Navs defeat first-place Martha’s Vineyard

LYNN — The North Shore Navigators scored single runs in the third and fourth innings and Shayne Audet’s second strong start of the season helped make a 2-1 lead stand up en route to Wednesday night’s Futures Collegiate Baseball League win over the first-place Martha’s Vineyard Sharks at Fraser Field.

North Shore banged out nine hits, while Audet and Justin Foley (Bates) combined to limit the Sharks to four or fewer for the second straight meeting. Center fielder George Sutherland (Cochise) went 2-for-4 to lead the Navs offensively as they improved to 5-13 on the year.

The Navs cracked the hit column in each of the first five innings against Martha’s Vineyard starter Dalton Ponce (St. Mary’s, Calif.) and scored single runs in the third and fourth to take the lead en route to their first win of the season against the league’s top team.

Catcher John Prentice (New England College) led off the third with a single and moved to second base on a grounder before scoring North Shore’s first run of the game on left fielder Sal Frelick’s (Boston College) two-out single. A recent Lexington High grad, Frelick has hit safely in his first five games with the Navs and already leads the team with 10 RBI.

The home team doubled its lead on three hits in the following frame as third baseman Elias Varinos (Tufts) slid home safely on the back end of a successful double steal. Varinos and shortstop Andrew Olszak (Southern Maine) logged back-to-back knocks with two outs, leading to North Shore doubling its lead with two of their three stolen bases on the night.

Audet evened his record to 1-1 on the summer as he struck out six Sharks over six innings of scoreless, three-hit ball. The reigning New England Rookie of the Year from New England College recorded four 1-2-3 innings and benefitted from a pair of double plays on the night.

In the seventh, Foley retired the first two batters he faced in relief of Audet before the Sharks trimmed their deficit to one run on shortstop Brian Ronai’s (Yale) league-leading fifth home run of the season over the wall in deep left field.

Martha’s Vineyard brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth after Foley issued a pair of walks, but the Lynnfield native and St. John’s Prep grad locked up his first save of the summer as Varinos started a 5-4-3 double play to retire first baseman Eric Foggo (Stetson) and end the ballgame.

Ponce was dealt his first loss of the season in three decisions for the Sharks, who fell to 13-4, as he scattered nine hits over the first five innings. The Navs managed just one walk and struck out twice against reliever Devon DiMascio (New Haven) over the final three frames.

The Navs play their second of three consecutive home games tomorrow at 7 p.m. against the Worcester Bravehearts.

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