Navs Walk Off Vermont in NECBL Return, 4-3

06/04/2021 8:36 PM

By Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. -- Playing their first New England Collegiate Baseball League game in nine years, the North Shore Navigators scored three runs in the first inning and talled the winner in the ninth to walk off with a 4-3 win over the Vermont Mountaineers in Friday night’s season opener at Fraser Field.

The Navs opened the season with a win for the third straight year after center fielder Joe Lomuscio (Stanford) drove home pinch runner Dylan Brazil (Stetson) with the deciding run on a sacrifice fly to right field. Designated hitter Ryan Marra (Brown) and right fielder Jose Aquino (Cisco) each finished the game with two of North Shore’s seven hits, while Lomuscio was responsible for two of the four RBI.

The North Shore offense started up quickly in the first inning as three straight hitters reached base with one out and later came around to score against Vermont starter Joshua Becker (UMass Lowell), who struck out four and allowed three runs on three hits over the first three frames.

Second baseman Matthias Haas (Brown) and first baseman Logan Bravo (Harvard) became the first Navs baserunners of the season on back-to-back walks, setting the table for Marra’s run-scoring hit through the left side. After Aquino drove home Bravo on a grounder to short, Lomuscio’s knock to right extended the cushion to three.

Second-year veteran Luke Marshall (Stonehill) was strong on the mound for North Shore as he allowed just one hit over the first four complete innings. The Swampscott native retired five of the six batters after right fielder Casey Mayes (Michigan State) recorded Vermont’s first hit of the game in the second.

The Mountaineers found their way onto the scoreboard after Marshall walked two and shortstop Keagan Calero (UMass Lowell) beat out a one-out bunt single in the fifth. Vermont’s first runs came home when second baseman Anthony D’Onofrio (Hofstra) and third baseman Vincent Cimini (Boston College) reached base on a hit batter and walk, respectively, but Navs reliever Cedric Gillette (Merrimack) recovered to induce a 6-4-3 double play to keep the home team in front.

The visitors tied the game an inning later as Calero hit a two-out RBI single -- his second hit as part of a 2-for-4 night -- to bring in Mayes following a fielder’s choice and stolen base. Jackson Emus (Princeton) followed Gillette out of the bullpen and induced an inning-ending flyout.

Aquino led off the sixth inning with a single and reached third before North Shore stranded the bases loaded. The Navs also left two runners aboard in the following two frames, but they were able to bring home the winning run in the ninth after Marra singled and Brazil scored following Aquino’s infield single, an error and Lomuscio’s sac fly.

Austin Amaral (Stetson) worked two scoreless, hitless innings and struck out one to earn the victory after Emus allowed just one knock while recording the previous four outs.

North Shore makes its first road trip of the season to take on the North Adams SteepleCats on Saturday night. First pitch from Joe Wolfe Field is set for 6:30 p.m.