The History of the Laconia Muskrats
The Laconia Collegiate Baseball Club was born in October 2009. The Crane Family, life long baseball fans, purchased the Manchester (CT) Silkworms a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Cranes approached the City of Laconia to gauge the city’s interest in housing a baseball team. After receiving enthusiastic support from the city officials, the team had a home.
The NECBL Board of Directors conditionally approved the sale and subsequent move to Laconia providing upgrades were completed at the Robbie Mills Sports Complex where the team would play. The Crane Family along with the City of Laconia and Laconia Savings Bank shared the cost of the renovations. By April of 2010 the work was complete. The renovations included a new press box, two sets of bleachers, new fencing, enlarged dugouts, and a public address system. The newly renovated Robbie Mills Field is one of the best facilities in the NECBL.
The next step for the new team was an identity. The team asked the Lakes Region residents for their help in naming the team. The winner, submitted by Pete Roller of Center Harbor, was the Muskrats. Following the naming, the Muskrats created their logo with help from the Lakes Region Community College Graphic Arts program. The logo was the work of Lacey Mason and Cory Migneault under the direction of Mike Place.
On June 4th 2010 over 1000 people saw the first ever game for the Laconia Muskrats. On hand to throw out a ceremonial first pitch were: Mayor Matt Lahey, City Manager Eileen Cabanel, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Jeff Pattison, City Councilors Armand Bolduc, Brenda Baer, Rob Hamel, Henry Lipman, Greg Knytych, President of Laconia Savings Bank Mark Primeau, Muskrats Board members Rob McShinsky and Louis Guevin, and owner Jonathan Crane. The Muskrats prevailed over the visiting Sanford Mainers 6-2.
The Muskrats, under manager Matt Williams finished the season in fourth place with a record of 20-22 and qualified for the NECBL playoffs. They had 3 players named to the NECBL All Star team with Jarett Miller and Casey Kalenkosky picked as the starting pitcher and catcher respectively. Three Muskrats also were named to the NECBL Top Prospects List by Baseball America. Pitcher Tyler Joyner lead the league in strikeouts with 53. The Muskrats also had their first ever player drafted by Major League Baseball as firstbaseman, Jason Rogers, was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 2011 season saw a great number of firsts for the Muskrats organization. The team won their first ever playoff game, first playoff series victory, first Eastern Division Championship and first appearance in the NECBL Championship Game. The Muskrats beat the Newport Gulls in the first round of the playoffs, giving the Gulls their first ever opening round loss. The team next faced the Sanford Mainers for the Eastern Division Championship, winning in 2 games. The 2011 NECBL Championship pitted the Muskrats against fellow Granite State foes, the Keene SwampBats. Along with the team success, Chris Costantino, was named the NECBL MVP.
Prior to the 2012 season the Muskrats made national headlines by offering a managerial contract to fired Boston Red Sox manager, Terry Francona. The story appeared in papers across the country, local tv and radio stations and was featured on ESPN SportsCenter. Francona never accepted the contract offer but the Muskrats did bring a piece of Fenway park to Laconia in 2012. The Muskrat Monster was constructed through a community project headed up by the Lakes Region Builders and Remodelers Association. The Muskrat Monster is 17 feet high and 88 feet long.
The Muskrats organization looks forward to many successful years and hopefully many NECBL championships!