LYNN — North Shore Phillies manager Chris Carroll says his team’s end goal is to be North Shore Baseball League champions. Thus far, Carroll and the Phillies are on the right track.
After a hot first half of the season, the North Shore Phillies find themselves in a cat-and-mouse chase for first place in the league standings with the Peabody Champions. The Phillies are 14-4 on the NSBL season, currently in the midst of a two-game slide. Peabody’s 14-4-1, one point ahead of North Shore in the standings.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Carroll said. “A lot of us have been playing for a while. We have a good veteran group with some young talent mixed in that has brought us some success.”
A talented roster has helped the Phillies run out to a stellar start this summer but ultimately the team’s main goal is making a playoff run, Carroll said.
“As a competitor you want to win every game and we have a good group of competitors on this team so it means something,” Carroll said of being in a race for first place. “But we’re a veteran group who has been together in this league. We have won a championship (2013) and we know what it takes in the playoffs.”
Another source of inspiration has been the memory of Jeff Blydell, who founded the team in 2007. Blydell passed away in 2015 but the Phillies still carry his memory with them.
“His name is on our jerseys and we carry him with us,” Carroll said. “His son Chris [Blydell] has been on the team since 2007 and he’s done a great job being a player and leader for us.”
On the field, the Phillies have benefited from excellent pitching throughout their rotation, which includes Matt Burnham (4-0 with a 0.58 ERA), Sean Bucklin (2-0 with a 0.41 ERA) and Mario Padovani (2-2 with a save and a 1.18 ERA).
Another key pitcher is veteran Dan Duval (1-0 with a 2.05 ERA), Carroll said.
“Dan Duval has been one of the best pitchers on this team for years and he has continued that this year,” Carroll said. “We have a lot of good pitching on this team and it creates a recipe for winning.”
Things have also been working well for the Phillies at the plate throughout the season.
Kyle Devin (batting .444 with 11 RBI), Kurtis White (batting .400 with 12 RBI), Mike Griffin (batting .357 with 10 RBI) and Mike Lamothe (batting .400 with 9 RBI) have all been big hitters for the Phillies.
“It’s definitely been an all-around group effort at the plate,” Carroll said. “It starts with Kyle Devin for us. He’s our big number three in our order, a big impactful hitter.
“Kurtis White is in his first year at the leadoff role and he has been solid for us there,” Carroll added. “Mike Griffin is one of our younger guys, a sophomore in college, and he has been huge for us as well.”
In order to maintain their strong start and finish the season at the top of the league,
Carroll and the Phillies will rely on their veteran roster and a hard working attitude as they reach the closing stretch of their schedule.
“We’re an experienced group so we just need to continue to work hard and play hard,” Carroll said. “We’ll continue having good attitudes all around.
“A first place finish would be nice,” Carroll added. “That would be an accomplishment but our end goal is to be champions.”
The Phillies have five games remaining on their regular season schedule. North Shore has a marquee tilt against Peabody Tuesday night (8) at Breed’s Bowzer Complex.