Muskrats hoping to secure home playoff series

LACONIA — The Muskrats (8-11) are currently in fourth place of the Northern Division after splitting the week with a pair of home wins and two losses. "There is still more than half of the season left to play," said General Manager Noah Crane. "So much can change between now and August first."

The Muskrats are only four games behind the top spot in the North and currently holding on to the final playoff seed. If Laconia can climb into the top two positions in the division, the Muskrats would earn the chance to host a home playoff series for the first time in the five years the team has been at Robbie Mills Field. "If we continue to hit like we have and continue to play solid defense, I like our chances in the playoffs," Crane added. "We are still short three members of the pitching staff and those additions will be crucial to our success down the stretch."

Friday Night saw some drama when Braxton Martinez (St. Louis) lead off the bottom ninth inning with a game tying home run against the Valley Blue Sox. Martinez, who hit over.400 with six stolen bases this week went 4-5 and scored two runs on the evening. Two innings later the Muskrats took advantage of a four pitch walk by advancing him to second on a fielder's choice, before Vinny Zarrillo (Rutgers) drove him in on a walk off single winning 5-4.

The late night heroics did not carry over to Saturday, losing to Sanford 10-5. The Muskrats gave up six runs in the first three innings and could not recover. Shortstop Kenny Hostrander (Eastern Kentucky) led the Muskrats offense going 2-4 with a homerun and three RBI.

The Muskrats enjoyed a two day break before scoring five runs to beat the Ocean State Waves 5-1. Mariano Rivera (Iona) earned the win, pitching 6.2 innings, striking out six and giving up one run on five hits. Laconia scored two unearned runs in the second and tacked on two more in the eighth to secure their eighth win of the season.

Wednesday Laconia traveled to New Bedford only to lose 13-8. The Muskrats scored three runs in the top of the first, but the lead was short lived when The Bay Sox drove in four in the bottom half. Laconia would tie it in the top of the second. The tie was broken in the fifth inning by New Bedford with two runs. The Bay Sox scored five more in the sixth. Martinez continued his hot streak with three hits and three runs scored on the evening.

The Muskrats have a matinee game today, hosting Keene at 12:30. Saturday will see the team in Vermont before coming home to host Newport on Sunday and Vermont on Monday.

Surging offense sends Laconia Muskrats on three-game streak

LACONIA — The Laconia Muskrats improved to 6-8, riding a three game win streak into last night's contest in Sanford versus the Mainers. Laconia has pushed across 20 runs over the three games. "We are playing really well right now," General Manager Noah Crane explained. "Our offense is clicking and we are getting run production from all places in our lineup."

Matt Byrne (Iona) has been the offensive leader over the last four games with a batting average of .692. He has nine hits, four runs scored, two stolen bases, and two RBI over the last week.

The Muskrats starting pitching has also settled in nicely over the past week. "Jack English (Florida Gulf Coast) and Shea Spitzbarth (Molly College) have been very good so far," Crane added "They've thrown strikes and taken us deep into games, which provides relief for our bullpen." The Muskrats have been shorthanded in the bullpen due to the College World Series. "Our lack of depth gets exposed when a starter gets knocked out early. It's tough to play four or five games in a row with only ten pitchers."

The three game winning streak began in Sanford on Saturday evening, doubling up the Mainers 10-5 in ten innings. The Muskrats fell behind 5-3 in the fifth inning, before scoring one in the sixth and one in the seventh to tie things up. The offense exploded for five runs in the tenth inning to secure the victory. Center fielder Cory Geisler (Texas State) led the team with three hits and three runs scored.

On Sunday Laconia topped Danbury 4-3 at Robbie Mills Field. Geisler, fresh off the good day at the plate, was credited with the win after going three innings. Byrne went 2-4 with two RBI.

The Muskrats shut out Keene 6-0 riding the arm of Jack English. English went six innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. Vinny Zarrillo (Rutgers) opened the scoring with a leadoff homerun in the first inning. Byrne continued his hot ways at the plate going 4-4 on the evening. The shutout was completed by reliever Huston Droel (Angelo St University), throwing three perfect innings while striking out three.

The Muskrats have a pair of home games this weekend, hosting the Valley Blue Sox tonight and Sanford tomorrow. Laconia will enjoy a two day break before hosting the Ocean State Waves on Tuesday. Wednesday the Muskrats travel to New Bedford.

Waukewan Ladies heating up in third week of golf

For our third week on the course, the Waukewan Ladies League was greeted with sunshine and a very warm afternoon. Temperatures soared and so did golf balls on the front nine. This week the game was "Count the Odd Holes Only." Only the best 2 scores were counted for each team and congratulations go to: Lauri Fox, Denise Doyle, Nancy Vercauteren and Sharon Corcoran with a team sore of 28.

The 4th hole was designated as a contest hole for closest to the pin on the 2nd shot. Linda Ridlon took honors with a shot landing 20 feet from the hole. Gerry McGillicuddy showed her prowess on the 7th hole landing her second shot only 14 inches from the pin, while Jan Pano came in a close second only 20 inches away.
The winning women chose prizes from the table and modeled their winnings.

Three ladies chipped in shots to split the pot: Mary Dickerson on #1, Jane Frasca on # 8, and Kathy Sweeney on # 2.

Quite a few women played well this week. Scoring 50 were players: Linda Ridlon, Denise Doyle and Lauri Fox. 3 more players scored a 48: Jan Pano, Kathy Sweeney, and Val Langbehn and Jane Flynn beat all with a 47.

Brenda Trudeau walked off with a nice cash prize for winning the 50/50 raffle. All in all, a great afternoon for the Waukewan Ladies League.

Ortiz pitches no-hitter, the second this season for Laconia Little League

Jordan Ortiz pitched the second no-hitter in Laconia Little League in the last week as Elks defeated Stafford 7-1 Saturday morning at Colby Field. Ortiz was dominant in striking out 13 and allowing just one ball to be hit out of the infield. He struck out 8 of the first 9 batters he faced until Connor Blake flew out to short center field in the fourth. A lead off walk to Kaleb Shumway in the 5th inning was the only blemish that kept Ortiz from a perfect game. Shumway advanced to third on a wild pitch and passed ball and would score Stafford's only run of the game on an RBI bunt by Colin Corneau. Ortiz struck out four in a row after that and got the last out of the game on a pop up to first base. He was immediately surrounded by his teammates on the first base line as the celebration began. Ortiz didn't realize he had pitched a no-hitter at first and was momentarily speechless. The accomplishment hit home though when the public address announcer congratulated him. Elks manager Eric Nelson said, "I'm so happy for Jordan. He's worked so hard during his time with Elks. To see him accomplish something like this is very satisfying. He is a special young man and I will miss him next year as he moves on to the next level." Nelson went on to say, "The entire team came together the past two weeks and should be very proud of how they played. We won our last 5 games of the season and to end with a no-hitter is memorable." Ortiz threw just 68 pitches in the game. Forty-nine of them were strikes. Elks jumped out early scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. Trent Fountain singled in Nick Rowe after he led off the game with a triple. Two batters later Jake Miner's ground ball fielder's choice made it 2-0. Bases loaded walks by Evan Rollins and Karter Dolloff finished the scoring in the first inning. Elks added two more runs in the second and a single tally in the fourth to make it 7-0.