Navs Sweep Upper Valley, Win Northern Division Title

08/10/2021 9:01 AM

LYNN, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators are the champions of the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Northern Division and will play for their first Fay Vincent Sr. Cup since 2010.

Thanks to Monday’s 4-2 win at Fraser Field, fifth-seeded North Shore completed a two-game sweep of the second-seeded Upper Valley Nighthawks in the Northern Division Finals. The Navs earned the opportunity to clinch the best-of-three set on their home turf with the previous night’s 5-0 shutout win in White River Junction, Vt.

North Shore now awaits the winner of the Southern Division Finals between the top-seeded Martha’s Vineyard Sharks and fourth-seeded Danbury Westerners, who are scheduled to break a 1-1 series deadlock during a deciding third game on Tuesday in Oak Bluffs. The NECBL Championship Series will begin with the Navs traveling to the South winner on Wednesday before returning to Lynn for Game 2 at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.

As for the division-clinching game, the Navs broke a scoreless tie with all three runs they ultimately needed in the bottom of the second inning. Four straight batters reached base to start the frame as catcher Cal Christofori (Santa Clara) walked, designated hitter Ryan Marra (Brown) was hit by a pitch and shortstop Alex Lemery (Marymount) singled to right.

Right fielder Dylan Brazil’s (Stetson) fielder’s choice drove home the first North Shore run before Marra scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat. After Brazil stole second, he scored when second baseman Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) knocked a single through the vacated right side of the infield.

Marra led off the fourth inning with a single and was balked over to second base. Left fielder Jake McElroy’s (Holy Cross) two-out infield hit put runners on the corners, allowing Marra to cross the plate on a wild pitch for the second time in the game.

North Shore starter Austin Amaral (Stetson) worked around a pair of first-inning baserunners and then faced the minimum over the next four innings. Amaral finished his second postseason start with five total strikeouts and was credited with a six-inning complete game as the contest was deemed official following more than an hour-long rain delay.

Center fielder Brett Callahan (Saint Joseph’s) scored on a wild pitch and first baseman Kyle Novak’s (James Madison) run-scoring infield single cut the Upper Valley deficit to 4-2 in the sixth, but the threat ended as Amaral induced a double play ball to Luders and snagged a line drive back to the mound.