06/05/2021 9:15 PM
By Joshua Kummins
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Eleven innings were not enough to decide a winner on Saturday night as the North Shore Navigators and North Adams SteepleCats played to a 4-4 tie in New England Collegiate Baseball League action at Joe Wolfe Field.
The result keeps North Shore unbeaten on the young season with a 1-0-1 record, while North Adams is still looking for its first victory at 0-1-1.
The Navs made their six hits by six different players count, but neither team was able to plate a go-ahead or winning run with runners placed on second base under the NECBL’s International Tie Breaker. Designated hitter Ryan Marra (Brown) launched the team’s first home run of the season in the third inning, while center fielder Hunter Baldwin (Harvard) scored two runs.
North Adams tied the game in the eighth as left fielder Matt Shilling (Liberty) hit the game-tying single just over second base. The North Shore bullpen combination of Justin Butera (Merrimack) and Michael Willis (Georgetown) held the hosts scoreless over the final three frames, with Willis striking out two batters in the 11th.
North Shore got its offense going in the first inning of the summer’s first road game and for the second consecutive night. Center fielder Hunter Baldwin (Harvard) and shortstop Matthias Haas (Cal Poly) drew back-to-back walks to begin the game before coming home to score.
After first baseman Logan Bravo (Harvard) followed the two free passes with a bloop single into shallow right, right fielder Jose Aquino (Cisco) reached on a hard-hit grounder to first that brought home the first run and third baseman Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) beat out a double play for a fielder’s choice.
Navs starter Todd Tringale (Northern Essex CC) retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the first inning, but the hosts cut their deficit in half on designated hitter Lucas Donlon’s (Virginia Tech) two-out, two-strike double down the line in right during the following frame.
The Saugus native Tringale worked the first four innings in his first start and appearance of the summer. Jay Driver (Harvard) also pitched scoreless ball in immediate relief.
One swing of the bat extended North Shore’s lead to 4-1 in the top of the third as the towering Marra hit a no-doubt homer over the right-center field fence. Haas lined a leadoff single into left to set up Marra’s two-run shot just two batters later.
After stranding a runner in scoring position in the previous inning, North Adams clawed back within a run on second baseman Aidan Wilde’s (UMass) two-run double into the right-center gap in the fourth. Tringale was able to limit the damage with a line drive double play before ending the inning with a strikeout.
The SteepleCats made the score 4-3 before the two teams traded zeroes over three complete innings. North Adams reliever Jordan Yoder (Lafayette) silenced the Navs for four scoreless frames, striking out four while allowing just three hits. Catcher Tristan Latham (Pomona-Pitzer) and Baldwin both singled during North Shore’s half of the sixth, but Latham was stranded on third base after Haas fanned and Baldwin was caught stealing.
After executing a glove flip on an attempted squeeze bunt and inducing a grounder back to the mound to end the final inning of regulation, Butera benefited from a foul pop-turned-double play in the 10th. North Shore was unable to move the runner from second base in either of its extra innings due to a caught stealing and a double play before Willis entered the game for the 11th and whiffed the first two hitters he faced to force the tie.
On the home side, Landon Willeman (Bowling Green) struck out two over four hitless innings to finish the night. Catcher Jeremy Lea (Pacific) went 3-for-5 and scored a run.
North Shore has Sunday off before returning to the road for a Monday night contest against the Vermont Mountaineers. First pitch from Montpelier is set for 6:35 p.m.