Bravehearts .500 week keeps them in the playoff chase

Before the start of Tuesday’s game several fans at the HIP were discussing the Worcester Bravehearts playoff chances and not a single person thought the team wouldn’t make a run at grabbing the eighth and final spot on the FCBL playoffs. It was also agreed the team didn’t need a huge winning streak to get it done, as long as they played .500 ball or better every week they’d be right there. That showed true last week with the Bravehearts going 3-3 on the week and finding themselves in the thick of the race for the last playoff spot. The best news is Worcester still controls its own destiny and doesn’t need help from anyone else to make the playoffs.

On Tuesday the Pittsfield Suns came to town and put up two run innings in the third, sixth, and ninth frames to defeat the Bravehearts 6-3. Despite racking up 11 strikeouts Worcester pitchers had a hard time keeping the Suns batters off the base paths, surrendering 13 hits to go along with three walks. The Bravehearts had their best chance with two outs in the seventh when they manufactured a couple runs and had runners on the corners, but a bad bounce for Worcester ended the threat. A Hunter Bross two run double in the top of the ninth ultimately put the game out of reach. Casey McCone went 3-5 with 3 RBI for Pittsfield, while the Bravehearts were led by David Noworyta (2-3, RBI) and Zack Tower (2-4).

Wednesday saw the Torrington Titans visit the HIP, and Worcester may have played their best two games of the season in that night’s double header winning game one 1-0 in nine innings and then blanking Torrington again 2-0 in the second game. It was Gavin Tristan‘s sacrifice fly to center driving in Stevie Mangrum in the bottom of the ninth that was the game winner in the early contest. Jacob Stevens was the Bravehearts starter, and he scattered three hits and struck out six in 6 1/3rd innings before giving way to eventual winner Charlie Butler. Robbie Hitt was Torrington’s starter, and he scattered four Bravehearts hits and struck out six in seven innings. Game two was a lot like game one, with the pitchers dominating. Tristan again had the game winning RBI, this time driving in Logan Brown from second base. Alex Sanchez would drive in a sixth inning insurance run that Worcester eventually would not need. Greg Stagani earned his first win of the season in the contest, allowing just one hit and striking out six in five innings of work.

Thursday was a rare mid-week off day for the Bravehearts. On Friday Worcester went up to Doyle Field in Leominster to take on Wachusett and the Bravehearts set a franchise record hitting three home runs in the contest in a 9-3 win over the Dirt Dawgs. Zack Tower began the homer barrage with a solo shot with two outs in the third inning, and Logan Brown followed with a solo home run of his own leading off the top of the fourth. Alex Sanchez closed out the scoring in the game with a titanic blast in the top of the ninth. With injuries to some of the Bravehearts starting pitchers outfielder Adam De La Cruz, who has pitched some in relief for Worcester, was forced to make a spot start, and the outfielder kept his team in the game long enough for the bats to get hot and the bullpen to take over. Justin Silvestro had a double and an RBI for Wachusett.

Saturday the Bravehearts went down to Torrington and behind a Charlie Ameer third inning home run and an Alex Sanchez RBI ground out in the same frame Worcester jumped out to a quick lead, but that was all from the Bravehearts as the Titans scored seven unanswered runs for the easy 7-2 win. The lone other bright spot for Worcester was Dylan Collett striking out three of the four batters he faced in a mop-up role. Torrington was led by catcher Cody Doyle, who went 3-4 with 3 RBI, and infielder Dean Lockery‘s 2-5 with three runs scored.

Worcester traveled to Martha’s Vineyard on Sunday and their troubles on the island continued in a 9-4 loss to the Sharks. The Bravehearts jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning after Alex Sanchez hit a two run single and a couple batters later Bobby Dragon hit his first home run on the season, but that would be all the offense Worcester would muster. In the bottom of the third MV would plate six runs, capped by Jon Mayer‘s two run blast. Domenic De Renzo‘s three run homer in the bottom of the sixth would put the game out of reach. Ian Strom continued his hot opening week for the Bravehearts going 3-5.

