Tuesday night in Sanford, Laconia looked to stay a perfect 6-0 against the Mainers in 2012. But a rain delay and a four-error inning was enough to prevent them from doing so, as Sanford came back in thrilling fashion to best Laconia for the first time since July of 2011.
Laconia groomed a lead and a shutout through six innings. But it all fell apart in the seventh, as Sanford scored seven times in an inning that featured four errors, three relievers, and two intentional walks. When the dust settled, the Mainers led 7-4 for good.
In that inning, the bases loaded on two singles and a walk. A follow-up single brought a run in and ended a previously impressive outing for Kevin McGowan (Franklin Pierce). Rob Blanc (Franklin Pierce) let the first batter he faced single, and the ball bounced away from Donny Duschinsky (Southern Illinois) in right field. Laconia then intentionally walked the bases loaded to set up force outs, but Vince Conde (Vanderbilt) threw away a ground ball.
After another intentional walk in attempt to create force outs, Blanc’s night was over. He was replaced by Tom Kriss (Iona), but the Laconia defense did not support him any better. Wil Leathers (Spartanburg Methodist) mishandled a grounder to second and the inning continued. The next play came back to Kriss, who fired home to get the out, but Chris Harvey’s (Vanderbilt) return throw to first sailed high into right field. The inning finally ended on the next play.
The game also featured a rain delay of approximately an hour and 45 minutes, just as the bottom of the fourth was set to start.
John Ziznewski (Rockland CC) accounted for two of Laconia’s four runs, with an RBI double and single in the game. Connor Castellano (Vanderbilt) was 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Duschinsky was also 3-for-4, with one double.
Laconia’s theme at the plate was unexpected offense. Spots six through nine in the lineup accounted for all four Muskrats runs, one apiece. Seven of Laconia’s 11 hits came with two outs in the respective inning. 23 of Laconia’s 27 outs were put in play, as the team only struck out four times.
In contrast with their teammates, the 3-4-5 spots in the order combined to go 0-for-13. Danny Collins (Troy) and Conde were both held hitless in the same game for the first time since June 22nd. Collins, the current NECBL Player of the Week for the second time this summer, is in the midst of a 2-11 spell.
Matt Aldrich (Darton) showed signs of what could have been one of his strongest starts of the summer Tuesday night. He was keeping his pitch count down and keeping the Mainers off the scoreboard. But he could not keep away the rain, and did not return to the game after the delay. He added three strikeouts to his season tally, the third-best in the league, in three innings pitched.
Laconia will be back to Sanford Thursday for their final visit of the regular season. Before that, the Muskrats will host New Bedford Wednesday at 6:30 PM.