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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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