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Mayberry, Keene sweep NECBL Championship Series from Granite State rival Laconia

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2011 NECBL CHAMPION KEENE SWAMP BATS!

–Story courtesy Shawn Medeiros/Keene Swamp Bats–

LACONIA, N.H. – Right-handed pitcher Whit Mayberry (Alexandria, VA/Virginia) struck out a season-high 11 batters over six innings of work and Brett DeLoach (Blackshear, GA/Georgia) launched two homers to lead Keene to its third New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) championship in franchise history with a 7-1 victory over Laconia in game two of the NECBL Championship Series on Wednesday night at Robbie Mills Park.

The Swamp Bats end an eight-year drought having won its last NECBL Title in 2003 over the Torrington Twisters. Keene also defeated the Rhode Island Gulls in 2000 starting a string of four consecutive appearances in the NECBL Championship ending in 2003. The Swamp Bats are now 3-2 in the NECBL Championship Series losing to Newport in back-to-back seasons in 2001 and 2002.

Mayberry earned his second win of the postseason on six innings of work, yielding one run (earned), on four hits, no walks and 11 punchouts. The right-hander fanned at least one batter in every inning and struck out the side in the fifth after giving up a leadoff home run to Kevin Mortimer (Spencer, MA/Trinity).

Mayberry surpasses teammates Jeff Thompson (Greenville, IN/Louisville) and Taylor Williams (Camas, WA/WashingtonSt.) for the single-game high this season as both pitchers were tied at 10 strikeouts. Thompson recorded the feat twice once in the regular season and the other against Holyoke in game three of the Western Division Championship Series.

Chris Costantino (Lincoln, RI/Walters St. CC) suffered the loss on five innings pitched, four runs (all earned), five hits, two walks and eight punchouts.

Eddie Medina (Staten Island, NY/St. John’s) pitched the final three innings of the contest, all scoreless, to record his third save in the NECBL Playoffs.

DeLoach opened the scoring for the Swamp Bats in the second lifting a full-count curveball over the left field fence off of Costantino for a 1-0 lead.

After Colby May (Guyton, GA/Georgia) and Esteban Gomez (Brooklyn, NY/San Jacinto) notched back-to-back singles from and Brett Barrett (Keene, NH/Southern Maine) drew an eight pitch walk, Costantino handed Keene a 2-0 advantage with a wild pitch to the backstop.

Costantino limited any further damage in the frame retiring Michael Burruss (Marietta, GA/Georgia Southern) on pop out in foul territory and Curt Powell (Knoxville, TN/Tennessee) on a strikeout swinging.

In the third, centerfielder Kevin Brown (Northborough, MA/Bryant) extended the Swamp Bats gap to 3-0 with a solo home run to right centerfield.

Gomez pushed Keene to a 4-0 lead in the fourth driving home May – who walked to leadoff the inning – with a triple down the right field line for his second hit on the night.

Laconia cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning, 4-1, as Mortimer launched a first pitch fastball offering from Mayberry over the centerfield wall immediately after a 45-minute rain delay.

The Swamp Bats put the game away in the seventh on a run-producing single from Brown and a two-run homer from DeLoach to make it 7-1. DeLoach ends this postseason with six home runs total hitting at least one longball in each of his last three games consecutively.

Gomez fell a home run shy of the cycle getting a single in the first inning, an RBI triple in the fourth and a double in the eighth. The left fielder finished the night going 4-for-4 at the plate with one run batted in pacing the Swamp Bats offense along with DeLoach who finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a pair of home runs and three runs batted in.

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Swamp Bats fly past Laconia in game one at home to take edge in NECBL Championship Series

–Courtesy Shawn Medeiros/Keene Swamp Bats–

KEENE, N.H. – Right fielder/first baseman Esteban Gomez (Brooklyn, NY/San Jacinto) went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run to centerfield in fifth inning and three runs batted in to lead Keene over Laconia, 10-3, in game one of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) Championship Series on Tuesday night at Alumni Field in front of 1,015 fans.

The Swamp Bats have a chance to capture their third NECBL Title in franchise history tomorrow night at RobbieMillsPark against Laconia with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 pm. Keene defeated the Rhode Island Gulls for its first championship in 2000 and captured its last title in 2003 against the Torrington Twisters.

David Mahoney (Colchester, CT/UConn) earned the win in relief of Keene starter Tyler Skulina (Strongsivlle, OH/Kent St.) on two-and-two-thirds scoreless innings of work, a pair of hits, no walks and three strikeouts. Skulina went four-and-one-thirds yielding five hits, three runs (one earned), four walks and one punchout.

Laconia starter Justin Wiley (Cape Vincent, NY/Iona) suffered the loss pitching five innings on six runs (all earned), nine hits, three walks and a game-high six strikeouts.

In the second inning, Keene opened up the scoring with some clutch two-out hitting.

