The Worcester Bravehearts began the defense of their 2018 Futures Collegiate Baseball League championship title Thursday day night at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field against the Nashua Silver Knights in a match-up of teams owned by longtime Bravehearts owner John Creedon.
A lot has changed in the FCBL since the Bravehearts and Martha’s Vineyard Sharks were declared league co-champions last season when the field at The Shark Tank was determined to be unplayable because the Sharks didn’t own a tarp to cover the infield. Those same Sharks have since bolted to the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and were replaced in the FCBL by the Westfield Starfires.
Also during the off season FCBL Commissioner Chris Hall announced his resignation, and Joe Paolucci was selected to replace him.
As for Creedon owning two teams in the FCBL, ever since he and General Manager Dave “Peterman” Peterson visited the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League the idea of owning more than one FCBL team has been in his mind. The Mallards, who have an incredibly cool logo, are owned by “Big Top Baseball” and are one of four franchises that company owns in the Northwoods League. Fans of both the Bravehearts and Silver Knights should view this situation as a positive. While on the field the teams will remain rivals off the field each organization will improve as the best ideas of each are incorporated into both franchises’ way of doing business.
As for Thursday’s game, four Bravehearts pitchers threw a combined no hitter in a 5-2 win over Nashua. Shawn Babineau started for Worcester and pitched six innings, setting a new franchise mark by retiring the first 17 batters he faced. In the fifth inning he retired the side on just five pitches, tying the team record previously set by Tom Walraven.
Ethan Teixeira and Alex Rosario got the game to the ninth inning, where Angelo Baez picked up the save.
At the plate the Bravehearts got their runs in the second and third innings. In the second a Jakob Sessa double scored Aidan Wilde and Jake Hamel, and in the third a Paul Coumoulos infield out scored Tyler Becker, a Wilde single scored Jack Gardner, and a CJ McKennitt sacrifice fly plated Wilde.
On Friday a sellout crowd of 3,363 at the HIP watched the North Shore Navigators, wearing throwback jerseys of the Lynn Sailors (1980–82, Seattle AA) control the game from the very first pitch and hand the Bravehearts a 12-4 loss. North Shore put up three in the top of the first, but Worcester got one back in the bottom half on a Sessa sacrifice fly. The Navigators added one in the fourth and two in the fifth.
In the home half of the fifth the Bravehearts made a game of it, scoring a run on a Nicholas Martin bases loaded walk. After a pitching change John Thrasher was hit by a pitch, scoring another run. A Sessa RBI single made it 6-4 North Shore.
But that was as close as Worcester would get as the Navigators scored four in the eighth and two in the ninth for the 12-4 final.
After an off day Saturday the Bravehearts’ Sunday afternoon contest was rained out in Nashua. There was no make-up date announced by posting time.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Shawn Babineau of Springfield College is the easy pick this week, starting the Bravehearts no-hitter by retiring a franchise record 17 batter in a row. He finished his six inning stint allowing one base runner and striking out eight.
Batter: Jakob Sessa of St. Petersburg College gets the nod this week, batting .333 for the two games with the team’s only extra base hit. Sessa also had three RBI.
This week’s opponents
Monday at North Shore, 7pm
Tuesday at Pittsfield, 10:30am
Wednesday vs Pittsfield, 10:30am “Baseball in Education Day”
Thursday vs Westfield, 10:30am “Baseball in Education Day”
Friday OFF DAY
Saturday vs Brockton, 7pm “R.I.P. Kelley Square T-Shirt Giveaway”
Sunday vs Pittsfield, 4pm “Kids Club Sunday & Baseball Card Giveaway”
Tickets to Bravehearts home games can be purchased online or by calling (508) 438-3773.
Around the FCBL
Brockton 9, @Nashua 6
Westfield at Bristol, ppd, rain
@Pittsfield 3, Bristol 2
North Shore 9, @Brockton 8
@Brockton 7, Bristol 4
Pittsfield 3, @Westfield 0
@Bristol 13, Westfield 6 (game one/7 innings)
@Bristol 5, Westfield 2 (game two/7 innings)
@Pittsfield 8, Brockton 5
@North Shore 6, Nashua 2
@Brockton 7, North Shore 3
@Pittsfield 4, Westfield 2