Vermont Uses Late Rally to Down Navs Thursday

06/15/2023 8:20 PM

LYNN, Mass. — The Vermont Mountaineers scored 10 runs in the final three innings en route to a 12-9 win over the North Shore Navigators Thursday night at Fraser Field. 

The Navs dropped to 2-6 with the loss, and Vermont moved to 5-3.

Leadoff-hitting center fielder Peter Messervy (Harvard) went 3-for-5 to pace North Shore’s 11-hit attack. Designated hitter Stan DeMartinis (Bentley) and shortstop Henry Kaczmar (Ohio State) also had multiple hits.

For the second consecutive game, North Shore jumped out to a first inning lead thanks to hits from Griffis and Kaczmar. Messervy rapped a leadoff single to right field, and second baseman Brendan Jones (Holy Cross) reached base the next at-bat after getting hit by a pitch. 

Griffis capitalized on the opportunity, blasting a two-strike double that bounded all the way to the left field fence and plated Messervy. Before the next pitch was thrown, Jones trotted home on a balk. Kaczmar capped off the rally with an RBI base hit that dropped into left field.

Starter Nate Espelin (Dayton) tossed five strong innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts. The southpaw faced the minimum in the first inning, and worked around a jam in the second by striking out Vermont catcher Nathan Waugh (Cornell) on three pitches to retire the side.

Espelin escaped trouble again in the fifth, after Vermont’s leadoff batter reached second on an error. Espelin struck out the next batter, induced a foul popout — which he caught — and then got out of the inning after third baseman Jake Berger (Harvard) made an outstanding diving snag on a sharp line drive. 

Vermont clawed back into the game in the top of the sixth, though. After first baseman Nathan Goranson (William & Mary) was hit by a pitch and right fielder Grant Voytovich (Bucknell) belted a single, third baseman Jace Jeremiah (St. John’s) drove both baserunners home with a two-out double to left-center. 

In the seventh, the Mountaineers grabbed the lead. A single and two walks loaded the bases to start the frame, and Goranson crushed a ground-rule double into left field to score two and earn Vermont a 4-3 advantage. Three batters later, pinch-hitter Marshall Toole (Wofford) lined a two-run double of his own down the first-base line to extend the Mountaineers’ lead. 

The Navs battled back, putting together a two-run seventh inning after a sacrifice fly by catcher Jacob Jarrell (Clemson), and an RBI single by pinch-hitting DeMartinis.

Vermont tacked on an insurance run on a sac fly in the eighth, pushing its lead to 7-5. North Shore responded with an RBI single by Messervy — but the Mountaineers responded with five runs of their own in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach. 

The Navs didn’t go down without a fight in the ninth. Jarrell drove home pinch-hitting outfielder Evan Smith (West Virginia) with a sac fly to center. Then, after Griffis singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, DeMartinis tallied his second RBI single in three innings with a line drive to right field. Right fielder Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) added an RBI groundout in the frame. 

Six pitchers took the mound in relief for North Shore. 

The loss marks the end of North Shore’s four game homestand. Next, the Navs will kick off a two-game swing through Newport and Vermont when they face the Gulls in a Coastal Division showdown Friday night at 6:35 p.m.