FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
Chris Costantino (Walters St CC) became the fifth player in New England Collegiate Baseball League history to throw a no-hitter, as he cruised past the first-place Keene Swamp Bats Sunday night to a 7-0 victory.
Costantino allowed no hits while striking out nine Swamp Bats, improving his league-high total to 41 strikeouts this season. Keene had four men reach base Sunday night; two on walks, one on a fielder’s choice and one on a passed ball on a swinging strikeout.
“I just tried to get through the first time through the order with mostly fastballs and change-ups, only showing two pitches, and then show my third pitch the second time through if I can.” said Costantino.
“Every time I throw I go out with confidence. I know if I pitch to the way I plan and throw all three pitches for strikes I’ll be successful.”
Costantino taking the mound tonight was supposed to be an inconvenience for Laconia, as it left them with only two regular infielders. With second baseman LB Dantzler (State College of Florida) recovering from injury, and Chad Wallach and Anthony Iacomini (NW Florida State) departing for academic obligations, the Muskrats coaching staff had been concerned when looking ahead to this date.
But Costantino made his start worthwhile in every way, putting his name in the record books. Left fielder Will Johnson (Vanderbilt) was called on to make the start at second base, with his college teammate Regan Flaherty (Vanderbilt) at first, and John Ziznewski (Rockland CC) and Kendall Keeton (Walters St CC) holding down the left side of the infield.
Keeton gave the Muskrats a rare early-inning lead with a two-out, two-RBI single in the second, taking advantage of a Drew Fann (Vanderbilt) leadoff double and a Bijan Rademacher (Cal St Fullerton) walk. The scoring chance was set up by a Ziznewski sacrifice bunt and Kevin Sah’s (Howard JC) 15-pitch at-bat. Sah repeatedly fouled off fastball after fastball, before being punched out on a curveball, draining Keene starter Brad Monroe (SNHU). Monroe’s start would only last four more batters.
Johnson showed how comfortable he was with the position change, leading off the third inning with a solo home run that landed somewhere in the woods beyond right field. In fact, Johnson led off an inning in each of his four at-bats, going 2-3, while making five put-outs in the field in an errorless game for both teams.
The Muskrats added two more runs in the seventh, an inning that belonged to the Vanderbilt Commodores. With Johnson singling to leadoff and Flaherty collecting his third single on the night, Fann brought his college teammates home with a two-out double, his second of the night. Laconia’s offense supported Costantino’s efforts with ten hits.
Costantino’s family was listening to the game back home in Lincoln, Rhode Island, as the celebrated Chris’s grandpa, whose birthday is Monday. Chris provided quite a gift Sunday night.
Fans were also treated to an appearance from the Boston Red Sox’ Wally the Green Monster as a part of Mascot Madness Night.
Laconia improves to 12-16 this season, getting their first win against a Western Division opponent in eight tries. New Bedford’s 5-3 loss in Mystic flip-flops the Bay Sox with the Muskrats again for the fourth and final playoff spot, with Laconia now in possession. Laconia will see the Mystic Schooners tomorrow in Connecticut.
The game starts a five-game road trip for the Muskrats, including some of the farthest commutes of the season. The team will have a chance to improve its record against Western teams, as they’ll see three this week. They’ll also have a key double-header in New Bedford Wednesday that could go a long way in deciding the East’s playoff picture.
Tune in to the NECBL Broadcast Network all week to follow the Muskrats, starting tomorrow at 6:30 PM in Mystic. The team returns home for a three-game stand starting Saturday, July 23rd against the Bay Sox at 7:05 PM.