The North Shore Navigators could not overcome a four-run first inning in a 5-4 loss last night to the Newport Gulls, who took Game 1 of their best two-of-three series at Cardines Field in NECBL playoff action. The Navigators now face a must-win scenario tonight when they host the second game of the series from Fraser Field at 6:15 p.m.
Down 5-2 in the sixth, the Navigators struck for two in the frame to make it a one-run game after an RBI single from Ben Waldrip and an RBI groundout by Garret Smith. But Newport reliever Gardner Leaver came on in relief of starter Pat Light and got Jason Banos to fly out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
From that point forward, the Gulls bullpen took over to shut down the Navs lineup, as the duo of John Farrell and Mike Francisco combined for two innings of relief with two strikeouts apiece, and Seth Simmons came on in the ninth inning for the save.
Offensively, Braxton Graven had a three-hit game for the Navigators, while Banos and Waldrip both added a pair of singles.