LACONIA — Over 1,000 turned out on a warm and cloudy Sunday afternoon at Robbie Mills Field to watch the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game, a pitcher's duel which saw Joe Torres of the host Muskrats cross the plate with the winning run in the eighth inning to give the East All-Stars a 2-1 victory.
License plates in the parking lots showed cars from as far away as Kansas, Missouri, Virginia. South Carolina and Georgia, with cars from New Jersey and New York nearly equaling those from the New England states combined with the exception of host state New Hampshire.
And while many were there to root for their family members or those playing in hometown teams of the 13-team league, there was another group of people present with a high interest in the assembled baseball talent; major league scouts were present representing nearly every one of the 30 major league baseball teams, many armed with charts and radar guns.
''It's a great day for us and for the league,'' said Muskrats general manager Noah Crane, as he watched the big crowd, which the NECBL said amounted to 1,012 people, coming into the ballpark.
Starting on the mound for the Eastern Division All Stars was Laconia's Will Blalock.
Blalock a junior from Lipscomb University, the second Muskrat pitcher to start an All Star Game, following Justin Wiley in 2011, surrendered the only run scored by the West in the first inning.
North Adams Steeple Cats second baseman Joe Landi lined a one-out single to right and moved to second on a ground out and scored when cleanup man JP Sportman of the Keene Swamp Bats doubled to the gap in left center. Dan Spignola of the Danbury Westerners followed with a single to center but Sportman was cut down at the plate by East centerfielder Andrew Sanromauro's throw to home.
The East tied the score in the third inning. Sanford's Troy Black led off the inning with a single, then stole second. An error allowed the inning to continue and Newport's Joel McKeithan tied the game with a base hit to center.
Pitching dominated through the next five innings and the East narrowly escaped in the seventh when the West squad had runners in scoring position. Travis Stout of the Plymouth Pilgrims worked his way out of the jam by getting a grounder and a strikeout.
In the bottom of the eighth, the East pulled ahead with a one-out single from All-Star Game MVP Joe Torres of the Muskrats starting the rally. The Laconia outfielder, after swinging and missing on a pitch in the dirt, lined a base hit to left. He then moved up to second when Carl Anderson was hit by pitch. Tyler Boyd of the Mystic Schooners then drilled a single to right and an errant throw by Vahn Bozoian of the Holyoke Blue Sox rolled through the diamond and allowed Torres to score.
Newport's Kyle Wilcox earned the win, Sanford's Steven Rice notching a save. The loss went to North Adams' Joe Anthony Rivera.
The John Watterson NECBL All Star Game MVP, named for the former Keene Swamp Bats manager, went to Torres. who plays for Iona College and leads the NECBL with 21 walks and 21 stolen bases.
The annual event started at 12:30 with player photos. Following photos was the 60 yard dash administered by MLB scouts. Cody Jones from the Newport Gulls was the NECBL's fastest runner, posting a time of 6.45 seconds. The Home Run Derby was won by Sanford's Nate LaPoint who defeated Holyoke's Vahn Bozoian.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 03:53
LACONIA —The City Council last night unanimously agreed to invest as much as $382,500 in cosmetic improvements at the Main Street bridge over the Winnipesaukee River after refusing to fully fund the construction of the "Gateway Plaza" recommended by the Advisory Board of the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, which came with an estimated price tag of between $417,540 and $486,032.
At the same time, the council deferred a decision on a half-dozen other projects recommended by the Advisory Board, including stretches of the Riverwalk and WOW Trail, with an estimated cost of $1.3-million, to a future meeting.
In presenting the gateway project, Kevin Dunleavy, director of Rarks and recreation who chairs the Advisory Board, said that the reconstruction of the bridge, slated to begin next spring, offered "an opportunity to do a first class improvement" that would last 40 or 50 years. He said that since any improvements must be incorporated into the design of the bridge, which is scheduled to be put to bid in September, a decision was "time sensitive" and cautioned "we could lose our window."
Dunleavy acknowledged that the Main Street Initiative group of business and property owners expressed opposition to the project "as presented," but said that "we feel there is support beyond the Advisory Board, but cannot claim there is a consensus."
Both councilors Bob Hamel (Ward 5) and Henry Lipman (Ward 3) questioned the board's recommendation. "It's way more than I'd like to see spent there," said Lipman, while Hamel said that $450,000 is a lot for a small area."
Speaking as president of the Main Street Initiative, John Moriarty said that the organization deemed extending the downtown riverwalk along the north bank of the Winnipesaukee River its highest priority and, if necessary, was willing "to forego any improvements at Gateway Plaza."
However, Bob Sawyer, representing downtown property owners who he said together pay "over six figures in annual property taxes," described the space as "the face of downtown" and insisted "we do should do something. I'm not opposed to anything tonight," he continued. This is an opportunity we have and whatever we do we're going to be looking at for 40 or 50 years."
Lipman proposed spending $15,000 to prepare the site and $67,500 to prepare the site for landscaping by installing electricity, water and drainage. "Don't foreclose future improvements," he said.
But, Hamel, persuaded by Sawyer, suggested spending another $250,000 and asked Dunleavy to instruct the architects and engineers to prepare a design to fit the budget.
Warren Clement, a member of the Advisory Board, proposed upping the ante to $300,000 and his fellow board member Ken Sawyer reminded the councilors that "this is one of those situations where you can't go back and spending a little more now will save more later."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 03:35
TILTON — a mother and son are both charged with drugs offenses after a police investigation that culminated in a July 18 search warrant.
Adam Lapierre, 24, is charged with possession of heroin and his mother, Debra Lapierre, 57, is charged with possession of marijuana.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be forthcoming.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 03:27
PLYMOUTH — With his September 8, 2011 murder still unsolved. the family of John Labbe yesterday announced it is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for the crime.
Labbe's body was found inside his workshop at 761 Texas Hill Road. He was 43 and his death was ruled a homicide as a result of gunshot wounds.
N.H. Police Colonel Robert L. Quinn and Plymouth Police Chief Stephen Lefebvre released a joint statement indicating they continue to actively investigate the case, including following-up on numerous leads tips. Anyone who may have knowledge of any circumstances about Labbe's death is urged to contact the State Police Major Crime Unite at 223-8826 or 223-3856.
Labbe had been in the news within a year or so of his death. In May 2010, the Colebrook native filed a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Manchester and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate alleging multiple incidents of child sexual assault by Father George St. Jean over the course of a four year period in the 1960s, when he was serving as an alter boy at St. Brendan's Catholic Church. St. Jean died in 1982.
There has never been any public connection made between the lawsuit and his murder.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 03:15
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