KEENE, N.H. 4/18/13 — The Keene State College baseball team made sure Coach Ken Howe would get his 500th career victory, pounding out 13 hits on the way to posting a 15-5 non-conference win over Fitchburg State University at Owl Athletic Complex on Thursday.
Now in his 27th season, Howe improves his career record to 500-470-9, joining an illustrious group of 34 active Division III baseball coaches who have won 500 or more games during their careers.
Asked what the 500 wins mean to him, Howe replied, "It means I'm old. I've been here awhile. There are a lot of loses that go with those 500 wins, but it's been a dream of mine to be doing this. I'm very lucky to be a Keene kid and have the opportunity to do this in my hometown."
A freshman member on the team, son Dustin Howe, got into the game and was able to be a part of his father's milestone win. "It means the world to him. He loves this game," said Dustin Howe, a reserve first baseman with the Owls. "Keene State is like another home to him. Hopefully he'll get his 600th while I'm here."
The son of former Owl standout John Luopa, who witnessed Howe's first win in 1987, Tanner Luopa (Keene, N.H.) ironically, got to be a part of Howe's 500th victory. "It's pretty cool," said Luopa, who started in left field for the Owls. "My dad has some stories about Coach Howe and now I'm living my own. It was a great win today. We wanted to get this one for Coach Howe."
The Owls (14-16), who have won three straight for the first time this season, left little doubt about the outcome. Falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, KSC quickly responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Consecutive doubles by sophomore Ian Seawards (Dover, N.H.), freshman Brett Dootson (Marlborough, Conn.) and sophomore Tanner Chase (York, Maine) produced the five runs.
Keene State added three more runs in the second with Dootson clearing the bases with a three-run double to left center.
After FSU scored three runs in the top of the third, the Owls came right back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to extend their lead to 10-3. Junior Nick Vita (Spofford, N.H.) brought in both runs with a single.
The Owls put the game away with a four run fifth inning that was highlighted by a two-run double to left field by Seawards.
KSC had several offensive stars in the game. Dootson went 2-4 with five RBIs, Seawards had two hits and four RBIs and Vita added two hits and two RBIs while scoring three runs. Chase and freshman catcher Ian Schoonmaker (Scotia, N.Y.) also picked up two hits each in the game.
The Falcons finished the game with 12 hits. Senior Cody Bamforth (Vernon, Conn.) went 3-4 with two RBIs and juniors Alex Heroux (Leominster, Mass.) and David Mason each had two hits.
Howe used five pitchers in the game with freshman Dylan Collett (Altamont, N.Y.), who worked three innings of two hit ball, getting his first college win (1-0).
Freshman Mike Martignetti (Boston, Mass.) started for the Falcons and took the loss.
Keene State hosts UMass-Boston in a Little East Conference doubleheader on Saturday (12 p.m.).