Down in the count 0-2 with the bases loaded, second baseman Curt Powell (Knoxville, TN/Georgia) laced a two-run single through the right side of the infield plating David Lyon (Emporium, PA/Kent St.) and Colby May (Guyton, GA/Georgia) for a 2-0 advantage. Alex Chittenden (Indianapolis, IN/Louisville) made it 3-0 with an RBI single up the middle scoring Tom Conley (Quincy, MA/UMass-Amherst) who extended the inning with a two-out walk before Powell drove in a pair of runs.

Laconia responded in the next half inning as Chris Costantino (Lincoln, RI/Walters St. CC) drew a bases loaded walk with two outs bringing home Kevin Mortimer (Spencer, MA/Trinity) who singled to leadoff the frame. Skulina limited any further damage inducing catcher Dylan Kelly (Roswell, GA/Middle GA Coll.) to pop-out to end the threat.

In the fifth, the Muskrats tied up the contest at 3-3 on Costantino’s second RBI of the night – a single to centerfield off of Skulina – and a Kelly sacrifice fly to left field. With one out, John Ziznewski (Staten Island, NY/Rockland CC) reached on a fielding error and Bijan Rademacher (Anaheim Hills, CA/Cal St. Fullerton) walked to setup the scoring inning.

Brett DeLoach (Blackshear, GA/Georgia) reclaimed the lead for Keene immediately in the bottom half of the inning blasting a first-pitch fastball off of the Alumni Field scoreboard for his fourth home run this postseason and a 4-3 gap. After Lyon struck out looking and May notched a single through the left side of the infield, Esteban Gomez (Brooklyn, NY/San Jacinto) crushed a two-run shot to centerfield to push the score to 6-3.

In the sixth, Kevin Brown (Northborough, MA/Bryant) gave the Swamp Bats a 7-3 lead knocking in Chittenden from first base with a double to deep centerfield. Lyon increased the deficit to 8-3 with a sacrifice fly to centerfield plating Brown from third base. Brown advanced to third after his double as the Muskrats attempted to throw out Chittenden at home plate.

Keene added a pair in eighth as Chittenden launched a leadoff homer to right field and Gomez collected his third RBI of the night drive home DeLoach who singled earlier in the inning.

Swamp Bats relief pitcher Brad Monroe (Hampton, NH/Southern NH) finished out the remainder of the contest with a pair of scoreless innings. Monroe yielded just one hit while striking out three batters.

Notes: Powell now has a five-game postseason hitting streak after going 3-for-4 at the plate in tonight’s game…Powell has hit safely now in 13 out of his last 14 contests including regular season games dating back to July 19… In Powell’s last five games he has collected 12 hits with 11 being singles…DeLoach now has four home runs this postseason and 12 runs batted in…The last player to hit at least four home runs and drive in double digit RBI’s was Kyle Conley (Newport Gulls) in 2008 with five round-trippers and 13 runs batted in.

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Summer Baseball Playoffs: Nashua earns inaugural Futures League title; Cape, NECBL playoffs also underway

by Joshua Kummins

With the dog days of August already upon us, the collegiate baseball summer season has concluded and the playoffs have begun.

In a mere week, the lights of Cape Cod League and NECBL fields will be turned off and the countdown for a new season will be set for ten months. There are only two months of your favorite summer team and you spend the other ten talking about the next year.

Before we turn the lights out on yet another fun summer, let’s get to the playoff update and see which teams will have a shot at a banner offseason leading into 2012: 

TORRINGTON, Conn. — For the Futures League, which will add a fifth team in Leominster/Fitchburg, Mass. for the 2012 season, the inaugural campaign is already complete and the Nashua Silver Knights have captured the circuit’s first championship.

Nashua closer Dylan Maki (Northeastern) induced a pop out to second baseman Logan Gillis (Bentley) as the Silver Knights earned an 8-3 win over the Torrington Titans on Friday night at Fuessenich Park.

The victory swept the “Inaugural Cup” series after a commanding 12-0 win the previous evening at Holman Stadium.

Both Maki and Gillis had outstanding seasons with the Silver Knights, garnering attention from their peers in the league.

Maki, a Gloucester, Mass. native, earned the Top Reliever Award after pitching to a 2.42 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 22.1 innings this summer.

Gillis was the league’s batting champion as he posted a .376 clip out of the 2-hole for Nashua.

The Merrimack, N.H. native smacked two hits and drove in a run in the title-clinching win, while DH Kyle Neverman (Johns Hopkins) finished 3-for-4 with an RBI for Nashua. Matt Olsen (Stonehill) picked up the win in relief.

Robbie Zinsmeister (Indiana Univ.-Pennsylvania) of the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks was selected the very first FCBL Most Valuable Player.

He led the Sharks by hitting .326 with 56 hits, which were fourth-best in the league. His nine home runs were second only to M.V. teammate Jeramy Matos (Bethune-Cookman), who slugged 13 this summer.

