For the second time in three seasons the Worcester Bravehearts have clinched the Future’s Collegiate Baseball League’s West Division. Unlike last season’s mad dash to the post season this time the Bravehearts can decide to take it easy and rest players should they choose to. There is still the number one overall seed to play for and home field throughout the playoffs, so head coach J.P. Pyne will have some decisions to make for the upcoming week. Either way Worcester gets a bye in the first round and will have home field in the best-of three semi-finals that start after this weekend.
The Bravehearts hit the road Tuesday still riding high on last Sunday’s walk-off win, but it unfortunately didn’t take long to come crashing back to Earth as nothing went virtually nothing went right for Worcester in an 11-0 loss to the Pittsfield Suns. The Bravehearts had just three baserunners in the game, with only one of them even reaching second base. The lone bright spot was the debut of pitcher Maurizio Devita, who struck out four in two innings of work.
Wednesday Worcester hosted Torrington at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field, and the outcome was never in doubt after the Bravehearts put up five runs in the first inning en route to a 11-1 win. Brady Furdon was the winning pitcher, setting the franchise career wins mark for Worcester with his sixth, all this season.
In that opening inning the Bravehearts got their first run off a wild pitch, and in the same at bat Ryan Ward singled in another run. Two batters later Joe Caico added an RBI single of his own, and then Austin Lonestar capped the scoring in the frame with a three-run homer. In the fourth inning Caico homered to lead off the frame, and later in the inning Nick Barry added an RBI single.
Rafael Bournigal opened the fifth inning with a triple and scored on Ward’s double, and three batters later Lonestar added a sacrifice fly for a second run in the inning. In the sixth Bournigal added an RBI single, and John Friday‘s RBI single in the eighth capped the scoring for Worcester.
By the time the Bravehearts took the field Thursday in Nashua they knew they had clinched the FCBL West Division, but that was the only good news on the day as Worcester got trashed by the Silver Knights 8-0. Ward went 2-4 with a double, but that was pretty much it for the Bravehearts.
Friday night Worcester was looking to get back in track when Pittsfield came to town, and all was going good for the hometown team until a heavy downpour arrived in the bottom of the fourth inning. Despite getting the tarp on the first once the rain stopped the umpires rules the field unplayable, and the game was suspended. That game has been abandoned, but all stats will count for pitchers and batters.
Saturday it was Wachusett visiting the HIP, and it looked like the beginning of another long night for the Bravehearts as starter Greg Stagani struggled mightily in the first inning as the Dirt Dawgs scored two runs. But from that point on Stagani was stellar and kept Wachusett at bay until Worcester’s bats could come alive. And come alive they did with multiple run innings in the fourth, fifth, and sixth.
In the fourth inning the Bravehearts sent nine men to the plate, and Worcester got their first run on Chad Miller‘s infield grounder. An error by the Dirt Dawgs on the same play scored a second run. Two batters later a Nick Rybarczyk double scored two runs for a four run frame.
It was nine batters again for the Bravehearts in the fifth, with Worcester’s runs coming on a Friday RBI single, a Caico RBI double, and newcomer Greg Kocinski adding an RBI single. In the sixth Miller doubled in two runs. After the top of the seventh it was raining too hard to continue, so that made for a 9-2 final.
With the win in contest Stagani tied Furdon for the Bravehearts career record for wins at 6, and with his seven strikeouts on the night set the franchise single season mark with 51. Stagani already holds the career mark in strikeouts, now at 81.
Sunday’s game at Seacoast was canceled due to rain and will not be made up.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Greg Stagani gets the nod this week, striking out seven batters in a 9-2 win over Wachusett. In the outing Stagani broke the Bravehearts single season strikeout record and tied the franchise’s career wins mark.
Batter: Ryan Ward is this week’s winner, going 7-12 with two doubles, five runs scored, and two stolen bases during last week’s rain shortened schedule.
This week’s opponents
Tuesday vs Torrington, 7pm
Wednesday vs Seacoast, 7pm
Thursday at Torrington, double header, 4:30pm
Friday vs Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm
Saturday at Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm
End of regular season
Around the FCBL
@Brockton 5, Martha’s Vineyard 4
Wachusett 6, Torrington 2
North Shore 7, @Bristol 4
@Seacoast 8, Nashua 4
@Brockton 5, Nashua 4
Seacoast 3, @Wachusett 2
@Martha’s Vineyard 3, Pittsfield 2
Bristol 4, North Shore 4 (17 innings/suspended, curfew)
@North Shore 14, Bristol 1
@Seacoast 7, Martha’s Vineyard 3 (game one/played at Martha’s Vineyard)
Seacoast 9, @Martha’s Vineyard 5 (game two/eight innings)
@Torrington 7, Wachusett 1
@Brockton 3, Pittsfield 2
@Seacoast 3, Brockton 2
@Nashua 4, Wachusett 2
@North Shore 4, Martha’s Vineyard 2
@Bristol 7, Torrington 2
@Brockton 6, Martha’s Vineyard 1
Torrington 4, @Nashua 3 (11 innings)
North Shore 3, @Pittsfield 2
Seacoast @ Bristol, canceled/rain
@Brockton 4, Bristol 1
@North Shore 4, Wachusett 2
@Martha’s Vineyard 4, Nashua 2
Torrington @ Pittsfield, ppd/rain
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