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Mystic opens the New England Collegiate Baseball League playoffs tonight on the road against the league's best team.
As the fourth seed in the Southern Division, the Schooners (23-19) visits first-place Plymouth (Mass.), which finished a league-high 31 victories. Mystic lost the regular season series, 5-1. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at Forges Field.
It is a best-of-three series with game two at Fitch High School in Groton at 6:05 on Tuesday night. If necessary, game three will be played at Plymouth on Wednesday.
The Pilgrims feature the league's top pitching staff, posting a 2.35 earned run average. Thomas Jankins (5-0, 0.40) of Quinnipiac and Nicholas Berger (4-0, 0.75) of Northeastern have dominated the league this season.
Steve Laurino powers the Schooners, who are second in the NECBL in hitting at .266. He won the regular season batting title at .381. Bran Zunica leads the league in home runs with nine.
Manager Phil Orbe will turn to Mike Concato (2-0, 1.61) to start game one. Nolan Long (1-3, 3.95), a former Waterford High School standout, is expected to start game two.
- Gavin Keefe