “I didn’t have my hardest hits ever but they fell in, and they all count."
Kuehl’s single brought his season-RBI total to 25, second-best on the Navigators behind McNaughton (30).
Kent Graham then brought home Belcher on a deep sacrifice fly. Frank Pasanello’s RBI-double that scored Kuehl concluded the rally, and gave North Shore a 7-0 lead.
RJ Preach (Arizona St.) came in to relieve Katzman at the start of the sixth inning, but was unable to survive his first inning unharmed. After leading off the inning with a single, Justin Little trotted home after McNaughton cracked a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
It was Preach’s only inning of work, as he was then relieved by AJ Balsinde to begin the seventh.
Ryan Krull and Chris Prescott combined to work two innings of scoreless baseball. Krull allowed one hit in the eighth inning.
With one out in the top of the ninth inning, pinch-hitter Ethan Paquette hit a ball to left-center field for what appeared to be a single. Giving chase was Little, who made a diving catch to his right for the second out of the inning.
McNaughton’s double in the first inning was his thirteenth of the season, putting him in second place behind Matt Adams of Pittsfield for most in the NECBL.