06/11/2022 8:14 PM
HOLYOKE, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators built a five-run lead and held on to edge past the Valley Blue Sox, 5-3, for their first win of the New England Collegiate Baseball League season on Saturday night at MacKenzie Stadium.
North Shore improved to 1-3 after winning its first game of the young summer against a non-Coastal Division opponent. Valley slid back below .500 at 2-3.
While making the most of six hits, North Shore got another strong starting pitching performance as Todd Tringale (Dayton) pitched six shutout, one-hit innings with eight strikeouts. Two relievers bridged the gap from the Saugus native to Packy Bradley-Cooney (CCBC Essex) who worked around a leadoff walk and base hit to strike out the side in the ninth and secure a save.
Left fielder Trace Willhoite (Lipscomb) hit a two-run home run, designated hitter Nathan Blasick (West Virginia) went 2-for-3 with a walk, and shortstop Max Viera (Northeastern) doubled and scored a pair of runs to lead the North Shore offense.
Tringale and Valley pitching counterpart Kevin Haynes (Sacramento State) combined for three innings of no-hit baseball to start the night, but the Navs broke the perfect game and no-hit bids in back-to-back plate appearances to begin the fourth inning.
After Viera reached on a fielding error and stole second, Willhoite blasted North Shore’s first home run of the summer deep and just inside the left-field foul pole. Blasick continued the inning with a one-out single two batters later, but Haynes induced a fly ball and a strikeout to limit the damage to two runs.
The Navs doubled their lead with two more runs in the fifth, starting the offense only after right fielder Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) was erased as part of a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play following his leadoff walk.
Center fielder Justin Cassella (Elon) drew a one-out free pass and scored on Viera’s ringing double into the left-center gap. Viera was able to reach third on a subsequent error and crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Tringale issued leadoff walks in the third and fourth innings, but it wasn’t until left fielder Jacob Terwilliger (Bucknell) beat out an infield single to shortstop in the sixth inning that Valley broke up the no-hit bid. Terwilliger came 90 feet from home before the North Shore starter retired the next three batters, two via the strikeout.
The Navs made it a 5-0 game as first baseman Jake Bullard (Stetson) legged out a triple on a hot shot into the right-field corner and scored on second baseman Reece Rappoli’s (Brown) one-out single up the middle two batters later.
Valley got on the board in the bottom of the seventh after Navs reliever Timmy Kenney (Lehigh) hit the first batter he faced and issued a pair of one-out walks. Catcher Danny Melnick (Quinnipiac) beat out a 6-4-3 double play, officially driving in the home team’s first run on a fielder’s choice.
Southpaw Cooper Smith (Stetson) inherited Kenney’s two-out, bases-loaded jam and struck out Valley shortstop Anthony Sherwin (Bucknell) on three pitches to retire the side.
The Blue Sox sliced their deficit from four to two on center fielder Sam Franco’s (Purdue) two-run homer to right-center field in the following frame. Smith worked around the long ball and two walks to strike out the side.
Terwilliger went 2-for-3 while Franco scored twice and drove in two for Valley.
The Navs conclude the weekend back at home for a Sunday afternoon contest against the Ocean State Waves. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. at Fraser Field.