Category Archives: NH Sports

There’s A Chopper in Centerfield!

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

The Seacoast Helicopters R66 chopper lands at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium prior to fans entering the ballpark.

(MANCHESTER)—Before Sunday afternoon’s game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, Seacoast Helicopters was in attendance with one of their helicopters sitting in centerfield, as they gave one lucky fan the opportunity to take off from the ballpark and enjoy a birds-eye view of the Queen City, before landing back on the field and delivering the game balls.

“This is going to be quite the memory for one lucky fan,” said Fisher Cats president and GM Rick Brenner in a press release. “Riding in a helicopter is such a thrilling experience, but landing in the outfield and then delivering the ball to home plate takes it to a new level.  We look forward to working with Seacoast Helicopters to create this memorable opportunity.”

It was quite the sight for fans that arrived at the ballpark early on Sunday afternoon for the Fisher Cats game. Most fans expect to see batting practice, athletes playing catch, or coaches hitting their infielders ground balls, not a helicopter stationed in straightaway center-field.

Click here for BSU18 exclusive video of the helicopter landing at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The gates to the ballpark opened at noon, and the Fisher Cats allowed fans onto the field for a half-hour to take pictures with the R66 helicopter and enjoy an on-field sing-a-long with Lil’ Iguana Children’s Safety Foundation.

So how did the lucky fan win this one-of-a-kind experience?

The Fisher Cats hosted an online contest on their Facebook page, and anyone over the age of 18 was free to enter. The random winner was selected on Friday, August 14, amd will depart from the outfield by chopper at approximately 12:40 PM and return at 1:15 PM with the game balls in hand to deliver to today’s umpires at the pre-game plate meeting.

The Fishers host the Erie SeaWolves today and finish off their homestand at 1:35 PM. New Hampshire looks to avoid being swept after falling in the first two games of the series. RHP Asutin Bibens-Dirkx takes the hill for New Hampshire. Be sure to stay tuned to BSU18’s social media outlets for live updates and a game recap.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

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Fisher Cats Fall to Erie

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cat fell to .500 (58-58) on Saturday night, as the Erie SeaWolves scored early and often, before edging out the hometown Fishers by a score of 5-3.

Erie wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as they plated their first run in the top of the first inning on a Jason Krizan RBI single that scored leadoff man Wynton Bernard from third base. The SeaWolves tacked on three more runs in the third inning after a sacrifice fly and a 2 RBI single from Dominic Ficociello. Then in the 5th inning, Dean Green hit a loud RBI double to left-field, which gave Erie a 5-0 lead.

New Hampshire finally broke the silence in the bottom of the 6th inning. Christian Lopes led off the inning with a single, before Kevin Nolan reached on an error, and Ryan Schimpf cleared the bases with a three-run homerun over the right-field fence, reducing Erie’s lead to 5-3. However, the Fisher Cats could not capitalize on any further opportunities.

New Hampshire starter Scott Barnes was charged with the loss after tossing three innings, giving up five hits, four runs (all earned), walked two, and struck out four. Josh Turley, his Erie counterpart, was credited with the win. SeaWolves reliever Joe Mantiply was credited with the save.

The Fisher Cats are back in action tomorrow afternoon as they finish off the series and the homestand with a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Erie SeaWolves. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 PM. RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (4-6, 4.82) is slated to start for New Hampshire. You can follow Patrick Cavanaugh on Twitter for live updates throughout the game.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at . Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

 

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Fisher Cats Rally Early, Fall to SeaWolves

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER, NH)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cats continued their homestand and opened up a three-game series with the Erie SeaWolves on Friday night, falling to the

Casey Lawrence pitches in an outing earlier in 2015. (MiLB.com)

Western Division rival by a final score of 5-4.

The Fisher Cats got on the board early, plating three big runs in the bottom of the first inning. Roemon Fields walked to leadoff the game, and stole second base before Melky Mesa hit a pop-up that was mishandled by Erie the shortstop, which allowed him to score. Later in the inning, K.C. Hobson hit a 2 RBI infield single that gave New Hampshire a 3-0 edge.

The SeaWolves were able to strike back however. They tacked one run on the scoreboard in the top of fourth inning, after Dominic Ficociello hit a sacrifice fly to left-field and scored Jason Krizan from third base. Then in the sixth inning, JaCoby Jones hit a solo homerun to right field. In the top of the 7th, Erie plated a run on an Alberto Gonzalex RBI double, and Dean Green sealed the deal with a deep two-run homer in the top of the 8th frame, giving Erie a 5-3 lead.

