LACONIA — In keeping with the team's focus on the Lakes Region, the Winnipesaukee Muskrats have signed Laconia native Andrew Salta, who just finished his freshman year at Plymouth State University.
Salta hit .291 with a pair of homers and three doubles, driving in 12 runs and scoring 17 in just 55 at-bats for the Panthers. Starting the season as a backup, he worked his way into the lineup and provided some solid numbers for a first year college player while playing mainly in left field for the Panthers. He and his twin brother, James, are both former Laconia High School standouts who now play at Plymouth State.
"We are excited to have Andrew join us for the start of the season," said Muskrats General Manager, Kristian Svindland. "I have been in communication with Andrew's coach at Plymouth State, Clay Jenkins, about Andrew's growth as a player and if the New England Collegiate Baseball League is a good fit for the two sides. We agreed that Andrew's athleticism and work ethic would make him an ideal Muskrat as a temporary replacement. He still has some growing to do and more to learn, but the Muskrats have a need for a utility player for the first couple of weeks of the season."
Salta becomes the third PSU Panther on the Muskrats roster. Nashua native, Josh Goulet, a center fielder in his sophomore season with the Panthers, hit .280 and stole 27 bases, only getting caught once. "Goulet's glove and speed will play nicely in that deep centerfield at Robbie Mills." said Svindland.
The third Panther suiting up for the Muskrats is starting pitcher, Geoff Kayo, another New Hampshire native, this time from Londonderry. Svindland said "Geoff was with the Muskrats for the second half of last season. Great kid who competed well, then took that to PSU this past season and had some great moments on the mound."
Kayo had a 2-1 record with a 4.97 era and 21 strikeouts in 25 innings.
Svindland said that Muskrats players will report early in June with the first workouts June 4-5 and the first game on June 6 in Mystic, Connecticut., The home opener at Robbie Mills Field is scheduled for June 9.
Nine of the first 10 games the Muskrats play will be on the road and that's by design according to Svindland, who said that he talked with officials in the New England College Baseball League about having better attendance at games later in the season.
“Many kids are still in school early in June and during Motorcycle Week people seem reluctant to battle traffic. We thought we'd do better with more home games later in the season,” said Svindland.
The schedule will also allow the city of Laconia time to drill new wells near Robbie Mills Field to serve the park, which presently does not have water service due a water service line break from a water tower on the former Laconia State School property.
The Laconia City Council on Monday night approved spending $47,000 to drill the new wells, which will deliver water to the water tower for use at the park.
Bill Clay returns for his second season as the Muskrats head coach. Clay, a longtime baseball coach and former professional scout from Texas, has more than 30 years of experience coaching top rated college, high school and professional teams, such as Tarleton State University and the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association. Over his career, Clay has accumulated 622 victories. In addition he has served as an associate scout with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets.
“The NECBL offers a unique opportunity to work with some of the most talented young baseball players in the country. My experience as a Division 1 and 2 collegiate coach and professional scout positions me to groom these young men to reach their full potential as athletes on the field and positive role models within the community,” said Clay.
Gary Calhoun returns for his second year as well and will serve as assistant coach of the Muskrats. He joined the Muskrats in 2016 after 28 seasons as head coach of the Hillsborough Community College baseball team, located in Tampa, where he guided countless players during his tenure, including more than 50 athletes that went on to play professionally.
Alex Watson joins the staff this year as the pitching coach. Watson was born in Arizona, but raised in Las Vegas. He was a left-handed pitcher who began his college career at the College of Southern Nevada. From CSN, Watson transferred to Campbellsville University, an NAIA school in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Upon graduation, Watson immediately joined the coaching ranks and was a graduate assistant/head pitching coach at Campbellsville. During his time as coach, he helped guide the team to a Conference Championship and subsequent top seeding in their regional tournament.
- Written by Roger Amsden
- Category: Local Sports
- Hits: 21