Muskrats battling to protect playoff spot

Ten games remain in the New England Collegiate Baseball League regular season and the Muskrats are occupying the third playoff spot in the Northern Division. The top four teams advance to the postseason. The upcoming week could see the Muskrats secure a playoff spot early and give them time to rest and regroup for a deep playoff run. "This is a huge week for us in regard to the playoff seeding," GM Noah Crane said. "A good week can secure a playoff spot instead of fighting for a spot down to the last game."

Most of the team had Sunday off for the NECBL All-Star game but returned to action on Monday, handing the Valley Blue Sox a 2-0 loss. Shea Spitzbarth (Molloy College) gained the win, facing 26 batters over seven innings of work. The right hander struck out seven batters to add to his league leading strike out count totaling 44 on the season. Matt Byrne (Iona) drove in both runs on a fifth inning double.

Tuesday night Laconia continued the shutout streak, blanking the North Adams SteepleCats 4-0. The Muskrats jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the top of the second inning. The two runs proved to be enough for Jack English (Florida Gulf Coast) and the bullpen in the shutout. Laconia tacked on two more runs in sixth to cap the scoring. Shortstop Nick Massonia (Troy) led the offense with a two run home run.

The team was washed out on Wednesday and traveled to second place Sanford last night, hoping to gain ground on the Mainers. Tonight they will host the last place Valley Blue Sox. The weekend has major playoff implications when the Muskrats head to North Adams on Saturday. The SteepleCats are a game off Laconia's third place 16-16 mark. On Sunday the Muskrats will host Sanford for the second time in three days. "This is always the toughest part of the year as we have many games to fit into a few days," Continued Crane. "Also the players are fatigued and the desire to go home starts to set in. We need to finish strong as we have a chance to make a run in the playoffs."