Four Laconia Muskrats will represent Muskrat Nation at the 2012 NECBL All-Star Game at the Vermont Mountaineers’ Montpelier Recreational Field Sunday, July 22nd.
Third baseman Danny Collins (Troy), shortstop Vince Conde (Vanderbilt), second baseman Wil Leathers (Spartanburg Methodist), and closer Nic Manuppelli (Youngstown St) were nominated by their Muskrats coaches and selected as All-Stars by the ten NECBL managers.
Slugger Danny Collins will be the reigning NECBL Player of the Week when he takes the field in Vermont on Sunday. Danny will start at third base for the Eastern squad. By that time, he could stand alone atop the NECBL home run record books, as he is currently tied for the most blasts in a single season in League history, with 14.
Collins leads the NECBL in home runs, OPS, and slugging percentage, ranks in the top three in average, hits, and runs batted in, and ranks in the top five in at-bats, and on-base percentage.
Statistically, the Muskrats have never had another player perform as well as Collins. With nine regular season games left in 2012, Collins’ 51 hits and 14 bombs are both single-season and career records for a Muskrat. His 28 runs scored tie Ryan Lewis (2010) for most in a season, and his .405 average is a Muskrats record by 100 points.
Vince Conde will be a substitute at shortstop for the middle innings, behind New Bedford’s Peyton Hart. Conde is hitting .302 with eight home runs, second-most in team history. His 26 RBI match Danny Collins, in six less games played. The two rank second in team history for RBI in a single season.
Wil Leathers will be a substitute at second base for the middle innings, behind Newport’s Conor Keniry. Leathers is a bit of a luxury selection for Laconia, as he has only played in 13 games for Laconia. Despite a short tenure, Leathers already has 25 hits, averaging just under two hits a game. He has the highest average in the NECBL at .431, though not yet qualifying among the league leaders.
Opposing managers had great things to say about the Muskrats’ closer Nic Manuppelli. Although his earned run average is high at 6.30, Nic leads the NECBL with seven saves, which is also an all-time high for the Muskrats.
In three seasons, Laconia has now sent 13 Muskrats to the All-Star Game. Laconia had a League-high six selections last season, and three in 2010. This year, the second-place New Bedford Bay Sox will send the most players to represent the East, with ten selections. On the Western side, first-place Keene also earned ten selections.
Realistically, Laconia could have conceivably had as many as eight All-Stars if the original roster stayed intact. Key losses include All-Star caliber talents Ethan Bennett (Tennessee), John Polonius (West Virginia), Tyler Jackson (Charleston), and 2011 All-Star Dylan Kelly (Middle Georgia).
Laconia will also send their game broadcaster Casey Williams to the 2012 NCBL All-Star Game, as he was selected to represent the East by his peers. Casey is in his third summer as the broadcaster for Laconia. North Adams’ first-year talent and former Cape Cod Baseball League voice Chris Aliano will join him on air, representing the West.
Tune in to the 19th annual NECBL All-Star Game, live from Vermont on Sunday, July 22nd at 6:30 PM on the NECBL Broadcast Network.