The North Shore Navigators were officially eliminated from the playoff race after their road loss against the Brockton Rox on Saturday, but their season finished with several reasons to cheer. Hosting the Nashua Silver Knights, the Navs beat the Silver Knights, 2-1, at Fraser Field on Sunday.
“I thought the game was great,” Navs head coach Todd Alford said. “Shayne Audet did an unbelievable job. The bullpen came in and did what they were supposed to do. … That’s what we were looking for all year, and they finally put it together.”
The Navigators (20-35) got on the board early, as Joey Murphy earned the game’s first run off Elias Varinos’ sacrifice hit. In the second inning, John Prentice’s single brought home Mitchell Lundholm, who set himself up by batting a single and stealing the second base.
In the seventh, Audet, who recorded six strikeouts in the first five innings, had a chance to tie and break the franchise record for most strikeouts in a single season (57). With 56 strikeouts for the season but only 11 pitches remaining for the game, everyone at Fraser Field watched with suspense. The inning closed without a batter stepping on the base, but all three outs were grounders.
“I knew it,” Audet said of his opportunity. “I was trying to throw a little bit harder, and that ended up biting me, but it was a good start, so I’ll take it.”
When asked of what he was able to prove this season, the rising New England College sophomore had one point: “D-III guys can play with anyone in the country,” Audet said.
While the score remained stagnant since the second inning, the Silver Knights (21-32) posed a legitimate scare for the Navs in the final inning, when Cody Morrissette and Jake Lebel both hit a single with one out. Joe Bramanti followed up with an RBI single to the left field to make it a one-point contest.
Left fielder Jeff Costello was thrown out at first base, but with two outs and runners at second and third, Nashua seemed destined to push the momentum forward. Up next on the plate was Teddy Beaudet, whose swing was thrown out at first base, securing the Navs’ victory.
The game also saw another Navigator claim an accomplishment when Navs’ infielder Sal Frelick was named the Future Collegiate Baseball League’s best pro prospect of 2018 prior to the game’s start. Ranked third in the league with a .361 batting average, Frelick also tied for first in home runs with seven, all of which came before any other Navigator could record a home run this season, according to Josh Kummins.
In the fall, Frelick will attend Boston College, which he called “an absolute dream school.” He added this summer has been a great opportunity to pick the minds of his teammates. “A lot of these guys have collegiate years under their belt, so the knowledge they shared with me and just being able to see the way they play the game, like the faster pace, that really helped me this summer,” Frelick said. “Hopefully it’ll help me as I go into my freshman year.”
“We got to see some great young players [this summer]: Sal Frelick, Dominic Keegan, Shayne Audet,” Alford said. “Seeing them coming out of high school and getting their start in college baseball is something I’ll remember. You’ll probably hear those names again someday.”