07/18/2019 8:47 PM
By Joshua Kummins
LYNN, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators extended their season-long winning streak to five games as they scored often early and held on for a 10-7 triumph over the Westfield Starfires to open up the home stretch of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s regular season on Thursday night at Fraser Field.
North Shore extended its lead atop the FCBL standings to two games and improved to 24-17 on the season. Westfield fell to 12-27 as a result of its third straight loss, despite recording 11 hits as a team.
Center fielder Ben Malgeri (Holy Cross) went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, while catcher Nolan Watson (Dayton) scored twice after recording extra-base hits, including a fourth-inning home run and a triple. Right fielder Kade Kretzschmar (Dartmouth) also crossed the plate for two runs as part of North Shore’s eight-hit attack.
Navs starter Trystan Sarcone (Dartmouth) walked the first three Starfires he faced before striking out the next two and inducing a pop to first baseman Dominic Freeberger (UNC Asheville) to strand the bases loaded. From there, the North Shore offense went to work.
North Shore used a single hit to score two runs and take an early lead in its half of the opening frame. After Kretzschmar drew a leadoff walk, left fielder Sean Lawlor (Flagler) brought him home with a triple into the left-center gap and scored himself when Freeberger drove a sacrifice fly to right.
The left-handed Sarcone faced the minimum number of batters over the next two frames, thanks to a pickoff and shortstop Logan Bravo’s (Harvard) unassisted double play, but the Navs broke the short scoreless drought and broke the game wide open with a five-run fourth.
Malgeri started the key run-scoring frame with a single to left and took second on Freeberger’s grounder back to the mound before scoring on Bravo’s grounder deep into the shortstop hole. Second baseman Keagan Calero (UMass Lowell) drove in the home team’s fourth run with a double inside the third base bag, stole third, and scored on the Westfield catcher’s throwing error.
After designated hitter Louis Olivieri (Central Alabama CC) hit a one-out single to center, Watson continued the fourth-inning offense with a two-run homer over the wall in left. Watson became the ninth Navs batter to leave the yard this year.
Sarcone struck out a season-high seven batters over five innings of one-hit ball en route to his second win as a Navigator. North Shore’s offense kept up the production in the sixth after Malgeri lined a two-out, two-run single up the middle, scoring Kretzschmar and third baseman Andrew Olszak (Southern Maine) after a walk and error.
Lynn native Angel Hernandez (Western Oklahoma State) was strong out of the bullpen in his North Shore debut, striking out four through three innings of four-hit ball. Hernandez did not allow a run for the first 2.2 frames of his outing, but pinch hitter Tyler Coppo (Hartford) hit a two-out triple and scored on right fielder Sean Murphy’s (Gettysburg) two-run homer in the eighth. Westfield’s first three runs were all unearned as Bravo made an error to begin the inning.
The Navs answered Westfield’s run with one of their own in the bottom of the eighth as Watson tripled to right and scored on a passed ball.
The insurance turned out to be important as Westfield scored four runs on six hits against Hunter Wilichoski (Northern Essex CC) in the ninth. Five of those hits came in succession with one out, including first baseman Thomas Joyce’s (Merrimack) two-run double.
Former St. Mary’s standout Matt Costanza (American International) added an RBI hit as part of a 2-for-2 effort off the Starfires bench, but left fielder Christian Walsh (UMass) struck out against the Hamilton native Wilichoski to end the game with two runners on base.
The Navs return to Fraser Field and conclude their three-game homestand with a Friday doubleheader against the second-place Brockton Rox. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.