After a slow start this season the Worcester Bravehearts look to have things going in the right direction as last week their offense finally started firing on all cylinders, and that led to a 5-2 week and launched them over .500 for the first time since early June.
Things did not look good early on Monday when Worcester visited the expansion Westfield Starfires at Bullens Field as the new kids on the block opened up a 5-0 lead after three innings.
The Bravehearts got four of those runs back in the top of the fourth when Mack Cheli doubled in Ben McNeill, and then Tyler Becker crunched a home run. Later in the frame Mariano Ricciardi singled in another run. In the fifth Becker tied it with an RBI single.
In the sixth Worcester sent nine batters to the plate and scored three runs to take control of the game. John Thrasher started the run scoring with a bases loaded walk, and then McNeill laced a two-run single to make it 8-5 Worcester.
The top of the ninth saw the Bravehearts tack on four more, starting with PJ Barry and Craig Corliss hitting back to back doubles. Corliss would then score on an infield error. Four batters later Cheli ripped a double of his own to score two more runs. The Starfires grabbed a meaningless run in the ninth for the 12-6 final.
Jakob Barker picked up the win in relief, striking out five in three and 2/3rds innings.
On Tuesday rains played havoc with the Futures Collegiate Baseball League schedule as two games were postponed. The bad news for Worcester fans was their game at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field against the Bristol Blues was still played. The 97 minute delay in the start time didn’t impact the visiting Blues at all as they handed the Bravehearts a 7-3 loss. Worcester got two runs in the fourth on a Cheli double and one in the sixth on a Ben Rice single.
After an off day on Wednesday North Shore invaded the HIP for a doubleheader Thursday evening, and game one was all Bravehearts as they put up four in the bottom of the first and never looked back in a 6-1 win over the Navigators.
Ricciardi began the frame with a double, and scored on a Jakob Sessa sacrifice fly. Three batters later McNeill had another Worcester sac fly, and then Paul Coumoulos followed with a two-run double. In the bottom of the third Riley Livingston had the Bravehearts’ third sacrifice fly of the game to make it 5-0.
North Shore got one back in the fourth, and in the sixth Sessa walked with the bases loaded for the 6-1 final. Shawn Babineau picked up his fourth win of the season with six strong innings, striking out five while allowing just three base runners.
In game two Worcester took the lead in the bottom of the third on a Nicholas Martin RBI single. North Shore tied it the top of the fourth, but in the home half a Joseph Pesce single drove in a run to make it 2-1. But in the top of the fifth the wheels came off for Worcester as they allowed four runs in the frame.
McNeill got the Bravehearts within two with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, but the Navigators put up two in both the sixth and seventh for the 9-3 win.
Friday night saw the Starfires visiting the HIP, and starter Angelo Baez was the story as he struck out ten of the 20 batters he faced in Worcester’s 7-4 win over Westfield.
The Starfires got on the board first with two runs in the top of the fourth, but in the home half Livingston cut that lead in half with a titanic shot to left field that bounced once before landing in Stillwater Pond under the I-290E on ramp.
In the fifth Thrasher doubled and scored on a Cheli single. After a Becker double both he and Cheli scored on Coumoulos’ single. Westfield got one back in the top of the sixth, but in the home half McNeill launched a two-run blast to make it 6-3. The Starfires grabbed another run in the top of the eighth, but Worcester would counter with a run off an infield out for the 7-4 final. Bryce Hellgeth picked up his fourth save of the campaign with a scoreless ninth.
It was Bristol back at the HIP on Saturday, and took the lead with two runs in the top of the third. The Bravehearts came right back in the home half with a three spot, starting with a Thrasher RBI double. Sessa followed with an RBI single, and two batters later McNeill capped the scoring in the frame with a sac fly.
In the sixth Worcester got three more, the first on a Ricciardi single and the next two on a Sessa double. In the top of the seventh the Blues scored twice, but in the bottom of the inning the Bravehearts put up their third three run inning of the game. McNeill scored on a wild pitch, and then Ricciardi picked up two more RBI with a single.
Things got a little scary in the top of the ninth as Bristol scored two, but Hellgeth slammed the door shut with his fifth save of the season. Troy Klemm picked up the win with five solid innings, and Christopher Macca struck out four of the six batters he faced.
On Sunday it was off to Pittsfield for Worcester as they took on the Suns at Wahconah Park, and they took a lead in the top half of the second on a Rice RBI single. The Suns tied it in the home half, and it stayed 1-1 until the top of the seventh when Barry scored on a wild pitch.
In the top of the eighth Trevor Johnson roped a two-run single to make it 4-1 Bravehearts. Pittsfield got one back in the bottom of the ninth for the 4-2 final. Jeremy Adams started for Worcester and went five innings, allowing just one run. Cole Chudoba earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief, and Barker picked up the save.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Jakob Barker from Seminole State gets the nod, going 1-0 with a save in three appearances last week. He registered 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings.
Batter: Tyler Becker of Adelphi University is the winner this week, going 10-24 (.417) with a double and a home run. He had three RBI, walked three times, and scored seven runs.
This week’s opponents
Monday at North Shore (DH) Game 1 is 11am, game 2 is 4:15pm
Tuesday OFF DAY
Wednesday at Nashua (DH) Game 1 is 3pm, game 2 is 7pm
Thursday vs Nashua, 1pm “$10 All American BBQ” (Special ticket needed, click link below for more details)
Friday at Bristol, 7pm
Saturday at Westfield, 6:30pm
Sunday at Westfield, 5pm
Tickets to Bravehearts home games can be purchased online or by calling (508) 438-3773.
Around the FCBL
Brockton 4, @Pittsfield 2 (10 innings)
Bristol 7, @Nashua 2
Pittsfield @ Westfield, ppd, rain
Brockton @ North Shore, ppd, rain
@Brockton 4, Pittsfield 3
Nashua 10, @Westfield 4
Bristol 16, @North Shore 10
@Brockton 9, Westfield 3
@Pittsfield 7, Nashua 5
@Pittsfield 4, Brockton 3 (HRD, 3-2)
Bristol 11, @Nashua 3
@Westfield 2, Nashua 0 (game 1, 7 innings)
@Westfield 9, Nashua 1 (game 2, 7 innings)
Pittsfield 6, @North Shore 5 (HRD, 6-3)
Bristol 5, @North Shore 3
Brockton 8, @Westfield 6 (10 innings)