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Chris Duffy's Sports Editor's Notebook: An extra innings change-up

By CHRIS DUFFY
March 14. 2018 11:48PM

Mount Ida guard Valerie Martin of Derry was named to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference third team. (COURTESY)



Big news on Wednesday out of Minor League Baseball: Starting this season, extra innings will start with a runner on second base.

So what does that mean? Well, extra-innings game will end faster, which is the goal. One measly single, with nobody out, has the potential to put a team ahead or end a game.

Hockey shootouts have added to the excitement of pro hockey and this latest baseball measure feels much like a a shootout.

We’ll hear from the baseball purists that it tarnishes the integrity of the game. Maybe it does, but we’re talking MiLB, developmental leagues, where wins and losses are taken a bit less seriously than they are at the major league level.

What do you think, New Hampshire Fisher Cats fans? Drop us a line.

While they were at it, MiLB followed the lead of MLB and limited mound visits from coaches, catchers or infielders. Double-A teams will get eight per game, Triple-A will get six, and the number is six for Single-A. These changes could come in handy if Gary Sanchez goes on rehab.

Also, the pitch clock is now 15 seconds with the bases empty. It used to be 20. That’s change worth monitoring this summer.

Time to Dance

No conflicts if you want to watch all three New Hampshire residents in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. New Castle’s Duncan Robinson and his Michigan Wolverines play Montana tonight at 9:50 p.m., preceded by Manchester’s Wenyen Gabriel and his Kentucky Wildcats against Davidson at 7:10 p.m. Friday, Hooksett’s Max Curran and his UMBC Retrievers take on, gulp, the No. 1 overall seed and top-ranked team in the land, Virginia, at 9:20 p.m.

While Gabriel was pouring in 23 points in the SEC semifinals on Saturday, Curran had a pretty good afternoon, too. He had a big dunk late in the game, finishing with six points, and couple of key rebounds down the stretch as UMBC stunned Vermont in the America East final. Before that game, Vermont had lost one league game all season and was playing at Patrick Gym with Catamount Nation in full throat. Tuesday night, an uninspired UVM club was drilled by Middle Tennessee State in the NIT.

On the women’s side, the beat goes on for Souhegan High and Dartmouth College grad Courtney Banghart and her Princeton Tigers. Banghart’s club won the Ivy League regular-season title and league tournament to make the NCAA tourney for the seventh time in nine years, all under Banghart. Princeton plays perennial power (and 16th-ranked) Maryland on Friday in its first-round contest in Raleigh, N.C. It will be a rematch of a 2015 NCAA second-round game won by the Terrapins.

College/prep notes

Endicott College baseball player Nickolas Perkins, of Nashua, was named Commonwealth Coast Conference Rookie of the Week, as announced by the conference office. Perkins went 2-for-3 in a 6-4 Endicott win in game one of a doubleheader against La Verne and then went 3-for-5 during an 11-8 victory in game two. ...

Windham’s Courtney Walsh scored eight points in Stonehill College’s victory over the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in Monday’s NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball East Regional final. Stonehill will face Indiana University of Pennsylvania in a national quarterfinal next Monday. Walsh, a senior, scored a game-high 23 points in the Skyhawks’ win over Southern Connecticut State in the regional semifinals and was named to the regional’s all-tournament team. ...

Concord’s Brooke Avery notched a hat trick in Syracuse’s 5-1 victory over RIT in the College Hockey America women’s hockey quarterfinals. Syracuse fell to Mercyhurst in the league semifinals, but Avery was named to the all-tourney team. ...

Derry’s Valerie Martin, a sophomore forward at Mount Ida, was named to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference women’s basketball all-conference third team. Martin averaged 16 points and 8.4 rebounds this season. ...

Kimball Union Academy of Meriden recently claimed the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Small Schools championship, for a second straight season, with a 3-2 win over Salisbury School. Drew Bennett, Bryce Dolan and Andranik Armstrong-Kingkade scored the goals and goalie Sean Dynan stopped 35 shots. KUA, coached by former University of Maine head coach Tim Whitehead, finished 30-5-2.

Hockey talk

When the Edmonton Oilers dealt popular forward Patrick Maroon to the New Jersey Devils before the NHL trade deadline, they received J.D. Dudek in return. Dudek, a former Pinkerton Academy star, is a junior forward at Boston College. ...

Speaking of the Eagles, they play Boston University in the Hockey East tourney’s first semifinal on Friday night at TD Garden. Providence College plays Northeastern in the late game. Based on the all-important Ratings Percentage Index, both BC and BU may need to win the tournament to land a berth in the 16-team NCAA tourney. The Eagles are 15th, the Terriers 18th.

The last time neither BC nor BU made the NCAAs was 1988.

cduffy@unionleader.com


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