Pitcher Eric Perrault (Keene State) of the Silver Knights was as both the FCBL’s Pitcher of the Year and Best Pro Prospect. He pitched to a perfect 5-0 record and compilied 48 strikeouts in 46 innings, posting a sparkling 1.47 ERA in the process.

CAPE COD, Mass. — The Cape Cod Baseball League opened its playoffs on Friday night and the top two seeds in the Eastern Division have already dug a hole after just one game.

Yarmouth-Dennis pitcher Mark Appel (Stanford) scattered just five singles over eight shutout innings as the fourth-seeded Red Sox dumped the top-seeded Orleans Firebirds, 4-0, at Eldredge Park.

The late-season arrival, who came off a stint with Team USA allowed just two walks while striking out ten over 110 pitches.

Red Sox right fielder Cody Keefer (UCLA) finished the night 2-for-4 with a run scored and a pair of RBI, while the league’s Tenth Player Award winner Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State) had one of five singles for Orleans.

John Brebbia (Elon), who is a native of Sharon, Mass., also tossed eight innings for the Firebirds in the defeat and allowed nine hits and three earned runs. He struck out four and surrendered a home run to Keefer in the fifth. Tyler Gebler (Rutgers) was credited with the loss for Orleans.

In just one hour and 59 minutes, the Brewster Whitecaps took the series lead from the Harwich Mariners with a 3-1 win at Whitehouse Field.

Back-to-back RBI singles by Andrew Toles (Tennessee) and J.J. Altobelli (Oregon) were all Brewster needed to earn the victory on the road.

Starter Tony Bucciferro (Michigan State) picked up the win as he surrendered just one run on five hits while fanning eight and walking only one over seven innings. Max Garner (Baylor) pitched the eighth inning for the Whitecaps and escaped the threat and J.T. Chargois (Rice) closed out the game to collect the save.

Counterpart Taylor Rogers (Kentucky) of the Mariners took the tough-luck loss going 7.1 innings, while striking out nine and allowing just three hits.

Wareham’s Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) delivered a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning and came around to score the winning run on Tyler Ross’ (LSU) single as the Gatemen scored a 6-5 victory at home against Bourne in the opener of the Western Division playoffs.

After Josh Turley (Baylor) surrendered just two earned runs in seven innings, Daniel Feehan (UConn) pitched the eighth inning and allowed just one hit to earn the win for Wareham.

Closer Konner Wade (Arizona) allowed a run on an error in the ninth inning, allowing Bourne’s Travis Jankowski (Stony Brook) to score, but he retired the final two batters for the save.

Hyannis Harbor Hawks’ Chad Gassman was named the Manager of the Year on Friday night before his team came back for a 6-4 win over Falmouth at McKeon Park. 

Five runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning against Commodore starter Andrew Heaney (Oklahoma State) erased a four-run deficit, while Justin Gonzalez (Florida State) smacked a two-run home run to complete the scoring.

Jon Moscot (Pepperdine) earned the victory, tossing six innings of five-hit ball, allowing four runs.

Catcher Kevin Plawecki (Perdue) had an impressive showing at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored.

Also before the game, Bill Bussiere was selected as the General Manager of the Year for the CCBL and received the John Wylde Award.

LYNN, Mass. — The second-seeded North Shore Navigators’ 2011 season came to an end on Friday night at Fraser Field as the offense went silent in a 7-0 loss to the Sanford Mainers in the Eastern Division Semifinals.

With the victory, the #3 Mainers get back to work quickly as they take on the #4 Laconia Muskrats in the Divisional Finals at Goodall Park tonight.

In the opener of the series, North Shore used a seven-inning performance from lefty Crayton Bare (Baylor) to shut down the Mainers, 8-0, while it was the Mainers’ turn to pitch the shutout as they won by a 5-0 count.

The Muskrats pulled off a shocking upset in the first round as they swept two games in a row from the top-seeded Newport Gulls on Wednesday and Thursday to clinch their spot against Sanford.

Sanford second baseman Brett Mollenhauer (Radford) drove in three runs for the second straight night, while pitchers Tripp Davis (NJIT) and Brendan Hourihan (Cortland State) combined for the shutout.

In the Western Division, the top seed Holyoke Blue Sox pitched a two-game sweep of Vermont with 4-3 and 4-1 wins. In Thursday’s game at Recreation Field, Ben Mount (USC) threw a complete game two-hitter for the Blue Sox and Trey Mancini (Notre Dame) drove in two.

It took second-place Keene three games in their series against Danbury, but the Swamp Bats got it done and advanced to the Western Division Finals.

Swamp Bat standout hurler Jeff Thompson (Louisville) held the Danbury Westerners to two hits in six innings in a series-opening 7-3 win, while Mike Augliera (Binghamton) tossed a complete game 6-0 shutout the next night.

