LACONIA — The Winnipesaukee Muskrats will feature a large contingent of homegrown players as they move into their ninth season in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
The team’s home opener – initially scheduled for Tuesday – was rained out, so the team will make its local debut Friday at Robbie Mills Park in Laconia against the Valley Blue Sox. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Admission to Friday’s game is free, with sponsorship by Belknap Landscaping.
General Manager Kristian Svindland said the Muskrats have nine players from New Hampshire on their roster this year, and that is more than a gesture to gain local support.
“The talent levels of these players are really high. A lot of them play for Division I and Division 2 colleges and we expect major contributions from them,”
The team has a new manager this year, Michael Gedman, the son of former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman.
Michael Gedman has coached the Framingham State Rams of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference for the past five seasons.
He also played summer ball for the Sanford Mainers, in the same league as the Muskrats.
"I am very grateful for this opportunity to manage the Muskrats,” Gedman said.
“Ten years ago, I experienced the NECBL as a player and I have always wanted to come back. I am a New Englander, born and raised. I look forward to providing a winning atmosphere with the Muskrats. But more importantly, making a positive impact in the community."
New Hampshire players on the roster include six right-handed pitchers; Cole Donovan of Holderness, a junior at Springfield College; Devin Gates of Nashua, a sophomore at UMass/Lowell; Mark Levesque of Milton, a sophomore at Winston-Salem State University, Connor Sahlin of Litchfield, a sophomore at Franklin Pierce, Wesley Tobin of Dover, a sophomore at Southern New Hampshire University and William Trevel of Wolfeboro, a sophomore at Bryant University.
Dakota Mulcay, a sophomore from Goffstown at Southern New Hampshire University, is on the roster as a catcher.
Egan Vulgamore, a junior at Quinnipiac College, is listed as an infielder and Ryan Richard of Berlin, a junior at Plymouth State University, is listed as an outfielder.
“We’re really excited about this season. We have a new leadership team with local roots that is focusing on relationships with the community while providing a fun time at the ballpark,” Svindland said.
Earlier this year the Muskrats announced a change in leadership. Scott Everett, Michael Smith and Peter Erklauer took over as chairman, president, and board member, respectively.
Everett is the founder and president of Supreme Lending, a nationwide broker-lender. He is a 1987 graduate of Gilford High School. Smith and Erklauer are founders and directors of CBS Therapy and Alee Behavioral Healthcare. Smith is a 1987 graduate of Laconia High School.
“Having grown up in Gilford and maintained ties to the Lakes Region, I know how special this area is, and it is our goal to give back to the community,” Everett said. “I look forward to continuing the work the Muskrats organization has done with other area nonprofits like the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and Easter Seals, all while providing the exciting, affordable, family-friendly game time entertainment option that currently exists.”
“We are very excited to be taking over as stakeholders," Smith said. "I cannot think of a better way to spend a warm summer’s eve than watching some great baseball, meeting up with friends and family, and helping bond the community. Beyond that, it is really special that the Muskrats provide a platform to other area nonprofits to raise funds and awareness about their causes as well.”