New Hampshire scraped one run across in the bottom of the 8th inning after Ryan Schimpf hit a solo homer, but their efforts fell short and New Hampshire fell by a final score of 5-4.

“We had a chance to win the ballgame,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t come through a couple of times.”

New Hampshire’s ace starting pitcher Casey Lawrence threw well in Friday night’s contest. The righty hurled 7.1 innings, gave up 9 hits, 4 runs (all earned), and walked no Erie hitters. He showcased a dominant fastball in addition to a changeup, slider, and curveball.

“Casey goes out there, throws strikes, and gets them to put the ball in play,” said Meacham. “He kept us close, and in the end they got to him a little bit.”

Lawrence was charged with the loss, while the win was credited to Erie’s reliever Montreal Robertson.

With the loss to open up the weekend, the Fisher Cats drop game one of the three-game series with Erie. The Fishers and SeaWolves are back in action tomorrow night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. New Hampshire left-handed pitcher Scott Barnes (2-3, 3.99) will take the hill. First pitch is slated for 7:05 P.M.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at . Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @pcava12

 

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Fisher Cats Edge Akron

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER, NH)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cats finished off a three-game series with victory over the Akron RubberDucks on Thursday night, defeating the inter-division rival by a final score of 1-0.

New Hampshire starter Conner Greene, who is just 20 years old, was the shining star of the weeknight victory that snapped a Fisher Cats four-game losing streak. He was called up from the Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto’s Advanced-A affiliate) just a couple of days ago. He had a dominant fastball that consistently reached the mid-90s throughout the evening. His change-up was a great “second offer” pitch throughout the night that seemed to catch the RubberDucks off guard. The California native lived up to his high expectations, pitching seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits, three walks, and fanning one Akron batter.

“He was outstanding,” said Fisher Cats skipper Bobby Meacham. “He couldn’t make a mistake and still come out a winner, and I thought he was outstanding.”

The Fisher Cats scraped their only run across the plate in the bottom of the 3rd inning, after Jorge Flores hit an RBI single to center-field to score Derrick Chung, who led-off the inning with a double. New Hampshire saw several more opportunities to score throughout the night, but could not capitalize on them, as they left fourteen men on base.

“Both pitchers were going at it, down in the zone, and a lot of fastballs,” said Meacham. “They weren’t trying to trick people, but trying to record outs.”

Greene was credited with the win, while the loss was charged to Akron’s Mike Clevinger. New Hampshire reliever Blake McFarland was credited with the save after a nice makeup outing, which came just one day after a shaky performance in which the Fisher Cats would go on to drop in extra innings.

Although they came out with the victory, the Fisher Cats drop the three-game series 2-1 to the Akron RubberDucks, and now move on to a three-game series with the Erie SeaWolves, which will close out the homestand at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. The recently featured Fisher Cat and right-handed ace Casey Lawrence gets the nod for New Hampshire. First pitch is slated for 7:05 P.M.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at . Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @pcava12

 

 

 

 

 

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Fisher Cats Feature: Casey Lawrence

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER)—Casey Lawrence has been fighting his way through the Toronto Blue Jays farm system for the past three years, and he is really making his name known for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this season.

Looking back to the beginning of his career, Lawrence was drafted as a free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2010, and began his professional career with the

(courtesy of Minor League Baseball)

Auburn Doubledays (Toronto’s low-A affiliate) in the New York-Penn League. He has since spent time with the Lansing Lugnuts (class-A affiliate), Dunedin Blue Jays (high-A affiliate), as well as the Fisher Cats (AA-affiliate), and the Buffalo Bisons (AAA-affiliate) over the past couple of seasons.

Lawrence, 27, can be easily spotted under several categories in the Fisher Cats season record book. In this 2015 season, Lawrence has spent most of his time with the Fisher Cats in the Granite State, but did spend a short time in Triple-A with the Bisons. Currently listed on New Hampshire roster, the righty has pitched in 21 games thus far, hurling 129.1 innings, giving up 162 hits, 26 walks, and fanning 74 batters. He leads the team in wins (11), and has the lowest ERA (4.38) and WHIP (1.45). He is in second place as far as strikeouts go (74), trailing only RHP Taylor Cole who has racked up an outstanding 100 strikeouts this season.

