Muskrats Looking for Big Turnout at NECBL All-Star Game Sunday (752 with pix McBroom, Torres, Blalock, Prevost, Will Blalock)
LACONIA — The Laconia Muskrats are hoping that a predicted break in the weather which will bring moderate temperatures to the area will bring out a big crowd when they host the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game on Sunday, July 21.
''Based on attendance at recent All-Star games we hope to have at least 1,000 people. It's going to be an exciting day with people from all over New England here.'' says Crane.
He also expects a large turnout of major leagues scouts to be present to check out the top prospects from the 13-team league, which since its inception in 1994 has sent 85 of its alumni on to the major leagues.
Three of its alumni, pitchers Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow and catcher Ryan Larvanway, are currently playing for the Red Sox. Other NECBL alumni include Joe Nathan, who closed out the All-Star game for the American League, and Washington Nationals young pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.
"This is an opportunity for us to show off our organization and our incredible field to all of New England", said Crane, who said that he's very pleased with the play so far this year of the Muskrats, now in their third season, who after Wednesday night's win had a 17-12 record and were two and a half games out of first place.
''We've had some excellent pitching and good timely hitting,'' says Crane, who says that the major handicap to drawing more fans to Robbie Mills Field so far this year has been the weather.
''We had a lot of rain, or the threat of rain, in late June and early July and now we're having a heat wave with temperatures in the 90s that makes it very uncomfortable for people to sit through a two or three-hour ballgame,'' said Crane.
The annual NECBL event will kick-off at 1:25 p.m. with the fastest runner in the league competition and will be followed at 2 p.m. as the best power hitters in the NECBL take aim at Laconia's replica Green Monster as they compete in the Home Run Derby.
Among those taking part in the home run derby will be Muskrats' first baseman Ryan McBroom, a 6'3'', 215 pound first baseman from West Virginia University who leads the league in hitting with a .373 average.
''He's an impressive hitter,'' says Crane, who says that the Kansas City Royals were impressed enough with the right-handed hitting McBroom him to have drafted him in the 36th round and to have invited him to their Kansas City camp.
''He decided npt to sign and to go back to college for his senior year,'' says Crane, who noted hat McBroom is one of two Muskrat position players named to the NECBL's East Division All-Star roster.
The other is fleet-footed outfielder Joe Torres from Iona College who is batting .302 and leads the league in both walks, with 21, and stolen bases, also 21.
''He's fast and he has good instincts. He played last year for use and didn't hit as well. But this year he's completely changed his approach and is getting on base a lot, where he puts a lot of pressure on opposing pitchers with his base running skills,'' says Crane.
The Muskrats will be represented by two pitchers in Sunday's All-Star Game, Will Blalock, a 6'1'', 210 pound righthander from Lipscomb University in Tennessee, who will start the game for the East, and Joshua Prevost, a 6'7'', 210 pound righthander from Seton Hall.
Both pitchers have 2-1 records and Blalock, who has started four games, has a miniscule 0.96 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 28 innings while allowing only 23 hits and three walks.
''He has outstanding control and can throw any one of his three pitches, fastball, curve and changeup, for a stike at any point in the count,'' says Crane.
Prevost, an imposing righthander who is also a basketball player, ''is one of our top of the rotation guys,'' says Crane. Prevost pitched a complete game in his first start of the year against Vernont, yielding only two hits while striking out nine in a 3-0 win.
He's 2-1 for the season with a 1.12 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 24 innings while giving up only 15 hits and eight walks.
''This game is a real chance for our local fans to see some future major league players in action and show the rest of the league how much support there is for quality baseball in the Lakes Region. We're hopeful the weather is going to cooperate and provide the kind of fun day that everyone will remember,'' says Crane.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 09:42
On July 16th, the nine-hole Waukewan Ladies League continued to play their weekly game despite temperatures in the 90s. The ladies appreciated the extra bottles of water provided by Waukewan to keep everyone hydrated. Six golfers distinguished themselves with perfect chip shots to win and share in the proceeds of the "chip-in" pot. Fran Howe was busily dividing up the cash as the ladies lined up to collect their winnings. Interestingly, three of the golfers accomplished their "chip-ins" on hole #14. The flag placement was on the front right of the green. Pat Armstrong and Ingrid Smith, both on the same team achieved their feat on their starting hole. Pat's ball came in from off the green on the left and Ingrid Smith chipped hers in from the banked rough on the right. Joslyn Halstead chipped her ball straight and true from the middle of the fairway grass. Gail Clarke showed her chipping accuracy on hole # 15. This green slopes sharply from back to front and if the ball misses the cup, one watches it continue to the front edge of the green. Gail was able to chip her ball perfectly from off the back of the green to the rear pin placement. Ellen Vail and Judy Taylor were just as precise on hole # 17. Ellen chipped in from the front apron also to a rear pin placement and watched her ball traverse the elongated green and drop into the cup. Judy took a shorter route, but just as effective as she chipped in from the back of the green.
