It was another Monday off day for the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s defending champion Worcester Bravehearts, who then took their title defense to the road on Tuesday to face the Nashua Silver Knights at Holman Stadium.
It was scoreless heading into the third inning when the Worcester bats erupted for five runs. Danny Torres began the frame with double, and three batters later Ben McNeill crushed a home run for the 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, Andrew Selima launched a solo shot and two batters later Trevor Johnson singled in another run. Johnson’s single was the 3,000 regular season hit in franchise history.
In the sixth, the Bravehearts grabbed another run on an EJ Exposito RBI double, and in the seventh they tacked on three more with a Nick Martin RBI single and a couple of passed balls. In the bottom of the ninth Nashua would grab a couple runs to make the final 9-2.
Eric Chavarria earned the win with five shutout innings, striking out six. John West followed with two innings of perfect relief, and Mitchell Pascarella tacked on a scoreless eighth.
On Wednesday Worcester headed south to New Britain Stadium to take on the Bees in the first leg of a home and home, but that didn’t turn out so well as the Bravehearts fell behind early and never got things going in a 6-1 loss. Worcester’s only run can in the top of the ninth on a Johnson RBI single.
The back half of the home and home at Doyle Field in Leominster didn’t turn out any better for the Bravehearts as they dropped a 10-3 contest to New Britain. Worcester jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run by Ben Rice and then McNeill would double and score on an infield out. The Bees then grabbed four runs in the top half of the fifth to take the lead. In the home half, a McNeill sacrifice fly made it a one run game, but that was all the scoring for Worcester.
It was off to Campanelli Stadium in Brockton Friday for the Bravehearts to take on the Rox and it was a see-saw affair that ended up going to the Home Run Derby after both clubs tied 5-5 after ten innings. Worcester got on the board in the top of the third on an EJ Exposito RBI single, but the Rox would tie it in their half of the frame.
In their half of the sixth the Bravehearts took a 4-2 lead on a Ben Rice two-run homer, but then Brockton grabbed four runs in the home half to take a 5-3 lead. In the seventh Donnie Cohoon tripled and scored on Torres’ groundout to second, and then Exposito blasted a solo shot to make it 5-5.
To the Home Run Derby the squads went, with Ben Rice launching 15 bombs to the Rox 12 for the win. That 15 home runs by Rice ties him with teammate Paul Coumoulos for the Bravehearts single-round record. Rice now has 30 Home Run Derby homers this season, building on his own franchise record.
Saturday Nashua visited Doyle Field in a battle of the two top teams in the FCBL and jumped out to a quick lead with two runs in the top of the second. Worcester got one of those runs back in the home half on a Johnson RBI double.
In the fifth the Bravehearts out up a five-spot to take a 6-2 lead, starting with back to back RBI singles from Exposito and Rice. McNeill then followed with a two run double, and later in the frame Joseph Pesce earned an RBI on an infield out. In the seventh Aidan Wilde launched a two run shot to make it 8-2. The Silver Knights would make it interesting scoring three runs in the top of the eighth, but that was as close as they’d get as Worcester went on to win 8-5.
Angelo Baez earned his second win of the season, and at least for now has taken over the Bravehearts career marks for both regular season wins and strikeouts. Jakob Barker notched his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.
On Sunday Worcester headed south to New Britain to take on the Bees, but thunderstorms forced a postponement of the game.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Chris Radovic gets the nod this week, striking out four of the six batters he faced over two stints during the week.
Batter: Ben Rice is this week’s winner, going six for 15 with a double and two home runs. Rice also walked seven times, scored five runs, and hit 15 home runs in the Home Run Derby vs Brockton.
This week’s opponents
Monday vs Brockton, 6pm
Wednesday vs Westfield, 3pm
Thursday at New Britain, 6:30pm
Friday vs Westfield, 6pm
Saturday at Brockton, 1pm (Will be televised on NESN)
Sunday vs Westfield, 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
@Brockton 11, New Britain 10; game 1, 7 innings
@Brockton 2, New Britain 1; (HRD, 5-4), game 2, 8 innings
@North Shore 1, Westfield 0
@Brockton 3, Westfield 0
Nashua 13, @North Shore 5
@Nashua 6, Brockton 3
New Britain 7, @Westfield 5
@North Shore 7, Nashua 6
@Brockton 4, North Shore 3; game 1, 7 innings
North Shore 4, @Brockton 3; game 2, 7 innings
@New Britain 6, Westfield 3
@North Shore 10, Brockton 1