After two much-needed days off, the fourth-place Muskrats met up with the first-place Newport Gulls for their seventh of eight games this season. The Gulls moved to 6-1 against Laconia this year, with an impressive 10-5 win.
The game burst open with a wave of early scoring. Each team plated at least a run in their first three trips to the plate.Newport scored all ten runs in the first three innings on eight hits, despite Laconia scoring first. Only one of the game’s 15 runs came after the third.
Wil Leathers (Spartanburg Methodist) singled in his first at-bat at Cardines Field, and scored on a Regan Flaherty (Seminole CC) RBI hit back up the middle, as Laconia took an encouraging, early 1-0 lead.
But Newport got four well-placed singles and three walks in the bottom of the inning to go on top 4-1. Matt Aldrich (Darton) faced all nine Gulls in the frame, struggling with control. Newport didn’t get to him with solid contact, as three of their four runs came in on grounders up the middle.
Laconia responded with confidence, facing the only Gulls pitcher they’d beaten this season, in Adam Ravenelle (Vanderbilt). The first six batters of the second inning reached base, with one erased on a fielder’s choice. Connor Castellano (Vanderbilt) had an RBI, but failed to score on Leathers’ second single, a ball hit high off the fence in right field. That loaded the bases and gave Danny Collins (Troy) an RBI on his walk, as Laconia made it 4-3.
The inning ended after Donny Duschinsky (Southern Illinois) appeared to be hit on the hand with the bases still loaded, but home plate umpire Al Lanni called him back, saying the ball hit the bat. Duschinsky grounded out.
Aldrich’s walks would prevent him from finishing the second inning, as he walked three more. Three more runs came in before Nick Kevlin (Dominican) induced a double play to halt the scoring at 7-3.
The scoring continued in the third, as Laconia started with a hit batter and a walk. Vince Conde (Vanderbilt) then brought in John Ziznewski (Rockland) with a flare to right, and the Muskrats were back within three runs.
The Gulls kept it going in the home half with three more runs, including a monster home run for Yale Rosen (Washington St). It was Rosen’s tenth of the summer, as he is hot on the heels of Danny Collins for the league-lead.
With the game at 10-4, the scoring race finally ended in the fourth, as both offenses took the inning off. Laconia added a run on a wild pitch in the fifth in another bases-loaded situation for Collins. But that’s all they got for the second time, as Collins struck out. Laconia left 12 men on base, including eight in scoring position.
The Muskrats did well to keep the Gulls offense shutdown through the middle innings, a lineup that was playing its tenth-consecutive game. After putting up ten in the first three, the Gulls’ bats took the rest of the night off. John Healy (St. Anselm) was the reason, allowing just one hit in 4.2 innings of great relief, striking out seven and walking one. The lone hit was a sneaky bunt single by Charlie White (Maryland) to lead off the seventh.
Despite the familiarity between the two clubs, Laconia trotted out four players making their Newport debuts Tuesday night. That’s largely in part to the Muskrats’ roster woes, as six starters from the start of the season and 14 players in total are no longer with the team.
Losers of five-straight games, Laconia is looking to get back on track after being passed in the standings by Sanford. They will try to do so against New Bedford at Robbie Mills Field on Wednesday at 6:30 PM.