Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Navs Weekly Wrap: 6/24 - 7/1

A pair of rainouts cut the Navs' week short, but the team was able to put together a 4-1 record, including divisional wins over Vermont and Holyoke. The pitching staff has continued to excel. After Adam Herter shut out Manchester for 8 1/3 innings, three straight starters - Mike DiCato, Mike Gallo and Jimmy Lisowski - gave up exactly one run over seven innings in their starts this week.

Game Capsules

6/25: Navs 6, Pittsfield 3
After a rainout on Monday, the Navs had two days off to bounce back from their 3-2 loss against Torrington. With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth and Pittsfield up 3-2, Justin Little beat out a grounder to second, tying the game and keeping the Navs alive. Tyler Kuehl singled to give the Navs the lead for good, and Sean McNaughton followed by knocking in two more insurance runs. Chris Prescott shut down the Pittsfield bats in the bottom of the inning to give North Shore the victory.

6/26: Navs 2, Manchester 0
The Navs played their first game at Fraser Field in over a week, and starter Adam Herter did not disappoint. He went 8 1/3 shutout innings, getting out of several jams to preserve a one-run lead. That one run came off the bat of Mike Provencher, who blasted his fourth home run of the season in the bottom of the first. Herter left with two runners on in the ninth, but Jason Markovitz came on to shut the Silkworm offense down and preserve the win.

6/27: Navs 8, Vermont 2
The Navs hit the road again, this time all the way up to Montpelier, Vermont to take on the Mountaineers. In the top of the seventh, Provencher broke open a 1-1 game with a three-run double. That lead was enough for Mike DiCato and the Navigator pitching staff, as DiCato earned his second win of the season by throwing seven innings of one-run baseball. The win allowed the Navs to remain tied with the Sanford Mainers for first place in the NECBL Northern Division.

6/28: Vermont 3, Navs 2
Mike Gallo matched DiCato’s effort on the mound with seven one-run innings of his own, but Vermont starter Casey Harman was even better, holding the North Shore bats in check over his six innings of work. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the Navs came roaring back. With Provencher on first, back-to-back doubles by Nick Belcher and Kuehl cut the deficit to 3-2. But the rally ended there, as Dusty Odenbach struck out Kent Graham and Ryan McCrann for the game’s final two outs.

6/30: Navs 9, Holyoke 1
A fantastic performance from Sean McNaughton got the North Shore offense back on track. He went 4-for-4 at the plate – a single, a double and two triples – and drove in four runs. Provencher added a two-run double of his own, giving Jimmy Lisowski more than enough run support. Lisowski pitched seven strong innings (5H 1R 3K 2BB) to pick up his first win of the season. The victory brought the Navs to within one game of Sanford at the top of the Northern Division.

Graham returns to lineup
In the weeks leading up to the start of the Navs’ season, one of the most talked about stories was Trinity College’s run at both the NCAA Division III Championship and an undefeated season. Kent Graham was one of the centerpieces of that team, starting at first base and batting in the middle of the order throughout the team’s incredible run. Just days after taking home the National Championship, Graham arrived in Lynn looking to build on that momentum and lead the Navigator offense. And in the first inning of the season opener against Vermont, Graham delivered with a double to left field that sent in the first North Shore run of the season.

Soon after opening night, Graham injured his back and was out of the lineup. He has missed most of the last two weeks - including the entire recent seven-game road trip – in order to rehab and get back into the lineup. And Saturday night he made that return, starting at first against the Mountaineers. Though he went 0-4 at the plate – including a strikeout in the bottom of the ninth, Graham made several outstanding plays around the first base bag. After the game, he talked about how glad he was to be back in action.

“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."

Lefty Power
Lefthanders are a rare commodity on this year’s team, but the squad’s few southpaws have made their presence felt on the mound. Opening day starter Jimmy Lisowski has put together a 0.96 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .197 batting average in his three starts, picking up his first win of the season against Holyoke on Monday. He also recorded the win in the team’s exhibition game against Team USA - though the stats from that contest don’t officially count.

As good as Lisowski has been, the two southpaws in the North Shore bullpen have been just as effective. In 11 1/3 innings, setup man Jason Markovitz has yielded no earned runs and just four hits. He’s picked up three wins and a save in his eight appearances. And Bellarmine University’s Ryan Krull hasn’t been too shabby himself. Krull admits that he struggled in his first two appearances, but has been lights-out since.

“My first couple outings, I was a little nervous. 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. I just kind of settled in there, and I am getting in a groove, so I’ve just got to keep throwing well.

Last Wednesday in Pittsfield, after Mike Adams was taken out in the third inning, Krull entered the game with the bases loaded and two out. Krull struck out the lone batter he faced in that inning and dominated for another three, preventing Pittsfield from extending its 3-2 lead. The Navs capitalized on the performance by Krull and the rest of the bullpen, sending four men across the plate in the top of the ninth en route to a 6-3 victory.

New Addition
Hailing from Barnstable, MA and Volunteer State Community College, Matt Costello is the Navigators’ newest addition. This past season, Costello made 14 starts and recorded a 9-4 record and a 2.86 ERA. But he didn’t stop there; in 114 at bats, Costello hit for a .377 average (best on the team) and blasted 11 home runs (tied for best on the team).

In just one game with the Navs, Costello has already shown his versatility – though he is listed as a pitcher on the North Shore roster, he started at first base and went 1-for-3 at the plate against Holyoke.

This Week's Schedule
Wed. 7/2: @ Vermont
Thu. 7/3: @ Keene
Fri. 7/4: @ Holyoke
Sat. 7/5: @ Sanford
Sun. 7/6: vs. Keene
Mon. 7/7: vs. Danbury
Tue. 7/8: @ Lowell

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