Late Runs Help Mountaineers Move Past Navs Sunday

07/07/2024 6:49 PM

LYNN, Mass. 一 The visiting Vermont Mountaineers used a six-run top of the ninth inning to break open an eventual 8-1 win over the North Shore Navigators in Sunday night’s New England Collegiate Baseball League action at Fraser Field.

North Shore fell to 9-14 on the summer following its fifth consecutive loss, while Vermont improved its league-leading record to 17-6.

Third baseman Pat D’Amico (Seton Hall) went 2-for-4 with an eighth-inning RBI single that cut North Shore’s deficit to 2-1, but Vermont put the game out of reach with six runs in the top of the ninth. Shortstop Reece Moroney (Rhode Island) crossed the plate with the Navs’ lone run.

D’Amico put together his second straight multi-hit game and has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games. The St. John’s Prep product is now the second-leading hitter in the Navs lineup with a .279 average.

Vermont was unable to capitalize on center fielder Josiah Ragsdale’s (Boston College) leadoff single to begin the game, but took a 1-0 lead out of the following frame. Left fielder Nic Notarangelo (Endicott) hit a one-out single, advanced into scoring position on a balk and scored two batters later when shortstop Casey Bishop (Towson) ripped an RBI single to center.

The hosts had an immediate golden opportunity to respond in their half of the second, but Vermont starter DJ Helwig (Notre Dame) worked his way through trouble as D'Amico beat out a leadoff infield single into the shortstop hole and both left fielder Alex Luccini (UMass Lowell) and center fielder Kyle Jones (Stetson) drew two-out walks.

North Shore’s Ryan Buckler (Florida Atlantic) bounced back from allowing the early run to post zeroes without allowing a hit for the remainder of his five-inning outing, including consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth. The righty ended the final frame of his third start of the summer with a strikeout.

“(Buckler) was mixing up his speeds a little bit more (than in Vermont on June 24),” Navs manager Bob Macaluso said. “He kept them off balance and did a good job. He gave up a couple of soft hits, but kept us in the game.”

Vermont doubled its lead to 2-0 on Pierce Bauerle’s (Eastern Illinois) ground ball to third base counterpart D’Amico in the sixth. D’Amico snared the hard-hit ball and turned an unassisted double play to help limit the damage against Navs reliever Jack Iannibelli (Stonehill), who entered the game at the beginning of the inning.

The Navs broke the shutout bid in the eighth, stringing together three straight one-out hits to cut their deficit to 2-1. After shortstop Reece Moroney (Rhode Island) knocked an infield single and designated hitter Isaac Kim (UC Santa Barbara) followed with one to left, D’Amico dunked one into right to bring in the home team’s first run.

North Shore has scored 21 of its 89 total runs in the eighth inning of games this season.

“That’s actually a good stat because it says that the guys are still playing in the eighth inning,” Macaluso said. “They’re still focused, still ready to roll. We need some of those runs in the ninth now.”

After Iannibelli’s inning of work, Brett Dunham (Northeastern) provided North Shore with scoreless relief over the next two innings, working around two hits and striking out one batter.

Vermont put the game out of reach by batting around to score six runs on three hits against a pair of North Shore relievers in the ninth. Right fielder Carlos Martinez (UMass Lowell) highlighted the inning with a bases-loaded, two-run single, while left fielder Tyler Ganus (Northwestern) added another RBI knock later in the frame.

Helwig lasted just 4.2 innings, allowing Andrew Luczak (Towson) to take in the win with 2.1 innings of no-hit relief for Vermont. Ganus and Bishop each had two hits. 

The Navs make their third straight Connecticut road trip on Monday and will face the Bristol Blues at historic Muzzy Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.