Eighth-Inning Surge Powers Navs to Dramatic Wednesday Win

07/19/2023 1:22 PM

LYNN, Mass. — Home runs don’t come easily at Fraser Field. 

With outfield walls positioned deeper than nearly any other stadium in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the long ball has only been hit a handful of times at Fraser all season — by players of any team. The field is, by every definition, a pitcher’s park.

But for one explosive eighth inning, catcher Jacob Jarrell (Clemson) and left fielder Stan DeMartinis III (Bentley) proved that adage wrong, crushing back-to-back home runs to give the North Shore Navigators a 3-2 lead over the Mystic Schooners in the bottom of the eighth inning. 

The thrilling moment electrified the Fraser Faithful, and highlighted a dramatic win over the Coastal Division rival Mystic Schooners Wednesday. 

The win moves North Shore — which is in the midst of a heated race for the final NECBL wild-card spot — to 17-19, and drops Mystic to 21-13. 

But before the eighth inning fireworks, it was an outstanding outing from starter Will Jones (Northeastern) that kept the Navs in the contest. Jones fanned a season-high eight in five shutout innings, allowing just two hits in a dominant display on the mound. 

Like much of North Shore’s rotation, the South Hamilton native has been lights out all year, posting a 1.75 ERA with 35 strikeouts. In his last two appearances, Jones has combined for 15 K’s.

Relievers Ryan Bradley (Bryant), Kaden Humphrey (Stetson) and Nick Davis (Northeastern) all appeared without allowing an earned run to help North Shore seal the win. Jairo Vazquez (Northern Essex CC) pitched the eighth inning and earned the win.

Mystic struck first after center fielder Caleb Stelly (Louisiana) cracked an RBI single. The Schooners added a second after first baseman Landon Moran (Stetson) shuttled home from third on a groundout in the top of the eighth. 

But North Shore’s power surge in the bottom of the eighth quickly erased the Navs’ deficit. Shortstop Henry Kaczmar (Ohio State) started the rally with a two-out triple to right-center, before Jarrell and DeMartinis teed off for the back-to-back blasts, which both sailed just fair of the left-field foul pole.

Davis, who pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, earned the save. 

The Navs will hit the road for two Coastal Division battles — a showdown with the Ocean State Waves at Old Mountain Field in South Kingstown, R.I., at 6:35 p.m, and then a game against the Schooners on the road at Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium in Norwich, Conn.

After that, all eyes will turn back to Fraser Field, when the league’s best will convene in Lynn for the 2023 NECBL All-Star Game and Home Run Derby on Sunday.