Upper Valley Tops Navs in Thursday Doubleheader

07/15/2021 10:24 PM

By Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators were swept in Thursday’s New England Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader, dropping 1-0 and 4-3 decisions to the Upper Valley Nighthawks at Fraser Field.

North Shore slipped to 13-11-2 on the season and fell into a third-place tie in the Northern Division, while Upper Valley moved within a game of the top spot at 17-12.

Game 1: Upper Valley 1, North Shore 0

Designated hitter Ryan Marra (Brown) was North Shore’s lone repeat hitter with a 2-for-3 line in the opener, but the Nighthawks scored the game’s only run in the first inning and edged past Swampscott native Luke Marshall (Stonehill) for the victory. 

Upper Valley left fielder Alan Roden (Creighton) concluded a span of three consecutive baserunners with a run-scoring single into right. Marshall dealt back-to-back strikeouts after right fielder Parker Haskin (Elon) crossed the plate, limiting the damage and stranding two runners on base.

Though the hosts had action on the basepaths in six of their seven innings, the Upper Valley duo of Jordy Allard (Richmond) and Connor Holden (Wichita State) worked around scattering seven hits to pitch a shutout. Second baseman Max Viera (Northeastern) and designated hitter Kyle Novak (James Madison) each had two of the eight Nighthawk hits.

Marra and shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) led off the second and third frames with base hits, but Allard benefited from double play balls in three straight innings to keep a zero on the scoreboard. The same result ended the fourth as center fielder Joe Lomuscio (Stanford) and Marra strung together back-to-back singles that were erased with a ground ball.

Marshall settled in after allowing the first-inning run and completed five frames of one-run, six-hit ball with five strikeouts, but he was the tough-luck loser for the second time this summer. Evan Christopulos (Bentley) pitched two scoreless innings out of the North Shore bullpen.

The Navs showed life at the plate in the seventh and final inning on catcher Cal Christofori’s (Santa Clara) two-out single. Holden then induced a ground ball to end the game and record the save in his first appearance of the summer.

Game 2: Upper Valley 4, North Shore 3

It felt like deja vu all over again as Upper Valley scored three runs in the first inning, two on Viera’s single to right and a subsequent throwing error. Third baseman Gehrig Anglin (Wright State) knocked a single into center to plate the third run against Navs starter Chris Shine (Seton Hall) in the next at-bat. 

Shine settled into the game after the shaky start and struck out seven batters in six innings, including a pair to end the opening frame. He allowed just two hits over his final five while retiring 12 straight batters from the second through sixth.

North Shore was held off the scoreboard for five innings as Upper Valley starter Jake Gigliotti (Northeastern) pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and Nick Cantone (Marist) dialed up a strikeout to get out of a two-on jam to end the fifth.

The later stages were different from the opening game, however, as first baseman Logan Bravo’s (Harvard) leadoff home run to left field got the Navs’ scoring in the sixth inning. 

Lomuscio followed Bravo’s team-leading sixth long ball of the season with a single to left and Marra walked before Christofori’s walk kept the line moving. With the bases loaded, left fielder Hunter Baldwin (Harvard) tied the score at 3-3 with a one-out single inside the first base bag, marking his second hit in as many innings. Lomuscio also went 2-for-4 and scored a run. 

Second baseman Jake Gustin’s (Bryant) leadoff single went by the boards in the seventh inning, sending the game into extras. Things ended quickly in the eighth as Haskin plated left fielder Andrew Walker (Xavier) on a sacrifice fly against Navs reliever James Sashin (San Diego), who was charged with the loss despite not allowing a hit.

The Navs’ final action before the NECBL All-Star Game is set for Friday night against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. at Robbie Mills Field in Laconia, N.H.