WORCESTER – Coming off a winless week the Worcester Bravehearts knew that despite it still being early in the season another poor week could spell disaster for their playoff hopes, but with some reinforcements arriving conditions were ripe for a turn-around, and a 5-1 week jumped them back to .500 and into the thick of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League playoff race.
On Monday, the Bravehearts visited Brockton looking to put their winless week behind them in a tilt against the Rox. Worcester came right out the gate flying with John Thrasher double and a Chris Rinaldi single scoring a run just two batters into the contest. A few batters later a Dustin Harris single drove in another run, and the Bravehearts would make it three runs in the top of the first on a Michael Dellicarri steal of home.
Jon Hansen’s base on balls in the top of the first was the 1,000th in Bravehearts’ franchise history.
Meanwhile on the mound, starter Henry Ennen was having a great game, scattering three hits over six innings while striking out six. While the three runs was more than enough for Ennen he got an extra cushion in the top of the fifth when Brett Coffel singled in Dellicarri, and then Coffel scored on a Harris double.
Kendall Pomeroy and Dakota McFadden held Brockton at bay the over the final three innings, allowing just an unearned run for the 5-1 Worcester win.
After a scheduled off day on Tuesday, the Bravehearts headed to Muzzy Field in Bristol, Connecticut to take on the Blues, and once again Worcester started off fast by putting up five runs in the top of the first. With the first three batters on base a Coffel single followed by an outfield error scored three runs. A few batters later singles by Hansen and Joe Pesce and a couple of infield errors would lead to two more runs.
In the third with the bases loaded, back to back doubles by Pesce and Mariano Ricciardi gave the Bravehearts an eight run lead. The Blues would slowly chip away at that lead, but Worcester got some luck as the forecasted rain storms showed up in the bottom of the fifth, and with it pouring on the players and puddles forming in the infield reliever Rob Cerulle entered the game. He threw one pitch, getting the Blues to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the fifth. As soon as the last out was made the umpires called the game, giving the Bravehearts an 8-5 win.
On Thursday, the entire Futures Collegiate Baseball League schedule was scrubbed due to the rain.
Pittsfield visited Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field on Friday, and things didn’t start off well for Worcester as over the first two innings the Suns had eight base runners without the benefit of a hit. Somehow Pittsfield only managed to score two runs, and thanks to a gutsy relief outing by Makenzie Stills that’s all the Suns would get.
The Bravehearts took control of the game in the bottom of the second with four runs, starting with Thrasher’s bases loaded single driving in Jack Gonzalez. Rinaldi then cleared the bases with a double to left center.
Worcester then put the game out of reach with five runs in the bottom of the fifth. A Dellicarri sacrifice fly started the damage, and Mack Cheli followed with an RBI single. Back to back doubles by Edward Haus and Harris led to three more runs. The Bravehearts added a couple of unearned runs in the six for the 11-2 final.
On Saturday, it was Martha’s Vineyard visiting the HIP, and Worcester was once again on the board first when Rinaldi tripled and scored on an error in the bottom of the first. The Sharks tied it up in the second and then put up a three spot in the fourth. They’d make it 5-1 with a run in the fifth, but the Bravehearts cut into that lead in the home half of the inning with a run after an Edward Haus RBI single and a run on a double-play ball.
That was as close as Worcester would get as Martha’s Vineyard added a run in the ninth for the 6-3 final.
On Sunday the Bravehearts returned to Bristol to take on the Blues in a doubleheader. Worcester got on the board first in game one on an RBI single by Haus in the top of the fourth. In the fifth inning the Bravehearts scored four runs, with the first coming on an infield error by Bristol. A Haus sac fly made it 3-0, and then Harris lashed a two run single for the five run lead. The Blues mounted a bit of a comeback, but Pomeroy slammed the door shut for the game one victory. As of posting time Pomeroy still had not been credited with a save.
In game two, a Haus RBI single gave Worcester a quick lead, but Bristol came right back with two in the bottom of the first to take the lead. The Bravehearts reclaimed the lead in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Rinaldi and a Dellicarri RBI single.
The fourth inning saw Worcester put up six runs. starting with RBI singles by Dellicarri and Haus. A Gonzalez single then drove in two more, and two batters later Hansen drove in Gonzalez. Ricciardi drove in the sixth run on a fielder’s choice. In the sixth an RBI double by Ricciardi capped the scoring for the Bravehearts. The Blues made a game of it with runs in the final three innings, but it was too little, too late as Worcester got the sweep with a 10-6 victory.
*This week’s Bravehearts schedule
Monday off day
Tuesday at Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm
Wednesday vs Nashua, 1:05pm (All American Barbecue & Cheeseburger Challenge)
Thursday vs Bristol, 6:30pm (Country Music Night)
Friday at Bristol, 7pm
Saturday vs North Shore, 7pm (Tacky Jacket Night & T-Shirt Giveaway)
Sunday off day
*The TWIW Bravehearts Player of the Week is Edward Haus (St. Mary’s College), who went 7-14 with two doubles and 7 RBI in his first four games with Worcester.
*Around the FCBL
@Nashua 9, North Shore 5 (Game 1, 7 innings)
North Shore 2, @Nashua 1 (Game 2, 7 innings)
@Martha’s Vineyard 6, Bristol 1
Nashua 5, @Martha’s Vineyard 1
Bristol 8, @Brockton 5
@North Shore 9, Pittsfield 1
@Martha’s Vineyard 4, Pittsfield 3 (completion of suspended game)
Martha’s Vineyard @ Pittsfield ppd/rain
@Brockton 8, North Shore 5
North Shore @ Nashua, ppd/rain
Martha’s Vineyard @ Brockton, ppd/rain
@Martha’s Vineyard 5, Brockton 4
@Bristol 17, Nashua 3
@Nashua 12, Bristol 3
@Pittsfield 13, North Shore 2
Brockton 11, @North Shore 7
@Martha’s Vineyard 4, Nashua 3, HRD