With all six Futures Collegiate Baseball League teams having Monday off it was back to business on Tuesday as once again the Worcester Bravehearts took their FCBL title defense on the road, this time to Lynn, Massachusetts to take on the North Shore Navigators at Fraser Field.
Things started off great for Worcester as they put up a two-spot in the top of the first on an Aidan Wilde RBI bases-loaded single and a Paul Coumoulos sacrifice fly. But it turned poorly rather quickly as Worcester found itself down six runs after four innings. A fifth-inning Ben Rice single drove in Danny Torres to make it 8-3 Navigators, but that would end up being the final.
Relievers Chris Radovic and Brad Marchetti both recorded two strikeouts in an inning of work for the Bravehearts.
Wednesday was a trip west down the Mass Pike as Worcester took on the Starfires at Bullens Field in Westfield. The Bravehearts got on the board quickly as EJ Exposito knocked the third pitch of the game out of the park for the quick 1-0 lead.
The Starfires manufactured a run in the sixth to tie it, but in the top of the eighth Ben Rice crushed an 0-2 pitch to give Worcester the lead again. In the ninth Torres hit the Bravehearts third solo home run of the contest, and Shrewsbury’s Carson Hauben recorded two strikeouts in earning the save in what was a 3-1 victory.
Assumption’s Brendan Desautels notched his second win of the season with a two-inning stint that saw him facing seven batters and striking out three.
It was off to Nashua for the Bravehearts to take on the Silver Knights at Holman Stadium Thursday night, and to call the game “ugly” would be a massive understatement as Nashua pummeled Worcester 12-1. The lone Bravehearts run came in the fifth inning when Nick Martin laced an RBI double to left field to score Trevor Johnson.
Tropical Storm Fay rained out Worcester’s game at New Britain Friday, which gave the Bravehearts and manager Alex Dion a chance to regroup and figure some things out. Turns out the short term answer was easy: give the ball to Angelo Baez.
The senior from St. Thomas Aquinas took the mound Saturday night for the Bravehearts at their home away from home at Doyle Field in Leominster against the New Britain Bees, and Baez had an incredible outing, throwing six scoreless innings while striking out four. He was relieved in the seventh by Jack Steele, who struck out five of the six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings.
With Worcester pitching cruising along it looked like Donnie Cohoon‘s RBI single in the second inning might be all the offense the Bravehearts would need. A solo shot in the seventh by Torres made it 2-0, and a Ben Rice homer in the eighth seemed like icing on the cake.
But the expansion Bees had other ideas and put up three runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score. Neither team scored in the tenth inning, so on to the Home Run Derby the squads went. Andrew Cain hit eight for New Britain, but Ben Rice hit his ninth of the derby with time still on the clock to give the Bravehearts the win.
Sunday saw Nashua visiting Doyle Field in Leominster and early on it was the all Bravehearts as they put up five runs in the bottom of the third to jump out in front. Torres started the run scoring with an RBI double, and Exposito earned an RBI with an infield groundout. After a Ben Rice walk Worcester hitters would earn RBI in three straight at-bats, with Wilde and Joseph Pesce each singling around a Coumoulos ground out.
The Silver Knights got one back in the top of the fourth, but in the fifth the Bravehearts put up three more on a Wilde two-run homer and an Andrew Selima solo shot that made it 8-1 and it looked like the rout was on. Only Nashua had other ideas and plated nine runs in the top of the seventh to take the lead.
Worcester crawled back into it manufacturing runs in the eighth and ninth innings, with Pesce scoring on a wild pitch in the eighth and pinch-runner Johnson scoring an unearned run in the ninth to make it 10-10.
Both teams advanced a runner to third in the tenth inning but neither could score, so for the second consecutive game the Bravehearts went to the Home Run Derby. The Silver Knights used two batters and hit 11 in their round, and Worcester went back to Ben Rice who notched 12 to give Worcester the win.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Brad Marchetti is the winner this week, striking out five of the nine batters he faced in three innings over two outings. None of those nine batters reached base.
Batter: Ben Rice gets the nod for his 21 home runs in the Home Run Derby. Rice also had an outstanding week at the plate in normal game play, hitting two home runs while adding a double. He scored four runs and walked four times.
This week’s opponents
Tuesday at Westfield, 6:30pm
Wednesday vs Westfield, 6pm
Thursday at North Shore, 6pm
Friday vs New Britain, 6pm
Saturday vs Nashua, 6pm
Sunday vs New Britain, 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
Nashua 10, @Brockton 6
Westfield 6, @New Britain 4
@North Shore 10, Brockton 8
@Nashua 10, New Britain 1
North Shore 10, @Brockton 3
@New Britain 15, Westfield 6
@North Shore 6, Nashua 2
Brockton @ Westfield, ppd, rain
Westfield 10, @Brockton 1
@Nashua 5, North Shore 4
Brockton 12, @New Britain 9
@Westfield 4, North Shore 3, game 1, 7 innings
@Westfield 15, North Shore 5, game 2, 7 innings