06/25/2022 8:05 PM
BRISTOL, Conn. -- A return to a familiar road destination didn’t provide the North Shore Navigators any luck on Saturday night as a five-run first inning was too much to overcome in a 7-1 loss to the Bristol Blues in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action at Muzzy Field.
North Shore fell to 3-14 on the season, while Bristol improved to 13-4 to stay atop the NECBL’s West Division after sweeping the two-game, head-to-head series.
First baseman Jake Bullard (Stetson), center fielder Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) and shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) each had two hits to help the Navs finish with seven in total.
Luders hit a fourth-inning single to drive home designated hitter Connor Bertsch (Dartmouth) with North Shore’s lone run. The Lynnfield native finished 2-for-2 in his second game of the summer since rejoining the team following a stint in the Cape Cod League.
North Shore starter Todd Tringale (Dayton) struck out the first batter he faced, but three straight hits scored two runs before third baseman Jack Lynch (Manhattan) socked a three-run homer with two outs in the first inning to break the game open early.
Tringale recovered to throw three consecutive scoreless innings, allowing North Shore to get within grand slam range after Luders dropped a base hit inside the left-field line in the fourth. The Navs had the bases loaded after left fielder Nathan Blasick (West Virginia) posted a leadoff single, Bertsch reached on a fielder’s choice, and an error allowed McElroy to reach.
The visitors were unable to find any further offense in the inning, leaving the bases loaded. Right fielder Stan DeMartinis (Bryant) had a run-scoring hit taken away thanks to Lynch’s diving stop behind the third base bag. Bristol’s man at the hot corner got up and fired home to force out Bullard at the plate before another fielder’s choice ground ball ended the threat.
Bertsch made a bid for his second homer in as many games an inning later, but Bristol center fielder Griffin Arnone (Elon) made a great diving catch on the warning track against the fence to take a sure extra-base hit away.
Tringale completed five innings with seven strikeouts, but he was charged with his first loss in three starts. The Blues scored their final two runs off the Saugus native in the fifth as first baseman Ben Huber (UConn) hit a one-out single and second baseman Trevor Austin (Missouri) added a sac fly to center.
The North Shore bullpen finished the night on a high note as Gannon Kadlecik (Radford), Nate Espelin (Dayton) and Matt Potok (Coastal Carolina) all pitched scoreless innings. Potok allowed two hits but struck out two Blues in the eighth.
After Mason Ulsh (Quinnipiac) worked 4.1 innings as Bristol’s starter, Brendan O’Donnell (UConn) struck out three of the four batters he faced in relief to earn the victory. Four different Blues recorded multiple hits.
The Navs will have Sunday off before returning to Fraser Field for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch Monday against the Coastal Division rival Mystic Schooners.