Danny Collins (Troy) hit a record 14th homerun of the season, John Ziznewski (Rockland CC) added two bombs, and Tim Swatek (Fordham) was masterful in relief as the Laconia Muskrats won their second-straight game Saturday night.
The 13-4 win marked the second night in a row Laconia’s reconfigured offense produced 13 runs. It also evened the season series with the pesky Mystic Schooners at three games apiece, and moved Laconia back into third place in the East by a half game. The Muskrats had not won back-to-back games this season since they started the summer 2-0 on June 9th.
Laconia scored first for a fifth-consecutive game, as Ziznewski belted the first pitch from Eric Stone (Boston College) out to Eastman Road. The Muskrats would add six runs in the third inning, five in the fifth, and a lone tally in the eighth.
Collins hit homer number fourteen with two men on in the third. He ties the NECBL all-time high mark set by Keene’s Gil Barkman, and Aaron Fera of the Rhode Island Reds, both in 1998. Collins has 12 games remaining to set a new standard.
Ziznewski added his own three-run home run in the fifth, for a two shot, four RBI night. Regan Flaherty (Seminole CC) collected his 50th hit as a Muskrat, a total that tops the team record books for a career that has spanned two summers.
Starting pitcher Tim Ponto (St. Joseph’s) left the game with the lead after three pitches in the fourth inning. Ponto suffered an injury to his right triceps muscle, and will depart from the team for the summer.
That left Swatek to enter the game cold, having not warmed up. It was far from a problem, as Swatek settled into a breakneck pace, setting down Ponto’s final batter, then retiring 16-straight Schooners. He was an out away from a hitless appearance, when pinch hitter and Mystic pitcher AJ Rataic (St Edwards U) smacked a home run in his first at bat of the season.
An annoyed Swatek finished the game on the next batter, eliminating 16 of 17 batters faced, in addition to Ponto’s. Swatek earned his third victory of the summer, tying for the most wins in a season by a Muskrats pitcher. He struck out six.
With the offense on a role, Laconia will meet up again with the Vermont Mountaineers tomorrow, this time here in New Hampshire. Laconia will throw lefty John Healy (St. Anselm), with southpaw England Smith (Walters St) waiting in the wings, against a Vermont lineup that regularly features eight left-hand bats. First pitch is at 6:30 PM.