WORCESTER – With the Worcester Bravehearts clinching a Futures Collegiate Baseball League playoff berth last week all that’s left to play for in the regular season is a first round bye, and with one week to go Worcester has all but assured themselves of finishing in second place and the bye, and are still within range of the first place Martha’s Vineyard Sharks.
The Brockton Rox visited Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field Monday to take on the Bravehearts, and early on it looked like it just wasn’t going to be Worcester’s night as the Rox put up three runs in the second inning to take the lead. The Bravehearts managed to answer back with two of their own in the third on RBI singles by Edward Haus and Kirk Sidwell. In the top of the fourth Brockton added three more to take a 6-2 lead.
Worcester once again cut into the lead with a two run frame, scoring runs on an infield out and a Dustin Harris single. In the top of the fifth the Rox scored again, this time just a single run to put Worcester down 7-4. In the home half of the inning everything clicked for the Bravehearts as they crossed the plate eight times to take a commanding lead.
Jon Hansen started the onslaught with a two-run homer, and a few batters later Michael Dellicarri ripped a two run double. A Jack Gonzalez single scored another run, and Paul Gozzo knocked in two with another double. That would be all the scoring as the Bravehearts ended the night 12-7 winners.
Rob Cerulle picked up the win in relief, and Edward Lehr and Dakota McFadden slammed the door on the Rox offense over the last three innings.
The North Shore Navigators visited the HIP on Tuesday in the front half of a home and home with Worcester and the Bravehearts found themselves down two runs after an inning and a half. In the bottom of the second Worcester evened the score with a two run blast by Brett Coffel, only to fall behind by a run in the top of the third.
In the home half of the inning Dellicarri gave the Bravehearts the lead again with a two-RBI triple, and then a Haus singled plated Dellicarri. In the bottom of the fourth Worcester scored three more times, on a Hansen RBI double, a Joe Pesce RBI single, and a Harris sacrifice fly. In the seventh the Navigators made it close with a four run frame, but the Bravehearts answered right back with Haus home run in the home half.
The bottom of the eighth saw Worcester turn the game into a laugher, scoring eight times to put any hopes of a North Shore comeback to bed. A bases loaded triple by Coffel started the scoring, and then he scored on an infield out. Several batters later the Bravehearts added another run on a Chris Rinaldi sac fly, and then two more on a Dellicarri single for the 17-7 final.
Tyler Patane picked up his first win on the season with a six inning start, striking out six. Three Worcester pitchers held the Navigators at bay for the final three innings.
On Wednesday, the Bravehearts headed to Fraser Field in Lynn, Massachusetts for a late morning start against North Shore, but for the first time in a long while the Worcester bats were virtually silent in a 5-1 loss to the Navigators. Dellicarri had the lone RBI for Worcester, and Mariano Ricciardi went 3-4 in the loss.
Thursday had the Bravehearts visiting Brockton, and the silent bats of Wednesday were wide awake against the Rox as Worcester exploded for nine runs over the first three innings on their way to a 12-3 victory. A bases loaded walks to Haus, Gozzo, and Hansen opened the scoring in the top of the first. In the second Ricciardi scored on a wild pitch, and Harris then followed with a three run blast. In the third a Dellicarri single scored two more.
In the fifth, Dellicarri picked up another RBI with a double, and in the sixth a Gozzo double and a Rinaldi single each scored runs to cap the scoring. Henry Ennen picked up his fifth win on the season striking out seven and allowing just three hits over five innings.
The first place Sharks visited the HIP Friday night with the Bravehearts having a chance to claim the top spot in the FCBL standings with a win. Things started off great for Worcester with a four run first inning, started by a Dellicarri single. Harris followed with an RBI single of his own, and a Haus sacrifice fly scored another. Coffel caped the scoring in the frame with an RBI double.
The Sharks got a run in the third, but in the fifth Worcester got that one back on a Haus double. Martha’s Vineyard scored again in the sixth, but a Coffel homer and a Rinaldi RBI single looked to put the Bravehearts back in the driver’s seat. But there’s a reason why the Sharks have been on top of the standings all season, and in the top of the eighth they took advantage of a couple of lucky bounces and put together a six run frame to take an 8-7 lead.
Worcester put runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings but couldn’t push another run across to even the score. The collapse spoiled another great effort by starter Makenzie Stills, who struck out six and allowed just two hits over six innings against the powerful offense of Martha’s Vineyard.
Saturday was supposed to be a double header for the Bravehearts in Pittsfield, but soon after game one started a rainstorm popped up and made Wahconah Park unplayable. Game one was officially suspended and game two was canceled, but with no common off dates for the remainder of the regular season there is little chance game one will be completed.
The Bristol Blues visited the HIP on Sunday, and the Bravehearts got off to a fast start scoring three in the bottom of the first on a Dellicarri RBI single, and infield out, and a Haus sac fly. The Blues got a run back in the second, but in the third Worcester made it 4-1 on a Coffel bases loaded walk.
That lead would slowly turn into a deficit as Bristol would score two run each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings while the Bravehearts could only muster a single run in the fifth on a Harris sacrifice fly in the 7-5 loss.
*This week’s Bravehearts schedule
Monday off day
Tuesday vs Martha’s Vineyard, 6:30pm (Brave Night, honoring Police, Fire, and EMTs)
Wednesday at Brockton, 6:30pm
Thursday at Nashua, 6:30pm
Friday vs Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm (Fireworks Friday & Team Photo Night)
Saturday at Martha’s Vineyard, 7pm
Sunday off day/end of regular season
*The TWIW Bravehearts Player of the Week is Michael Dellicarri (SUNY-Oswego) who went 10-25 for the week with three doubles and a triple, and knocked in a team leading 12 runs over the last week.
*Around the FCBL
@Martha’s Vineyard 10, Bristol 6
Nashua 5, @North Shore 3
Nashua 4, @Pittsfield 0
Brockton 5, @Bristol 4, HRD
@Martha’s Vineyard 10, Brockton 6
Pittsfield @ Bristol, ppd/rain
Pittsfield 10, @North Shore 4 (game 1, 7 innings)
@North Shore 2, Pittsfield 1 (game 2, 7 innings)
@Nashua 7, Martha’s Vineyard 6
Pittsfield 1, @Nashua 0 (suspended, top 3/rain)
Brockton 5, @Bristol 2
Martha’s Vineyard 8, @North Shore 2 (game 1, 7 innings)
@North Shore 13, Martha’s vineyard 5 (game 2, 7 innings)
@Nashua 2, Bristol 1 (5 innings, rain)
@Nashua 4, Brockton 1 (game 1, 7 innings)
@Nashua 9, Brockton 4 (game 2, 7 innings)