Navs Best Westerners in Tight Friday Clash at Fraser, 3-2

07/08/2022 7:55 PM

LYNN, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators scored the winning run in the eighth inning and made the most of six total hits on their way to edging past the Danbury Westerners for a 3-2 triumph in Friday night’s New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action at Fraser Field.

North Shore earned its third win in five July games to improve to 7-18 on the season. Danbury slipped to 12-13 following its third consecutive loss.

First baseman Nathan Blasick (West Virginia) and second baseman Ty Dooley (Coastal Carolina) had two hits apiece to lead the Navs. Blasick drove in a run and scored two more, including the deciding tally on Dooley’s one-out single in the eighth. 

Designated hitter Max Viera (Seton Hall) and left fielder Stan DeMartinis (Bryant) had the Navs’ remaining hits.

Swampscott native Luke Marshall (Fairfield) delivered his best and longest start of the summer for North Shore, tossing six scoreless, three-hit innings with six strikeouts. Marshall struck out the side in the first inning and faced the minimum three times during his second scoreless outing in five games this season.

The Navs broke Danbury starter Kyle Roche’s (Franklin & Marshall) no-hit and shutout bids in one swoop as back-to-back hits produced the first of two runs to begin the fourth inning. Viera laced a leadoff triple into the right-center gap and scored on Blasick’s single through the left side.

After center fielder Justin Cassella’s (Elon) sacrifice bunt back to the mound moved Blasick to second, Dooley sent a base hit into center and advanced on an error to set up right fielder Jake McElroy’s (Holy Cross) run-scoring grounder to second.

North Shore added a key insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as Blasick drew a leadoff walk, swiped second and crossed the plate on Dooley’s single to center. 

In the ninth, Danbury designated hitter Korey Morton (UConn) logged a bunt single to the right of the mound, advanced on a subsequent error and scored on left fielder Jett Lovett’s (Georgia Tech) base hit to center. Center fielder Jermaine White (St. John’s) added a fielder’s choice grounder two batters later made it a one-run game.

Navs reliever Peyton Heisner (Merrimack) locked down his first save, pitching a perfect eighth before stranding the potential game-tying run on first base with a pop to shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) at shortstop in the ninth. 

After fellow southpaw Nate Espelin (Dayton) induced a 6-4-3 double play -- the last of three turned by the North Shore defense -- to finish a scoreless seventh inning, Heisner allowed two hits and struck out one across the final two frames.

Lovett went 3-for-4 to lead Danbury, which also logged six hits as a team. Roche was the losing pitcher despite allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits and striking out five in six innings. 

The Navs conclude their four-game homestand with a Saturday doubleheader against the Coastal Division rival Mystic Schooners before hitting the road for the following three games. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m. at Fraser.