Last night, Keene posted a 6-1 win as the Bats were paced by three runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth.

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North Shore 8, Sanford 0: “Maine Train” stopped, silenced by Bare’s Navigators in opening playoff game on the road

Starter Crayton Bare led the Navigators to a series-opening win over Sanford for the second straight season.

by Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. – Lefty Crayton Bare (Baylor) tossed seven shutout innings on Wednesday night at Fraser Field as he led the North Shore Navigators to an 8-0 win over the visiting Sanford Mainers in the opening game of the NECBL’s Eastern Division Semifinals at Fraser Field.

The victory sets up a do-or-die situation for the Mainers as they return to Goodall Park for the second game of the series on Thursday evening. In last season’s playoffs, the Navs took Sanford to three games in the opening round after an opening game win at home.

North Shore salvaged six of nine games in this summer’s season series and hopes to derail the “Maine Train” for the second straight year.

The Navs offense took off against Sanford starter A.J. Bazandes (Maine), chasing him from the game after just 4.1 innings of allowing six hits, five runs, and five walks in the inaugural playoff game this year.

They scored the first two runs of the game via sacrifice flies to Mainers center fielder Nick LaCroix (Franklin Pierce) as right fielder Dario Pizzano (Columbia) and left fielder Matt McGovern (Boston College) did the honors to take the lead.

Second baseman Clinton Harwick (Point Loma Nazarene) was the next batter and he laced a single through the infield to extend the lead to three runs.

Third baseman Connor Mach (Missouri) doubled in the third inning, but was one of two runners stranded on the base paths.

However, it did not take much longer for the lead to be extended once again as Pizzano lined a two-run double off the center field wall to send Harwick and DH Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame) all the way home.

Three more runs came around two innings later on a pair of hits for the Navs, but the Mainers defense did not do itself any favors. McGovern hit a one-out double and came around to score next when Harwick hit a bloop single into center field for the RBI.

After Harwick beat out the play on a steal to second, he trotted to third and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Navs a 7-0 lead.

Dario Pizzano was given a gift base as he reached on an error by Mainers second baseman and Natick, Mass. native Eric Hailer (Elon) on an attempted putout that sailed into foul territory.

Two batters later, Calbi committed an error to allow Navs first baseman Matt Boulter (Southern New Hampshire) to reach first base, while Pizzano was able to take the extra base to score without challenge.

While the offense certainly did its job, Bare did not disappoint on the mound as he threw 89 pitches and fanned four batters over his seven-inning outing, allowing just four base and three walks.

Daniel Duval (RPI) allowed one hit during the eighth inning, retiring the Mainers on 17 pitches. Brad Schnitzer (Butler) made quick work in the ninth as he retired the side, including the game-ending strikeout against LaCroix.

North Shore sends veteran crafty lefty Michael Johnson (Dartmouth) to the mound as he tries to end the Mainers’ season in their home stadium, where North Shore took its last road meeting against the Green and Gold on July 9.

Mainer workhorse Tommy Lawrence (Winthrop), who allowed just seven earned runs over a team-most 42.2 innings this year, will try to stop the bleeding as he takes the ball in Thursday night’s game two.

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East 3, West 1: NECBL East pitchers lead the way in All-Star victory at Fraser Field

Over 2,000 fans came out to the NECBL's All-Star Game at Fraser Field.

by Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. — Eastern Division starter Justin Wiley of Laconia (Iona College) retired the side in the top of the first inning on just seven pitches and the mound staff never looked back as part of a 3-1 win over the Western Division squad in the annual New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game, held this year for the first time at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass.

The defending NECBL champion North Shore Navigators played host this year and drew 2,112 out to the ballpark to see the league’s best right in their own backyards.

Wiley was starting in place of Navs righty Hunter Rivers (Jacksonville State), who was injured and could not participate in the game. The New York native is tied for the Muskrats team lead with three wins and his 2.43 ERA is third on the team over 37 innings this summer.

Despite the loss of Rivers, the Navs were well represented in Wednesday night’s event as five players made an appearance in front of the hometown crowd that wished them a warm greeting.

Pitchers Miles Landry (Baylor) and Matt Alvarez (Boston College) each tossed an inning and escaped unscathed, despite allowing one hit.

Landry, a 6’5″ Texan right-hander, allowed a walk and hit with two outs before the inning ended on a groundball out. Alvarez, the Cranbury, N.J. native, recorded his first two outs by way of the strikeout before inducing a flyball.

The East side took the lead against Danbury’s Nick Williams (Tennessee) as he allowed back-to-back, one out hits to Old Orchard Beach catcher Tim Quinn (Assumption) and Newport shortstop Jack Reinheimer (East Carolina).

Quinn came around to score three pitches later when Gulls center fielder Kyle Johnson came home on an error by Holyoke second baseman Paul McConkey (Kentucky), giving the East a 1-0 lead. Sanford Mainer Brett Mollenhauer (Radford) laced an RBI single on the second pitch he saw to double the lead.

