WooBall Weekly: Bravehearts still in the thick of FCBL playoff race

The Worcester Bravehearts headed into the second to last week of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s regular-season looking for wins to keep themselves in the fourth and final playoff spot in the standings. Unfortunately they didn’t start off on the right foot, dropping a 10-7 contest to the Pittsfield Suns at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.

Down 8-1 heading to the fifth, with WooBall’s run coming on a first inning Gavin Noriega RBI single, the Bravehearts made a game of it with a Mark Darakjy in the frame and then five more runs in the seventh. Nick Martin began the inning with a home run, and then five batters later Zach DeMattio launched a grand slam to make it 8-7.

But the Suns would add runs in the eighth and ninth to put the game away. Matt Nunan pitched well for Worcester out of the bullpen, striking out seven in hitless five innings.

Wednesday it was off to Campanelli Stadium in Brockton for Wooball to take on the Rox and behind a six strikeout effort by Max LeBlanc WooBall came out on top 2-1 in a game shortened to seven innings due to rain. A fourth-inning RBI double by Gavin Noriega tied the game 1-1, and Worcester got the eventual game-winner in the sixth when the Brockton infield couldn’t handle a Noriega grounder. Tyler Mudd picked up his fourth save of the season with a scoreless seventh frame.

New Britain Stadium was the site of Thursday’s WooBall contest as they took on the Bees, and once again Worcester failed to capitalize on opportunities and fell 5-3 to New Britain. WooBall opened the scoring on an infield error in the second inning, but has happened many times this season, they allowed an opponent to answer right back as the Bees grabbed two in the home half of the frame. Down 5-1 entering the ninth Worcester got a couple runs on a Cam Caraher RBI single and a fielder’s choice, but couldn’t get the timely hit to extend the inning.

With Westfield chasing the Bravehearts for the final playoff spot Friday’s game against the Starfires was an important game to win, but WooBall was only able to muster four hits in a 5-0 loss. After Friday’s defeat, Worcester and Westfield were tied in the loss column, with WooBall winning their game in hand.

Pittsfield returned to the HIP on Saturday night, and once again left with a win after handing WooBall a loss, this time by 7-3 score. Gavin Noriega cut a fifth-inning deficit to 3-1, and after the Suns put up three more in the seventh the Bravehearts got two back on an infield out and a Mark Darakjy RBI single to make it 6-3, but that was all the scoring for WooBall.

Sunday it was off to Brockton for a doubleheader against the Rox, and game one didn’t start or end well as WooBall lost the first game 6-2. Down three after one inning WooBall got on the board in the top of the second on a Christian Siciliano RBI single, and then made it 3-2 in the sixth when Cam Caraher doubled and then scored on a wild pitch. Any chance for seventh inning heroics was crushed when Brockton put up three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Game two didn’t start off well for WooBall either, but they managed to turn things around and win the nightcap 8-1. Down one in the second Gavin Noriega singled and took third on Mark Darakjy‘s base hit. Noriega then scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-1. I the fourth Worcester took the lead for good when Noriega tripled and scored on Darakjy’s RBI single. Two batters later Vince Montone doubled home Darakjy.

In the fifth WooBall blew the game open with a five-spot in the frame. A bases-loaded double by Darakjy drove in two, and Matt Maloney double scored two more. Lewis Barnum added an RBI single to cap the scoring. Dennis Colleran earned his second win of the season with a six-inning relief stint.

210Sports’ Bravehearts of the week
Pitcher: Max LeBlanc gets the nod this week, winning his start by going six innings while striking out six and allowing just one run.
Batter: Gavin Noriega is this week’s winner, going 10-27 with two doubles and a triple in seven games. He added three RBI and scored three runs.

This week’s opponents
Monday off
Tuesday @ Pittsfield, 6:35pm
Wednesday vs Brockton, 6:30pm
Thursday vs New Britain, 6:30pm
Friday vs Nashua, 6:30pm (Fireworks Friday)

Tickets to Bravehearts home games can be purchased online or by calling (508) 438-3773.

Around the FCBL
@Brockton 4, New Britain 2
@Westfield 10, Vermont 1
Nashua 5, @Norwich 2

Nashua 9, @New Britain 6 (game 1, 7 innings)
Nashua 3, @New Britain 1 (game 2, 7 innings)
Vermont 9, @Westfield 8

Westfield 9, @Nashua 5
@Pittsfield 15, Vermont 11
@Norwich 8, Brockton 6

Vermont 7, @Nashua 0
@New Britain 14, Norwich 11
@Pittfield 6, Brockton 5

@Norwich 1, New Britain 0
Brockton 13, @Westfield 3 (8 innings, mercy)
Vermont 4, @Nashua 0

@New Britain 6, Norwich 0
Pittsfield 3, @Westfield 0 (game 1, 7 innings)
@Westfield 9, Pittsfield 8 (game 2, 7 innings)
@Vermont 7, Nashua 1

For frequent updates on the Worcester Bravehearts follow @210Darryl on twitter.

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