VIera's Blast, Smith's Relief Help Navs Sail Past Schooners, 10-7

07/03/2022 6:10 PM

NORWICH, Conn. -- The North Shore Navigators scored double-digit runs for the first time this  season on their way to a 10-7 win over the host Mystic Schooners in Sunday’s New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action at Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium.

North Shore has won three consecutive games and sits 6-16 on the season, while Mystic slipped to 10-10 as its three-game win streak was snapped.

The Navs didn’t trail after designated hitter Max Viera’s (Seton Hall) three-run home run in the fifth inning turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead. Viera finished with a season-high four RBI and has logged extra-base hits in each of his last four games.

Former Lynnfield shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) went 3-for-5, scored a run and drove in another to lead North Shore’s 10-hit attack. Center fielder Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) was also a repeat hitter for the second straight game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Right fielder Stan DeMartinis (Bryant) scored two runs.

Southpaw Cooper Smith (Stetson) earned the win in relief, pitching six shutout, three-hit innings with six strikeouts. Max Tarlin (Endicott) fanned five batters over the last two frames.

After Mystic starter Hector Alejandro (UConn) pitched a 1-2-3 first with two strikeouts, his offense got going in the bottom half of the frame as 10 batters came to the plate and scored four runs on three hits before leaving the bases loaded.

An infield single and two walks against Navs left-handed starter JD Ogden (Columbia) started the game before first baseman Eddie Micheletti (George Washington) dropped a two-run single just over the head of a leaping Luders and into shallow left field to give the Schooners the lead. Mystic’s advantage doubled after a pair of bases-loaded free passes.

North Shore got two of those runs back in the second. Left fielder Nathan Blasick (West Virginia) and catcher Charlie Taylor (Tennessee) drew consecutive walks to start the frame before second baseman Ty Dooley (Coastal Carolina) added a one-out single two batters later. 

The Navs would get on the board as Taylor and Dooley completed a successful double steal. McElroy then sent a single up the middle to make it a 4-2 game.

Following Mystic’s four-run first, Smith settled the game down by dealing two straight 1-2-3 frames and retiring the first eight batters he faced before left fielder Kevin Ferrer’s (UConn) two-out single in the fourth. He faced three over the minimum in six innings.

Both teams traded zeros until North Shore’s three-run fifth. Luders and third baseman Jack Penney (Notre Dame) led off with back-to-back singles, forcing Mystic to Bowen Baker (Fairfield) out of the bullpen to relieve Alejandro. Viera greeted him rudely and deposited his first homer out to left.

Two-out offense helped the visitors put another single run on the board an inning later. DeMartinis lined a double inside the third-base line and crossed the plate on a Luders single to left.

Despite logging just one hit, the Navs batted around and scored three in the eighth. Dooley drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before crossing the plate on a rare two-base errant pitch that skipped to the backstop. 

After Dooley scampered home, McElroy walked and DeMartinis was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Viera’s fielder’s choice and a Blasick bases-loaded walk brought home the final two runs of the frame. Mystic plated two on a wild pitch and a Ferrer single in the last of the eighth. 

In the ninth, first baseman Trace Willhoite (Lipscomb) doubled off the left-field wall in his first at-bat of the game, stole third and scored on Dooley’s grounder to first. Tarlin struck out the side after designated hitter Addison Kopack (Rhode Island) hit a leadoff single and scored to begin the bottom half.

Baker was charged with the loss for Mystic, throwing two innings of relief. Ferrer and center fielder Tristan McAlister (Mount St. Mary’s) had three hits apiece, and Micheletti drove in three.

The Navs hit the road for the second straight day to take on the Newport Gulls in an Independence Day clash on Monday evening. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. at Cardines Field in Newport, R.I.