New Hampshire Hardball

Curve 9, Fisher Cats 6

MANCHESTER – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (31-38) dropped a 9-6 decision to the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates, 33-36) in the finale of the first half of the 2022 season Sunday on a scorching, 92-degree Sunday at Delta Dental Stadium.

The Fisher Cats finished the first half 13.0 games back of the first-place Somerset Patriots (New York Yankees, 44-25), who earned a playoff spot with their walk-off win over the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies, 43-26).

As the Cats fought the Curve, fans enjoyed Beach Day which featured summer-themed entertainment and a “splash zone” in the left field bleachers. On the diamond, New Hampshire and Altoona exchanged blows all game, as neither team led by more than two runs until the ninth inning.

Hayden Juenger had another impressive start for New Hampshire, tossing 3.0 innings and allowing one earned run on one hit. He struck out four and walked two. Juenger has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start since May 21 at Erie. His ERA in June is 2.77.

The only Altoona run scored on Juenger came via a solo homer from Altoona’s Henry Davis in the second inning. The catcher from Louisville was the first overall pick in the 2021 draft by the Pirates.

Davis was the first of four players to homer in Sunday’s game. After two runs in the fourth put the Fisher Cats up, 3-1, Altoona responded with four runs in the fifth, three of which came on a Matt Gorski big fly off New Hampshire’s Cre Finfrock.

Orelvis Martinez answered in the bottom half of the fifth, cranking his 16th homer of the year on top of the Sam Adams Brewhouse in left field. The blast tied the game, 5-5. Martinez is fifth in the league in homers and is on pace to set the Fisher Cats single-season record (27, multiple players).

Altoona’s Aaron Shackelford homered in the seventh to put the Curve up, 6-5, but New Hampshire scored on a passed ball quickly after to tie the game again, 6-6.

Though New Hampshire scored six runs in the game, they had just three RBIs. The Fisher Cats brought runs home on a wild pitch, a throwing error and a passed ball.

In the top of the ninth, the Curve tagged Jimmy Burnette (L, 1-3) with three runs, two of which came on a RBI double to deep center field. The Fisher Cats couldn’t rally in the bottom of the ninth and lost by three, 9-6. New Hampshire and Altoona split the weeklong series in Manchester, 3-3, and Altoona won the season series, 7-5.

New Hampshire is off tomorrow and begins the second half of the season on Tuesday, June 28 at Hadlock Field in Maine against the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox). The team with the best record in the Eastern League’s Northeast Division in the second half of the season will earn a playoff berth and take on Somerset.


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