The teams traded runs in the fifth inning as the West side got on the board for the first and only time of the game. 

Against New Bedford pitcher Stephen Janas (Kennesaw State), McConkey redeemed himself as he lined an RBI double into center field to plate his Blue Sox teammate and first baseman Trey Mancini (Notre Dame) and cut the deficit to 2-1.

In the next half-inning, Navigator left fielder Eric Jagielo hit a ground out on the infield that scored Johnson to bring the East lead back up to two runs — a point it would stay for the entirety of the rest of the contest.

Other North Shore teammates that made appearances in the contest included right fielder and NECBL batting leader Dario Pizzano (Columbia), who went hitless in two at-bats.

Reserve infielder Clinton Harwick (Point Loma Nazarene) went 0-for-1 with a walk, while Jagielo finished the contest with that RBI despite an 0-for-3 showing in the final box score.

Sanford’s A.J. Bazdanes (Maine) earned the win as he pitched a 1-2-3 third inning, which included two strikeouts. The Nashua, N.H. native retired the side on just ten pitches and eight of the ten were within the strike zone.

Williams suffered the loss as he allowed the winning runs to the East team in the third inning. The Knoxville, Tenn. native has earned four wins in five decisions this season for the Westerners, which is tied with two other pitchers for the staff lead in Danbury.

In the top of the ninth inning, New Bedford closer Sam Dodge (Harvard) came in and pitched a 1-2-3 frame, which finished with Vermont first baseman Rob Griffith (Sacred Heart) grounding out to third baseman Harwick to close the book.

Dodge has had a very strong season for the Bay Sox, posting nine saves which is one behind Vermont’s Kyle Grana (Bellarmine) for the league lead in that category. The Rumford, R.I. native just completed his freshman season with the Crimson.

A bottom half of the inning was played, but did not make a difference in the final score with the home-standing East side in the lead. Grana finished off the game by striking out three over two innings of relief, while allowing two hits and a walk.

The league’s comissioner, Mario Tiani, presented Newport’s Jack Reinheimer with the Most Valuable Player award for the game as he scored a run while going 1-for-2 at the plate.

The NECBL heads down to the final five games of the regular season beginning on Thursday night. Holyoke and Newport each sport 24-13 records to lead their respective divisions, while Danbury is on their toes with a single less win to just as many losses.

North Shore stands firmly in the playoff picture as the second-place team at 20-18, despite trailing the Gulls by 4.5 games in the division. They would face archrival Sanford in a best-of-three playoff series if the season ended today in which the Navs would own home field advantage.

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NECBL All-Star Pre-Game Line-Ups

by Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. — Greetings from Fraser Field for tonight’s New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game. game time is set for shortly after 6:30 p.m. and here are the staring line-ups:

WESTERN DIVISION
Tanner Krietemeier, CF (Danbury/Nebraska)
Alex Chittenden, SS (Keene/Louisville)
Brett DeLoach, DH (Keene/Georgia)
Ronnie Freeman, C (Holyoke/Kennesaw State)
Kevin Brown, CF (Keene/Bryant)
Trey Mancini, 1B (Holyoke/Notre Dame)
Dane Opel, RF (Danbury/Missouri)
Brett Doran, 3B (Mystic/Stanford)
Paul McConkey, 2B (Holyoke/Kentucky)

Jeff Thompson, SP (Keene/Louisville)

EASTERN DIVISION
Kyle Johnson, CF (Newport/Washington State)
Brett Mollenhauer, 2B (Sanford/Radford University)
Eric Jagielo, LF (North Shore/Notre Dame)
Tim Kiene, 1B (Newport/Maryland)
Dario Pizzano, RF (North Shore/Columbia)
Chris Burke, DH (Laconia/Iona)
Tom Richards, 3B (Newport/Washington State)
Tim Quinn, C (Old Orchard Beach/Assumption)
Jack Reinheimer, SS (Newport/East Carolina)

Justin Wiley, SP (Laconia/Iona College)

**Wiley will be taking the place of North Shore’s Hunter Rivers (Jacksonville State), who will not appear in the game because of an injury.

SCRATCHES AND SWITCHES

West
Alex Sherrod (Holyoke/USC): Injured
Dave Ciocchi (Danbury/Binghamton): Injured
David Lyon (Keene/Kent State): Injured

East
Billy Bereszniewicz (Old Orchard Beach/Bingghamton): Injured
Brad Dantzler (Laconia/State College of Florida): Injured
Jon Prosnoski (Newport/Seton Hall): Injured
Hunter Rivers (North Shore/Jacksonville State): Injured
Chris Constantino (Laconia/Walters State C.C.): Originally selected as designated hitter, but moved to pitcher

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NECBL All-Star Game TONIGHT at Fraser Field

by Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. — The North Shore Navigators will host the annual New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game on tonight at Fraser Field, with game time set for 6:30 p.m. This evening’s contest will pit the best from the Eastern and Western Divisions.

