For the second straight year, the North Shore Navigators will represent the NECBL Eastern Division as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs following Monday’s 6-3 victory over the Sanford Mainers at Fraser Field.
As a result, the Navigators will have home-field advantage in the opening playoff series against Sanford. Game 1 of that matchup will take place Wednesday night (6:15 p.m.) at Fraser Field as the Navigators’ title defense officially begins.
Sanford, which had won earlier yesterday afternoon to remain in line to overtake second place, was shut down by Navigators starter Junior Mendez (Southern New Hampshire) for the second time in the matter of a week. After throwing five scoreless innings against Sanford last Tuesday, Mendez followed up with seven scoreless innings last night in which he allowed four hits with five strikeouts.
All-Star closer Miles Landry (Baylor) came on in the ninth to get his fifth save of the season, as the scoreless inning capped what was essentially a perfect regular season for the right-hander. The sophomore from Houston did not allow an earned run in 22 innings pitched out of the pen.
The Navigators broke a scoreless tie in the third inning on an RBI single by Saulyer Saxon (Oklahoma State) and added another later in the frame on Eric Jagielo’s (Notre Dame) sacrifice fly.
Matt Boulter (Southern New Hampshire), who had a three-hit night, reached base four times, scored twice and also drove in a pair, made it 3-0 in the fourth when his single scored Eric Williams (Columbia).
In the sixth, Boulter and Cody Dent (Florida) each had a two-out RBI single to extend the lead to 5-0, although the Mainers scored three times in the eighth against Navs reliever and Peabody native Joe Gruntkosky (St. Joseph’s). North Shore tacked on an insurance run in the bottom half after Boulter doubled and scored on a Matt McGovern (Boston College) single.