Friday night in Groton, Connecticut, the Muskrats’ offense was at an all-time high. Laconia scored 18 runs, a new team high, defeating Mystic 18-4. The offensive display bested Laconia’s 17-6 victory at Danbury on July 30, 2010, as the most runs put up in one game by the Muskrats.
Patience paid off for Laconia early on, as Mystic starter Bob Cook (Amherst) struggled to find the zone. After walking two in the first, Cook walked Dylan Kelly (Middle Georgia) to start the second. Regan Flaherty (Seminole CC) found success with a different approach, singling the first pitch from Cook into right field. The bases loaded when Donny Duschinsky (Southern Illinois) became Cook’s fourth walk.
Connor Castellano (Vanderbilt) then did his job with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Kelly. It was Castellano’s third RBI in four games. Runners moved to the corners, in a bunt situation for Joe Torres (Iona). But with Duschinsky running from first, Torres’ grounder up the middle avoided the double play, scoring Flaherty for an RBI. Laconia led 2-0.
The story was the same in the third, as two more walks and a single loaded the bases again for the Muskrats. Kelly and Flaherty had back-to-back RBI, on a single and a pitch that hit Flaherty on the foot. Following a Duschinsky RBI single that made it 5-0 and reloaded the bases, Cook’s night mercilessly came to an end.
Laconia was far from done, adding three more runs to Cook’s line in the inning off reliever Steve Marino (Williams). Torres hit a sacrifice fly, and Vince Conde (Vanderbilt) drove in two with a single for an 8-0 lead.
Where control issues sank Cook, contact was the demise of Marino. Sensing blood in the water, the Muskrats doubled their advantage in the fourth, plating eight more runs. Conde and Danny Collins (Troy) both homered in the inning, with Collins hitting his NECBL-leading and Muskrats’ single-season record sixth home run.
Collins accomplished that feat leading off the inning. Ethan Bennett (Tennessee) then doubled, and Kelly was hit by a pitch. A single by Flaherty then started a string of five consecutive hits, including a two-run double by Castellano, and culminating in the three-run bomb for Conde. After an out, Collins came back up for his second hit of the inning, a double. That ended Marino’s day.
Marino only got four outs, allowing ten base runners on nine hits and a hit batter. In Cook’s two innings pitched, he walked six and hit one, while giving up four hits.
Both men surrendered eight earned runs. The loss goes to Cook, whose earned run average for the game was 36.00. Marino will see his ERA jump by 55.39.
Laconia would add a run in the fifth, on Torres’ fourth-straight at-bat of the game with an RBI. Bennett drove in the record-breaking 18th run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly, after two walks and a single loaded the bases.
With 17 hits (12 singles and five for extra bases), 12 walks, two hit by pitches, and two reaching on fielder’s choices, Laconia totaled 33 base runners Friday night, for an on-base percentage of .590. Runners reaching had a 55% chance of scoring on the Schooners.
Laconia’s hot offense has 47 hits and 39 runs scored in its last four games, in which the team is 2-2. Only two of those games have been played at the score-inflating Robbie Mills Field. Over a six-game span, the Muskrats are averaging 10.3 hits per game and 8.7 runs.
The third-place Muskrats return home for a weekend home stand, beginning with the Newport Gulls’ last regular-season visit to Robbie Mills Field, Saturday at 6:30 PM.