President Linda Ridlon continued to announce more winners who worked to display accuracy around the greens. Gerry McGillicuddy won closest to the pin on the par 3 11th by driving the green and having the ball come to rest 7 ft. 6 in. from the pin. Gerry was also excited to have her name added to a branch of the "Birdie Tree" by scoring a four on the par 5, 17th with a 25 ft. putt. On hole # 14, the contest was closest to the pin 2nd or 3rd shot. Fran Howe placed her 3rd shot from 50 yds. out landing it just 55 in. from the cup. And on hole # 16, Brenda Trudeau was the final name on the card to win closest to the pin. She snuggled her shot 20-½ in. from pin and was able to choose a prize from the array of gifts on the prize table.
The golfers who scored 50 and under were Gerry McGillicuddy with a 46, Laurie Fox -48, Charlotte Gregory-49 and Jan Pano-50. Ridlon noted that due to all the rain, course conditions remain challenging with the tall, thick rough.
The game of the week was titled "Two Low Putts plus Three". It was defined as using the two lowest putts of the foursome on all holes except 11, 14, and 16. On those holes three scores were to be used and then all totaled for the final score. The winning team of Val Langbehn, Sis Wiley, Ellen Vail and Gail Clarke posted the lowest score of 31 and much cheering came from the foursome as they were awarded their prize money. Ridlon remarked that both Ellen and Gail were chip-in winners, which certainly helped the team's cause.
And finally, Estelle Smith's ticket was chosen to be the lucky one to take home the 50/50 winnings.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 09:24
LACONIA — The Wavemaker Swim Team based out of the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club practices in a 25 yard pool. However, in the summer the outdoor competion pools are often 50 meters.
The team competed at the Jenny Thompson Pool in Dover over two of the June weekends. Swimming in a 50 meter pool was a first for many of the swimmers Grace Shoemaker, Rose Sinkus, Anna Stankes, Hannah Verville, Kathryn Hawkes, Audrey Chassie, Joshua Kelleher and Owen Sanborn. Owen, 15, swam at both meets improving his time from the first meet in the 100 back by 9 seconds.
Joshua Kelleher received a best time at the second meet in his 50 breaststroke. Rebecca Cook qualified for finals in three of her events, with Kayla Phelps achieving second alternate in the 100 back. Eric Phelps improved his 50 fly by 3 seconds. Katie Gingrich and Laurel Gingrich also swam best times in the 100 free and 100 fly respectfully.
Ayden Malloy dropped 19 seconds in her 50 breaststroke from last summers metered time, Charlolette Phillippy dropped 23 seconds in her 50 fly from last summer, Kayla Cisneros 6 seconds dropped off her 100 free time. Madeline Hastie and Mikayla Hastie achieved best times in the 100 back and 100 free respectfully, Alyxandra Huckaby tried her hand at the 200 free in a meter pool. Bethany and Tessa Tanner swam the 100 breaststroke and 50 back respectfully for the first time in a metered pool.
It was very clear that the swimmers hard work at practices paid off during the two meets.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 07:22
CENTER HARBOR — The skies were grey, humidity was high and course conditions were demanding, yet 47 golfers of the nine-hole Ladies League played the July 11 determination.
Karen Bourgeois was rewarded for her resolve by scoring the only chip-in of the day. Karen landed her ball on hole #1 just off the green but the grass conditions required her to chip onto the green with a middle pin placement, which was about 30 feet away. Karen was excited to note that it was her second chip-in in two days. "And I never get chip-ins", she exclaimed. League president Linda Ridlon pointed out the fact that the chip-in money had been accumulating for three weeks so Karen was more than happy to be the only winner.
Laurie Fox scored her winner on hole #3 for the "closest to the pin" contest making her ball come to rest 22 ft. from the front pin placement on a green that slopes front to back. For the "longest drive contest" on hole #6, Mary Cross (19 and under handicap division) and Kathy Baker (20 and above handicap division) coped with the "no roll conditions" and drove their balls in the air long enough to out distance the rest of the field. Linda Lee was the lucky winner of the drawing from those golfers who had landed their first or second shots onto the 7 155-yard par 3 hole that requires accurate shots as three bunkers protect the green.
Jane Flynn was feeling some luck of the Irish as her name was drawn as the winner of the 50/50 pot.
The three ladies who persevered through the challenging conditions to shoot 50 and under were Jan Pano with a score of 47, Laurie Fox-48 and Gerry McGillicuddy-50. Ridlon then announced the results of the game of the week that was named "Par 4's Only." All four players played their own ball and the two best net scores were then added together for the team score on each of the par 4 holes. Two teams came in with a score of 47. The team of Val Langbehn, Rose Hansford, Liz Cooper and Pat Armstrong lost in a card playoff to the team of Gerry McGillicuddy, Carol Ashton, Kristin Cartier and Ingrid Smith.
During the discussion period of the meeting, several questions regarding rules were explained. Betsy Cox, rules consultant clarified the stroke penalty incurred when one's ball is inadvertently hit once the ball is deemed "in play." Also, the illegality of reaching over the hole to tap in a missed putt was confirmed.
Ridlon restated the mantra of "Let's hope for sunny skies for next week's round!" as the evening came to a close.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 07:09