In baseball, all good runs ultimately come to an end. For the North Shore Navigators, their run as league champions officially ended last night, falling 7-0 at the hands of the Sanford Mainers at Fraser Field in the decisive Game 3 of the two teams’ NECBL playoff series.
Despite all of last year’s championship memories, the North Shore offense quickly ran out of gas in a two-game span as they were shut out in back-to-back nights by the Mainers. The Navigators managed just 10 hits in the two combined games over 18 scoreless innings.
After getting blanked by Tommy Lawrence on Thursday in Maine, Sanford lefty Tripp Davis followed up with eight shutout innings against North Shore last night to lead the Mainers into the Eastern Division Finals against the Laconia Muskrats. Davis allowed just five hits and struck out five in the outing before Brendan Hourihan shut things down for Sanford in the ninth.
Meanwhile, right-hander Nolan Corr (Wheaton) got the start for the Navigators in the deciding third game, but was removed after just three innings of work. After looking stellar in a 1-2-3 first, Corr allowed a two-run single in the second to Paul Kronenfeld before Brett Mollenhauer’s double scored Marlon Calbi in the third to make it 3-0.
Dan Slania (Notre Dame) came on in relief of Corr and struck out the side in the fourth, but he allowed a pair to score in an inning later on a two-run base knock by Jack Lupo. Then in the seventh, All-Star reliever Matt Alvarez (Boston College) walked the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters before both scored on a single by Mollenhauer to all but put the game out of reach.
Oddly enough, four Navigators pitchers combined to strike out a season-high 15 batters, but Sanford capitalized with plenty of timely hitting in Games 2 and 3 of the series.
With one out in the sixth, the Navigators had a glimmer of hope when they loaded the bases down seven, but Davis induced to a 4-6-3 double play to Conner Mach (Missouri) to quickly kill the threat.