Aside from season records, the Pennsylvania native has found his way into the Fisher Cats franchise record books as well. Lawrence’s last appearance was last Thursday against Richmond. After throwing seven scoreless innings against the Flying Squirrels, he collected his 11th victory of the season, and is just the sixth Fisher Cat to ever achieve that feat, and the first since Ryan Tepera back in 2013. That victory was also his 20th in a Fisher Cats uniform, as he now surpasses Deck McGuire’s prior franchise record for most career wins.

Casey Lawrence 2015 Spray Chart (MLBFarm.com)

Going deeper into his 2015 numbers, he has a record of 11-10, and 10 of his 21 outings have been considered quality starts.* He tosses an average of 6.2 innings every time he takes the hill, and strikes out approximately five batters per nine innings of work. He has great command on the hill, and throws just four pitches: fastball, curveball, slider, and change-up.

Casey Lawrence is New Hampshire’s probable starter for Friday night’s game, as they will open a three-game series with the Erie SeaWolves at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, NH. First pitch is schedule for 7:05 P.M.

*a quality start is defined as “a statistic for a starting pitcher defined as a game in which the pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs.”

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at . Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.

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Fisher Cats Feature: K.C. Hobson

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER, N.H.)—K.C. Hobson has spent the past five seasons trying to make a name for him and find his way to the top of the Toronto Blue Jays system. After splitting

K.C. Hobson (courtesy of Minor League Baseball)

his time between Lansing and Dunedin over the past five seasons, he capped out the 2014 year in the Granite State with the Fisher Cats and is back to start off the 2015 season.

Hobson, 24, is the son of Butch Hobson, a former player and coach in the Boston Red Sox organization and a New England sports icon. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 6th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft, shortly after graduating from Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, California. In his five years with the Blue Jays organization, Hobson has displayed consistent numbers with a batting average that usually hovers between .200 and .250.  Although his average may not stick out, Hobson is a strong defensive asset and a reliable glove at first base.

This season, K.C. Hobson is off to a hot start in New Hampshire. After just five games, Hobson carries an average of .389. He hit a homerun in the Fisher Cats’ first two regular season games, and also went yard in an exhibition game with the Southern New Hampshire University Penmen on April 7th, two days before the season began.  Aside from his homerun tally, Hobson has 7 hits, 4 RBI, 1 walk, and only 1 strikeout.

For live updates from nightly Fisher Cats games and to track K.C. Hobson all season, follow Patrick Cavanaugh on Twitter (@pcava12).

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at .

 

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Fisher Cats Off to Hot Start; Play Doubleheader Today

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER, N.H.)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are looking like a hot commodity as they finish up their first series of the 2015 season.

The Fisher Cats had a lot of room for improvement after finishing the season in 5th place in the Eastern Division with a record of 66-76 last year. The current roster is a familiar squad, as 21 of the 26 players listed have worn a Fisher Cats uniform before this season. Some of the more popular names include: Jon Berti, Ryan Schimpf, Dustin Antolin, Andy Burns, and New Hampshire native Kevin Nolan.

The Fisher Cats’ season is officially underway now, but there was quite a commotion when an early-April snowstorm covered the field and spectator area with enough snow and ice to force the team to push Opening Night from Thursday to Friday. Although it was an unfortunate happening. Fisher Cats President and General Manager acknowledged the situation by saying, “Despite the best efforts of our grounds crew and operations team today, you just can’t fight Mother Nature,” according to a Fisher Cats press release.

As for performance on the field, the Fisher Cats have looked solid so far. On Opening Night, the Fishers shut out the Rock Cats 6-0 after a stunning performance from K.C. Hobson (homered), Matt Newman (3 hits), and the pitching staff was incredible. The starter, Matt Boyd, struck out nine batters in his 4+ innings of work, and his relievers did a nice job supplementing his performance, as the team of four pitchers fanned a total of seventeen batters.

With a record of 2-0, the Fisher Cats host the New Britain Rock Cats on Sunday afternoon for a series finale doubleheader. RHP Casey Lawrence will get the nod for New Hampshire in game one, while RHP Shane Carle will take the hill for the New Britain. The first contest will start at 1:35, and the second game will follow approximately 30 minutes after the last pitch is thrown.

For live updates throughout the day, follow Patrick Cavanaugh (@pcava12) and BSU18 Baseball (@BSU18Baseball) on Twitter.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at .

