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Jun. 3—LYNN — The North Shore Navigators have come home again.

Charter members of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Navs have rejoined the NECBL for this summer after spending the last nine years in the Futures League. The team opens the 2021 season at Fraser Field on Friday and it’ll also be the first time since 2019 that fans have filled the ball park.

“We’re all really happy to be here,” said pitcher Cedric Gillette from Merrimack College, who’s beginning his third season with the team. “We didn’t have fans last year and one of the best parts about my first year here was having those fans here. I’m really exciting about having them back.”

The NECBL has 14 teams all over New England, so the Navs will be travelling a bit more this summer. The wood bat college summer league is considered one of the top three in the country for pro prospects, meaning there will be more Division 1 college players from all over the country on both the North Shore side and playing for their opponents.

“We are excited to rejoin this great league,” said Navs President and General Manager Derek January. “With 14 teams in the league, our fans will have an opportunity to see how good the college baseball talent is across the country. We think being in the NECBL is a home run for our players, fans and sponsors.”

North Shore has certainly cemented itself as a place to develop top tier college players and prospects. Boston College’s Sal Frelick, a projected top ten pick in next month’s draft, played two summers at Frasier. BC’s Cody Morissette will also be drafted and last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Ben Malgeri had a monster year for Northeastern and will likely be playing professionally soon. Ex-Navigator Sean Lawlor also had a great season at Maine.

So who are this summer’s future all-stars? Returnees Logan Bravo (Harvard and Austin Prep) and Jon Luders (Seton Hall) in the infield both hit .328 last summer and are great building blocks. Peabody’s Jake Gustin, from Bryant, just led the Northeast Conference in total bases in a first-team All-Conference spring. Matthias Haas, from California, is one of the farthest travelling Navs with Alex Lemery, Ryan Marra and Max Zajec vying for infield duty.

Jack Whorf, Jose Aquino, Dylan Brazil, David Kale and Joe Lomuscio make up the outfield to start the year. Behind the plate, Cal Christorofi, Tristan Latham and Kyle Maurice look good with Dylan January of Swampscott in the mix. North Andover’s Jake McIlroy from Holy Cross looks great in a utility role.

On the staff, Gillette leads a deep group that includes 17 arms. He led the squad in innings and tied for the team lead in wins last summer and has come to see learning from all his different teammates as one of the best parts of playing for the Navs.

“I’ve probably had 100 different teammates in my three years here. That’s 100 different coaching staffs you’re learning from because everyone’s bringing what they’ve learned at their schools,” Gillette said. “That’s one of the really cool parts about these teams, just talking baseball with the guys.”

Saugus native Todd Trangale is another strong arm. He’s coming off a tremendous spring at Northern Essex Community College, where he struck out 78 in 50 innings and was among the national junior college leaders in punch outs. The former NEC MVP will get his associate’s degree from NECC next year and land at a D1 college program for the ’23 season.

“Getting to play so close to home is great. The Navs are always a great group of guys that make the game fun and also competitive,” said Trangale, who threw for the team in ’20 and ’19 as well. “Just getting to see other guy’s styles and routines is huge. I came in without much of a routine and I’ve learned so much about that and about sequencing pitches.”

Austin Amaral from Stetson and lefty Zach Chappell from Florida are among the many capable arms. Swampscott’s Luke Marshall also returns, as does Winthrop native Jack Wallace. All together, North Shore has three hurlers from the Ivy League and others from Texas and Mississippi.

Manager Bob Macaluso returns for his second season and the team will be playing 42 games between Friday opener (6:35 first pitch) and August 1. The team is following all local and state guidelines for social distancing, which will allow them to bring fans for Navigators baseball for the first time since August of 2019.

“I love interacting with the fans. The North Shore and city of Lynn love their baseball,” Gillette said. “I hope they fill this place up on Friday and I’ll be really excited to see them again.”