WooBall Weekly: Bravehearts stumble a bit but still in first place

It’s been a long while since the Worcester Bravehearts had a losing week, but some untimely bad innings and a little bad luck over the last seven days put them at 2-3 over their last five games. They’re still comfortably ahead in the playoff race in their chase for a third Future’s Collegiate Baseball League championship, and provided Bravehearts head coach J.P. Pyne can get things right with his squad that should still be the case in upcoming weeks.

It was off to Leominster to play Wachusett Tuesday night, and after the first couple innings it looked like it was going to be a wild one as the squads combined for six runs, eight hits, and three homers. Worcester’s runs came via a Zack Tower RBI single in the first and solo home runs by Joe Caico and Nick Barry in the second. The Dirt Dawgs had an RBI double in the first and a two run homer in the second to make it 3-3 after two full.

But the pitchers took over from that point, with the only additional run scored off a bases loaded walk by Tower in the fifth inning for the eventual 4-3 win for the Bravehearts. Kevin Stone picked up his first win of the season, and Taylor Williams picked up the save with three scoreless innings in relief.

North Shore invaded Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Wednesday for the first time this season, and unfortunately for Worcester starter Greg Stagani the Bravehearts bats were mostly missing from his decent start as Worcester dropped a 4-2 decision. It was the ninth time in 13 career starts the Bravehearts have scored three or fewer runs for Stagani.

Both of Worcester’s runs came in the seventh inning, with Mike Coggeshall scoring on a passed ball and Dante Ricciardi following with an RBI single. Stagani, Tyler Lonestar, and Danny Barlok combined to strikeout 15 Navigators batters in the loss.

Thursday saw the Bristol Blues visiting Worcester, and after the bad news Bravehearts fans got about Mike Bruemmel being placed on the disabled list it looked like it was about to get worse as Frankie Moscatiello scoreless innings streak came to a crashing halt in the top of the first when he allowed three runs. But after a five run half by Worcester Moscatiello regained his form and helped lead the hometown team to a 9-3 victory.

After a John Friday walk it was a Coggeshall double, a Tower triple, and a Matt Rothenberg single that got the Bravehearts back to even in the first. Worcester took the lead on a passed ball, and then Barry’s RBI single gave them the lead for good. In the second inning Friday added an RBI double, and in the seventh inning back-to-back hits by Coggeshall and Tower cleared the bases for the final runs of the game.

Friday night was supposed to be the back half of a home-and-home with Bristol, but a passing storm front dumped an incredible amount of rain on the region, postponing the contest and two others on the FCBL schedule. The game against Bristol will be made up as part of a double header on July 4th.

Saturday was a trip out west down the Mass Pike for the Bravehearts as they took on the Suns in Pittsfield, and Worcester got off to a quick start on Rafael Bournigal‘s two-run homer in the top of the first. That lead would hold until the fourth inning when the Suns put up three runs of their own, and then Pittsfield added a single run in the sixth inning to take a two run lead.

A seventh inning pinch hit single by Matthew Diesel drove in two runs to tie the game, and two batters later Nick Rybarczyk walked with the bases load to give Worcester the lead. In the ninth Dante Ricciardi scored on a fielder’s choice for what was thought to be an insurance run. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as Bravehearts pitching didn’t retire a single Pittsfield batter in the bottom of the ninth as the Suns put up three runs to win 7-6.

Sunday it was North Shore back in Worcester, and once again the Bravehearts got off to a quick start on a Coggeshall RBI single, which extended his hitting streak to 17 games, and a Rothenberg fielder’s choice RBI to take a two run lead after one. A big inning by the Navigators in the third put Worcester down a pair. North Shore grabbed another run in the top of the fifth, but a Friday RBI single and a Rothenberg sacrifice fly got the Bravehearts within one.

The Navigators scored two unearned runs in the top of the eighth, but Worcester wasn’t done yet as Joe Mercadante infield grounder scored a run to get the Bravehearts within two. In the bottom of the ninth Worcester got an unearned run of its own, but it wasn’t enough as they dropped the contest 7-6.

210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Reliever Danny Barlok gets the nod, striking out five of the 12 batters he faced over two stints while allowing just two hits and no walks.
Batter: Catcher Nick Barry is this week’s winner, going 4-10 with a home run and 2RBI in three games. He was behind the plate in both Worcester wins this week.

This week’s opponents
Monday at Bristol (doubleheader), 4:30pm
Tuesday vs Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm
Wednesday at Nashua, 7pm
Thursday vs Torrington, 7pm
Friday at North Shore, 7pm
Saturday vs Nashua, 7pm (Free T-shirt Saturday)
Sunday at Martha’s Vineyard, 5:30pm

Around the FCBL
Monday
Martha’s Vineyard 10, @Brockton 7

Tuesday
@North Shore 6, Torrington 0
Seacoast 7, @Pittsfield 0 (6 innings/rain)
@Bristol 7, Martha’s Vineyard 3
@Nashua 4, Brockton 2

Wednesday
Torrington 11, @Brockton 7
@Martha’s Vineyard 8, Bristol 1 (8 innings/fog)
Wachusett 4, @Pittsfield 3 (12 innings)
@Nashua 8, Seacoast 3

Thursday
Nashua 9, @Wachusett 5
Brockton 8, @Seacoast 4
@Torrington 2, North Shore 0
@Pittsfield 3, Martha’s Vineyard 2

Friday
North Shore 9, @Nashua 6 (11 innings)
@Martha’s Vineyard 8, Brockton 2 (8 innings)
@Wachusett vs Seacoast, ppd/rain
@Torrington vs Pittsfield, ppd,rain

Saturday
Torrington 13, @Wachusett 2
@Seacoast 11, Bristol 1
@North Shore 6, Brockton 1
@Martha’s Vineyard 7, Nashua 5

Sunday
@Wachusett 17, Pittsfield 3
@Martha’s Vineyard 8, Brockton 3
Seacoast 2, @Nashua 1
@Bristol 8, Torrington 3

For frequent updates on the Worcester Bravehearts follow @210Darryl on twitter.

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