210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Greg Stagani wins this week for his win in game two Wednesday night, earning the win while allowing just one hit and striking out six in five innings.
Batter: Gavin Tristan gets the nod for his two game winning RBI in Wednesday’s double header.

This week’s opponents
Tuesday vs Bristol, 7:05pm (Rally Towel Giveaway)
Wednesday at Seacoast, 6:35pm
Thursday at Wachusett, 6:35pm
Friday at Pittsfield, 7pm
Saturday vs Seacoast, 7:05pm (Ladies Night)
Sunday vs Martha’s Vineyard, 5:05pm (Jake’s Birthday Party)

Around the FCBL
Tuesday
The Seacoast Mavericks visited the Brockton Rox and found themselves down three after one inning, and then then down six after four. The Mavericks never really recovered and ended up on the wrong side of a 6-2 contest. Tommy Marcinczyk and Austin Filiere both had 2 RBI games for the Rox, and Justin Sinbaldi picked up his second win on the season striking out four and allowing just one hit over his five innings works. Kyle Devin was 2-4 for Seacoast in the loss… The Wachusett Dirt Dawgs hosted the Torrington Titans and it was Justin Silvestro’s two-run homer in the third inning that was the only scoring in the game in the Dirt Dawgs 2-0 victory. Steve Colella pitched seven solid innings for Wachusett, allowing four hits and striking out six in seven innings of work. Dean Lockery went 2-4 for the Titans… It took 11 innings to determine a winner when the Nashua Silver Knights came south to take on the North Shore Navigators, and it was Ben Bengtson‘s RBI single in the top half of the inning that proved to be the game winner in the Silver Knights 11-9 victory. Nashua was led by Tyler Noe, who went 3-5 with 2 RBI and three runs scored. Richie Fecteau was 2-6 with a homer and 4 RBI for North Shore… The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks took on the Bristol Blues in Connecticut, and Sharks pitcher Zach Brown scattered six hits over 7 1/3 innings to help lead MV to a 6-2 win over the Blues. Brian Campbell went 3-5 with two runs scored for the Sharks while Bristol was led by Griffin Garabedian‘s 2-4 night.

Wednesday
It was the Sharks taking on the Blues again in a morning contest, and this time it was Bristol coming out on top 6-5 after the Blues scored single runs in the second through fifth innings, and the followed that with a two run sixth. Zach Scott was 2-4 with 2 RBI for the Blues, while Robert Paccione picked up his fourth save on the season with a perfect ninth inning, striking out two. MV pitcher Chris Weiss retired all seven Bristol batters he faced, striking out five… The Rox visited the Navigators and North Shore would get all the needed in the home half of the first in their 2-0, six inning rain-shortened win. Brandon Fischer‘s triple plated Tanner Bush, and then Fischer scored on Richie Fecteau’s ground out for the 2-0 final. Steve Xirinachs earned his fourth win of the season striking out six in six innings. Nashua at Seacoast and Wachusett at Pittsfield were both rained out with no rescheduled date announced.

Thursday
Bristol went north to take on Seacoast, and found themselves down a couple early when Ryan Gendron extended his FCBL home run lead with a two run shot for his eighth of the season. Unfortunately for the Mavericks that was all they would get as the Blues scored runs in the second, fifth, and eighth innings to win 3-2. Davis Strong led Bristol with two home runs, and Ty Robinson picked up his fifth save of the season striking out four in two innings… North Shore invaded Wachusett and after falling behind early on some defensive miscues put up two run innings in the second and seventh and three run frames in the sixth and ninth to cruise to an 11-5 win. Chad Martin homered twice for the Navigators while catcher Michael Rizzitello went 2-5 with 4 RBI. Eric Hassel was 3-4 with a homer for the Dirt Dawgs… Nashua and Martha’s Vineyard got together on the island for a double header, with the Silver Knights coming out on top 6-2 in the first game. Ryan Sullivan had a pinch-hit three run homer in the top of the sixth to blow the game open for Nashua. Ben Bengtson also homered for the Silver Knights in the first game. In game two the Sharks were victorious 6-5, but no details or boxscore is available for the game.

