LYNN– Even after a rocky start to the season, North Shore head coach Todd Alford believes the Navigators are close to putting things together and stringing together some wins in the future.
“The record is terrible I’m not trying to defend it at all,” Alford said of the team’s 4-12 start to the season. “But we’re not that far off from where we need to be. We’re fine.
“I’ve seen kids playing some solid baseball,” he said. “I think we unfortunately keep inventing ways to lose one-run ball games.”
One of the keys to bouncing back this season is figuring out a successful pitching rotation Alford said. The team’s pitchers struggled through the first few games of the season but Alford likes what he’s seen from the arms as of late.
“Our first three to four games I think our pitchers were trying to do too much,” he said. “They’ve been throwing better since then. I tried my best to get every single pitcher on our staff a start. We’re finding out who is who and who can do what and were starting to define some roles and see where people fit in our rotation.
“I would say 90 percent of the time they’re throwing good pitches,” he said. “It’s that other 10 percent that’s hurting us. Their job is to get a little bit better every time. I’m relying on them to put the work in, I’m leading them to the water and they have to drink it.”
At the plate, Alford is still looking for some hitters to break out, including Corey DiLoreto of Northeastern University and shortstop Andrew Olszak, a Danvers native, of the University of Southern Maine.
“Right now, [DiLoreto] is still batting under .200,” Alford said. “But he’s really starting to swing the bat a lot better I’m looking for some big things out of him.
“Andrew has been stellar at shortstop,” he said. “He has been making some amazing plays but his bat has to come alive and I have every expectation that is going to happen.”
Timely hits have been few and far between for the Navigators thus far. Overall the Navigators just haven’t seemed to be able to get the big hits when they need them to drive in runs, Alford said.
“It’s more of the clutch hitting and hitting when we need to hit that has fallen short,” he said. “We have had plenty of opportunities that we haven’t been able to cash in on.”
Alford believes that the young season has already provided great learning experiences for his players.
“Pretty much every game we have played has been a very competitive baseball game which makes it fun it makes it intense,” he said. “It’s a great learning atmosphere for these kids playing college baseball.”
Alford also tips his cap to the competition in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League the Navigators have battled against, especially the pitching.
“I’ve been really impressed. The pitching in this league has been really good the hitters for the most part are aggressive there is a lot of hard hit balls,” he said.
Alford is optimistic that the Navigators will start to get things going the right way soon.
“I think, however you want to call it, the baseball gods, the little things keep biting us this year, we’re not getting the breaks,” he said. “I keep telling the guys we gotta go out and make our own breaks.”
The Navigators have three homes games remaining this week. They host Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday night (7), Worcester Thursday (7) and Nashua Friday (7).