For the second week in a row, the Worcester Bravehearts had a near perfect week, going 4-1 and moving all the way up to second place in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League standings.
Monday was a scheduled day off for the Bravehearts, so they began their week on Tuesday with a visit to Martha’s Vineyard to take on the Sharks. It was a wild one, with the teams combining to send 95 batters to the plate. There were 24 hits in the contest, 17 walks, and 28 runs scored, with Worcester heading to the ferry back to the mainland after a three and a half hour game with a 17-11 victory in their pocket.
Martha’s Vineyard took a quick lead in the bottom of the first, but the Bravehearts came right back with four in the second behind a three run homer by Kirk Sidwell and an RBI single by Michael Dellicarri. The Sharks would get two runs in the bottom half, only to have Worcester get two of their own in the top of the third on an infield out and a sacrifice fly by Jon Hansen. Martha’s Vineyard would come back with four in their half of the frame to take a 7-6 lead after three innings.
In the top of the fourth, the Bravehearts retook the lead with another four run frame, starting with an Edward Haus bases loaded walk. Three batters later Hansen doubled to clear the bases. But the Sharks once again answered right back with two of their own. After a scoreless fifth Worcester grabbed another run in the sixth on a wild pitch, but Martha’s Vineyard was able to tie the game 11-11 with two runs in the bottom half.
The seventh inning saw the Bravehearts finally take the lead for good with a two run shot by Dellicarri, and in the ninth they added four more runs on a Dellicarri sac fly and a three run homer by Brett Coffel. Sebastian Gruszecki picked up the win with his first ever relief stint for Worcester.
With Tuesday’s game lasting much longer than usual, the Bravehearts had to make a “mad dash”, a term usually only used in hockey season when the Worcester Railers travel long distances overnight to play their next game, in order to get back to the city for their Wednesday 1pm tilt against the Nashua Silver Knights at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field.
The big question was if the very late night–the Bravehearts didn’t get back to Worcester until the wee hours of the morning–and the early Independence Day start would be an issue for the team. Starting pitcher Henry Ennen made sure it wasn’t with a great seven inning stint, allowing just two hits and one run to lead the Bravehearts to a 5-1 victory.
For the runs Jack Gonzalez got Worcester on the board in the fourth with an RBI double, and in the fifth some poor Nashua defense and a wild pitch led to two more runs. In the sixth a Dellicarri double drove in two more runs. The Silver Knights lone run came on a seventh inning home run. Dakota McFadden held Nashua scoreless over his two inning stint to close the game.
Pitching was once again the story for the Bravehearts Thursday night when the Bristol Blues came to town as Makenzie Stills threw another gem, scattering six hits over seven innings and allowing just a single run.
That lone run in the top of the second gave the Blues a 1-0 lead, but Worcester would score runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to take the lead for good. In the third the Bravehearts scored on an infield error, in the fourth a Derek Adamson sac fly plated Sidwell, and in the fifth a Mack Cheli double scored Dellicarri. Kendall Pomeroy earned the save with two innings of work to close out the 3-2 victory.
Friday saw the back half of a home and home with the Blues as Worcester visited Bristol. For the third night in a row the Bravehearts got stellar starting pitching as Joseph Mancini threw six and a third inning of shutout ball, scattering five hits and striking out six. McFadden and Keith Scales also held the Bristol bats in check as Worcester romped to an 8-0 win.
A Hansen RBI single got Worcester on the board in the top of the third, and a Harris RBI double and an infield error scored two for the Bravehearts in the fourth. In the sixth Harris scored on an error after a double steal, and in the eighth Harris had an RBI singe on his fourth hit of the game.
The top of the ninth saw Worcester tack on three run, the first coming on multiple errors after Chris Rinaldi singled. Rinaldi would then score a run on an infield out, and the Bravehearts would make it 8-0 on another Blues infield error.
Saturday North Shore visited the HIP, and once again Worcester got another outstanding performance from starting pitching as Rob Cerulle went five innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while striking out seven. But on this night the bullpen imploded, allowing 12 runs over the final four innings as the Bravehearts ended up on the wrong end of a 14-7 final.
Offensively, in the first Worcester got on the board when Haus singled in newcomer Idelson Taveras. In the third Cheli had an RBI double, and in the fourth Paul Gozzo, another player making his debut for the Bravehearts, singled in another run. In the fifth Sidwell had an RBI single knocking in Harris, who had previously doubled.
In the ninth inning, Worcester tried to begin a miracle comeback down by ten runs, and they started off with a Gozzo triple. Joseph Pesce then knocked him in with a double. The Bravehearts would go on to load the bases and get another run on a Cheli single. A Harris sacrifice fly cut the Navigators lead to seven, but that was as close as Worcester could get.
The Bravehearts will have the taste of that loss in their mouths for an extra day as Sunday was a scheduled day off for the team.
*This week’s Bravehearts schedule
Monday at Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm
Tuesday at Brockton, 6:30pm
Wednesday vs Pittsfield, 10:30am
Thursday at North Shore, 7pm
Friday at Nashua, 6:45pm
Saturday off day
Sunday vs North Shore, 4:05pm
*The TWIW Bravehearts Player of the Week is Michael Dellicarri (SUNY-Oswego), who went 11 for 27 (.407) for the week with three doubles, eight RBI, and eight runs scored.
*Around the FCBL
North Shore 11, @Pittsfield 8
Bristol 9, @Martha’s Vineyard 7
Brockton 8, @Nashua 6
@North Shore 12, Brockton 3
Bristol 4, @Pittsfield 1
North Shore 5 @Bristol 4
@Pittsfield 8, Brockton 7
Pittsfield 12, @Brockton 5
@Martha’s Vineyard 7, Nashua 5
@Nashua 13, Bristol 4
North Shore @ Martha’s Vineyard, ppd/rain
@Bristol 9, Nashua 6
@Martha’s Vineyard 5, Brockton 2
Bristol 6, @Nashua 4
Martha’s Vineyard 12, @North Shore 4
Brockton 7, @Pittsfield 6, HRD