Wooball Weekly: A .500 week keeps the Bravehearts in the playoff chase

bravehearts-blog

Monday it was off to Bristol for the Worcester Bravehearts, and the new week started off a lot like the old one as the Bravehearts fell behind early after giving up three runs in the second. The only offense Worcester could muster was a John Friday RBI single scoring Greg Kocinski in the 4-1 loss to the Blues.

Tuesday the hottest team in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs, came to Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field to take on the Bravehearts. As has happened a lot to Worcester this season, the Dirt Dawgs capitalized on a Bravehearts error to take a 1-0 lead after a half inning.

But that’s all the runs Wachusett would get as Worcester starter Billy DeVito held the hot Dirt Dawgs bats in check for 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and just that unearned run while striking out six.

Kocinski tied the game with a fourth inning home run, and after Cody Laweryson relived DeVito the Bravehearts would take the lead in the seventh when Trevor Johnson‘s double scored Mariano Ricciardi for the eventual 2-1 win.

Wednesday had Worcester visiting Lynn to take on North Shore, and for five and a half innings it looked like neither team would be able to score. Bravehearts starter Jakob Barker had a strong outing, holding the Navigators at bay until the sixth inning when he surrendered two runs.

He was still in line for a win as the Worcester bats exploded for three runs of their own in the top of the seventh. Joe Caico tied the game with a two-run blast, and later in the frame Johnson walked with the bases loaded to give the Bravehearts the lead.

The bullpen couldn’t hold the lead however, and North Shore plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth to send Worcester home 4-3 losers.

It was Camp Day at the HIP on Thursday with a 10:30am schedule first pitch against the Pittsfield Suns. The early start had no impact on the pitchers as through six innings neither squad had a run and both had only two hits. In the seventh inning the Suns bats awoke and the Bravehearts found themselves down 2-0.

Entering the bottom of the ninth the Pittsfield pitchers were on cruise control, and with only four hits through eight innings it looked bleak for Worcester. Kocinski changed that on the first pitch he saw in the frame with a laser that hit halfway up the Papa Gino’s sign in right field to get the Bravehearts on the board.

The rally continued as Friday doubled to the gap, and then Caico was hit by a pitch. John Mazza was intentionally walked to load the bases, and then Bryan Hart was unintentionally walked to force in the tying run.

Pittsfield then moved their centerfielder to the infield to give them five infielders, hoping for the force out at home to keep the game tied. No one will know if that strategy would have worked as the second pitch to Brett Coffel sailed to the backstop and Caico scored from third without a throw to give Worcester a 3-2 walk-off win.

Bravehearts starter Sean Mellen struck out eight in his five innings pitched, allowing just two hits. Frank Moscatiello got the win in relief.

Due the massive amount of rain that fell Friday it took an extra 33 minutes to get the HIP ready for the game against Nashua. For the first time in many games it was Worcester that struck first, putting up three runs in the bottom of the second.

Dante Ricciardi started off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right, and then M.Ricciardi flared one to left field scoring Pat DeMarco. A throwing error on the play added the third run.

In the third the Bravehearts struck for three more on a towering shot by Caico that cleared everything in right field and landed in the football end zone. From where this writer was standing it appeared the ball went through the goalposts on its way down. Video shot of the game was inconclusive.

Worcester would get another run in the fifth when Kevin Doody scored on a passed ball, and Doody would score again in the seventh on a Caico sac-fly. The Silver Knights made a game of it by putting up five in the eighth, but Moscatiello entered the game to earn the save in the 8-6 win.

Starter Sebastian Gruszecki had a very good outing, striking out seven in seven innings, and during the eighth Laweryson struck out two to quell the Nashua comeback.

After an off day on Saturday the Bravehearts went west to Pittsfield Sunday to take on the Suns. Starting pitcher Brian Auerbach was the story, striking out a franchise record 12 batters in 5.1 innings. Despite Auerbach’s overpowering performance Pittsfield was still able to grab a two run lead after three innings.

Friday got both of those runs back for Worcester with an RBI single in the fourth driving in Doody and then another RBI single in the eighth driving in Johnson. The game would eventually go on to the Home Run Derby, which the Suns would win for the 3-2 victory.

210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Brian Auerbach, reigning 210Sports pitcher of the Week, is the easy winner again this week for breaking the Bravehearts franchise record for strikeouts in a game. He also didn’t walk a batter in his 5.1 innings.
Batter: Joe Caico gets the nod this week in a close race. He had 2 doubles, 2 home runs. and a team leading 6RBI over the past week. His slugging percentage of .684 also led Worcester.

This week’s opponents
Monday at Bristol, 7pm
Tuesday at Martha’s Vineyard, 7:05pm
Wednesday vs Bristol, 7:05pm
Thursday at Martha’s Vineyard, 7:05pm
Friday vs Martha’s Vineyard, 7:05pm (March of Dimes Night)
Saturday vs Seacoast, 7:05pm (Bowling Night)
Sunday at Pittsfield, 5pm

Around the FCBL
Monday
North Shore 11, @Nashua 5, game 1
@Nashua 6, North Shore 4, game 2
@Wachusett 14, Seacoast 4
@Martha’s Vineyard 13, Brockton 3

Tuesday
@Seacoast 9, North Shore 4
Brockton 3, @Pittsfield 0
@Bristol 15, Nashua 2

Wednesday
Brockton 6, @Wachusett 1
@Pittsfield 7, Nashua 3
@Martha’s Vineyard 9, Seacoast 2

Thursday
@Seacoast 9, Brockton 5, game 1
Brockton 12, @Seacoast 2, game 2
@North Shore 9, Martha’s Vineyard 2
@Nashua 16, Bristol 6

Friday
Pittsfield 5, @North Shore 2
Bristol @ Wachusett, ppd, rain
Brockton @ Martha’s Vineyard, ppd, rain

Saturday
@Martha’s Vineyard 6, Brockton 2, game 1
@Martha’s Vineyard 5, Brockton 2, game 2
@Bristol 9, Wachusett 7
@Pittsfield 9, Nashua 3
North Shore @ Seacoast, pdd, rain

Sunday
@Nashua 5, Seacoast 2, game 1
Seacoast 10, @Nashua 6, game 2, 8 innings
@Brockton 4, Wachusett 2
@Bristol 7, Martha’s Vineyard 5

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

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