​Big Innings Spark Navigators’ Fourth of July Win Over Muskrats, 12-2

07/04/2021 6:43 PM

By Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. -- A five-day break from New England Collegiate Baseball League action didn’t cool down the North Shore Navigators’ bats as they scored double-digit runs for the fourth time this season on the way to Sunday’s 12-2 win over the visiting Winnipesaukee Muskrats at Fraser Field.

North Shore earned its fourth win in six games to improve to 10-8-2 this summer, while Winnipesaukee slipped to 7-13 following its third straight loss and 10th in a 12-game span.

Designated hitter Ryan Marra (Brown), third baseman Matthias Haas (Cal Poly) and center fielder Joe Lomuscio (Stanford) all contributed two hits to the North Shore offense. Marra and left fielder David Kale (Fordham) had three RBI apiece in support of Jackson Emus (Princeton), the starting pitcher who improved to 3-0 after allowing just one run on three hits while striking out four over the first five innings.

The Navs shook off any rust quickly as they hit around and scored five runs against Winnipesaukee starter Ryan Fischer (NJIT) in the first. Right fielder Dylan Brazil (Stetson), Haas and second baseman Jake Gustin (Bryant) strung together for three straight hits to begin the game and led to Lomuscio driving home the first run on a sacrifice fly to right.

Marra walked to load the bases before first baseman Logan Bravo (Harvard) followed with a free pass that forced in Haas to extend the Navs’ lead to two. Kale delivered the inning’s big blow two batters later, driving a two-out, bases-clearing double into the left-center field gap.

Kale’s two-bagger ultimately delivered all the necessary offense, though the Muskrats tagged Emus for a single run in the second as left fielder Matthew Overton (Molloy) hit a one-out single that scored designated hitter Ramon Jimenez (Boston College) following a leadoff walk. 

However, the Navs added further cushion in their next at-bats as Marra ended a 10-pitch appearance with a two-run double into the right-center alley, extending the lead to 7-1. Haas started the offense with a one-out walk before Lomuscio hit a two-out single into right two batters later. 

Emus induced a pair of ground balls to get out of the fifth and finish his second consecutive victory over Winnipesaukee. The middle innings were scoreless on both sides thanks in large part to Muskrat righty Justin Murray (Dartmouth) relieving Fischer and retiring 12 straight North Shore batters catcher Cal Christofori’s (Santa Clara) leadoff walk in the third.

The visitors were able to move one run closer on first baseman Mike La Rocca’s (SNHU) bases-loaded walk in the sixth, but southpaw Zach Chappell (North Florida) recorded a fly ball out to end the threat and strand three runners he inherited from Jay Driver (Harvard) earlier in the frame. Chappell totaled 2.1 innings of hitless ball, marking his third straight scoreless effort out of the North Shore bullpen.

The Navs finally got to Murray and batted around during a five-run seventh inning that was sparked by Lomuscio’s one-out double past the third baseman. Marra and Bravo then sent back-to-back RBI base hits through the left side, while Christofori lined one into center to drive home North Shore’s 10th run. A wild pitch brought Bravo across the plate before pinch hitter Hunter Baldwin (Harvard) added a run-scoring grounder to short.

Chappell closed his outing with a 1-2-3 inning before Justin Butera (Merrimack) struck out the first batter he faced while doing the same in the ninth. Overall, the duo combined to retire the last nine batters they faced without allowing any of Winnipesaukee’s four hits.

After taking a scheduled off day, the Navs will return to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as they trek north to Vermont’s capital city to take on the Mountaineers at Montpelier Recreation Field for the third time this season.