And that’s very good news for the North Shore Navigators as they begin their playoff drive in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
Sal Frelick, the Navigators’ superb leadoff batter from Lexington, returned to the lineup Tuesday and scored the only run in the team’s 1-0 victory over the Westfield Starfires at Fraser Field.
Frelick, who plays for Boston College and is a potential first round pick in next year’s Major League Baseball Draft, had been sidelined after sustaining a hamstring injury in a July 12 game. The Navigators (9-10) struggled during Frelick’s absence and slipped out of a playoff spot.
But with Frelick back at full speed, the Navigators won a hard-fought, well-pitched game versus the playoff-contending Starfires.
It didn’t take long for Frelick to announce his presence. The 5-foot-9, 175 pound left-handed batter led off the bottom of the first with a single to right field. He advanced to second on Ben Malgeri’s basehit. Frelick stole third and scored on Cam Climo’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Navs’ Cam Climo pitched six scoreless innings, allowing two hits while striking out seven batters. Peter Saskellaris (Virginia Tech), Jack Wallace (Franklin Pierce), and Max Meier (Stanford) each pitched one inning in relief, with Meier earning the save for a perfect ninth inning.
Frelick talked about his return to the Navigators, who are within two games of the second and final playoff spot in the FCBL standings.
“I am obviously super excited to be back after missing a couple of games,” said Frelick. “It felt great getting back in the lineup and I was happy we could get the win. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into the next couple of weeks down the final stretch.”
Scouts from Major League Baseball teams have been attending Navs’ games and evaluating the skills of Frelick and many of his teammates as they relate to the 2021 MLB Draft.
“Seeing all the scouts at the games is definitely exciting, but my main focus this summer is to have fun and develop as a baseball player,” said Frelick. “Whether we are playing in an empty stadium or in front of fans and scouts, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play baseball this summer.”
Navigators fans, who are not allowed to attend home games due to state regulations for the coronavirus pandemic, will have an opportunity to see Manager Bob Macaluso’s exciting team on live television in August. Joshua Kummins, director of media relations for the Navigators, said the North Shore Navigators-Nashua Silver Knights game in Nashua on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 1 p.m., will be televised line on NESN.