Friday, August 1, 2008

Navs clinch home-field in 'extra' special win

Joe Jasinski, Navigators Sports Information Department

The scenario was simple: If the Navigators defeated the Torrington Twisters, they would secure second place in the NECBL Northern Division, and more importantly, home-field in the first round of the playoffs.

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.

After nine and a half innings of scoreless baseball, Kent Graham singled home Tyler Kuehl from third base with the bases loaded for the winning – and only – run.

“We just needed that win any way we could get it,” Graham said. “We would like to do it another way besides the bottom of the tenth, but any time you get a win in this league it is good.”

While the majority of offensive endeavors were unsuccessful, pitchers from both teams did not share the same misfortune.

Navigators starting pitcher Mike DiCato, whose last start came on July 19, delivered eight innings of shutout baseball, surrendering three hits while striking out and walking four batters each.

Pitching with modest offensive support is something DiCato has dealt with all season, Assistant Coach Kristaps Aldins said.

“I think that he just has not gotten the runs,” he said. “He has been one of the most hard-bitten starters that we have had. We just have not scored runs for him, but today he needed a run and he held it up.”

DiCato’s adversary, Torrington starter Danny Beck (2-4), pitched the entire nine and one third innings, giving up nine hits while walking five batters and striking out three.

After giving up a leadoff double to Alejandro Crisostamo (St. Augustine) in the top of the second inning, DiCato went on to strike out the next three batters, escaping the inning and preserving the shutout.

The three strikeouts commenced a sequence in which DiCato retired 12 batters in a row. The streak was broken up when Corey Shimada (Utah) singled to lead off the top of the sixth inning.

“I felt pretty good out there all the way through,” DiCato said. “I was commanding all three of my pitches. That is pretty much it. I felt good.”

Despite loading the bases in the fifth inning, the Navigators were unable to capitalize as Sean McNaughton flew out to left for the third out.

The Navigators left 13 runners on base in the game.

Tyler Kuehl led off the tenth inning with a single to left field. Despite going 0-for-4 in the game, McNaughton dropped a sacrifice bunt, allowing Kuehl to advance to second base with one out. After Nick Belcher and pinch-hitting Frank Pesanello were intentionally walked, Graham hit a grounder to second base with the infield in. The throw to the plate was mishandled by Torrington catcher Bryson Rahier (San Jose St.), allowing Kuehl to cross home plate.

“I think that we are finding ways to win,” Aldins said. “You are going to go through stretches at times when you are not swinging the bat or you are not pitching too well. But good teams are going to find a way to win, and I think we have been able to do that.”

Two North Shore pitchers – Chris Kowalski and Ryan Krull (1-0) – each gave an inning of relief, allowing a single hit combined.

The Navigators will open their playoff series against the Keene Swamp Bats on Saturday, August 2 at Fraser Field in Lynn. The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Keene won the season series with North Shore, taking four of the six meetings.

“I think we really, really have shown that we are a very talented ball club,” Aldins said. “We have had some ups and downs, but I think these guys expect to win. I think our guys believe that we are the best team in this league.”


Anonymous said...

home field advantage is great but its not gonna mean anything if the coach keeps making decisions with his heart and not his head. coaching is tough,but like somebody wrote thursday its time to seperate the men from the boys

Anonymous said...

i hope that the bats come alive and help these pitchers out for a change!! we have the best pitching staff in the league and if we can string some hits together and bring in those base runners instead of the other way around by stranding them. this is going to be fun:)

Anonymous said...

Coach Falcon has done a wonderful job- the team would not be where they are today without his coaching. And it has been nice to see that he believes in his players and when they are in a "rut" - he stands behind them.

Yes the Nav's have the best pitching stats for the NECBL (I double ck'd main website to confirm) and we might of been in first if it were not for some errors at the end of some games, BUT you play as a team and win as a team.

So going into playoffs - let's hope that the Nav's bats wake up and that the pitchers stay hot. We do have some awesome closers:)

Anonymous said...

The coach has done a good job, the players have done a great job that is why they are where they are today. But lets put personnel favorites aside and play to win, the players deserve to win.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is talking about pitching here, were talking bats. Yes everyone goes into a rut but if your not hitting for the playoffs you shouldn't be in the line up.

Anonymous said...

The pitchers are the best, the 3 starters have +40 innings, 2 of them are below 1.5 era. one has a 2 era and the last has a 4 era. then there are 5 of them with 25 innings pitches and 2 others that are +20... they have the strongest and most disciplined bunch of hurlers, I just wish that they were that disciplined at the plate!! we are now in theplayoffs and the true monster will show there fangs and take a bite out of there opponents. GO NAVS SHOW US YOUR STUFF:) !:)

Anonymous said...

Sorry - you did misunderstnad me - I was not having any "personnel favorites", just confirming somone's comment about the pitching; stating the Coach staff has done a wonderful job; and that they ARE A TEAM and all must support each other - win or lose.

Visitor map