WooBall Weekly: Bravehearts enter FCBL All-Star break on a high note

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After an off day on Monday the Worcester Bravehearts spend Tuesday morning at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton taking on the Rox, and the Bravehearts jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first when Mariano Ricciardi walked, stole second, advanced to third on a long fly ball, and scored on an infield error.

In the third Ricciardi scored again, this time after doubling and then taking third on Chris Rinaldi‘s infield single. Tyler Becker earned the RBI with a ground out to second. But the Rox would get one back in the home half, and then add two more in the bottom of the sixth to take a 3-2 lead.

Mack Cheli got things going for Worcester in the top of the eighth when he was hit by a pitch. Ben Rice then followed with a double. Back to back singles by Joseph Pesce and PJ Barry earned them each an RBI. A few batters later Becker would earn another RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

But Brockton would answer with three in the bottom of the eighth to take a one run lead into the ninth. In the top of the ninth back to back errors put pinch-runner John Thrasher on second, and Pesce came though with a double to tie the game 6-6.

Neither team scored in the tenth inning, so to the Home Run Derby the clubs went where Paul Coumoulos clubbed a franchise record 15 home runs to give Worcester the win.

On Wednesday it was Brockton’s turn to visit Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field for a morning game, and in the bottom of the first it was all Bravehearts as the plated four runs before the Rox could record an out. Cheli drove in the first two with a bases loaded single to left field, and Becker followed with a two-run double to right.

But that was all the offense Worcester would get as they managed just one hit the rest of the way, and Brockton slowly got themselves back into the game, finally taking the lead in the top of the seventh and the holding on for the 5-4 final.

Eric Chavarria struck out 11 over five innings, including the Bravehearts’ second immaculate inning in franchise history, but did not figure in the decision. Angelo Baez faced the final five Rox batters of the game, striking out three.

On Thursday Worcester headed north to take on Nashua, and the Bravehearts found themselves down 4-0 after two innings. In the third Rinaldi hit a moon shot for a home run and in the fifth Riley Livingston knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, but the Silver Knights put up three in the bottom of the sixth to ice that game. In the seventh a Rinaldi double scored Coumoulos for the 7-3 final.

It was back to Holman Stadium in Nashua again on Friday for Worcester, and it much the same story as Thursday the Silver Knights took a 5-0 lead into the ninth. The Bravehearts made a game of it when Ben Rice hit a two-run homer and several batters later Rinaldi knocked in two with a double to make it 5-4, but he’d be stranded there as the comeback bid fell short.

Worcester made another visit to Campanelli Stadium in Brockton for a doubleheader against the Rox on Saturday, and things started off well for the Bravehearts as they scored two in the first on a Cheli RBI single and a Jakob Sessa sac fly. But Brockton got one in the third and three in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead.

Becker hit his third home run of the season in the top of the sixth to get Worcester within one, and a Ricciardi RBI double tied it after seven. With it being a double header game if neither team scored in the eighth the teams would head to the home run derby, but that wasn’t necessary as Ricciardi knocked in a run via a fielder’s choice and Trevor Johnson singled in another run for the 6-4 final.

Jakob Barker earned the win in relief, and Bryce Hellgeth would notch his eight save of the campaign, setting a new Bravehearts single season record and tying the team’s career mark.

In game two it was all Worcester as they batted around twice in the first three innings and cruised to a 13-1 win. In the first Ricciardi doubled, and four batters later a Sessa single and an infield throwing error would clear the bases. Sessa earned two RBI on the play. Jack Gardner then doubled in Sessa. The inning continued, and in his second at bat in the frame a Ricciardi bases loaded single plated two more runs.

In the third Becker singled and two batters later Johnson singled to drive him in. Two batters later Ben McNeill singled in a run. Worcester then scored a run on a wild pitch, and soon after a Gardner single would drive in two more runs. Becker singled in his second at bat in the inning, but was stranded at first when the inning ended.

Brockton got a run in the bottom of the fifth, but in the seventh the Bravehearts got two more on a Rice RBI single and on a double play ball that scored Ricciardi.

Angelo Baez struck out eight batters in three innings of work. Brendan Case earned the win by relieving Baez. Thrasher, who is usually an outfielder, pitched the seventh inning for Worcester and acquitted himself well, retiring the side on eight pitches while striking out one.

Worcester was off Sunday and won’t play again until Thursday due to the FCBL All-Star break.

210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Bryce Hellgeth from Dayton is this week’s pick, earning two saves in three appearances. He struck out eight of the 17 batters he faced, and did not allow a run.
Batter: Chris Rinaldi from Holy Cross is the winner this week, going 7-19 with two doubles and a home run in six games. He had four RBI, walked six times, and scored five runs during the week.

This week’s opponents
Monday OFF DAY, All-Star break
Tuesday OFF DAY, All-Star break
Wednesday OFF DAY, All-Star break
Thursday vs Nashua, 6:30pm “Baseball Draught Craft Beer Night” (Special ticket required for the event, click link below for details)
Friday at Bristol, 7pm
Saturday vs Brockton, 7pm “Spacesuit T-Shirt Giveaway” and “Post-Game Fireworks”
Sunday vs Westfield, 4pm “World Record Game of Catch”

Tickets to Bravehearts home games can be purchased online or by calling (508) 438-3773.

Around the FCBL
Monday
@Pittsfield 10, Westfield 4
Bristol 7, @Nashua 6
@North Shore 15, Brockton 5

Tuesday
Bristol 9, @Westfield 3
@Nashua 7, North Shore 3

Wednesday
@Westfield 13, Nashua 4
@Pittsfield 7, North Shore 3

Thursday
@North Shore 5, Pittsfield 3
@Westfield 13, Bristol 7

Friday
@Brockton 2, Westfield 1
@North Shore 8, Bristol 3 (6 innings, rain)

Saturday
@North Shore 5, Nashua 4
Bristol 11, @Pittsfield 3

Sunday
@Nashua 8, Pittsfield 2 (game 1, 7 innings)
@Nashua 5, Pittsfield 2 (game 2, 7 innings)
@Brockton 12, Westfield 10
@North Shore 8, Bristol 7 (HRD, 1-0)

For frequent updates on the Worcester Bravehearts follow @210Darryl on twitter, and you can follow 210Sports on Facebook and on Twitter

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