Bravehearts continue fight for final FCBL playoff spot

The Worcester Bravehearts went into the FCBL All-Star break fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot, and still find themselves in that same fight as the eighth week of the summer season ends. While the Bravehearts are three in the loss column behind the last playoff spot they’re also just five behind second place in the West division and only need to finish out the last couple weeks of the regular season strongly to make it into the playoffs.

On Thursday the Bravehearts headed up to North Shore to take on the Navigators and came out of the All-Star break about as fast as a team could when Willie Allen walked, stole second, and then scored on TJ Riccio‘s double. Unfortunately for Worcester that was all the offense they could muster in dropping a 2-1 contest in ten innings. North Shore tied the game in the fifth inning when Home Run Derby king Giovanni Dingcong tripled and then scored on a wild pitch. The score would stay knotted until the bottom of the tenth when Brandon Fischer had a bases loaded RBI single for the walk off win for the Navigators. Logan Fullmer struck out six in four innings of relief for the Bravehearts.

Worcester went west to play the Pittsfield Suns Friday night, and David Noworyta‘s bases loaded walk got the Bravehearts on the board in the top of the first, but just like Thursday that would be all the runs for Worcester as they lost 3-1 to the Suns. Pittsfield second baseman Cam O’Neill gave his team the lead in the bottom of the second with a two-run single, and third baseman Casey McCone’s RBI single in the seventh provided an unneeded insurance run. Mike Coggeshall was 2-4 in a losing effort for the Bravehearts, while Dom Grillo earned his ninth save of the season for the Suns.

Saturday it was Martha’s Vineyard visiting the HIP and Worcester starter Jacob Stevens had one of his best outings of the summer allowing just one hit and striking out seven in the Bravehearts 2-1 win over the Sharks. Worcester would get on the board in the bottom of the third when Gavin Tristan doubled to lead off the inning and Willie Allen singled to right field to drive in the run. Mike Coggeshall doubled in Ian Strom in the fifth inning for the 2-0 Bravehearts lead. MV third baseman Cam DiScarcina homered with two outs in the top of the ninth to ruin the shutout bid by Worcester. TJ Riccio got the Bravehearts out of potential trouble in the top of the ninth with a great throw to catch a Sharks base runner trying to steal second.

It was such a nice day Sunday Pittsfield and Worcester decided to play two–OK, that had been determined before–and after giving up four runs on the second inning the Bravehearts might have already been thinking about game two. The Suns did their damage in the inning with two outs, and after they loaded the bases Derek Bauer hit an infield single to drive in a run. Jeremy Giles followed with a base clearing double for the 4-0 Pittsfield lead. Worcester showed they were still in the game in the fourth inning when Zack Tower scored on an error, followed by a two run double from Bobby Dragon. After a Derek Gibree single Gavin Tristan knocked in Dragon to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh Tower singled to left and then newcomer Evan Hirschbaum became the first Bravehearts player have his first hit with the team be a walk off when he smashed a double to center field to score Tower for the 5-4 win. Game two was, to be polite, a train wreck when Bravehearts pitching walked 10 Suns batters in the first three innings to fall behind 8-0. That was pretty much all she wrote in a 9-4 win for Pittsfield. Despite the loss the game will likely be remembered for the titanic homerun Tower hit to left field, landing on the eastbound lane of I-290.

210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Jacob Stevens, with a win on Saturday, going 5 1/3 innings allowing just one hit while striking out seven.
Batter: Derek Gibree, who went 7-14 with an RBI in four games.

This week’s opponents
Monday vs Brockton, 7:05pm (Biker Night)
Tuesday vs Torrington, 11:05am (Camp Day)
Wednesday at Nashua, 7:05pm
Thursday at Bristol, 7pm
Friday vs Bristol, 7:05pm (Military Appreciation Night & Fireworks)
Saturday vs North Shore, 7:05pm (Country Night)
Sunday vs Wachusett. 5:05pm (Back to the Future Jersey Auction for Parkinson’s Research)

Around the FCBL
Thursday
The Pittsfield Suns went to the Granite State to take on the Nashua Silver Knights in a twin bill and in game one despite putting 13 runners on base in the seven inning contest the Suns couldn’t push one across the plate as Nashua went on to win 1-0. The game’s only run was scored when Max Burt scored on Ryan Sullivan‘s single in the bottom of the first. Ryan Olmo was 3-4 with two doubles in the losing effort for the Suns. In game two the bats came alive for both teams but the end result was the same for Nashua as they jumped out early against the Suns and then held on to win 7-4. Sullivan had a second inning two-run homer for the Silver Knights, while Burt contributed 3 RBI while going 2-4 with a double. Hunter Bross had a two run home run in the top of the second for Pittsfield… It was the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs visiting the Brockton Rox in a matinee match-up, and when the dust settled after the 18 run, 29 hit contest it was the Rox finishing on top 12-6. Hitting out of the nine hole designated hitter Drew Blake led Brockton with a 3-3 game, with a home run and 4 RBI. First baseman Joe Drpich, who was batting eighth, went 3-5 with 2 RBI of his own. Billy Endris scored four runs for the Rox. Justin Silvestro was 3-4 with two doubles and 2 RBI for Wachusett, while Max DiTondo went 3-5 with 2 RBI… It was a pitcher duel when the Torrington Titans went out to the island to take on the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, with the Titans coming out on the right end of a 2-1 final. Sharks starter Matthew Tulley had a tough first inning walking in both Torrington runs, but then settled down to strike out nine over five innings. Martha’s Vineyard’s bats didn’t help Tulley at all, only managing a single run off of Torrington pitcher Frank Valentino over seven plus innings of work. Jack Roberts had the RBI single for the Sharks. After the eight batter first inning the Titans didn’t get a runner to second base the rest of the game… The Seacoast Mavericks went south to take on the Bristol Blues, and in the third inning put their first six batters on base en route to a four run frame. Bristol got one of those runs back in the home half of the inning, and then took the lead for good with a five spot in the bottom of the fifth in a 6-4 win for the Blues. Griffin Garabedian went 3-4 for Bristol, with Ryan Costello (also 3-4) and Tyler Packanik contributing 2 RBI each. Evan Brown was 2-4 for the Mavericks.

