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Local pitchers aim to help Navs bounce back

FILE PHOTO
Lynn native Brendan Powicki is in his first season with the Navigators. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN– With the Futures Collegiate Baseball League season off and running, the North Shore Navigators are hopeful that the summer of 2017 brings them a strong season. The tough news, thus far, is the Navs are off to a sour start after losing nine of their first ten games. The good news, besides the fact that they’ve been here before after starting 1-12 last season, is the Navs have a trio of talented local arms to help them get over the hump.

Lynn native Brendan Powicki, Peabody’s Bobby Tramondozzi and Nahant’s Al Wallach are all striving to be key contributors from the mound for the Navs this summer.

Powicki, who played his high school baseball at St. John’s Prep, is in his first season as a Navigator. After a year of postgraduate baseball at Worcester Academy, Powicki will look to find a role on the pitching staff at Stonehill College this upcoming fall as a freshman.

The opportunity to spend his summer in his hometown with the Navs gives Powicki a chance to prepare for the level of competition he’ll face on the collegiate mound.

“It’s awesome to be playing for the Navs,” Powicki said. “I’ve been coming to games since the (North Shore) Spirit was here because I’m a local kid from Lynn. The opportunity to come here and play against some of the best competition around the country with a bunch of great players, it’s awesome.”

Although the Navs are off a tough a tough start, Powicki’s enjoying himself in his first season with the team. Thus far, Powicki’s made it a priority to learn from the more experienced players on the roster.

“It’s been good,” Powicki said. “I’m pretty young for the team but I’m learning a lot. I’m learning from all the older guys and that’s great.”

Wallach, a returning player, just wrapped up his junior campaign at Framingham State. The chance to play baseball in front of local fans at  Fraser Field, just a few miles away from Wallach’s hometown, makes the experience a special one for the Nahant native.

“It’s a great opportunity to play for the Navs,” Wallach, a Swampscott High alum, said. “Especially growing up around, playing in front of fans that I’ve grown up around makes it pretty cool. Playing baseball makes it a fun summer.”

Now that Wallach’s in his second go-round with the team, the right-hander comes into the season with high expectations.

“We returned a lot of guys from last year,” Wallach said. “I think the expectation is that we can make a big impact this year. We’ve had a slow start but everybody here knows this team’s capable of turning it around.”

Tramondozzi, also a returner, recently wrapped up a stellar sophomore season at UMass Boston. The Beacons reached the Division 3 College World Series for the second time in program history and finished the year at 38-12.

The turnaround from pitching for the Beacons to rejoining the Navs was a quick one for Tramondozzi but he’s looking forward to spending the summer working on his craft.

“I’m tired in a sense that it’s been a lot but it’s good to keep going,” Tramondozzi said. “It’s an all-year affair. Going from summer ball, to fall ball, winter workouts and then the spring season. Even though I’m tired, it’s good to be here getting work in.”

Playing for the Navs is an experience that has come full-circle for the Peabody native.

“I live the next town over so it’s only a 10 minute drive,” Tramondozzi said. “I went to these games when I was a kid. I used to look up to these guys when I was a kid and now I’m on the field. It’s a pretty cool experience.”

The positive for the Navs, through the first 10 games of the season, has been the team’s pitching. Tramondozzi noted that the team hasn’t allowed many runs, meaning a turnaround is certainly in the cards if the bats and gloves can find their rhythm.

“We haven’t been letting up many runs this season,” Tramondozzi said. “If we keep that going and start hitting well, we can get back to where we were last year and maybe even further.”

Powicki agreed that a turnaround isn’t out of reach as the team looks to build a winning streak in the young season. After a similar beginning in 2016, the Navs are taking a calm and confident approach.

“The team talks about how last year they were 1-12 so we’re not too worried or anything like that,” Powicki said. “We know we’re a good team so we’ll just continue to work hard and hopefully dig ourselves out.”

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