WORCESTER – The Worcester Bravehearts finished the third week of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s season in fourth place, but the Bravehearts find themselves under the .500 mark after going 3-4 over the last seven days. It’s still early in the season, but it’s starting to look like middle relief might be the Achilles heel of the squad.
On Monday it was the Brockton Rox invading Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field, and things did not start off all that great for the Bravehearts as an infield error and a home run put Worcester down early. But that was all the scoring the Rox would get as Cody Laweryson was near perfect for the rest of his six inning stint, and with his ten strikeouts for the game Laweryson became the Bravehearts all-time career strikeout leader.
It took a little bit for Worcester to get back to even with Brockton, using an Alex Gionis RBI single in the fourth and a Michael Dellicarri RBI triple in the fifth to knot the score. In the seventh Worcester put up five runs, starting with an RBI single from Brett Coffel. Dustin Harris followed with a double scoring two more. Later in the inning Mariano Ricciardi and John Thrasher both walked with the bases loaded to round out the inning. The Bravehearts would get an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth for the 8-2 final.
Dakota McFadden picked up the win in relief of Laweryson, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Danny Barlok pitched the last two innings, striking out four.
On Tuesday, Worcester headed to historic Muzzy Field in Bristol, Connecticut for a tilt against the Blues, and after falling behind in the first the Bravehearts put up a three-spot in the top of the second. Gionis knocked in the first run with a double, and three batters later Thrasher knocked in two with a double of his own. Tyler Patane made that lead stand up through his five inning start, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as Bristol put up four runs in the sixth for the eventual 5-3 final.
Wednesday was a trip to Nashua to take on the Silver Knights, and the Worcester was never really in the game as the bats went silent in a 6-1 loss. The Bravehearts lone run came in the top of the eighth when Mack Cheli tripled and Harries singled him in. Sebastian Gruszecki was the hard-luck loser, allowing just two runs–one earned–over five innings. Edward Lehr finished the game for Worcester, striking out all five batters he faced.
The Blues visited the HIP on Thursday and it was all Bravehearts as Worcester cruised to a 7-0 win over Bristol. Starting pitcher Kyle Angel struck out six in five innings. Kendall Pomeroy added another six Ks in his three innings. Edward Lehr got the last three outs for Worcester.
For the bats, Coffel got Worcester on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI single, and in the second the Bravehearts would grab three runs courtesy of a wild pitch, and error, and a Ricciardi single. In the fifth and sixth they’d get runs on sacrifice flies by Coffel and Gionis, and in the eighth Thrasher scored on a couple of miscues following his double.
Pittsfield were the visitors on Friday, and things started off well as Cheli’s RBI double in the first and his solo shot in the fourth gave Worcester a 2-0 lead. But the Suns scored three in both the fifth and sixth innings to put the Bravehearts in the rear view mirror. A Coffel sacrifice fly closed out the scoring in a 6-3 loss for Worcester.
On Saturday it was the Bravehearts turn to travel to Pittsfield, and again the Bravehearts jumped out to a 2-0 lead, this time using a Jack Gonzalez home run in the second and a Gionis sac fly in the fifth. The Suns would grab a run in the seventh, but in the eighth Dellicarri connected for a solo home run and then some poor defense by Pittsfield led to two more runs. A Jon Hansen RBI single in the ninth game the Bravehearts the 6-1 win.
Patrick Gallagher earned his second win on the season, striking out ten in six and a third innings. Barlok continued his impressive season by striking out six of the seven batters he faced.
It was off to Martha’s Vineyard Sunday evening for Worcester, and early on it was all Bravehearts as Harris and David Dunn had RBI singles in the top of the second, with Dunn’s hit being the 2,000 in Bravehearts franchise history. In the fourth Kirk Sidwell, Gonzalez, and Coffel all had home runs and it looked like Worcester would be cruising with a 6-0 lead.
Unfortunately the wheels fell off for Worcester as the Sharks rallied for seven runs over the next four innings to take the lead. The Bravehearts did manage to tie the game in the top of the eighth on a Martha’s Vineyard infield error, but the Sharks grabbed two more runs in the home half for the 9-7 final.
*This week’s Bravehearts schedule
Monday vs Nashua, 6:30pm (Teacher Appreciation Night)
Tuesday vs Bristol, 6:30pm (Pies vs. Hot Dogs Jersey Auction)
Wednesday off day
Thursday at North Shore, 7pm
Friday at Martha’s Vineyard, 6:30pm
Saturday at Bristol, 7pm
Sunday at Bristol, 6pm
*The TWIW Bravehearts Player of the Week is Holy Cross senior Danny Barlok, who struck out ten of the 15 batters he faced this week. He allowed just three base runners in his two outings, and only one reached as far as second base.
*Around the FCBL
Martha’s Vineyard 10, @Nashua 3
Pittsfield 10, @Bristol 3
@Pittsfield 8, North Shore 5
@Martha’s Vineyard 3, Nashua 2
Martha’s Vineyard 11, @Bristol
North Shore 9, @Brockton 7
Brockton 8, @North Shore 5 (game 1, 7 innings)
Brockton 6, @North Shore 4 (game 2, 8 innings)
@Pittsfield 4, Martha’s Vineyard 3
Bristol 6, @Brockton 4
@North Shore 4, Nashua 3
Nashua 4, @Brockton 3 (10 innings)
@Martha’s Vineyard 3, North Shore 1
@Brockton 2, Nashua 1
Pittsfield 6, @Bristol 2 (game 1, 7 innings)
@Bristol 7, Pittsfield 4 (game 2, 7 innings)