The Muskrats came from behind to take the Danbury Westerners to extra innings, but eventually fell 6-4 in the 11th inning at Robbie Mills Park.
Collins’ home run — his 15th of the season — cut the Muskrats’ 4- 1 deficit to one run in the sixth inning.
“That was pretty neat,” Laconia manager Matt Alison said. “He’s been phenomenal. He’s been very consistent and a big run producer all summer. I’m definitely happy for him and proud of him. It was a big swing for us.”
The score held until Wil Leathers scored in the eighth inning to knot the game at four.
The Muskrats threatened to score in the bottom of the tenth inning.
The frame started with controversy when Leathers believed he was hit by a pitch and the umpire called a foul ball. Alison said he thought the pitch hit him in the arm.
“I would have loved to have had him on there. I think that could have changed the inning for us,” he said. “[The umpire] called what he had. I definitely can’t fault him. ... If the ball hits square on the bat or on the forearm, there’s not going to be much of a difference in sound.”
Leathers ended up striking out and Collins followed with a ground out. The Westerners walked three consecutive batters after that to load the bases for the Muskrats, but Tim Swatek hit a fly ball to the end the inning.
Danbury’s Kyle Wernicki led off the top of the 11th inning with a single and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Muskrats pitcher Tom Kriss walked the next batter to put runners on first and second.
After a pop-up gave the Muskrats two outs, Mike Orefice singled into the outfield. Wernicki slid home safe in a close play at the plate to score what ended up as the winning run for the Westerners.
“I asked too much of Tom,” Alison said. “I lengthened him out there. I wanted to stay with him. He got tired. That was going to be his last inning. He did a good job executing. He did a heck of a job in relief.”
Danbury added an insurance run when Kriss hit a batter with the bases loaded.
John Ziznewski walked with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, but that’s as close as the Muskrats would get to a comeback.
Austin Sullivan started the game for Laconia, throwing 4 2-3 innings and allowing four hits and three runs. Kriss took the loss. He tossed four innings of relief and gave up two hits and two runs.
Collins finished 2-for-5 wih two RBIs. Kyle Convissar hit a home run in the second inning to give the Muskrats the early 1-0 advantage.
Andrew Garner went 2- for-5 with three RBIs for the Westerners.
Despite the loss, Alison said the Muskrats — winners of four of their last six games — are playing well.
“We’re peaking at the right time,” he said. “We’ve been in a position to be one pitch away from winning seven in a row. We’re starting to come around on the mound and make plays defensively.”
The Muskrats’ next game is Saturday at Robbie Mills Park against Mystic at 6:30 p.m. It’s Laconia’s last game before the All-Star Game in Montpelier, Vt., on Sunday.