Category Archives: New Hampshire

Top Toronto Blue Jays prospects in action in New Hampshire

Top Toronto Blue Jays prospects (Jordan Groshans & Austin Martin) celebrate homer
Jordan Groshans signs autographs

(Manchester NH) The final was 9-6 and it felt like 96 in the sun/heat this afternoon.

The Binghamton Rumble Ponies defeated the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on a very warm Sunday afternoon.

Even the seats were hot!  I moved into an open seat closer to the Binghamton dugout and realized quickly that it was too hot for long-term use.

I enjoy going to Portland (Sea Dogs) and Manchester (Fisher Cats) to see Double A baseball.  They’re close to home (Amesbury MA) and there is plenty to see.

Austin Martin takes a cut

The biggest of the AA stars are friendly to fans and seem happy to be where they are.

It is certain that some of the players will advance to the major leagues in a few years.  Others reach AA and get no further.  You never know as you watch them.

There is a little more certainty regarding the future of the players that were drafted in the early rounds and signed to large bonuses.

Two of the Toronto Blue Jays top three prospects are with the Fisher Cats.

I saw Austin Martin (#2 prospect – 1st round in 2020) last time but missed Jordan Groshans (#3 prospect – 1st round in 2018). 

3B Mark Vientos

This time I caught them both.

I did, however, miss out on Gabriel Moreno (#7 prospect).  He has statistically been NH’s best player so far this season.

The top Mets’ prospect with Binghamton is 3B Mark Vientos (#8). 

Many of the Mets’ best young players are at the level below Binghamton.  When Binghamton comes back to either Portland or New Hampshire later in the season, some of them may have been promoted to the Rumble Ponies.  I might want to be there.

Everything today was shot with my 600mm lens.  The length of that thing minimizes the danger I face when foul balls head my way. 

That lens also gives me a chance for good on-field shots.  In this game, there was an outfield collision that I was able to pick up in focus.

A good piece of successful sports photography is luck.  Most of the time you don’t know where the special shot will come from.  You wait….and hope.

Austin Martin (16) celebrates homer

I seldom stay long is the same location.  In high school softball/baseball games, I usually switch sides, if it’s possible, about halfway through.  At today’s stadium (Northeast Delta Dental) there were plenty of good, available vantage points.  Even behind the backstop was available because no fans were dining there.

By moving around, I lucked into two early-in-the-game home run celebrations.  Austin Martin had one and Manny Rodriguez had the other. 

In the Austin Martin homer (to left) celebration, I got Austin and Jordan Groshans (next batter) doing the home-run bump.

When a #9 batter hits a home run that’s likely to be special and that was the case with the one Manny clouted to rightfield.

Manny was very excited and his teammates were as well.  I was at an angle where the dugout celebrating came my way.  I even got one of his teammates in the process of pouring water on Manny.

Manny Rodriguez celebrates
More of the Manny Rodriguez celebration

I like pictures with several players in them.  I had some today with Austin Martin and Jordan Groshans together.  Those two could very well be playing together in Toronto in a few years.

Jordan Groshans

I continue to recommend that you take in a minor league game.  The price is right and the games are easy to get to.  Both times I’ve been to Manchester I’ve seen parents there with little kids getting an early taste of professional baseball.

I advise doing some homework on the two teams playing.  Know who each team’s best prospects are and try to get autographs and/or pictures of them.  Consider it a challenge.  I got Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts that way. Who knows who you might get?

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerable if you click on them.)

Jordan Groshans, Austin Martin, Chavez Young
Jordan Groshans batting
Austin Martin
Austin Martin bats
Will Toffey had a two-run homer
Mark Vientos takes a cut
Hayden Senger had a two-run homer

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Filed under Binghamton Mets, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, New Hampshire, New Hampshire Fisher Cats

New Hampshire strong down the stretch in 56-53 win over Albany

Amanda Torres hit two free throws in the closing seconds for UNH

Helene Haegerstrand (15 points) guarded by Ashley Storey

(Durham NH) Albany went turnover, turnover, and missed three in the closing minute and it cost them.