Friday
North Shore took on Seacoast and the Navigators had a seven run lead before the Mavericks had their first hit in the contest as North Shore cruised to a 10-4 win. MJ Brown had a first inning RBI single and then Brandon Fischer knocked in two with a single in the second before the Navigators blew the game wide open with a four run fifth inning. Giovanni Dingcong capped the scoring in that frame with a two-run single. Seacoast would make a brief comeback in the home half of the sixth with a four sport of their own after a Shea Sullivan solo shot and Evan Brown and Cameron Oliveira adding RBI singles, but North Shore would score three more runs in the next half to put the game away… Brockton went out to Martha’s Vineyard to take on the Sharks, and a seven run fifth inning was the difference in the 8-2 win for MV. The Sharks batted around in that frame, with Guy Davidson having the key hit with a three run homer. Brian Campbell went 2-4 with 3 RBI for MV, while Cam DiScarcina went 3-3. Eric Handelman struck out three of the five batters he faced for the Rox. A box score error currently lists a save in the contest… Wachusett went down to Bristol and Dirt Dawgs starter PJ Browne threw a two hit complete game shutout in a 3-0 win for Wachusett. Browne allowed just two runners to reach second base, a Tyler Roberts double for the Blues in the third inning and Roberts again in the sixth after a fielder’s choice, and needed just 86 pitches to complete the game. Eric Hassel would score the only run the Dirt Dawgs would need after doubling in the sixth and then scoring on an error… Nashua went south to Connecticut to take on Torrington, and the Titans were inhospitable hosts by putting up five runs in the home half of the first and running away from the Silver Knights in a 9-4 win. Due to issues in the entries into the game live program there may be issues with the box score, so we’ll just leave it be with the final score.

Saturday
Seacoast headed to Doyle Field in Leominster to take on Wachusett in double header, and by day’s end the Mavericks were probably wishing they’d stayed home after getting swept. In game one the Dirt Dawgs came out firing on all cylinders with Max DiTondo doubling to open the home half of the first and eventually scoring on Justin Brock‘s sacrifice fly. Wachusett would add more runs in the second off Tyler Hudson‘s three-run homer. Hudson earned two more RBI in the fifth inning and the Dirt Dawgs cruised to a 8-1 final. Steve Colella got the seven inning complete game win, striking out eight. The Mavericks only run came on Ryan Gendron‘s FBCL leading 18th home run of the season. In game two Wachusett scored single runs in four consecutive innings and then put up a three spot in the sixth to win 7-3. Brock went 3-4 for the Dirt Dawgs and Eric Hassel added a solo shot in the winning effort. Seacoast was led by Keith Oren‘s 2-3 game, including a solo home run… Brockton and Nashua also got together for a twin bill, and it was the road Rox that got the sweep. In game one Brockton scored five runs over the first three innings and that was more than enough for Jake Fishman to pick up his fourth win of the season. Austin Filiere was 2-3 for the Rox while Tommy Marcinczyk added two RBI. Tyler Schwanz was 2-3 for the Silver Knights. In game two it took 11 innings but once again it was Brockton coming out on top, this time 3-2. Jonathan Salcedo‘s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning tied the game for the Rox, and Shane Adams knocked in the eventual game winner with a single in the top of the 11th. Manny Cruz had both RBI for Nashua… The Blues and Suns did battle in Pittsfield and Suns pitchers Corey Wilson and Austin Dick shut down the Bristol batters in a 4-0 win for Pittsfield. The Suns would get all they needed in the bottom of the fourth on Jeremy Giles’ RBI single, but in the sixth Giles doubled in another run. Pittsfield would add two more in the seventh for the 4-0 final… Torrington went to North Shore to take on the Navigators and took a two run lead into the eighth inning thanks to Nick Lamberti‘s fifth inning RBI single and Joe Paparelli‘s unearned run in the seventh. North Shore sent nine batters to the plate in the home half of the eighth and notched three runs, the game winner coming when Maxx Sheehan was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for the 3-2 Navigators win. Speros Varinos recorded his ninth save of the season striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Sunday
Due to time constraints we’ll have just a score listing
North Shore 10, @Seacoast 7
Bristol 5, @Wachusett 2
@Martha’s Vineyard 17, Nashua 7
Brockton 11, @Torrington 5 (completion of suspended game)
Brockton 3, Torrington 0

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