Tuesday the Worcester Bravehearts headed to Wahconah Park in Pittsfield to take on the Suns, and WooBall used two ninth inning runs to come out on top 6-4. Three batters into the game the Bravehearts had a two run lead on a Randy Flores single, a Dakota Harris RBI double, and an RBI base hit from Gavin Noriega. Unfortunately, the Suns got those runs back in the home half to make it 2-2 after one.
In the fourth Pittsfield grabbed another two runs to put Worcester down 4-2, but in the fifth the Bravehearts evened the score on a Flores sacrifice fly and an infield error. Heading to the ninth tied Worcester put the game in the win column with two more runs with Harris and Noriega each picking up an RBI. Bravehearts starter Max LeBlanc struck out seven in four innings, while LJ Keevan earned the win and tied the franchise mark for strikeouts by a relief pitcher with ten.
It certainly didn’t seem like it was opening day on Wednesday, but at least for the first part of the night it sort of was as Westfield visited Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field to complete their rain-shortened opening night contest. Restarting the contest up 5-1 in the third WooBall couldn’t push another run across the place while the Starfires scored many as WooBall took the loss 8-5. Worcester’s lone highlight in the restart was Tyler Mudd‘s three strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work.
Wednesday’s regularly scheduled game by rule was shortened to seven innings, which was a good thing considering the game didn’t start until 9:09 PM, and it was an even better thing as the Bravehearts came out on top 3-2. El Rico Riley RBI single gave WooBall the lead after one, but Westfield tied it in their next at bat. A third-inning Christian Siciliano single made it 2-1 WooBall, but once again the Stafrires evened the score in the next half frame. Worcester finally took the lead for good in the fifth on a Gavin Noriega solo home run.
Julian Gonzalez started the contest for WooBall, striking out seven in four innings. Croix Jenkins earned the win with three hitless innings of relief.
Rain has become the big story of the 2021 Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s season, and Tropical Storm Elsa caused the postponement of two Bravehearts contests. Thursday’s tilt at Westfield and Friday’s game in Nashua were both being postponed due to the storm.
Looking at video and photos of all the water on the field at the HIP it’s amazing that Saturday’s noontime contest against the Pittsfield Suns even happened, much less started on time, but the hard work of the Bravehearts ground crew and staff got the field in playable condition and the players showed their appreciation by going out and winning 7-4 in a game broadcast on NESN.
Things didn’t start off well for WooBall as the Suns manufactured a run in the first to take the lead, but Worcester righted the ship in the third by putting up three runs. The first two came on a fielder’s choice and infield error by Pittsfield, and an RBI single by Andrew Selima made it 3-1. In the fifth, a long home run by the Suns gave them a 4-3 lead, but in the home half WooBall put up its second three-spot of the contest. An El Rico Riley double scored Randy Flores all the way from first, and a couple batters later Riley scored on a wild pitch. A broken-bat infield out by Alex Neff, which he almost beat out against the drawn-in infield, made it 6-4 Worcester.
Insurance runs are always good, and the Bravehearts got one in the eighth on a Riley long sacrifice fly for the 7-3 final. Griffin OConnor earned the win while Tyler Mudd went the final three frames for his third save of the season.
It was off to Dodd Stadium in Norwich to take on the Sea Unicorns for Worcester Sunday as the Bravejearts blew open a close game with six runs over the final two innings to win 8-1. Sebastian Salado gave Wooball a lead they would never relinquish with a solo home in the top of the second. In the fourth Michael Perales‘ RBI single made it 2-0. Norwich grabbed a run in the fifth to make it 2-1 after five.
In the eighth Worcester scored two runs on an infield error, and then the Bravehearts put the game out of reach with a four-spot in the ninth. El Rico Riley doubled in the first run and after an Andrew Selima walk Dakota Harris cleared the bases with a triple. Salado then launched a sac fly for the 8-1 final. Aaron Dona got the win, striking out six in five innings.
210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: LJ Keevan is this week’s winner, strking out ten batters in five innings, earning a relief win. He did not allow a run in the game.
Batter: Randy Flores gets the nod this week, going 7-18 with a double and two triples in five games. He added three stolen bases and seven runs.
This week’s opponents
Thursday vs New Britain, (DH), 10:30am
Friday @ Nashua, 6pm
Saturday @Vermont, 6pm
Sunday @Vermont, 5pm
Tickets to Bravehearts home games can be purchased online or by calling (508) 438-3773.
Around the FCBL
@Vermont 6, Nashua 3
@Westfield 12, Pittsfield 6
Brockton 7, New Britain 0
@Vermont 7, Nashua 2
Westfield @ Norwich, pdd, rain
@New Britain 11, Norwich 2
@Brockton 6, Pittsfield 3 (5 innings, rain)
Vermont 8, @Nashua 3
Brockton 6, @Nashua 1 (7 innings, rain)
@Vermont 4, Norwich 0
Westfield @ Brockton, ppd, rain
New Britain @ Pittsfield, ppd, rain
@Norwich 14, Westfield 4 (7 innings, mercy)
Nashua 10, @Brockton 3
@Vermont 5, New Britain 0
Pittsfield 9, @Brockton 1
@Nashua 5, Westfield 5 (HRD: NSK 8-7)
@Vermont 5, New Britain 1
For frequent updates on the Worcester Bravehearts follow @210Darryl on twitter.
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