Hunter Rivers of the hometown North Shore Navigators (Jacksonville State) will start on the mound for the Eastern Division, while Keene’s Jeff Thompson (Louisville) toes the rubber for the West.

Rivers ranks third in the NECBL this season with a 1.34 ERA in eight starts for the Navs and has allowed just five earned runs over 33.2 innings. Thompson is 2-2 for the Swamp Bats in 2011 and his 2.08 ERA over seven appearances ranks ninth among the league’s qualifying pitchers.

Players will go through a few exercises for the Major League Baseball scouts on the field before the game and the itinerary of events looks like this (courtesy Navs media operations director Mike Ghika):

2:00 p.m. – Report Time for Positional Players
2:30 p.m. — 60yd. Run for Positional Players 
3:00 p.m. – East Batting Practice
4:00 p.m. — West Batting Practice
5:00 p.m. — East Infield/Outfield
5:25 p.m. — West Infield/Outfield
6:20 p.m. — Player Introductions/Gift Presentation
6:30 p.m. — First Pitch
Post-Game – Awards Presentation

Here is how the All-Star teams will be broken down and a look at which players will take the field:

EASTERN DIVISION
Laconia Muskrats
New Bedford Bay Sox
Newport Gulls
North Shore Navigators
Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide
Sanford Mainers

Position Players:
Starting C: Tim Quinn, Old Orchard Beach (Assumption)
Reserve C: Dylan Kelly, Laconia (Middle Georgia College)
                Andy Lalli, New Bedford (Central Connecticut State)

Starting 1B: Tim Kiene, Newport (Maryland)
Reserve 1B: Paul Kronenfeld, Sanford (Georgia Tech)

Starting 2B: L.B. Dantzler, Laconia (State College of Florida)
Reserve 2B: Brett Mollenhauer, Sanford (Radford)

Starting SS: Jack Reinheimer, Newport (East Carolina)
Reserve SS: Mike Fransoso, Old Orchard Beach (Maine)

Starting 3B: Tom Richards, Newport (Washington State)
Reserve 3B: Clinton Harwick, North Shore (Point Loma Nazarene)

Starting OF: Kyle Johnson, Newport (Washington State)
                       Billy Bereszniewicz, Old Orchard Beach (Binghamton)
                       Dario Pizzano, North Shore (Columbia)

Reserve OF: Matt Foat, Newport (USC)
                       Eric Jagielo, North Shore (Notre Dame)
                       Will Johnson, Laconia (Vanderbilt)

Starting DH: Chris Burke, Laconia (Iona)
Reserve DH: Chris Costantino, Laconia (Walters State C.C.)

Coach Selection: Robby Ort, Newport (Indiana State)

Pitchers:
Starting Pitcher: Hunter Rivers, North Shore (Jacksonville State)
Closer: Sam Dodge, New Bedford (Harvard)

Middle Innings: Tyler Mizenko, Sanford (Winthrop)
                             A.J. Bazdanes, Sanford (Maine)
                             Matt Alvarez, North Shore (Boston College)
                            Jon Prosinski, Newport (Seton Hall)
                            Michael Dimock, Newport (Wake Forest)
                            Justin Wiley, Laconia (Iona)
                            Stephen Janas, New Bedford (Kennesaw State)

Head Coach: Mike Coombs, Newport Gulls (Lakeland, Fla.)

WESTERN DIVISION
Danbury Westerners
Holyoke Blue Sox
Keene Swamp Bats
Mystic Schooners
North Adams SteepleCats
Vermont Mountaineers

Position Players:
Starting C: Ronnie Freeman, Holyoke (Kennesaw State)
Reserve C: Tom Murphy, Holyoke (Buffalo)
                    Joe Hudson, Mystic (Notre Dame)

Starting 1B: Trey Mancini, Holyoke (Notre Dame)
Reserve 1B: Dave Ciocchi, Danbury (Binghamton)

Starting 2B: Paul McConkey, Holyoke (Kentucky)
Reserve 2B: Mike LeBel, North Adams (Rhode Island)

Starting SS: Alex Chittenden, Keene (Louisville)
Reserve SS: John Murphy, Mystic (Sacred Heart)

Starting 3B: Brett Doran, Mystic (Stanford)
Reserve 3B: Greg Bachman, Vermont (Austin Peay)

Starting OF: Tanner Krietemeier, Danbury (Nebraska)
                       Dane Opel, Danbury (Missouri)
                       Kevin Brown, Keene (Bryant)

Reserve OF: Andrew Garner, Danbury (Tulane)
                       Alex Sherrod, Holyoke (USC)
                       Jacob Daniel, North Adams (Eastern Kentucky)

