The Worcester Bravehearts entered the first full week of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League 2021 season looking for a better record against Mother Nature, having already seen two games postponed due to rain or water-soaked fields and a third suspended because of weather in the first five days of the campaign.
Monday saw a rare matinee for WooBall as they hosted the Nashua Silver Knights on Memorial Day, and despite getting just four hits used some solid pitching to come out on top 4-2. Carson Hauben got the start, strking out five in three innings before giving way to Scott Nosky, who struck out five in four innings to earn the win.
Worcester got on the board early when Jonathan Santucci scored on an infield out in the bottom of the first, and Kenny Mallory scored on a wild pitch in the second to make it 2-0. Then a Santucci single and outfield error scored two for the Bravehearts in the fourth. Nashua would get two unearned runs in the eighth, but Santucci moved from center field to closer for the ninth, striking out three to earn the save.
After an off-day Tuesday WooBall once again took on Nashua, this time at Holman Stadium on Wednesday, and they got a lot more hitting and the same quality pitching in an 11-2 thrashing of the defending FCBLK champions. Jack Choate got the start and the win, striking out 11 Silver Knights’ batters in six innings. Reliever LJ Keevan followed, striking out four of the seven batters he faced.
For the bats, Worcester once again got on the board early, using a Kenny Mallory RBI-double and Michael Chaves RBI-single in the second to open up a 2-0 lead. In the third, they made it 5-0 when with the bases loaded Mallory walked and Chaves knocked one in on an infield out. Andrew Selima then added a run-scoring single. Dakota Harris made it seven run lead with a two-run double in the fifth, and after Nashua got one back Mallory added another RBI in the sixth, and Nick Martin made it 9-1 with an RBI single. In the ninth El Rico Riley had a single for an RBI, and Nic Britt added an RBI double.
It was off to Centennial Field in Burlington, Vermont Thursday for WooBall for the first of two games against the expansion Lake Monsters, and once again the Bravehearts pitching staff lead the team to victory with a 2-1 win. Max LeBlanc earned the victory, fanning six in 6.2 innings. Griffin O’Connor went the next 1.2, and El Rico Riley earned the save getting the final two outs of the contest. Both of Worcester’s runs came in the fourth when two Bravehearts runners on and the Vermont infield played like the Bad News Bears, committing two errors on one play.
Friday’s rematch didn’t go so well for Worcester, as they dropped the contest 12-2 in a game ended after eight innings by the FCBL’s new 10-run mercy rule. It was a 2-2 game after five and a half innings, with the Lake Monsters getting two in the bottom of the first and WooBall answering in the second with a two-run blast by Andrew Selima. But that was it for the WooBall offense, and Vermont added crooked numbers in the sixth and eighth for the final.
Wahconah Park was the venue for WooBall Saturday doubleheader against the Suns and in game one the Bravehearts fell behind early and just couldn’t get that timely hit in a 4-3 loss to Pittsfield Down 2-0 after three WooBall cut that deficit in half on a Sebastian Salado RBI double. It was 4-1 with Worcester coming to bat in the sixth, but Alex Neff cut the gap to one with a two-run shot. The Bravehearts threatened in the seventh, but couldn’t put the tying run across.
Once again Worcester found themselves down a run early in game two but this time they got those timely hits in a 5-1 victory to split the twin-bill. Down a run in the third Tayven Kelley‘s bases-loaded single tied it 1-1, and Andrew Selima followed with a two-run single to give WooBall its first lead of the day. Salado earned another RBI in the fourth to make it 4-1, and Kenny Mallory knocked in a run in the seventh for the 5-1 final. Nick Giattino earned his first WooBall win, striking out four in three innings of hitless relief. Tyler Mudd notched the save with two innings of work, striking out the final Suns batter of the game.
Sunday it was back to Holman Stadium in Nashua where the Bravehearts needed a ninth-inning run to tie the score, but the Silver Knights put one across in the bottom of the frame to hand WooBall a 3-2 loss. Worcester got on the board in the top of the first on an Alex Neff RBI single but found themselves down 2-1 after allowing single runs in the second and sixth innings. With two down in the top of the ninth Nick Martin laced a single to left field and then scored on a Dakota Harris triple. But Nashua was able to manufacture a run in the bottom of the frame to win 3-2.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Jack Choate is this week’s winner, earning a win while strking out 11 batters in six innings. He allowed one earned run and just two hits in the outing.
Batter: Sebastian Salado gets the nod for going 9-22 with four doubles in six games. He also had two RBI and scored three runs.
This week’s opponents
Tuesday vs Norwich, 6:30pm
Wednesday @ Pittsfield, 6:30pm
Thursday @ Westfield, 6:30pm
Friday vs Norwich, 6:30pm (Firework Friday)
Saturday @ Brockton, 6pm
Sunday vs Brockton, 4pm
Tickets to Bravehearts home games can be purchased online or by calling (508) 438-3773.
Around the FCBL
Brockton 8, @Norwich 6
@New Britain 6, Pittsfield 1
New Britain 7, @Nashua 5
Brockton 8, @Vermont 0
@Norwich 14, Westfield 2 (7 innings, mercy)
Pittsfield 14, @Westfield 0 (7 innings, mercy)
@Norwhich 7, New Britain 2
Brockton 9, Vermont 5
@New Britain 14, Westfield 3 (7 innings, mercy)
Brockton 7, @Pittsfield 5
@Nashua 4, Norwich 3 (10 innings)
New Britain 7, @Nashua 3
Westfield @ Brockton, pdd, rain
Pittsfield @ Norwich, ppd, rain
Vermont 11, @Westfield 8
@Nashua 12, Norwich 3
Brockton 11, New Britain 0 (7 innings, mercy)
@Brockton 4, New Britain 3
Vermont 6, @Westfield 3
Pittsfield 7, @Norwich 3 (game 1, seven innings)
@Norwich 11, Pittsfield 1 (game 2, seven innings)
For frequent updates on the Worcester Bravehearts follow @210Darryl on twitter.
Got something you loved (or hated) about the post? Head on over to the 210Sports Facebook page and leave a comment. You could comment on this post too, but fair warning, the spam filter catches lots of stuff it shouldn’t and it might be weeks before we see your comment. While you’re there, give the page a like if you could.