Following their usual Monday off the defending Futures Collegiate Baseball League champion Worcester Bravehearts hosted the Nashua Silver Knights at Doyle Field in Leominster, and it was a pitchers’ duel early on with Eric Chavarria keeping his team in the game, striking out seven Nashua batters in five and a third innings pitched. He left the game down 2-0 but the Bravehearts’ bats came alive in the sixth and seventh innings to give Worcester a 3-2 lead after seven full.
In the sixth it was a Ben Rice solo shot that got the Bravehearts on the board, and in the seventh Nick Martin hit a two-run blast for the one-run lead. But the Silver Knights would grab two runs of their own in the top of the eighth, and things went downhill from there for Worcester as they would go on to lose 9-3.
On Wednesday the Bravehearts traveled to Westfield to take on the Starfires, but thunderstorms put an end to any thoughts of getting that contest played. Turnabout is fair play, and Thursday’s tilt between the two clubs at Doyle Field in Leominster also fell victim to the storms, which wiped out the entirety of the FCBL schedule.
It was a record-breaking night Friday when Worcester and Westfield finally managed to play a game with Bravehearts starting pitcher Cole Chudoba striking out 15 of the 19 Starfires batters he faced over six innings to set a new FCBL single-game mark. He also retired eight batters in a row by strikeout, a new Bravehearts franchise record. It is possible that is also the FCBL record, but the league will have to determine that.
Joining Chudoba in the record books was reliever Christopher Mott, who tacked on five strikeouts in three innings of work to earn the save. Their 20 combined strikeouts set a team franchise mark.
For the bats, Worcester would grab a run in the bottom of the first without the benefit of a hit when Andrew Selima walked with the bases loaded. After Westfield tied it in the top of the third on the only hit they would get in the contest the Bravehearts would follow with two home runs of their own to make it 4-1 after three. Ben McNeill had a two-run shot and Jack Gardner followed with a solo home run.
In the seventh Worcester broke the game open with three more runs, starting with Trevor Johnson earning an RBI by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Martin followed with a sacrifice fly, and Danny Torres capped the scoring with an RBI single to center to make it 7-1.
It was off to New Britain Stadium for the Bravehearts to take on the Bees Saturday night, and after finding themselves down a run after one inning Worcester came back with three in the top of the fifth. Torres began the scoring with an RBI on an infield out, and then Ben Rice followed with an RBI double to left field. Rice would then score on an error.
New Britain would go on to tie the game with runs in the fifth and eighth innings, but in the top of the ninth Torres would come through again with an RBI single to left to make it 4-3 Bravehearts. Jakob Barker would earn the save with a three up, three down ninth inning where he recorded two strikeouts.
Angelo Baez got the start and went five innings but did not figure in the decision. His six strikeouts momentarily moved him past Barker for Worcester’s career regular-season strikeout record, but Barker came back to tie it at 95. Carson Hauben earned the win in relief.
On Sunday it was Brockton visiting Doyle Field to take on the Bravehearts, and it was another pitchers’ duel with Worcester starter Jack Steele going seven strong innings and striking out 12 batters. With the Bravehearts’ bats being held in check by the Rox pitchers Steele didn’t figure in the decision, but he was a big reason they were able to earn the win.
With it still scoreless in the bottom of the eighth McNeill launched a two-out two-run homer to give Worcester the lead. Hunter Reynolds then came in to retire all three Brockton batters he faced to earn the save. Will Hesslink got the win with a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Steele.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: How could it be anyone else but Cole Chudoba and his record setting 15 strikeout game on Friday? Chudoba was also named FCBL Pitcher of the Week.
Batter: Nick Martin is this week’s winner, reaching base ten times in four games, including a double and a home run. Martin also had three RBI and scored three runs.
This week’s opponents
Tuesday at Nashua, 6pm
Wednesday at New Britain, 6:30pm
Thursday vs New Britain, 6pm
Friday at Brockton, 5pm
Saturday vs North Shore, 6pm
Sunday at New Britain, 1:30pm
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 9, Brockton 6
@Westfield 3, New Britain 1
@New Britain 14, Brockton 0
North Shore @ Nashua, ppd, rain
New Britain @ Brockton, ppd, rain
Nashua @ North Shore, ppd, rain
@New Britain 1, Brockton 0; 10 innings
@Nashua 5, North Shore 4
@Nashua 14, Westfield 7; game 1, 7 innings
Westfield 1, @Nashua 0; game 2; 7 innings
Brockton 6, North Shore 5; HRD (5-0)
@Westfield 4, New Britain 3; HRD, no score available; game 1, 8 innings
@Westfield 5, new Britain 2; game 2, 7 innings
@Nashua 10, North Shore 4