WORCESTER – The Worcester Bravehearts entered the second week of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s schedule on a high note, but couldn’t carry the momentum of opening week any further than Monday as Worcester stumbled to a 2-4 week to find themselves at .500 after ten games.
The Bravehearts began the week with a trip to Pittsfield to take on the Suns Monday night, and it was the Cody Laweryson show as last season’s FCBL Relief Pitcher of the Year made his first ever start for Worcester. Laweryson faced just one batter over the minimum in his six inning stint, striking out nine and not allowing a base runner past second in the Bravehearts 8-1 win. It was Laweryson’s sixth career Worcester win, tying him for the franchise mark.
Worcester got on the board in the top of the fourth when Mack Cheli launched a solo shot to center field. They added another run in the sixth inning on Chris Rinaldi’s walk with the bases loaded. In the seventh Cheli grabbed another RBI with an infield hit, and three batters later Alex Gionis had a two-run single to give Worcester a 5-0 lead.
A Dakota McFadden sacrifice fly and another Cheli RBI single scored two runs in the eighth, and the Bravehearts would cap the scoring in the ninth with a run off a passed ball.
On Tuesday Worcester held the first of two “Baseball in Education” games with a 10:05am first pitch at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field, but unfortunately for the 4,075 in attendance the Bravehearts bats chose to sleep in as the Brockton Rox defeated Worcester 3-2. After falling behind by a run in the top of the fifth Cheli gave Worcester a 2-1 lead in the bottom half with his third home run of the year, driving in McFadden. But the Rox would get two in the top of the sixth to take the lead for good.
Wednesday it was the Bristol Blues invading the HIP for the second “Baseball in Education” morning game, and a record crowd of 4,439 saw the Bravehearts come up on the short side of a 6-5 contest. The Blues got two runs in the top of the third but a Michael Dellicarri sac fly in the bottom half cut the deficit to 2-1.
Bristol would regain their two run lead in the top of the fifth, only for Worcester to come roaring back on Brett Coffel’s bases loaded triple in the home half as the Bravehearts took a 4-3 lead. Worcester grabbed another run next inning on a Gionis blast that hit the facade of I-290, but in the top of the seventh the Blues would tie it with two runs. Another Bristol run in the ninth was the difference.
After an off day on Thursday the Bravehearts traveled to Pittsfield on Friday night to once again take on the Suns, and things started off well with Dellicarri crushing a two run homer in the top of the third to give Worcester the lead. But that was all the offense for the Bravehearts as Pittsfield scored a single run in the sixth and put up a four-spot in the seventh for the 5-2 final.
Holy Cross standout Danny Barlok struck out the side in the eighth inning for Worcester, and has fanned five of the six batters he’s faced this season.
The two teams met again on Saturday night as the Suns visited the HIP with Worcester looking to break their three game skid, and the Bravehearts got on the board early when Dellicarri’s sacrifice fly plated newcomer John Thrasher. Pittsfield went on to tie the game in the top of the third with a manufactured run, and in the fourth the Suns scored three times.
A Coffel solo shot to left field in the sixth made it 4-2 Suns, and in the seventh the Bravehearts put up a four run inning. Dellicarri began the scoring crossing home on a passed ball, and two batters later Coffel hit a three-run homer to almost the exact same spot as his sixth inning blast. That would be all the scoring as the Bravehearts went on to win 6-4.
Henry Ennen picked up the win for Worcester with five and a third innings of relief, the second longest relief stint in franchise history.
Martha’s Vineyard visited Worcester for the final game of the week Sunday afternoon, and it was a see-saw affair early on with the Bravehearts owning a 5-2 lead after two innings. After falling behind by a run Worcester got even on a delayed steal of home by Thrasher. In the bottom of the second the Bravehearts would get four runs, starring with back-to-back RBI singles by Dustin Harris and Mariano Ricciardi. A little later in the inning Rinaldi launched a two-run homer.
But for most of the rest of the game it was all Sharks, and although Worcester did give the fans some hope with a small rally in the bottom of the ninth the Bravehearts would end up on the wrong end of a 9-7 final.
*This week’s Bravehearts schedule
Monday vs Brockton, 6:30pm (Bark In The Park)
Tuesday at Bristol, 7pm
Wednesday at Nashua, 7pm
Thursday vs Bristol, 6:30pm (Baseball Draught Craft Beer Night)
Friday vs Pittsfield, 7pm (Fireworks)
Saturday at Pittsfield, 6pm
Sunday at Martha’s Vineyard, 6:30pm
*The TWIW Bravehearts Player of the Week is Cody Laweryson, who threw six inning of two hit ball, striking out nine of the 19 batters he faced.
*Around the FCBL
Martha’s Vineyard @ Nashua, ppd/rain
Brockton @ North Shore, ppd/rain
Bristol 4, @Pittsfield 2
Martha’s Vineyard 10, @Nashua 4
Nashua 5, @North Shore 3
@Martha’s Vineyard 9, Pittsfield 7
@Martha’s Vineyard 6, Pittsfield 5
@Brockton 6, North Shore 5
@Bristol 1, Nashua 0 HRD
Martha’s Vineyard 3, @North Shore 1
Brockton 11, @Bristol 3
Nashua 3, @North Shore 2
Bristol 4, @Brockton 3
@Brockton 2, Pittsfield 0
North Shore 8. @Nashua 0