Navs Drop 2023 Season Opener at Martha's Vineyard

06/07/2023 9:26 PM

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. -- The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks scored in each of their last seven innings at the bat en route to a 12-5 win over the visiting North Shore Navigators in Wednesday night’s season-opening New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action from The Shark Tank at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Leading North Shore’s offense against the defending NECBL champion, first baseman Brandon Drapeau (Saint Joseph’s) went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Catcher Matt Chatelle (Merrimack) had two RBI including one on a solo home run in the third inning, while second baseman DJ Pacheco (Richmond) scored twice.

North Shore manufactured the opening run in the second, giving some early run support against left-handed starter Cooper Smith (Stetson). Designated hitter Andrew Eppinger (NJIT) drew a leadoff walk before moving into scoring position after left fielder Evan Griffis (Stetson) lined a single through the left side and Pacheco laid down a sacrifice bunt. Drapeau’s sacrifice fly to center made it a 1-0 game.

After Sharks right fielder Jayden Hylton’s (Stetson) solo homer tied the game in the bottom half of the frame, Chatelle crushed a go-ahead homer to left to begin North Shore’s third.

A three-run third for Martha’s Vineyard marked the first crooked number of the night. Left fielder Caden Shapiro (Princeton) led off with a solo shot while Hylton’s two-run single with two outs extended the lead.

Three straight baserunners with one out in the fourth helped the Navs knot the score at 4-4. Pacheco’s walk started the rally before Drapeau cranked a double. Shortstop Brendan Jones (Holy Cross) knocked a single to left on which both runners crossed the plate due to a subsequent fielding error.

Shortstop Gio Colasante (Harvard) doubled and scored on second baseman Demitri Diament’s (Georgia Tech) single as the Sharks clawed back in front in the last of the fourth.

The Sharks added an insurance run in the fifth after putting up their first zero since the opening frame. Hylton drew a one-out walk, stole two bases and scored on a throwing error.

In the sixth, Chatelle’s fielder’s choice into the shortstop hole drove in Pacheco following a leadoff walk, but the Sharks made it a two-run game again as designated hitter Scott Seeker’s (Mount St. Mary’s) ringing double to the fence in right-center scored Shapiro who was hit by a pitch. A perfectly executed relay started by Messervy cut down a second run at the plate.

Martha’s Vineyard put three straight aboard with two outs in the seventh, highlighted by catcher Beck Milner (Yale) drawing a walk and scoring on Diament’s base hit two batters later.

The Sharks closed out the night with their biggest offensive output, plating three of their four runs on Hylton’s towering homer to left. Third baseman Nolan Nawrocki (Clemson) reached on an error, advanced on a passed ball and scored on Seeker’s hit to left to begin the frame.

The second half of a season-opening, two-game road trip takes the Navs to North Adams for a Thursday night game against the SteepleCats. First pitch at Joe Wolfe Field is set for 6:30 p.m.