Navs Best Mainers to Sweep Home-and-Home, 7-4

06/16/2021 7:55 PM

By Joshua Kummins

SANFORD, Maine -- The North Shore Navigators scored a run in the sixth inning and two in the ninth, and an outstanding night’s work from three relief pitchers paved the way for a 7-4 win over the rival Sanford Mainers in Wednesday’s New England Collegiate Baseball League game at Goodall Park.

North Shore improved to 5-3-2 on the season after sweeping the home-and-home series with Sanford, which slipped to 2-6.

Center fielder Joe Lomuscio (Stanford) was one of four repeat hitters for North Shore, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and a grand slam to provide all the offense in a four-run third inning. Second baseman Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall), designated hitter Matthias Haas (Cal Poly) and shortstop Alex Lemery (Marymount) also recorded two hits. Haas and Luders scored two runs.

After the Navs plated the game-winning run in the sixth, the Navs bullpen trio of Ryan Steinhauer (Dayton), Caleb Hollis (Crowder) and Zach Chappell (North Florida) combined to hold Sanford hitless and strike out seven over the final four innings. Chappell fanned four while picking up a two-inning save.

The Navs were unable to capitalize with two runners on base in the first as Sanford starter Josh Joy (Southern Maine) retired the side with a strikeout after Luders was hit by the first pitch of the game and right fielder Jose Aquino (Cisco) drew a two-out walk.

Sanford, meanwhile, broke through during its first at-bats and scored four runs on just two hits. Former St. Mary’s standout Ryan Turenne (Maine) delivered the big blow against his former team, lining a three-run double past the Navs’ diving left fielder Dylan Brazil (Stetson). First baseman Ubaldo Lopez (Georgetown) was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the home team’s first run in the previous plate appearance.

North Shore knotted the game on one swing of the bat in the top of the third as Lomuscio became the first multiple home run hitter of the summer, ripping a grand slam to deep left. Lemery started the big run-scoring frame with an infield single before the Lynnfield native Luders was hit by another pitch and Haas lined a base knock into the left-center field gap.

Making his second start of the season for the Navs, Jackson Emus (Princeton) settled in after the four-run first and allowed just two singles across the next four frames. The righty retired seven of the last eight batters he faced and finished the game with four strikeouts, earning his first victory.

After a scoreless drought lasting more than two complete innings, the Navs tipped the score in their favor with a single run in the sixth. Third baseman Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) hit a leadoff, first-pitch hit up the middle to get the offense going and took second on Brazil’s sacrifice bunt back to the mound. A wild pitch moved McElroy up to third before Luders sent a go-ahead single through the right side of the infield.

The Navs added two key insurance runs in their last at-bats. After Luders beat out a bunt single back to the mound, Haas quickly scored him with a triple off the base of the right-center wall. Aquino extended the visitors’ lead to three with a sac fly to right two batters later.

Former Navigator and now-Sanford third baseman Dominic Freeberger (UNC Asheville) recorded a two-out single in the fifth before the Navs’ relief trio put blanks on the board for the rest of the night. Chappell struck out the last four batters he faced to clinch the win.

The Navs return to action on Friday when they return to the road to face the Winnipesaukee Muskrats. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. from Robbie Mills Field in Laconia, N.H.