SANFORD – It’s easy sometimes to get caught up in the moment. So Aaron Izaryk, the manager of the Sanford Mainers, had a simple message for his players Tuesday night as they faced elimination in the New England Collegiate Baseball League playoffs: play your game.

Pitcher Dustin Ramey and right fielder Bobby Doyon apparently listened very well.

Ramey allowed one run over six innings and Doyon hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning as the Mainers defeated the North Shore Navigators 5-1 before a crowd of 551 at Goodall Park.

The victory tied the best-of-three East divisional series at one game each. The deciding game is 6:15 tonight at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass.

“In the game we played (Monday, a 1-0 loss), I thought we played a very strong ball game,” said Izaryk. “Honestly I encouraged the guys not to change anything. I told the guys if we play that game 10 times, we have a great chance to win 10 times.

“Losing a one-hitter, you don’t want to call it a fluke, but it’s not something that happens often. I encouraged them to just come out and play their game and trust what they do.”

And it started with Ramey, a sinkerball pitcher who kept the ball down and let his defense do the work. The Mainers ended two innings by turning double plays, the second blunting a huge North Shore threat.

The Navigators loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third. But after Cody Dent hit a sacrifice fly, Ramey induced Jason Banos to hit a grounder to second baseman Joe Wendle, who stepped on second and threw to first baseman Michael Roth for the double play.

“You’ve just got to go back to what you always do,” said Ramey, who struck out four and walked two. “It’s just another game, it’s an elimination game. But you need the same approach to attack the hitters.

“Coach reminded me a couple of times when I came in (the dugout), I’m not a strikeout guy, I’m more of a contact, ground-ball guy. With the defense behind me, I just had to keep going to the ground ball and they would make the plays.”

Getting out of that inning with just one run was a huge boost to the Mainers.

“We know Dusty goes out and pitches his heart out every game, we knew he was going to give us his best,” said center fielder Matt Marra. “Once we got out of that with one run, we were, like, it’s time to turn it on.”

Sanford tied the game in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly by Wendle, then took control in the fourth.

With one out, the Mainers got a single from Doug Elliot and a walk by Anthony Gomez. Marra hit a curve down the left-field line to drive in Elliot with the go-ahead run. Then Doyon hit the first pitch from Kevin Kyle — a high fastball — over the left-field fence for a three-run home run to make it 5-1.

“He left it up and I hit it,” said Doyon. “It felt good, I got a pretty good piece. But you never know in this park.”

On this night, it was well over the fence and the Mainers were in command. Izaryk brought in his closer, Eric Ruth, to start the seventh and he struck out three in three scoreless innings.

“Hey we put some good balls in play, and they played good defense,” said Jeff Waldron, manager of the Navigators. “You win some, you lose some. But we’re where we want to be. We’re in the playoffs, we’re in Game 3. Whatever happens will happen.”


Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]


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