Swamp Bats Swing Past Navs in Keene, 13-5

06/29/2021 9:23 PM

KEENE, N.H. -- The North Shore Navigators cleared the Alumni Field fences for four home runs to account for all of their offense, but the Keene Swamp Bats proved to be too much in putting up three crooked numbers on the way to a 13-5 win in New England Collegiate Baseball League action on Tuesday night.

North Shore fell to 9-8-2 on the season following its second loss in the last five games, while Northern Division-leading Keene improved to 12-5 and extended its franchise record-tying win streak to 10 games.

Catcher Cal Christofori (Santa Clara) and third baseman Matthias Haas (Cal Poly) both left the yard in the second inning, while center fielder Joe Lomuscio (Stanford) and first baseman Logan Bravo (Harvard) doubled the Navs’ homer count in the fifth. Haas recorded the team’s lone multiple-RBI game as seven different players recorded hits.

North Shore starter Austin Amaral (Stetson) had allowed just one run over his first 15 innings of work this summer, but the home team topped that mark two batters into the game. 

Center fielder Michael Nyisztor (Rutgers) hit a leadoff double to right-center and scored on shortstop David Bryant’s (Radford) single up the middle. Left fielder Thomas Joseph (Jacksonville) doubled the Keene lead on a grounder to second two batters later.

It didn’t take long for the Navs to take their first lead in the early stages of a back-and-forth game as three runs came across the plate in the second. Keene southpaw Jake Neuman (Central Connecticut) worked around right fielder Jose Aquino’s (Cisco) one-out single to strand the bases loaded in the first before North Shore got on the scoreboard for the first time.

Christofori opened the frame with a solo homer over the scoreboard in center. Left fielder David Kale (Fordham) traded places with second baseman Jake Gustin (Bryant) on a fielder’s choice grounder before Haas flipped the score in North Shore’s favor with a two-out job out to right-center.

The Swamp Bats posted a four-run second inning to move their lead to 6-3. Two of them came home on Nyisztor’s second double in as many frames, and Bryant’s foul pop and an error brought home the others. 

Catcher Jared Payne (Polk State) deposited a two-out homer to left an inning later to bring in Keene’s seventh run, but Amaral prevented any further damage with two strikeouts and then retired the side in order to post the first zero in the fourth.

The Navs clawed back within two runs as Lomuscio and Bravo hit their team co-leading third long balls of the summer in the fifth. Keene reliever Joel Rodriguez (Florida Southwestern) got the frame started with a strikeout, but Lomuscio cranked a solo shot to left-center that extended his division-best RBI total to 17. 

Bravo followed with a homer of his own two batters later before the duo of Amaral and Michael Willis (Georgetown) posted a zero in the bottom half of the fifth. Willis stranded the bases loaded when Lomuscio robbed Keene second baseman Zach Bushling (UConn) of a likely extra-base hit on a diving play in center.

Two swings of the bat broke the game open for the Swamp Bats in the sixth. Bryant cleared the right-field fence with one out before Troy Schreffler’s (Maryland) grand slam to left punctuated the biggest offensive inning of the night. Matt Almonte (Pace) closed out the scoring with a pinch-hit single during the following frame.

North Shore was held scoreless over the final four innings, though two free passes and pinch-hitting outfielder Dylan Brazil’s (Stetson) infield single went by the boards in the sixth. The bases were also left loaded as Bryce Hellgeth (Dayton) clinched the win by striking out the side in the ninth. Rodriguez worked 3.2 innings in relief of Neuman to improve to 2-0, while a trio of Swamp Bats were unscored upon to end the game.

Amaral dropped his second game of the summer after allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits across 4.1 innings. Four of the five runs on Willis’ ledger in 1.2 frames were unearned. James Sashin (San Diego) worked around a hit to post a scoreless second inning of work for the night.

The Navs and Swamp Bats will meet again at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday from Fraser Field.