 

 

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Fisher Cats Turn to Liz for Support in Portland Series

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cats play host to the Portland Sea Dogs in game three of the four-game series this afternoon in a contest that will begin at 1:35 PM in Manchester.

The Fisher Cats, who sit at the bottom of the Eastern Division with a record of 16-32, turn to Radhames Liz to help them recover from a 4-3 loss on Friday, and last night’s brutal contest that resulted in an 18-0 shutout. Liz has the tools to get the job done, but the Fishers will only be looking for a strong three innings, as it is his first start after recovering from a knee injury.

“Liz’s pitch count is going to be watched closely today,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “He hasn’t pitched too many innings this year.”

Liz, 30, has quite the track record of baseball experience. His career began in 2005 in the Baltimore Orioles system, but moved on to play in the Padres organization before spending three years in Korea with the LG Twins.  During his three seasons overseas, Liz appeared 94 times and carried a record of 26-38. He led the Korea Baseball Organization in strikeouts (188) and had the fourth best ERA (3.06).

Today, his counterpart will be Portland’s LHP Brian Johnson (3-0, 2.01).

For live updates throughout today’s contest, you can follow Patrick Cavanaugh on Twitter (@pcava12).

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Fisher Cats Take Series from Reading on Damp Day

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cats swept the Reading Fightin’ Phils in a three-game series after they came out on top with a 4-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

It was a damp day in the Queen City, but that did not stop the Fisher Cats from winning their eleventh game of the season. The Phils were first to strike, plating a run in the top of the first inning, but the Fisher Cats overpowered that in the third inning, when two hits and a sacrifice fly add three runs to the scoreboard for the Fisher Cats.

“These last few games we have been playing solid defense,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “We were shaky at the beginning of the season, but the guys are getting a lot more comfortable out there.”

In the fifth inning, Reading managed to add another run to the scoreboard, making it a one run ballgame, but Kevin Nolan’s solo homerun (his 2nd of the season) in the bottom of the eighth inning provided the Fisher Cats some insurance to help finish the game strong.

“His home run was big,” said Meacham. “It gives the guys a chance to relax, and gives us some more breathing room.”

Fisher Cats starter Casey Lawrence had an exceptional outing, pitching 6.2 innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, walked one batter, and struck out four. His replacements (Tyler Ybarra and Scott Gracey) were able to come in and get the job done for the remainder of the game.

There were a handful of passing showers throughout the game, but it was played in a reasonable time frame of two hours and twenty-seven minutes. The Fisher Cats will open up a four-game series with the Trenton Thunder at home tomorrow night at 6:35 PM. Blue Jays Top Prospect Aaron Sanchez will get the nod for New Hampshire.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for BostonSportsU18. He can be reached at .

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B-Mets Take Series from Fisher Cats

by PATRICK CAVANAUGH

(MANCHESTER)—The Fisher Cats put forth a solid defensive effort but they could not get their bats to spark up as they dropped the series finale to the Binghamton Mets by a  score of 6-0 on Sunday afternoon.

The matinee matchup started off shaky when Blue Jays top prospect Aaron Sanchez came out and struck out a batter before he found himself in a bases loaded jam that he was later able to escape. However, the nightmare returned for the Fisher Cats in the fourth inning, when the Mets walk in a run, score on a sacrifice fly, and plate a run after an RBI single.

Fisher Cats reliever Tony Davis replaced Sanchez in the fourth inning and held the B-Mets to their three runs. The Fisher Cats starter threw 3.2 innings, gave up four hits, three earned runs, walked four batters, and struck out four as well. Davis pitched for 2.1 hitless innings, walked two batters, and had one strikeout. Fisher Cats pitching gave up a total of ten walks on Sunday afternoon.

In the top of the seventh inning, Binghamton caught a lucky break when Darrell Ceciliani scored on a passed ball. The Mets collected two more runs in the 9th inning off an RBI double and a sacrifice fly. At the end of the day, the six runs scored were enough to capture the victory and win the series.

The homestand continues for the Fisher Cats as they play host to New Britain for the next three days before getting on the bus for a seven-game road-trip in Binghamton and New Britain. Tomorrow the Fisher Cats will turn to Deck McGuire (1-1, 3.60) to take on the Rock Cats. First pitch is slated for 6:35 PM at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for BostonSportsU18. He can be reached at .

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