OLD ORCHARD BEACH — It’s never easy being a first-year team trying to establish an identity in a community. It doesn’t help when you’re mired in a long losing streak.

The Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide, Maine’s new entry in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, lost their eighth consecutive game Tuesday night, 8-4 against the Laconia Muskrats.

This game followed a scenario similar to the previous seven, when the Tide would take an early lead, fall behind and then stage a just-short rally.

But like the crowd of 344 that provided a jolt of energy to the evening, the Raging Tide’s players see good things coming soon, even with a 1-8 record.

“It’s frustrating,” said shortstop Mike Fransoso, who plays for the University of Maine. “Losing is never fun. Even though this is summer ball, you don’t want to lose.

“But once we turn this thing around, I don’t think you’re going to see another losing streak like this.”

For the sixth time this season, the Tide scored first. They fell behind 4-2 in the fifth and came back in the sixth to tie it.

Tom Verdi led off the sixth with a single and scored on a double by Matt Marquis. He then scored the tying run on an error on a grounder by Thomas Bourdon.

The Muskrats regained the lead before the crowd had settled down, scoring three runs after two outs in the seventh.

Bijan Rademacher singled, went to second on a passed ball and came in on a single to center by Brad Dantzler

. Chris Burke, who had three hits, then drove a pitch well over the left-field wall and it was suddenly 7-4.

“We get runs and then we give them up,” said Raging Tide outfielder Matt Marquis, who plays at Maryland. “Right now, the team is struggling to find itself. We definitely have all the talent we need to play well in this league and win.

“We’re in every game. We just can’t find that one thing we need to get the win.”

Maine’s only victory came against Laconia, 5-4 in the season opener on June 10.

Muskrats Manager Matt Alison figured this wouldn’t be an easy game.

“In this league, anybody can beat anybody,” he said. “And when you’re on a streak like they are, you play with a little chip on your shoulder. You never know what will happen in a game like that.

“They played hard. We just found a way to win.”

Start with two-out RBI hits. Laconia scored six runs with two outs.

Then add clutch pitching. OOB had nine hits, but stranded six runners.

“Our guys made pitches when they had to,” said Alison.

And the Tide’s players and coaches know they will too at some point.

“It’s still early,” said Jared Lemieux, the Raging Tide’s assistant coach, who finished as manager after Inaki Ormaechea was ejected in the bottom of the seventh.

“It’s a new program, we’ve got a bunch of new guys, everything’s new. You’ll see, they’ll make the adjustments. It will come. (Today’s) off day will help. It’ll give them a day to collect their thoughts, to see where we need to be.”

Laconia’s lineup includes former Deering High star Regan Flaherty, who red-shirted his sophomore year at Vanderbilt. Flaherty went 0 for 4 before a big group of family and friends, but had some good at-bats. And that’s important to him.

“I need to keep getting at-bats,” he said.

“Where I wasn’t seeing live pitching in the spring, I want to go out and make sure my game’s at a level I know it needs to be at and what I feel I’m capable of.”


Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH