With a postseason berth already intact, the North Shore Navigators looked to solidify its positioning within the Eastern Division playoff picture on Friday against the New Bedford Bay Sox at Paul Walsh Field. But the Navigators, despite scoring four times in the eighth inning to transform a five-run deficit into a one-run game, fell 7-5 to the Bay Sox.
Down 6-1 in the eighth, North Shore’s Saulyer Saxon (Oklahoma State) reached on an error before Clinton Harwick (pictured, Point Loma Nazarene), who had a four-hit night, singled to put two on with one out. After a Dario Pizzano (Columbia) single loaded the bases, Conner Mach (Missouri) emptied them with a bases-clearing double. He then moved up to third on a single by Eric Williams (Columbia) before taking home on a wild pitch to make it a one-run ballgame.
New Bedford added an insurance run against reliever Dan Slania (Notre Dame) in the bottom half, but North Shore responded by putting the tying run on with one out in the ninth inning. Mach then hit what appeared to be a clean single to left, but Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame) was forced to hold up to make sure the ball dropped before he was thrown out at third on the fielder’s choice. Williams followed the Mach at-bat by popping up the first pitch he saw to end the ballgame.
The victory for New Bedford marked its first win of the season over the Navs, who took the season-series 5-1. Still, the Navigators currently maintain the second spot in the division, 1.5 games ahead of the third-place Sanford Mainers.
The Newport Gulls have already clinched the East, due in large part to an eight-game winning streak, meaning the Navs will look to lock down the No. 2 spot with three games remaining in order to attain home-field in the opening playoff series, which will begin on Tuesday.
Harwick also scored twice on his way to his four-hit performance, while Williams and Michael Dunster (Clemson) also had two hits apiece for the Navigators. Pizzano extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a 2-for-4 night and is now hitting .412 (28-for-68) with 12 RBI and 15 runs scored over that stretch. He also has 10 multi-hit games in that span.