Friday, July 25, 2008

Navs fall to Sanford, 5-3

Joseph Gravellese, Navigators Sports Information Department

After cruising through six innings, Navigators starting pitcher Matt Costello ran into trouble in the seventh, putting the first two Sanford batters on base. As he has done so many times this season, Coach Jason Falcon turned to the bullpen to put out the fire, bringing in Jason Markovitz to protect the Navs’ 3-1 lead.

This time, however, the bullpen couldn’t hold back the prolific Sanford Mainers offense, who scored four unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings en route to a 5-3 victory over North Shore at Fraser Field.

Markovitz took the loss out of the bullpen – his first defeat of the season (4-1). Mike Wilson gutted through 6 2/3 innings, overcoming back-to-back home runs by Kent Graham and Frank Pesanello in the second inning to pick up the victory (3-1). Wilson allowed three runs on five hits, striking out four and walking three. It was not his best outing of the season, but it was enough to give Sanford a huge win.

With the win, Sanford ties North Shore for first place in the NECBL Northern division. The Navs are 22-11 while Sanford improves to 23-12.

The seventh inning breakdown began when Costello walked Devin Harris on four pitches. The next batter, Klint Reed, hit a deep grounder to short that was good enough for an infield single.

“There was [thought of taking him out after six innings], but [Sanford] had their eight, nine and one hitters up, so I said, ‘Okay… he has got a lefty to start the inning,” said Falcon after the game. “He was going to come out after that leadoff lefty, so who knows.”

“It wasn’t the pitch count so much as I just wanted to go one more, then give it to the bullpen,” explained Costello. “I wasn’t planning on giving up an infield single and walking a guy. If I didn’t walk guys, then hey, we win that ballgame.”

The early jam triggered Falcon to call on Markowitz, who has been virtually untouchable this year, giving up just one run on thirteen hits in fifteen appearances coming into the game.

The Mainers were undeterred. They roared back to take the lead - with the help of a few fortunate rolls.

Will Greenberg stepped up with the intention of sacrificing the two runners into scoring position, but his bunt was perfectly placed, allowing Greenberg to fly into first to load the bases.

Things went from bad to worse with Matthew Nandin at the plate. Nandin squibbed one down the first base line, to the left of the pitcher’s mound. Markovitz slipped as he attempted to play it, keeping the bases loaded and allowing a run to score to cut the Navs’ lead to 3-2. The next batter, Kyle Groth, reached on a fielder’s choice to tie the score.

Pinch hitter Gregory Hopkins was then hit in the arm with a 1-2 fastball, allowing Sanford to take a 4-3 lead without the benefit of a single hard hit ball in the inning. Markovitz recovered to strike out Brian Harris and Corey Hunt, but the damage was done.

“For Jason Markowitz to hit a batter, especially a pinch hitter who was batting .150, is a freak play,” said Falcon. “I don’t know why we were throwing that pitch, maybe it just got away from him. Maybe it got loose.”

Sanford finally got their hard hit ball in the eighth. Devin Harris welcomed Chris Kowalski to the game with a mammoth home run to the deepest part of center field, giving the Mainers a crucial insurance run. It capped a big day for Harris, who reached base three times, scored two runs, and stole a base.

North Shore was unable to recover, as Nick Centatiempo and Tony Chisman teamed up for 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief to close out the win.

The Navigators struck first against Wilson with their first back-to-back homers in the second. Graham hit one to left that barely cleared the wall to make it 1-0. Pesanello then one-upped him with a no-doubter, extending North Shore’s early lead.

Things continued to look good for the home team in the bottom of the third. Sean McNaughton continued his torrid pace with his seventh triple of the season to lead it off. Then, cleanup hitter Nick Belcher scorched one toward third that took an odd bounce over the head of Hunt, plating McNaughton.

The Mainers responded immediately with a run in the fourth. Costello walked D’Alfonso to start it, and Branson Joseph brought him home, dropping a triple over the head of Justin Little in center.

Eight Mainers batters reached base in the game, with only Hunt going 0-for-4.

On the flip side, McNaughton was the only Navigator with a multiple hit game, tripling in the third and singling in the fifth. McNaughton ended the day 2-for-4 with a run scored. Additionally, Little walked three times and stole a base, continuing his production from the top of the order.

The Navs have very little time to recover from this difficult loss, as they must get on a bus tonight to Keene, NH. They will stay in Keene overnight before playing the Swamp Bats tomorrow morning at 11 AM. After that game, they will travel home to face Vermont in their regularly scheduled game at 6 PM in Lynn.

It’s the start of a busy stretch for North Shore, who will play nine games in six days.

“It is a heavy schedule. But we are going up to Keene tonight, so we will be well rested,” said Markovitz following the game. “We have got to take it to them tomorrow, a little revenge, because they have been killing us at their little field. We have got to come in with a little chip on our shoulder and take care of business.”

Fans can keep up with all the action at the team’s official website,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how about today's 11:00 game - is anyone going to be doing the blog or posting some type of update about the game??

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