Homer Sends Mainers Past Navs in Extras Wednesday

06/29/2022 9:32 PM

LYNN, Mass. -- After being down to their final out in the ninth inning, the Sanford Mainers came from behind and snagged a 6-4, 10-inning win over the North Shore Navigators in Wednesday’s New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action at Fraser Field.

North Shore made the most of six hits and carried a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, but the visitors put up two runs in back-to-back frames to win in dramatic fashion. Catcher Charlie Taylor (Tennessee) and designated hitter Jack Penney (Notre Dame) both logged a hit and an RBI in their first appearances this summer.

For the Mainers, catcher Grant Knipp (Campbell) hit a game-winning, two-run home run in the 10th after back-to-back, two-out doubles had tied the score to bring the game past regulation.

The Navs weren’t able to capitalize on third baseman Max Viera’s (Seton Hall) two-out triple to deep center field to start the game, but a four-hit second inning helped them take a 2-0 lead.

First baseman Jake Bullard (Stetson) and Penney opened the first run-scoring frame with back-to-back singles and advanced on right fielder Jake McElroy’s (Holy Cross) sacrifice bunt. Taylor got the scoring going with a line single to left, while center fielder Jarrett Ford’s (Dayton) sac fly to center doubled the home team’s early advantage.

Sanford got both runs back quickly in the top of the third after center fielder Calvin Hewett (Vanderbilt) and Knipp hit a pair of two-out RBI singles. A leadoff double by designated hitter Jayson Kramer (St. John’s) started up the Mainer offense in the frame.

The hosts reclaimed their lead by scoring a third-inning run without the benefit of a hit. Left fielder Nathan Blasick (West Virginia) drew a one-out walk, advanced on a pair of wild pitches and scored on Penney’s sac fly to center.

The Mainers left runners on base in each of the first six innings. North Shore starter and Swampscott native Luke Marshall (Stonehill) erased a pair of one-out base hits by inducing a 5-4-3 double play ball to end the fifth, while reliever Matt Potok (Coastal Carolina) stranded a pair of inherited runners with three infield grounders.

Viera scored an insurance run after reaching on a throwing error to begin the fifth. He then stole second and crossed the plate on Blasick’s double that nearly landed over the fence in center to extend the North Shore edge to 4-2.

Potok threw a pair of 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth, but the Mainers managed to tie the game with two outs in the ninth. Left fielder Kevin Skagerlind (UMass) was hit by a one-out pitch two batters before second baseman Quinn McDaniel (Maine) and Polk logged back-to-back doubles. 

Polk’s latter hit fell into shallow right field just out of the reach of two North Shore fielders, bringing home the tying run. The Navs had a golden opportunity to walk off with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, but a strikeout and fly out ended the threat.

Sanford wasted little time jumping back in front as Knipp’s towering homer scored Hewett first. Potok worked five innings of three-hit relief and was charged with the loss after Marshall struck out six and scattered eight hits over the first five frames.

For Sanford, Hewett went 3-for-5, scored a run and drove in another, and Knipp had three RBI.

North Shore concludes the month of June with a second consecutive home game on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. against the North Adams SteepleCats. The Navs will then return to Coastal Division play in a home-and-home series against Martha’s Vineyard, facing off against the Sharks at 7:05 p.m. Friday in Oak Bluffs and 6:35 p.m. Saturday back at Fraser.