Starting DH: Tyler Horan, Danbury (Virginia Tech)
Reserve DH: David Lyon, Keene (Kent State)

Coach Selection: Brett DeLoach, Keene (Georgia)

Pitchers:
Starting Pitcher: Jeff Thompson, Keene (Louisville)
Closer: Kyle Grana, Vermont (Bellarmine)

Middle Innings: Ben Mount, Holyoke (USC)
                            Alex Norris, Mystic (Florida Gulf Coast University)
                            Nick Williams, Danbury (Tennessee)
                            Brad Monroe, Keene (Southern New Hampshire)
                            Cameron Copping, North Adams (Buffalo)
                            Jimmy Reed, Danbury (Maryland)
                            Matt Whitehouse, Vermont (UC-Irvine)

Head Coach: Marty Testo, Keene (Keene State College)

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Five Navigators selected to next week’s NECBL All-Star Game at Fraser Field

Courtesy of the North Shore Navigators

LYNN, Mass. — The 2011 NECBL All-Star Teams were announced on Tuesday morning and five North Shore Navigators garnered selection honors to this year’s annual event. The All-Star Game will be played at Fraser Field in Lynn on Wednesday, July 27 at 6:15 p.m.

Right-hander Hunter Rivers (Jacksonville State/Jupiter, Fla.) has been named the starting pitcher for the Eastern Division as a result of his 3-0 record and 0.75 ERA with the Navigators this season. Rivers is currently second in the league in ERA and has 18 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched.

Outfielder Dario Pizzano (Columbia/Saugus, Mass.) was the other North Shore player to be named a starter. Pizzano is currently third in the NECBL in hitting at .361 (35-for-97) and has two home runs, 16 RBI, and 16 runs scored. He is also second in the league with a .456 on-base percentage and is riding a seven-game hit streak.

Fellow outfielder Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame/Downers Grove, Ill.) was also selected to the roster as a reserve. Jagielo is hitting .333 (37-for-111) with 19 RBI and 15 runs scored. He currently owns an eight-game hit streak and is tied for second in the league in hits. He was a 2010 MLB Draft pick of the Chicago Cubs out of high school.

Reliever Matt Alvarez (Boston College/Cranbury, N.J.) was also named to the roster and will pitch out of the bullpen. Alvarez is 2-1 with two saves and a miniscule 1.76 ERA on the season. He also has 21 strikeouts and just six walks in 15.1 innings pitched.

Infielder Clinton Harwick (Point Loma Nazarene/Glendora, Calif.) will also serve as a reserve for the East. The freshman is hitting .309 (30-for-97) on the season, largely as a result of his .405 average in the month of July.

In addition, reliever Miles Landry (Baylor/Houston, Tex.) has been named the alternate for the East pitching staff. Landry has a 0.00 ERA and three saves in 14 appearances spanning 15.0 innings on the season. He has 14 strikeouts and has allowed just five hits while opposing batters are hitting just .098 against the righty.

Tickets are still available for the All-Star Game and can be purchased by calling the team box office at (781) 595-9400 or by visiting www.nsnavs.com.

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North Shore 4, North Adams 3: Jagielo, Navs come back late to scratch past SteepleCats

Navs LF Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame)

by Joshua Kummins

LYNN, Mass. — The North Shore Navigators trailed late in the game on Thursday night at Fraser Field, but left fielder Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame) provided the big blow that upended the North Adams SteepleCats by a 5-3 count at Fraser Field.

Jagielo ripped a two-run single into right field that put the Navs ahead to stay and earn the Navs’ second come-from-behind victory of the season when trailing after seven innings.

North Adams took the first-inning lead against Navs starter Dan Slania (Notre Dame) as leadoff man and left fielder Chantz Mack (Miami) and DH Drew Gadaire (Davidson) scored on RBI singles with two outs.

Mack came around on an RBI single by Gadaire, while he came home himself just two batters later when right fielder Jacob Daniel (Eastern Kentucky) laced a single into medium-depth left field.

Before North Shore could crack the scoreboard, SteepleCats first baseman Sam Russell (Central Michigan) hit an RBI double that plated center fielder and Georgetown product Justin Leeson after he led off with a walk. With that, North Adams had another run and a 3-0 lead after two-and-a half innings.

The Navs rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning as first baseman Anthony Galli (St. Petersburg CC) came through to score after starter Taylor Hart (Georgia College and State) uncorked a wild pitch that skipped to the backstop.

Jagielo drove in the second run as well, lining a one-out RBI single into right field to plate right fielder Matt McGovern (Boston College) and bring North Shore within one run at 3-2 by the end of the fourth.

Both teams combined for just three hits in the fifth through seventh innings before the Navs pounded out three runs and three hits in the eighth inning.

