In Old Orchard Beach, the Tide appears to be heading out.

The Ayotte family, which owns the Old Orchard Beach Raging Tide of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, has reached an agreement to sell the franchise to an unnamed buyer.

“There is a sale pending,” said Dave Ayotte, whose brother Doug served as president and general manager after the death in April of their father, Harry Ayotte, “but there are some contingencies in there.”

From 1999-2010 the club was based in Lowell, Mass., and known as the All-Americans. Competition from the Red Sox-affiliated Lowell Spinners Class A professional franchise led the Ayottes to relocate their team to Old Orchard Beach and its restored ballpark.

The Raging Tide won its opening game before losing 10 straight and finishing 9-33 for the worst record in the NECBL, a wood-bat league made up of college players hopeful of drawing professional interest.

League attendance figures reported an average crowd of 455 for 20 home dates at The Ballpark, a bigger draw than franchises in Laconia, N.H., and Mystic, Conn.

“I thought it went pretty well, attendance-wise,” said Sal Accardi, assistant general manager of the Raging Tide and a former intern in Lowell, which averaged 186 fans per game in 2010. “(The Ayottes) just saw it as something they didn’t want to take on for an extended period.”

Dave Ayotte said his family reached a sales agreement Friday but couldn’t name the buyer.

“I know where the team would be going if this works,” he said Tuesday, “but I don’t know who the owners are because it’s being arranged through another party.”

Any sale or relocation is subject to NECBL league approval. Calls to league officers weren’t returned Tuesday.

John Webb, general manager of the Sanford Mainers, said the league’s board of directors isn’t scheduled to meet until late November in Springfield, Mass. He said he’s aware of Raging Tide rumors but has no knowledge of a change of ownership or location.

“We hope they stay in Old Orchard Beach,” he said. “We thought it was a great thing for the Mainers and a great thing for Old Orchard Beach as well.”

Sanford swept all six games it played against Old Orchard Beach.

Paul Crossman, chairman of the town’s Ballpark Commission, said “it’s our understanding that the team will probably be relocated.”

Based on what he called sketchy information, Crossman said the buyer hails from Pittsfield, Mass., “but I don’t know his name and I don’t know any particulars of the sale.”

Town Manager Jack Turcotte said the Raging Tide’s home games — 20 dates in June and July — were only slices of a Ballpark baseball schedule that, with tournaments, high school, college and adult leagues, included 162 games.

“The Old Orchard Ballpark isn’t all about the Raging Tide or about NECBL teams, however, let’s be honest, we’d like to have a team in town,” Turcotte said. “It gives us a foundation for the stadium.”

Turcotte said options include other teams and other leagues, including the year-old Futures Collegiate Baseball League, which recently announced a fifth franchise in Leominster (Mass.) to join existing clubs in Martha’s Vineyard, Torrington (Conn.), and Nashua and Rochester, N.H.


Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]


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