New Hampshire took advantage and registered a, 56-53, American East Conference victory on Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats (10-16) have now won three straight.

“It was a great win on Senior Day,” said UNH coach Maureen Magarity afterwards.

Albany coach Colleen Mullen’s team has now lost three in a row, but her eyes are on the big picture: “Although we didn’t win, we were better than the last two game. No one is getting an at-large this year so the (American East Conference) playoffs ahead are crucial.”

New Hampshire has Maine (home) and Binghamton (away) on the rest of their schedule.

Helena Delaruelle had a big steal in the last minute

“It’s cooking now with three wins in a row, but we know that we have tough games ahead,” said Coach Magarity. “If we can finish in the top four, we will host a playoff game.”

Binghamton (8-6) is currently one game ahead of the Wildcats (7-7) in 4th place.

The Wildcats had a woeful second quarter (1/14 – 3 points) and trailed, 22-15 at the half.

“We focused on finishing (at halftime),” said Coach Magarity. “I told them that they work so hard and execute so well that they deserve to finish.”

The Great Danes (9-18) were without junior point guard Kyara Frames. Kyara was a preseason All-Conference selection this year as well as a third team American East All-Star last season.

Albany struggled with turnovers (22 in the game) all afternoon.

Freshman Izzy Om

“Without (Kyara) Frames it was tough on them,” said Coach Magarity. Kyara played forty minutes on Wednesday versus Binghamton but was not in uniform today.

“We knew that they didn’t have many ball-handlers so getting up into them was a huge key to our game,” explained senior Caroline Soucy. Caroline had three of UNH’s nine steals.

“Twenty-two turnovers to their six is never a good stat,” said Coach Mullen. “The two down the stretch really hurt us.”

Albany was in front, 48-41, with six minutes left. Caroline Soucy started UNH on the way back with a steal/layup and a backdoor/layup (pass from Ashley Storey). Helena Delaruelle assisted on Maggie Ahearn’s layup and suddenly the Wildcats were within one (48-47).

Amanda Torres

The Wildcats took the lead (52-51) after an Amanda Torres steal/layin.

Two free throws later (Helene Haegerstrand), Albany was ahead, but not for long. Helena Delaruelle got to the hoop and now New Hampshire was on top with 1:21 left.

The rest of the way the Great Danes had three unproductive possessions.

“We had a freshman guard (Izzy Om) in there playing thirty-six minutes,” said Coach Mullen. “They have athletic guards that put pressure on the ball.”

One of those athletic guards (Helena Delaurelle) created the second turnover of the final minute and UNH had possession, and a one-point lead, with thirty-three seconds left.

Albany was going to get the ball back with several seconds left even if New Hampshire used the entire thirty seconds.

“With two seconds left there were a lot of things we could do,” explained Coach Mullen. The Great Danes opted to defend for the thirty seconds instead of fouling.

“It was a coaching strategy,” said Coach Mullen. “I was trusting my defense to get a stop and not foul doing it.”

“You never know it that situation,” added Coach Magarity. “You can foul and put the other team on the line and know you’re going to get it back or just play really good defense.”

“We moved the ball,” said Coach Magarity. “We waited because if you go too early you give them the ball back with more time left.”

With the shot clock running down, Amanda Torres got past Khepera Stokes and drew a foul from Helene Haegerstrand.

Amanda Torres drives by Khepera Stokes

Amanda Torres drives toward Helene Haegerstrand

Amanda cashed both free throws with two seconds left to give UNH its biggest lead (three points) of the game, 56-53.

Amanda Kantzy (9 points,7 rebounds) took the Great Dane’s last shot

After a timeout, Albany got off a tying attempt (Amanda Kantzy) but it went wide.

“You can’t say enough about Amanda Torres’ toughness,” added Coach Mullen. “She was able to draw the foul at the end of the game. I wish that one of us had stood up and taken a charge on that drive, though.”

The Wildcats had won the first meeting (48-47) in January on a last-second, inbounds, lob pass to Ashley Storey by Helena Delaurelle.

UNH struggled big-time to score points in the first half. “The first half was not pretty to say the least,” said Coach Magarity.

The Great Danes, despite thirteen first-half miscues, were in front 22-15 at the half. Freshman Helene Haegerstrand contributed eleven points.

Caroline Soucy – 11 points,3 steals

“I thought that our zone affected them in the first half,” explained Coach Mullen. “We wanted to slow them down.”

“Their pressure made us feel uncomfortable even from the start of the game,” said Coach Mullen.

Ashley Storey, Amanda Torres, and Caroline Soucy each had eleven points to lead UNH. Maggie Ahearn added ten points.

Helene Haegerstrand (15 points) paced Albany. Lexi Schecter finished with ten points.

Coach Magarity: “We were much more patient in the second half. We had great production from Ivy (Gogolin) and Brooke Kane. Maggie Ahearn was a difference maker in the second half with her aggressiveness, timing, rebounding, and defense.”

Ashley Storey and Lexi Scheter

Senior Ashley Storey: “It was fun today, but we have more things to do.”

Albany is now 5-9 in the America East.

Seniors Caroline Soucy, Ashley Storey, Maggie Ahearn, and Sarah Clement were honored pregame.

Thanks to the UNH media staff, especially Doug, for taking care of me.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Ashley Storey (11 points) in for two

Ashley Storey in shot blocking position vs Kumsai Aslan

Ashley Storey up for an inbounds pass

Caroline Soucy

Albany coach Colleen Mullen

Faith Bonett covers Helena Haegerstrand

Helena Delaruelle drives

Khepera Stokes

Maggie Ahearn (10 points)

Mariah Gonzalez guards Helene Haegerstrand

Senior Sarah Clement entertains


UNH seniors honored

UNH wins third straight











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Filed under Albany, New Hampshire

New Hampshire stays undefeated at home with 28-10 win over Maine

Brice-Cowell musket and the UNH Wildcats post-game

Evan Gray with Coach Sean McDonnell pre-game

(Durham NH) “It’s a great day to be a Wildcat,” said senior back Evan Gray as he ran off the field Saturday afternoon.  “We don’t lose here.”

Evan’s 4-yard blast up the middle in the second quarter put UNH in front, 14-7, and the Wildcats defense took it from there. The Wildcats won all five games this season on the home turf.

UNH (6-5) also took back the treasured Brice-Cowell musket as the closing second counted down from the Maine sideline.

“We got the musket back where it really belongs,” said interim UNH coach Ricky Santos.

Coach Santos was suddenly thrust into the head coaching spot in August when head coach Sean McDonnell stepped aside to battle cancer.  Coach McDonnell was on hand to greet the honored seniors pre-game.

UNH linebacker Michael Balsamo eyes UMaine QB Joe Fagnano

The Black Bears (6-6) being held to only ten points was a big surprise.  The team from Orono (ME) hadn’t been held to less that thirty-one points in each of their previous five games.

Fifth-year coach Nick Charlton: “We had plenty of opportunities but didn’t capitalize.  In the big moments of the game we didn’t come up with the plays and they did.”

The final score was misleading.

UMaine’s Kenny Doak kicked a 45-yard field goal seven minutes into the final quarter and the Black Bears were within four, 14-10, with plenty of time left.

UMaine, in fact, got the ball back in great field position (their own 47) after a short (24 yards) Jason Hughes punt.

But after a first-down pass to Jaquan Blair (8 catches – 91 yards) the UNH defense forced two incompletions and Cameron Brusko recorded a sack forcing UMaine to surrender possession.

The Wildcats followed with their best drive of the day (92 yards).  Included in that drive was a 36-yard catch by Malik Love (11 catches – 115 yards) and a 34-yard run by Dylan Laube (9 carries – 63 yards).  The touchdown play was a four-yard pass from quarterback Max Brosmer (24/34 – 241 yards) to defensive end and seldom-targeted Gunner Gibson.

Gunner Gibson in for a touchdown past Adrian Otero in the 4th quarter

Gunner talked about the catch post-game: “We sometimes put in special packages where I’m at tight end or fullback.  We didn’t run that play a lot in practice.  I was a little surprised to see the ball come my way.”  Gunner made the catch, side-stepped a defender to get to the end zone.