Friday
North Shore visited Nashua and all the Navigators would need was Richie Fecteau’s two run homer in the top of the first as starter Cole O’Connor held the Silver Knights to just three hits over 7 1/3 innings in North Shore’s 3-0 victory. In addition to his home run Fecteau also had North Shore’s other RBI with a third inning single driving in Tanner Bush, who had tripled earlier in the frame. First baseman Matthew O’Herron was 1-1 with two walks for Nashua…The Suns and Blues did battle in Bristol and Pittsfield starter Robert Anderson held the home team to three hits over seven innings to lead the Suns to a 3-0 win. Dom Grillo notched his FCBL leading eighth save with a perfect ninth innings. Bristol starter Troy Terzi was the hard luck loser, allowing just a second inning unearned run in six innings of work… Seacoast went south to take on Torrington and used a fourth inning home run by Ryan Gendron, his FCBL leading ninth of the season, and a Zach Goldstein fifth inning RBI double to open up a three run lead. The Titans would make a game of it by manufacturing a couple of sixth inning runs, but that was all the scoring in Seacoast’s 3-2 win. Torrington starter David Gerics had nine strikeouts in 4 2/3rds innings pitched as every Mavericks batter struck out at least once to Titans pitching… Brockton headed over to the island to take on Martha’s Vineyard and fell behind early as the Sharks Bobby San Martin had a two-run single in the bottom of the first. San Martin would increase the lead with a home run in the top of the fourth, and Donovan Casey‘s two-run fifth inning homer put the game out of reach. The Rox would get on the board with an eighth inning RBI triple by Jesus Medina, but it was too little, too late as MV won 6-1.

Saturday
Wachusett went up to Seacoast and could do nothing early to stop the Mavericks offense as the Dirt Dawgs found themselves down 6-1 after three. Seacoast would add single runs in another three frames before Wachusett made the score respectable with a four run eighth for the 9-5 final. Seacoast had a 3-5 night from first baseman Michael Purcell, who also scored three times. Starting pitcher Zachary Sloan allowed just an unearned run and three hits over seven innings. Third baseman Justin Brock led the Dirt Dawgs with a 2-3 game… North Shore traveled to Bristol and it was all Blues in a 7-0 loss for the Navigators. Bristol scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the third, and then followed that with single runs in the third though eighth innings. Tim Cate improved to 4-0 with a six inning gem, allowing just a second inning double to Chad Martin while striking out eight. Blues designated hitter Austin Chauvin was 3-3 with two runs scored… Nashua visited Pittsfield and it was almost like there were two different games as pitching dominated the first five innings before the bats of both teams came to life in the sixth inning, with the Suns getting two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for the 4-3 win. Cam O’Neill‘s single tied the game, and then Josh Hassell singled a 3-2 pitch for the game winner. Manny Cruz and Tyler Schwanz were both 2-4 with an RBI for the road Silver Knights.

Sunday
Brockton went to Fraser Field in Lynn to take on the North Shore Navigators and Kyle Carruthers‘ sacrifice fly driving in Marshall Gei was the difference in the Rox 3-2 win. In addition to doubling and driving in a run Tommy Stoffel earned his third save of the season with two strikeouts in the ninth. Maxx Sheehan was 2-2 with a run scored for North Shore… Nashua came south to take on Wachusett and after a two run fourth got them even the roof caved in on the Silver Knights as the Dirt Dawgs put up a four spot in the seventh inning to win 6-2. Justin Silvestro was 1-4 with a first inning two-run homer for Wachusett while Matt Fortin went 2-4 and an RBI for Nashua… Bristol hosted Pittsfield and the Blues used single runs in the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth to defeat the Suns 4-1. Ryan Costello, Stephen Octave, and Christian Budzik all went 2-4 for Bristol while Cam O’Neill went 2-4 and had the only RBI for Pittsfield… Torrington went north to Seacoast and despite two Ryan Gendron home runs for the Mavericks the visiting Titans came out on top 8-3. Gendron’s home run total at week’s end stands at 11, which leads the FCBL by six over Bravehearts first baseman Zack Tower (5). Zach Wood, Dan Schock, and Mac Crispino all went 2-3 for Torrington, with Schock hitting an eighth inning two run homer. Mike Conti also homered for the Titans.

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