SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- Alex Rozak came in to close the deal in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, on just two days rest -- and at that, six-plus innings of extended relief -- and immediately ran into trouble. But with two men on, the junior righty caught the Dennis-Yarmouth batter looking on a third strike, opening a joyous emptying of the dugout and a pat on the back from his head coach.
With Rozak's save and a strong 6-2/3 innings from lefty Jake Stearns, the Eagles clinched at least a share of the Atlantic Coast League title once again by holding off upstart host Dennis-Yarmouth, 4-3, at Wilson Field.
North (13-1, 9-1) can clinch the ACL outright at home Monday against Sandwich, while D-Y fell to 8-5 and 5-4 in the league.
"I never should have pitched him [today], but you know, that's for the league title," Eagles head coach Dwayne Follette said of Rozak, who struck out eight batters in 6-2/3 innings of relief in a 14-5 win over Marshfield Monday. "That's a good win."
Pinch-runner Ryan Moskos came on for Dave Murphy in the top of the sixth inning, and scored from first base with two outs to plate the winning run for the Eagles. Doug Maccaferri flied out deep to right field, sending the speedy soccer star from first on a tag-up. Moskos slid head-first into third, but the throw from the rightfielder was overthrown, sending him home standing up.
Matt Walsh tried to give the Eagles an insurance run in the seventh, blasting one to the left field wall for a stand-up double before getting tagged out at home to end the inning. Stearns fanned the first two batters of the final stanza swinging, but walked the next one, prompting Follette to call in Rozak on short rest for the save.
Stearns finished the day striking out eight, allowing five hits and walking two, to pick up the win.
"I knew once we got that run, we get ahead and we've got Alex and our ace," Walsh said. "Big chance for us to get the ACL right there, so I knew my double would help us get it done."
The Eagles plated three runs in the top of the first, the first run coming when Zach Zaniboni raced home after Walsh's grounder wasn't fielded safely. Walsh and Mike Cahill then came home on a John Myette single to make it 3-0.
But the Dolphins responded two innings later to knot it at three. Brendan Sullivan reached on an error by the second baseman, allowing his brother Cody to reach home safely for the 3-3 score.
After the rally, D-Y managed just two hits over the final four innings.
"They're the best team in Division 2, and we've played them two games in a row toe-to-toe," D-Y head coach Paul Funk said. "I think we just made more mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes that we've got to clean up on. But I'll tell you, we gutted it out. The pitcher we had going [Justin Thomson], he gutted it out for us."