After a long delay because of restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 virus, the Futures Collegiate Baseball League season finally began Thursday with the 2019 FCBL champion Worcester Bravehearts taking on the expansion New Britain Bees in Connecticut at the aptly named New Britain Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Bravehearts the Worcester bats were apparently still on vacation as they were held to just four hits in a 6-0 loss to the Bees.
Angelo Baez was the hard luck loser but pitched very well, allowing just a second inning unearned run while striking out six of the 12 batters he faced over three innings. Shawn Babineau and John West each pitched an inning, both not allowing a run and striking out two. Alex Amalfi pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out the side.
With games only taking place in Nashua and New Britain last week the Bravehearts had Friday and Saturday off and then headed north for Sunday’s game against the Silver Knights. After a quiet opening inning Worcester struck for their first three runs of the season in the top of the second when Nick Martin singled in Jack Gardner and then PJ Barry and Martin scored on an infield error.
The Bravehearts got another run in the fifth when Gardner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate Mariano Ricciardi, who had walked to start off the frame. We won’t mention it every time Ricciardi gets a base on balls, but each one he gets adds to his team and FCBL career records.
Worcester scored again in the sixth inning when Martin and Danny Torres each doubled, Martin to center and Torres to right, to make the score 5-0 and it looked like the Bravehearts were on their way to an easy win.
Only this is 2020, where so far nothing has been easy, and Nashua would tie the game with a five-spot in the bottom of the eighth on just two hits.
In the top of the ninth Holy Cross senior Andrew Selima gave Worcester a 6-5 lead with a home run to left that landed in the picnic ground at Holman Stadium, and that would be the game-winner as Worcester finished the week 1-1.
Babineau got the start for the Bravehearts, striking out four in four innings while allowing just a single hit. He earned the FCBL’s “Pitcher of the Night” and “Pitcher of the Week” for his efforts. Eric Chavarria, Carson Hauben, and Coleman Picard each followed with a scoreless inning, with Chavarria and Picard each recording two strikeouts. Assumption’s Brendan Desautels earned the win with two innings of relief after entering the game in the eight with the bases loaded.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Shawn Babineau gets the nod this week, striking out over a third of the batters he faced in five innings over two games. He allowed just a single hit
Batter: Tyler Patane, who pitched for the Bravehearts the previous two seasons, is the first winner this year by going 2-6 with three walks and an OBP of .556.
This week’s opponents
Tuesday at North Shore, 6pm
Wednesday at Westfield, 6:30pm
Thursday at Nashua, 6pm
Friday at New Britain, 6:30pm
Saturday vs New Britain 6pm
Sunday vs Nashua, 4pm
With Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field closed for the 2020 season the Bravehearts home games will be played at Doyle Field in Leominster.
Around the FCBL
North Shore 4, @Nashua 1
Brockton 2, @Nashua 1
Westfield @ New Britain, ppd rain
No games scheduled
North Shore 6, New Britain 4 (10 innings)