Coach Santos joked that every time they ran that play for Gunner in practice the ball was dropped………but not this time and UNH had an eleven-point lead, 21-10.

The Black Bears had rallied back from a 14-point deficit against Rhode Island the previous week and they were on a four-game win streak but the UMaine comeback plans quickly went up in smoke!

On the first play from scrimmage in the first quarter, the Black Bears had fumbled (Devin Young) giving UNH possession.  Three plays later Dylan Laube had a catch/run for a 35-yard score.

Maine’s Devin Young fumbles on the first play.

On UMaine’s last play of the game there was another fumble (their fourth).  On this one, corner back Prince Smith picked up the miscue and ran it home.  Game, set, match.

Josh Kania causes Joe Fagnano to fumble

Ball on the ground

Prince Smith (6) picks up the loose ball

Prince Smith outruns Joe Fitzpatrick to the end zone

Pop Bush (23) and Prince Smith (6) celebrate

This sudden turn of events gave UNH two touchdowns in twelve seconds – “The game got away a little bit at the end” – Coach Charlton.

Despite the four scores for the game, there were times when the UNH offense struggled.  “Offensively, we did some good things in the first quarter and a half,” said Coach Santos.  “We were moving the ball at will until we shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of turnovers deep in the red zone.  But the defense had our backs and made sure it didn’t lead to points the other way.”

Earnest Edwards (81) now tops UMaine’s all-time list in pass receiving yards

UMaine senior Earnest Edwards ran for forty-nine yards and had sixty yards in pass receptions and scored a touchdown.  Big day for most players but not Earnest. He came into the game with 1037 yards pass receiving and ten touchdowns.  He had run two kickoffs back for scores and thrown four touchdown passes.

Earnest’s sixty pass receiving yards today, however, put him at 2641 career yards and make him UMaine’s all-time leader in passing yards.

Wildcat senior Malik Love on his big day (11 catches/115 yards): “The coaches did a good job of scheming up their defenses.  They put us in positions to be successful.  They were running coverages that we had gone over in practice.”

Coach Santos said, “Malik was inspired all week.  He said it was a game in which he was going to go off and he did.”

“This was a big win for UNH,” said Coach Charlton.  “They definitely earned it.  I thought that they tackled and covered well.  When we tried to take shots down the field, they eliminated that.  We did have some success in the short and intermediate area. Our turnovers killed our momentum.  Two of them were when the ballgame was close.”

QB Joe Fagnano

UMaine QB Joe Fagnano expressed disappointment post-game: “They were taking the deep play away.  I didn’t execute very well.”

“We did a good job of disguising coverage in the secondary,” explained Coach Santos.  “We may have tricked the freshman quarterback a couple of times.”

The weather at Wildcat Stadium was sunny and in the 40s.

UNH is now 18-5 at home since the new stadium was opened in 2016.

UMaine defeated UNH at Orono last season, 35-7, but have lost nine of their last ten to UNH otherwise.

Coach Santos is undefeated (9-0) against Maine; four as a player, four as an assistant coach, and now one as the interim head coach.

“We’re trying to create a winning culture at Maine,” said Coach Charlton.  “They already have a winning culture at UNH.”

Over 10,000 spectators attended the game.

I greatly appreciated the stats provided by the UNH athletic department.  Special thanks to Mike Murphy for arranging the media credentials for me.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Daniel Rymer (88) in the grasp of Michael Balsamo

Dylan Laube (20) dodges Erik Robertson (30)

Dylan Laube (20) scores in the first period

Evan Gray (22) block for QB Max Brosmer

Evan Gray (22) into an opening

Evan Gray (58 yards, 1 TD) backs into a hole

Griffin Helm (29)

Richard Carr (3) gets the facemask of Malik Love (1)

watching the screen

Jack Carroll (69)

Joe Fagnano (12) gets open

Josh Kania (95) and Pop Bush (23)

Prince Smith (6) and Cameron Brusko (5) carry the case with the musket in it

Prince Smith (6) elevates against a UMaine field goal attempt




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Filed under Maine, New Hampshire