In the inning, North Shore sent all nine batters to the plate against North Adams pitchers Andrew Loynaz (USF) and Gray Carden (Georgia Southwestern) and all three of the inning’s runs came with two outs. Following a single by catcher Chase Harrison (Cypress) to open the frame, Galli was retired on a sacrifice play and McGovern flew out to right field.

Between those two outs, the ’Cats loaded the bases via walks to third baseman Matt Boulter (Southern New Hampshire) and center fielder Saulyer Saxon (Oklahoma State), which loaded the bases for Jagielo’s two-RBI, go-ahead hit.

The next batter was Columbia DH Dario Pizzano and he sent around Saxon on an RBI single that squeaked through the infield and into right, putting the Navs ahead by the 5-3 score that they would not relinquish.

Manager Jeff Waldron called for big right-hander Miles Landry (Baylor) to save the game in the top of the ninth and did just that for the second time on the season as he retired the side despite hitting a batter in the frame.

The winning decision went to Brad Schnitzer (Butler) as he made quick work of the SteepleCats in the eighth inning, earning his first win of the season. Slania lasted five innings to start and he allowed eight hits and three runs, making way for four pitchers out of the bullpen.

For the SteepleCats, Hart did not pitch the necessary five innings to qualify for the decision as he allowed three hits and two runs over 3.2 frames. Loynaz took the loss as he allowed the eventual winning runs in the eighth inning.

The Navs return to Fraser Field on Friday as they take on archrival Sanford for a 6:15 start to kick off the holiday weekend. Following Friday’s game, they will make a return trek to York County and face Old Orchard Beach on Saturday.

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Team NECBL 3, Team USA 2: NECBL All-Stars shine on America’s Most Beloved Ballpark

by Joshua Kummins

BOSTON – It was a bright sunny day at Fenway Park in Boston as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team took to the field for an exhibition contest against the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Stars.

After losing the opening games of their summer tour to the Keene Swamp Bats and Mystic Schooners, Team USA met their match when the entire NECBL came together and beat the Red, White, and Blue by a 3-2 score on Monday afternoon.

Maybe Sanford Mainers right fielder Paul Kronenfield (Georgia Tech) described it best, saying, “it was amazing being out there on one of the greatest stages in baseball.”

“Just playing in a Major League park is awesome,” he added. “That team right there is some of the best college players in the country, so for our league to put together a team that beat them is pretty awesome and it’s huge for us.”

USA starter Kevin Gausman (LSU) allowed a walk to New Bedford’s Brett Botsford (LeMoyne) squeezed between two groundouts and a strikeout in the first inning, while NECBL starter Mike Ford of the Danbury Westerners (Princeton) did the same to get out of the inning unscathed.

In the visiting half of the second inning, the NECBL squad got on the board on a mammoth home run shot by Holyoke Blue Sox catcher Tom Murphy (Buffalo).

His first swing was hit foul off the left field Coke sign before he cleared the second row of Green Monster Seats on the very next pitch for a solo bomb.

Team USA tagged North Adams pitcher Frank Morris (Seton Hall) for a run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by catcher Josh Elander (TCU) to tie the score.

Team NECBL budged again in the top of the sixth on RBI singles through the left side of the infield by Mystic catcher Joe Hudson (Notre Dame) and New Bedford’s Brandon Miller (Samford). Both hits came against U.S. relief pitcher Tom Windle (Minnesota).

In the bottom half of the frame, Team USA right fielder Tyler Naquin (Texas A&M) came around to score on an error by Sanford Mainers shortstop Brett Mollenhauer (Radford) to make the score 3-2 in the NECBL’s favor.

Two North Shore Navigators players made appearances in the game for the NECBL team as left fielder Eric Jagielo and pitcher Dan Slania (both from Notre Dame) made appearances on the Fenway field.

Jagielo made two plate appearances, but grounded out and struck out against Team USA pitching. His strikeout came in the top of the ninth came against fire-thrower Marcus Stroman on three straight swings-and-misses.

Slania hit a batter in the eighth inning, but induced a double play ball to shortstop Devin Marrero (Arizona State) to end the threat with a runner on base.

In the ninth inning, Sanford’s A.J. Bazendes (Maine) and Newport’s Tanner Poppe (Kansas) retired the side in order. Poppe came in to face the final batter, first baseman Brian Ragira (Stanford), and he fanned him to end the game and record the save.

Windle took the loss for Team USA as the third reliever out of the bullpen after Kevin Gausman made the three-inning start, allowing two hits and an earned run. Windle surrendered both Team NECBL runs in the sixth inning, while allowing two hits in the process.

Holyoke pitcher Ryan Harvey (Seton Hall) took the win out of the bullpen for the NECBL team as he allowed just one hit in the top of the fifth inning.

As the NECBL returns to its regular season schedule, the Newport Gulls and Holyoke Blue Sox retain the top spots in their divisions.

This year’s schedule will run through August 1 while the league’s annual All-Star Game will be held at Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass. on July 27.

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