Navs Top Division-Leading Martha's Vineyard, 5-2

07/01/2022 9:47 PM

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators scored in four different innings and matched their season-high 11 hits en route to a 5-2 win over the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks in Friday’s New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) game from The Shark Tank at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

The Navs improved to 5-16 with their second consecutive win, while Martha’s Vineyard slipped to 12-9 as its five-game win streak was snapped.

North Shore matched its top single-game hit total for the second straight night. Left fielder Stan DeMartinis (Bryant) went 3-for-4 with an RBI from the No. 9 spot in the batting order to lead the offense.

Designated hitter Jack Penney (Notre Dame) and right fielder Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) both added multiple hits, while center fielder Jarrett Ford (Dayton) scored three of the Navs’ five runs.

Starting pitcher Graham Jeffries (Salve Regina) earned his first win in four starts this summer after scattering six hits and striking out four over six innings of two-run ball. 

Peyton Heisner (Merrimack) and Nate Espelin (Dayton) didn’t allow a hit or a run in the final three frames. Heisner struck out two in his scoreless seventh before Espelin escaped a bases-loaded jam to record his first save.

The Navs weren’t able to advance shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) past first base following a leadoff walk in the first inning, they made up for it with two runs in the next frame to take an early lead for the third consecutive game.

North Shore got on the board with three straight two-out hits against Vineyard starter Ronaldo Gallo (Miami) in the second. McElroy started the rally with an infield single over the mound and moved ahead on Ford’s knock in the next at-bat. 

DeMartinis followed and ripped a single inside the third base bag to score McElroy. A throwing error on the relay allowed Ford to take an extra base to score and give the Navs a 2-0 lead.

The visitors added single runs in the third and fourth innings to double their lead to four runs. 

In the third, third baseman Max Viera (Seton Hall) dropped a one-out double into the shallow outfield and crossed the plate after second baseman Jake Gustin (Bryant) snuck a two-out single just past diving Sharks shortstop Jake Berger (Harvard) up the middle.

Ford’s leadoff walk, a stolen base and a DeMartinis single set up Luders for the fourth-inning RBI opportunity on a sacrifice fly to right.

Sharks first baseman Marcus Franco (Nova Southeastern) broke the shutout bid with a two-out, two-strike home run in the sixth. Jeffries had worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, faced the minimum in the second and fourth, and stranded a single baserunner in his remaining three frames.

The Navs called upon Heisner to relieve Jeffries in the seventh. The southpaw struck out two and stranded a two-out Vineyard baserunner after Ford made a diving catch to rob Berger of a hit in center.

In the eighth, Penney drove home a key insurance run on a two-out bloop single into shallow right. After Ford beat out a double play ball, DeMartinis continued the line with a one-out base hit before Penney’s hit made it a 5-2 game.

Vineyard starter Ronaldo Gallo (Miami) slipped to 1-1 on the season after allowing three earned runs on six hits in four innings. Second baseman Danny Crossen (Northeastern) had two of the Sharks’ six hits.

The same two teams will meet for a Saturday night rematch in Lynn. First pitch at Fraser Field is slated for 6:35 p.m.