Sports

Navs set to begin playoffs

After the North Shore Navigators captured a franchise-record 33 wins during the regular season, postseason baseball returns to Fraser Field for the first time since 2012.
The Navs host the No. 5 Nashua Silver Knights (28-28) Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first of two single-elimination playoff rounds in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
North Shore entered Sunday?s final games of the regular season just a half-game behind Martha?s Vineyard for the East Division lead and had an opportunity to clinch the franchise?s first-ever regular-season championship. But the Navs dropped a 13-1 road decision to the Sharks on Sunday in Oak Bluffs.
The loss, coupled with Brockton?s extra-inning win over Wachusett, dropped the Navs to the No. 4 overall seed and set up a ninth meeting of the year between the border foes.
The Navs benefited from a home-heavy schedule down the stretch as they played five of eight games at Fraser. Home-field advantage served North Shore well this summer as it finished the season with a record of 18-10 in Lynn, good for second in the FCBL.
Shortstop Brandon Fischer enters the postseason on a hot streak, hitting 14-for-37 with three RBIs and five runs scored over the last 10 games in which the Navs went 7-3.
Hot hitting is nothing new for the St. Thomas Aquinas College rising senior who was named the team?s Most Valuable Player.
Fischer appeared in 54 of the Navs 55 games, finishing the season with the FCBL?s fourth-best average at .338. His 69 hits were tied for the top spot while his six triples tied a single-season record. North Shore led the league with 21 triples, eight more than second-place Brockton.
The Navs enjoyed a great deal of success against Nashua during the regular season, scoring 44 runs en route to winning six of their eight head-to-head meetings. Two of their wins were 3-0 shutouts on the road at Historic Holman Stadium, on June 16 and July 3.
Right-hander Steve Xirinachs (UMass Lowell), who went 7-2, is set to take the mound for North Shore after setting a Navs franchise record and two more than any pitcher in the FCBL this season. The River Hawks’ rising junior has not pitched since July 30 but still ranks ninth in the league with a 2.56 ERA.
Xirinachs did not face the Silver Knights during the regular season. But, the Navs, with the FCBL?s second-best ERA, held Nashua to just 20 runs in eight games while Fischer and second baseman Richie Fecteau (Salem State) each collected 12 hits in the season series.
Swampscott native Trevor Massey (Boston College) finished the summer with the Navs? best ERA, 1.53, a mark which helped him earn All-Star status with five North Shore teammates.
Despite going 1-2, Massey allowed just five earned runs in 15 appearances, all in relief, spanning 29 1/3 innings, including 6 2/3 of which were scoreless over three appearances against the Silver Knights.
Nashua is expected to counter with FCBL veteran Tom Hudon (St. Anselm). The lefty from Merrimack, N.H., has gone 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA over four starts with Nashua after beginning the season with the Seacoast Mavericks.
Former St. John?s Prep standout Max Burt (Northeastern) hit .252 in 52 games for Nashua and was tied for the team lead with 28 runs scored and for third with 53 hits. Lynnfield native and fellow former Eagle Tyler Noe hit .234 and concluded the season by playing all nine positions in Sunday?s 13-6 win at Seacoast.
Justin Foley, a rising freshman pitcher at Bates, and bullpen stalwart Justin Snyder (Bryant) are two other Prep alums who have also spent at least part of the season with Nashua.Joshua Kummins can be reached at [email protected]

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