On a hot, lazy Saturday with only three other NECBL games in action, Laconia finished up a stretch of 12-straight days on the diamond. With a struggling pitching staff and the Sanford Mainers breathing down their necks, Laconia looked like they could use a break.
The Bay Sox used stellar relief from John Massad (SNHU) and a constant offensive attack to set the Muskrats back to fourth place in a 13-9 defeat.
New Bedford took advantage of Tyler Raymond’s (Kentucky) three walks in the first inning. With a run already in on an Alex Black (Columbia) sacrifice fly, Zack Grayczyk (SUNY Cortland) drew the third walk to load the bases. Andy Lalli (SNHU) then struck for his third homer against Laconia this summer, a grand slam that made it 5-0. They’d add an unearned run on another sacrifice fly for a 6-0 lead after one.
But Laconia bounced back quickly and quietly in the second, as an error at first base broke up a would-be double play and granted Laconia three unearned runs on four hits. Joe Torres (Iona) had the highlight of the inning with a solid, two-run home run over the 320-foot fence in left field. Laconia cut the deficit in half.
They would come all the way back in the top of the fourth, on a two-run home run by Kyle Convissar (Maryland) and an RBI single for Vince Conde (Vanderbilt). Conde was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double to end the inning, but not before the speedy Torres crossed the plate.
That kicked off a slugfest at Paul Walsh Field, with the teams combining for five home runs in the game. New Bedford went back up by three in the fourth, on a three-run bomb by Grayczyk, making the score 9-6.
Laconia responded with a two-run laser shot by NECBL home run leader Danny Collins (Troy), who launched his 11 dinger of the summer. That made it a one-run, 9-8 lead for New Bedford.
The Bay Sox added a cushion run in the fifth. A leadoff single for Bryan Eggleston (Stetson) got it started. He reached second on a wild pitch, went to third on a groundout, and came home on a second wild pitch by Rob Blanc (Franklin Pierce). Neither team scored in the sixth or seventh, as the game settled in at 10-8.
Blanc was efficient in relief for Laconia, allowing just a run on two hits and no walks, while striking out five. The scoring opened up again to greet Tom Kriss (Iona) in the eighth. Evan King (Millersville) led off with a single, and took off to score on Black’s RBI double.
A Grayczyk flare to center would then score Black, and Lalli would drive in Grayczyk off new arm Nic Manuppelli (Youngstown St), to make it 13-8.
Down to their last out in the ninth, Conde hit his seventh home run of the summer to pull Laconia within four runs. But the game would end one batter later, as New Bedford outlasted Laconia 13-9.
Laconia will finally get a break, with both Sunday and Monday off after their rough 12-game stretch. On a four-game skid, the Muskrats now find themselves in fourth place, a half game behind the inactive Sanford Mainers. Laconia returns to action in Newport Tuesday, and hosts New Bedford on Wednesday.