The first-place Navigators walked off with a 5-3 victory on Wednesday night at Fraser Field on Dario Pizzano’s two-run game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Raging Tide from Old Orchard Beach.
The Tide had scored twice off North Shore reliever Dan Duval in the eighth to take a 3-2 lead, as it looked like the Navs’ normally reliable bullpen might squander a late-inning lead. But Cody Dent (Florida) led off the ninth by reaching on an error, and after a single by Saulyer Saxon (Oklahoma State), Dent scored on a sac fly by Matt McGovern (Boston College) to tie the game at 3-3.
Pizzano then ran the count to 1-1 against Tide reliever Oliver Van Zant before turning on a pitch low and in and drilling it down the right field line. He just managed to keep the ball fair, curving it inside the foul pole to mark North Shore’s fourth come-from-behind win at home this season.
Pizzano finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI to raise his team-leading average to .381 on the season. He is among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category at the midway point of the season.
North Shore, on the cusp of losing its second game straight entering the ninth, has now won five of its last six and currently leads the NECBL’s Eastern Division with a 12-9 record. The win also moved the Navigators to 3-0 against Old Orchard on the season.
Pizzano is now hitting .424 (14-for-33) over his last nine games and has hit safely in eight of those contests. Meanwhile, Dent, whose Florida Gators lost to South Carolina in the College World Series championship, made his North Shore debut last night, going 1-for-3 while scoring the tying run before Pizzano’s walk-off. Dent is the son of former New York Yankee Bucky Dent.