After two-straight improved starts qualifying for wins, Laconia starting pitching was back to its old ways Sunday night against Vermont in a 14-12 loss. Muskrat John Healy (St. Anselm) did not record an out in the first inning, and left the game down 6-0.
With three home runs already in the frame, Vermont added one more against early reliever England Smith (Walters St) to make it 8-0 before the home team came to the plate. The Mountaineers thought they had already sealed revenge for Friday’s 13-12 debacle in Vermont.
Going quietly in the first, Laconia surged back in the second, as the first three batters reached and strolled home on Kyle Convissar’s (Maryland) grand slam. When trailing by a wide margin, teams certainly dream of putting together the rare four-man dinger, and Convissar actualized it.
The Muskrats added three more runs in the frame on a John Ziznewski (Rockland CC) double, a Wil Leathers (Spartanburg Methodist) single, and a Donny Duschinsky (Southern Illinois) sacrifice fly. At 8-7, it was suddenly a one-run game.
Vermont would grab a run in the third, and Laconia would continue with three, spurred by Joe Torres’ (Iona) solo homer and Vince Conde’s (Vanderbilt) two-run double. The Muskrats found themselves ahead 10-9, in what was already another freakish scoring contest.
Vermont scored their tenth run in the fourth, but Convissar had the answer in the home-half, launching his second home run of the game. Laconia was up 11-10 after four, but unfortunately would only change the scoreboard again once.
In a 12-11 ballgame in the seventh, Vermont got two one-out runners on a walk and a hit batter. Rob Kelly (St. Anselm) then sent the game’s seventh homer out of the yard, a strike that put the Mountaineers ahead for good, and gave him the most career RBI in team history.
In a moment of déjà vu, Corey Stringer (Fort Scott CC) was due up when the Muskrats loaded the bases in the eighth. Immediately, the scene harkened back to Montpelier on Friday night, when Stringer hit the grand slam that set the NECBL team home run record, and put Laconia ahead. But on this night, Stringer was lifted in favor of pinch hitter Tim Swatek (Fordham). Swatek struck out, and a ground ball later, the chance was gone.
The 14-12 loss denied the Muskrats their first three-game win streak of the summer. The season series with Vermont gets split 1-1, with the road team stealing each game, and the offenses combining for 51 runs and 12 homers. Laconia’s four All-Star selections will return to Montpelier Recreational Field this Sunday for the NECBL All-Star Game.
The Muskrats look ahead to a more forgiving schedule this week, with an off day, three home games, and two short trips to Sanford, Maine. The Muskrats and Mainers will compete to settle third place in the East, with the loser left to hold of Mystic for the final playoff spot.